Re-covered

When we first moved here, one of the things we noticed was the junk pile near the house, at the edge of the spruce grove. It’s one of the places mama cats would hide their litter of kittens, which is how Junk Pile got her name.

When we finally got around to cleaning it up, it turned out to not be a junk pile at all. It was a pile of salvaged boards, very carefully and neatly stacked. Some of the “junk” we found were the remains of tarps that used to cover it.

Years of exposure left the top board pretty rotten, and being salvaged from who knows where, a lot were full of nails. Still, we’ve been able to make use of them and, as we work our way deeper into the stack, the less rotten the boards.

After cleaning off the junk, we did use the original tarps to cover it up, and weighed it down with various things.

Then the groundhog that made a den under the stack decided the tarps would make good nesting material. Tore them to shreds!

With the horrible spring we had this year, we didn’t keep the yard as clear and mowed as we wanted, which meant one side of the stack got completely engulfed in thistles that reached nearly 5 ft tall in places.

Today, I finally got around to cleaning it up, so I could access the stack.

The kittens were very interested in what I was doing!

That groundhog did not leave much of those traps left at all. There was a blue one in there, as well as the orange one!

The grey tarp on the side is covering a pile of boards too rotten or full of nails to use; they’re laid over an old metal bed frame I found in the maple grove (there are still two more in there!) to keep them off the ground. I also found some old children’s toys, so I tucked those underneath, then covered the whole thing with yet another old tarp I found among the junk. This gives the yard cats yet another place they can tuck into for shelter, until we finally clean it out properly.

The hill the thistles are growing on is a bit of a mystery to me. It is one of those things that showed up in between our rare visits to the farm over the years. I think it might be where the ashes from the furnace got dumped, until the electric furnace was installed. It would take a lot of years of ashes to make a hill that big!

Also, I need better quality garden gloves. Thistles go right through them!!!

The next step was to take everything off the top for a few layers. There’s a lot of spruce debris in there. I would have to take the whole pile apart to get it all out, but I just wanted to get the worst of it near the top removed. Then the boards went back more neatly, making sure that any with nails in them had their nails facing down!

The stack itself is built up on some pallets, and there are more pallets, and other miscellaneous things, on the far side of the stack. They’re all pretty rotten, but only one of them was also in the way. I had to fight to get it out, as it kept getting stuck on the other two pallets one corner was in between, but it was so rotten, I could just tear it apart and drag it out! That went into our own junk pile that is waiting until we can hire someone to haul it to the dump.

Once that was all cleaned up and ready, I grabbed an 8’x10′ tarp from the 3 pack I bought at Costco a few months ago and brought it over to cover the stack. I’ve already used another one of them to replace the tarp I’d found in the barn to cover the post pounder by the garage. It was a huge tarp, but the wind tore it to shreds. An 8’x10′ tarp doesn’t cover it completely, but they’re heavier duty tarps, and I tied it down like crazy. I can see it on the security camera live feed, and absolutely nothing flaps around on that thing! With the stack of boards, I needed to do the same thing. I had to make sure the wind could not get ahold of it, once it was over the stack.

My goodness, the kittens went nuts while I was going that! They just could not get enough of running around and playing on it!

Which made tying it down a real challenge!

I think I spent twice as much time tying down the tarp as it took me to clear away the thistles and clean up the top of the pile! Thanks to all the leftover pieces of wood that I brought over to do the wattle woven raised bed, I had plenty of sticks I could use for pegs.

At the far end, the tarp is tied to the old pallet still back there, and even the dead trees. In a few places where the tarp was tight around corners of boards, I added some bits of pool noodle foam (we used scrap bits on supports around some garden beds, to protect the netting they were holding up, and the last of the netting was removed today) and even some paper towel from a roll kept in the garage. I didn’t want the corners of the boards to rub their way through the tarp in the wind. The remaining three sides were pegged to the ground. While probably not needed, I returned the stuff we were using as weights before, just in case. I can easily imagine kittens playing with the twine and pulling pegs out of the ground. 😄

The boards may be old, but at least now they won’t get any worse over the winter. I have no idea what we might use them for – there is no consistency in lengths, thicknesses or even how the ends are cut – but better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it!

By the time I finished putting everything away and got inside, it was full dark. It was very disorienting to look at the time and realize it wasn’t even 7pm yet! At least it was a more productive day today. The pile of garden soil is once again covered, and since I was out near the barn anyhow, I brought the frame pieces for the carport to the yard. I’m sure we’re still missing a cover piece, but even if we are, I’d like to find a way to set it up near the house, over where the old basement window is. It was warm enough to do one final watering of the Korean Pine; my daughter got the sliver buffaloberry and sea buckthorn done yesterday. We’ll have to be careful putting the hoses away, so they don’t crack in the cold. We even got a dump run in.

The next couple of days are supposed to reach highs of just above freezing, then a couple of days of slightly warmer temperatures. After that, our highs are going to be below freezing, and staying there. At least that’s what one app is telling me. Another weather app is a bit different – and forecasting colder temperatures. About the only thing that really needs to get done in the next few days, though, is to cover the hole in that shed roof with the large tarp I got for it. Getting it up and over is not going to be easy, never mind fastening it down. What we could really use is scaffolding! Ah, well. I’ll just add that to the list… 😉 Anyhow, we’re looking at possible rain and snow a few days from now, so we really need to get that taken care of. There are too many things in that shed that are useful. I don’t want the roof to collapse, if I can avoid it!

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

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