Getting Stoned

We got so stoned yesterday at Tiny House Ontario!  We had expected this to come but were really surprised at how much we got for $175!

My cousin Andrea put in a flag stone patio last summer and it looks really great, so I thought using the same inexpensive and practical system as she did was the most sensible.  Basically, she explained, that they bought and put in stone dust, making the layer thicker than they wanted (because it settles a lot).  They levelled the stone dust, and then waited until the next summer to put the flag stones on in order so that the stuff settles.  Then they used only a little bit of stone dust to make sure that the stones all lined up and levelled well.  They let this sit too for a couple of weeks then when everything was well settled, they mixed Portland cement and put this into the spaces between.

It is heavy work, moving stone dust, then moving stone, but I love this effect and I am happy to do it. Thankfully my husband came down and we always do stuff together when he is around.  Yesterday it was charging the phones and computers while we got the stone dust in place.  He did the heavy work of shovelling, bringing and dumping the loads and I levelled and stomped on the dust to compress it with my feet.  We have quite a bit of it in place now.

It is a dirty job!  Both of us were coated with limestone dust so we made a trade.  We went in and had showers at my cousin Tracey’s place then we drove her out to her parent’s place because she needed to get there.  We also stayed and had a beer with them.

Her dad, is Vernie, who I have mentioned here before because he is the artist who made the cabinets in THO and her mom Irene is the person who gifts me with all the chipmunks!  They do not like them digging in their garden so they catch and then release them up in the forest at my place.  They and their kids too, are people who have a great sense of humour.  We all sat around laughing for a couple of hours.  What a great way to end a day of hard work!  Clean, fed and laughing with people who you love!

Categories: Art, Tiny House Ontario, Trade | 2 Comments

Beautiful Death

I have loved ones buried at the Sandhill cemetery on Montreal Street North of Kingston.  I go there to visit their graves very frequently.  I can’t forget them.  As a matter of fact, I want to remember them, and miss talking with them so I go frequently and catch my people up with the community news.  I am not sure if the dead can hear, but what I am sure of is that the dead and their visitors are treated daily to glorious skies.  The cemetery is built high and the view from there is always beautiful.


I have come to feel that our late loved ones were given the best spot in the province.  Even most locals do not know that part of the property was donated to the community from an immigrant named George Masoud who came to Canada from Mount Lebanon in Syria.  This area is the Christian Heartland of the currently troubled country.

When Mr. Masoud lived in Syria the area of Mt. Lebanon would have looked somewhat like this.  (The photo is from 1914 where he donated the property to our community a few years before this.)

This is what he left to us and relatively, this is an ordinary sunset from Sandhill.  Our graveyard is a beautiful spot to be alive.  Wouldn’t you agree?

For the most part, I think we all leave behind something beautiful when we die.  I hope, when my time comes, that I will be no exception.

Jane Orr and her husband George Masoud
Categories: Family, Kingston, Ontario, Open your eyes, Trade | 5 Comments

Creative Trades

I had just moved into Tiny House Ontario when my cousin Vernie, who is also a neighbour, called and asked if I could babysit his dog while they went to Maine.  I love dogs so of course this was not a problem for me.  He offered to sweeten the deal which was not necessary at all, I told him, I would take care of the dog without anything.  Still he said he would make me a recycled wood bedside table for Tiny House Ontario.  A pretty good trade; of course I said yes.

Vernie along with being one of the smartest and most interesting people I have ever known, is a carpenter.  Really more than that, he is a comedian and an artist with a capital A.  He probably never had a lot of money to explore his creative side, so he created art out of things that people left behind, way before this recycled art became hype or trend.  I am a huge fan of everything Vernie does.  Really, if I had an unlimited amount of money I would love to have a big space to have an artist’s collective and I would most certainly want Vernie to be a part of this.  Not just for his talent but also for his amazing ability to recall history, family background and make me laugh my head off.  The man knows how to do about everything, except for how to train a dog, that is.

So, a couple of days later he and his wife left, a few times a day I hopped on my trusty little steed, and I went to take care of Andy Capp. When I pulled up on my little bike, there the dog would be, large as life, a muscle bound fool, with his tongue hanging out, happily waiting for me to bring him out for a walk.  It was not really like that, because every time the fool of a dog brought me on a walk (to remember).  Ok, so I am still not telling you the whole truth.  Actually, it was more that he brought me for a drag, all over the place, and often it was right down on the ground where Andy brought me and then he would jump on me a few times for fun too.  I spent the week sore and filthy from the multiple dragging incidents.  Despite the fact that Andy is about half my size he is about 10 times my fitness level and thus he knocked me off my feet into dust, grass, mud.  He pulled me into the ditch face first and also escaped my grasp more than once.

On the second visit before I knew better, I brought him into Vernie’s house and he tore the mattresses and bedding right off the beds.  He peed on my handbag too, that day, just for good measure.  It was a week of tomfoolery and chaos and I was mighty glad to see Vernie arrive home!  I have actually never met a dog as busy as Andy;  it is a good thing that he is such a beautiful animal.  Part Akita with all this gorgeous fur colouring, eyes and confirmation.  A stunning, and stunningly stupid, dog for sure.

Turns out that Andy hurt Vernie’s wife more than once.  She says that they are ‘not friends’ and I am sure that she means it.  She is older than me and he was able to hurt me too.  He does not mean to; despite the pee on my purse, he is not a mean spirited creature at all, but rather just an excited and very strong, goofy puppy.  I suspect that he is not the right dog for retired people.

Anyway, as for the bedside table, Vernie carved the door and built this gorgeous little cabinet.  I asked him to stamp his name on the back of it.  Since I am a huge fan of Vernie, I could not be more thrilled with this fantastically whimsical and creative piece.  Then who would not love to own this gorgeous creation?  Honestly, every time I go up the ladder stairs, I admire it.  I think this lovely little cupboard is totally and absolutely worth the week with Andy Capp.

Still, I have to admit, I will hold my breath for a moment if they ask me this summer to babysit Andy.  Before I agree,  I will of course hope that Andy will have calmed down a little with age; or at least that I got a little smarter and more prepared over the winter.

Categories: Art, Dog, Environmentalism, Sustainable living, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario, Trade | 7 Comments