The Historic Roundhouse In Esquimalt

I had the opportunity of working an event at a historical site in Esquimalt, which is on the south side of Vancouver Island..

Heritage structures fascinate me. 

Photo take by me June 2022 The big wooden doors Of the Roundhouse. This is the car house.

They had a way of building art. The buildings were not always as elaborate as the roman days, but still has arch brickwork that now has vines growing in it. The Roundhouse is composed of three industrial buildings. It was designated a Heritage site of Canada in 1992.

Photo by me, in reading about the Roundhouse, They talk about the big windows to let lots of light in.
Many are boarded up now.

The buildings were designed to store, maintain and service the locomotives. It was used to service them until 1949. I think about how warm it would have been in the summer. One of the buildings had a boiler room. There were fans but no air conditioning. The Roundhouse is one of 3 built, and the only surviving Roundhouse built for the EN rails. The EN Stands for Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway it is located at 253 Esquimalt Rd, Victoria, BC

Photo by me, This is one of the other three buildings of the Roundhouse.

Before the first world war the EN rail was run and owned by Robert Dunsmuir. He came from Scotland and owned much of the EN run and founded the railway. He started as a coal miner and died the richest man in British Columbia in that era. 

When I decided to do this as a blog topic, I never realized how cool it would be, nor did I realize my photos would be a history lesson. Sometimes when I get a quick photo opportunity and so much more develops.  I went back to the site and looked around after doing some reading. There was not as much information online as I had hoped. A family member of mine is into trains and the history of the rail line. I gave him a call as he has many wonderful books on the topic. Because of the timeline as I was doing my blog, the books were not able to be looked at for information. So I might do a continuation on this topic in the future. 

Photo by me, this is a locomotive that was in the bay. Workers would get in to the pit to look under the trains to work on them.
Photo by me, the Ivy growing under the metal protective grate over the window.

What historical things or places do you enjoy, do you take photos of old places? Hope you have a great long weekend.

Some of the links I used to write this blog are:

Biography on Robert Dunsmuir

Saanich News History of The EN rail

Update On the Roundhouse from 2004

Challenges Of Ferry traveling in BC

What a week, this weeks blog is coming to you from the car deck of the BC ferries vessel it is 10:45 at night. Normally my blog is scheduled and I’m in bed by now.

My world has been a whirlwind. Our place went on the market today. Hoping it sells in a timely manner.

From the internet not sure who the credit goes to.

With selling our place there will be some challenges we are moving to Vancouver Island.

The last months many ferries have canceled sailing due to staffing shortages. In our traveling back and forth, we have suffered the long waits due to more than one ferry not being able to run. 

Photo by me taken in May 2022

It is very hard on staff to be short staffed it affect the safety of all saling.  

They are offering hiring packages to encourage people to get employed with BC ferries.

Have you been on a ferry? Did you enjoy the sailing? Hope your week holds positivity.

Painting old baseboard heaters

Did you  know old baseboard heaters can be cleaned up, painted and refurbished.

In the last of my house upgrades, I had old baseboard heaters that had been painted badly in the past so they were flaking. I took my Dremel to them with a wire bit, put on my safety glasses and went to work cleaning the flaking bits off.

This has been one of my more challenging improvements. Being that the baseboard heaters are likely as old as the home. So about 47 years old, they get quite warm to the touch. Tips of spray painting metal.

Getting a can of white heat resistant pain was hard. They have them in black for barbecues. I don’t think the new owners will want black baseboard heaters. 

Photo by me: This is Trimclad high heat paint (I realize that you can get the tin going to the website but I could not get it in my town in the time I needed it.)

So I had to use heat resistant spray paint in the house. I was panicked about spraying the nice newly painted walls behind the heaters so I had to get creative. I tore open two boxes, taped the open spots on the cardboard then we taped the wall right above the heater with two inch painters tape. Under the heater is where I tucked the second box. We started with a piece of tape inside the heater to keep the slats free of paint, which did not work so well. I had to try to learn it would not work. I ended up taking a lip of the box and putting it in the heater and then spraying the inner edge. (When I took the cardboard off I noted the wall got sprayed a bit when I did the upper spray. Next time I will tape the carboard to the green tape. Good thing I know how to do quick touch ups!)

