It is a beautiful sunny day here in Owen Sound, but the temperature is hovering at 0C and there is a distinct nip in the air from a slight breeze. And the world is gripped in a pandemic that is even touching the lives of those of us who live in this somewhat remote town. On Saturday I took my weekend guests to experience the long established Owen Sound market and it was closed to help prevent the spread of the Covid 19 virus. So we had to go the Zehrs, the big supermarket in town to buy food for dinner. I don’t quite get the logic of that even if I understand the principle!
Saturday, on the cusp of perhaps a complete shut down of Ontario, was a new first for my life here. I hosted my first workshop, about fermenting food. It was lead by my friend Sara and I hope she adopts the name we came up with when we were first cooking up this idea, yes pun intended. Sara’s Gutsy Stuff. She designed an amazing poster (she used to be my graphic designer for Beaches Therapeutics and Plant Life). This is a new venture for her, and if you want your very own workshop, let me know and I will pass on your name !
The workshop took place at my dining room table, just a few people, and everyone went home with fermenting kit full of delicious food that will ferment and be ready in a week. And it marked the first of what I hope will be many more workshops on a whole lot of topics. It has been a bit of a winding road to get here, and more will be put on hold for a bit, but you will hear about them as they evolve.
One of the reasons I bought this house was for the one and a half story garage. I dreamed of turning it into a workshop and studio space where I could do leather work, jewellery, felting, both upstairs and downstairs.
Well, that long held dream was demolished in less than an hour this winter by being told that the footings were basically non-existent in a great deal of the garage. I have to admit, it never even crossed my mind to check them! It is a brick garage and I automatically thought that it would be solid. Apparently not. The second person who looked at it reluctantly agreed. He said that he would always prefer to use an existing building rather than build a new one, but it couldn’t be done. After discussing the cost of pulling it down, having the rubbish hauled away and rebuilding I said I had one other idea. Enclose the back porch.
He immediately thought this was a much better idea, but I had to obtain a permission for a minor variance from the city of Owen Sound. Then I had to wait until the neighbours decided to object to the enclosure or not. They didn’t, thank goodness. Every neighbour within 60 meters of my property had a say, that extends to the far side of the road behind me! So now a permit can be obtained and when the builder is free, shortly I hope, it can be built. Assuming of course that I can afford it now that my investments, along with everyone elses, have tanked because of the panic caused by this darn virus.
I have started thinking of settling into my new home as a combination of peeling an onion, and log jams. The peeling the onion consisted of dealing with boxes of belongings, such as my kitchen at the very beginning, or sorting and finding places for my clothes. The log jams are when I can not proceed with a project until other things are cleared away. Some things have been moved multiple times, and I am trying to avoid doing that any more until the deck is enclosed and things can finally find their place. The last major log jam. At the moment I have cream (body and face etc) supplies in my bedroom and jewellery, sewing, knitting and felting in my living room. Along with boxes of old electronics, computer stuff, old ipods and speakers, old modems and routers and old cords. I seem to be immobilized by them!
Anyone who enjoys dealing with the detritus of moving please stand up. I am down to the last dregs of sorting my “stuff” and in some ways it is the most difficult for me to deal with. Where does that basket, piece of paper, electronic cable live? What is the vessel that holds all those important business cards that you pick up that you think will help with this or that in the future?
At last, my home really began taking shape when when the pictures were put up. It was a daunting task for me sooo….. I invited friends to help. My cousin Cathy and I opened all the boxes that held the pictures and made a list. That night I had a dinner. Cathy numbered the walls and guests were asked to put wall numbers next to the paintings on the list. Lots of great ideas were sparked, and the next day we put a great deal of them up, especially in the living room. Then the next day after that Cathy and I drove to Brampton and picked up the new man in my life, Little Mann Tucker.
An Owen Sound Curiosity
Originally all of the streets in Owen Sound had names, not numbers. 2nd Ave E where I live was originally Poullet St. It says so on the lot number on my survey, as well as moulded into the sidewalk downtown. Now there are numbers, Streets and Avenues. I live on 2nd Ave E, but it is a street that runs north and south. I assumed that at some point it joined up with 2nd Ave W. But it doesn’t. Very off. It was very confusing to follow directions until it was explained to me that 2nd Ave E is the second avenue east of the Sydenham River. And there is a 3rd, and 4th and 5th Avenue going up the east side of the river valley. Equally, there are avenues going up the west side of the river valley. Now we come to the streets. The streets start at the south end of the town, just as they do in New York, and work their way north, but again, there are twists. There is a 10th street east and 10th street west and yes they do meet, on the bridge over the river. That part is easy. But what if a street does not go all the way from one avenue to another? Well then it will be called, for example, 10th St A E, and if there are two streets that do not go all the way through next to each other the second will be 10 St B E. The next street that goes all the way through will be 11th St E. You have to admit, it certainly is original! I can only imagine the comments and language at city hall when Councillors discussed this. How did they even explain it so that everyone understood, and what was the reasoning for thinking this was going to be easier than names. It may even be interesting to see how close the vote was and who the personalities were that were involved.
Well, the Y is closed, the library is closed, the museums are closed, eating out is discouraged. I may have to resort to more blogs during this social distancing! I hope you stay well.