That’s quite the drop!

I’m glad I made sure both our van and my mother’s car were plugged in, yesterday.

Tomorrow (Sunday) is supposed to warm up to -3C . Quite the fluctuation!

The Re-Farmer

This is what $430 looks like – and they’re going to do it!

I was going to do a Costco trip today, however by the time I reached my mother’s town, I changed my mind. Road conditions and blowing snow was getting worse the further south I went, so I just got some gas, then went to a nearer Walmart. Costco will wait for another time.

Which turned out to be a good thing, because the trip was shorter. I was just leaving the store when I got a message from my brother. The roofers had called! They wanted to come by today and at least drop off the materials for the roof, if not get started on the work. They’re going to get it done before winter is officially here! They have not yet arrived, but I am glad to be home to be able to keep an eye on the security camera live feed. The gate has been left open, and we will be leaving it open, at least during the day, until the job is done. Everything is weather dependant right now.

Also, WordPress just let me know that this blog has hit 100,000 views! Thank you to everyone who has visited with us, and especially those who like what they see enough to follow and comment, too. It is really encouraging, and greatly appreciated.

So that’s our amazing news!

Meanwhile, I ended up picking up more than I originally intended today. This is what $428.74 (after taxes) looks like.

I got another four 10kg bags of kibble. Normally, with the four I already got, I would say we are stocked up for the month, but we have more yard cats this year, and they always need more food in the winter. The cat lady was going to see about getting some donated cat food for us, so that will be a help, but I’m not going to count on it.

If I’d made it to Costco, I would have picked up a case of 48 cans of wet cat food. Instead, I got two cased of 32 cans. That makes three cases of that size for the month. I’d love to be able to get some wet cat food to the bitty babies, but that would be difficult to manage with so other cats around, and we just can’t afford to buy enough wet cat food for them all.

All Purpose flour was on sale – $8.97 instead of $11.97 – so I picked up an extra bag. Stove Top Stuffing was also on sale for 87 cents, so I got a couple more boxes for our pantry. With all of us being sick for the last while and not having the energy to cook much, we’ve been going into our quick eats supply, so I got more of the ramen type noodles and canned tomato soup to replenish the pantry.

Other items for the pantry include toilet paper, facial tissues, feminine hygiene products, and a couple of tubes of toothpaste.

There was a really good sale on whole chickens, so I got a couple of those, along with eggs, rye bread, a bag of clementines and a new flavour of coffee creamer for the girls. I picked up a 12 pack of cranberry ginger ale as a treat, along with a big box of granola bars.

Some unplanned items included a shower curtain and shower curtain liner. The cats have been destroying them, so I sprung for higher quality ones, in hopes they will last longer. Leyendecker in particular keeps trying to eat the fabric curtain hanging on the outside, so I got a plastic one, this time.

I also got a set of 3 wire cubes. I am thinking that, with ones we already have that we used to display inventory, back when we were doing the art markets before our move, I can use them to make a kennel if we can manage to bring Broccoli and her babies inside.

One last extra was a box of religious Christmas cards for my mother. The ones I ordered online for her won’t arrive for some time, and she wants to send cards overseas, so I got these for her. Then, when I was paying for it all, I added a donation to the children’s hospital, too.

I swung by my mother’s place to drop the cards off on the way home. While there, I told her the news about the roofers. She was not happy, because if they put the shingles on now, they will all crack in the cold. Clearly, they have no idea what they’re doing. She then demanded (again) that we have a warranty, and that it’s in writing. I keep trying to explain, it’s all going to be there in the contract, spelled out in detail, but she refuses to believe me. I get the impression she thinks there is not actual contract; that it’s all being done with no record. Which might be what she’s used to, considering who they’ve hired in the past, but my brother and I would not hear of calling a local guy that has a reputation for being very drunk while he works.

