The Globe

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Holy cow times a thousand to the square root of AMAZING!!  My girls and I are thrilled to be featured in The Globe and Mail today.  Jess is generally unimpressed with any kind of pomp, but I love it.  I can’t believe they gave us such a huge spread, and all because we bought a little school in a little town.

So if you are abled bodied then get off your couch and go and get a copy of this fantastic article and read all about us.  I bought myself six copies.  I thought about going to different stores and buying everyone out of the Friday Globe but then realized I may be going a little over board.

If you are not in Canada, but are still a little interested in reading our article then click right here for the online version.

It’s a very exciting day!

Sure do wish my mom could of seen this.

 

It’s January

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It’s still January.  I’m sure you are completely aware of that fact.  I am totally enjoying this month.  It has mostly been a winter wonderland around here with lots of snow and relatively mild temperatures.  I don’t think it has dipped below minus 15 this season, and there hasn’t been one blackout.  We are just breezing through this winter.

I know some people don’t enjoy winter as much as I do.  Some people long for sunnier days, lake swimming and warm sand.  And believe it or not, some very organized people are already planning their summer vacations.  We have already received several bookings for our BnB which is fantastic.  I love those organized human beings!

I’m not writing this post to stress you out about your summer plans.  I just thought if you were planning a trip to Prince Edward County this summer, I would gently remind you of what we have to offer at South in Milford.  There are many fabulous places to stay in the County, but I am particularly fond of our little spot here in Milford.  So here’s a wee bit of self promotion.

We have three classrooms to rent.  Classroom 1 and 2 are 750 square feet, and The Library is 900 square feet.  Each suite has a living room, dining room, kitchenette, private bath, and outdoor space.  There is a fully stocked communal kitchen at your disposal with a full sized stove and refrigerator.  There is also a bbq you can use.  This season, we will have a farm stand with fresh organic vegetables from our garden and free range eggs from our hens.  We will be selling homemade jams and pies.  And last but not least, we are a 10 minute drive to Sandbanks park.  Park passes will be available for you to borrow during your stay.

I have heard a picture is worth a thousands words, so I’ll shut up and post a few.

Classroom 1 – Two queen beds

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Classroom 2 – One king bed

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The Library – Two separate bedrooms with one queen bed and two single beds

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We do all our bookings on AirBnB.  We open in April and close November 1st.  Maybe we will see you here this season.

While I am drenched in self promotion, I have to also remind you of our second annual Old School Bluegrass Camp from July 3rd to the 8th.  If you have ever wanted to learn a new instrument or hone an existing musical skill with the best bluegrass instructors in Canada, then the Old School Bluegrass Camp is the place to be.

OLD SCHOOL BGC POSTER DEC15 FINAL

That’s it, that’s all for self promoting for today.  Enjoy your winter.

Snow Day

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We thought it would never come but here it is: our first snow day.  We were all happy to hear that the school buses were cancelled this morning.  Snow forts have been made, skiing and snow shoeing attempted, hot chocolate drank, and we all pitched in and worked on our skating rink.   I’ll just leave you with some photos of our winter wonderland, and beautiful sky.  Now go on out and enjoy that snow!

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Technical Update

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As I sit here all cozy next to my wood stove with the snow falling ferociously outside, it is easy to forget that our house was not always as warm as it is today.  I recently received an email from Rebecca P. in Ottawa asking about how we heat our home.  When we finally did get heat, I was so distracted by my lack of shivering, my indoor toque, and my indoor winter coat that perhaps I failed to inform you as to how it all gets done around here in the heating realm.  I’m taking this snowy winter’s day to redeem myself and fully apprise you of our toasty situation.

One of the drawbacks of buying our school was it’s current heating system.  It had been outfitted with an oversized oil boiler with an annual heating bill of $38,000.  Couple that price tag with the $10,000 electrical bill, and most buyers were rightly scared off this massive building.  Then a couple of suckers from the city came by and bought it.  To be perfectly honest, we really didn’t give our purchase the right amount of consideration.  We were so excited and scared that we forgot to properly assess the practical side of owning a 65 year old institutional building with no insulation.  Each time Jess and I broached the subject, we would dismiss it with a simple “I’m sure we can figure it out”.

And so we did.  Each room was reframed, insulated, and new windows were installed.  The oil boiler was disconnected, and our new pellet boiler from China was installed.  We bought our boiler directly from China as the price was $2500, opposed to $25,000 for a North American version.  There is a reason for the price discrepancy.  In it’s first year of operation, our Chinese boiler stopped working a number of times as it’s steel parts would break down due to the high heat.  Since then, Jess has had most of the boilers parts recut in North American steel.  He has also welded several new additions to make the whole machine more user friendly.

