Dec 10, 2008

Love those reno's

I love working on this house and this land. In our last Vancouver house - a 1911 beauty that we truly did love - the Fix-Up list was daunting and heavy and felt never-ending. Here, somehow, it's light and attractive. I want to be doing more, fixing, creating. I want to be out there, not even here on the computer.

So what is different? One obvious factor is time - as a stay-at-home dad, I have more time to devote to these things, and can involve the kids. Yesterday while Sarah worked, Galen and I finished building the futon sofa we found in the barn, and put it up in the hayloft that we recently renovated to be their playspace. Then Zekiah woke up from his nap and helped re-organize the garage to better fit bikes and playstuff, and put a light on my bike. At 4:30 the train whistle blew, which at this time of year means it's time to put the chickens in and come inside to light a fire and make pizza.

That example also shows another factor - integration. I wasn't putting aside one responsibility or desire to take care of the Reno list. I was with the kids, teaching the kids through example and meaningful involvement, doing something achievable that brought satisfaction, and taking care of things that made our morning much easier as we took our bikes to school. Vancouver's "either-or" has become Duncan's "yes-and."

A third factor is that it's all gravy. This 1936 house has been lovingly cared for - we're just the 3rd owners ever - and was happily livable from day one. In a little over two months we've done alot, but all things to increase our enjoyment:
  • installed a highly-energy-efficient heat-pump to replace the ghastly baseboard electric heaters - it should pay for itself in savings in 5 years
  • installed a wood-burning fireplace insert for more romantic heat
  • bought a chainsaw and cut alot of firewood from our property for that fireplace
  • put in a new plywood floor and railings to the hayloft above the barn for kids' playspace
  • created a new trail for more bike-riding options for the kids
Finally, I just feel so darn connected to this land. I want to be in my boots, tramping around out there. I wander the forest each morning and pick up dead branches for the bonfire we'll have when it snows. I can't wait to overplant in the spring and be swamped with weeding and picking and preserving in the summer and fall. I want our multiple outbuildings to come alive in this vision as guest house, workshop, tool storage, play areas, etc. I want to save seeds. And on and on.

Our old house was beautiful and allowed us to manifest many forms of community. Our new home goes beyond that - it weaves in our whole lives, connection to the community, becoming part of the food production cycle, healthy family dynamics and child-raising, and whole alot of fun work and play.

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