Clean up: Spruce grove perimeter, reaching the fence!

It’s been a while, but today I was able to continue working on the perimeter of the spruce grove.  I started off at the little maple I had stopped at, last time, and made it to the fence line. 😀

The last time I went through the area, looking ahead to what needed to be done, it was still green.  The leaves are completely yellow, now!

Here are the before and after pictures. (click on the images to see them better)

The cluster of trees is made of up 3 poplars and 2 spruces.  One of the poplars has lost its top, and I’m pretty sure that’s what’s lying on the ground near the little dead spruces I took out.  There is some dogwood at the bottom of this group of trees that I cleaned up a bit, but otherwise left to grow.  It’s one of those things that will spread quite handily, given the opportunity.

The next section is an open, mossy area.  I’ve been using it to turn around with the riding mower.

Most of the clean up here involved pruning shears instead of saws.

Once that was done, I was at the fence line and had to make some decisions.  How far to the north did I want to go?

In the end, I decided I needed to at least clear out a dead tree that had fallen on the fence, so I could access it for repair.

Though the dead tree was a big poplar, the remains of two other trees had also fallen on it.

The poplar itself was growing on the outside of the fence line.  There are a few larger trees on the outside that I will have to leave, but I will be taking out any smaller trees on that side, as soon as I am able.  I’m not sure about the bylaws in regards to municipal land along the roads, as far as who is responsible for keeping it clear, but I don’t want it to become overgrown with trees like it has on the other side of our gate.

I didn’t do much more in this area, as I want to focus in the other direction, so this section is unfinished.  There are a couple of trees that will be taken out, because they are too close to the fence line.  Otherwise, it’s mostly undergrowth that will need clearing and cleaning.  There seems to be some juniper in there that I intend to leave.

Moving southward, now.

There are some pretty massive spruces here!  There isn’t really a lot that needs doing with the trees themselves; a few low hanging branches and dead branches to clear out.  I could see that, at some point – long ago – someone had gone through and cleared the lower branches, so they were already pretty good.  Again, I spent more time with the pruning shears!  There are quite a few poplar on the outside of the fence that I will have to go back to, later.

If you look in the before picture, at the big spruce to the left of centre, you can almost see a potential problem.  The top of this tree is broken off, and its top is still there, hanging upside down.  I have no idea how long it’s been like this, but at some point, it’s going to fall.  Ideally, we’d get it down before it falls on its own and potentially damages something, but for now, it will have to wait.

It’s starting to open up quite nicely.

Though my priority is clearing the fence line, so it can be accessed and repaired as needed, I might have to clear out some of the dead wood further into the grove.  There is a large spruce that has come down in the area that I am leaving for next year, but I might have to cut away at least some of the branches, just so I can drag out some of the stuff I know I will be dealing with, further down.

And that is my progress for today!  It might be another few days before I can work on it again, so I’m glad I was able to at least get this little corner done.

The Re-Farmer

Low Water and meeting people

Yesterday evening, my younger daughter and I were able to take her friend into town for dinner.  When we were told it would be about 20-30 minutes before a table would be open (buffet night is popular, it turns out… 😀 ), we put our name on the list, then headed for the beach, which was basically across the street from the restaurant.

We had been getting thunderstorm warnings for a few hours by then.  While there were no signs of a storm, yet, the winds were incredibly high.  High enough that one of the small trees on the boulevard near where we parked came down while we were in the area!

This late in the day, the tide was very low, and people were taking advantage of it.


I’m not sure if you can tell, but the kids on the left are lying in the shallow water, waiting for the waves to crash over them. 😀

It didn’t show well in any of the photos I took, but the high winds would, at times, pick up and blow away sand hard enough that walking into the wind meant our faces getting sandblasted as we returned to the restaurant.

The dinner was excellent, and we got a couple of pizzas to take home for my husband and older daughter, too.  I never imagined a chicken and broccoli pizza with Alfredo sauce would be that incredibly delicious!

Since we were in town, we took advantage of being there to play some Pokemon Go.  We ended up joining a group for a legendary raid, at a park near a cove.  While waiting for the rest of the group to show up, I got these photos.