Since I’d finished my shopping before I got the message from my brother, I made another stop at the grocery store near my mother’s place to get a few things I’d intended to do on another trip. When the roofers are here, I’d like to have hot food and coffee going for them; it’s not like there’s anyplace nearby they can pop over for their breaks and lunches. So I got what I needed to make a chili for one day, and a stew for another and, when I got home, I brought the meat for them out of the freezer to start thawing.

So that shopping, rounded up to donate to a local food bank, was another $40.

Finally, I stopped at the post office on the way home, as my husband was hoping a package for him had arrived early, but it did not. Since I was there anyhow, I picked up some Christmas treats out of the booze corner; some alcoholic eggnog, and a sampler of tiny, uniquely flavoured drinks, which added another $47 and change to the day’s total.

I’m still going to need to do a Costco trip, plus a trip to Canadian Tire to get the stove pellets we use for litter, but nothing is urgently needed.

It’s past 4pm as I finish writing this, and the roofers have not yet come by with the supplies. I’m not really expecting them to make it tonight, but who knows! Tomorrow is supposed to reach a high of -15C/5F, and be mostly cloudy. The day after (Sunday) is supposed to reach a high of -5C/23F with “snow showers”, then start getting quite a bit colder again.

This is not going to be a pleasant job for them to do!

The Re-Farmer

First monthly stock up shop: this is what $393 looks like

More specifically, $392,96, after taxes.

I was feeling well enough to finally get our first stock up shop for December done. I am no longer sick, but still feeling pretty weak. Honestly, I would have stayed home if I could. I didn’t want to be driving in that wind, when the roads are in that “is that melted snow, or is that ice?” stage! I had intended to take my mother’s car, because it needs an oil change, but our van has winter tires, so I took that, instead.

Even so, I wasn’t sure how far I was up to driving. I reserved judgement until I reached my mother’s town. She has a cold now, too, and was complaining about coughing badly at night, so I went to her pharmacy and got some cold medication for her, then swung by to drop it off. By then, I knew I was up to making the rest of the drive.

My mother looked quite miserable, and had had another rough night of coughing. One of the medications I got for her was some NeoCitrin so, before I left, I got the kettle going, cut apart all the pairs of packets for her, because I knew it would be harder for her to do herself, then got a cup ready for her before I left. We also went over the directions for how much to take of the cough syrup I got for her, which would be best for her to take before bed, since that’s when her coughing is the worst. When she found out where I was going, she asked me to pick up some milk for her to drop off on the way home.

Once I was done at her place, I got some fuel (local prices are now 158.9/L) then headed to a small Walmart at the nearer city.

There were two things I especially needed to get, and those made up most of the bill. I got four 10kg bags of kibble for the outside cats, at just under $26 each (a really good price for our area) and a case of 32 cans of wet cat food for the inside cats (we still have dry kibble for them). The canned cat food is now $28.47, which is about $10 more expensive than just a few months ago. Altogether, this is about half the cat food we’ll need for the month. When we do our Costco trip, I’ll get more kibble (how many depends on what size bags they have available at the time), and a 48 pack of canned cat food.

Then I got some cold medication. There are shortages of cold medications across Canada right now, and there was less of it at the Walmart than in my mother’s pharmacy! Still, I was able to get both day and night time NeoCitrin (at my mother’s pharmacy, they only had the day type), and a big bottle of liquid cough medicine. I also picked up some vitamins my doctor has me on, and at checkout, I grabbed 4 different flavours of cough candy.

Since our quarter beef should be ready for pick up this week, the only meat I got was some chicken breasts and, because none of us are up to cooking very much right now, a big box of Pizza Pops. There’s some Havarti, mozzarella and marble cheese in there, coffee for my daughters, some clementines, a couple of loaves of rye bread, a 4L of milk for us and a 2L milk for my mother. I also remembered to grab some popcorn seasonings, in three flavours. Oh, and a box of Vanilla Rooibos tea.

