Welcome to our travels and adventures

Welcome to our travels and adventures

A Window Week

1406088 Jun 08 Barb Nails Window Back InI’m a little slow when it comes to the waste drain 1406089 Jun 08 Terry Screws Window Into Houseplumbing part of a house. You would think that it is a simple task, get the slope right and it looks after itself – after all, poop does not flow up hill! But there are lots of do’s but mostly don’ts that you have to be careful about when putting in the drains. We have a cast 4” sewer pipe coming through the cement foundation that we have to connect to. For  an experienced plumber, it probably is not a difficult job but for non-confident DIYer like me, this is a challenge. Our nephew-in-law has tried his best to educate me but I still had problems when it came to connecting to the sewer line. So, because of my insecurity of waste drains, I didn’t do any plumbing work on Sunday even though the waste tanks in the rig are bulging! So, instead of plumbing, we continued working on the windows and walls in the centre portion of the house.

1406091 Jun 09 Terry Cutting The HubAfter more phone calls and discussions with a local plumber on Monday – actually, his business is just around the corner and we will be 1406102 Jun 09 Barb Making Foundation Boxhiring him to do our HVAC, I learn that I have to cut the collar (in plumbing terms, it is the hub) off the cast fitting. There is not a lot of room but using a grinder and a reciprocal saw, I cut the hubs off and started connecting the main house drain and retrofitting the trailer hook up into it that will be used as a clean out after this job is done. When I returned the grinder to our plumber/HVAC guy, he came over to consult on the furnace location etc – we can’t lay any plumbing or the subfloor until the HVAC ducts are in. He gave us some tips on the waste drains and venting as well as the furnace location. We have screwed ourselves by applying for a reno permit – since we didn’t have a central heating system in the house before, we have to provide the town with engineered drawings of a new HVAC system and ‘our guy’ can not start the job until we get the drawings and submit them to the town and then be ‘permitted’ to continue!

1406103 Jun 09 Our Plumbing Is StartingNow that we have the crawl space access door in place and the trailer re-connected, Tuesday sees us finishing the floor joists in the bedroom – they had been left out while we completed the sewer connections. We had to modify the floor joists in the bathroom to accommodate the HVAC ducts. We also installed joists between the old floor in the centre and the new joists in the back of the house. We ran out of supplies so we called it a day anyway.



1406114 Jun 11 Barb Cleaning Insulation From WindowWe’re getting better at rebuilding window openings 1406116 Jun 11 Terry Nailing Up The Headernow and so we continue that task on Wednesday. Taking out the window is easier as we know what and where to look for. Cleaning the edges of caulking and foam insulation off the vinyl window frames was not easy or fun and was probably the most difficult part of this job. But after that, everything went smoothly and by the end of the day, we had the window in a new jam and the stud work of the wall completed. We both agree this house will be stronger than 1406121 Jun 11 The House Is Emptybefore. We ended early so we could take everything out of the house so the spray foam insulation guys had free space to move around to get their job done easily.1406127 Jun 12 Crawlspace Is Changing Color


After the spray foaming was done, we needed supplies for the other wall and window. While we were out, Jim Flake came by and started on the dirt pile removal. Wow, was this a wonderful surprise. Needless to say, I had to watch – you know, boys and big machinery, anyway, I got on 1406129 Jun 12 The Crawlspace Is Donethe shovel to help him clean up around the trees so not much was accomplished inside the house. This gave Barb an opportunity to do some sewing of her pillow from her Wool Gatherers Group. We finished 5:30ish and just in time as the clouds opened and we got a down pour!

1406096 Jun 09 Sept House Pillows With Borders Added

1406133 Jun 12 Terry Brian Watching Dirt Go

1406137 Jun 12 Side Dirt Disappearing

1406139 Jun 13 Starting The Last WallNow that we have more supplies, on Friday 1406143 Jun 13 Barb Cutting Window Framewe tackled the other wall, new studs, a larger window and had to McGyver the stud wall where we had to replace a corner a few weeks earlier. This was going to be easier since we were starting sort of from scratch – we took out a window but replaced it with 2 larger windows and built the RSO compete without having to fit it around existing stud work. Once the RSO was in place, we simply cut out the inside of the RSO and there, we had an opening for the ‘new’ re-purposed windows! Levelled and squared them, squirted them with foam and done. Now the joining of the old and new wall was a little more interesting but after some discussion – Barb is great with puzzles as well as ideas on how to do these sorts of things….

1406145 Jun 13 The Wall Falls Out1406147 Jun 13 Big Hole In The Wall1406148 Jun 13 New Window In Place








1406159 Jun 14 Nailing In The Final Floor JoistsSaturday and we’re in the house again, this time 1406160 Jun 14 Barb Nailing In The Joist Hangerfinishing up the floor joists between the old and new structures. Not a big job but it still has to be done. We finished a little earlier than normal to watch some of the US Open golf.




