At last, a snowy day that makes it too difficult to work outside – so now I can tell you why I have been too busy to post!
I always try and get dog-sitters while I go away on my book tours (see previous four posts). This year, I was lucky enough to have Linda and Leslie, from Holland, come and stay. They have been managing an alpine chalet in the Swiss Alps for many years, and said they were not experienced at all as carpenters. But they arrived a few days before I left home, and carpentering was what I gave them to do. They turned out to be very good at it!
I had picked up some birch hardwood floor in Bella Coola, and they started fitting it into the yurt.
The first boards had very strong curves to them, and I cut them with a chainsaw. As the angle grew less acute, they could handsaw them.
It was marvellous. They would make their own breakfast in the cabin and walk up to the yurt and I would not see them until supper time. I have never had such easy volunteers! In the mean time, I worked on the greenhouse roof. The door was going to need a mini dormer otherwise I would be walking into falling ice and snow all winter. I had never built one of these before and had to figure it out as I went along.As the angle in the yurt grew more acute again, Linda and Leslie lugged the boards up to my house so they could use a jig saw to cut them.And here they are, justifiably proud of an excellent job. The stove still needs a tile surround and the boards will need a proper finish before they are used. Probably won’t get done until the spring now.The following day I left for the book tour. Linda and Leslie would now have 2 weeks to themselves to enjoy the country and entertain the dogs.
When I returned home, they told me they had another volunteer place lined up in the Bella Coola Valley, in 5 days time. So instead of crashing and relaxing after the book tour, I went straight into full work mode. I could not afford to waste Linda and Leslie’s talents. The strapping had to be put onto the greenhouse roof.
Leslie was up on the ladder on one side, and I was on another ladder at the other end. It was marvellous having Linda as a gopher to fetch things and cut relevant bits of wood.
After the strapping came the roofing. The roof had so many tiny odd angles that I decided the only way I could fit it was to use a flat plastic compound.This was Linda and Leslie’s last day with me. What a stroke of luck that they came to dog-sit.
Only half the plastic was done, and I slowly finished it alone. It was very slow work – I climb ladders and on the roof structure with difficulty – the knees don’t bend any more. Also, the mornings were frosty, and I had to let the ice melt. Every single piece of plastic was a different size from any other. Finally, the greenhouse roof was on. Consequently, the pressure was off. But I could not relax. There were dozens of jobs I had let slide in order to get the work done – a lot of it computer stuff – and I slogged away at them. When the wind was not too bitter, I fiddled with more bits and pieces of greenhouse. I wanted the peculiar shape because I did not wish to see an ugly corner obtruding into my view from the bay window. These side panels were such an odd shape, they took almost all day to fit.Now the days are getting short and there is even less time to be productive outside. The walls are not straighforward either, because I collected salvage glass from the various suppliers in Williams Lake, and had to somehow fit them into the spaces. It took two days to install these pieces of glass, and that’s as far as I got before it snowed.The greenhouse will provide a cozy shelter for the door. The feeder is erected close to the bay window. A lot of birds hit the window last year, and some died, and I read that the feeder should be either 30 metres away from a window, or within one metre. I wondered if the birds would be frightened so close to the house, but not a bit of it. While I worked on the glass panel closest to the bay window, they were flitting all around me, even perching on my head! (The plywood near the base, by the way, will house a dog door.)
We have had several days of temps as low as -12C – it was -16C the other day, and after this snow, the temperature is supposed to drop again. Be nice to get the greenhouse finished.