Recently, Ernie did some work on the bathroom. Our bathroom has been in pieces for 2 years. It has taken us that long to dismantle, design, choose, and buy the stuff we needed to finish the project.
Actually I am not really complaining. Our favourite thing when doing a project is to do it slowly. And that we did. We did that because we didn’t want to make any mistakes.
In the picture below, Ernie is varnishing the sink stand. He made it out of Maple plywood. We stained it with dark stain and then varnished it with water soluble varnish.
The next picture is the bathroom mostly done. The sink was purchased at a hardware store and was really the only choice we had and it was in stock in the store. If we had to do it again, I would either order one that we knew was eco-friendly – if such a thing exists, or we would make our own out of something recycled. The plumbing is not done i the pic that is why there is a rag hanging out of the wall. Obviously the sink tap is not cheap. We have found that often you get what you pay for so we spent some money on that.
The ceramic wall tiles were left overs at the store and they had enough for this surround. Ernie bought pine panelling for the wall behind the sink and a small section on the other end of the bathtub. This will be varnished with the water-soluble varnish as well. Just as an aside, the mirror in the picture was salvaged and Ernie made the frame from scrap wood. I varnished it.
So from a homesteading perspective, I feel we did the best we could on the recycling/reusing side and the not spending too much side. Ernie did all the work himself and did it at a relaxed pace, not stressing himself out at all. It took several weeks but was worth the wait.
I am currently experiencing extreme burnout at work. So much so that I have to stop working and shut down my business. My job and business – grooming, training and boarding dogs, has for years ( 9 years) made it so that there is no time away from dogs. I work from home and I have my own dogs here as well as other people’s as part of the business. The whole thing was part of my plan to be an urban homesteader: working from home at something I love to help support the homestead lifestyle.
Most people enjoy going home from work to be away from work. For me, there is no such thing. When I board dogs, the dogs live here with us so I am on edge 24 hours a day thinking about the boarding dogs.
Don’t get me wrong here, I appreciate being able to even HAVE a job that I can do at home and not have to commute. I know there are people who don’t have jobs. However, in my enthusiasm to work from home, I picked a career that was too similar to my home life and therefore had no separation.
Because we live in a lowly populated area, I am forced to take most if not all clients at the risk of not making enough money that year or losing clients. Sometimes there is overlap of clients so that I don’t have any days off for weeks and weeks. We can’t go anywhere or really do anything as there is always someone’s dog to consider, even if it is just one dog staying with us.
As a business owner, I also am in charge of promotion of the business in real life, and on social media. As well, I took on some extra work as a social media manager for several other businesses. These were not pet businesses, but added to the workload.
I discussed this with Ernie, and we both agree that the burnout is in part because of the long hours and no breaks, but I also believe that at some point my heart was not really into it. I feel that I may have been pursuing the pet professional business because I had something to prove. This, however, is a subject for a completely different post so I won’t elaborate here.
My burnout is so extreme, that I have even stopped going to dog shows which I used to enjoy, training my own dogs, and have completely changed my hobby interests. I am now painting.
Strangely, I am OK with all this, especially the painting part. Yes, I am a beginner, but this is something that I am using to relax my mind as I recover from the burnout and is purely for the love of the process. I don’t care if it ever gets me anywhere. It is FUN.
So, I am a little depressed and sad about closing down my business that I have pursued for so many years, and leaving behind the clients that I enjoyed meeting and interacting with. But I think that I will be able to do more in another area of work when I find it because I learned what I did wrong with the previous one.
This year we grew some of our own vegetables from seed for transplanting into the garden. These were tomatoes, cabbage, brussels, broccoli, oregano, basil. Everything grew and grew. This is unusual for us. More often, the plants are spindly and small and they take more work than is preferred to get them to live.
This time we ignored them, so I guess that is why they grew so nicely.
We will be moving them out into the shed soon for the nights and in the day they will be somewhat protected outside until they harden a bit.
We did transplant the tomatoes, which we never do, so I guess that does count as not ignoring them.
Maybe it is just one of those years.
Today my project is this alpaca/acrylic scarf that I have made in two days from yarn that I bought ages ago but didn’t use. Actually I did use a couple to make scarves, and they turned out to be super warm but not overly dressy.
I made a long wide scarf with large needles so that it could be wrapped and doubled up if necessary for more warmth, but still look dressy or as I like to call it “glam” haha. This scarf is SUPER warm due to the alpaca in the blend. I had four colours, not enough of any one colour to make a sweater so I thought this would substitute. This was just knitting both sides and I used no pattern.
My husband likes to shop at the dump – I’m sure most of us have at one time or another. Not long ago, he found two heaters like this one in the metal pile. The only thing that is wrong with them is that the plastic dials are broken off. You can see the dial sitting on top of the heater.
They work fine and are not starting fires. This one is in our dog room. It is likely that a local contractor decided they weren’t worth fixing and that he couldn’t use them so he dumped them. Thank you.
We have a small house because it is:
1. less to clean
2. an interesting older building (almost 100 years old) that has been renovated
3. saves us money because we own the house
4. reduces waste because we aren’t tearing it down to build a new one
Our decor is rustic/vintage. I will be discussing this in the next several blog posts.
The most important point here for homesteaders is that they use what they have. We didn’t tear down what we have to build something new to make it was more stylish or more impressive.
For example, we will start with the business. I groom, train and board dogs for a living. Most people who do this build new and make it as fancy as they can, usually a modern look. I decided to make the grooming and boarding area in a small section of the garage which is also the workshop. The whole garage is about 12 feet wide and 24 feet long. Because of the small size we have to make use of every but of space in a way that maximizes the storage capacity.
This is the boarding room or “dog room” as we call it. It is certainly not new, but it really works and instead in of tearing the whole thing down and re-building we are simply making changes with what we have. Everything that is in this room is made with recycled materials with the exception of the wood that goes up the wall.
The cupboards above the kennel were taken from a house I used to own and found a use here. The owner of that house actually MADE those cupboards himself out of plywood several decades ago.
You can see the large green fan on top of the kennels. This is an old fan but works perfectly and you can’t buy fans that are this sturdy that are made in North America anymore.
The sliding glass door that you can see on the far right was also salvaged from a relatives home as it was being thrown out. Works perfectly.
Sure the cement floor has a few divots in it but that is only cosmetic. It does not need to be replaced.
The only thing in this room that is not my favourite and needs some adjustments is the door. This is the only door we could find because the roof is low and the door had to be cut down to fit so a metal door which would be preferable will not fit. We are keeping our eyes open. For now this will do.