I usually come by here in the mornings, and this area is, if not completely under water, very close to it.  It looks absolutely dry in the photo, though that would be very misleading.


Such a pretty little cove.

This evening was an example of one of the reasons I enjoy playing Pokemon Go.  For those who don’t know the game, it uses GPS and real-world maps to get you to different areas to catch Pokemon.  There are “stops” in the game that are at real-world locations (churches, public art, historical buildings, etc.) that can be spun to get things needed in the game.  Some of these stops are also gyms, where you can train your Pokemon by battling the Pokemon from people on other teams that control the gym, and take control of the gym for your own team.  A fairly new feature added to the game has giant, different coloured eggs suddenly appear at gyms, with a countdown to when they will hatch.   Most of the time, it’s a larger version of regular Pokemon, of varying strengths.  Some, a player can battle by themselves.  Others can be defeated within the time frame only when players battle in groups.  The colour of the egg gives players an idea of how powerful the hatchling will be, and how many people will be needed to “raid” the gym and defeat the Pokemon.  This is a way people from normally opposing teams can work together for mutual benefit in the game.

Then there are the Legendary Pokemon.  These hatch out of a particular type of egg, and typically require quite a large group battling together to defeat.  That is what we ended up joining last night, and there ended up 9 players battling together.  I’m part of a chat group that people use to organize this, and it’s rare that we are in town and able to take part, so we took advantage of it.

We got to the location early and just hung out at the park and statue in the area, until others started to arrive.

The first group arrives and I watch as they come out of the vehicle, realizing that I know one of them.  A woman from my home town that I’ve known for pretty much all my life, in fact, and haven’t seen in more than a decade!  It turned out she has been playing the game for less than a week, and she was there with family members who where showing her how to play.

Then, just before we started, a little family group arrives, including a young child.  I recognize the mom and daughter.  They are the daughter and granddaughter of a friend of mine from high school!  It was the dad and daughter that were playing the game. 😀

I also got to attach faces to user names that I have as “friends” in the game.

Since I’ve started playing the game, I’ve found Pokemon Go players to be the friendliest of people, and now the game is bringing me on contact with people I wouldn’t be crossing paths with, otherwise.

It’s really quite awesome!

The Re-Farmer

This is me, having a “heart attack”

High winds last night.  Lost the internet a few times.  A bit of a storm, later on.

Several times, I took a quick walk around the yard to check on things and picked up downed branches (one of the apple trees in the west yard lost a big one).

I paused to take a short video, during which my heart was in my throat.

Can you see those power lines?

Can you see those branches, whipping about at the power lines?

When we can finally get those cleared, it’s going to be so much better for my blood pressure.

The Re-Farmer

Taking advantage

With a house guest staying with us for the next while, we have been making use of the king size mattress that’s been leaning on the dining room wall since my husband got his hospital bed.

It’s now set up in a corner of the dining room (we can even still use the dining table! 😀 ).

The cats have taken advantage of this new arrangement.


The first day it was there, they claimed it as their own.  Though no longer quite as novel, after a couple of nights, they still take it over, every chance they get. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Reading the signs

Though it’s only the end of August, everywhere we look, we see the signs of autumn.


This is one of the crab apple trees in the West yard.  The apples are smaller than usual.  Though the apples are not ripe yet, the tree, like so many others, is turning colour and dropping leaves already.


One of the plum trees has completely changed colour already, and the plums…


Most have already dropped, and what few remain on the tree are looking like these.

Today was our day for heading into the city for our monthly shop.  Along the way, we saw flocks of Canada Geese in the fields, taking a break from heading south.  We’ve been seeing them in fields on the way to town, too.

On the drive home (when it was warmer), the snakes were out.  I was able to avoid a couple, but the highway had many squished snakes on it that others did not miss.  They have been making their way to their hibernation dens to the north of us for at least a couple of weeks, now.

I had seen a news article about how it’s expected to be a mild winter this year, but earlier, I’d see that The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a long and bitterly cold winter, with possibly a late spring as well.