I also picked up a couple of t-shirts for my husband. The cats climb him a lot, and all his t-shirts are getting filled with holes from their claws! I went looking in the craft section for little things I could use with the Christmas ornaments I’m making this year, but there was absolutely no Christmas themed or coloured crafts items available. None. It’s like Christmas doesn’t exist in the Walmart craft department. It’s been like that for a few years now, I’ve noticed. I used to work in a craft store. Christmas craft materials started showing up in July, at the latest, because of the time it takes to make things in time for Christmas. I did find some replacement blades for my Xacto knife, though. I have some, but just can’t find them right now. Then, while waiting in line, I went ahead and bought some caramel filled chocolates, as a van snack.

My husband had suggested I pick up some McRaunchies burgers as a treat for the sickies, so after I finished paying for my stuff, I ordered 4 double quarter pounders with cheese and bacon. That came out to almost $44, after taxes! You know it’s bad when McDick’s burgers are $10 each. Ah, well. Beggars can’t be choosers! The girls really appreciated the treat when I got home. Even a barely warm, kinda soggy from being in an insulated bag, treat.

So there we have it. Thirty four items, and almost $400 later!

Of course, I did stop at my mother’s on the way home to deliver her milk. What a difference! That one dose of cold medicine I’d made for her earlier, and she was feeling – and looking! – so much better! She was so very happy at how well it worked, and how quickly. I’m really glad I did that on the way out, rather than getting the medication for her at the same time as ours, as I’d originally intended. She was breathing clearly, feeling stronger, and was in much, much better spirits.

Amazing what a bit of the right medication can do!

The Re-Farmer

It’s a bit blustery out there!

This time of year is always so disorienting. I’m sitting here, thinking how late it must be, and that I should probably be getting ready for bed, only to look at the clock and find it’s only 6pm. We’ve been fully dark for a while, now!

And windy.

We’re not actually getting a lot of snowfall right now, but every now and then, the garage cam gets completely blinded with blowing snow!

It was several hours later than predicted, but we did eventually hit the expected high of -6C/21F, though not for long – and with that wind, it certainly didn’t feel that way. What’s interesting is seeing how the forecast has changed for next week, and we’re now being told to expect two days with highs of 0C/32F.

Looking at the 30 year records, our average temperature for today is 0C/32F for the high, and -8C/18F for the low. Our 30 year record high was set in 2009 and 10C/50F, while the record low was -16C/3F. We also had a record snowfall of 85.3mm (about 3 1/2 inches) set in 2010. So we really don’t have much to complain about.

Still, it’s a good day to stay inside and catch up on my crochet with a hot cup of tea!

That is, if the cats will let me. I opened my door and let them in. I have 5 cats sleeping on my bed, Nosencrantz is hiding in her shelf, Butterscotch is sleeping on a different shelf, up near the ceiling, and as I try to type this, Fenrir keeps rubbing her lies on my fingers and bashing my hands with her forehead! Fenrir is one of the biggest reasons we have been keeping that door closed, as she usually is the first to try and go after Nosencrantz, but she sure seems to miss stretching out on my chest while I’m on my computer, and making it difficult to type!

The Re-Farmer

I don’t think we’re gonna make it…

We’re supposed to reach a high of -6C/21F today.

According to this, we should already be at -8C/18F as I write this, but we’re -12C/9F instead, with a wind chill of -19C/-2F. That wind is BITTER out there! I strongly suspect we’re not going to reach the predicted high today! Especially not with tomorrow supposed to be even colder.

But look ahead to Wednesday! We’re looking at 0C/32F! In one of my apps that has long range forecasts into December, there’s even a 3C/37F in the forecast!

I am good with this. The furnace is already turning on and staying on way too often, even with these mild temperatures (and yes, I did turn it down a bit. We just have a very inefficient house).

No word from the roofers yet. My brother is going to reach out to them. He wants to be here when they are, which means booking time off work, so the more advance notice the better, but it’s so weather dependent! Still, if it can be done before the usual colder months of January and February, that will help on our heating bill, that’s for sure!

