Well, that was disgusting

It’s just past 2 am as I start to write this. Normally, I would be going to bed around this time, but I actually went to bed before midnight, for a change.

Before I did, I checked the old basement. Not only was there no increased flooding, but things had actually started to dry up. A good sign. I covered the drain with the plastic sheet that keeps the gases out and went to bed.

Not long ago, I woke to go to the bathroom and heard a strange, quiet rumbling from the basement. It didn’t sound like the well pump, nor the septic pump, neither of which should have been on, anyhow.

It was the sump pump.

The basement was flooded even more than before, the reservoir had filled, the pump was running so long, it was sounding wrong, but the reservoir wasn’t draining.

I threw on some boots and a coat and ran outside with the flashlight. There was nothing coming out of the sump pump hose in the old kitchen garden. I yanked it out from along the house, and it was flexible the entire length. I finally found the blockage, right by where it attached to the pipe from the basement.

I was able to flex the hose and could hear ice breaking up inside, but that did nothing for the rigid bit of pipe through the wall.

So back to the basement I ran, this time with a couple of large buckets. I had to unplug the sump pump, which had been running so long, it was hot.

By this time, my noise had awakened the rest of the family. Even my husband could hear me over the sound of his CPAP.

The girls came down to help. I used the small bucket with a wire on its handle that we used the last time this happened, and a broom handle it sink it, and started bailing water into a large bucket. That went to one daughter, who took it up the stairs. My other daughter took that outside to empty it, while I filled the next bucket.

That reservoir holds a remarkable amount of water.

After many trips, we got the reservoir bailed out as much as could be done with the small bucket.

Once that was clear, I checked the drain in the floor. It had disintegrating toilet paper in it, but not more than before, from what I could tell. I was going to hose that away after the septic tank was done.

The first time we had septic problems in the basement, that my brother and I worked on, we hooked an old hose to what used to be the cold water tap for the washing machine and used it to try and clear the pipes. The last time, when the plumber came with his drain auger, it came in very handy, so I’ve just left it there, with most of the hose rolled up and hanging. I pushed the end of it through the drain, and could get quite far. There is no blockage, that I could feel.

Once the drain cover was off, I could see water from the floor starting to slowly drain away.

Grabbing a long handled scrub brush, I tried to clear the drain opening, and it didn’t seem to make much difference in how quickly things drained.

What concerned me was that I started pulling up thin tree roots. That’s what the plumber had cleared out if there, not that many months ago.

After the tank is emptied, I should be able to run water through the drain in the floor and be able to see better. I’ll also open up the access pipe, near the septic pump, and take a better look, but that requires tools.

The drain cover has been left off. The sump pump remains unplugged. We will have to keep checking the basement more often, and if it starts filling again, start bailing it out again.

My daughter’s and I, meanwhile, have scrubbed up, though we still feel really gross. It’s not like we can take showers right now, though at least we can flush the toilet and wash up.

Now we have to get some more sleep while we can.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to fall asleep anytime soon, which is why I am sitting here, tapping out a blog post on my phone.


The Re-Farmer

Future plans; checking out the old chicken coop

While doing my evening rounds today, I decided to take a look at the building that we had used as a chicken coop, when I was a kid.

Since we first moved here, the roof/attic has been slowly settling downwards by noticeable amounts. The board you see me puling away from the wall used to be directly above the door. As things settled downwards, this board ended up over the top of the door, making it impossible to open. Now, it has dropped further but has weakened to the point I could just pull it away from the wall and the door.

That meant I could pull the door open.

Sort of.

When I pulled on it, that top hinge came loose (the bottom one was already loose). I ended up just lifting the door out of the ground it was being pushed into, and sliding it to the side.

Previously, the only way I could get a look inside had been to shove my phone through the gap in the door and use voice commands to take pictures, hoping it was angled half-way decent. Today is the first time I could actually go in and see what’s in there since… well, since we still had chickens, when I was a kid.

