so here i am, November 16th, back home on the island: this time for good!  you see…  dreaming about it will work.  mind you we aint exactly moving into a dreamy wonderland crib…  those of you who have seen it, and “caught a wiff” of the actual dwelling will know it is indeed, a fixer upper in all departments.  according to all the old stories it was one of the fanciest little farm houses in the township back in the 1930’s and 40’s, maybe even the 50’s and 60’s but folks that was half a freakin century ago!  in today’s modern era… 
well lets just say i hope we don’t turn into the Addams Family while we’re out there!
at night: there are no yard lights.  and there are no neighbours.  so it is mighty dark! 
if you want a close up look at the river take a look at my youtube site: twinravens2000 and look up the video called: my new front yard. 
now that is going to gold come May through October!
i’ll post a few pic today.
Day Two, which was November 17th:  man there wasn’t a cloud in the sky!  nothing but the big blue above us and the roar of the river to the front of us.  we had a big crew working:  3 lads from Tehkummah local including one old timer i’ve not seen since 1975, they were going to work on the second floor and the trim.  by day’s end they had gutted it down to the studs upstairs!  and torn out the wall in the east rooms making it into one big bedroom which, well i call the east room!  i want the sunlight blaring in there and i want the moonlight blaring in there.  they threw all the junk out the front window where me and brother Garfield were waiting.  we lugged that stuff from 10 a.m. till 5 to a blaze we had going and man the sparks were sailing up high into the night sky!  up past Venus!  that wood having sat around for the past 50 years or more, it went up fast! 
now i aint really seen Garfued around in say, ten years…  so it was good to have him there and the old boy was digging the landscape, the peace and quiet and the work orders which for us, was light.  Edward was there going over the electrical and hands in full with whatever was going on in there.  around noon my old buddy Brady Barnes came by and he cut the veranda off the west side.  roof and all, down she came crashing into a cloud of dust!  that was fast!  took him about 2 hours to demo that eye sore.  i mean that veranda wasn’t safe.  you wouldn’t want to send a racoon out there that’s how bad it was.  so there is a lot of wood there left to burn today. 
the previous owner: he came out there and wondered what we were doing to his house!!!
of course he had lived there since 1933.  and alone for the past 30 years at least!  so that house was the mega Bach. pad!  complete with jars filled with drowned mice…  those spooky items were found in the basement!  then michelle tossed a bucket without thinking…  that thing was filled with dead and drowned critters and the smell was enough to turn you around back for home!  the old man sat there in the kitchen chain smoking, looking bewildered.  he asked why we was tearing down the walls!  michelle said there aint no insulation in here dude, and you can’t heat a house like that!  but really the walls had to go…  the smell was enough to send you packing.
then when Brady cut the veranda off and crashing down she came, the old timer asked me why we was doing that!  i didn’t want to tell him it was friggin eye sore and unsafe even for a rabbit!  so i said don’t worry old man we’ll put a brand new one up there and you won’t be able to tell the diff!
i guess he didn’t have much to do as he was in and out of there all day watching the dusty goings on.
michelle and i kinda wondered if he was going to be doing this all the time…
of course michelle was the captain of this pirate ship!  she had us working straight through but she also had us fit nicely with lunch and a late afternoon pot of turkey soup.
and like i said, with a giant blue sky above, the sun blazing down, for mid November man it was a great day to be out there beating the snot out of that old farm house.  once i got the blaze going, i turned around and saw the house with dust coming out the windows upstairs, lots of noise, banging hammers, drills, voices, and thought yeah man, a work crew is the way to go at this place. 
so we’re going back to it today, november 18th, Jasmine’s 7th birthday.  suppose to be the same as yesterday: nothing but blue sky.
we’ll call it off early today as i have to get home and whoop up a birthday supper for my best buddy.
she’s made the transition and made it well.  of course at grandma’s house…  how could you go wrong?
so she’s a mighty large cry from what happens in the city on a day to day. 
i couldn’t help but think about the nation’s capital, the city i just left, at 4 p.m., 800 000 thousand people caught in gridlock traffic, half of them pissed off!  that’s 400 000 people pissed!  you want to live and mingle with them? 
