Welcome to my blog, where you'll read about my family's progress in renovating our home - a custom-built board and batten (minus the battens) house built in 1975 on a rare 5-acre conservation-type piece of property in small town Ontario, boasting spectacular views of the village from the ridge at the back of the property (which I like to call, Ridgeview). When we moved here in the summer of 2010, the house had original carpets, flooring, cabinetry, windows, and decor. All it needed was a little TLC and a creative mind to remodel it, and so we got started...

You'll find links to some helpful home improvement sites and local contractors.

I also write inspirational poetry and quotes...so you'll catch glimpses of some of my work, and find links to my favorite sites and blogs, or you can follow my Poetical Soul blog (click here or the link at the top of the page).

Hope you enjoy your visit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Harvest Season - Blessings (a poem)

Fall views from the Loft
Well, Fall is officially here, and with it comes the Harvest Season and Thanksgiving - a time of reflection and giving thanks for all that we have.  Although we haven't made much progress this past year with Ridgeview renovations (in fact, no progress at all except developing floor plans and construction quotes), there has been progress elsewhere in our lives - my husband's recovery, personal growth, new (and rekindled) hobbies that bring us joy.  I had started making jewellery with positive messages back in the Spring, and over the last couple of month, have had the opportunity to donate some of my creations to various charitable fundraisers, and to hear some of the heart-wrenching stories behind those fundraisers.  It certainly makes me stop and take notice of the many things I have to be thankful for - my health and my family's health, our friends and support network, our talents......but especially each other.


Thank you Father Sky and Mother Earth -

Thank you for the gift of sight;
For the fiery leaves on autumn’s trees;
For the birds that sing their songs of hope;
For the waterways on which we float;
For clear blue skies and the warming sun;
And the moon’s light by which I pray.

Thank you for the gift of taste;
For apples and berries so juicy and sweet;
For vegetable gardens and herbs divine;
And succulent grapes that make fine wine;
For homemade pies and family dinners
Over which we love to share our days.

Thank you for the gift of touch;
For the softness of rose petals and baby’s skin;
For ocean waves and grains of sand
That massage my feet as I walk along this land;
For fallen trees and the cushioned grass -
Perfect spots on which to rest.

Thank you for the gift of sound;
For dazzling thunderstorms and lightning bright;
For the sound of rain that soothes the mind
To wash through thoughts that are so entwined;
For clouds to watch and images they create -
Products of our imagination.

Thank you for the gift of love;
For family and friends, all those I embrace;
For precious moments that make us smile;
For the beautiful people who make life worthwhile –
May their light forever shine
So brightly from their hearts.

Thank you Mother Earth and Father Sky -
For gifts of life, love and laughter;
For all of these gifts – priceless riches.

©Linda Spencer, 2012


It’s so easy for us to take for granted the things that we have and things we can do and people in our lives; often it’s only when we lose something that we take notice and realize what we had.  Take a few minutes each day to pause and reflect on all your wealth – family, friends, health, the ability to walk, talk, hear, see, think, create, touch, feel, love and be loved.  Be grateful. ~Linda Spencer

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Plumbing Joys (NOT!)

Ah, the joys of owning an older home...and "issues" that may arise. 

Last Spring, we had a clogged drain at the water softener - the softener cycled in the middle of the night, and backed up into the kitchen sink, onto the floor, down the stairs and back into the basement.  It was a huge mess.  The problem - sludge so thick in the drain pipe that it clogged solid.   It was easy enough to replace the affected pipe in an unfinished basement ceiling.

This weekend, the issue is the toilet in the main bathroom backing up into the bathtub when it drains.  The sinks have been slow draining for a while.  Then on Friday I noticed the toilet would bubble after draining a bath, or after flushing...until Sunday, then it just wouldn't flush.  Well, the toilet would fill when you flushed it, but it wouldn't drain.  I decided to leave it a bit to see if it would slowly drain on its own.  And when I started the tub water to have a shower, I noticed that the water started filling up in the tub.  It would then drain slowly.  Tried again - same thing - wouldn't drain.  The main floor and basement lines seems fine - the only problem is with the upstairs bathroom fixtures. 

So, off I went to find some heavy duty Liquid Plumber or Drano, figuring that would solve my problem.  Found the one that was right for standing water, and would only take seven minutes to work...nope, didn't work.  As soon as I ran the water in the tub again, it started filling again. 
Then I tried plunging the toilet, then the tub, then the toilet again, and that's when it started backing up into the tub.

Do a google search on "toilet backing up into tub" - it's quite a common problem.
It's interested to read all the solutions people have to such problems, but the best answers I found were on the following sites:

There's no doubt in my mind that you have a clog downstream from the tub in the branch drain line.
This can be snaked from one of two p[laces:
1. Pull the toilet and snake from there, **OR**
2. Remove the tub overflow plate and snake from there. (see image) Once you have the line cleared your backups should go away.

So, my husband and I tried plunging (even bought a new accordion style plunger, that's says it's the most powerful) both the toilet and the tub drain...nothing, except more sewage coming up into the bathtub.  We  also tried snaking the tub, after removing the tub overflow plate (as described above) - the snake wouldn't go any further than about 2 feet before it stopped, but nothing came back.  Same with the toilet - snaked through the toilet bowl until it stopped at about 3 feet in. 
Two days and several hours of labour later, we're no further ahead...actually, it's even worse (let's just say we're keeping the bathroom window open, using lots of air freshener, and keeping the bathroom door shut).  I think it's time to call the plumber!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Once in a blue moon (or several moons)

No matter where I am, I always find myself staring at the moon when it's full. Its energy pulls my gaze toward its direction (I am a Gemini, afterall...). Its light fills the sky and luminates the earth - no need for a flashlight on full moon nights when the skies are clear. And the loft at Ridgeview offers some of the best views to capture the moon on camera. 

Canada Day 2012 - at 140x digital zoom
Blue Moon - Aug 30-2012
Blue Moon - Aug 30 -2012
Canada Day moon 2012

Super Moon - Mar 2011

It's great to take some time out to just enjoy such spectacular views.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Crossroads II

It's not everyday that you find your dream home-and we did just that when we bought this place.  So, we decided that we're staying at Ridgeview. This community was our home before we bought this place, so it just wouldn't feel right leaving it. We will make whatever modifications that are necessary to our current house design to make it work for all of us - safety and accessibility features for my husband; loft views for me.

It now means going forward with formalizing plans, negotiating settlements, making budgets and altering plans to meet budget constraints.  This is where my husband and I differ in views.  He says, "Let's see how much money we have before we make any plans."  Whereas, I say, "Let's design and plan what we want first, then make changes to fit ourbudget."  It's easier to in my mind to plan for "perfect" and have a good idea of what that will cost, then make changes to your plans when you realize that you can't afford "perfect", than it is to start down a path which you know you can afford, but then realize you want really want this and can't do without that.  Then, before you know it, you've spent way more than you can afford, and other aspects of living suffer as a consequence (or, for so many, they end up losing their homes).

You should not give up your dreams just because life throws you curve balls.  You just find new ways of realizing your dreams, and it may take a little longer that you originally hoped to do so.