Clean up: no more pile of stuff!

We were able to use all the chimney inserts that were piled behind the house, and even the last chimney block, while winterizing around the house. That meant I could finally clean up that area once and for all!

This area has taken me two years to clean up.

Here is what it was like when I first started working on it, back in May of last year.

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Clean up: west fence line and maple grove

Today turned out to be too cold and damp to do the mowing between the trees I cleared last year, that I hoped to do today. I thought I might be able to at least use my reciprocating saw to cut some of the smaller stumps of trees I took down last year to ground level, so I could mow over them. In the end, I decided it was just too damp to drag out the extension cords and use electric tools.

Instead, I worked on an area I left partly unfinished last year; a double row of elms leading to the garden gate at the west fence line.

Here is how it looked before I started.

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Clean Up: mowing the big garden

Today started early for me, as I had to drive to my mother’s to take her for an appointment to get her CT scan. She had a requirement to drink a litre of water an hour before her appointment, then restrictions on going to the bathroom shortly before, so I wanted to make sure she got there early enough to not have to worry about the restriction. Given how long it takes to drive from her town to the city where her appointment was, that meant she had to start drinking her water while we were driving.

She also had to fast 4 hours before the scan, but my mother went a bit overboard and, aside from eating some crackers with her morning medications, she had fasted since the supper! So as soon as we were done, I made sure to take her to lunch somewhere fast.

By the time I got home, it was mid afternoon. The weather was holding, so I decided to break out the push mower and get as much done as I could. (I only got rained on a tiny bit! 😀 ) I was going to start working in the trees, but then decided to do the old, overgrown garden, instead.

When my brother brought the mower back, he walked me through what he had done. It started fine when we tested it, but he mentioned that he felt the prime pump wasn’t doing its job. So, just in case it wouldn’t start, he showed me where to open up the side of the engine, where there is a filter and an opening behind it, and told me I could basically just splash some fuel into it, and that should be enough to start it.

I’m very glad he told me that, because it wouldn’t start. I ended up having to do it twice! The second time was after I ran out of gas, but I found that if I filled the tank before it was completely empty, I didn’t have to do it again. Except I didn’t just splash it. I tipped the mower onto its side and poured a tiny bit, using the cap of the jerry can spout to hold the tiny bit of fuel I needed. After that, it started just fine.

Mowing the old garden ended up taking about 4 hours.

It is not a small garden.

It was also incredibly rough. Plus, I had to look out for stuff like this.

Thankfully, it wasn’t sticking too far out of the ground, but that’s something we’re going to have to dig up at some point. Maybe. Depends on how big it is, underground!

Here are the before photos.

Right now, the garden area is split by the section we covered with straw to mulch it, used some RoundUp when things started to grow through the mulch, then covered with tarps, that I worked around. That is where we are hoping to be able to start planting something next year. I also tried to get into those trees my mother left growing when she transplanted her raspberry bushes, as much as I could.

Here is what it looks like now.

Did I mention it was rough in there?

This picture barely begins to show how rough it was! It’s hard to grasp from the photo, just how big that hill in the foreground is. When this area was last plowed, this is where the tractor turned, so there are huge ridges all over.

If the weather continues to hold tomorrow, I want to work on mowing between the trees in the maple grove, plus the area leading from the big garden to the gate. My mother said she planted elms in there, so the area had not been mowed, but I see no signs of them.

And now I have to try and get the burrs out of my pant legs.

The Re-Farmer

Prepping the old dog houses

Yesterday, after picking the crab apples, I had time to start working on the old dog houses, as part of our winterization plans for them. We were getting severe thunderstorm alerts and, looking at the weather radar, it looked like these ones were not going to miss us, so we rushed to get a bunch of things done outside. The girls put the sheets of metal roofing back on the old garden shed that had blown off from the last storm, but there was no way to nail them in place, so they strapped them down, instead. Then they helped me move aside the dog houses, so I could work on the space under them.

The main issue was that the ground is not level, resulting in one of the dog houses tending to rock back and forth.

This was part of why that was happening.

Nothing like a big ol’ tree root to mess things up!

To try and level it, I first used a garden fork to dig things up and loosen the soil. After that, I used a garden rake to try and level the area as much as I could.

Which the kittens absolutely loved.

I then put the sheets of Styrofoam insulation back, but lay them out differently this time, after noting some issues from how we had it before.

I happened to have a sheet of dollar store tarp in the garage, so I used it to basically hold the 4 sheets of insulation together – and I hope it will serve to protect it a bit from the cats, who like to use the foam to sharpen their claws! LOL

Then I snagged a daughter to help me move the dog houses back again.

The kittens love it!

I have a couple more sheets of insulation that I plan to slide under the dog houses, so the kittens aren’t going to be able to play under there for much longer. 😀 Later, when we get a straw bale to cover our septic tank, I plan to add start around the dog houses. We are also looking at ways to use the sheets of black tarp that I cleared from the old wood pile to further shelter and winterize these for the cats.

Not long after this was done, we did get hit with a pretty wild thunderstorm. We promptly lost our internet, and even the power flickered off and on several times, though we never lost it completely. I later saw photos taken in town, where there was some flooding in the streets.

Looking at the long range forecasts, we might get storms throughout tomorrow and into early the next morning, before things clear up. We’ve had enough rain that I might actually have to mow the lawn one more time before putting the mower away for the winter!

The Re-Farmer

Clean Up: a new home for Mary

My older daughter was a sweet heart and set up my mother’s concrete statue of Mary. We discussed a few possible locations, and decided on the space beside the mock orange, at the clothes line platform.

I had done some clean up there, then mulched the area, so she moved the mulch and tried to dig down to place the block.

She found a stump of a root, so she placed the block with one of the openings over the root, then stuffed the openings with straw mulch.

She also found…

A whole bunch of strange things buried under there.

One of these sticks is actually a long bone!

So now Mary has a new home.

Also, I have the best daughters. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Temporary

With the recent rains and the cooler temperatures, I decided it was time to figure out how to burn the rotten wood I had cleared out of the old wood pile.

I had a bit of a conundrum.

The burn barrel was full, along with a bin beside it, but I didn’t want to use it, because it’s so close to the big pile of branches we’ve been clearing out.

The best place do a burn is in the outer yard. After walking around and deciding on the best spot, I hooked up the remaining usable hoses to the one new hose I got. It gave me a total of 150 feet, but it wasn’t enough to reach where I had wanted to set up. I had to set up closer. At least this put me on a gravel base.

I dug out a large metal ring that has been sitting in the spruce grove for who knows how long, and rolled it over to use as a fire pit. Bits and pieces of rusted out metal broke off the inside as I rolled it over that I had to go back and pick up. The last thing I need is to have one of those slicing open a tire. I also found a sheet of metal near the barn to use as a base.

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Clean up: old dog houses moved

Brrr, today has turned out to be chilly!

With some help from my daughter, though, I was able to get a lot more done outside than I expected.

First on the list was to move the old dog houses to what I hope will be a permanent – or at least long term – location.

Unfortunately, things are really level in the area I wanted to put them. After discussing it a bit, we decided which space was the most level, then hoisted the dog houses over.

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