That’s it for now, come back again soon and we hope all is good where you are….

Odd Jobs Week

1406003 Jun 01 BARB Bring Me The LadderThis week is a week of touch up jobs! The first one we 1406004 Jun 01 Trimming The Door Frametackle is to rebuild the back door. It was not done correctly when the last reno was done – no weatherproof threshold, no header, no door frame – the door was fastened directly to the rough stud opening and used make shift door stops and weather stripping that rubbed on the concrete floor! Once the ‘old’ door was removed, of course, nothing is as easy as it could be – the concrete is not level so some shimming is necessary. We put the door into the new frame, placed it in the re-built rough stud opening, shimmed it and squared it up. Now it works better, is more solid and is weather proof! Can you believe that it took us the better part of a day! Wow.

1406007 Jun 01 Barb Finishes Cutting Door Frame

1406010 Jun 01 Back Door Now Closes1406008 Jun 01 Checking To See If Frame Fits



1406019 Jun 02 Block Terry Is ChoppingWe still have mounds of clay laying around and that 1406022 Jun 02 Barb Nailing Boxes Togetheris my fault – I told the contractor that we are not in a rush to have it taken away and he could do it on his schedule – I was just hoping to get a better price. Anyway, I decided to break up an old concrete step that was hidden under the old deck at the front of the house. I managed to ‘get’r done and yes, I did sleep well Monday night. Anyway, Barb I and used the broken concrete to help fill the sump pump trench and then used some of the clay to back fill the remainder. While I was slashing away at the concrete, Barb was busy building raised garden boxes so we can plant some fresh vegetables.

1406023 Jun 02 Boxes In Behind Garage

1406033 Jun 04 Breaking Up The Clay1406034 Jun 04 Terry Shoveling Dirt Into Wheelbarrow






We are having the crawl space foundation insulated with spray foam on Thursday so we have to focus on all the small jobs that need to be done ahead of the foaming. We have to take a second and third look at items that will be fastened to the exterior crawl space wall so we do not have to chip any of it out down the road when something else has to be installed like plumbing vents.

1406037 Jun 05 Norma Barb Looking At HouseThursday, Randy & Norma came by for a day of Fast Track. This is the game they taught us last year when we were at Olympia Village. After a few games of being beaten by the ladies, the guys suggested we go out for lunch and headed off to He’s Not Here, a local pub eatery that we have enjoyed in the past, We started out in beautiful sunshine on their patio but when lunch was over, it was cold and cloudy, brrrrrr….. Another few games and still, the guys couldn’t muster a charge – the day wasn’t long enough for us to get even!


1406043 Jun 06 There Is A Hole In The WallOn Friday, we just don’t have enough to do and when we 1406042 Jun 06 Oh What Have I Donetake a look around, we stand back and pass judgement on the soon to be kitchen windows. They do not have proper headers, proper sills and no jack studs to hold the improper header. So, we decided to ‘make it right’ – I know, we watch too much DIY TV! Took out one window and installed a proper stud wall with a proper rough stud opening for a framed window. The taking out of the ‘other guys’ reno work was way too much work. He must have used a couple of tubes of caulking and 1406050 Jun 06 Barb Nailing In McGivered Piecea can of spray foam insulation as well as very long screws! I think it took us longer to remove and clean up than it did to build a new RSO and frame. But once done and foamed, all is good but the day has run out on us so we’ll tackle the other one next week.1406049 Jun 06 Terry Nailing In Window Base

1406051 Jun 06 First Window ReInstalled









1406061 Jun 07 Names Of The Loved Ones LostSaturday was a special day for us – 70 years ago on June 4th, my older 2 brothers drowned in a tour boating accident off the shores of Port Stanley near London. A friend alerted us of an unveiling of a memorial monument on June 7, 2014 to remember the 17 deaths of that fateful tour boat cruise. Barb & I and Terri & Mark drove down to be a part of the unveiling of the memorial and were pleasantly greeted by my other brothers and some of their families along with about 50 other people. It was a very moving tribute and of course, we were invited to take any1406068 Jun 07 Composite Of Five Brothers At Port Stanley pictures we needed. This picture is of my other brothers, Doug and Larry and my wonderful wife included Bobby & Donny on the rocks where the cruise boat departed from on June 4th, 1944. Years ago, my Mom told me that if they had not drowned, there was a good chance I would not have been born – now that is a sobering thought which does not go unnoticed by Terri. After, we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon and evening at our nieces, Melissa & Paul’s drinking some cool ones, having some fine appetizers, more cool ones and of course dinner. Larry, was non-committal about coming down but he surprised Barb & I at the ceremony and we had some good laughs with him at dinner too.1406073 Jun 07 Mo Taking Group Picture



Well, that was a snapshot into our past week and we hope all is good where you are….