The Re-Farmer

Anniversary

Well, here it is.

Today is the 5th anniversary of all four of us finally being here at the farm today.

I can’t say “moved in”, since we had to put our stuff in storage for almost a month, but aside from that, it was done. We were here!

One of the things we did after spending some time assessing what we’d gotten into, as best we could at the time, was come up with a 5 year plan for what we wanted to accomplish, where we wanted to focus on, and a time line to shoot for.

Boy, did that ever get changed along the way!

Originally, the first two years were going to focus on clearing and cleaning the inner yard. Year one was going to be particularly focused on the maple grove to the west of the house, then year two would see us finish fixing up the inner yard with a focus on the spruce grove. Year three, we would continue working on the spruce grove, but also start moving more focus into the outer yard. By year five, we expected to be able to finish the outer yard. Through all this time, we were also going to work on where we wanted to put in gardens, and year five was going to be our first actual gardening year.

After year five, the inner and outer yards would be done, we could start planting gardens, and also start moving beyond the outer yard to start dealing with things like the car graveyard, junk piles, and so on.

Along the way, as things were cleared and cleaned up, we also kept our minds on where we wanted to plant fruit and nut trees, and other such permanent things.

Well… year one went pretty much to plan.

We got the old kitchen garden cleaned up and started to amend the soil with layers of cardboard, straw, leaves and whatever other organic material we could get.

We got the maple grove cleared and cleaned up. It still feels great to be able to walk through there again!

We got a lot done around the fire pit area and the west yard in general. It took months, and so much progress was made! We even were able to work on the perimeter of the spruce grove, and open things up.

In year two, the clean up continued, and I think it was around then that it became clear we would not be finishing the inner yard – more specifically, the spruce grove – as planned. In fact, we still haven’t finished the spruce grove, and won’t for some time. It’s a much bigger job than expected, and there are a large number of dead spruce trees that need to be cut down.

We did, however, start preparing our first garden area. We also got the retaining wall built at the end of the old kitchen garden. The clean up continued, inside and out, with quite a bit of storm damage to deal with when a blizzard hit us in October. I think the biggest accomplishment was getting that old wood pile area cleaned up – an area that uncovered some of the best soil in the yard.

A lot of work got done in our second year, but for our third year, our focus had to shift. There was no way we were going to be done with the inner yard, though we would have to do more in the outer yard at the same time. Things were getting pretty loosey goosey with our plans.

We still got a lot done. It just didn’t feel like we made much progress.

But, we got a garden in, with squash planted in the bed we’d prepared the year before, new beds made for potatoes, and the old wood pile area became a new garden, too. Our first year gardening was ahead of schedule – and right about the time when suddenly everyone else was starting to garden, too, thanks to the lockdowns and restrictions. We did repairs, patch jobs and replacements. General clean up in the yards continued, and we even got some bulbs planted. Hundreds of them!

Among the more difficult things we had to deal with was my husband’s health. In 2019, he ended up in the emergency room. Things got worse, and he later ended up in the hospital for about three weeks. It wasn’t until 2020 that he finally got into the pain clinic – after 2 years on the waiting list. That was difficult enough, since we were still under lockdowns and restrictions, but the whole thing was really a waste of time. Much like his visits with the cardiac clinic. After all that, right now, he barely even sees our GP, and the last time he had a phone appointment with the cardiac clinic, they never called. I think they’re pissed off at him for refusing to drive all the way to the city so they can make him sit in the waiting room, in pain, until he finally walks out without ever being seen. That’s one down side about moving back to our home province. The health care here is a lot worse than our previous province – though from what I’ve heard, things have gone seriously down hill over there, since we left.

