Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The sad truth about appliances

Yesterday I discovered some surprising things about used appliances.  As part of our renovation project we are removing the washer and dryer that were squeezed into the makeshift laundry room.  Squeezed so tight that the windowsill had been removed to fit them in.

The plan was to sell them and purchase a stacking washer and dryer to create more space.  These appliances were purchased in 2009 from a reputable second hand appliance dealer.  They were recondidtioned and came with a year guarantee.  As you can see, they are clean and new looking and they work just fine.  The thing that shocks us is that nobody wants them.

We posted them for sale at less than half of what we paid for them a year ago and not a single person responded.  Then we decided to see if we could trade them in at the store where we bought them--only to find that it has gone out of business.  There is only one used appliance dealer left in Victoria and they don't want them either.

He says that most of the appliances they get end up taken to the recyclers, even though they may work perfectly well.  They only sell certain models that they can guarantee for a year.  Many of the washers and dryers made between 5 and 15 years ago are very good and still have lots of life.  The ones made more recently may look good but unless you're paying for top brands they're made with lighter materials and don't last that long.  But nobody wants an old washer or dryer. Everyone wants shiny new appliances.

Apparently if we buy an appliance from them they'll take away our old washer and dryer and recycle it for a $60 fee.  I'm just a little suspicious though.  What's to keep them from reconditioning them and selling them?   At this point I don't know what the truth is!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ruby flower (unknown)

I guess it's not red; it's more of a magenta colour but I had to share this photo of an unknown plant.  Besides the brilliant colour, it's the speckled texture on the leaves and the petals of the tiny central flower form.  Any idea what it is?  It is kind of ruby-like, don't you think?  Anyway, it's for Ruby Tuesday. You can see rubies of all sorts there.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Yellow squash flower

For Mellow Yellow Monday I'm giving you this squash flower.  These are the most gorgeous flowers and they just keep coming.  I've been cooking with zucchini for weeks now and they're still coming on strong.  I love the look of these flowers and perhaps this year will be the time to deep fry them and try the taste.  Have you ever had them?  Imagine eating such a large flower!

And how about this one holding about half a cup of water inside the bloom?  For more yellow images go here.  There are mellow yellow photos from all over the world.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Renovations underway

Our project for this fall is the complete renovation of the main floor of my heritage house in Fernwood.  It's been rented out for the past twenty years and is in dire need of an upgrade. The outside is vintage and in good shape but the inside isn't so great. The house was turned into a duplex some time around the late 1940s we think.  They lowered the 11 foot ceilings  by three feet and finished them with cove work.  They moved the walls to create a two bedroom apartment and covered the fir floors with glued-down tiles.  We've kept it painted and carpeted but now that the tenants on the main floor have moved out we're going to do an upgrade.

The first thing was to pull up the worn out carpets.  Here's what we found.

Yuck!  We don't have the time or money to restore the original rooms but we'll be doing our best to create a nicer living space. Because walls have been moved we've decided not to go through the work of scraping off layers of glued down flooring, but to install good laminate flooring over top.  First though, we have a lot of cleaning, filling, sanding, priming and painting to do.  We have our work cut out for us.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Border Collies rule

A friend sent me this video of three guys and several dogs doing a routine.  Very cute.  Don't know how they managed it in one take.  I note that three of the dogs are border collies.  Not that I'm biased, but these are the best looking and the smartest dogs, don't you think?   Here's the link.
White knuckles

I don't know how to embed a video into my blog so you'll have to click on the link.  Enjoy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A weekend in the clouds

My weekend was spent with three close friends in the clouds at our cabin on Saturna Island's Brown Ridge.  It's nearly the highest point of this lovely gulf island and the view is incredible on a fine day.  But when it's cloudy or rainy it looks quite different.This was what we drove up into on Saturday morning.  The clouds roll up from the ocean below and engulf the land.

It makes for some lovely walks--just so long as you don't lose your footing on the wet grass.

 Aren't these ghostly trees?

We spent much of the day in the cabin cooking and eating and laughing and talking--a very restful way to pass the time.  Later on the sun peeked out and a rainbow appeared.  We were able to sit outside in the afternoon sun.

