Friday, July 31, 2009

Raspberry mojitos – or how to survive a heat wave

I mentioned over on Facebook that our hot weather survival techniques included appropriate application of raspberry mojitos. That led to requests for how to make, so here we go:

Put a dozen or so torn up mint leaves into a large glass. Add the juice from 1/2 of a lime. Mash lightly with a wooden spoon or a muddler.

Add a teaspoon of sugar (or Splenda, which dissolves better). Add ice. Add 1 oz of raspberry infused rum (or vodka? We’re using Bacardi Razz – yummy yummy. Nice clear raspberry taste without the excessive sweetness of a liqueur).

Top up with club soda. If you are feeling fancy garnish with raspberries and a sprig of mint.

Enjoy. Repeat until you don’t care how hot it is out there.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reno update

It may be stinkin’ hot, but the work continues. Next up will be the prep work for the heated floor. The guys came from the tile company today to get themselves set up to begin work tomorrow. I didn’t envy them hauling every thing up the hill today, but until we get an escalator….

The shower area got a coat of waterproofing compound today:


The shower pan is installed (and is covered with a drop cloth). The surround for the tub is built, and awaiting the tub itself for further activity.


The painter was here today as well and the primer paint coat was put down. The colour is called Crystalline, and is a pale grey/lavender shade. The above picture shows the cement board unpainted where the tile will be.

There will be lots of cutting involved in the tile work, so the balcony off of our bedroom is now a work area:


I’m glad to see a tile scorer and not a saw out there – perhaps a smidge less dust will be created this way. What this picture doesn’t show is the boxes and piles of tile stacked around.

And then there’s the bedroom:


Yeah. I’m trying not to think too much about it all.

Yes, I am a weather geek.

I saw a guy on the Weather Network who self identified as a ‘Weather Hobbyist’. I’m not sure where on the ladder that is, but I have a feeling it may be for those more dedicated to all things weather than we mere weather geeks. Technically we live in a temperate rainforest, but you wouldn’t get the rainforest thing right now. In fact, because we are in the shadow of the Olympic mountains, the Victoria area gets a lot less rain than areas near to us. And in the summer we get very little rain. The grass pretty much dries up and turns yellow, waiting for the fall rain. Our ‘city of gardens’ tends to look a wee bit ratty around the edges by mid-summer.

One thing we don’t usually have to deal with is heat and humidity. I say usually because – holy cow! We’re getting it this year. The jet stream has soared way up north, which is pulling hot air from places like Phoenix and sending it our way. At the same time there is a big strong high stalled off the west coast of the island, which is doing two things. All that hot air comes zooming in from the east and piles up against the high, piling heat on heat. The high also prevents lovely cool Pacific breezes from reaching us. And to add to the fun the prevailing wind is blowing from the east instead of the usual western flow.

We’re actually getting humidex readings, and temperature records are falling left right and centre. Last Saturday was when the humidity began to build. It built so much that we actually had a thunderstorm. And probably the most magnificent sunset I’ve ever seen. The storm blew in from the east, and as the sky filled with clouds (and smoke haze from forest fires in the interior) the setting sun filled the entire sky with amazing colours, reflecting back to the east. All while the rain came down. It was quite a sight, changing minute by minute.

The apricot to orange phase:


Followed by the violet phase:


Every day since has been hotter and hotter. In normal weather we can count on cool night breezes and an nice outflow of cool air from the forest behind us. We’re not seeing big drops in night time temps, which means the house isn’t cooling off. By late afternoon it is 33 or more degrees C outside, and at least that inside. Because our our renovation we’re sleeping downstairs, where it is slightly cooler, which helps.

In honour of all this hot weather we did something the other day. It was a first in our nine years of living on the coast. We actually entered the ocean. Oh yes we did! We drove over to Chalet Beach on the Saanich Inlet. We figured after two weeks of above normal temps and several days of over 30C temps that the water would have warmed up. And sure enough it had.


Wilf is battling a cold, so he just waded a bit and took pictures. I actually did duck in for a swim, but it was a blink and you’ll miss it kind of thing!


That was Monday, now its Wednesday and I’m thinking a return visit might be in order for a little cooling off!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Reno underway

Wilf and I decided that it was time to do something about the master bathroom. It is a nice big room, with lots of light. Those two big windows do mean that it is pretty chilly in the winter, though. And the tub is too big, the shower too small. We spent the spring researching and interviewing contractors. Just before we went to Montana we signed the contract with MAC renovations. 

The Monday after we returned from Montana they began and we went from:


the shower as it was. And after the first day:


The tub as it was:


and after the first day:


Wilf provides a little comic relief:


We’re now at the end of the second week – plumbing roughed in, drywall done, tub enclosure built, electrical roughed in. I think the work begins on the heated floor next week.

Back in the saddle again…

Oops – sorry about that. I stepped away for a bit and forgot to come back. But I do feel like I’ve got my mojo back. I completed the ‘Isotaupe’ quilt top that I was working on in Montana. I’m still thinking about the quilting of it. I swore I was never going to machine quilt another queen sized quilt. But……

I guess all that sewing and time in my sewing room helped me get over that ‘them bones, them bones, them dry dry bones’ feeling. I pulled out a smallish piece that I put together in the spring – it is ready to be quilted and I’m ready to get stitching. I plan to enter it in the Sidney Fine Art show. And other ideas are flowing.



Friday, July 3, 2009

Oh, brother

My brother Bill has a Facebook account, but he never uses it, hasn’t even put in a profile picture. Maybe he’s really busy, but I think he’s just shy. In my role as big sister I though I’d help out. I therefore present to you a picture of my youngest brother Bill:


Well, the back end of him, at least. This is from last summer when there was a project under way to get the pumps under the Bigfork house sorted out. He spent a lot of time under the house, for which he should get a gold star (you know, spiders and things) and now things are working as they should.

Now, I wouldn’t want my other brother Mike to feel left out, so I have a picture of him, too:


This is also from last summer – Wilf on the left, Mike on the right. And, no, they are not trying out for a Captain Morgan’s rum ad. They are building a little inushtuk  I mean inukshuk by the side of the walk. As fast as they build them other people knock them over (why, people) but there is an unlimited supply of building material, so they persevere.

And yes, I recognize that posting pictures of other people’s butts on the Internet leaves me open to retaliatory measures. I have a classic picture of myself back at home – I’ll post it when I get back there – I promise!