Photo of the Day: Bee-ootiful

The winds picked up well before the blizzard hit, and the pool noodle bumpers I’d made for the main gate were being blown away. On my way in and out, I grabbed them and quickly tossed them into the van.

As my daughters and I were heading out together, they noted the pieces in the van…

… and a passenger!

It was getting so chilly, the poor little bumble bee was slow and sluggish – but in the relative warmth of the van, she was starting to perk up!

My daughter released it near where the pieces were found. Bumble bees nest in the ground, so we are hoping it had a nest somewhere near there that it could tuck into for the winter!

On the beach

This past Sunday, as has become my custom, I stay in town during my daughter’s short shift. It turned out to be a beautiful day, and I was able to have my first visit to the beach since the blizzard.

I have to say again, how incredibly fortunate we were during that storm. Yeah, we got some tree damage and were snowed in until we could shovel our driveway out, but we really didn’t have a bad run of it. Just yesterday, I was reading that there are still some 2000 people without power. The electric company, with help from other provinces, has about a thousand people working to restore power. In some places, generators were delivered or where on the way, to provide emergency power. The remote areas they workers are in, and the conditions, make these last northern areas much more difficult; in some places, workers are trying to restore power lines while chest deep in water and mud! A rough estimate was that the storm resulted in about $100 million in damage to the electrical system, though there is no way to know for sure until after it’s all done and the numbers are crunched.

We have much to be thankful for.

How the storm hit could be very different, depending on the area. Especially with the lake effect. The one time we did go by the beach, it was amazing to see no snow at all, yet just a couple of blocks away, people’s yards had about 6 inches of snow.

People living near the beach and marina posted videos online, and it was astonishing to see the waves crashing over the breakwall on the main dock.

There were some significant changes that I could see, right away.

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Storm clean up: unexpected damage

While working around the willow tree, I noticed something out by the north fence and took a closer look.

That’s when I found we had more trees and branches come down there, too. I hadn’t seen it before, simply because I hadn’t bothered going that far through the snow. The main priority was checking close to the house.

I’m really glad I was able to mow in this area, because that made clean up a lot easier!

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Storm clean up: the old willow

I’d posted a video I took after this job was done, previously. I am honestly surprised more of this tree did not come down in the storm. I hope it survives many more storms, because it’s such a beautiful old tree!

The first thing I had to do was assess the fallen branch more closely.

The branch was long enough to reach the double row of elms heading towards the garden gate.

As I started cutting away sections, I was able to see that the whole thing had been kept from hitting the ground by the skinny little top of the branch that landed on an elm!

Amazing, that that was all it took to keep such a big, heavy, branch from falling all the way to the ground!

After clearing away enough branches that I could reach the main part with the extended pruning saw, I just start pulling.

Eventually, the top came down, and I was able to start breaking it down from the end.

The main branch ended up being held up by another branch I’d already cut away part of. While I continued cutting away smaller sections, it looked like I would have issues with where it cracked at the trunk. How would I even reach it? I had expect this to be the easy part of the job, but it took a lot more work just to cut away pieces, so I could reach where I needed to go!

Plus, I had to get the weight off the branch that was still holding the whole thing up, so I grabbed a branch and started dragging it off to the side. It all twisted at the cracked trunk.


Little by little, I cut sections away until I reached the cracked trunk.

This part of the trunk was too high for me to reach, and I couldn’t see how I could cut it away. It would be too dangerous to use the step ladder and a buck saw.

However, it was really quite rotten, and it twisted quite a bit when I was manhandling it to get those sections cut away. What would happen if I pulled on the cut ends?

I found the whole thing easily twisted around, and pieces of the trunk started to fall off.

What I thought would be the hardest part of the job turned out to be the easiest part – it just pulled right down!

The pile at the base of the tree is all from that one branch that broke.

I’m leaving it there until spring, when I plan to take down the rest of the rotten trunk. I’d already added lots of other downed branches to the pile by the fire pit.

So that is done for now!

When I started working on this area, though, I spotted more storm damage that I’d missed, because I simply hadn’t slogged my way far enough through the snow.

That will be my next post. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Storm clean up: the kitchen elm

The first area I focused on when cleaning up the storm damage was the tree closest to our main entry.

I’d already had to cut away a few parts of the branch earlier. While we could push our way through the branches when walking by, I needed to back the van up to the house, so we could load it up for a trip to the dump.

It had been my intention to cut pieces away, little by little, until I could get the cracked main branch down completely. The first few, I was able to reach with the extended pruning saw from the ground, but as weight was removed, the whole thing started to rebound, higher and higher. I had to bring out the step ladder to be able to reach the main part of the branch. I expected to cut it away in at least three sections.

Things didn’t quite work out that way.

Once the piece in the photo above came free, it came twisting down – towards me on the step ladder, of course! – while the rest of the branch, released of the weight, flung itself upward about 5 feet.

After looking it over, I decided to just leave it. Without the weight of this section, there is no longer a danger of it cracking more. It should probably still be taken down eventually, but there is no risk to leaving it alone for now. Especially since we plan to have the entire tree taken down at some point.

This pile is the broken down pieces of just that one section from the above photo!

This is all of what came down from this one tree. The two bigger pieces went to the wood pile for the fire pit, while the rest went into the big pile for eventual chipping.

The cats LOVED playing in all the branches I’ve been cleaning up!

It’s really remarkable, what a difference there is in the yard. Two large branches of this tree came down, and it all feels so much more open and lighter under there!

This job ended up taking less time than I expected. It was time to move on to the big willow tree.

That job ended up taking more time than expected!

More on that in my next post. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Storm clean up: the little stuff

It’s federal election day here in Canada, and I’m happy to say that there was a local polling station (according to the elections Canada website – and the agent I spoke to on the phone while trying to find where the nearest polling station would be – our little hamlet doesn’t exist) and I was able to register and vote without any problems. What a difference from the last federal election, when we were still living in the city! It helped that the registration officer happened to be a “neighbour” that I finally got to meet. Since she lives on the same road we do, a mile away, she had no issues with the fact that there are different names for our road. I’ve got the road name on my driver’s license, which no longer matches the signage. She’s had the same issue we have, since the stop sign with the road name got knocked down, and the sign with the name of our road disappearing. It has not been replaced, so there is just the numerical designation on the other stop sign.

I got to vote, and later on I’ll be going back with my daughters, so they can register and vote, too. 🙂

Until then, I’ve got a bit of catching up to do, and will be splitting things up into several posts, rather than one big one. I was finally able to get the tree damage from the storm taken care of, as well as putting stuff away for the winter, the day before we had my mom over for a surprise second Thanksgiving dinner. With this post, I’ll start with the last things I cleaned up; the little things!

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