Photo by me: setting up take and cardboard.

Using spray paint takes steady short sprays to not have paint runs or uneven patches. You want to be 25.4 to 30.5 cm (10 to 12 inches) away from what you are spraying

Photo by me: The set up all is in place. (Don’t make my mistake, tape the cardboard to the green tape)

It came out faster than I moved my hand so there were a few runs, I just dabbed them really lightly with a kleenex. It is not perfect but it looks better and gives new life to the heater. You are better to do a couple light sprays then try to do it heavy. Let it dry between coats.

Photo by me: This is the second coat and the failed tape that was covering the fins.

Remember about safety, wear a mask and open doors and windows if you are using this heat resistant paint in a house or closed space. If you like you can wear gloves. I didn’t and I have some paint on my hands.

Photo by me: finished have a small wall touch up to fix.

Never be afraid to try something new. It just might work! Have a great week. In the next few months I may be blogging from our new space. 

Details for the difference

If you are a project person like me you will know that small fine tuned details can be just the finishing touch you need.

Whether you are painting, detailing a vehicle or putting trim around a door put the effort into the whole project. 

In repairing and doing touch ups in and around our home I noted many things that take a short time to finish up. Like the windowsills, paint them and paint the ends.

Photo by me. This was what professional contractors left unfinished from our building’s retrofit.

Painting the baseboards with fresh paint and taking a Dremel to some of the lack of fine tuning left behind from people before us. It also helped me notice that the Baseboards were overlapped with the door frame so the door frame did sit flush on the wall. The Dremel came in handy again to the baseboard to size now the door trim is flat on the wall.

Photo by me, this is where they overlapped the baseboard and the door frame.

When I was doing touch ups to the wood laminate floor due to not replacing them, it made a huge difference. I washed them well, dried them and used a colour match pen to fill the scratches.

Photo by me, before the touch ups, I will likely do a full tips blog on touching up floors.

When doing wall touch ups or a full repaint I take off electrical covers and put tape over the outlets. I also tape baseboards and put a piece of tape over switches or holes for things like drapes going back up. I take out old unneeded anchors. When I do the paint in a small touch up area I get my small brush or a makeup sponge with to colour doing a few light coats over the patching after priming the area with primer to let everything blend well.

Photo taken by me, those are metal anchors I filled in where the holes where I still need to sand clean and prime the area before putting the colour on.

I washed the van this week. There was pollen and build up in all the groves. So I grabbed my little bucket with soapy water along with a brush and the toothbrush. Took a bit of time but the fine tuning made the van look and feel fresh. I use a brush on the vents inside. They are really hard to clean with a cloth.

What projects have you done and did the final details? Do you notice when details are not done?

Or is it just me that crawls in odd spaces to clean or detail that sees unfinished work.

Spring flowers after April Showers

When you walk around do you notice the flowers and things growing? 

Photo taken by me. might be a Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Rose Barlow’ Columbine

Out on my walks I see so much growth. Some of the flowers I saw this week were Columbine. It comes in a variety of beautiful colors. I saw a deep purple one. You can collect the seed when the pod turns brown. Just cut the seed stems off and shake them in a plastic bag or a really big bowl. They take a long time to germinate 60 to 90 days, they need a cold resting time of 4 degrees Celsius or 40 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you are going to grow them in the house you will need to put them in the fridge for 3 to 4 weeks. You can also  sow the seed right on the dirt in the fall and they will grow in the spring. Tips on gathering the Columbine seeds

Photo take by me. Might be a William Guiness Columbine

Little blue Forget Me Not were in bloom around one of the Columbine. I have not grown Forget Me Nots on purpose from seeds. It sometimes finds its way into the garden. 

Photo taken by me. Forget Me Not

April showers bring May flowers, It came from the United Kingdom. It is very wet in April so I guess they thought it fit.

As we grow out of spring and it to summer there will be many more beautiful flowers and growth. Keep growing, I would love to know some of the flowers you have seen in your time outside. have a great week. If you know if I’m correct on the types of Columbine I have shared please let me know.

