Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Trio Of Cottage Classics!

Three elements of cottage life. The traditional floral oilcloth used as a tablecloth, on sale at Home Hardware for $2.99 a yard, the iconic fake wood panelling, probably still decorating many a den even today, and the cold bottle of beer, in this case a Sleeman Honey Brown Lager.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cottage Art

This is one of my latest pieces, which used up a dusty shoebox of beer coasters, an old storm window from the Field House, and about two hours of time with some melamine sheet, a screw driver, and a hot glue gun. I think I have sampled about four of the brews represented here, which I decided to group by region. I think a far better means of displaying these interesting artefacts than piled in a shoebox. I am now accepting commissions to turn your old collection of beer coasters into a fine work of kitschy cottage art like this!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Digging In The Dirt

Did a bit of digging this last week, as I decided to run the overflow from the rainbarrel directly down toward a Norway Maple I had transplanted the day before. The Maple came from our neighbor in Tavistock, who wanted it removed, and new I was in the business of playing "musical trees". So I hand dug a trench about eight inches deep, just wide enough to place in a sump hose, which I then connected to the now 'jury-rigged' outlet of the rain barrel.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Rain Barrels

One of Katherine's colleagues recently visited an Oxford County composter sale, where they had composters, rain barrels, and similar 'eco-friendly' schwag for sale at reduced or promotional prices. Katherine had asked her to see if they had any decently priced rainbarrels, thinking that we may put one to good use at the cottage. Evidently the price worked out to the cost of a bike tune up and a toddlers helmet (about $45) so we happily took possession of the rainbarrel. On my first trip to Frontnac Outfitters I swung by the cottage with a few things to drop off, rain barrel included.

This last week I took the time to install the rainbarrel under the downspout at the back corner of the house. It was a fairly simple job, the only complication being I had no proper tool for cutting the downspout, but found that the bucksaw and a pair of kitchen scissors did a half decent job! Peter and I roughly calculated that about a centemeter of rain on the side of the roof that the eavestrough collects from will fill the barrel, which we figure is over 150 litres capacity.

Chores, Actually!

In case you all were assuming visiting the cottage is just fun and no work, this is a picture of the pile of wood I cut and stacked during our last visit. There are actually two stacks of wood here, one of mostly unsplit logs sitting against the shed hidden from view, with this one of mostly split wood stacked in front of it. The round logs at the bottom are roughly 60 pounds each, so there is probably well over over one ton of wood here!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Another Neat Toy!

Following a gruelling ten hour drive to Kingston and back with another ten canoes for Frontenac Outfitters (left Tavistock 3:45am, dropped boats Kingston 8:15am, returned 1:30pm), I returned to the H20 Composites Inc. World Headquarters in Tavistock to help Jeff with a racing boat destined for a customer in Western Canada, and to put together the Mission Racing Offshore 21 rowing shell for myself. It was a scramble to get everything together, get the kids, and then pack everything up, but I finally made it to Toronto for dinner at 7, and then the cottage the following day.

I drove up with Uncle John, Rudi and Alexander, and after unpacking and cracking open a couple of beers, I fitted the rigger and oars to the shell, and John and I got the boat on the water. I knew that there would be no chance of me actually figuring out how to use one of these without a bit of instruction, but I gave it a go anyway. Falling out of the boat about twenty times, and not making it further than about a boat length proved me right, so I finally gave up. Katherine's sisters instruction the following day proved invaluable, when as I went out to embarrass myself, she yelled out 'Use the oars flat to keep your balance!' ('you dummy' being implied!) That was the secret! As soon as I flattened the oars on the water, I could immediately control the side to side pitch of the boat (the yaw, maybe?) and keep from tipping over. Soon after that I was cruising along, working on my stroke, and actually getting well out into the lake!

This boat is a demonstrator, and will be made available for sale to anyone interested at the end of the summer. The regular price is $3995 plus taxes excluding oars, but this one can be had for a bit less than that, depending on the type of oars, foot stretcher, rigger, and seat finally fitted (right now it has some really basic used stuff in it just to try it out). If anyone is interested in trying this or a similar rowing shell out, I will probably be having a couple of demonstration days at the cottage this summer. Look for additional postings with details!