For a lot of people, 2020 was the year from hell. My younger daughter ended up leaving her job at the pharmacy, but at least we had my husband’s disability income unchanged, unlike so many others. Being here on the farm meant very little actually changed for us. Our regular stock up trips and most other outings eventually became just me. I can’t wear a mask and had to deal with a lot of issues, since most places ignored the medical exemptions, never mind the fact that the mandates were illegal in the first place. We basically put our heads down and did the best we could, and counted our blessings.

One thing that did become clear is that we needed to step up on our long term goal of being as self sufficient as possible. Gardening became a higher priority. Our first winters here showed that we also needed to focus on having a stockpile of necessities in case we’re snowed in, etc. Getting chickens and, eventually, other food animals also had to be bumped up the priority list, though plans to build a chicken coop and brooder keep getting foiled.

We did have some fun things happen, though – like having a herd of goats show up at our place! One of which stayed for quite some time. In the end, I just walked over to the owner’s place with a bucket of feed, and the goat followed me.

I think most of us would like to forget 2020 happened, and had high hopes for 2021.

Except 2021 didn’t turn out any better. The illegal restrictions and mandates continued, people continued to have their health and lives destroyed, and we continued to try to keep our heads down and stick to our hermitage as much as possible.

Focus was once again on the garden, which required some creativity, and it was a difficult growing year. It started out well enough, with an early spring that had all sorts of trees blooming. It was very tempting to plant early, and some things, like a mulberry tree sapling we bought, did get planted as appropriate for our climate zone. Then one exceptionally cold night in May killed off so much. That year we had no crab apples, no saskatoons, no chokecherries, and the poor mulberry got killed off.

We expanded the garden by a lot, and it was a constant battle. Drought and heat waves meant watering the garden plots pretty much every day, twice a day. It also meant struggling to protect our garden from hungry and thirsty animals, with deer and groundhogs doing the most damage. We had to watch for racoons, too, though they were more interested in the bird seed and cat food than the garden. And yet, we managed to get a decent amount out of it.

We had plenty of other things to deal with, from van and door fixes, and even tire blow outs, to cat fixes! (Ginger is doing just fine now, and the missing leg isn’t slowing him down at all!) We got more clean up and improvements done around the yards, such as this path we added in the old kitchen garden. We even added to our longer term goals, and I hope to start working on these ones, next year or maybe the year after.

Again, we got a lot done, with all sorts of projects, but it didn’t feel like we made forward progress, other than in the garden.

Then there’s 2022.

Our fifth year here.

I’ll be doing future posts about how the year went, including a gardening review and goal setting, like I did for 2021, so I won’t get into that too much, now.

It did turn out to be another rough year, though after 2021, I don’t think a lot of people expected 2022 to be better. Despite the fact that data around the world has shown that the illegal restrictions and mandates not only didn’t work, but made things worse, our own dictatorial government is talking about bringing them back for this winter. Supply chain problems and increased inflation has been devastating to so many and, being on a fixed income, we’re certainly feeling it, too.

Through we did not have to deal with drought and heat waves this year, we did get a long, drawn out winter, followed by flooding that washed out roads around us in all directions, and more water in our yard than I’ve ever seen before, even when I was a kid growing up here. We did get long term progress done, with finally planting berry bushes and trees.

We expanded the garden so much this year and planted so many different things, we did not have to fight critter damage like last year, and yet we had a much worse growing year than the year before. Over all, I feel like we didn’t really make much forward progress at all, in any area. In fact, in some areas, we’re falling behind. We’ve got aging outbuildings collapsing or falling apart, and no way to replace them. We need to replace our van, as it’s really not worth fixing up anymore, but that’s out of reach now, too. About the only really good thing is that our vandal’s vexatious litigation against us, in response to our getting a restraining order against him approved, finally got thrown out and he didn’t appeal, so we don’t have that hanging over us anymore.


So what can we expect for the next five years? How do we even plan for such an uncertain future?

