My husband, brother-in-law Dave and myself have just returned from our first of many renovation projects in P.E.I. We left May 7th and returned to Muskoka Sunday May 29th. Going down and back we drove straight through with the two men taking turns driving. We arrived at Confederation Bridge rather tired but once we drove into the parking lot of the Cambridge Hall which was holding a Mother's Day breakfast we perked up. We were seated quickly and had fabulous choices on the menu. After a huge, delicious breakfast and numerous cups of coffee we were ready to explore our property and farmhouse.
We purchased our retirement home last November knowing we would have to work long and hard to restore the house and buildings. First priority was the farmhouse. It took four of us a whole week, as now hubby's brother was added to the mix, to completely gut the house. We had not considered removing the brick chimney outside and inside the house but with so much rain that week Dave noticed it was leaking. It was so cold for most of our 3 weeks on the island I wasn't out of my red winter coat very often.
Hubby climbed a ladder one very cold windy day and started knocking down the brick chimney outside. Thankfully he was tied off to the front deck railings. I was too scared to watch at first but as the morning wore on, managed to take a few pictures of Jim on the roof. I was so relieved when his feet hit terra firma again.
Before long our first dumpster at the house since November was full. It was fun watching the old dumpster loaded and taken away and a new one let off. It was dropped beside the house this time, instead of out front, in order to drop debris from the second storey windows. This worked well. Frank, my brother-n-law who lives on the island had emailed me to say it would be all hard work, no time off to go beachcombing! (I think he was kidding!) But it was very hard work and long, long days. I could easily get a job on the island pulling out nails..I'm well qualified. (my right wrist still isn't healed).
I would make breakfast for Jim and Dave, do laundry most mornings, then get picked up by one of them and work eight to ten hours at the farmhouse. Most mornings we got up at six a.m., started at seven and quit around five or five-thirty p.m. I forgot six a.m. Atlantic time is five a.m. back home! By the time we all ate scrumptious meals at my sister-in-laws house each night, had our tea and put our feet up, I was too exhausted to talk much. I was known to fall asleep in my chair and hubby passed out on the couch more than once..If only we were twenty years younger!!
We accomplished a lot, tore out all the dry wall in a two storey house, tore down a brick chimney outside and inside the house. Insulated the attic by blowing it in, insulated all the upstairs and downstairs with pink bats, covered some walls with plastic and two of the men did a lot of the wiring. We got in a new 200 amp. service plus a new hydro pole out front which was exciting to watch, althought they didn't put it where I'd have liked it to be..some choices were out of our hands.
We watched the farmer down the road dig up our fields so he can plant potatoes this year. I love the red soil, it just touches my soul. I discovered two wonderful rhubarb patches behind my little barn. Caron, my sister-in-law helped me clean out my little double barn one afternoon since the dumpster was still there. We also cleaned out hubby's barn and garage. Two discoveries which surprised us, coal in a corner of my barn and wooden eave troughs on the house..
I trimmed apple trees and hauled so many branches to the burn pile. Frank brought up his chain saw one day and trimmed the two Willows, Chestnut tree etc. He will be cutting our grass while we are gone and needs to get close to the trees without getting knocked out! We did run out of time to do the burning however and I had gotten a permit. the same day I paid our taxes for the first time.. Hubby and his brother cut the grass twice and to put my stamp on the place, I planted a dozen pansies around the hydrangea bush.
Jim made a swing for our granddaughter Claire and the three men made two new barn doors. I'm sure I'm forgetting some of the work we accomplished but it was amazing what we labored at. I made morning snacks each day for our break and a huge jug of tea. It was very welcome on such cold days. We began to think the sun did not shine on the island..
I ran out of jobs once the wiring started so did manage a trip into Charlottetown, two days beachcombing and a morning trip with Dave so he could sketch a lighthouse. We traveled one day to the East End of the island, climbed to the top of the lighthouse there, another bitterly cold, windy day. Thankfully the Tea Room was open and once outside again saw a lovely red fox. We saw at least three while there.
Caron, whose 93 year old mother has been visiting for several months joined us on a trip to see the Lavender at the Five Sister's Lavender Farm at Kelly's Cross. Back home I can now enjoy Lavender/Vanilla Tea and Lavender Jelly. Last Monday during my shopping spree buying annuals for my window boxes I gave in and bought four more lavender plants..Where they will go nobody knows!
The sun did shine several times which brought out the black flies, such is life. The three weeks went by in a blur and next thing I knew we were packing up to go home. I usually cry when I leave the island, as it's like leaving "home", where my heart resides but this time I kept myself under control. I knew next year I'd be back for more work, more fun, more laughter and more reno projects. And the year after that and the year after that until I can stay there for weeks at a time in our own restored Cranberry Cottage.