Assessing the damage – and it’s not too bad

We still have high winds this morning, though it’s changed directions and not as severe.

The cats clearly appreciated the shelter the kibble house provided! Aside from when they were eating, almost every time I saw a cat, it was running, full tilt. Potato Beetle had spent the day in the sun room and when I was there last night to set up the second shop light, he asked to go outside. Silly thing. This morning, he wanted back in, and is now curled up on the swing bench, having a warm and cozy nap.

I found our BBQ cover in the maple grove, blown past the grape hyacinth patch. Do you see the bright blue picnic table in the background? The BBQ is just to the left of that. The cover had been pegged to the ground.

I found all the pegs, still in the ground!

I ended up moving the BBQ completely around the fire pit – the long way around, because the ground was too soft to go the short way. It’s now on slightly less muddy ground, though I also found a scrap piece of plywood that was big enough, and put that under the wheels, before putting the cover back and pegging it down again. Hopefully, the wind won’t be able to blow it away again. I’m a bit concerned that a branch might fall on it, but there’s really nowhere where that wouldn’t be a risk.

The sheets of metal roofing material we’d put over the old garden shed were blown off and are now stuck between the shed and a tree. The shed being placed in between trees is probably the only reason the shed itself has never blown over. The metal sheets had been strapped into place, to cover a hole in the roof. When we put it back, we’ll finally get the chance to nail it down.

We lost another spruce tree – this one was still green, too. It also fell over the top of another tree that had fallen.

I was not surprised to discover the trunk had ant damage.

We also had some shingles blown up on the high angle parts of the roof above the sun room’s roof. Must look like they’ve been folded back but at least one looks like it’s gone completely. I’ll need to pick up a new caulking gun and a tube of roofing tar so it can be fixed. We had to throw out what we got a few years back, on discovering the cats hand knocked it down from the shelf it was on, then peed all over it. 😦 By the time we found and dug it out from behind the shelf, there was no salvaging it.

That was the worst of the wind damage – at least at our place. When checking the driveway cam, I noticed some trees had come down on my younger brother’s fence, across the road from us. It looks like a cluster of three spruces that were growing very close together, all came down at once. Their driveway that’s across from ours is not their main one, but is a bit like our own back driveway; there to access the field, but almost never used. I made sure to send an email to let them know about it, since their fence was damaged by the trees. I don’t think it’s something their horse could get through, but it still needs to be fixed.

When checking the driveway cam files, I didn’t see the trees actually falling. There is a slight delay between when the camera is triggers and when it starts recording video, and that split second was all it took to miss it – but I can still say exactly when the trees fell!

Even the “road closed” sign at the intersection got moved by the wind, spinning the whole stand almost 90 degrees.

The ground may still be wet and the winds still pretty high, but we’re going to have to get busy and clear up the fallen branches as best we can. There are just too many to leave lying around! I pick up some where doing my rounds, but we need to break out the wagon and the wheelbarrow to really get it done.

All in all, it’s not too bad for wind damage.

We won’t be setting up the platform for hardening off the transplants again, though. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get that set up again tomorrow, and start hardening things off all over again.

Oh, that reminds me. I got an email from the company we’d ordered potatoes from, with the opportunity to review. It was letting me know the order was packed and that, once shipped, we’ll be getting tracking information from the post office, once they’ve processed it.

There was also an apology for the delay. I completely forgot that this company let us choose what time frame to have the order shipped to us. I’d picked May 4 -10. It got packed on the 13th. They were delayed by weather, and were still catching up. When I responded to confirm I’d reviewed the order, mentioned I was actually glad there was a delay. If it had been shipped on schedule, we would not have been able to pick it up from the post office for a while.

I’m quite looking foreword to the varieties we picked.

The Re-Farmer

Water levels

I must say, we are really fortunate. The flooding issues have been around us, and not a threat to our home or safety. At most, it’s been an inconvenience. Not so, for many others!