I didn’t go far.

Why are there so many old tires, all over the place? And so many of them still on rims!

At the far end you can see the nesting boxes, and to the right is the roost.

It was so strange to look at it. In my childhood memory, that roost was much, much higher. In my mind’s eye, I was expecting it to be a couple of feet from the ceiling. I actually remember looking UP to the roost, when I went in to tend to the chickens!

I’m pretty sure this old cabin did NOT have a dirt floor, but it was always covered with straw, except for the part under the roost, which was covered in chicken poop, so I can’t quite be sure.

I’m kinda hoping I am remembering that wrong, and this really is a dirt floor. I remember helping clean out the old straw, but not well enough to remember if there was a floor under there.

Whatever it is, I did not go any further in than I could while stepping on some boards near the door.

I don’t know what that material is that’s covering the walls. It’s almost like asphalt shingles, except much thicker.

You can see where the clay between the logs crumbling out in places, such as right by the door in the above photo.

This little side area is where we would keep new chicks. There is another little space at the far end with a door that was basically a frame with a screen finer than the chicken wire I’m taking this photo through. New chicks would have been small enough to squeeze through chicken wire. I can’t quite remember, but I think that’s where the feed was stored.

You can also see the outlet where we plugged in the heat lamp for the chicks. Below the window is an opening for the chickens to go outside. There was chicken yard enclosed around 2 sides of the cabin, with the area on the other side of this wall sectioned off, and another door to access it from outside. This way, the new chicks could be kept away from the older ones, even when they were big enough to venture outside. When they were fully grown, the doors into the chick enclosures would just be left open. In the summer, we would leave the main door into the enclosure open during the day, so the chickens could wander around the barn yard as they pleased, then closed them up in the coop for the night, making sure to close up little opening in the wall, too. Skunks, foxes and weasels were the most common predators we had to keep them safe from. Especially skunks.

To take the above photo, I am standing in what used to be part of the smaller chicken yard. You can see the piece of electrical cord coming out from under the right side of window frame. The cut end is hidden behind a dried up leaf. The outlet itself is in a different location than where that wire is, so I don’t know what it’s actually for. You can also see signs that the outer wall used to be covered in plaster and painted white.

It’s in rough shape and kinda gross, but of the 3 log buildings we’ve got, this is the one that’s the most solid and least damaged. If there is any chance of salvaging it, we’ve got to take care of some things.

One of those things is to cut away the trees that have been growing against it. This one here is growing partially out from under the back wall. Though efforts had been made to protect the roof by adding what looks like a corrugated tin over the original wood shingles, the branches of this tree has torn off a whole section of it, and is tearing more pieces off with every strong wind. You can even see one of the pieces of tin from the roof half buried under debris at the bottom of the tree. Which gives an idea of just how long ago it was torn off and has been sitting there.

Quite a few sheds and outbuildings have trees growing right up against them. They are almost all maples. One near the pump shack had been cut down; there is a rather large stump there. Maple stumps throw out new growth, though, which might be great if you actually want to coppice them, but not so good if you’re trying to protect buildings.

When we moved here, my original timeline has been to work on the inner yard for the first 2 years, then start on the outer yard in the third summer. Last summer was a bit of a write off in some ways, so it’s going to take another year to finish that, but there are things that need to be done in the outer yard that really shouldn’t wait.

Cutting away the self-sown trees that are causing damage is one of those things!

The Re-Farmer

Looking around and finding… things

While doing my evening walk around the yard, I decided to go into the storage house and look around a bit.

When my parents first got the house and had it moved into our yard, it was intended to be here only temporarily.  As the different sections of the farm were to go to each of the boys, they thought that the house would eventually be moved to one of these sections, placed over a basement instead of on cinder blocks, and one of my brothers would be living in it.

That never happened.

We did, however, use the place.  I spent many hours playing in here, holding sleepovers with my friends on the second floor.  The younger of my brothers held parties in it.

