Saturday, February 26, 2011

Niagara Falls, simply unbelievable

Today is my last day in Toronto.  As long as all goes well with flights today, I'll be sleeping in my own bed tonight.

I do want to tell you about one of our side trips we took during my ten day jaunt.  This past Sunday we all packed into the car, dog Freyja and all, and headed down to Niagara Falls.  It's only about an hour from where my daughter currently lives in the Toronto area.  It was a sunny but cold day.  The wind was picking up a little.  Driving into Niagara Falls wasn't quite what I expected.... it was a quaint little town full of older homes... then as you get close to the Falls, well it kind of turns into a Vegas atmosphere.  Lots of neon and touristy things to do.  Obviously this place is big entertainment business!

We checked into our hotel and headed right down the hill (and I must say this must be the first hill I've actually experienced in the Toronto area) to the Falls.  Straight ahead were the American Falls... once we got down to the main street, we could see the Canadian Falls, the iconic horseshoe, to our right.  And it goes without saying, the Canadian Falls are WAY more spectacular than the American.  (American Falls are pictured first and the Canadian Falls are second)

As we headed toward the Canadian Falls, the mist coming up started to drench everything in sight.  The amount of mist coming off the falls was crazy.  The pavements were wet (just wet thanks to lots and lots of salt/de-icer), the people were wet... but everything else was covered in thick coats of ice... even after a couple of days of warmer temperatures in the Toronto area... everything was still covered in ice!

You can get right above the Canadian Falls and see them spill over... the roar of water is amazing.  I didn't realize that you could get so close!  Standing against the railing you can actually see the water rushing over the edge.

Next we headed inside the tourist building, just to warm up our freezing hands and faces!  You can only enter the building at the time of year using certain doors, the others are completely snowed and iced over.  Even the door that does open, well the handle is actually iced over! (Yep, I took a picture...).  In this area close to the Canadian Falls the railings, trees, you name it... gets a thick layer of ice on it from the mist in the air and the FREEZING temperatures.  Like I already said, it just keeps building up while it is sooo cold.

After leaving the building we headed along the "boardwalk" towards the American Falls, The Maid of the Mist boat ride (not running at this time of year) and the large ferris wheel.  We did take a spin on the wheel and it made for a phenomenal view just as the day was turning to dusk.

Later, after dark, we headed back down the hill to see the lights on the Falls.  It was freezing so there weren't many people out at night, we of course had changed into down jackets and warm, woolly boots for the trip.  Once again I snapped picture after picture.

It truly was amazing and I'm so happy we were able to make it down to The Falls on my trip out here.

Soon to be back home,

Friday, February 25, 2011

Seeds..... of change?

It's that time of year.  I've been browsing my seed catalogs and online to pick out seeds to start inside, in my greenhouse or in my garden.  I whittled down my wish list and placed orders at Park Seed and Burpee. I now have a boxful, waiting to be planted.

This one I got locally, at the Food Coop.  It is an heirloom cucumber much like my much loved lemon cucumber.

And pumpkins.... lots and lots of pumpkins.

These look fun...

I just LOVE the French pumpkins....

My favorite tomato, the San Marzano.  I haven't had a lot of luck with these but for $1.89 (with 40% off) I keep trying...

Of course, lots and lots of Zinnias.... Peppermint Stick is one of my favorites.

The green Jarrahdale Pumpkin is shaped much like the French Pumpkins, and IS a gorgeous shade of green...

Another French Pumpkin and Pepperoncini Peppers.

The super cool, striped Beets I grew last year.  AND they come in a variety of colors!

Look at all of these packets, can you believe an entire garden will soon burst forth out of these little paper envelopes?  Lots and lots of zinnias, pumpkins, impatiens, marigolds, sunflowers and other flowers and veggies.

