Carpenter, plumber, electrician, all-around handyman – I am none of these things, at least not yet.
Aside from some so-so irrigation and gardening skills, about the only thing handy I can lay claim to is the Hoo-Hoo award I won for the shelving unit I built in Grade 10 woodwork. I did win a sweet set of Marples Blue Chip chisels for that little project, and still use them from time to time.
So, as I begin life as a hobby farmer in Armstrong (Spallumcheen, technically speaking), I face a learning curve steeper than Enderby Cliffs.
Our first big task (after a gargantuan four-day move) was to rebuild the rotting roof that covers the deck outside of our suite, which happens to be the new home of the Om Naturale herbal care product empire. The existing roofing material comprised some soggy chipboard underneath an aging tarp, covered by about three inches of pine needles.
From that perspective, anything we did would be a huge improvement.
Under the watchful eye of father-in-law Larry, we assembled a materials list (joist hangers, beams, plywood, felt, galvanized sheet metal etc., along with half a dozen mouse traps) and made a B-line to Shepherd’s Hardware to make our first big home improvement purchase.
I suppose we could have paid someone to do the job, however, not only do we have to watch our money, but now that the job is (almost) done, I have a huge sense of satisfaction after having hauled my butt up the ladder and built it with Terryn and Larry.
Also on the to-do list are a chicken coop, greenhouse, animal shelters and, once the farm is fully operational, I’m guessing about a kilometre of post-and-wire fencing.
We have only been in town for a couple weeks, but we have already discovered some real gems, like Shepherd’s. The Brown Derby has already become our go-to breakfast destination.
Larry has been about a dozen times already, and the friendly British lady who runs it is always quick with a snappy comeback every time he tries to give her the gears.
The Great Wall serves up a good Chinese smorgasbord, and it also turns out we reside in “the blue zone,” and are therefore within delivery range for JJ’s Pizza.
My first official act was to splash out the $10 for a Co-op membership, so I now get a dividend whenever I buy gas.
If life wasn’t hectic enough moving onto a 6.5-acre plot, we decided to add a new member to the Corbett-Thachuk fold – Bo, our new puppy.
We had talked about getting a second pooch for the farm, to beef up security, so to speak. Having been through the whole puppy process before with London, we weren’t keen on a repeat.
A younger rescue dog from the local animal shelter was more what we were thinking. However, when we heard our friend Urs’ Swiss mountain dog, Winston, had knocked up the neighbour’s border collie, we caved.
Bo provides more entertainment value than Netflix, and there are a lot of perks to owning a nine-week-old puppy, but 4 a.m. potty sessions aren’t one of them.
I had expected London’s maternal instincts to kick in when Bo arrived, but it turns out she has opted for the role of big sister/sparring partner.
Tolerance might be an slight overstatement of our cat’s attitude towards him, but overall everyone seems to be settling in nicely to life on the farm.
—Graeme Corbett is a sports reporter/business editor for The Morning Star