Here's the view looking down on the clouds blowing away.  If you click to enlarge this you'll see the four ravens who put on an aerobatics show for us. It was a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I dream of Albuquerque

My friend and fellow blogger Stephanie (Hooking, Knitting & Living) asked this morning where I would rather be and the first thing that came to my mind was this place.  It's a park along the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We visited there almost four years ago in November and it's just so beautiful with the golden grass and the yellow cottonwoods along the river.

Right now in Victoria it's grey and misty and has been for almost the past week.  This is not what I call September weather.  So in my mind I'm going to Albuquerque today.

This year we're staying here in Victoria over the winter.  We're not heading to Mexico as we have done for the past three years.  Our rental house needs major work and so we'll be knee deep in renovations and painting for a few months.  Perhaps we'll manage to take a short holiday somewhere nice (Mexico, New Mexico, Cuba...?) anyway somewhere warm.  It all depends on how the work goes.

Meanwhile I dream of Alburquerque with the golden grass.  Outside my window its montone grey with a hint of dark green.  What's it like outside your window?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rusty farm equipment

The other day we stopped at Silver Rill, the local place to get fabulous fresh corn and I took note of some of the decor.  Scattered around the place is a lot of old farm machinery to give the country feel.

Up on the roof are two old tractor tricycles.  This was the oldest one.  Isn't it sweet?

Pretty soon I was using my macro setting to find rusty abstract designs in the machinery.  These are for Ruby Tuesday, with the green one as contrast.

You can see more Ruby Tuesday images here.  Have a happy day.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The circus is in town

Well, actually, it was in town.  Cirque du Soleil came to Victoria over the weekend and we went to see the show.  It was my first time seeing this world-famous company and it was everything I could have hoped for.  The show was a mesmerizing combination of music, dance, clowns and acrobatics--all with a very European flavour.  The title was Alegria, the Spanish word for joy, and it was a joyful thing to see.  I didn't really follow the story but it didn't matter at all. 

The performers (dancers, acrobats, and clowns) are so talented that they just carried the show.  It's amazing to see what they can do with their bodies.   Here are two young woman contortionists. We were lucky enough to be only three rows back from the front of the stage.  It was fabulous.

If you want to see more here's a link to their U-tube video.  And if you get a chance to attend a performance I think you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A vegetable painting project

I'm preparing to do a series of water colour paintings from a community garden, and I'm quite excited about it.   I met a woman who has been involved for a number of years with creating a community garden in a little park behind our favorite coffee shop.  The cafe and the City of Victoria helped out and the volunteers created a  garden in the inner city park that offers everyone an opportunity to see food being grown.  The produce and flowers are for anyone to enjoy and pick.  I love this idea.

Jackie suggested that I do some paintings of based on the garden and hang them in the coffee shop.  So that's just what I'm doing.  So far I've taken about 400 photographs of the garden and now I'm beginning to develop some paintings.  I think it will be very fun to work on this during the dark winter evenings, especially the images of sun kissed flowers and vegetables in the summer garden. These are a few of the images I'm going to work with.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

City buildings; country buildings

Our last day in Vancouver was spent downtown and these are images of some of the newer buildings coated in reflective glass.  I admire the way these structures reflect each other.  Especially this one that mirrors the lovely 1930s Marine Building. 

By way of contrast, here's the little outhouse at Saturna Island, where we spent Saturday night and Sunday morning. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Vancouver, a maritime city

I grew up in Vancouver, quite close to the ocean, and the sights and sounds of a working harbour are deeply embedded in my awareness.  Also the smells of diesel and the salt water tang.  So it's only natural that when we have a few free days here I gravitate to the working harbour.  These tugs are moored at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.   Cates tugboats have been around here for decades and they haven't changed a bit.

This view across the harbour from North Van shows the seabus heading towards a fully loaded Hyundai freighter, with the sails of the Pan Pacific Hotel to the right.  No matter how fancy the buildings get, the real soul of Vancouver remains its working harbour.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vancouver rain to sunshine

Tuesday in Vancouver was a pouring rain day, like I'd remembered from my childhood.  The art exhibit was lovely but we didn't get to eat outside in their lovely restaurant--everything was puddles.

 What a contrast on Wednesday; a sparkling sunshiny day.  Here are few images from our exploration of Chinatown and one of the older parts of downtown. 

I used to work in the basement book department of the old Woodwards store.  It's been transformed into the downtown campus of Simon Fraser University, with retail and housing as well.  This is the huge "W" that rotated above the old store.