Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring might have arrived ?

We're not quite sure just yet, but spring may have arrived.   Had some melting going on this past week and the snow is starting to retreat, albeit very slowly.  I was looking at some photos taken at this time last year and it appears we are just slightly ahead in the snow melt department, but not by much.
Been the winter we'd all like to forget and put behind us, since it was the coldest winter since 1889 or whatever. It's these kinds of records we don't need to keep breaking. Remember that winter from 2011/2012 ?   Where it was like +20 C on St Patricks day and the snow was all gone, what little we had. Can we get some more of those please. This past winter was downright damn depressing. No wonder folks move to the west coast or become snowbirds for Arizona and Texas.

Back yard, snow melt as of April 11, 2014.

Transplanting continues in the greenhouse. Working on the spring veggies now, peppers tomatoes etc.

Front yard and veggie garden, snow melt.

The government of the day tells us that spring flooding won't be much of an issue this spring, with only localized flooding (me) and they may not have to use the floodway either. We'll see how that pans out. I'm still gearing up for some water in the back 40.

Green leaves of the maple tree
( in the greenhouse of course ).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Greenhouse Spring 2014

Last Friday we officially kicked off greenhouse season 2014 by heading out to our plant broker guy north of Birds Hill, Manitoba to pick up our first set of plants. Fortunately for me the day was storm free and the roads were bare and dry.

A new beginning.

On Monday of this week, we finished up transplanting said plants into bigger pots, primarily being a 4 1/2 inch pot. And for the lions share of these transplants this is the pot they will ultimately be sold in come May and June.

Not all our plants are brought in from elsewhere. A lot of the flowers and all the vegetables are hand seeded by us into plastic flats and then in a  few weeks they are transplanted into a 6 pak tray for sale. We have one more pick up scheduled for the first week of April, which will be plug flower seedlings.

Not all purchases in this current greenhouse season were plant related. The old black Dodge van has been officially retired from hauling water and in it's place we now have a 2001 Dodge Ram 3500 diesel flat deck.

2001 Dodge Ram 3500 4x4 diesel flat deck.
With this rig and its increased water carrying capacity, I should be able to complete the two big water jobs in town on one tank full without having to refill.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day and What a Difference Two Years Make !

For all my friends of Irish stock..Happy St. Patrick's Day to ya. I'll raise a pint in your honour later in the day.
Two years to the day....March 17, 2012   vs  March 17, 2014 and what a difference two years make.
Here's a link to my post from 2 years ago.
 As the photos below make abundantly clear............"Toto, we ain't in Kansas anymore."
I'm so hard pressed for words right now, I think I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

March 17, 2012
March 17, 2014

March 17,2012

March 17, 2014
How's that for comparative photos !

You know, if I didn't know any better, I think we've been snookered!
This won't happen next year......right !

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Winter Weary

When will winter end? I know we say this every year, but this year we really mean it. Manitoba can now go on record as having the coldest winter in the last 35 years and I think that's sufficient for most folks memories. And with the amount of snow on the ground, it also looks to be a late spring as well, on par with last year with some snow still around till the end of April.

Cold March sunrise.
And no shortage of the white stuff.

But winter or no, it's time to start up the greenhouse for another spring go round. By the end of the week, barring any late shipments, we should have our plants. Spent the most of last week clearing out the greenhouse of stored items that have been gathering dust since last fall. Fired up the big natural gas unit heaters and blew out the cobwebs.

Waiting for the green.

Also last week we made our annual road trip with truck and trailer to pick up the peat bales we use in transplanting the seedlings and plugs.

Hauling peat bales.

And finally, here's a shot of my shop office desk surrounded by real trees, that help keep the winter blahs and S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) at bay.  Beats cut flowers in a vase any day.

A canopy of leafy tress shading the desk.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Two words can summarize Manitoba this winter.  Cold and snow. And were just a little over half way thru winter, so we got that going for us.
The City of Winnipeg operates 4 snow dumps every winter season where the public and commercial haulers can take built up snow from parking lots, streets and the like and dump it free of charge.
One of those snow dumps has closed already this year as they are full. The dumps hold anywhere from 400,000 to 500,000 cu. meters of snow.

Kenaston Bv, snow dump...FULL. and Closed.
Notice the D9 Cat making it's way up the incline.
These dumps are enormous and one gets a better perspective or scale of them when you see huge
pieces of equipment, absolutely dwarfed by the snow mountain.

Dumping and pushing the snow uphill.

The tractors and trucks look like dinky toys against the snow hill.

Back side of the snow mountain.

Just another lovely Manitoba winter driving day.
One can only wonder what these mountains of snow will look like in 2 months.
At the end of winter we will do a recap and see.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Winds of Change.