Helping Without First Aid

As I mentioned 2 weeks back in my blog, I was taking advanced first aid. It is called Occupational first aid level 2.  As someone that has held some form of first aid I recommend getting at least your basic first aid. It can be a life saving intervention. 

Do you know when to call for help in a health crisis? Call out anyone around that has first aid (I need a first aider). Make sure things are safe for you and the person needing help. Then call 911 to tell them where you are, cross street, address, landmarks. If you are alone, ask for an ambulance and put your phone on speaker. They will give you instructions. Don’t leave the person, even if a person with first aid is there stay with the first aider they sometimes can use your help. Stay calm. (Breath in through your nose out through your mouth)

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

If you are alone and needing emergency medical help, call 911, give them your name and location, if you are able to get to the door unlock it. Let the 911 operator know what is going on, if you have a pet let them know that too so when they come in they know what to expect. Do not get off the phone with 911 unless they advise it.

Find out if they are awake? In a loud voice are hay hay are you awake. If they don’t respond.

It can be as quick as ABC 

Airway – can you hear or see them breathing. Is their breathing gurgly or like something is in there throat? Airways get blocked. Teaching your family the universal sign for chocking. It is putting two hands to the throat.

Breathing – Do they have regular full breaths? Watch and listen for 10 seconds to see and feel if they are breathing. If you don’t have first aid, describe the breathing to 911. Deep or shallow, slow or fast, or almost nothing at all. Because of covid we at the time of this blog are still asked to not do assisted breathing for people outside our immediate family.

Circulation – If you have ever seen someone check a pulse. When we are doing a pulse we are seeing if the heart is beating and how many beats happen in 1 min. You can count the heartbeats for 15 seconds and multiply it by 4. If you don’t know how, that is ok. Here is a link to taking a human pulse.

If you touch the person, note if they are cool, pale and clammy. Tell 911 you don’t have first aid what you noted. Tell them about their breathing and skin if they are normal colour pale or blue, If they are an adult or a child and rough age.

If you note any blood on the person’s clothing or under them.  Tell the 911 person if you see an visible damage to someone body, broken bones, bad wounds that are bleeding, bad burns or large burses.

How much and where you see it. It can be worrisome to see things that need emergency care. 

Keep up the good breathing. 

My guidance is on personal experience and training. I think taking an in person class is the best way to know what you are doing. There is some free online first aid also.

I did pass my Occupational First and Level 2. I’m certified for 3 years, it was a hard week. Once that was done I did my Naloxone training, so I’m also certified in case of an opiate overdose.

I hope you have some basic knowledge to be able to help someone in a medical crisis. Recognizing the need to get medical assistance and calling 911 is the first step. Something to be mindful of is the laws in your area. Different countries and places have different laws about helping someone

Study Skills

Studying and research are similar. You have to be determined to make the time to learn

This week has been a heavy week of studying. I have decided to take my occupational first aid level 2. This involves 2 books and being able to cross reference.

If you have the chance to read a course completely before the class you are lucky. If not, you must pace yourself. Each thing you learn will take different amounts of time.

Read through the material, take notes as you need in a notebook. In the notes put the date then write down key points and words that are repeated many times. One of the things I was struggling to remember is AVPU. The letters will not be important to you, for my class it is used in every case you are looking at. I looked it up again and wrote it down. I had to recheck it for this blog. When I’m reading it out of the textbook I say it out loud to remember it.





Our brains work better the more senses we use. Seeing the information, reading it out loud and writing it down. If we share it out loud, then it helps build the idea. Sometimes I close my eyes and visualize. Sometimes like in the case of first aid, going through what you would do step to step and doing it with my hands too. I read once that many athletes will close their eyes and visualize themselves doing the race. They use this to help them practice. 

If your studies have more than one book, and one references the other, then write down what you need to read in the other book and the page you found it on in the first book.

If what you’re reading is harder to understand or you’re a slow reader. Give yourself enough time to read and re-read. My class suggested 1 to 3 hours of reading including homework a night. I will allow for 4 hours. Key to studying after listening to a teacher/ speaker: Hear key words or repeating ideas. If they mention book text, read that carefully. I also like quizzes and chapter tests and flash cards.

Having someone else to study with who is focused, committed and not distracting can help to get the most out of the studying.

