Monday, October 24, 2016

Tree Topping

We have many trees out back but just one that we worry about. It is healthy but it about twenty feet from the house and on a steep bank. We got the local tree cutting company over to have a look and he said he would trim some of the longer branches and cut 10 - 15 feet off the top for $200 to $250. This will make it safer when it comes to falling down in the wind.

While they were here we asked them to remove a huge, annoying bamboo bush outside the back door. They spent a couple of hours cutting and loading and hauled everything away. He charged us $250 to trim and top the tree and another $50 to take out the bamboo tree.

Here is what we got for our $300:





Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tiny House

I have been dropping hints to my son, Brooks about building a tiny house on spec. He and LindaLee were up for the night on Tuesday and he told me he is going to build one! His friend and neighbor is a licensed electrician and is going to help him. One end of the tiny house will be double(ish) in height and will contain the kitchen and sleeping loft while the other end will contain the living area. It will be built in two parts in his workshop and as each end is completed it will be moved by truck to the back of his property which is on it's own street and placed on a pad, just like an RV. It will not be seen from their house. The two halves will be connected together, hooked up to utilities and rented out. It will serve as a "display home" for future customers who could choose to have one built on a trailer or delivered to their own pad anywhere on the Island. He already has a renter who will take reduced rent in return for allowing it to be shown with minimal notice. A win-win situation.

Like so many people starting to think about retirement, They do not have a pension plan so their rental properties will become their retirement income. If all works out the way they plan this income will be much greater than mine!

I can't wait to see some design plans!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Well, That Was Easy!

The drainage guy showed up this morning with some flexible drain pipe and sand bags. He exposed the clean-out for the underground pipe to the ocean, dammed the stream with sandbags and used the pipe to divert the stream into the clean-out. The stream down the bank and into the gravel immediately ceased.

We are expecting a week of continuous rain, with the remains of the Japan typhoon hitting us by the weekend, It is going to be very wet! He will be back next week, probably during a lull in the storms to install the basin. That will be a dirty, wet job.

On the other front, our roof guy was here yesterday to look at the suspected roof vent. He could not see any way the rain could blow in but he did add some sealant around it. We will monitor the stain on the ceiling and hope for the best.

This is the hole Norma and I dug in the middle of the night last week. It is about six feet long and a foot and a half wide. It doesn't look like it but 90% of the water flowing into it is being handled and is making it's way into the drain pipe.

This is the sandbag dammed stream and the drain pipe that was installed this morning. Hopefully it will handle the heavy rain scheduled for the next week or so. The concrete slabs you see was my "sort of" successful attempt to add a soothing waterfall sound to the stream. Now I just want the water GONE!

Monday, October 10, 2016


Things are under control. Not resolved but under control.

It rained hard once after the stain on the ceiling and no more water came down so it seems my diagnosis is correct, the northeast wind drove the rain into the new vent. I will get my retired roofer / lawn mower to look at it. There may be a solution other than removing it.

The drainage has been temporarily fixed. The drainage guy came over and shoveled a lot of gravel out of the trench, exposing clean gravel and drain pipe that is now easily handling the flow. He is coming back on "Tuesday, maybe even Monday but no later than Wednesday". He again reminded us that many other people in Campbell River have drainage problems as a result of that storm. I am OK wit a short wait now that the emergency is over.

We now have time to get back to more important things. We took a salmon out of the freezer and will stuff it for a Thanksgiving Dinner. We wanted to invite Brooks and LindaLee up but Brooks is working all weekend so that is great for him. He has another huge project going on his property where he is finishing up building a new, larger workshop on the corner of his property where there is more room for storing finished fence panels and lumber outside. He will then move everything over from the old workshop and begin turning the old shop into yet another rental suite for which he already has a renter. He is going through money right now and cannot turn down work. We will get to see him soon.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Roof Leak?

The morning after the rain storm two days ago we noticed a ten inch by a half inch wet stain on the living rood ceiling plus a bit of dampness where the ceiling meets the wall. After panicking I took a closer look and discovered it was underneath where we had a roof vent installed earlier in the summer. It has rained many time since then and has not leaked.