november 19th:  the boys went to work on the first floor yesterday and had it torn down mostly, to the studs.  dusty, dirty, and smelly!  the smell.  that is what i can’t believe.  michelle and i made an executive decision yesterday when the finishing wood was coming off the kitchen area:  torch it.  it stinks!  and that smell aint never going away!  fine hardwood it was…  maple or oak.  but the smell is in there to the core.  you can’t save that.  anyway, time to return that stuff to where it came from and i’m the lad to do it.  i had a blaze going all day.  sparks and smoke sailing up 50 feet and beyond. 
there aint no saving of nothing in that house.  the whole thing has to go.  its that bad. 
we had a great day for it weather wise:  nothing but blue skies.  how many days in november can you work and have to down to jungle boots, pants and a t shirt?
jazzy’s birthday party went well and we had ourselves a big birthday dinner with all the trimmings.  she was happy and deserves to be as any child does on their special day.
chi miigwetch!
well they be calling for rain today.  no sign of it yet, 6 a.m., so hopefully it will hold off till quitting time!
november 20th:  it rained alright, all day yesterday.  so it was dark and gloomy out there, mud everywhere and…  the stink!  dang what a gawdawful shitty smell.  it was like hell had landed right there in Tehkummah.  the main floor, the living room in particular, was one giant hellish mess behind those rotten old walls.  the hideous surprises we found in there were enough to turn lunch into chunks blowing out the mouth and nose out by the back bushes… 
i’m serious it was a nightmare.
and continues to be today.  we’re going back in there, masks on tight, and diggin our way out. 
thank goodness though it isn’t raining.  its cool and dark, cloudy and gloomy, but not raining and definitely not snowing! 
so i’m going to have a blaze going up past the 50 foot mark today.
november 21st:  Day 5 went alright.  it has a lot to do with the weather.  it was bright and sunny yesteday and the troops were working up a wood pile ready for the blaze.  everything has to go!!!  five days into the demolitions…  it might need five more!  but we’re on light duty for the next two days.  i’m going out there to spark up the remainder, and i’m going out alone!  shelley is back in ottawa, doing that ottawa thing. 
november 22nd:  sunday at the ranch:  peace dudes.  real peace.  and for this late in november, wow!  mild.  shirt sleeve style.  so!  this is great weather to be out there at the farm doing a bit of cleaning, hands on stuff the wind won’t blow away.  cause if you are out there on a crap day weather wise, like thursday, good lord is it depressing!
so today is a great day to be there.
left the windows open for 2 full days in hopes the smell will be gone.  lets find out how it goes in there today.  of course the boys are on weekend time off, so it will be just me and the mega ghosts that haunt me.
took some time down by the river yesterday, there at the waterfalls, cutting down dead, lower limbs so it will be easier for us to get to those magical and grand places.  a squirrel came along and was staring at me!  like hey, what’s with all the racket?
it was one of those pretty brown squirrels, not like those black ones in the city which i came to hate!  friggin things in your garbage always.
and walked the lower part of the property:  there are a few maple trees along the fence line but my question is where are all the maples near the house?!!!  there should be a dozen of them. 
i love maple trees.
so.  one of the big “to do” things for me is to get some maples started.  a couple there by the gate.  some in the yard near the house.  and a few out back there by the barn foundation.  man you have to have maple trees blooming!  big ones too!  when i am finished with that place its going to be a maple leaf bonanza! 
anywho here we are today and a long way from those giant maples filling up the yard.
small steps boy!
november 28th:  been here two weeks!!  and we are ten business days into the reno.  with all the demo we’re seeing things in need of repair…  things we need fixed before we move on to wiring, plumbing, insulating and then dry walling.  yikes! 
then there is the bizz with the roof… 
you see we had bat poop.
bats must have been flying in there for the past 30 years judging by the scenes we came across.
anyway.  its ten days in, 90 to go!  and no snow!!!  lots of mud but no snow!!!
well i’m suppose to be painting a few 10 by 10’s for the Cube Gallery xmas show in Ottawa, which are suppose to be delivered for Monday of this coming but i aint started… 
december 4th:  15 full days into the demo and its over!  she’s tore down to the studs, ready to re boot and turn into our own cosy little crib in the country, with 2 kids, maybe 3!  we tore the ceiling out of the kitchen yesterday, that was truly the last of the demo.  it came down with a few dozen mouse skeletons and crap you don’t want to hear about!  but its down and out, and folks that place is now going to be turned around. 
those were some dark days in the tear down…  gloomy…  dusty…  smelly…
ugh.  i know i asked myself a few times what have i gotten myself into?!!!