Like so many of you, I'm impatiently patiently waiting for spring,

linking up to
Farm Friend Friday

at Verde Farm

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Peach Palace, the finale - Day 141

You heard it here first folks.  The Peach Palace is finished.  We actually wrapped most of it up a week ago.  We just had a couple of final little details to finish.  Although I would have liked to have finished before my trip, I did feel a little guilty about leaving when there was one more door to paint, bedroom blinds to install, a garage full of tools and wood to bring back to Red Gate Farm.....

I don't have a complete breakdown of what we've spent at the Peach Palace in this redo.  We originally budgeted $5000 but didn't include sales tax in the budget.  I do know that for the entire interior we went through 3 gallons plus 1 quarter of oil-based primer, 4 gallons of latex primer, 3 1/2 gallons of ceiling paint, 4 gallons of oil-based paint and 14 gallons of latex paint.

And now, to recap all the befores and afters.....

The full bath.  The bathtub doors were removed, the tub was tiled, vanity painted, broken vanity drawers were fixed, hardware replaced, light replaced, laminate-y walls removed, walls skim coated, new sink and faucet, heater replaced, ceiling exhaust fan installed and of course... the walls, ceiling and trim were all primed and painted.

Half bath.  Fake laminate walls removed, multiple wall cabinets removed, walls sheet rocked (which then required tapping and mudding), floor replaced, toilet replaced, vanity painted, vanity hardware replaced, faucet replaced, light fixture replaced, ceiling light added, exhaust fan installed, light switches moved from outside the bathroom to the inside, new mirror, trim added/replaced and of course all the walls, ceiling and trim painted.

The Dining Room.  Windows replaced, popcorn/cottage cheese ceiling removed, ceiling light replaced (with an actual dining room light fixture), laminate floors were finished, curtains and rod hung, trim installed around windows and floor.  Finally walls, ceiling and trim painted.

Front porch or perhaps sun room... Sliding door replaced with more appropriate french doors, front door replaced, side window replaced, popcorn/cottage ceiling removed, and ugly orange carpet replaced with fir floor.  Then of course we painted the ceiling, walls and trim.

Living room.  Window replaced, previously mentioned slider replaced with french doors, built in cubby replaced with vintage window, popcorn/cottage cheese ceiling removed, window and door trim added, carpet replaced and curtains and rod installed.  The final touch is all the walls, ceiling and trim were painted.

Kitchen.  The fake textured walls were removed, walls skim coated, cabinets installed around stove area, 3 new cabinets built and installed, refrigerator with water and ice maker installed, over range microwave installed (with venting), a portion of the counter tops replaced/installed, existing laminate flooring finished, cabinets all primed and painted, trim replaced or added, hardware added to cabinets, all light fixtures replaced and new vintage cabinet added.  The walls, laminate back splash, ceiling and trim were all painted as well.

I didn't include the bedrooms.  They're fairly small and a little difficult to take pictures of.  One bedroom just required painting, replacing light fixture, removal of popcorn/cottage cheese ceiling and replacing the carpet.  Another bedroom upstairs was just painted, walls repaired and the window replaced.  The final bedroom required the removal of a closet, the moving of the entry door, removal of paneled walls and ceiling tiles, sheet rocking, tapping and mudding, adding a new closet, replacing light fixture, sanding and painting existing painted floors, adding trim and finally the painting of all walls, ceiling and trim.

One of the largest projects was the redesign of the stairs/ladder (see more here) to the upstairs bedroom. Originally the stair/ladder was inside the back bedroom, common in old houses.  It was replaced with actual stairs that start in the dining room.

The exterior, well it's currently still peach.  The plan is to paint it a "regular" house color in the spring or summer... then it really will be good bye to the Peach Palace.

On Friday, my husband listed the Peach Palace for rent.  Thanks to all of our hard work, it was snapped up quickly by a young family with a baby.  Just the kind of family I imagined.

We also need to thank our work crew....

  • my father, Henry
  • my father in law, Mike
  • my mother in law, Lonna
  • my sister in law, Laurie
  • my son, Zach and
  • my husband's co worker, Gary.

Thanks guys for all of your help~

Still here in Toronto... on our way to Niagara Falls today....