The highway nearest us has flooded over in the south, part way to the town my mother lives in. Last I heard, it was still getting worse. No one I know can remember that highway flooding over. I think I maybe, kindof, sortof, remember the highway flooding over when I was a child, but I was so young, I don’t really trust the memory. If it did happen, we’re looking at 45+ years ago.

Not only is that section of highway flooded over, but the provincial road we usually use to cross from my mother’s town to the next highway has also flooded over. Which means, if I need to get to my mother, I would have to drive east to the next highway, drive south until I reach a crossroad to the south of where my mother lives, then travel north again on the highway we usually use. It would likely be an hour’s drive, instead of 20 minutes.

The highway near us runs to the north, ending at the town we pick up our beef packs at. The junction to that town has been closed down, as the highway is collapsing. This morning, I learned barricades have been put up at the junction of our own little hamlet. People traveling north will have to turn east to detour.

With so many road closures, I was going to phone my mother to tell her about them, but she called me first. It turns out our vandal had called her and went an a while rant about how she isn’t allowing him on the property, and all the other crazy stuff. As usual, she couldn’t get a work in edgewise. Then she found a picture on her walker outside her door, that he’d left this morning. A picture of him and my late brother doing work on the house we’re living in. I am sure of the message he intended to make by doing that, but it has completely escaped my mother. I wonder about what triggered him. We do have the conference call with his court case coming up soon, to decide when the first trial date will finally happen. I also saw him and his wife walking past on the road while I was working in the old kitchen garden yesterday evening, and seeing me might have triggered him, too.

Showing up at my mother’s door like that is creepy, but at least he didn’t try to come in.

Aside from that, things are okay with my mother. She’s in town and around people, with a grocery store just a couple of blocks away, and the town itself is not being flooded out.

This morning, I checked the washout to the south of us. I won’t bother posting photos I took of that, as not a lot has changed. Enough snow has cleared and water gone down that I could check out areas beyond the outer yard. Where I can, I will include past photos, for comparison.

That photo taken in August was the most water I saw there all of last year.

Sadly, we lot another large tree by this pond.

The trunk had been damaged by ants. Most of the spruces that I’ve seen fallen have ant damaged trunks. Weird, the way it split around that core.

Of course, I had to check out the gravel pit that the renter had dug out again last year.

As with the pond, the photo from last year is the most water we saw in there, when we finally got rain at the end of summer. Last year, when I took photos, I tried to take some from the same spot. I couldn’t do that today, because that spot was under water.

Here is another view of the old gravel pit. The only area that was dug out is where you can see the pile of gravel on the left. The rest was left untouched. Not only is the low area in the foreground full of water, but the marsh beyond the gravel pit is full, too.

There is a lot of clay under there, so I hope that means this will stay full throughout the year. This is a water source for the renter’s cattle, as well as for wildlife.

I also checked on where the “creek” that forms in the spring drains into the field, as well as where the water enters our quarter by the washed out road.

That is a LOT of gravel washed out from the road. It’s remarkably deep.

This water flows through the trees, and the terrain is very rough at the best of times. I didn’t even try to follow along it this time, though I’ve done so before.

Here is where it emerges from the trees.

I had to go back 2 years to find photos of the area, and still couldn’t find any from the same angle. In the old photo, there is some water from the spring melt, which didn’t happen in April of this year! That little “island” by the barrels could still be crossed to, but not this year!

Aside from some spring melt, this area is dry except for a few lower spot – and last year, everything was completely dry because of the drought.

At this fence line, the water flows into the field and eventually joins the municipal drainage ditch, which then crosses the neighbour’s field before crossing the road, near where it is currently flooded out.

It should be interesting to see how things go for the growing season. As I write this, we are at 14C/57F, which is already a bit higher than forecast. The next week is supposed to get downright “hot” at 20-21C/68-70F. Though more rain is expected about 5 days from now, the ground should be thawed out and dried up enough to handle it. Right now, though, we have both high water level and overland flooding alerts, for our region. Still, with the warmth we’re supposed to be getting over the next while, farmers should still be able to seed their crops, and gardeners to start direct seeding cold weather crops, and be able to do their transplanting soon.

