We started our final day in Victoria by walking around Canada’s oldest Chinatown. There were the typical shops filled with cheap knickknacks. It was most fun to just squeeze down the narrow alleyways and admire the brickwork of the buildings.
We tooled around the tourist part of downtown Victoria and stopped in at a bookstore followed by a macaron shoppe. Both places were greeted by our kids with enthusiasm.
On our drive back to the ferry terminal- we stopped at The Butchart Gardens. I always wanted to visit this place, but never made the time to do so. Unfortunately, because it is autumn- the garden was rather lackluster. I’m sure it is far more vibrant and lovely in the spring and summer when the rose garden is in full bloom.
I did enjoy walking through the Japanese Garden and the Italian Garden. The time of year was good for the fact that it wasn’t crowded. Perhaps one day I shall see it in the spring time. But it has taken me until ages 44 to go my first time, so there may not be a second time. Especially since there is so much more of the world to explore.
At the end of the day we got lucky and made it on a ferry an hour earlier than planned. All of our walking had made us very tired, so that hour made all the difference in our trip. I do look forward to visiting Victoria once again some day. I have always enjoyed traveling there.
Last year when I Built a set of doors, I had removed the old sliding glass door and set it aside. It was pretty massive, with each panel being four feet wide. Today I finally began to do something about them. I made a mini greenhouse.
I had my son as a helper once more as we measured out some boards for the frame. I figured we could make a TARDIS shaped greenhouse. Just the right size to get some of the plants started.
These boards came from our old deck that was in front of the old sliding glass door. We ripped that deck out in 2014. Many of these board have been used for projects such as an Axe Throwing Target. I kept the long ones just in case. Today they became the frame of the mini greenhouse. I also added an old busted sliding window for the roof. That way it can be opened to allow airflow.
All that’s left is adding a door and maybe some painting of the boards. If I can find a small can of blue paint- you know I’ll be making a TARDIS door! It’s fun being a Whovian. Pretty sure my wife will be okay with that idea.
I think she will also appreciate this Great Glass Elevator in our garden.
When we first moved into our home, I hated the ferns we had growing everywhere. In fact during the first year or so, my lawnmower found them attractive. I chopped them right down to the roots. You know what happened next? They grew back.
I gave in and accepted that ferns are pretty dang hearty plants. I’ve even dug them up and transplanted them and they’ve thrived happily. Over a decade later, I’m satisfied with the ease at which these plants are to maintain.
Ferns have this amazing ability to just keep living. What I do now is wait until mid spring and cut off the old or dead leaves. It’s easy to figure out because the new one stems have sprouted and are a vibrant healthy green color.
After a quick trim- these plants look good as new. If I forget to water them, no big deal- they could live through a drought of a few weeks. Ferns grow exponentially without being trimmed as well. For us, ferns add the splash of greenery to our garden that we get to enjoy during the beautiful weather.
My wife has threatened to remove my train garden if I don’t fix it up. So today I went to my local garden center that supplies G Scale trains. I brought with me some parts to get fixed and wanted to buy some stuff.
Sadly, the fellow that runs it is retiring within the year. That means no new stock or parts any more. And the stuff he has- is just getting cleared out. I had to make a decision. Do I buy some boxcars for a train set that doesn’t run, or do I walk away empty handed.
I left without buying anything. I texted my wife as well about the hard decision I needed to make. When I spoke to her however- it turns out she doesn’t want to lose the train. She was just making it as an empty threat to get me motivated again. Little did she know that the place nearby would stop supplying my hobby.
On the plus side- it looks like I can spend a “little extra” to get the trains running again. As well as throw a pond in alongside the tracks. Maybe I’ll go with a steam engine this time… I like Trains.
A few years back, I was addicted to Pinterest. So much so that I’d kill the battery on my iPhone regularly. Then one day it stopped. I think it was because I had saved all these wonderful ideas, but never did any.
It has been ages since I’ve logged into my Pinterest account. However, I do remember certain things I kept looking for. Mostly to do with our garden and doing it on the cheap.
We have an acre to work with. Lots of old growth as well as large trees. I have taken the time to move things around in the yard and have cut back some of the overgrown parts. It’s a labour of love.
Even animals love to hang out on our property. Our dog Lex is super lazy and never chases the squirrels away. We have numerous bird nests hidden in places like the wood shed and throughout trees. So we have a bird feeder that is always filled to keep them happy. And the squirrels love to run along our fence and up the trees.
Like a regular Disney Princess film- we just need more singing in the yard.