Well… honestly… the original goals haven’t really changed. They’ve just shifted. We’ve always wanted to live a more self sufficient life, and that’s simply become a greater priority over things like cleaning up the spruce grove or the outer yard.

In the short term, the gardens will continue to expand. We’ve learned a lot in three years of gardening here. We now know that we need to put a priority on things like raised beds and trellises, and that we need to work out how to deal with both drought and flooding, as well as getting around our rocky and nutritionally depleted soil.

We know that we need to work to grow a lot more food, with a lot more varieties, on the assumption that much of what we plant will simply not make it.

We know we need to step up on planting a food forest and other perennials that will feed us – along with things to attract and protect pollinators.

We know we will have to battle critters over the food we grow.

We know that we have to put a priority on getting food animals, even if it’s just a few chickens or meat rabbits – and that we need to be prepared to grow their feed, because we might not be able to buy feed for them.

We know that we can expect to be unable to get out of here for potentially months at a time, whether it’s due to vehicles breaking down or freezing, or roads impassable because of snow or flooding, so we have to be prepared for that. We know we need to keep at least a couple months worth of food, household necessities, and cat supplies, on hand, just in case.

We have been incredibly fortunate in that we have not had any major power failures, but I remember many times when I was a kid, losing power and having to fire up the old wood burning cook stove. That is no longer an option. We can at least cook on the BBQ or the fire pit if necessary, which means that the priority list now includes finding some way to pay for the original well with the hand pump to be repaired, so we will at least have water if the power goes out. Water is our biggest weakness.

We always liked the idea of cooking over the fire pit, but with the first years here having total fire bans, this past summer was the first time we could safely use it for any length of time. We now know we need to come up with an off-grid, outdoor kitchen that we can use at any time of year, whether it’s in the middle of a snow storm in the winter, or if we’re under a fire ban in the summer. This would also be part of bringing back the old idea of having a summer kitchen, to use for canning and preserving, without overheating the house or taking up the kitchen from daily needs.

These past five years have shown us our original goals don’t actually need to be changed. Just the priority list. Yes, it’ll be great to finally have the spruce grove cleaned up, but that is less important than building garden beds and shelters and getting food animals. The goals are not mutually exclusive, though. Since we can’t afford much when it comes to lumber and supplies, we’ll just have to make use of the dead trees we need to cut down in the spruce grove, and we have to clean up around them to do that safely, anyhow.

We just have to keep reassessing and adapting the how and when, but the what has not really changed at all.

The Re-Farmer

Holy Smokes! It’s done! (plus amazing news!)

So I emailed the plumber earlier, not expecting to actually hear from him until Monday.

He called less than 2 hours later. After he got our location, he said he’d be here in about 20 minutes.

I don’t think it took him that long!

After checking the pipe out in both basements, they got to work and brought out the auger. (His assistant was a guy that spoke Ukrainian, and seemed to have almost no English. Likely a war refugee.) They sent that thing well past where the block was – he could tell when they hit it. Given the age of the pipes, he said the block was likely really, really old, hardened kitchen grease, and all the things that go along with it.

After they augered the pipe, he went to the laundry drain and used the super industrial drain cleaner we’d finally tried. When I saw it, I mentioned that to him and said that, when that didn’t work, we knew we had to call in a plumber! He was nodding his head before I even finished. If that stuff doesn’t work, no amount of drain cleaner will do it.

Once that was in, we had to test it out. We ran water, and it seemed fine but, from the kitchen sink, it was a problem only when we had to pour out large amounts of water at once, not just from the tap running. The kitchen is far enough away from the tanks and pumps that there just isn’t that much water or pressure coming out of the tap. I ended up filling one sink a couple of inches, while also having water in a container, then draining the one sink while dumping water down the other at the same time, while he poured water into the laundry drain.

When I came around, there was water puddling under the washing machine.

It was also smoking.

The water, I mean. The puddle of water under the drain was smoking.

Remember that industrial strength drain cleaner I mentioned?