Speaking of which, I was able to reach parts of the main garden area, too. That will be in my next post.

The Re-Farmer

After a wild and crazy night!

It was shortly after 1 am and, as I was lying awake in bed, something I was seeing finally soaked through my heat-numbed brain.


Flashing lights, out my north facing window.

The sky was lighting up, over and over, hardly a break in between! Constant flashes of lightning.

My West facing window was open, but I heard nothing. No thunder. No rain. Hardly even wind.

But the flashes kept going.

After a while, I went to the main entry and watched the storm coming in through the outer door, before finally moving to the sun room.

Creamsicle and Potato Beetle were very thrilled to see me, and just begging for pets and cuddles!

While standing at the mostly-closed outer door, I heard a distinct crunching noise. Using the flashlight on my phone, I took a peak through the gap behind the garbage can, and could just see the tip of a skunk’s nose!

He waddled away, pausing to scream for a while, soon after.

Skunks make the strangest noise!

One of my daughters came down after hearing me go through the old kitchen, but with Creamsicle and Potato Beetle at the door into the sun room, she decided to go out through the main entrance.

After making sure we were clear of skunk.

We stood outside for a while, watching the sky.

Time and again, the entire yard was lit up bright as day!

Then it started to rain, so we went into the sun room. After a while, my daughter went back into the house, through the main entry, making sure to prop a sawhorse in front of the outer door (we still haven’t been able to finish fixing the frame on that!), to keep it from blowing open, while still being open enough for the cats to come in for shelter.

I remained in the sun room, watching the storm through the outer door, when my other daughter came to join me. She was just telling me about how she had checked the weather radar, and the main part of the storm looked like it was passing us by, but we were still getting warnings for hail… when the hail started!

Then the wind pulled open the outer door, sending the saw horse flying. Even though I was inside, I immediately started getting hit with rain, so I quickly closed up the inner door, and continued watching through the window on that.

The video is much MUCH darker than it actually was outside.

Creamsicle was very happy to be inside the sun room, with me! He kept trying to get my attention while I took photos and video so, after a while, I put the phone away and just cuddled him. He was in heaven, giving me all kinds of hugs and kisses!

Then Potato Beetle got in on the action, and soon I was holding both of them, and watching the storm!

The storm passed by rather quickly, and I was soon able to get the outer door set up with the saw horse to keep it from blowing open again, then went inside. Once inside, a quick check on Facebook found I was not the only one up at almost 2am, posting about the storm!

One of the pages I follow is a local weather group, and they posted an image showing the hundreds of places lightning was detected on the weather radar. The storm itself, amazingly, split just before reaching us. Most of it passed by to the North, and a tiny bit passed us by to the South. What we got was the less severe gap in the middle.


So when I headed out to do my morning rounds today, I did a more thorough check for fallen branches and see what other storm damage there might be. There was quite a lot branches to pick up. Only two were live branches, though. The rest were already dead. The elm tree in front of our kitchen window lost so many tiny dead twigs, I didn’t even try to pick them up. I’d need a rake to get them all.

I was happy to note that there was no substantial hail damage to any of the garden plots. I did, however, have a wonderful surprise in the squash.

Two of them have suddenly bloomed! These were not there yesterday, and I really was not expecting to see flowers while the plants are still so small.

These are in the second, larger bed that was transplanted later, and they are doing much much better than the others. The long row in the back that was planted at the same time is doing all right, but not as well as the wider bed. The first bed I’d planted, that got frost damage in spite of our covering them first, is still struggling.

Of the three pumpkin mounds, one of the ones that had a packet of 3 seeds planted in it, now has a second seedling sprouting. The mound that had the packet of 5 seeds planted it in has a first seedling just starting to break ground now.

This late in the season, the only way we’ll get ripe pumpkins, I think, is if we have a late and long, mild fall.

Which could happen. We’ll see.

