Long Day

Yesterday was our day to do our monthly shop, which always makes for a long day. We actually decided not to do a full shop, though, and will go back later in the month. Specifically, we didn’t get all the cat kibble and litter we usually do. It gets really hard to pack the van with groceries with so many bags and boxes taking up space!

I’m really enjoying the longer daylight hours, too. It was still daylight when we came home!

We were greeted with gorgeous views in the morning, too.

Everything was covered in a thick layer of frost, making everything glitter in the sunlight. Every now and then, we’d glance out the window and think, “oh, it’s snowing!” but no, it wasn’t. A gust of wind would be blowing enough frost off the trees that it looked like it! As I was heading out to the van, one of those gusts hit. The air was sparkling with the icy frost being blown around, and there was an actual crystalline, tinkling sound when the bits landed. Truly like something out of a fairy tale! So beautiful!

You know what else is beautiful?

This guy.

Perching on fence posts and watching me while I do my rounds has become a favorite thing for him to do! Which makes sense. It would be much warmer on the paws! 😀

In the days before we head into the city, the girls and I make up an organized list, not just of what we need, but where we go to get them, then plan it all out so that the last things we get are the fresh and frozen stuff. We have our insulated bags, but with an hour + to drive home, it’s just better that way. At least for this time of year, we don’t also have to bring ice packs, too. In the summer, even with the AC going in the van, insulated bags and a cooler, the ice packs are half melted by the time we get home!

First thing on the list when we get to the city is food. Typically, none of us have even eaten breakfast before we leave, and it’s close to lunch time by the time we get into the city. This time, we make a point of going to a new place we’d been keeping an eye on the “opening soon” signs on. It’s finally open, but we missed out on going there last month and made a plan to go there this time. It’s called the Loaded Pierogi, and this is what we got.

All the meals are served on a based of potato filled pierogi, which can be either pan or deep fried. Deep fried pierogi are sometimes referred to as “Canadian style”. 😀 We all chose the deep fried version.

I got the Montreal Smoked Meat. “Smoked beef brisket with caramelized onions, mozzarella cheese, house made sauerkraut, mustard, pickle spear, sour cream and green onions.” I quite enjoyed it. My only issue is that I’m not a big fan of mustard, and there was quite a bit of it on there. One of my daughters picked the Smoking Pig Roast. “Smoky BBQ pulled pork, centre cut bacon, chorizo sausage, cheddar cheese, sour cream and green onions.” She found it very delicious. My other daughter picked the Wild Mushroom & Truffle. “Sauteed portobello, oyster, crimini and button mushrooms with garlic, thyme, Quebec goat cheese, white truffle oil, caramelized onions, black truffle sour cream and green onions. I’d say the Wild Mushroom and Truffle was the best of the bunch, though my daughter who doesn’t like mushrooms would disagree, of course. 😉 Interestingly, the one with truffle in it cost less, at $14, than the other two, which cost $15 each.

I definitely would go back. I’d want to try some of the other dishes, but if I’m honest with myself, I’d probably just order that mushroom with truffles one! Still, there’s choices like Butter Chicken, Porky Pig and Bacon, Sauerkraut and “Oh Yeah” Bacon and Get Cheesy that I’d love to try, too! They also have snacks, salads and desserts – including sweet apple and caramel pierogi!

This trip in, we added an extra stop to our shopping. I made sure to have a budget to visit Bulk Barn and stock up on some things I want to use to make “meals in a jar”. Basically, they just need some sort of protein and water added. I have made these before in quart jars, and that would be enough for my 8L slow cooker; enough to feed us all for days! My daughters aren’t as keen on them, though, so this time, I plan to make them in 500ml jars. Once prepared, it should be enough for my husband and I.

There’s a new Bulk Barn that’s right next to a new Filipino grocery store that one of my daughters hadn’t seen yet, so that worked out well; they had their own shopping list and were able to get most of what they needed there, while I picked up my Bulk Barn stuff. All of this happens to be near a Walmart we like, so that was our next stop. I even got to *gasp* buy myself a new pair of jeans. After the last two summers of yard work, my jeans have gotten pretty shredded! 😀

Only after that did we make it to the Costco for the majority of our shopping, followed by one last stop at a favorite grocery store for the fresh stuff we don’t need to get in Costco size. 😀

The plan was to stop at a pet store and pick up new plants for our aquarium, but by then I didn’t have the energy anymore! Instead, we just picked up some food for the road (Dim Sum! Yeah!) and headed home!