I find having water is very important when you study. Easy thing to forget, helps your brain. I also use herbal teas that help enhance memory. Eat light, not sugar snacks. Sugar and heavy meals can make us crash. Not saying starve yourself. A healthy breakfast and a light walk before getting down to studies can make you feel better. I read small amounts of coffee, green tea, bigger amounts of foods high in omegas, nuts, seeds and berries can help the brain to think clearer.

If you can study at a time when you’re more alert. I read for an hour at a time then get up and walk around. I really like to walk outside, breathing fresh air is powerful in helping refocus. 

Wish me luck on learning to save lives! Have a great week to come. I might need to skip next Thursday’s blog, I will be back soon.

Photo by Pixabay

Smoothies for life on the go!

When you are living the busy life having something quick that is packed with nutrition like a smoothie, you can make a smoothie in under five minutes provided you have the ingredients on hand.. Some blenders even come with to-go cups with leak proof lids.

This is my Ninja, my travel lids are packed.

With all I have packed to get ready to sell, my Ninja will be one of the last things to pack. Likely it will be transported in the vehicle.

Smoothies are something you can modify for all kinds of diets and tastes. 

Vegan proteins that can be added to smoothies

If you are into animal dairy somethings you can use

You can use any fruits you enjoy. If you are diabetic, use blueberries, green apples or cherries. Some people think diabetics can’t have fruit, they just can’t have multiple cups in one sitting. Earlier in the day is better to have your fruits when dealing with diabetes. One cup of Cherries rates 20 on the glycemic index

People enjoying the Keto diet can enjoy smoothies, you must be more mindful of weighing your ingredients and cross reference your own keto lists and books, pending on the guidelines you have. Smoothie ideas for Keto.

You can be creative with your smoothies, veggies can work great in smoothies.

Thank you to Cathy’s Gluten free

I have added carrot, greens like spinach, cooked beets, sorrel and celery. I recommend using a good quality blender for raw veggies. I have also used cooked yams and sweet potatoes.

I don’t add a lot of sweet additives. I have just been introduced to dried dates. They are sweet and low on the glycemic index. I have also used honey. I really mostly let the fruits sweeten my smoothies. 

I’m not fond of heavy seeds in my smoothies so I don’t use a lot of blackberries and raspberries. The crunchy bits make me feel like I need to wipe out my mouth every sip.

When you are on the go, what smoothies or foods do you enjoy? Maybe you can share your recipe.

Changing a basic light switch

You might just turn on a switch to turn on your lighting. What if you think I want a new switch?

Changing a switch has some basic principles. 

Safety is something I try to always consider. Knowing where your electrical breaker is in the place you live is a good thing to know. Ours is in the front entrance behind the front door (I always thought it was so ugly). The next to learn is what breakers switch off power to switches, appliances and plugs.

Things you will need:

I keep the light on till I know what breaker turns off the light then I unscrew the cover plate. Once it is off there often are 2 more screws to undo. If your light switch mounts have been painted over you might want to take a razor blade and score the paint till you can pull the switch. Get the mounts as clean as possible, it doesn’t always come away as clean as I would like. The last thing you want to do is repair damage to the surface of the wall. 

When you can get the switch to move you want to pull it out so you can see all the wires

The ones changed at our home had the wires poked into the back of the switch.

This is the back of the switch till now I could not see the words on the back, “Push to release” NOW If I could have read that before struggling. I’m new to changing electrical switches and plugs.
My partner is teaching me
I did this one alone and broke it.

Before you disconnect the old switch grab the voltmeter, turn it to the lowest ohms setting. I think that is 200. This is to test what position the switch will be on and off. When I changed out the switches, I wanted the on position to be up and the off to be down. So you put the two prongs on to the two screws and if you get a number reading that is on, when there is no reading then that is the off position. 

Now on with getting the switch off. There are many ways to do this. There is the easy way of using your wire cutter/stripper. If you have enough wire to do that and still reattach your wires to the switch, then cut it and re-strip the wire. When you strip the plastic casing off be careful to only cut the plastic then strip that off. It will be a pain if you cut through the wires again. How to change a light switch.

