Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Counting Sleeps

Instead of counting sleeps until I move I am counting dog walks. Only 3 more times I have to walk my dogs on property I don't own before we move. For a long time I've found walking the dogs stressful because I am constantly on watch for anything that might pop out of the wilderness, people strolling by or cars zipping past on the road. Today, for example, I was walking the dogs behind the elementary school and the garbage truck came to empty the bins at the school. The dogs were very curious what that man was doing opening a gate, walking around and driving a big machine that made lots of noise. Visions of the dogs crushed under the wheels of a garbage truck came unhappily to mind so I called them over and held them until he was done. Then, just as we were leaving, a man walking his huge white fluffy dog appeared across the field and I had to hustle and distract the dogs to prevent them from going over to say hi. One Ridgeback greeting is fine, 3 is not and can quickly get out of control when the 'strange' dog is on lead and would be justified if it felt threatened and acted out. Best to silently tick off each walk knowing that every single one is just another walk closer to never having to worry about cars, garbage trucks, other dogs or people again.

My house is now almost packed. The only things left out are those items I use in everyday life. It will be a simple matter of throwing a few things into boxes on Sunday morning, emptying last minute rooms like the bathroom and bedroom, giving them a quick clean and going to get the truck. I have reservations about where and what truck we will end up with. I am hopeful the truck will be just down the street where it's supposed to be but am told by the company that may not happen - the truck will be at the closest location to me that they can manage. I would hope that it's not Truro.

Because my closing date is the same as my possession date I have no idea when I will actually be moving in since all the paperwork needs to be in order before I can get the keys. Apparently lots of things need to happen on that day the most important of which is that I need to be out of my house by 8am on Monday morning. Who thought up that time is beyond me because in Alberta it was normally noon, enough time to get loaded and out the door, not so in Nova Scotia. It means I have to load everything on Sunday, store it overnight in the truck, stay at my friend Donna's house that night, and then move everything to the new house the next day assuming all goes according to plan at the lawyer's office.

Whatever happens though I can't even begin to describe how excited I am to be moving to a house in the country. A few acres, land of my own, a little plot to call home for me and the dogs. Years of planning have come to fruition.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Green Acres

That news that I was waiting to announce ... I can annouce it now. The past 20 days have seen me in constant flux over where the dogs and I were going to live since our house was sold. I say 'our' house because let's face it - any house I live in is centered on the dog's comfort and convenience. For the last 3 years, actually since I've lived on my own, any time I wanted to walk the dogs I had to load them in the vehicle and drive somewhere that dogs were allowed to be walked (and sometimes not allowed). My dream, when I was in Calgary 7 years ago, was to move to an acreage that I could walk the dogs on my own property, as I did when I was a child, and not have to worry about running into anyone else or having to protect my dogs from other people's unruly canines.

That dream is now a reality. The first house I looked at when my own house initially went on the market almost brought me to tears. I arrived shortly before the realtor and I felt free to wander the property since the house is currently vacant. It was early May and the trees were not yet completely leafed out but the grass was growing in earnest and there was promise in the air. I wandered around a moment and, knowing there was a creek that bordered the back of the property, I walked to the edge of the woods to see if I could determine how far back the property went and found an old path that leads to the brook. I stood for a moment and listened to the blessed silence of country living and what do I hear? The soft trickle of the brook as it made its way to wherever brooks go. I was sold.

That is the flag pole (needs a bit of paint) and down the slope to the
right at the base of the trees is the old path that takes you to the brook.

I was in love and I hadn't even seen the inside of the house yet. The house itself is not much bigger than the one I live in now but it's design is totally different. The house was re-modelled 3 years ago for the man who owned it. His name was Kerry. He was a member of one of the larger extended families in Pictou, and he had Lou Gherig's Disease, or ALS. The house has been owned by the same family for about 60 years, probably since it was built. When the house was remodelled in 2009 the owner was in a wheelchair and accomodations were made to allow his life to be easier - so they took out the majority of the walls and made it an open concept home. Everything was redone, from the walls to the trim to the floors and appliances. Sadly, in 2010, he succumbed to his disease and didn't get to fully enjoy this beautiful little home. There was a renter for one year but for the last year the house has sat empty.
This looks from the dining area to the kitchen and living room.