From what I’m seeing, I think The Farmer’s Almanac is likely to be the more accurate prediction. 😦

Either way, we’re going to have to start our fall preparations for winter over the next few weeks.

The Re-Farmer

Beach Views

We went into town today and after our errand, checked out the beach.  I don’t think I’ve been to the beach at this time day.  The tide was quite a bit lower than I usually see it.  That meant we could see more of the opposite shore than usual.


The land looks like it’s floating!

The low water meant there was lots to look for on the beach.

Including some pretty, but unfortunate, things.


To the right, you can see a little cluster of tiny zebra mussels.  A couple have attached themselves to the shell on the left.  We were seeing little bunches like this all over.  Not long ago, some sections of beach had so many zebra mussels wash up on shore that the shoreline was completely covered with glass-sharp shells, several inches deep.

Zebra mussels are an invasive species that showed up here about 5 years ago, likely introduced through the ballast of someone’s boat that was used in infected water, elsewhere (pdf).  They grow very quickly, and cause all sorts of problems with the local ecology, boats and infrastructure.  The infestation has gotten so bad, some are seriously proposing killing the entire lake off to combat them!  This is one of the top 10 largest freshwater lakes in the world, so it gives an idea of how bad the situation has gotten, and how desperate people are getting.

Yet they look so harmless, in their little clusters on the beach.

The Re-Farmer

The power of cat treats

Beep Beep and her Tuxedo were around the house yesterday evening, so I decided to get a bit more aggressive about this whole luring of kittens thing.

I brought out the cat nip and the cat treats.

They ignored the cat nip.

They went nuts over the cat treats!  Beep Beep was after them to the point that she would eat what I gave her, then find the one I gave to her kitten and eat that one, before he even figured out where it was.  She’d even push him away!

We have a house guest for the next while, and she and my daughter came out to help, and to play with the cats.  By the time they came back in, Rolando Moon, Teeny Tabby, Butterscotch and one of the calicos made a showing, too.


We did actually get to pet the tuxedo.  He’d jump a bit and look, but would quickly return to hunting treats.  He’d even try and take them out of my hand, sometimes, but he was slower about it and his mother would usually push her way in and take it first, no matter how we tried to distract her with others, so on the ground they went.

While in the area, I paused to take a look at my mother’s white roses.  They have the darkest rose hips!  So deep a read, they are almost black.


The Re-Farmer

Let’s face it. Cows are dumb

Today, I give you a story, in pictures and video.

I like cows.  Cows are wonderful creatures.

They are also not exactly intelligent creatures, though I know some breeds are smarter than others.

I was sitting in my office when I started to hear the sound of cows, mooing nearby.  I realize the renter has cycled his cows back to our quarter section, and they are nearby.  Happily, I go outside to see them.

The cows are spread out around the barn, including some in the old hay yard.

The hay yard is now cluttered with a number of abandoned vehicles and equipment.  Including several old snowmobiles, I’m told are being kept for their parts.

Hearing an odd sound, I look in between various items.

Can you see the cow’s nose in there?

It took me a few moments to see that the noise I was hearing was of that cow, trying to eat the snowmobile.

To be more specific, the remains of the seat on the snowmobile.

I ended up going through the barn to the hay yard, to get them away from the snowmobiles.  Which turned out to be a good thing, since I found the door to the lean to was open.  There is a tree growing near it that blocks us from seeing it from the house, so who knows how long it was open!

This is what the cow was chewing on and licking.  In the second video, you could see the cow going for something on the far side of the seat, too.  That would likely be the foam from the seat that it was trying to get at.

Afterwards, I went out the back door of the barn.  Some cows were around where an old shed had collapsed, and I could hear them getting into the metal roofing material that’s in there, so I wanted to check on things.

This is what greeted me out the back door.

Most of the cows and their calves avoided me, but these two were curious enough to stick around.

I then made my way over to the junk pile, starting to pick up and move over sheets of metal that had been blown over by the winds we’ve been having in the last while.  As I get around the back side of the collapsed shed, I see…

Yeah.  That black cow with its butt facing me is right on the junk.  There is no grass or weeds there, so I have no idea what she’s after.