1406024 Jun 02 First Phlox To Bloom In Yard

A Short Week

1405294 May 25 Terry Leveling The Second Main BeamOn Sunday, Terri & Mark planned to stop by on their way home from the cabin. Barb & I had to get some stuff done before they arrived so we would have a productive afternoon when they get here. We had poured a cement column under the beam that the floor joists connect to and the beam had to be raised a little and steel placed between the beam and the cement column. Our 20 ton auto jack came in handy so Barb didn’t hurt her back lifting the beam! Once the beam was level a1405302 May 25 Mark Terri Putting In Joistnd supported, we then nailed on more joist hangers and a few more joists so the plywood we had down was a little safer to walk on.

When Terri & Mark arrived, we smoked into the rest of the floor joists in the back of the house and got them all installed and levelled. With that done, we continue to open the 1405304 May 25 Lifting The Boards On The Floorfloor around the perimeter so our insulation contractor has access to the foundation to apply the spray foam insulation. Because this is old lumber, we are trying to save it to put it back down – if we tried to fill in this area with todays lumber, the floor would be uneven. This slowed us down considerably but got it done.

It was a short work week for us but we got a lot done anyway. Dawn, our second daughter was having gall bladder surgery and we wanted to be there when she came out. So, on Monday we ran a bunch or errands and picked up more supplies for later. We stayed at Terri’s overnight to get an early start in the morning for Napanee. We arrived just as Dawn was coming out of recovery. The hospital was rele1405310 May 28 Opening Floor At Front Of Houseasing her around 2PM and we drove her home and sat with her there for a short time before getting back in the traffic for home. The ride back had two bad rain storms and we arr1405318 May 28 Terry Installing A New Rim Joistived back in Fort Erie safe but tired.

Bright and early Wednesday – well, bright anyway, we continue to open the perimeter across the front of the house. There once was a deck across the front. As we opened the front edge, we could pass a car through the opening into the house! Joking aside we did see Raccoon paw prints on the joists.  Don`t know how anyone could have lived here under these conditions! 1405319 May 28 Barb Shoveling Gravel Under JoistBarb & I built a header from side to side and added a nail strip for the new siding. 1405324 May 29 Almost Ready For Crawlspace InsulationThe sides are ok but joist lookouts had to be added to support the floor after the spray foam insulation is applied. Trying to think of everything that needs to be in place or removed for the spray foam is tricky. It was a little tight for nailing but having a pneumatic nail gun sure helps.



1405326 May 29 Floor Joist Missing On Terrys LeftOn Thursday, we looked over the main part of the house attached to the original front porch.  We found an interesting issue with the 1st 2 1405327 May 29 Installing New Floor Joistfloor joists. The one on the west side of the house was not nailed to the beam or any of the floor boards and the floor joist on the east side was not there! After securing the joist that was there, we set about replacing the missing one and securing it so it could not go missing again! The main beam across the front of the centre portion was a bit weak in places so we sistered up a new piece side to side to it to give it more support.

1405331 May 30 Success Down Comes The Wood


1405335 May 31 Terry Working On Sewer Pipe



Saturday, we decided that we were going to get the sewer cleaned up and move our temporary trailer hook up to the outside and the opening closed for spraying. Wow, what a job that was! I had our nephew-in-law plumber, Jessie, on speed dial for help. I just about used up a complete butane tank on the heat torch trying to melt the lead bead 1405342 May 31 Now Using The Reciprical Saw around the cast sewer pipe. I managed to chip a small amount out and gave up with the heat. Got the grinder out and broke that. Tried putting the cutting wheel in a drill and broke the cutting wheel. I think someone was working against me here! Finally, I was able to cut the 90 degree elbow off flush with the hub with our reciprocal saw. Now what, I still have to 1405345 May 31 An Hour Later Finally The Ring Come Outget the old pipe out of the hub – I see a small gap where I was able to pick out some of the lead and oakum. I inserted the reciprocal in and after some fight to hold on, I was able to cut the lead bead all the way around the hub. Some more heat, a little hammering with the crow bar and my hammer and finally, I was able to wiggle the rest of the elbow out of the hub. Now it is ready to start building the new sewer system and build a dump station on the outside for the trailer.

In the meantime, Barb installed all the blocking in the stud walls around the front of the house by herself. I provided some assistance with the nail gun but she did all the other hard work and heavy lifting – like I said in the past, I have a great construction partner, not to mention a wonderful wife!

That’s it for this week, we hope all is good where you are and please enjoy this photo of our Oleanders back at the Plantation, courtesy for Ann & Bill.

1405608 May 18 Our Oleander From Ann