Way two to get the switch off is the way I did mine, lots of stomping my feet and growling! I said nasty things to my wires. This is where you hold the switch firmly in one hand and the pliers in the other grab one of the wires and wiggle and pull it for the back Then have your hand slip loose grip if the pliers drop them on your toe, scream cuss your in bare feet bend down grab them say more choice word to this piece of junk and think I should have just left the bloody thing in the wall. For the next 10 mins this craziness continues. Finally you reef the wires out and hear plastic breaking. Well good thing it is being changed! So now your wires are out it is time to take the last wire off with a screwdriver that is called the ground, it is what helps your connection be safer. Many light switches do not have a ground.

Time to get the new one in, my switches had two screws on the side and the green screw for the ground at the bottom, I put the ground on first. Use your needle nose pliers to make a hook curve on your wires you will likely only need to do that to the two that are going to the side screws. You will want to hook that around one of the screws. It will not matter if it is the top of the bottom screw, it will complete the circuit once you connect them. I hold the wire tight then the hook is under the screw and then keep it tight as I tighten the screw. (My neighbor told me there is a way to put them in to hold it tight, I forgot the details) Before you tighten in place, move the wire so it fits in the little indent in the plastic. Do the same on the other side. Bend your wires back into the holding mount (I find that a little hard so I use the pliers to bend the wires). Line up the holes of the mount and the switch then put the mounting screws back in. This can be a bit finicky. Keep trying and don’t force anything. If it is aligned it should not be too hard. Put your cover plate back on, the screws are short so they don’t take much. Time to go turn on the breaker and test your new switch.

My neighbor also shared that using the screws, not the push holes in the back give you better conductivity. So it is a better and safer way to connect your switch.

Have you changed a switch? Do you have any tips on changing out a switch? If you are not comfortable changing your switches or if there is something different in the light, you might want to call in someone with more experience.

Looking forward to reading your comments.

Edible wild spring flowers and plants

Maybe when you see dandelions you don’t think food. I have been foraging since I was small. Gathering in the spring can feel more challenging.

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are found in many parts of the world, North America, Europe and Asia. You can eat all parts of them. The younger leaves are not as bitter, you can soak them in water to help the leaves get a bit milder. If you are ambitious you could ferment the flowers to make wine. Their bright yellow flowers in my area are some of the first flowers bees use as food in the spring.


I eat fresh chickweed (Stellaria media) like a salad green ( I likely look like a wild rabbit when I find wild greens) and have fed it to many pets.

Nettle (Urtica incisa) in a tea or lightly stir fried is very good for your organs. The big tip with harvesting nettles is to wear long sleeves and gloves. Once it is cooked it does not cause that tingle. If you have joint pain with or without arthritis you can thrash the sore joints. You may want to find a traditional healer to help you with pains. A gentler way to use them as a medical aid is to make an ointment with them in it. When looking for nettles you can find them on the outskirts of forests. 

Nettles Photo by Markus Winkler

You can eat a weed called plantain, it comes in broad leaves (Plantago major) and long narrow leaves (Plantago lanceolata). It can be used in medical ways too.

Ever tried pine (Pinus Genus) needle tea? It is very refreshing.

Red (Trifolium pratense) and white (Trifolium repens) clovers are good for helping the liver. You don’t need to cook them. You can pick them wash them in clean water and eat them

Morel mushroom, Photo by my Friend on Vancouver Island

You can have many wild mushrooms, I’m not experienced in harvesting them. I would join a local mushroom or foraging group to learn which is safe. There are many good books with photos on the topic. My friend from Vancouver Island has picked morel mushroom (Morchella), turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) and cat tongue (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum) that she said people soaked in sugar and made them like gummies.

Turkey Tail mushroom, Photo By my friend on Vancouver Island
Cat tongue mushroom, Photo By my Friend on Vancover Is

Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is something you can grow in the garden or find in the wild. There are a few types. It is used like spinach. It has a bitter flavor, I would say it would be very good with lemon or lime juice. 

Many of the plants and flowers you can find in the wild are good for your health, they also can have some side effects like making you pee alot (diuretics) if you have any health conditions, allergies including hay fever please talk to someone in the natural health field, always better to check out anything you as adding to your diet. Some can have adverse effects with medications you are taking. 

Happy foraging, have a great week enjoying the wild!