Somehow, in all that time, I never really noticed this.


An outlet mounted this high up is odd enough, but to mount one in between two windows like this?  How very strange.

These windows are in the kitchen of the old house.

I glanced in the cupboards and drawers.  In one cupboard, I found an old text book.


“Biology Investigations” seems an appropriate title, when looking down.


The dead critter is one thing (rat? squirrel?).  Then there’s that mystery pile of whatever, that looks like it might be a nest of some kind.

Getting this place cleaned up might need a haz mat team!

The Re-Farmer

Clean Up: Old Kitchen – getting started

Today’s plans ended up changing a bit.  (photo heavy post ahead! 🙂 )

Originally, the only thing on the schedule for today was a medical appointment for my husband in the morning, so that was a drive into town.  After we got back, my daughters and I talked about plans to head into the city tomorrow for the Costco shopping.  My husband’s disability payment doesn’t come in until Friday, but his CPP disability came in today.  With Canada Day happening this weekend, the last thing I wanted to do was shop on Friday!  My plan was to move the big freezer in the old kitchen, which we emptied last night, to a more accessible spot, while starting to pack things up for the storage shed.  Doing the old kitchen is going to be a bit different, since we ended up having to store some of our own stuff in there for the winter, so it’s a mix of things we need to pack and move out, and things we need to keep.

My younger daughter had her own errand to run in the city, and we ended up deciding to do both her errand and the Costco shopping today, instead of tomorrow.  So I started on the old kitchen, just enough to move the freezer.

Here are the before pictures.


Under this window is where the younger of my brothers had his freezer, which they took out before winter.  My older daughter’s tent ended up in there, and the taped up parts of a utility shelf is ours, along with the watering can.  This is the window where we have extension cords going into the sun room.


The shelf in the corner is going to be removed at some point.  Both it and the wall mounted shelf are full of mostly jars.  There is also a very light, folding walker in there that my dad used indoors, tucked away in front of that purple curtain.  The round wooden thing in the corner is a seed sifter.  The bath transfer seat was my dad’s, and we will be keeping that.  He didn’t use it for long before he went to the nursing home, so it’s still in good shape.  It’s also sturdy enough that it’s been used to get up onto the shelf, so that we can reach the breaker panel above.

Once we move the shelves out, we’ll need to have something handy to access the breakers.  My older brother, wonderful man that he is, wired in a new breaker for the drier when he moved the washer and drier out of the basement and into the main entry.  In the process, he added extra wire, so when we are ready to, we can add another breaker for something else.  It was VERY difficult to add more electrical, so this will save some future problems.

And yes.  That is aluminum foil on the other window.  I’m guessing it’s because it faces West, so it is to block the sun as it sets and helps keep the room cool.


There is my parents’ freezer that we are using.

Yeah, we had to crawl over the stuff to get at it.

Those are the only areas I intended to work on today.  I cleared out the stuff under the window, where the freezer was going to go, moved the stuff in front of the freezer, all into the sun room or outside, then move the shelf with the drawers out of the way.

Those drawers are full of odds and ends.  I haven’t even tried to do more than take a quick peek in them, so far.


Yay!  We can access the freezer, now!

I also got rid of the curtain on the window.  I’m kinda liking the fact that we don’t need to have curtains or blinds to keep people from seeing into our home.  We can have privacy AND light at the same time! 😀  My mom, on the other hand, put curtains everywhere, including using them to hide the contents of shelves, like the purple one here.


This is what was under the freezer and shelf.


All I can do for now is sweep.  That floor is going to need a lot of work!


Now, the utility shelf can finally be used.

