Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fixing Even More Things

So the paddleboat, nearing on 20 years or so now, hasn't had the sun cover available because the front web strap snapped a few years ago. Off to Mad Outdoors I went, and with five yards of black one inch webbing, a new strap gizmo, a cheap 'biner, and some rivts, all three straps were replaced in extremely professional fashion!
 




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fixing Things

I spent top dollar on these Merrel sandals about three years ago, even after they were reduced forty bucks off the regular price. And what a poor design they were. The two velcro tabs at the back on each side holding the heel counter in place continually gave way, turning them into useless flip flops. So with a little help from John's pop riveting tool, and four rivets, I made them useful again.
 
 
In the previous three years of owning them, I probably wore them about 20 minutes total... After fixing, probably 20 hours, in just two days.


Typical Cottage Projects...






Friday, April 26, 2013

Neighbours

One of the biggest potential drawbacks to cottage ownership is the fact you may end up having a neighbour who leaves a lot to be desired, like our very own Alan Pepper.

We were at the cottage for Easter weekend past, and on a run to the dump, I crunched the mailboxes belonging to Alan and another cottage owner across the road. Being a reasonable person, I included a note apologizing and offering to pay the costs of replacement for both boxes.

Later that day the boys and I were out on the lake, and decided to say hello to a gentleman ice fishing a few hundred feet away. Of course this necessitated passing Alan's place, and wouldn't you know it, he was there to begin a conversation:

"Hey!" he called out.

"Hello Alan!" I replied

"Nice job on the mailbox." he said, with a healthy dose of of sarcasm.

I paused, wondering the best response for such a compliment... "Well, thank you very much!" I cheerfully replied.

"Those will be fifty dollars to replace, you know"
 
"Alan, I left you and the other owner notes indicating I will cover all costs of replacement" I replied.
 
"You're an asshole."
 
I looked over at Rudi, and then down at Alexander. Personally I have rarely called anyone names, and never would do so in front of children. But I suppose I have a bit of class that Alan lacks.

"Whatever Alan, this conversation is over, have a lovely day!" I replied, and began walking away ith the kids on either side of me

I suspect his bitterness has a lot to do with the issue of replacing his culvert, which resulted in a particularly ugly pissing match, Alan wanting to be paid half the costs of the construction at time of installation. As Alan lives there year round, is the owner of the culvert, is completely responsible financially for it, and controls when it would be installed and by whom, and for how much, I felt our offer to pay half of his construction costs over a three year period was quite reasonable. In any event, he declined our offer, proceeded to attempt to coerce and bully and extort us into paying for half of his culvert, and finally he proceeded to install it, shouldering the entire cost himself.

 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Easter Weekend

 
Rudi reading to Alexander, in one of those ever so rare instances of sibling appreciation and cooperation!

 
Buckets on sugar maple trees. The weather was perfect for running sap.

 
Mmmmmm yummy!

 
Snow squalls move in on Easter Monday, as we prepare to leave for Tavistock.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The New Barbeque

The owner of the grocery store I work at recently purchased a new Weber Genesis barbeque, so me being curious, I asked him what barbeque he was replacing, and his plans. Turns out he was replacing an older Weber Genesis Silver series, which needed a couple of hundred dollars and a few hours of work restoring. An absolutely perfect cottage project barbeque.


Cooking grates, warming rack, and flavourizer bars all in need of replacing. These parts were all  steel, and I am considering replacing with stainless for better durability.


About an hour of cleaning later, the barbeque looked like this.


Lid opened, the burners are in good shape, and all debris has been cleaned out.


The control deck after a vigorous cleaning with 'Whip It' brand eucalyptus oil cleaner. The control knobs and igniters are all in excellent condtion.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

If you want to rent a cottage in the area...

...regardless of whether it is ours, or someone elses place, here are some links that you might find useful:

If you are looking for a cottage to rent in the Eastern Ontario area, you can visit this link:


The advertisement for our cottage on the CottageMe.com website can be found by visiting this link:


Barry's Bay Cottage Resort is located on the far side of the lake, adjacent to the highway. They have a number of newly refurbished cottages for rent:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On Death and Taxes

Well nothing about death here actually, but over the last few months, off and on, I have been compiling absolutely all of our expenes for the Field House, the cottage, both automobiles, and more onto Microsoft Excel files. It makes doing personal income taxes so much easier! I also found a 'snipping tool' that lets you take a jpeg image of any part of your computer screen... How cool is that?

The astute reader will notice that our municipal taxes have doubled in seven years. I imagine the 60% increase in 2006 had a lot to do with that! Just another reason why buying a waterfront cottage of your very own is not the smartest thing you can do with your money. It is far more economical to rent someone else's for the time you want to use it!

