Ruth in the premium lounge at Toronto's Pearson Airport.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Greenwich, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on September 1st.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Before and after

Ruth's mother was an avid gardener. In fact, when she looked after the property years ago, it was suitable for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. And in fact, she won local awards for her garden.

 I don't have many electronic photos of what it used to look like, but I can give you an idea...

This one was taken in 2003...

Ruth's parent's house in 2003.

But a garden like that is a lot of work. And when Ruth's mom passed away about 10 years ago, her father just couldn't keep up and it gradually deteriorated over the years. 

So Ruth has been spending a lot of time working on it over the past month. In the photo above, you can see that they had garden growing right out to the side of the road out front.

This is what it looked like when we arrived.

Mostly weeds.

And this is what it looks like now.

Like I said, it's hours of work.

While Ruth was doing that, I was cleaning out the work shed. He had years worth of old oil, gas and various chemicals that were garbage. But, they have some pretty strict regulations about getting rid of that stuff. This week, the municipality was operating a hazardous waste disposal site for a few days, so I took the opportunity to get rid of a bunch of that stuff.

But of course the little red car isn't very big. And, I didn't want to make a mess at all so I lined the rear hatch with thick garbage bag plastic and then put it in boxes that were also lined with plastic. Didn't need any leaks getting onto the material of the rental car! But there was too much stuff and I was going to have to make two trips.

I went to the website and read all of the rules to make sure I could drop off what I wanted to.

It was about 35 kms (22 miles) one way to the site.

I got there, and the first question the young guy asks me is "Are you a city of Ottawa property taxpayer?"

Not wanting to lie, and figuring they might ask for ID, I explained the story that I was just dropping this off for my 85 year old father in law who is a city of Ottawa taxpayer.

The guy says that no, I was going to have to turn around and go to the dump where I would get charged to drop it off.

I argued with him and eventually he waved me through, I think mostly because there was starting to be a line up behind me!

But then, I thought how am I going to come back with a second load? So when I got back to the house I called the city of Ottawa and explained the story. The girl totally agreed with me, and went off to check with someone else. When she came back on the line she said that they are not allowed to ask for identification, so simply say "yes" when they ask the question. We both laughed at my thought of what if I get the same guy? He's bound to remember me.

Anyhow, Ruth found the property tax invoice and I brought it with me. It was a different guy this time and when he asked the question, I just waved the paper at him and he waved me through.

Later, I got an email from the director of waste services from the city, apologizing for the inconvenience.

Kind of dumb to turn anybody away even if they are not a rate payer. Here is someone trying to do the right thing disposing of waste in a responsible manner, and they make it difficult. For the 2 or 3 people who might slide by who are not rate payers, who really cares? It's not like someone is going to drive for hours to drop their stuff off, and even if they did at least the stuff is being disposed of properly.

Back at the house again, I got the bikes out and we went for a ride.

Scenery along the way.

Lots of back roads around here for us to ride on.

We did just over 17 kms (10.5 miles) in an hour. Good workout on a nice day.

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And in Canada...


  1. Really a lovely home! What a labor of love on Ruth’s part! That is a lot of work. Have a similar issue with our home and a realtor told us it would be a good idea to return some of the perennial gardens to lawn. Makes sense that a new owner might not want to do the upkeep. Sad but true.

    1. It really is a beautiful home. One day we will do a post on what the house used to look like when I was a child, I just need to find the photos and then get them scanned. That will be a rainy day project one day soon.

      The flowerbeds are a lot of work. Last year we had a company come in and do the maintenance on them and they got them looking quite nice. This spring we had a friend living in the house for a few months up until just before we got here and she did some of the weeding so most of the garden looks not bad but that front flowerbed was the worst, I don't think she got quite that far before we returned. I only really have one more area that is pretty bad the rest shouldn't take nearly as long. My nephew next door said the same thing about turning some of the flowerbeds back into lawn but that in itself is a lot of work and I am not willing to be the one to do it.

    2. Will look forward to the photos! Maybe your next door nephew can help out with the gardens? Good luck with all your projects.