Pinterest was always something that kept me creating visions for our property. “Up Cycling” is still a hot trend. We have a collection of junk that is turning into Instagram hashtags. All with stuff we had already in our possession. This year’s spring cleaning and yard setup hasn’t cost me a penny. Thanks to some old ideas from Pinterest. I did toss a couple of our old toilets. I wasn’t really wanting the white trash planters in my yard. I’m glad I don’t go on Pinterest anymore.
But I still think about making stuff from old pallets I have…
Every year we grow our own food. Something about the taste of a freshly picked vegetable really makes a meal.
Every evening my wife goes out to water and cover the plants. Every morning she goes to check on the progress. It’s always a slow start at the beginning of the season as the seeds begin to take root. Patience in gardening is required.
In the past, we have purchased some plants that were already begun at a nursery. This year was mostly seeds. We also tried something new by putting everything up higher on tables. This was to keep the wild rabbits out. It seemed to work.
We have moved everything closer to our house now so that they don’t wither up in the sun. This should also slow the growing process a bit as well to spread out the vegetables over the next couple of weeks as they finish ripening.
I can’t wait to dive into some of the peppers my omelettes will be devine.
Back in the summer of 2008, a year after we had moved into our home, we decided (mostly with my influence) to build a trainset in our garden instead of a pond. We cut down some trees and built up the ground to lay the tracks. It was a lot of time and a lot of fun. The kids were happy to help out in building it and watching it run. Plus at ages 2,4 & 6 playing in dirt is always the best.
Over the years, many changes have occurred to the train garden. Some of it was just trial and error as I figured out how to make it look good and continue to run. Some were just for fun. I’ve reconfigured the loops twice, built new bridges, placed bricks under the tracks to keep it level and even added in a small tunnel. We have had issues with moles, birds and even a snake trying to make a home out of the garden.
But the biggest hurdle is that I haven’t figured out how to keep the engines running smoothly. The tracks are outside all year and the electrical connection drops in various parts. This has caused excessive wear on the motors on both of my engines. I’ve had to replace the motors a few times now. My next option is to buy a battery pack- like the type used for RC cars. And of course a remote control to help run them. A remote that can eventually be used to control every aspect of the railroad. From lights to sounds to even lining switches. That way I can use the power source that I currently have to add some lighting to buildings or other structures. I love scale models of scenery shots. They’re so much fun to set up.
Our next biggest hurdle is money for my project. It would seem that whenever a bit of extra fun is wanted, something more serious rears its ugly head. Unfortunately this time it appears that our washing machine has decided to leak from who-knows-where. I’ve tried to take it apart to find the source of the leak, but to no avail. Looks like a new washer is about to be purchased in a couple of days.
Or we can just enjoy stinky, dirty clothes and have a cool trainset for the summer. I’ll let my wife decide. I know my choice.
We’ve been at our home for nine years now. Every year I allot about $500 towards our garden. Having an acre and budgeting such a small amount has its challenges. Nine years ago we bought a trampoline. Six years ago, the money was mostly spent on bark mulch. Seven years ago, I spent the money on building garden boxes. Two years ago we bought cement for our covered deck. Last year was a new BBQ and a new lawnmower. This year is some more cement to finish off the deck, some plants, and a new patio set.
Old bench seat from a car now for the backyard.
$500 doesn’t go very far these days. Pinterest has given me plenty of ideas on “up cycling” and dealing with what we have on hand. We have grown lettuce and green onions from the stalks of the remaining vegetables. We compost as much as we can and use our rain barrels as well. Without having to spend a fortune, we do our best to keep the yard maintained. I have more moss than grass but hey it’s green and soft.
There’s a garden shed back there somewhere.
Most of our gardening time is spent pulling weeds and cutting back on brush. Trimming ferns and bushes takes up half the day. The end result looks amazing, even if it only lasts a week or two. The warm weather has been both a blessing and a curse. We get extra time to make the yard look nice, but we will have twice the amount of work to do in later months. The weeds are relentless this year. My fingernails are coated underneath with soil from digging down to pull the roots. My “yard work clothes” are getting washed more regularly. My back and knees are taking a beating as I bend over to work.
Only a few weeds to pull. No big deal.
I love my yard. All the work we put into it makes me beam with pride and joy. Especially when the kids are out playing or our friends are over for a visit. We work hard to make it pretty. Of course I could spend a small fortune to get the outdoor kitchen and seating set I want. I don’t need to get further into debt just to have a few days of pleasure. We have plenty of seating as it is, it’s just not new- it’s up cycled.