Friday, May 20, 2011

April Showers Bring May... Showers?!

Rain, rain and more rain. That has been the story for five days now in Southern Ontario. The forecast is even bleaker. We're all wagering on the one nice day predicted for this weekend, before the storms and rain move in again. If the weather was depressing last month, now it's downright frustrating. I'm planning a 'staycation' to plant my garden this weekend. I have to remind myself it's the holiday weekend, because the weather would have me believe it is only April 12.
Honestly though, I have so much to do, I doubt I'll get it all finished. One good day is just not enough.

That's it for my weather rant for now. I got my camera back, so I wanted to share a few more pictures from our crazy wind storm. Amazingly, much of the debris and mess was gone from around the city last week already.
Three big pines in front of this apartment building were uprooted.

Trees snapped in half like this one, were common all over the region.

Big, old trees took down hydro lines, landed on cars and homes.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Gift From Enbridge? The Taps Program

I responded to a knock at the door this week to find a man holding a cardboard box and a clipboard. My eyes immediately went to the name tag pinned on his pocket, and I prepared to ask him to leave. Then, he introduced himself as an Enbridge employee. I had thought he was an energy marketer. Gas prices had just shot up from 1.34 to 1.41 in my town after all, and poor, unsuspecting consumers were ripe to be ripped off further. 

He quickly proceeded to explain he had been hired for the Enbridge TAPS program, and he had some free gifts for being an Enbridge customer. He handed me four compact florescent light bulbs and two aerators (one for the bathroom tap and one for the kitchen). I was still skeptical. Why was I getting this for free? What does he really want?

Next, he pulled out a water-saving shower head, but asked if he could install it. Um, I hesitated. It's not every day someone comes to your door, asking if they can stand in your shower. He insisted he had to install it. It was his job. I agreed, and 2 minutes later I had a new shower head.

I was still perplexed after he left though. Since when do gas companies give their customers anything free? Did they overcharge me somewhere, and this is their way of making it up? What kind of a tax break are they getting for doing this? Obviously, he had to install the shower head to guarantee it got used.

Regardless, I replaced a few old light bulbs with the new this morning and put the aerator on the bathroom tap. It reduces my water use from 7.5 gpm to 1.5 gpm. Not huge savings. According to the program card, it's about $122 in gas (to heat the water) and water savings / year, if I also installed the kitchen aerator. The light bulbs account for a $21 savings. Not a fortune, but still $143 I could put toward a new TV, garden plants, or decorating my craft room!

Did anyone else have someone from Enbridge TAPS come by? Did you take their offer? Anyone know what their motivation is behind TAPS?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spring Has {finally} Sprung

Bf continues to insist this spring is not 'late'. Rather it's just about on-time, and the last few years, spring was early. OK. Good luck telling the farmers that though. <- I keep that comment to myself, because he is well aware how the farmers feel.

It seemed like the rain would never end, but we finally got almost an entire weekend of sunny weather. Aside from a splash of rain Friday evening, I spent most of the weekend outside either in my yard or enjoying Mother's Day lunch. Not only do I have a burn to prove it, but my yard is finally starting to look like I love it again.

My tulips have mostly popped up, and I realized they look better in clusters than planted individually.

Bf cut the grass for me. I think my backyard was at least 8 inches long in places, so he had to leave it as long as the lawn mower would let him. It was still a slow-go at times. It looks so much better now that it's cut though. Bf, you rock.

Funny enough, it was only a few minutes after he fired up the lawn mower and headed to the backyard, and my next-door neighbour did the same. They both puttered back and forth across the yards, and all-of-a-sudden, I felt like I was living in The Sims. Especially, since there did not appear to be any real pattern for my neighbour. I always wondered why the Sims people only cut 3 or 4 random strips. Maybe, they were modeled after my neighbour.

The Sims - The People Simulator from the Creator of SimCity 

I finished laying the patio stones along the side flowerbed. In an effort to stop the erosion of soil under my downspout, I assembled a rock garden. I'm looking forward to seeing how this works next time it rains. I have decided to try a clematis on this side of the house also, as it gets so hot and dry, I don't know what else to plant.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Survived the Wind Storm

My neighbour finally had power restored to his house today. It was cut on Thursday, when the wind storm that came through our city knocked both our lines down. Thankfully, mine was put back up.

In the big scheme of things, we were really quite lucky. Our region was ravaged with destruction, yet it paled in comparison to the devastation Alabama faced only a day earlier. Nevertheless, my city declared a State of Emergency at one point, and some homes are still waiting for power. Winds up to 124 km/h at times blasted our region, uprooting huge trees all over the city and crashing down on homes, power lines and roads. Several people lost shingles, or worse yet, most of their roof.

I felt a little strange taking pictures of some of the destruction, but it's something I've never seen before. Of course, I left my camera at a friend's house this weekend, so I can't share. I promise I'll post as soon as I get it back.

I did get this photo from a friend. It was too wild to not share. It almost makes you think the picture is sideways. That's the hydro line holding the tree up. This would've been considered only medium priority likely, if that gives you an indication of what the rest of the damage looked like. Yikes.

I wanted to get this post up, but come back later this week. I promise I'll add more pictures. We lost two older men here. As tragic as their deaths were, they seem eerily similar to what you might imagine could happen in a tornado. All I could think about last week were the families that experienced any of the 312 tornadoes that hit the U.S. last week.