Well, that took a lot more work than expected

This morning, I decided to finish my mourning rounds by finally digging out the BBQ, so I could put the new cover on it. I was waiting for a slightly cooler day, when things wouldn’t be melting while I worked.

Though it was still very much a “rubber boot” morning!

This is the cat path from the kibble house to the storage house. The cats made the paths you see on the left with their muddy little feet, while the path veering right goes to the fire pit.

As you can see, there is a low spot right here, filled with snowmelt. I had to slog through it several times while I was working this morning!

With the melt-thaw happening over the last while, the top of the snow has formed a pretty hefty crust. In fact, this morning I spotted our piebald deer through the bathroom window, on the far side of the old kitchen garden, walking on top of the snow. Not only did the snow hold her weight, but when I walked past the area later, I couldn’t even see tracks.

As you can imagine, the ice chipper got a good workout while I was digging, this morning!

I cleared a path along the side of the collapsed tent, removed hard packed snow that was on top of the remains of the canopy, then had to cut away parts of the torn canopy to free the BBQ. Unfortunately, I still had to deal with the piece of tree that had broken the tent in the first place.

That out-of-focus branch tip in the foreground is part of the branch that you see stretching up and out of frame at the top.

I had to break off that branch in pieces to be able to access the back of the BBQ and the other corner of the tent. On the plus side, since the branch was sticking up into the air like that, the pieces are very dry. They’ll be great for the fire pit.

This was the main problem. One of the canopy supports was across the side element on the BBQ. There had actually been a folded up camp chair leaning against it. There’s a little pillow attached, and it actually protected the BBQ. The little bit of scuffing you can see under the canopy support happened just this morning, after I moved the camp chair out.

I couldn’t get that piece off the BBQ. It wouldn’t even break for me, as others did. All it would do is slide back and forth, but there was still too much weight from the canopy remains, and the snow trapped in it, to lift it.

There was a possible solution, though. We had dropped the tent legs as low as they could go, to cover and protect the picnic table and BBQ, making sure it was thoroughly pegged down with the support ropes, to make sure it wouldn’t blow away. What I could do was remove the canopy from the frame as much as possible, then raise the legs up to the first notch.

It took a while – and more digging to reach – but I managed to get three of the legs raised to the next highest position.

Which helped to a certain extent, but that fourth leg by the broken piece of tree would not budge.

I had forgotten just how big it was! The ice chipper is right at the largest end of the piece. Once I figured out where the end was, I could use the ice chipper handle to lever the branch loose, so it was no longer frozen to the ground. It was leaning right against the leg, pushing it over.

As much as I levered and wiggled the whole thing around, it still wouldn’t move off the leg.

There had to be a reason I couldn’t see.

Yup. Here it is.

There was a large branch, hidden in the snow, that I had been trying to roll it against! I stabbed along the length of it with the ice chipper until I found it’s end.

I was not about to dig all that out.

I grabbed a hatchet, instead. I didn’t need to even cut all the way through. Just enough that it would break, and I could finally clear it from the leg.

Which worked, but then I discovered another problem. The leg still wouldn’t move.

I chipped away around it. What you’re looking at is ground level. When the tree fell on the canopy, it drove the leg into the soil. Which is amazing, considering the legs have a flat plate on the bottom, so they can be pegged to the ground. Which they are. So the bottom of that leg, and the base of the part that slides up to raise the height of the tent, are frozen into the ground.

Well, crud.

I ended up having to break as many parts of the canopy frame as I could, to finally be able to clear the BBQ enough to cover it.

Which I finally did!

Then I used some of the heavy blocks of snow that were on the torn canopy to weigh down the bottom edges.

The frame is a mess, but it can’t be removed until the ground thaws out enough.

I like that the new cover for the BBQ has grommets on it. We’ll be able to peg it to the ground in between uses, so the wind won’t tear it off.

The branch pieces were set aside on the snow near the fire pit. Maple will make a nice cooking fire.

Then, since I was there anyhow, I dug a path from the fire pit to the wood pile.

Normally, I’d say we can use the fire pit now, and have ourselves a cookout if we want, but with that big puddle in the path, I think it’ll wait a bit longer. We don’t all have rubber boots.

For now, I’m just happy to have the new cover on the BBQ.

As long as we don’t get any more pieces of tree falling on it, now that there’s no longer the tent frame to protect it!

The Re-Farmer

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