Tuesday, June 5, 2012

P.E.I. Renovation, Part Two

We are now back home from renovation number two. When my brother-in-law mentioned we had accomplished a lot in six weeks I realized, we have accomplished an amazing amount of work with the help of family and new friends on the island..Three weeks of intense labour in 2011 and three weeks of the same this spring.

We met our goals for this year with time to do some extra work. Last year the entire house was gutted and filled with insulation, plus much wiring was started. This year our goal was to put a cement block wall in the basement and a cement floor. Also the house needed new eave troughs and down spouts. The original eave troughs were made of wood. We kept them partly as a memory of the past plus part of it will go on what I hope one day will be my garden shed.

The first part of an almost ten day job in the basement was to rent a conveyor belt to take out much of the dirt from the basement..what a lifesaver that was not pailing out the dirt..hubby built a homemade tin trough which helped us to slide down 4 pallets of cement blocks to the basement...he then proceeded to make a cement block wall 5 blocks high. A cement truck came two days in a row. 
After such a hard, strenuous job on the wall, we decided to hire a couple of men to pour the cement floor and smooth it out..looks marvelous down there now..a neighbour was asked if he'd be willing to help hubby and his brother make our new steps..they turned out well and we've made much use out of them already..

We will have a terrific amount of storage in the basement now with the newly poured cement shelf which was all dirt before. The funny part but also a very hard part was putting a lot of the dirt we took out, back in for backfilling behind the wall..I also gathered up every stone or rock I could find for backfilling..the men were so exhausted after this job, thankful it was finished. They went on to do more wiring upstairs afterwards, a much lighter job.

We emptied out my shed, no light task either, it was full of many items from the previous owner. Some we will keep, some went to the dump. We also cut the top off a large steel drum and it burned wood or old straw steady for about 5 days..I don't know how any farm survives without one..I also made a huge fire pit after we had a huge burn on site..lining it with bricks from a chimney we tore down and rocks painted white from hubby's barn. My shed got a new door and a new smaller door at one end of the second floor. My hubby is eyeing the shed for his workshop!. I said if that happens, he will need to build me a brand new garden shed..I wonder who will win!

My step-son joined us for two weeks and his fiance joined us for the second week..They both worked hard. My step-son being an arborist trimmed all our apple trees,  plus various other trees..he then planted many sugar maples, two red oaks and pines on our property. I planted a smoke bush, a varigated dogwood, a lilac tree and two witch hazel bushes. My hubby and his son dug up many plants from back home which are all in the above picture. Jim also made the bench. One of many which will be placed around the property so we can one day sit and enjoy the fruit of our labours.

 Trails were made through the woods, more trees were planted in there, mostly hardwoods. Lots of flowers blooming, many I don't know the names of yet, so must find a book of island woodland flowers..also want to be able to identify all the trees.

The three weeks went by very quickly, I managed a couple of afternoons off to go beachcombing or shopping in Charlottetown, but my husband Jim never took a day off..Hard as the work was, it is a labour of love. We feel the hardest jobs are behind us until we start working on his barn and the garage. But for now the house is our priority. We found the huge willow tree out back was a great blessing. A cool place to sit when having our tea breaks and snacks. 

We are finding it harder each year to return back home from the island as the house inside and out has more personality now and we are putting our stamp on it..next year we are thinking of taking our holidays in September..There is still much to do but we can see the end of it all in our mind's eye  better now..As we enjoy our summer back home delighting in our granddaughter Claire we will continue to plan and save for next year's renovation, bringing us closer to sitting on our newly built deck on the island and not doing one lick of work for a couple of hours or even all day!


  1. "not doing one lick of work for a couple of hours or even all day!" Now THAT's something to look forward to Lannie! I like the idea of benches here and there to rest on and survey your land! Such an amazing amount of work you folks got done, that Jimmy is such a hard worker!! Proud of you both!

  2. Lannie, just getting to my blog reading now. The amount of work you have done in such a short period of time is utterly amazing. You obviously have your trips exceedingly well organized to be able to accomplish so much. I'm curious about that willow you mention. You don't see a lot of big willows on island as they tend to be brittle, do you see a lot of broken branches underneath it? I love weeping willow and would love to have one but have been hesitant due to the weather here.