but!!!  and this is a super big BUTT!!!  i asked for this. 
so here we are.
now we’re finding, when we’re alone, during day light hours or at early night, there are some spooks floating around…  real spooks.  someone or something is out there with us.  a bird flew in the house on wednesday…  i didn’t see it but Shelley was there.  she saw it.  sure enough the phone ran when she got home.  and i was alone one night watching the blaze and i didn’t know if i was over tired, or my filthy glasses were playing tricks, but i kept seeing things moving around.
then i heard something down by the river.  steps taken. 
creepy…
and in that complete and total blackness, even on a full moon night, cloud cover, no sound but those big steps being taken along the river…
ultra creepy.
december 5th:  she’s snowy and cold, just like winter is suppose to be here in the north country.  suppose to be enjoying a day off but they have us out there on a saturday afternoon!!!
december 9th:  a foot of snow was in the forecast, waiting to see it, sun aint up yet!  this is day 18 at the reno, coming up!  we’re finished with the demo, now its being put back together. 
i was at the river yesterday, clearing the lower limbs and dead wood, making it easier to walk around in there, and the thought struck me:  hey man, this place is something we want to keep in the family for here ever after!  this little waterfalls can be a paradise come summer.  i was thinking about a place for the bbq, all that stuff.  once it was cleared out of dead wood and debris, that’s a perfect place for the family reunion. 
i’ll snap a few photos today.
looks like a white xmas too.
very nice.
december 11th, Day 20:  that foot of snow came along alright!  we didn’t get out there on wednez!  but we have our winter wonderland!  beauty and in time for a merry xmas!  beauty dudes.  and things are happening out there, wiring, plumbing, repairs, etc., you can see it starting to come back from the dead.  we tore out that wall that separates the kitchen/dining room combo and the living room:  so now she is one gigantic room, wigwam style and exactly how this boy wanted it!   ultra deese. 
one thing is for dang certain:  this heavy duty physical work, going into 20 business days of it today, has taken a toll on this boy’s rack!  i can feel it right through the core.  i guess that year of sitting behind a desk, shuffling papers and muddling has made me weaker than i’d like to admit.  but there is 100 acres of prime real estate for x country skiing and those january/february sunsets can be mighty peaceful, perfect for mending.
and i am on the mend, even though i’m being worked down to the core, i’m on the mend!  i can feel it!
the mind is becoming clear, the booze intake is at an all time low, and the nights have been cold and quiet.
coming up here was the right idea.
moving out of the city was the right idea.
that rat race…  that’s what they call it, they can have it.  i’m fine out there driving the government road to and from Tehkummah, with zero traffic and no freakshow road rage!  perfect for the commute.
and as i’ve said before, that river is indeed magic!  she’s a beauty, always at ease, rolling along, making that pretty music, and calming whatever causes you a fuss. 
its medicine folks.  real medicine. 
and there maybe many unanswered questions as to what the future holds, but so long as we are down there at the river, its going to be alright!
december 17th:  clear and ice cold, to the tune of minus 20!  the house here in mindemoya is toasty and warm and the old farm house is on the mend with a temporary stove warming up the joint.  i went in one morning last week and it was minus 10 in the kitchen!  i said boys we’re going to fix this right now.  pretty soon we had a temp. stove going and it really does help even though the wind is blowing right those tore down walls and cheap windows. 
we have an excellent crew going to work on the place.  the boss man of that outfit said he could have us moved in by the end of january and i was left thinking, yeah, that would be great IF!!! i had the extra 50G’s on hand to see it through. 
so.  i’m wrapping my mind around a cool 50, but i’m always imagining bigger numbers coming our way.  50 would do it!  but bigger would do it pretty.
any flipping who!  its coming along, wiring and insulation!  very nice. 
and the floor plan is looking very good.  that front window upstairs:  my library…  ah yes! 
i just came in from taking Jazzy skating.  i think it was her first time on the things.  but being back in the old mindemoya arena was a kooky experience, expecially looking at the moth balled trophy case with names and dates from the early to mid 70’s…  those players are all dead and gone, dust and f’n bones! 
even the boys washroom in the old arena, smells just like it did 35 years ago…
january first 2010:  the boys have some serious reno going, we’re putting the old farm house back together, and the grand floor plan Shelley dreamed up, well its coming along nicely.  we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel!  we have a new oak door facing west, new windows facing north, the open concept idear including kitchen/living room is panning and the upstairs…  well we can say this: that old farm house aint going to be anything like it was back on November 5th! 