We have a 40’x8′ shipping container behind the back of our building that houses our pellet boiler and most of our pellets.  We buy our pellets by the ton bags and tend to use about 14 tons per year.  Pellets are made from wood waste so are fairly environmentally sound.  We can also burn other woods as well, and have heard apple wood burns great.  We do hope to one day coordinate with local orchards to collect their wood after they prune their trees to feed our boiler.  It is on our long list of future plans.

Our bed and breakfast is in the front of the building and we keep that side unheated in the winter.  We live in the back half, and we heat with radiant floor heat.  Our floors are 6″ thick concrete. We ran PEX tubing on the floor joist in our 4′ high crawl space under our floor.  The tubing is then run back to the shipping container.   The temperature of each room can be adjusted in the Control Room, a.k.a. my laundry room, a.k.a. the former janitor’s room.   Because our floors are so thick, we weren’t sure if our floors would heat properly.  Luckily they did, and we have been warm ever since.  Our gym is heated with our wood stove as there is no crawl space under the gym.

We have been talking about going off the grid, and producing our own energy.  We are considering buying slightly damaged solar panels and repairing them ourselves.  Jess has been designing and welding a new boiler to accommodate larger wood waste as fuel.  Our list of future plans tends to get longer each day.  We want to leave less of a foot print, and live more sustainably.  For right now, I am going leave that long list by the wayside and enjoy the warmth of my wood stove.

Happy 2016

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Happy new year!  I realize I am a few days late, but who is kidding who, the new year doesn’t begin until all the guests have left, most of the booze has been drunk, the cookies all eaten, the house is a mess, and you feel generally polluted by all the good times you’ve had.  By that definition, I am starting off the new year as defined by this blog.  If it were up to me, the new year would begin after Labour day weekend.  I understand some guys from long ago thought we should base our calendars on the lunar cycle but it would of been much more convenient for me if it were based on my academic life, and now the academic life of my children.  But woe is me, here I am forced to accept the new year in January!  I am going to embrace this current calendrical strong hold, but between you and I, I am going to save all my eye opening resolutions for September.

We really had a fabulous holiday here in Milford.  Our house was a revolving door of family, friends, and friends who are family with a party or two thrown in for good measure.  I do love to host a good social gathering and am happy that I have the room to do it.  It is a privilege to spend such quality time with people I love, and I hope to do more in 2016.  We did have some down time between visits and some of that was filled with screen time.  I was quite lackadaisical about the amount of screen time my kids were experiencing over the holidays.  Every now and then, I would insert a pencil in their ear to confirm that their brain was slowly turning to mush.  I carefully noted all my mushy findings.   Although the data suggested decreased brain power coupled with an increase in brain mushiness,  I convinced myself that their brain would harden back up to pre holiday standards once the school bell rang Monday morning.  I will take one final reading after school today to confirm my predictions.

My brain also became a bit pulpy with excessive screen time.  It seemed wise at the time to take several breaks from gift wrapping to watch a show or two on Netflix.  I noticed I was becoming more and more anxious, which was alarming because I am not an anxious person.  I was having problems sleeping, and was often up for several hours in the night.  My anxiety was in direct relation to my television watching.  Instead of worrying about global warming, my anxious thoughts hinged on whether Tim Riggins was going to get back on the football team,  or if Dr. Who was going to figure out what those damn black cubes were, or if Sheriff Longmire was ever going to solve the murder of his wife.  I do realize that these are all important concerns but maybe not important enough to keep me up at night.  So here we go, resolution number one is to stop watching so much television, at least not during the day.

Here are some more new year’s resolution in no particular order.  Eat less chips after 8pm.  Don’t drink for the month of January providing it is not a weekend, and I don’t have guests who want to drink wine.  If it is a weekend and I do have a guest try not to open a second bottle of wine.  Forgive yourself when there are two or more empty wine bottles from the night before.  Repair holes in winter boots with duct tape that doesn’t instill pitiful looks from my city friends.  Don’t wear repaired winter boots to the city.  Take a writing course.  Don’t miss writing course registration deadline.  Spend more time lying on the carpet with my dogs.  Increase daily fun quota.  Laugh more.  Forgive.  Be grateful.  Be kind.  Hug my kids more.  Eat less meat. Buy new socks.  Take more photos.  Exercise more.  And for goodness sake, take a break from Tim Riggins and his football career.

Happy 2016!  May it be filled with love, and may all your dreams come true!