Do you see that big, black enameled bowl on the shelf on the right?  Somewhere, there is a lid for it.  That’s the bowl my mother used to mix bread dough for her once a week bread baking.  She would start the dough in the morning, cover it and leave it for the first rising while she went to milk the cows.  By the time she was done, the dough would have overflowed the container, which would be pushed back, punched down and left for a second rising.  After more chores, she would punch down the dough again, then start forming buns.  Before long, the kitchen and dining table would be covered with trays of buns, as she would start baking them in batches.  She would continue, late into the night, before she was done.  I am sure she made bread loaves, too, but I only remember buns; we loved them, so that’s what she made the most.  Once the buns started coming out of the oven, however, we would go at them like ravenous wolves!  They were meant to be bagged up, with some frozen for later in the week, but I think there were some days when we ate too many, too quickly.  I have a memory of seeing her face, once, with this sort of dismayed look on it, as she looked over what was left of her day’s labour.

As an adult, I now understand that feel, but as a child, I just loved her bread!  It was awesome.

And now I have the bowl.  Not sure if I’ll put it into storage or not.  Depends on if I find the lid. 🙂


And now, it all looks like crap again! LOL  I just put most of the stuff back again, to wait until we can pack things up and put it into storage.

Meanwhile, here is what the rest of the room looks like.

Keep in mind that this is just a tiny addition to the main log part of the house.


Well, this picture didn’t turn out very well.

The grid wall is my daughter’s, and goes with her tent, so those will be kept.  The giant mirror behind it is one of many we’ve found around the house (and there’s still one that needs to come down) that are huge, and damaged.  Likely salvaged from who knows where.

The aquarium box is from when we had to get a small aquarium for my aquatic plants, since we were never able to set up the 90 gallon tank.  Without being able to replace the broken piece on the filter, I might not be able to set that up until we can buy a whole new filter, which I certainly don’t want to do.  I got the one I have at a massive discount.  A new equivalent one would cost me $400!  I can’t even find the part I need online, at the brand’s website. 😦

The tank is past warranty now, so the box can go.

You can see the stove pipe in the back from the wood burning cook stove that’s completely hidden by all the stuff in front of it.  This is the stove we used until the new part was added to the house, and we got an electric stove, running water, and an indoor bathroom.  We continued to use it when there were power outages.  Those happened fairly regularly, until the power lines were all upgraded.  Country lines were pretty low on the priority list.

The stove is mere inches away from the wall, and there is no fireproof protection behind it.  That was normal, back in the day, but completely against fire safety regulations today.  We’d never be able to use it, as is.

The stove is covered with stuff, and the warming shelves are also full of stuff.  All things we will be packing away.  Tucked into a corner on the right are wall shelves, full of more stuff.  Including, I think, the parts and pieces of our old cream separator.  The basin, at least, is there.

I am hoping to completely clear the stove so that we can clean it up and have it as basically an historical decoration.


More odd bits of scrap carpet and rug pieces on the floor.  The Christmas lights are ours; we didn’t put up our tree for our first Christmas here, so they didn’t get used.  That dual cassette player on the floor used to be mine!  My dad had it in the sun room, so he could listen to the radio.  I’ve put that thing away so many times, and somehow, it always ended up on the floor.  Now it’s in the utility shelf, and it had darn well better stay there! 😀


The blue bit of carpet is now gone.  That window is waiting and ready to replace the one with aluminum foil on it.


My mother’s salt and pepper shaker collection.

Those, and the shelf they are on, will be packed and put into storage.

I also got rid of the curtain on the door.

Not only was part of it stuck at the hinge, but it was taped in place, as well as being on a tiny curtain rod.  Likely to keep it from billowing as the door was opened and closed.

This is the last usable room we need to pack and clean.  (I’m not really counting the basements and attic above the old kitchen, since they are not spaces we use regularly.)  I’m looking forward to being able to open the door and not have to worry about the cats sneaking in.  The door doesn’t latch well, so if we could just leave it instead of having to fight with it every time we open and close it, that would make life easier! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Sun Room Cleanup – West side

Once I had cleared out half of the sun room, I had the space to work on the other half.

Here are some before pictures.


The moving boxes, I added to have them handy to pack things.  We’ve been using empty cat food bags as garbage bags, slated for the burn barrel.  Except we’ll probably just make another dump run tomorrow, with all the stuff we found.  Including many, many phone books for various cities, and years of seed catalogs.