we’re going to have our very own and real foot print on that crib.
and with 90 days of winter remaining, the glory days at the crib will soon be here.  those frosty winter winds are testing.  especially today.
clipped me some cedar from down by the river:  that stuff in a pot simmering, tasty!!!
so lets work at keeping some clear vision while we bring this fancy pad in for a landing.
january 2nd:  spent the afternoon inside and looking out!  bay bee its cold out there, to the tune of minus 20 with the winds howling.  so i’m indoors, reading old mail, old blogs, and looking at old photos!  its memory lane!  glad to have one on a day like this.
january 6th, 2010:  we crossed a big divide today!  we’re now ready to put the drywall up! 
also:  we were given a bird feeder at xmas.  so we hung that up last week and filled it up with bird seed.  this week we have 4 big chickadees hanging out with us!  its quite lovely actually, seeing those birds fluttering about.
january 8th:  times have changed!!!  its friday night and i’m in for the evening at 5:15!  mind you its minus 28 in that north wind!  also:  the big tehkummah commute to mindemoya is a breezy little 15 minute drive.  back in the city it was bumper to bumper traffic, road raging cats on every side of you, snarling and ugly.  today, the only thing i saw on the road was one kooky looking raccoon, ambling along down the centre of the road, looking like he was rattled out of hibernation a few months too soon!  ha ha haa!!!
january 9th: introduced Jazzy to the old “curve hill” yesterday after school and its ripe for the picking!  you remember that sliding hill?  on the pilgrim trail from Grandma H’s subdivision to the motel via the woods?  well the sliding hill is fast and wild just like the days of old!  fun stuff.  and not bad in the exercise department too. 
BOOM!!!
DEAD MEAT!!!
well i just hit a deer with the car.  that stupid mutt.  i was coming home via the backroads and whammo!  right on the front of the vehicle.  that’s two i’ve clocked in the past 5 years.
so…
what other things does this grand date have in store?!!!
jan. 13th:  we tore the veranda off the east side of the house today and man that really let the light of the world in on that part of the outfit.  keep in mind we have a window going in there that measures 12 feet long!  so its going to be a slick room!  we’ve definitely turned a corner with the place.  feels like the home stretch!  and it feels like OUR crib…  not that old man who’d been living there since 1933!
as for me and Jazzy:  that curve hill has become a big part of our daily agenda.  right after school we hit the slopes and enjoy an hour of fresh air, great scenery and some thrills coming down!  what is weird is me being there after all these years.  i remember of course the old days as children, a gang of us, sliding down that hill.  and here i am back again, with a child, sliding.  there aint no other children out there sliding! 
the exercise is good but the thoughts/old memories/ghosts/etc.,  i guess you could say, is medicinal.  times continue to change…
what is today might not be tomorrow. 
just like that deer i hit on saturday night.  i found his remains on the roadside, lying there in the ditch, dead as flipping fried chicken.  after he was hit by the car i guess he went flying into the bush and wrapped himself around a tree.  he’s stone cold and game over but the ravens, 12 of them, were having fun yesterday.  they weren’t there today…
and remember those cute little chickadees?  i had five of them at my feeder last week, i have eight of them there this week! 
days are getting longer folks.  we gotta stay alive and in good health and see what is comin next!
jan. 15th:  Jazzy and i saw a bald eagle today!!!  sittin up there in a tree over looking the Mindemoya River, just there by the old Brookwood Brae!  wow that thing was huge!
jan. 21st:  8 new windows arrived today!  those are going to turn that place around in a big hurry!  flashy looking too, with that fancy and splashy looking white trim.  we put the big one in there at the beginning of the week.  that puppy was 12 feet long and 7 feet high, fit in nicely to the east wall and the view out that a ways is going to be sweet!  perfect with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning!  biggest window i ever did see being put into a house that size.  now all we need is a decent front door and she should be sealed up nicely. 
the drywall is going up. 
i wonder…  if we can be moving in there anytime soon.  lets say in the next 4 to 5 weeks…
well i can say this:  at this stage of the game, its all about money.  if we were sitting on an extra 50 G’s, the ball game would be over!  but we aint sitting on 50 so the game could go either way.  and that is spooky!