Yeah, there was still some in the pipe, and it leaked out with the water, and was smoking.

He had to pull the washer and drier out, so he could see what was going on. After pouring water into the laundry drain again, he discovered the P trap was leaking.

And smoking.

After fiddling with it a bit to see if he could stop the leak, he ended up just cutting it out and replacing it.

While he was doing that, I brought over some old towels that he used – while wearing gloves – to wipe up the puddle. By the end of it, two towels went straight into a garbage can that I brought over, so there was no chance of coming in contact with this stuff.

After that, a new P trap was installed, we waited a bit, then tested it again. This time, he took one of the hoses off the washing machine and ran water straight into the drain.

No leaking!

Then I did the double sink thing again, while he ran water into the laundry drain.

No leaking, and no backing up.

The real test, of course, will be doing a test run of the washing machine, which we will do later. He also recommended using drain cleaner regularly, especially over the next few weeks, to keep the pipes clear of built of grime. Time to get more of that septic friendly drain maintenance stuff we had been using for exactly that purpose!

After doing some more mopping up, the washer and drier were put back, and they were off.

The final bill was higher than when he cleared our septic drain, as I was afraid it would be. The drain clearing plus 1 hour was a set rate, plus the cost of part, and it came to just under $400. With everything being so much more expensive now, though, I’m not actually surprised. However, we had enough squirreled away that I could pay the bill, and not have to go into the money for the tree guys. We actually did have 30 days to pay the bill, but I wanted to get that done and over with. I hate owing money!

Oh, my goodness!!!!

I am texting with the cat lady as I write this. She just gave me the most amazing news!

The two bitty babies she rescued for us are soon to be adopted! They’re getting their vaccines next week, and they’ll be in their new home at the end of November! Someone who recently lost her two 18 year old cats is adopting them both.

I am just so incredibly excited to hear that! Plus, after she has adopted out another cat she’s fostering, she’ll have room for 2 more of ours for placement.

Plus, the 2 spays and a neuter she still has planned for us.

All this, while waiting for her upcoming organ transplant…

The cat lady is just so amazing!

Also, she just informed me that Cabbages actually allows their dog to pick her up and carry her upstairs to her bed. I would love to see pictures of that!!!

Okay, this day is ending on a really fabulous note – even with a hit to the budget!

I’m just so happy right now!

The Re-Farmer

I made a thing

With the colder temperatures and chill winds, I haven’t been able to wear my usual ball cap outside. No ear protection. Getting wind in my ears causes me headaches. But I like my ball cap, and having a visor to shade my eyes.

So I made a thing.

Nosencrantz seems perplexed.

After looking at different styles online, I combined the features I liked, and this is what I came up with.

I have just come back from feeding the outside cats for the night, and testing it out.

It works rather well!

The Re-Farmer

Just in time

Well, it took the three of us a couple of hours, but we finally did it. We got the tarp over the hole in the shed roof.

One thing I can say about that shed, now that we’re done.

It’s not going to last much longer!

Anyhow.

The first thing to do, of course, was to open up the tarp.

This is what 20′ x 30′ looks like. It’s being held up at the back by tall grass.

The kittens really, really loved this tarp!

Now, I’ll say right from the start, this tarp should have been oriented the other way. We could have covered the entire roof with it. That, however, was not an option for us. There was simply no way we could do that, reach the edges and be able to fasten it down, safely.

The trick was, how to get one end of the tarp over the roof. I decided to make use of the remaining PEX pipe I bought to use as netting support in the garden, so make one end more or less rigid. There was just over 20′ of it left, too, so that worked out.

I was going to Zip tie the pipe to one end, but I couldn’t find my package of smaller sizes, and I wasn’t about to waste the long ones I had on this. I did, however, find an unopened roll of garden twist ties. I’d bought 2 of them a couple of years ago, and never used the second one.