Almost a month to the day, from the date of accident to the signing of the total loss documents for the little red bean, the 2004 Toyota Matrix......RIP. Pulled the plates off her yesterday and handed in my rental car.

And so we move on, for as the door closes on one chapter it follows that a new one opens up. A new chapter on vehicle ownership with perhaps a slightly different twist this go round. No point in replacing one boring econo box on wheels with another of the same switchgear. Moving away from the tried and true, the practical and prudent, to fun and flamboyant, carefree and wind in your hair?

The roadster has never been a vehicle to take up parking privileges at Busman's Bus Stop, but winds of change (there's that word,wind, again), are blowing in from the valley. Time for a change I say.

I briefly thought again about a motorcycle and there's lots of wind in your hair with that, but maybe a little too much of a fair weather vehicle. Now a 2 seat open roadster stretches that fair weather riding season a tad longer than a bike would.

So today we offer up for your edification (or perhaps disdain), a small selection of open roadsters that caught Busmans eye and tugged at a few heartstrings. In no particular order, other than the way I found them by googling, here is a small sampling of affordable used top down roadsters that Busman could see himself piloting down the road.

Honda S2000
 The colour yellow speaks to me, as does the stone dead reliable Honda power train, but we may have a problem with the ricer boys wanting to race.

Nissan 350Z
 The 350Z's total of 287 horsepower is only a few ponies shy of what is offered in a Porsche 911 that costs two and half times as much as the Nissan. Forged aluminum suspension bits, light as a feather. I like.

Pontiac Solstice
An insightful quote from a Pontiac Solstice forum reads, "You don’t need a trunk to haul ass.” So apparently if "ass" is all you need to haul, then this is your set of wheels. However me thinks that quote probably pretty well fits all our roadster contenders here today. The Mazda Miata is more reliable and practical.

Mazda Miata MX-5
Whether the NA, NB or NC series, these cars are the ultimate in $ per pound fun than anything else on the market in the last 25 years. Cheap to buy, easy to work on, and always sure to put a smile on your face. One of the best buys.

Porsche Boxster
Not the fav of the bunch for me. Although I do like German engineering, not so much the high price to maintain and repair. Car reviews unanimously agree this is not a cheap car to own.

I could be a Bimmer fan. Not fussy about the black paint. It's a proven fact, bright colours go faster and if you buy a roadster you want to be wringing this thing out thru the corners.

This certainly isn't an exhaustive list, notable omissions include the Audi TT and A4, BMW 3-Series,  MINI Cooper and Volkswagen Beetle, which have dubious track records for reliability, according to Consumer Reports.

Spring is in the air, well no not really, only in my head. But one has to get a start on these things and beat the buyers rush once the snow is gone. So what's it going to be? Eenie meenie miny mo.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter Road Hazards

This past month Mother Nature has been anything but kind what with the sixth coldest December since record keeping began and two fairly substantial dumps of snow. The next heating bill is going to be a doozy.
Driving in this vast frozen wasteland has also been a challenge for many. Streets and highways more akin to curling sheets and snow ruts so deep, you'd think you were on some settlers cart trail thru the wilderness.
Late last month one of our trusty steeds took a bit of a hit to the left front flank. Anita was piloting the Toyota Matrix down the west Perimeter Hwy. when a pick up truck just slightly in front and to the left of her, lost control, spun around and collided with her car. Nobody hurt and miraculously the Matrix was still driveable.

Our provincial insurer, MPI, was notified and we had a January appointment to bring said car down for a repair estimate. I'm no auto body man but I figured there was a couple thousand dollars damage for hood, bumper, fender and headlight assembly. And because the car is now 10 years old, they seldom use new parts, but quality used replacements.        I get it.  They're not going to go to Toyota Canada and order up original replacement parts...if they could even still get them.
Imagine my surprise when the estimator told me there was at least $5,700. damage and counting to the little red bean. Yikes! And that was using wrecking yard parts. Then the adjuster came out and informed us that this was a 'Marginal Repair'.  Meaning that they figured there was more stuff to fix that they hadn't seen yet and the repair cost was edging up very close to a write off. We were also informed that the other driver is 100% responsible, so our deductible is waived and we get a rental car.

Next step is to take the Matrix to the body shop, where they will do what's called a 'tear down'. This involves stripping off all the damaged parts and determining if there is anything else that needs to be repaired/replaced. This will be at the point where the Matrix may suddenly migrate into the write off stage, depending on how much more stuff is found and from what the adjuster was telling me, there isn't a whole lot of value left to use up.
So...2014 starts off on a bit of a downer. On the bright side I may be able to do some car shopping again.