jan. 29th:  ice box weather!  minus 25 at least, likely colder.  shelley just called from the farmhouse and said the jumbo full moon is rising up over the snow covered and frozen fields!  a grand view i’m sure.  one i know we’ll be enjoying sometime very soon! 
but for now i’m here in mindemoya.
was in Sheshe yesterday.  back in the classroom.  first time since Feb. 2008.
i went up there for 8 a.m., went through the classroom deal, clocked out at 330 p.m.
i was looking forward to a cheque at the end of the day but the secretary said its in the mail.
so i was grumbling about that.
then the other “spare” teacher says: you going to mindemoya?
i says yes and so it turns out she has a package she wants me to drop off down there at the hospital…
we get to her place there in Silver Water and she hands me two, small, clear plastic medical containers and says here, drop these off at the front desk and tell them its for the lab…
what is it?
her stools…
so.
instead of coming home with a big fat cheque…
i came home with shit.
feb. 23rd:  4 p.m. on a tuesday afternoon, dudes it feels like spring.  sun is high and bright, its mild, just above freezing, snow is melting, roads are damp, deer are googling and oogling from the sides of the backroads.  i know we have 6 weeks of winter remaining, but!!!  on a day like today it feels up close.
as for the home reno:  things are looking very good out there.  we need some plumbing and that might be it!
we want to be in there for the next full moon…
dreams!  we have to have our dreams!
feb. 28th:  glad to see this date on the calendar!  its good bye to winter soon! 
took a walk to the river yesterday, sparked a cedar blaze and smoked out the joint with that fine cedar smoke.  beauty!  the water is boiling down over those waterfalls in a blaze of glory!  fab x 10!  i can tell you too, that i’m looking forward to going in there once the snow melts, with a chainsaw and clearing the mess.  i want all those dead trees chopped up and the walk ways clear and stumble free!
i’ve got this picture in my imagination of what that’s going to be like come summer full moon!
march 1st:  took jazzy out to the home reno tonight after dinner and it was beautiful to see the house at night with the lights ablaze.  shelley was in there working over time and she had the lights and radio on, chasing away the spooks.  we arrived and played in the yard and man the stars, i mean the Milky Way!!!, it was up there in all its grand and glory!  it was truly peaceful, beautiful, wonderful.  we all stood there for a few moments gazing at the stars…
a beautiful way to spend a monday evening.
march 14th:  my how times change!!!  last year at this time i was on the road to hell!  this year:  i’m dreaming about all the beauty possibilities next to that river!  and a beauty thing it is thank the almighty i made it!
that last two weeks of fab bright sunshine and 10 C weather has melted all the snow off the fields and most of the ice off the banks of the river so now we can get another look at what we have to do around there to make it friendly for barefeet.  those big limestone boulders will be perfect for that summer time camp out and in particular, there is one place right under the cedar trees and next to the river:  that place come full moon…
baby!
we didn’t get that rain they were forecasting and that’s good cause the mud around there…  well lets just say Jazzy got her boot stuck in it yesterday and it was a task getting it out.  and the stuff we tore out of the house in late November/early December, that didn’t get burned, that’s there too, staring at us.  ugly!  so i’m looking for an evening with no wind and i’ll fix those trash heaps to ashes!  that old wood that came out of there…  even after 4 months of sitting in the frosty north winds, still have that ugly bat shit stink to them… 
i’m torching the whole mess.
its a good plan and a great way to spend those mild spring time evenings.
way to go dude!
MARCH 19TH!  I guess this is it for the winter 09\10 journal.  tomorrow is the first day of spring and whew!  looking forward to it.  mind you it seems like spring has already arrived with all the snow melted off the fields, the ice gone from the river banks, and the muddy drive drying up!  the river is flowing high!  last night two gigantic canada geese landed in the part of the stream that is right in our front yard!  huge birds, noisy, making a beauty landing.
i got inside the house for the first time in a week and saw the floors were done!  that’s 3 full weeks of sanding!  but the colour is wonderful and the feeling too, magical.  hardwood floors, the original wood, has to be kept.  shelley and the gang have been working hard in there. 
they’ve moved outside to do a few things and its looking better.  we might be on the home stretch.
of course…
we need to drill a new well.  hmmm…
anyway:  we’ve been torching the garbage and cleaning up the yards, imagining what will be when it comes time to cut the grass, and watching the changes in the moon and the stars!  fan flippin tastic!
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