Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from the Little Blue House!

We heard that the Easter bunny might be visiting Atlin this weekend. Our children are very excited about this prospect. We hope to get a little bit of work done at the LBH, shovel a lot of snow, and take some photographs. I promise to post lots of pictures next week!

Best wishes to you, and Happy Easter.


Friday, 22 March 2013

Vintage Linoleum

Here is the front parlour of the Little Blue House. This picture was taken after we replaced the heinous furniture that was in this room when we bought the house last summer. We plan to gradually restore the circa 1898 Queen Anne house.

For 2013, we will start with the home's foundation, and we'd also like to work on the original bedroom. The bedroom is located adjacent to the parlour, and the rooms are separated by a red curtain. The rooms share the same linoleum flooring. The flooring is in its worst condition in that bedroom. The floor is on an angle, there has been some water damage, and the flooring is really coming apart. We would like to seal off that room and pull up the flooring, remove the wallpaper and ceiling paper, and fix it up.

I was discussing our upcoming projects with my brother in-law this morning, and he mentioned asbestos. Asbestos was widely used in linoleum flooring, and from what I gather so far, it seems to be fairly common between 1900 and 1986.

Front Parlour
Below you can see part of an old lamp that we found in the house, sitting on the linoleum floor. Before we do any work on the floor, I am curious to find out whether or not it contains asbestos.

Old Lamp

I cropped the photo above, and zoomed in on the flooring, where it is slowly disintegrating. You can see that the linoleum is in large sheets (not tiles) and that it was installed by joining the pieces to the floor using long, metal runners. The lino is on a jute or burlap backing, and there are newspapers between that backing and the wooden floorboards underneath.

I sent a copy of this photo to an online service that offers assistance in identifying old asbestos linoleum flooring. We will see what happens! I suppose I could take a small square of the lino (it's coming apart along the geometric pattern lines that you see below) and send it off to be analyzed somewhere. Where? If any readers of this blog have information about where to send such a sample, please leave a comment on this post. I would appreciate it.

I will continue to research this, and we will not pull up the lino until we know for sure that it is free of asbestos. I hope to find a beautiful wood floor underneath it! Then we can decide what to do.
Vintage Linoleum Floor in Parlour

Saturday, 16 March 2013

More Historical Photographs of Atlin

Here are some more pictures of Atlin during the Gold Rush. Steamboats were a crucial mode of transportation into this area (the Atlin goldfields) at the turn of the last century, as they were for the Yukon goldfields.

Dog transportation was also fairly common, as you may see in the second photo of the dog water cart.

The last photo, of the Pine Tree Hotel, is interesting. There is no longer a hotel by that name in Atlin; however, there are a number of other businesses that currently use Pine Tree as a company name.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Atlin Historical Photographs

I have been going through the BC Archives' online photo collection lately. Now that I have a bit more time, I am looking for more historical photos of the  Little Blue House.

I haven't found any yet, but looking at these pictures is pretty entertaining. For those of you who have not read my earlier posts, the LBH is located in Atlin, BC. The town of Atlin was created during the Gold Rush of 1898. The LBH itself was originally built in Discovery, located several kilometres upstream from Atlin, around 1898. The house was moved to Atlin after the last of 3 fires destroyed the town in the early 1900s.

Here are a few of my favourite photographs so far. There will be more to come.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

It's Still Winter, I Guess

The next big project at the Little Blue House is going to be tree removal. We removed several trees last summer. We wanted to open the place up a bit, let some light in, and a friend of ours was kind enough to volunteer for the job. We were worried of course that the root systems were threatening the "foundation" of the LBH. (I use the term foundation loosely.)

As you can see in the photo below, when we bought the house in July 2012, it was somewhat overgrown... It had been sitting vacant for about 3 years, due to the previous owners' health problems. They were no longer able to make the trip to their tiny house. Atlin is, you see, a remote place.

The LBH in July 2012

This summer, our goal is to repair the foundation of the LBH. The contractor, who is going to do the work in July, said that rest of the trees closest to the house will have to be removed. We must find someone capable of doing this safely. I think it would be too much to ask our friend, who already has a full-time job, and an active life. I don't think that bourbon and Cheezies will be adequate payment, even with a bonus round of homemade mojitos. :)

Once the trees are gone, my husband and I plan to remove the wood skirting from around the foundation. Then we will demolish the front porch and steps, which are mostly rotten.

We will take lots of (before and after) photos, I promise!

Next, the contractor is going to bring in a local fellow with a small excavator to dig around the edge of the house. Once all of those tasks have been completed, our contractor will go underneath the LBH and work on repairing the serious issues there:

1. The house is crooked, which means the floor is on an angle;
2. The foundations are a mixture of stumps, rocks, beer bottles and 2x4s;
3. The floor is not insulated, which contributes to the icebox atmosphere of the LBH;
4. The addition on the rear of the house is level, but it is attached both to the original structure and the common roof; and
5. The porch and steps are rotten and must be replaced completely.

I wonder when we will begin our tasks, the ones that must be completed before the contractor starts his work in July. It's still very much winter up here, so it will be a while yet! You can see the fourteen day trend, which illustrates my point. Even if the weather was nice, and it was warm enough to start now, I would not be doing so anyhow, with this knee injury.

The restoration of the Little Blue House is, like many things in my life, an exercise in patience.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Knee Surgery!

I had surgery on my right knee yesterday... This doesn't really have much to do with the Little Blue House, other than the fact that it limits my activities. It will, however, give me more time to blog. :)

I injured my knee about 15 years ago (running in combat boots might have had something to do with it, along with dancing in flip-flops at music festivals). Ha! I managed to cope with the knee, modifying activities over the years, such as eliminating running on pavement, then eliminating running altogether. Eventually, my injury began bothering me more frequently, having impact on some of my favourite activities (hiking and walking).

I re-injured it seriously in late November while taking Scottish Highland dancing classes. The classes were probably not a great idea. :( I had an MRI in January which confirmed the surgeon's diagnosis: a torn meniscus, along with some bruising/contusion on the bones in my right knee.

Now I will recover for about 6 weeks. It's still pretty sore, although I can put weight on it already. Amazing. There are 3 small incisions, which I have not yet seen. The bandages will come off on Saturday or Sunday.

My family has been taking good care of me. My husband made an amazing dinner of Maple-Mustard Pork Chops and a Spring Vegetable and Quinoa Pilaf. I had many extra hugs from our children, too. Thank you.

My parents, among the most thoughtful people in this world, sent me the most beautiful, Spring-like flower arrangement today. See? I think I appreciate the flowers more since we still have lots of snow on the ground outside. We will not see green grass for a couple of months yet.

Thanks, Mum and Dad! I love you.

Happy Spring (Almost)!