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Pull My Hinge

May 7th, 2008  · stk

MyHomeHardware - We saved money by cross-border shopping in the United States for 96 hinges and 48 cabinet pulls, when we recently gave our kitchen a face lift. Total cost: a little over $100 CAD. Savings by not buying from Home Depot Canada? $500!! Outrageous.

Cabinet Hardware:
A U.S./Canada Cross-border Shopping Tale

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We've been in our "new" (24-year-old), Vancouver Island home for a year and a bit. The galley style kitchen is a traffic jam, drives us nuts and needs a complete renovation. Unfortunately, we have neither the funds - nor the time - to embark on such an expensive and extensive project, at the moment. So, instead, we've satisfied ourselves by painting the (dark forest green) cabinet doors, using a lighter earth-tone melamine paint ("Cozy Cottage") and replacing the old cabinet hardware with something more modern and brighter.

Having a major kitchen renovation under my belt (I completely gutted and re-built the kitchen in my 1940's California bungalow-style craftsman home), I had some idea of the costs associated with cabinets and cabinet hardware. After we counted the number of pull/hinge sets we'd need - forty eight - we took a trip down to the local Home Depot hardware store to purchase some simple, brushed chrome wire pulls and matching hinges. That's when the project stalled, because after a rough tally, we were looking at about a $400 bill and Scott said, "No way! That's outrageous!"

This is the tale of how we bought our pulls and hinges from an eBay company in the United States, for a fraction of the cost that Home Depot wanted for similar items. Chock up another success for cross-border shopping. It's thumbs down for Home Depot Canada for not being competitive and a big thumbs up for MyHomeHardware for their accurate product description, prompt shipping, reasonable shipping costs, product prices and customer service!

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Updated: 7-May-2008
Web View Count: 36619 viewsLast Web Update: 7-May-2008

Twin Baby Boats!

May 3rd, 2008  · stk

Twin Kayaks! We're now the proud parent of two 9-foot, 6-inch kayaks that weigh in at 40-something pounds each. The amount of plastic in our lives continues to climb! ( On the plus side ... they'll be loads of fun for visitors at the Barkley Sound floating cabin .... "Topanga?" :D )

"Blue Yonder" Gives Birth to Twins!

Little did we know when we bought her, but "Blue Yonder 19-foot bayliner classic cuddy For those that don't know, "Blue Yonder" is our new-to-us 19-foot Bayliner Classic Cuddy boat that we acquired as means of getting to the floating cabin. Click for more about the floating cabin & boat " was pregnant! (No wonder we got her at such a good deal)!

Early this morning, when we went outside to fetch the morning eggs, we noticed that there were two brand new baby kayaks, sitting in the yard. Apparently, they had just been born and were resting, after their birth, the night before.

We didn't know that boats could even get pregnant, but we're pleased with the new arrivals and will care for them as if they were our own.

Mum appears to be doing just fine, but she's tuckered out from her labor and is resting under a waterproof tarp. The twins appear healthy and fine. They each measure 9-foot, 6-inches and weigh in at respectable 42 pounds (can you say "ouch"?)! They're healthy baby kayaks, for sure. There is some question about their lineage, however. (Mum has classic yachting lines and a white fiberglass hull, with blue canvas on top. The twins are both beige and made of plastic.) Hmmm ... it leaves us wondering who the father might be?!

Mum is mum on the matter. (Mum is mum? Of course, who else would she be? The English language, eh? :p ) We're concerned that she's been slumming it on the wrong side of the yacht club, had a late night rendezvous with a certain tugboat, or maybe a wild fling with a schooner? *GASP* Perhaps liaison with a *hold-your-breath* working skiff?! Who knows,eh?

Regardless of their heritage, we're now the proud surrogate parents of two brown baby kayaks! (Some people "invest" in trampolines for their back garden, we get a pair of his'n-hers matching kayaks!) :D Go figure.

For more about the new new twins, read on.

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Updated: 3-May-2008
Web View Count: 24077 viewsLast Web Update: 3-May-2008

Late April 'No!

April 20th, 2008  · stk

April 19th - Vancouver Island gets blanketed by a foot of late spring snow. Scott's called out to the North Cedar Fire Hall. A power outage affects over 20,000 customers across central Vancouver Island! What a day, eh?

April 19th - Power Outage & A Crazy Foot of Snow dumped on Vancouver Island

Has the old man spat his last winter's gasp? Most everyone around Nanaimo is hoping so. Many residents on Vancouver Island woke up Saturday morning to nearly a foot of snow and darkness, as much of the mid-island was without power.

Geez. What's up with this crazy weather? Isn't Vancouver Island supposed to have the the most temperate climate in all of Canada? Here we get this huge, late dumping of snow (plus the cold temperatures to go along with it) and many of the eastern Provinces are enjoying unseasonably warm weather!

Go figure.

For more about this crazy day, including pictures and an early morning ride with Alex to the North Cedar Fire Hall, to put the chains on the fire trucks ... read on ....

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Updated: 19-Apr-2010
Web View Count: 26844 viewsLast Web Update: 19-Apr-2010

The Floating Cabin

April 1st, 2008  · stk

We thought we'd introduce you to our floating cabin, which is situated on the wild, rugged and wet western coast of Vancouver Island. It's located in Julia's Passage in the Barkley Sound and a stone's throw from the world-famous Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

The floating cabin is located off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Not far is the Broken Group Islands and the Pacific Rim National Park. It's a pristine, wild, wet and wonderful land; a kayaking mecca with many coves, beaches and small islands. The wildlife is amazing: black bear, bald eagles, killer whales, sea lions, seals and sea otters, among other creatures. If you like sea food, you'd love this place. Clams, oysters, prawns, crab, salmon, halibut and cod - it's all on the menu.

Over Easter weekend, we took the new boat down for a 4-day trip. It was our first trip to the floating cabin this year and quite an adventure, piloting our "new" boat, which was christened "Blue Yonder" - this happened inadvertently, when Scott radioed to our cabin friends, using the off-the-cuff call sign. It was an hour and forty minute journey down the long inlet, from Port Alberni, to the floating cabin. Traffic was light, but the seas were heavy and we bounced along, singing the theme song to Gilligan's Island.

We had a nice holiday with our friends, Candace and Richard. The weather was especially nice, even though it snowed a bit on the last night. Blue Yonder handled well, although she needs a few repairs and extra gizmos that we'll need to plunk into this particular 'hole in the water'. We're looking forward to sharing this special, wilderness floating cabin with some of our more adventurours guests that may come to visit.

To learn more about the floating cabin, see satellite images of the area, as well as photos ... read on. If you're coming up for a visit, you'll find this post a good primer about "what to expect". If you're likely not ever going to visit, then you'll gain a glimpse of this truly unique, wonderful and diverse area.

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Updated: 1-Oct-2010
Web View Count: 39878 viewsLast Web Update: 1-Oct-2010

Four Hundred Dollar Egg

February 21st, 2008  · stk

The first Egg! - On of our four ISA Brown laying hens had their first egg this morning. After raising them from day-old chicks, we're quite excited to see "our girls" grow up! It does mean, however, that Scott better get busy and finish building their nesting boxes!

"The Girls" Begin to Earn Their Keep

A few weeks ago, the woman who generously gave us four laying hens, came over with a dozen brown eggs. They were produced by the same batch from which ours were split. Ever since then, Rachel has been bemoaning the fact that our four chickens (AKA "the girls") have yet to lay an egg.

Scott built them comfortable and dry accommodations ($300 in materials), they have plenty of scratch to eat, room to fly and play in their run, laying pellets to eat, an endless supply of fresh water ... heck, they even have a 4-year old kid that plays with them occasionally. At last tally, they've consumed 4 sacks of feed ($10 each), a sack of #2 grit, countless tubs of kitchen scraps (dutifully diced up for them, I might add), God knows how much electricity to keep them warm, many water changes, hand-feeding, and people who let them out in the morning and put them to bed at night.

Materials for the chicken coop: $300
Having comfortable chickens: Priceless

For everything else, there's the grocery store.

They live in chicken heaven and the only thing they've produced is an ever-accumulating pile of chicken manure, under the chicken coop.

All that changed today. When Scott let them out this morning and gave them their day's supply of scratch - which is tossed out onto the ground, as they seem to enjoy "scratching" at it and picking up the bits ... go figure - he spied a lone brown egg, resting on the mesh floor of the coop.

To find out more about our four hundred dollar egg ... read on ...

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Updated: 21-Feb-2008
Web View Count: 16292 viewsLast Web Update: 21-Feb-2008