So we’re all stocked up on people food, and will head back to the city to top up on the giant bags of cat kibble. We can get them locally, but the price difference is enough to make it worth the drive to the city.

It feels good to be stocked up again!

It wasn’t until this morning, after dropping my daughter off at work, that I could swing by the garage and talk to the mechanic about my mother’s car. He was very surprised to hear the noise was actually louder. That should not have happened. My brother is positive that a bearing or gear is wearing out, and that’s causing the noise, so I brought that up. The mechanic clearly thinks it’s unlikely, but says it’s possible. After talking for a bit, he suggested I drive it around more (the drive from town to home is relatively short) to give the new lubricant a chance to work its way through all the parts and pieces. That should be enough to do it, but if not, come back. Meanwhile, he said he would do some research. If it is because of a gear or bearing, it might actually be cheaper to get a second hand differential and replace the whole thing, than rebuild it.

So I’ll have to make a point of driving my mom’s car, and I really don’t want to! I certainly don’t want to do it when we have something time dependent to get to, like an appointment or one of my daughter’s shifts. I’ll take it out for some minor errands. I did tell him I don’t use that car much, so I might be back to get my brakes done on my van at the end of March before I get his recommended 100km or so on my mom’s car!

*sigh*

Ah, well.

Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of stuff to get done, including getting a bit more progress done in the old part basement.

Oh, that reminds me. I had a chance to talk to my brother about that some more.

In regards to the access pipe in the floor to the septic tank, as far as he can remember, the pipes underground are all PVC. The top of this access point is metal, but he can’t remember much about it. Likely, our dad got whatever was available at the time.

As for that floor drain.

Oh, dear.

I told him about scooping out some of the sludge at the bottom and finding tree roots, and then finding that there are drain openings in 4 directions, not just towards the septic tank. I also commented that the other three felt like they were full of soil.

He did not know why there were 4 drain openings, but the one that the tree root was coming through should be open.

It turns out that the weeping tile under the floor of the new part basement was built to drain to the septic tank. It all diverts to a pipe that leads to this drain, which in turn leads to the septic tank. (There is no trap anywhere in this part of the system, so when the drain is not being used, it gets covered with a sheet of plastic to prevent gases from the septic tank from getting into the basement.)

When the new part basement was build and the weeping tile installed, the concrete floor of the old part basement had a trench broken through it for the drainage pipe to run through. What should have been done was to have it drain into another sump pump reservoir in the new part basement, like we already have in the old part basement, but my dad had decided against that.

As to the drain pipe being filled with soil, he thinks he knows why.

Some time before we moved out here, while the house was empty, a rain barrel had been put under a downspout at one corner of the new part of the house. Whoever put it there, however, didn’t tend it. That summer, it rained heavily. The brain barrel overflowed and all that water – a whole summer’s worth of rainwater from the roof – went straight down. The soil under the barrel itself even started to erode away, and this is why we now have a really weird set up there.

There was enough water soaking against the house that, by the time my brother found what had happened, there was a large amount of water in that corner of the new part basement, and mold and mildew had started to grow all up the walls in the corner. It took him many hours to clean up the mess, then wash it with bleach.

When I told him about the soil I was feeling in what I now know should have been an open drain pipe, his thought is that it is from this flooding. So much water was getting under the basement, he things soil seeped into the weeping tile and flowed with the water towards the septic tank.

Which might also explain why that pipe we worked on was so thoroughly blocked. It wasn’t just decades of whatever has gone down the drains. It would be soil, too, getting caught up in the usual grease, hair or whatever else tends to coat the inside of pipes over time.

If he is correct, we potentially have a much larger problem.

If he is correct, this is all because someone (and we know who it was) set up a rain barrel, with nothing to deal with the overflow, and forgot about it.

Hhmm. I have this sudden urge to check my lottery tickets. At this rate, we’re going to need a jackpot to fix this place up properly!!

The Re-Farmer

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