Aside from the box for the weed trimmer, the rest of the boxes on this seat were here when we got here.  Including the one under the cat food bag with a toilet seat in it.

Also, an empty bottle of vodka.  ???

The orange extension cord coming out from under the door is plugged in in the old kitchen.  There is another old household extension cord coming through the kitchen window, that my dad used to power a clock and a radio.  I needed something more heavy duty for the trimmer.  When I got the room cleared out, I was able to put it through the kitchen window, too.


The dresser in the foreground had been upstairs, and was slated to go into the shed for storage.  I have decided to instead keep it in this room, and plan to put it under the shelf across the window in the other side of the sun room.  It will be good to hold things like our tools, gloves, etc.  The extension cords on it are the 100ft cords my older brother and his wife got us, so we could have electricity in the garage to plug in the block heater for our van.  Lately, I’ve been using them for the weed trimmer.

After getting the top of that couch cleared, I moved it to the cleared side of the room and found…


A whole lot of crap.  Literally.

And bird seed.

I moved the bird seed out so we could put it into the bird feeder, when I noticed something odd in it.

A used strike plate for a door knob.

Because where else would you store a strike plate?  Right? LOL

The outside cats made a MUCH bigger mess under here.


That plant was there when we moved in, in the fall.  I have no idea if we were supposed to tend it, but by the time we noticed it, it was too late.  Not that we could have reached it, anyhow.

The table it’s on turned out to be a very old metal topped table with a drawer.  The drawer had some tools, and all sorts of odd bits and pieces; outlets, screws, a refillable lighter, scrap bits of fabric…  With that curtain being used as a table cloth, no one would have been able to access the drawer.  Who knows how long it was all there!

The box you can partly see under the table had decorative bottles, a bag of chess pieces, and… very familiar toys.  Toys my girls played with, when we last lived in this province.

No clue why they were kept, and why they were left there!

That laundry basket has been there so long, when I tried to move it around, it practically shattered on me.

The old boots ended up being tossed.  There were also a number of single shoes.

We’ve found all sorts of old shoes while cleaning things up, in some very odd places.

Here are the after pictures! 🙂


I swept up so many dead bugs and spiderwebs.  *shudder*


Right in the very corner, I found another nest of dead Asian Lady Beetles.  😦

What a difference!

After this, we basically just put what we were going to keep, back into the room.  It’s supposed to rain tonight, but… well, the weather predictions have been calling for rain or thunderstorms a few times, and we’ve not been getting them, so who knows.

The next big thing I will do here is empty the room completely, then mop the floor.

Meanwhile, we have more boxes and other stuff to haul to the shed for storage.

I look forward to this being a usable room again!

After this, the only room left to pack and clean is the old kitchen.  THAT is going to be a challenge. :-/

The Re-Farmer

Sun Room Clean Up – East side

Today, while the girls finished raking up behind the other house and adding to the flower garden, I finally got started on the sun room.

This addition to the house was the brainchild of my late brother, to create a space that my parents could sit and enjoy “outside” without being exposed to the elements.  My late father used to love sitting there.  It was also easier for him to get outside with his walker, as there are no steps to clamber up and down, like at the main door.

We’ve been using the room to store bags of feed for the outside cats, deer and birds, and now we’re using it to store the yard work tools we’ve been using.  However, we’ve basically only been able to use one side of the room.

Here are a couple of before pictures.


My dad’s walker is still there, and still used by my mother, so she doesn’t have to struggle with bringing her own walker over here.

Behind it is what appears to be an antique prayer kneeler.

I’m keeping that, and hope to be able to refinish/preserve it.

That plastic church on the shelf across the window is something I thought was one of those Christmas village things.  It wasn’t until I started packing it that I realized it’s a hanging bird feeder!

It is now hanging off the stand in front of the living room window, waiting to have some bird seed added to it.


