Dear Aunt Agatha,
Many apologies for the longer-than-usual gap since my last missive. Correspondence has taken a bit of a back seat recently, but we've finally got on top of a load of things.
The yard is now officially husky-proof, with a smart stretch of cedar fencing visible through the trees at the back, and chain link behind the hedges at the sides. Before that could go in, though, I had fun & games demolishing a tin shed that had been built right alongside a big cedar, and which was now leaning at an alarming angle. And out of that shed I now have three decades worth of old, half-empty paint pots to dispose of somehow.
The house now has a new roof. Would you believe that the previous owner tried to clean it with a pressure washer, and stripped off much of the surface? And whoever put in the skylight in the kitchen used ordinary glass instead of strengthened. Scary. That has been fixed too, and we have a useable amount of workspace and storage in the kitchen, and the kids have moved into their new rooms downstairs.
I think that's probably all we need to do on the house for now. Luckily, indoors had been pretty well cared for, but there's still years of work to do on the neglected yard.
Back in the wide outdoors, we are trying to breathe some life into the poor old hot tub. It seems to work OK, but my carpentry skills - and patience - were tested repairing rotten decking here and there. And Ali attacked the sad and muddy beds surrounding it that made it almost inaccessible. We now have neatly-edged gravel and stone all around that corner and down the side of the house to the gate.
When we cleared the rampant undergrowth behind the hot tub, we unearthed a heap of huge cedar logs from where previous owners had taken out one of the trees some years ago. They are now stacked in the carport. One day, I'll get around to splitting them for the wood stove.
Pauses for breath! And those are just the highlights, not to mention a thousand-and-one smaller jobs all over the place. This business of settling in to a new property is unbelievably hard work.
And in between all this, we've had picnics, taken Gypsy for walks, and celebrated our first birthday in Canada. Matthew was four last month. We gave him a big, pedal-powered tractor which I had to assemble in secret and hide in the other shed (the one that wasn't falling over quite as much).
For all the hard work, there is a lot of good times and relaxation here, and it is good to see some light at the end of the tunnel.