The difference was the last rainstorm was accompanied by a northeast wind instead of our normal southeasters. This wind from the northeast forced the rain into the roof vent. I thought at the time that it was a mistake to have one of the vents placed on the front of the house at all and I should have followed my instincts.

I will have the guy who installed them have a look and see what he thinks. We may cover the hole up with plywood and repair it with some spare shingles or we may just leave it, trusting Mother Nature to keep the wind coming from the southeast.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Midnight Drainage Digging

So at around midnight we were awakened by torrential rain. We looked out at the bank and sure enough everything was plugged up and the stream was flowing across the patio and down the driveway. So here we were, a couple of 70 some year olds, shoveling gravel in the middle of the night! We built a rim around the small pond formed by the bank and that let the water find some clean drain tile which started taking maybe 80% of the water, the other 20% continuing down the driveway. We left it at that, went to bed and started calling our drainage guy at 7:15 AM only to get his answering machine. At 10:00 AM, after a half dozen calls, he called back and said he will be here this afternoon.

It has quit raining but there is more called for tomorrow. I hope he is taking us seriously when we say it is an emergency! We have two neighbours, a good neighbour and a bad neighbour and the stream is affecting both of them. The good neighbour is away but if the bad neighbour catches on to what is going on there will be hell to pay.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Drainage Update

Norma found the guy who did the original drainage job! He came over for a look and said he would take care of it. He will dig out the ditch, expose the drain pipe, determine how big the blockage is and clear it out the best way he can. He will also install a catch basin part way up the bank to separate the water from the silt and pipe the catch basin outlet directly into the pipe heading to the ocean. We will have to empty the catch basin periodically, he has no idea how often, maybe a couple of times a year.

This will all be a big relief to get done and he has "penciled" us into his schedule, hopefully before the next big rain. Next is to get Brooks to build a set of stairs and a platform so we can get up there to maintain it.

Drainage Problems

Many year ago we spent about $8,000 on a new lawn and a solution to the drainage off the bank at back of the house. A natural underground spring had broken through the bank and was sending a small but steady stream of water down the bank. We called in an expert and he brought in a Bobcat and installed drain tile covered with gravel along the bottom of the bank and joined it up with the parameter drain which went in a buried pipe down the driveway to the ocean.

This worked well for many years but the flow of the creek has increased steadily over the years and has split into two separate streams, both handled by the drainage system.

Until two days ago when we had torrential rain. The mud being washed down the bank plugged up the drain pipe and the water from one of the two streams flowed across the lawn and down the driveway. Half the pipe is now filled with dirt and gravel. Luckily the part leading down to the ocean is good.

I don't know what to do. I could maybe buy a flexible piece of plastic pipe and try to "ram" the plug out and hope that with a lot of water from the hose, it makes it's way to the ocean. The downside of this is that it may just move the plug to where it could plug the drainage from the other (larger) stream as well. That would be a disaster.

Norma found the guy who did the job in the first place and he is still doing drainage. He is coming over this afternoon to see what can be done. Our lawn guys say we are not the only people with drainage problems right now.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Slightly Soggy But Fun Party

We had not had our annual party yet this year and were about to forget about it when two of our friends and my old workmates, Guy and Val announced their retirement from the Evil Empire of Telus. We collectively decided to combine everything and hold a party on our spacious patio.

Guy and Val supplied the booze and everyone brought a dish or a snack and the Party was on! It tried to rain a couple of times but we had the forethought to put a couple of tarps over one patio and the bar area and the tables had umbrellas so we all stayed fairly dry. For a little warmth we had two propane and one wood fire going.

It was a fun time and thanks to everyone for coming and participating!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Honda Is Even Happier!

Today it got it's first transmission service in 27 years and 290,000 KM! It also got it's first air filter in probably 200,000 KM. Do I feel bad? Maybe a little but it never complained!

In my defense (and I need a lot of that), it has had regular oil changes, muffler and brake maintenance. The transmission shifted well and still does. It gave no indication of needing attention.

"It's a Honda"