We’ve been using my dad’s old seat to hold the feed bags (just cat food, right now).  It’s one of those glider rocker type seats.

The crutches in the background, leaning against the shelf on the right?  Those were there so long, the padding of the handle leading on the shelf was actually stuck to the wood!

Of course, cleaning this all up was… interesting.

I started at the window, taking things outside and getting it cleared enough that I could move the seat outside.

When I moved the green garbage can, I figured I’d better check to make sure there wasn’t any actual garbage in it.

I found a plant pot.

Full of gloves.

Then I spotted a… wire whisk?



I don’t want to know what’s on that.

It got thrown out.

Yes, I was wearing gloves for all this!

When I finally could move the seat, I found this, under it.


The cat poop, I was expecting.  During the winter, we sometimes found one of the outside cats had snuck into the sun room while we were putting food out, and at least twice, we discovered a cat in the room the next morning.  There is no way a cat could be in there that long, without making a mess.  Unfortunately, we had no way to even look for it, never mind clean it up, until now.

I also found the world’s cheapest, dullest knife.

Once I could access the shelves, I finally could start packing up the books, magazines and old Polish newspapers, as well as the various odds and sots around.

Speaking of odds and sots…


There were tucked away behind the kneeler.  Mouse and rat traps.

Very gross traps.

The got garbaged.

The scrap carpet got added to the haul-away pile, outside the yard.

Here are the after pictures.


The far wall is one of the log walls of the original part of the house.  Behind the bookshelf that was there, I found a pile of dead Asian Lady Beetles, that had made themselves some sort of a nest to hibernate in, partly under the paneling.

I really hope I swept them all out, but probably not.  We’d have to remove the paneling.

I’ve left the shelf across the window to finish clearing later.


What a huge difference!

Once this side was clear, I had the space to start moving things around to work on the other side.

Which will be in my next post. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Trapped trap

While vacuuming the linen closet, I went into the carpeted area under the bottom shelf.  In one corner I used the crevice tool to pull out what looked like a very old nylon knee high (they do NOT make nylons in that sort of fabric anymore, and haven’t for a very long time), tied into a loop.

I didn’t look took closely.

Then I saw a piece of wood tucked into the opposite corner.  Not an unusual find in this place, really.  I tried to use the vacuum to bring it closer, but that didn’t work.  So I bashed it around a bit, only to realize it had something on the other side that was caught on the carpet.

The carpet does not seem to be adhered to the floor at all, so it kept lifting up.

Eventually, I got it loose, and found this…


It was the hooked end that was caught on the carpet.

I imagine that someone tucked it into the corner years ago, it got triggered without catching anything, and was simply forgotten.

I’m glad I didn’t find a little corpse to go with it.

Since I needed to use a little step ladder to reach the top of the closet, I took the opportunity to finally get into the very top, where there are sliding doors that hid the contents.

I found my dad’s old water bed mattress, what looks like rolled up blinds, some poster paper, also rolled up, a tied up bundle of fabric, what a plastic grocery bag with what looks like a folded up sheet of vinyl.

I had to show the folded up mattress to my daughters.  This was from when water beds first came out, so it is literally just a big vinyl bladder.  I still remember how fun it was to go on the bed and make waves, and the struggle to get out of it.  The mattress was held by a sturdy frame.  The mattress, of course, would sink as you sat on the edge, which would leave your legs hung up on the frame.  It could be quite painful, with that wood digging into the backs of your legs.

I’m procrastinating, now.  It’s all vacuumed out.  Now I need to clean and sterilize it.

Time to dig out the gloves…

The Re-Farmer


Okay, I’m Kinda Horrified

Today, we finally started on the bathroom.

I got my darling, somewhat more able bodied daughters to clear out the shelves for me.  Among the things they found was a box of prescription medication from 1984.

It seems they didn’t do child safe containers back then.

Then I started on the counter, and an item we’ve been really avoiding until now.

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