Tuesday 15 May 2018

Renovation of CJ's

After a few days of planning and gathering materials, the renovation of CJ's began in a flurry of activity.  Because we are doing the floors and painting, all of the stuff in the shack had to be moved out front.  We watched the forecast carefully and knew the week was going to be dry so we were able to just pile everything outside and tarp it at night.

Stuff everywhere
We started tearing things apart and found some surprises behind a display board.  Apparently a number of years ago there was a window there that got broken, so rather than fix it, they boarded it up.  The wasps had found a neat place to build a nest out of the weather and the one side was open when we took the board off so we could see the way the nest was built.  Very interesting.  We decided that we will put a window back in here so there is more light in the shack.

Wasp nest upper left

Window gone ready for a new one.
The other thing we wanted to change was to move the door from its location in the side of the shack to the end of the building and replace it with another serving window.  We find that lots of times when 2 people are working the one window got really crowded.  Now we will be able to serve more efficiently.

We got started redoing the floor by putting an overlay of 5/8 tongue and groove plywood down.  This will give the floor more strength for all the weight of the fridges and freezers we fill it with.

After the floor came the paint.  Our friends who are professional painters gave us some of their left over paint to make it look pretty.  It was nice to get rid of the bright orange we had.  Sue did all of the painting.

Then we had to roll out new flooring.  We spent a little more money to get a one piece roll 28 feet long so there will be no seams. We picked a splattered ice cream design so we can't see the spills!!!

We made sure to take some breaks to walk by the lake and watch a little TV.  I am starting to know some of the kids cartoon characters now!

There was still lots of time for both Grace and Charlie to be outside.  Charlie is loving wandering around chasing squirrels and he even drags home the odd deer leg to chew on.  Hope he didn't get it off a live deer.

Early in the week the ice was still on the lake but by Wednesday it had all gone.  Now things will really start to warm up.

There are lots of buds on the trees but the leaves are still not popping through.

Next project was to replace all of the fixtures in the shack.  I started with the new counter top and new sinks and new taps.

Counter top goes in
Hope this is the right spot for the sink.
All of our old sinks went in the garbage.  I must tell you a little story about all this.  Now you may have figured out that I am a fixer and like to save money by making the things that we have work.  The Health inspector says that we have to have triple sinks to wash dishes in and that those sinks have to be able to fully immerse the biggest bowl or pot you use in the kitchen.  Now if you look at the triple sink in the garbage picture, they are not very big.

Now rather than spend the money on new sinks which are much larger, I suggested we just use smaller bowls in the kitchen.  That idea was not very well taken, so we are going to install some much bigger sinks.  I guess I lost that battle.  Now to do the plumbing which took some head scratching.

Do you think the water will jump this far??
With the new commercial taps installed,  the new sink seems to be working great.  It seems able to hold a lot of large bowls and I have been assured that I can use it anytime I want.

Of course every year we have to drain the water and because we hook up to our power with the motorhome long before the water is turned on, we seem to forget that we can't turn on the hot water heater with no water in it.  So every year I have to replace the heating element because I forgot again, and this year is no exception.  Good thing it is only 12 bucks.

Well we started this renovation on Monday and our first day of business was Friday at 4 pm, so we really had to hurry.  Friday afternoon Grace said we were ready to go.  It will take a long time to get all the shelves in the right place but we are operational.

So we turned on our new OPEN sign that our friends gave us and started to serve Ice Cream.  We are really looking forward to this year and seeing all of the people we know from our past 2 years. Bring on summer.  Our first busy weekend will be May 19, 20, 21 which is what I call May long weekend.  I will post more about the actual operation of our business in the next post.

The Park allows us to move into our seasonal spot on May 11, so Saturday we took the Ponderosa to the dump station and then parked her in our summer spot.  It is quite close to CJ's so we can just run back and forth if we need things.

We are getting a little time to go for some nice walks and appreciate being able to enjoy our park before it gets busy.  One of the favourite spots is what we all know as the "Spider Tree".  This is a willow tree that has a lot of separate trunks growing from one root and looks like an upside down spider tree.  There are actually two spider trees.

Every kid around likes to climb on them, and it even attracts a few old folks too!  I see one hiding in this tree.

I just have to share one of our beautiful Manitoba sunsets that we witnessed the other day.  Sunsets still remind me of Arizona.

Here is the view from our window right now and it will stay sort of the same for the rest of the summer with the exception of things getting greener.  Right now things are really dry and we have a fire ban on in our area.  We are hoping for some rain soon.

Our Location for the summer will be at Rivers Provincial Park near Rivers Manitoba Canada.


  1. Great job on the shack. Looks like a nice spot.

  2. CJ's is looking great! Our long weekend traffic is already pulling in and we are fully reserved. Hopefully you get some rain but still have some good ice cream weather :-)

  3. Looks like your first customer was really enjoying her Ice Cream.
    Great Reno. Nice to be able to do things on your own. Darn By-Laws.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  4. CJ's looks great! Nice job all the way around. I'm sure Sue won't mind you using the sink as much as you want.
    Before you know it you will be up to your elbows in ice cream! Enjoy the time meeting familiar faces again!

  5. What a fantastic job, place looks great. That happy face on the first customer says it all!! What a cutie she is. Maybe a note on the water heater might help to remember about the NEED WATER FIRST thing....

  6. I am a little behind but slowly catching up. Wow what a marathon of renovations you all did. the place looks so fresh and bright. From the pictures it looks like a nice place to spend the summer. Enjoy.


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