The surviving first planting of sunflowers have also made a very noticeable increase in growth.

No hail damage on anything planted in the old garden area. No deer damage, either.

It wasn’t until I was almost done my rounds that I found the one tree that fell during the storm.

It’s one of the dead trees I need to clean out, anyway, so this actually saves me some work! 😀

With the heat wave, our weekly checking of the root cellar has provided useful information already. With the possibility of building a cheese cave in there, a few years from now, we are looking for a temperature range of between 7C – 12C (45F – 55F) and a humidity level in the 85-95% range, though some types of cheese require different temperatures. As of this morning, the root cellar was at 17C/62F, and the humidity was at 88%. It was the same last week, too. So for most types of cheeses, it would be too warm. It also is not as consistent as it should be. There is an air vent that goes straight outside, with nothing but window screen mesh to keep the bugs out, at the end. I’d tried partially blocking it, but enough of a wind gets through that it blows out whatever is used. It might be worthwhile to add some sort of vent covering that can be opened and closed to help keep the temperatures from fluctuating too much.

Meanwhile, the heat wave continues. We’re already at 29C/84F (“feels like” 33C/91F), with a predicted high of 31C/87F (humidex: 36C/96F). Heat alerts remain. At least the high water and flood alerts have stopped for now, though we have more thunderstorms predicted overnight, so that might change.

Heat or no heat, we have really got to get the counter moved out, so we can put in the new stove. With the old stove, we’d already stopped using one of the elements, due to sparking when it was turned on or off. The girls, who have taken to cooking and eating at night rather than during the day, have noticed other elements have started to spark, too.

It’s going to be dreadful, and take hours to accomplish, but it has to be done.

Installing the stove itself will be the easy part. Juggling the dining table, chairs, shelves, the contents of the counter, and the counter itself, while still leaving room for the old stove to be pulled out, and the new stove to be moved in, is the hard part.

The Re-Farmer

More storm damage

This morning, while doing my rounds, I was able to go further into the spruce grove, after checking the trail cam. Near the trail cam, I found a small poplar that was broken, and a few more broken branches. I also found that the asparagus have been completely denuded of their berries!

Which reminds me; I had been showing photos of the yard to my mother and she saw one of the red berries on the asparagus and asked me where it was taken. I told her were, and wondered about how they got there. My mother says they’ve always been there! Which would mean there have been little spears of asparagus growing here for some 60 years!



In the spruce grove, I had made note of several dead trees that I wanted to keep an eye on, and one of those came down during the storm.

I don’t know why this picture ended up so out of focus. 😦

Unlike the other trees that have come down, this one does not have signs of ant damage in the trunk, so it took quite a lot for the wind to knock this one down!

It landed right on another tree, which you can see bending under its weight. That little tree (which I think is a living maple, but it has no leaves right now) is the only reason it is not on the ground!

The other bent tree to the right isn’t actually under the fallen tree; it just looks like it from this angle.

The two dead trees in the foreground are right near the one that feel, and there is another dead tree a bit further back, behind it. I am hoping we’ll be able to cut those down before they fall, like this one did.

Here, you can see where the top of the tree is right in the top branches of another spruce.

Which is also dead.

By the time we finally clear out all the dead trees, the spruce grove is going to be a lot more open than it is now!

While making my way out, I had to stop and get pictures of this unusual tree.

It’s another dead spruce, but I’m fascinated by how this one spruce has been so stripped of its outer bark. Almost as if it had been sand blasted for something. It’s the only tree that is like this, though.

My goal for this year had been to start clearing into the spruce grove, so that will be my goal for next summer. The first thing will be to get at and clear away the dead trees that are already on the ground. Then figure out how to get down the ones that are fallen, but hung up on living trees. Only then can we start looking at cutting down the dead trees that are still upright.

That last part can wait another year or two, though (except the ones we’ll be hiring someone to take down for us, because they are closer to buildings). I need to start clearing the outer yard, too! At the same time, we have to keep on top of the areas already cleared, so they don’t get taken over again.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer