Outdoor Shower

We fell in love with outdoor showers during our past few trips to Fire Island.  There is just something quite simple, but quite relaxing about being able to look up at the stars.

We are starting to hit the events season this year, and we thought having outdoor facilities would be a great addition (beats hiring a port-a-loo =)  Plus Ms. Weston doesn’t like cold water, so every day when she gets back from her walk in the park, or swim at the beach, we have to fill buckets with warm water and wash her off.  So a warm water tap outside would basically make our dog happy.

So in typical Rodney style, his can-do attitude and amazing work ethic meant that this quaint and amazing outdoor sink, toilet and shower were created in after-work hours in just one week.  He put the final finishing touches on it about 1 hour before our first event.

Well done babe!  A great addition to the House.

Latest project – Adirondack Chairs

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When I was going through a tough time in my 20’s, I began using the scene of sitting by the sea in an Adirondack chair to bring some peace and beauty into my day.  I practised a bit of meditation by using all of my senses to experience that scene and bring it literally into my life.  What the chair felt like under my hand, what color it was, what the sea smelt like, what I heard, the warm sun on my face…

For my birthday this year, I asked for a couple of Adirondack chairs to put out near the House.  This way, I could pop out during the buzz breakfast service to sit with a cup of coffee for a few minutes, or with a glass of wine after check ins, to celebrate the end of the day of a busy day.

I quite often am racing from the minute I get up, to the last check in….and am amazed that I actually feed all of those people, get them on their way, change over all the rooms, and welcome new guests – that I fit it all in.  A race that is repeated quite often this time of year.  So having bits of time to relish a bit of quiet, fill up my cup, and mark milestones is a necessity, and I am a stickler for beautiful things, so these just make me smile.

There is something that I just love about these chairs, sinking into one and appreciating the view.

These are the latest project to come out of the Man Shed – built, painted and just filled with love!  A wonderful addition to the House!

Wine Barrel Planters

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One of the best things about living (and working) with a ‘handyman’ is that most times, when I say, “Oh, I love that,” about something related to gardening or the House, he replies, “I can do that.”

The latest project out of the man shed, are wine barrel planters.  We’ve put lemon trees in them and will surround them with herbs.

A perfect addition to our front porch!

A room of my own

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We’ve had a bit of a switch-around in our personal space.  Rod was using a room under the garage for his workshop until I succeeded in convincing him that actually the 2-car garage would be a much better space.  Much more sun, more room.

I had my eye on this space for an office.  I had been working at the dining table in the combined living room.  That meant I had to pack up my things each day to make our living space look ‘tidy’ or I didn’t and it had piles of invoices, ideas for cooking,  books and files spread about the table.  Not a good look.

I spent one rainy spring day washing the walls of this space and Rodney built me a rustic wooden desk.  I’m filling it with pretty things that make me happy, gifts from friends and retreat to it each afternoon once done with the tasks of the House.

It is a room of my own where I can focus on the business end of the business, ponder the garden, and write.  I love this House.

Box of flowers

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We were sitting on the front porch one weekend afternoon, a refreshing break from a day in the garden and one of our favorite spots in the house, when I said casually, “a flower box would look great there!”

A few weeks later, it was built, painted and installed.  I filled it with white impatients and ‘pizza thyme’ with the most beautiful aroma. 

Love that man-shed!

Growth

It’s the second year of planting a vegetable garden here at 1 Victoria.  Last year, I spent the long Labour Weekend, in the pouring rain, planting out the seedlings that I grew from 4 little containers that we brought from Gaine Street where we were living.  I kept reading about how this weekend was THE time to get the seedlings in the ground and was a bit panicked about being late.

My small amount of seedlings were no match for the many large beds we have, so I wound up buying many from the local nursery.

This year, after briefly mentioning that I’d love to grow everything from seed, Rod whipped up this greenhouse over one weekend.  It’s allowed me to grow everything – sun flowers, boarder flowers, many types of tomatoes, chili peppers, beans, capsicum, basil, cilantro, beets (beetroot), rocket (arugula), cucumbers, zuccinni, squash, radish and pumpkin all from seed. We have over 20 zucchini plants alone…I’d better learn how to can and preserve things.

The weather this year was amazing for the three day weekend, and I spent Saturday choosing where to put everything and “getting my veg in.”

Next year – we go fully organic!

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The kitchen has been humming along lately – we’re getting the breakfast routine down.  It feels like quite the achievement to have fed 6 people breakfast on a Saturday morning before the time we’d normally be waking up.

As much as I’d love to have a sleek modern kitchen with clear surfaces, the reality is, is that we live in a old-style villa, and that I use a kitchen like a cook (mis en place and many things going at once,) and that we cook a lot.

I need utensils and pots to-hand, and dislike having to put things away only to have to take them out again right away.  I am a huge fan of exposed shelves, with ingredients and tools out to inspire and remind me of possibilities.  I loved reading about Julia Child’s focus on function and comfort that she used when designing her kitchen.

On top of guest breakfasts we cook at home about 6 nights a week.  My London days were about the reverse – with take out sushi, nights at the pub, and beautiful meals out as the norm.  Now, my cook books are getting much use (I am in love with Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and I’ve become quite precious and protective of my one night out a week.

We were storing our pots and pans in the cupboards of a center island bench.  So each morning for breakfast we were bending over and rearranging them to get to just the right egg pan, or grill pan for sausage.  We saw a great pot rack in a local Freedom store and it gave us the idea for this.  Rodney whipped it up in barely a day and used a lovely old piece of wood.

It’s a lovely little addition to the kitchen, and the man shed has earned another week.