I really look forward to when we can get rid of this pile of junk!!

I continue around, which convinces the one cow to get off the junk.  Some move away from me, while others come closer to check me out.  I pick up and re-stack some of the sheets of metal siding, finding things to put on top of the pile to hopefully keep it from blowing over again, and make my way around between the pile and the shed.

One of the cows is braver than the others, and starts coming closer to me, watching what I’m doing.

I quickly realized that she was not chewing on grass, nor her cud.

She was chewing on a foreign object.

You might need to turn your volume up to hear this…

Now, this is concerning, because as far as I can tell, based on what’s lying around, she might be chewing on either wood or metal.

I tried to come closer to her, little by little, hoping to be able to see what she’s chewing on.

That’s one heck of a side-eye she’s giving me!

I kept trying to move around and get closer, without chasing her away, still trying to look into her mouth and see what she’s chewing on.

After a while, I start getting really concerned, because she’s got foam around her mouth from the chewing, and every now and then looked to be in some discomfort.

Then the object fell out of her mouth.

That, my dear friends, is a bone.

A beef bone.

I can’t say I was all that surprised.  This is not the first time I’ve seen a cow chewing on a beef bone.  When I was a kid, I remember walking past one of our cows and seeing her chewing with her head extended weirdly.  She was familiar enough with me that I could walk up to her and reach into her mouth, where I pulled out one of the dogs’ beef bones.  It was not as thoroughly chewed up as this one, though!

I have no idea where she found it, but I wouldn’t let her pick it up again.

She was displeased with that.

Ooh, this girl had attitude!

I proceed to kick the piece of bone away until I got it to the junk pile.

Once I was away, she started looking for it.

She wanted that bone back!  She just kept snuffling and snuffling the area.

At this point, I decided it was time to head out and went back around the junk pile to go to the barn.  Where I found…


This was not here, the last time I tried to clean up around the pile.  In fact, I don’t remember seeing it just a few minutes before, when I went past here to go around the pile and found the cow standing right on the junk.

It is, I believe, from one of the snowmobiles.

I took it into the barn when I went in and closed up the doors again.

As I come out the front doors of the barn, I look back and see…

Can you believe it?  That cow, with company, actually found where I’d kicked the piece of bone!

I’m hoping she wasn’t able to get it out, but she seems quite determined!

I know it’s a running joke that goats will eat anything.

So will cows.

Including the remains of other cows.

Herbivore fail!

The Re-Farmer

Turtle Victory

I spent a lot of time in our previous van.

It wasn’t unusual for me to be out and about, several times a day, and to spend a fair bit of time just sitting in it, waiting for a daughter to get off work or some such.

So I made it my happy place.

I decorated the dash with all sorts of bling; mostly using white “pearl” stick-ons from the scrapbooking supplies section, in lines and swirls and patterns. I also had things like glow in the dark “rocks” and numerous creatures, held in place with FunTac.  Dinosaurs.  Fish.  Turtles and tortoises. Glow in the dark insects.  At Christmas, I would add in a miniature Christmas tree or two, complete with miniature, battery operated lights.

When that van died and we got our new one, I salvaged all but the sticker gems, intending to start over on the dash of our new vehicle.

I started to do it, but quickly discovered that the vinyl was not the same, and the adhesive on the sticker decorations, as well as the FunTac, didn’t stick.

So I stopped.  At some point, I want to continue.  Maybe.

Until then, I enjoy the few that I have up.

My mother, however, hates them.

For some reason, she believes that if these things are on my dash, that means I worship them.  I should have statues of Jesus on my dash, not frogs or turtles.

We’ve had some… *ahem* … discussions about this.

The night I picked up my mother to drive her to the airport, as she settled into her seat, she suddenly told me to “not look”, reached out and grabbed…


… my turtle with the wiggly legs.

Much to my surprise, considering it’s held in place with nothing but old FunTac, it wouldn’t budge.

My turtle won the battle, and remains on my dash, watching me as I drive, nodding its head, wiggling its legs, and putting a smile on my face.

The Re-Farmer