The kitchen cabinets were removed and shelving put in - I love the upper shelves - they are so cute! The supports have a pretty metal scroll design and it's all stained to match the antique pantry they integrated into the kitchen. However the lower shelves will need to be replaced with cabinets since the dogs shouldn't really have access to the items stored there! It's not a very big kitchen so I'll only need a few base cabinets but I hope to also install a small dishwasher if one will fit! It also needs an island which is simple enough to buy. You may have noticed that there are shutters on the windows - almost all the windows have European style shutters and they are adorable! I hate blinds and don't love curtains so to have the windows, which seem to be almost new, framed by beautiful casings and shutters, is heavenly. And a window above the kitchen sink ... love that too!

The bathroom was almost completely tiled - some job that must have been - and also includes the laundry which is hidden behind two sliding doors. Oh to have a laundry area that cannot be seen full time! (My current washer/dryer is in the dining area which I've always hated.)  I'll have to change the shower head so it's one I can use to wash the dogs but otherwise it's a cute little bathroom and will see daily use, of course.

New everything from the tile to the tub to the sink.

The master bedroom is larger than the one I currently have but as bedrooms go it's pretty standard. I don't have a huge love of the open shelves in the closet but one day I can see about fixing that. All the lights are those sconces which match in every room - that's a novelty for me!

There is a spare room, if you can call it that, it's really more like an over-sized closet but it will do for the dogs and any guests who might want to stay overnight. I won't make you sleep in a crate.  


The dining area is right off the French doors that look out over the acreage. I can't wait to sit and drink my coffee in the morning, check Facebook and listen to the birds singing in my trees. That shelf on the left by the window is actually the covered basement stairs which used to be accessible from the house. They covered it, because Kerry couldn't get down the stairs, and made it accessible from the outside. It makes no difference to me since the basement is for storage only and will not be finished anytime soon. If one day I decide to make it a livable space I can open up the stairwell again. As it is it's the perfect place for putting plants and feeding the cats where the dogs can't steal their food!

Sorry the picture quality is so bad, I forgot to open the curtains.
That's not my table ...

The most significant detail about the property is that it has 4 full acres of land. It's partially cleared (important in Nova Scotia where trees run rampant if you don't maintain the clearance), wooded and there is some long grassy areas the dogs will love. I plan to make paths through it all so that we can wander at our leisure everyday, twice or three times a day as we see fit. I will also be fencing it with my dad, more bonding time! I'm sure he is looking forward to it.

This is the 'front yard' - it has a crescent driveway and this little area is between the driveway and the road. It has lovely trees and bushes but they need to be cut back since for the last couple years no one has really mantained them. That is my house peeking out between the bushes.

Off the deck is the clothes line and some lawn - we'll be fencing this with 6' page wire so the dogs have somewhere 'safe' to go when I can't supervise them outside. When we are on walks they can run loose with just 4' page wire around the property but they will not be loose on 4 acres without my supervision! Who knows what Leeloo would get up to.

That's the neighbour's little red shed, they are my closest neighbour at about
100' away - I love that they keep their yard pristine! Makes a nice change ...

This is the back of the house - there is obviously a ramp which will need to be removed. That door is to the basement. I can't get over the sounth facing French doors - I know in the winter there is going to be a scramble for which dog gets the best sunlight coming through those doors ...

There is a large shed by the house too - I hope to be able to put the dogs in there in the summer and make a run for them as well but that might be a project for next year. I think the dogs would love to be able to go in and out during the day but the issue of black flies, mosquitoes and deer flies concern me quite a bit - I can't have the dogs tortured by insects all day! It will also depend on how hot that shed gets in the day ...

Bathtub anyone? There are two ... I hope they are gone when I move in!

And finally, I have to mention the one thing that had me open-mouthed at the house. I literally pulled the realtor over and said 'Can you believe this?' Normally you would see this sort of thing in a pot on someone's patio in the summer and then wrapped in burlap in the Fall and protected all winter from the elements.

You do not normally find them like this - .  This cedar is by far the most impressive example of its species I have ever seen - it's almost certainly not the same variety as the above plant but even so - these cedars are rarely seen this large - at least here anyway. And I now own it. Simply put ... it makes me feel like all things are possible. I just have to look at this tree and my heart swells. It's between the house and the road, and protects the house from the northern weather. This cedar is easily 50' tall and the base must be close to 25' wide if not more. That's my realtor standing at the base to give it some scale. It's safe to say I adore this tree and I can't wait to see it everyday - I bet it's spectacular in the winter!

And that ... is our new home. There are things that need to be done but they will be done as time progresses, the interior needs very little work, cosmetically it's all mostly done already, a nice change from the house I am in now. Most things that have to be done are exterior and since the summer is turning out more promise than the spring, I am sure to get a nice tan and the dogs will be fitter than ever since we can walk whenever we want! Stay tuned for the move, the fence, and the continued adventures of life in Nova Scotia!