The PEX was in a roll, so it took some doing to straighten it out as much as I could. With the temperature barely above freezing, I was trying to warm it with my hands and much as I could, to make it more flexible.

It still wanted to roll up again, especially at the ends, but it worked well enough.

Then next step was to tie twine to grommets near the corners. I’m glad I got those rolls of bale twine! Very handy. I used my arms to roughly measure out about 35 feet of twine, then tied them on.

Next, I needed weights. Something that I could tie to the twine and throw over the roof – keeping in mind that I’m not very good at throwing things! I poked around in the barn for a while and found these.

Perfect!

By this time, one of my daughters joined me. It took a few tries, but we got them over the roof.

Mostly.

With one of them, I was able to grab it with a garden tool, but the other one had to be pulled back and thrown again. 😁

Before we could haul the tarp over, though, we also had to prune some trees away. They need to be cut away from the shed completely, because of the damage they’re causing. I didn’t cut the dogwood, though. Unlike the maples, its not going to develop a large trunk or branches that will tear the shed apart.

By this time, my other daughter was able to join us. It took a LOT to wrestle the tarp over. There were so many things it could get caught on. On the side with the shingles, there were plenty of nail heads sticking out, and not just from where the shingles had blown away. It was even catching on the metal cap at the top. We had to use the extended pole pruner, at maximum length, to get under the tarp and lift it over whatever it was getting caught on – while also trying not to tear holes in the tarp! Of course, the PEX kept trying to roll up again, too, which certainly didn’t help any.

By the time we got it over, it was shifted so far to one side, the hole was completely uncovered, so we then had to fight with it some more, maneuvering it to where it needed to be using twine tied to the grommets. Then, once it was where it needed to be to cover the hole, the hole thing needed to be adjusted so that the roof was covered, the tarp could be tied down, and the door could still be opened.

At this end, it’s tied down at only two places, and I made sure to test to see if the door could still be opened. At some point, we’ll have to pick up some Bungee cords and hooks so that we can fasten it down better, while also being able to unhook them any time we need to open the door.

Also, that old children’s swing? You can just see a line from one of the legs to a fence post at the corner of the shed. For some reason, the swing is tied to that post with barbed wire.

Fastening the tarp in that corner was particularly dangerous, and not just because of that barbed wire. There is all sorts of stuff buried under there, hidden in the tall grass, and even sunk into the ground. Oh, and rolls of more barbed wire, rusting away.

Still not as dangerous as the other side.

Pulling enough of the tarp over so that the door could be opened, meant we could easily reach to fasten it to the wall.

AFTER turning under the sharp corners of some of the metal roof pieces, so they wouldn’t cut the tarp! We ended up rolling an old tire over for my daughter to stand on, so she could reach the edges with pliers.

Aside from the junk snowmobiles and the antique boiler/steamer thing (now that’s something that we should cover, too!) in the way, this area had bits and pieces of snowmobiles the cows scattered, my daughter found glass from the window that broke a few years back – I thought I’d found all the pieces when I fixed that! – rotten pieces of wood hidden in the tall grass, and boulders sticking out of the ground.

There are SO many large rocks sticking out of the ground out here.

With the pipe running along the back of the tarp at the grommets, we could get away with hammering only a few nails in, instead of one at every grommet. Which is good, because the wood of this wall is getting so rotted, it was hard to find spots where we actually could hammer nails in.

Yeah. This shed has definitely not got a lot of years left.

I suspect the nails won’t hold long. I’ll have find other ways to secure it and go back. The main thing, though, is that it’s now in place, and just in time. Ice pellets were starting to fall while I was still setting up the tarp. By the time we were done, it was a mixture of snow and rain. It seems to be snowing right now – at least, I can see some snow accumulated on the ground and the driveway, on the security camera live feed, but we’re also still supposed to be getting rain.

I’m glad we managed to get it done. How long it’ll last, with the winds we get, who knows, but there’s not much we can do about that right now. 😕

The Re-Farmer