    3. My nephew has his own house and garden to look after, so I don't think he will be helping with these flower beds, although he did donate a few of his flowers that needed to be split up.

  2. What beautiful gardens.... thank you for your perseverance in disposing of the chemicals. Sending some good environmental karma your way.

    1. Once we get the garden looking great again we will post some pictures of the whole yard, it really is beautiful. My Mum loved to garden and she definitely had a green thumb.

      It feels good knowing that we were getting rid of things the right way. We still have cans of old paint and such but we heard that you can take those back to either Lowe's or Home Depot for proper disposal, so we will work on taking a load down to Ottawa each time we head into the city. Slowly we will get things cleared up and most of the junk disposed of.

  3. Well done! Reminds me of when my step dad sold his house and we cleaned out the back of his 3 car garage that had old paint, pesticides, herbicides, God only knows what all, and most of it was left over from the original owner. Filled the whole back of the truck. Went to the disposal line and the guy said this is too much! I asked what I could do and he said we'll take a third, and you drive around the block and come back in twice more! Feels good to get rid of the toxic soup the right way, especially to this environmental science major.

    1. Isn't it funny how they skirt the issue! It is all going to end up there anyways, so why not just take it all at once,, you just have to shake your head sometimes. At least you got rid of it all the proper way, just like Kevin did. :-)

  4. Reminded me of the time I took youngest to an doctor to get meds for an ear infection. The woman asked me if we were "local" residents to which I replied "Does it matter" and she said no. I sat back down, she called me a few min later to ask me for my insurance ID card. I said I was paying in cash. I sit back down. A few min later, she hollers across the room asking for my Social Security number, I hollered back "What do you need it for" and she told me to bill my insurance... as I scratch my head I was thinking all kinds of things... then I said "I am paying cash" Oh yes she said. A few minutes later another woman comes to the window asking that I give her my Social Security Number and I again said, I am paying cash... now leave me the hell alone. I finally got the kid into the doctor and told him, his front office girls were going to cost him business.

    1. I hope that the doctor apologized to you for all the crap you had to put up with in the front office!

  5. Same here in the U.K., they are making it so difficult to get rid of hazardous waste, (and even non hazardous) that it's ridiculous. Waste is waste no matter from who's house and it needs disposing of correctly. And then councils seem surprised that fly tipping is on the increase!

    1. Btw, great job on the garden Ruth :)

    2. Yep, they want you to do the right thing but they don't want to make it easy for you! I guess that is why so many people still don't separate their recycling from their garbage or dump it at the side of the road somewhere as you mentioned. :-(

      Thank you Helen! The gardens are coming along, the front one was the bad one and there is one more spot that is pretty bad but the rest have been fairly well maintained over the spring and summer by our friend Kim so those parts will go quite quickly. They will not look as good as Mum's but they will look presentable. :-)

  6. That's the kind of BS that makes people do illegal things. Turn someone away who has no compass and they might just stop on the roadside and dump everything.

  7. The house and yard are really charming! I know how much work it is to get those kind of flower/shrub beds in shape after they have been neglected. We worked on my husband's parents' yard every time we visited for the last 5-6 years they lived in their house, and then again when we were getting it ready to sell after they'd moved to assisted living. Lots of work but very satisfying to see the end product. Now I am working on my mother's yard when I visit, which isn't often due to the virus. I love gardening but not weeding and not working out in the hot sun!

    1. It really is a beautiful property especially when everything was looking it's best about 15 years ago or so, now it needs a bit of work which has been neglected over the last 10 or so years.

      Last year we had a paid landscaper come in and clean up and maintain the flowerbeds and they did a get job because they really were is a very bad state of neglect. This year my brother didn't do that because we had a friend staying in the house for several months to just before we arrived so she worked on weeding the garden and she did a good job but I don't think she had gotten to that front flowerbed as it was really bad. There is one more spot that is quite bad too, the rest of the garden doesn't need quite as much attention but boy do the weeds ever grow fast! It is definitely satisfying to see the results.

      I hope your mothers yard isn't as big as this one. It sounds like you have some work of your own to do. Best of luck to you.


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