Friday, August 21, 2009

Renovations anyone?

I haven't been posting since coming back from vacation since we've been doing renovations in the basement. We used to have burnt orange carpeting in the basement and since we don't like carpeting we finally decided to got rid of it and put down flooring instead. So I ripped up the old carpet, and what a mess. No matter how much you clean it it is a real dirt magnet. I had to cut it up into smaller pieces so the garbage would pick it up. I was covered in dust when I finished. Then we put down the under flooring that insulates and has a vapour barrier. Then I started laying out the floor which went well. You lind of get into a routine, lay out the boards, measure, and cut. Then hook the whole line into already finished floor.
What takes up an enormous amount of time isn't the project itself but putting on the finishing touches such as the baseboards etc. When I finally finished the floor there were two packages of floor boards left, so being the frugal person that I am, I decided to do the landing between the first floor, the garage floor and the basement since it was covered in old orange cushion floor (linoleum). When that was finished and still having some flooring I finished off the stairs also.
So now, everything is done and cleaned up and I start school next week. I had estimated that it would take me about a week to do the basement and it turned out taking me 2.5 weeks instead. There must be a Murphy's law in there somewhere.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Vacation Time

Haven't been around a computer or any other electronic device for the last week since Mrs. BB and I were on vacation in the Charlevoix. This region of Québec is on the north shore of the St. Lawrence river and is a ruggedly beautiful region of mountains, lakes, and rivers. We stayed at a small bed and breakfast called the l'Aubergine. (The name is a small pun on the word auberge or inn... so a small inn would be an aubergine) It's small and friendly and is situated just north of Baie-St-Paul one of the bigger towns. We really enjoyed staying there.

A water wheeled mill that is still used to produce flour for the bakeryThe view from near the Aubergine

So what did we do during our stay, well we went and visited a lot of art galleries in Baie St-Paul. The region is a mecca for artists and there are more art galleries per capita in Baie St-Paul than most major cities. We didn't buy anything since the paintings were way over our budget, but it was fun looking at them and there were a couple that I wouldn't have minded having on my walls. While we were there we also had supper in some really good restaurants, since Baie St-Paul is also renowned for its fine cuisine.

Baie St-Pail's main street
Since we were there we also went up to Tadousac to go watch the whales. Every summer many species of whales come up the St. Lawrence river to feed on the abundant food sources. The Saguenay river is a fjord and it has a depth of 270 metres. Where the Saquenay meets the St Lawrence, the depth of the St. Lawrence is 350 metres, but just past the meeting point the river bottom rises drastically. This causes an upwelling of the cold water toward the surface bringing up tons of krill and shrimp. The whales gorge themselves on it. There are blue whales, minke whales, belugas, dolphins and porpoises, humpback whales as well as different species of seals. It is quite spectacular to see.Pictures of whales and seals taken on the boat
We also went up to the Hautes-Gorges de la rivière Malbaie. This is a fault in the mountains that was widened and dug out by glaciers leaving the Malbaie river flowing between truly huge cliffs. You can rent a canoe or a kayak and paddle up the river, or you can hike up to the Acropole des Draveurs a cliff bound plateau faced with a cliff that is spectacular. There is also a boat ride up the river with a guide who explains everything about the river and the gorges. If you are so inclined you can take your backpack and tent and canoe up to a wild camping called l'Équerre since it is in a 90 degree bend in the river. This is about as far as it is possible to go since from there there are major rapids and falls. Close to the camp site there is a waterfall so in a way you could say that there is running water. Mrs. BB and I have every intention of going back to the park with our backpacks and renting a canoe to spend a couple of days there.

The Acropole des Draveurs