Finding the edges of the driveway

somewhere to park

So one of the things about our new house is that the yard is terribly overgrown. Since winter is pretty much here and there’s building supplies all over the small from garden, there’s not much to do.

Walking in the shed door one day, I noticed the ground felt a little firmer. Turns out there were pavers under the “grass”.

Next time I went to the house for the afternoon, I made sure to grab a shovel and start finding out where the pavers where for the path out the shed door.

somewhere in here is a pathway

We’re calling it a shed right now because back door doesn’t seem right. It’s less than twenty feet from the front door, which is on the side of the house, facing the driveway but not the road. The shed can also be reached by a door off the kitchen, so we could call it a mudroom, but right now it’s full of junk and building supplies. Plus a new window. So shed it is.

After some careful scraping and figuring out where I could run the edge of the shovel, I found a few pavers and a whole pathway.

a pathway!

It doesn’t reach the driveway yet. I was stalled by a pile of bricks left in the way from when the old chimney was removed.

This weekend I again picked up the shovel and worked on clearing out the encroaching weeds and vine plants and dead leaves that were spilling over the backing up space. It’s a handy spot to leave my car so I can just drive out and not back down the entire drive.

So here’s today’s work, tho I haven’t shown the other side of the car. This space is wide enough for two cars, but was so overgrown on the edges, as a driver you just weren’t sure where it dropped off onto lawn.

somewhere to park

Now you can park here just fine. Even though I took up all the space today and parked in the middle.

Further on down the driveway there is less work to clear off because it is raised a bit off the field. It’s mostly overgrown by the house itself.

Mexican Bamboo

Japanese Knotwood

Both the property in Miramichi and the one in Lakeville had a colony of Mexican Bamboo (or Japanese Knotweed). It’s a fast growing invasive species that is capable of killing off most vegetation that does not grow taller than it does.

I succeeded in killing it off on both properties. In both cases, it took 5 years. When I looked out of the window on our second viewing and saw it in front of the house, I chuckled. Having done it twice before I knew I could do it again & how long it was going to take.

When I was working away at it in Miramichi I did some Internet research. I found a site that explained why it was so difficult to kill off. The roots are brittle and are prone to breaking. The root system of the growing plants emit a chemical into the soil. So long as the chemical balance of the soil contains a certain level of the chemical, the broken off pieces of root remain dormant.

My guess is that the broken off roots only have a shelf life of a few years. If they don’t grow within 2-4 years they die. That means that if you can keep it from extending it’s root system for 3-4 years, the remaining roots in the soil die.

Even though the growing season is over, I got a head start on next year. The old stocks get in the way of cutting it back the next year’s growth. It doesn’t hurt that it improves the street view of the house.

After the Japanese Knotwood was cut back
View from the front after the Japanese Knotwood was cut back.

Blog refocus

As you may have guessed by the last post the Ron And Andrea blog is undergoing a change. Instead of WordPress or business related thoughts, our posts will now focus on remodelling and finishing our new house.

Not a huge change right now, mostly the theme and some cleanup. Older posts will remain but eventually shuffle off into the archives.

So – if you’re still reading via RSS and were only interested in WordPress related news, you might wish to unsubscribe with no hard feelings. However, if you want to keep tabs on our house news and what we’re doing, this is the place we will be posting everything.

Tune in! We have tons to say! (and pictures… so many pictures… )

Back to the country

Front View

Andrea & I have been living in Fredericton for about 2 years. Before that, a trip to visit the children/grandchildren was most of a day. We having been enjoying being closer for visiting more often and the convenience of close shopping.

When we moved we planned on staying in Fredericton for a few years saving up to purchase a piece of property and build a home. Since we are both technically self-employed with a business that has almost no “real” assets, borrowing for building a home is slightly more difficult for us. Knowing that, we planned on saving a good portion of the funds before building.

In the mean time, it doesn’t hurt to research the market for availability, prices, etc.

Given our business, the only absolute prerequisite has been a location where we could get decent speed Internet either with a high bandwidth cap or unlimited bandwidth. In Lakeville, we had satellite first then wireless. Either of those are okay for casual usage but are less than ideal for people who use the Internet all day.

Second, we want some elbow room. I have been mainly keeping an eye out for property that is at least 3 acres (1.2 ha).

Third, because we work at home, we don’t get out and around as much as people who commute to work. A house nestled in a larger treed lot does have privacy but if you are there almost all the time it’s a bit claustrophobic. A property with a view would be a big plus over the long term.

Over the last year Andrea & I realized that century old houses that came onto the market were more likely to include a few acres than properties in our price range that met our wants.

We started looking at listings of older homes with a small parcel of property.

In September, the family leasing the Lakeville house were approved for a mortgage. At the time there were 3 houses on the market that met our list. We arranged a viewing of all 3 spaced over a week.

We put in an offer on one of them in early October and became the owners on Friday.

You can be an Apple user and not be in the Cult of Apple

Ron and I have been geeks for a long time, and I remember way back when we first were together, my aunt and uncle showing me their Apple computer.

Weird. Boxy thing. Rainbow logo. You could point and click and pictures and stuff and not type things in. Huh. That was cool.

Fast forward through the debacle of Windows versions and our Linux usage. We are super geeks after all, of course we forayed into Linux.

All that time I would look at Apple from the outside and think they were shiny and overpriced.

Meanwhile, I was realizing buying cheap goods multiple times because they wore out wasn’t working. Shoes, appliances, clothing, toys. Stuff.

While working at Copyblogger doesn’t mean Apple use is mandatory, I did get a Mac Air. Ron got a Macbook Pro. Recently I got an ipad.

We LOVE them. I mean, unabashedly LOVE. THEM.

Thought Steve Jobs was pretty smart. Didn’t like him much as a person. Not into the cult of Apple itself.

But we can and do appreciate good design. I cna also say the last two laptops we purchased before any Mac products did not last six months before things like missing keys and wonky behaviour. If anyone remembers me from WC NYC and my little netbook, that thing bricked at about a year. Nice doorstop.

Ron has some minor fine motor skills issues and on a Mac laptop, the usability is such that navigation is *easier* on a Mac than any other laptop he has ever used.

The ipad? Took my 2 and a half year old granddaughter minutes to use. We got her family their own for Christmas, and I heard the other day she saw her daddy (our son) do the five finger swipe maybe twice, and now rage-quits with a five finger swipe when she gets frustrated with an app. :D Oh snap! On the positive side, watching her read along to stories and do shape games is mind boggling. Can’t wait the see HER future.

I thought I would use the ipad as a second screen, but honestly I actually like using it as a single task device. Mostly leisure, and yes I do wind up troubleshooting help desk tickets on it as well. (“Why does ny site not look right on the ipad?” Oh here, lemme check..) And I habitually have multiple windows open on my Air.

So yes, we like them. We just bought a new Air for one of our daughters, upgrading her from a $500 two year old craptop. Three times the price yet I know it will last three times as long (or more) with far less issues.

How is liking well-made easy to use durable products a cult? I mean, we’re not out there oogling the next announcements because we’re not interested in getting the latest and greatest of everything all the time. We just wan Things That Work and Work Well.

We found them.

No shame in that.