There are only two compelling reasons to own a waterfront cottage: First, you have oodles of money to burn, and really want a cottage, whether you use it or not! Second (as is our case), you already happen to own the cottage, make substantial use of it, and are willing to rent it out to people smart enough not to buy their own to help cover the costs!



In 2003 the municipal taxes on the cottage were less than 50% of the taxes on our house in Tavistock. In 2010 the cottage taxes were nearly 85% of our house taxes! Such is the effect of rapid increases in value of waterfront real estate.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Joys of Online Banking

Last year I noticed that my online banking website (we use BMO) began offering email money transfers provided by Interac (Interac E-Mail Money Transfer). I figured this was a simple way to accept payment for the cottage, as the transaction was secure for both parties, and the only requirements were an email account and access to online banking.

A couple of guests used this service to pay for their stay at the cottage, and all worked fine until the third guest sent a payment in early July, and I received this message after trying do deposit the payment in our account:


EMT Receive Error

We cannot process your request at this time. Please contact us at 800 363 9992 to discuss and provide the following code number.


ER/J/EMT-R-CP-411

I didn't think it would be a big issue, and called the next day to sort it out. Well, after about a dozen phone calls, including relatively abysmal service (failure to call back when promised, failure to properly determine what the problem was, etc.) on the part of BMO, as well as Interac/Certapay, it turns out that the 'sender' of the payment had used the service for the very first time, triggering an automatic call from his bank for security and verification purposes. The problem was, his bank phoned, did not reach anyone, and simply left a message.

For some reason,the call was not returned, yet the senders bank did absolutely nothing to follow up to determine whether the payment was legitimate or not! Instead, they simply made the determination that the payment was suspect, and then froze both the senders and recipients (mine) access to the email money transfer system, without informing either party, of course.

Recently a different returning guest sent along a deposit, just as he had (succesfully!) done last year. On opening the email, and attemptiong to deposit it in our account, the fateful message was again displayed:

EMT Receive Error

We cannot process your request at this time. Please contact us at 1 800 363 9992 to discuss and provide the following code number.


ER/J/EMT-R-CP-411

This time around, Jimena from the BMO actually determined the issue (the suspension of my access to the service was still in place), resolved it with Instabank/Certapay that day, called me the next morning to tell me what happened, and then after a very brief bit of negotiation, credited our account with three months worth of account fees ($41.85). Thankfully this time around the employee at BMO was deadly efficient, pleasant to deal with, and got the problem resolved in a timely fashion - leaving me hope that when Instabank screws up the next time, it will be corrected within a day! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Reasonably Bright Idea

Without going into specific details, many alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power, geothermal energy for home heating, and the like, are simply not economically feasable, unless you are happy taking a stack of twenties, and burning them slowly one by one. Geothermal systems will take upwards of thirty to forty years or more to break even, after which they will most likely need replacing, and the cycle begins again. Small wind power installations will take several decades to pay for themselves, and solar power installations will suck money from a bank account permanently. If you disagree with this assessment, show me your numbers, and I will dissect them and show you how wrong you are.

The only reason to consider wind or solar is if you cannot get 'municipal' hydro at the property you are trying to service, or if you are truly passionate about 'going green' and are willing to pay up to ten times or more than the going rate for hydro. UNLESS... you take advantage of the microFIT program, where the Ontario Power Authority heavily subsidizes the rates paid for hydro produced by small 'homeowner sized' projects. The subsidies for power produced in this fashion are not what I would consider 'reasonable', but are between five and fifteen times the typical rate of roughly $0.06 per kWh! These mammoth subsidies are what is required to make small ground and roof mounted solar, and wind projects economically justifiable, and move the payoff period from infinity down to a more reasonable decade or so!

Essentially, the biggest proof that solar and wind projects are completely uneconomical at present is the fact that that producers must be provided with MAMMOTH subsidies in order for them to actually see a return on investment. Coal power (as ugly as it is), Hydro, and Nuclear produce electric power for fractions of the cost of wind and solar installations, no matter what the scale.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

August at the Cottage - Dropping Birches

Arrived at the cottage mid-August to find one of the birch trees near the house had lost its top. It was already dying off, as birches do, hastened by some rather hungry woodpeckers and "assups". A few days later the Husqvarna 353 came out, and within a couple of hours both trunks were down, bucked up, and ready for stacking and cleaning up. The second and third photos are of the stacked logs showing the woodpecker work, and the new view, including a red pine that I transplanted to the front of the brush pile. It was pulled from a stand of four, and would have to be removed regardless, so it might survive, but if not, oh well.






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Monday, July 19, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The May Two Four (part three)


On Sunday John and I 'toured' the crown land adjoining our property to have a look at the trees I transplanted a year and a half ago. The three trees (two White Pines and a Balsam Fir) have already begun budding out, and appear extremely healthy and vigourous. On our way back down the hillside we noticed these magnificent Luna Moths sitting on a bracken fern. They are magnificent, and measure almost five inches in wingspan.