Home ownership is a lot of work!

All you home owners out there are of course nodding your heads at the title of this post, and I certainly didn’t become a home owner blind to all the maintenance that a house requires, and a century home at that! Not to mention outbuildings and equipment…people ask me what I’m doing with my spare time now that the growing season is over, and all I can say is that I don’t really feel like I have much spare time.

In terms of home and building maintenance, since moving to the farm, I’ve gotten the farm house roof replaced, dry walled and insulated part of an upstairs room, and painted half the upstairs. More recently, I had the uncovered portion of the barn filled in with a cement floor and a new beam installed in the lower level to carry the weight of the cement floor and stabilize the structure. My hope is to one day have a barn terrace cafe on that cement floor as the view of the rolling countryside is amazing from there.

I’ve bought a wood stove for the house so I won’t just be burning fuel oil, aka ‘money’, over the winter to heat the house. I had an Eco-Energy audit done for the house and am now just waiting for the new windows for the upstairs of the house to be installed, and to have the basement insulated. I will also be crawling into the attic to lay down more insulation. All these things are planned improvements for long-term improvements in energy efficiency.

Of course, there had to be a sucker punch in all this building stuff. I couldn’t possibly have bought a place that wouldn’t have a surprise for me to deal with 🙁 My oil furnace started dripping fuel oil from the burner at some point. I have no idea when it started, only this October, back in April, or even before I took possession of the house. It made a wet spot on the basement floor that I just thought was another water related wet spot. And since I generally avoided spending any time in the basement, I never really noticed that it never dried out. Well, it wasn’t water, and technically, is considered an oil spill. Great…the organic vegetable farmer has an ‘oil spill’ in her basement according to the TSSA (who I had no idea existed until they inspected the oil spot and issued me a test order). Anyway, the furnace has now been repaired, so the dripping has stopped, but now I have to figure out how contaminated the floor is and what clean up is involved and what that might cost. All mysteries to me, and it seems like experts on this are few and far between. Sigh…this wasn’t something that I wanted to have to deal with as I got ready to be in Toronto to help my sister with her booth at the One of a Kind show. But happen it did, and I’ve done what I can for now and will just have to see what next steps to take after I get back to the farm after the show.

There are cosmetic changes that I’d like to make to the kitchen and downstairs toilet room (since that’s all it is without a sink installed yet!), but those are definitely not a priority. I guess I’ll have to see how much money (or more accurately, debt) I’m willing to spend after all the crucial stuff is taken care of. My housemate has also moved back to Kitchener-Waterloo so when I get back to the farm, I’ll be doing post move-out cleaning, and rearranging all my stuff to fill the space. I’ll also be bringing furniture back to the farm with me from friends and family, so all that will need to be arranged to make my home comfortable. If any of you have furniture you want to get rid of, let me know! I don’t guarantee I’ll take it, but I could definitely use some more items!

Well, that’s it for home maintenance for now…my next couple weeks will be occupied with helping my sister at the Toronto Christmas One of a Kind show. If you’re at the show, come visit me at the ‘House of Hsueh’ booth in the Rising Stars section and support a struggling artisan 🙂

This is the story of my journey into sustainable agriculture. From the streets of downtown Toronto, to the farm land of southern Ontario, I hope to discover the techniques and practices that work for me in both mind and heart.

4 thoughts on “Home ownership is a lot of work!”

  1. Hi,

    Your DBRS colleague Wes suggested I check out your blog (our kids take swimming lessons together at the YMCA). Are you planning to deliver vegetable packages to TO again next year? If so, I'd like to get more information. Thanks,

  2. Hey its Wai Chi, came upon your blog thru facebook. If you're still having trouble with that oil spot in your basement, let me know.. this is actually my area of expertise (i.e., environmental contamination).

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