Change in plans

With today supposed to be a warmer day, the family decided to go have a cookout in the fire pit. May as well get some use out of it now, because we might not be able to use it in the summer again!

My original plan had been to do my usual morning routine at the computer, then decide what to test the new Dutch oven with. Making a damper had been suggested, and that seems just the quick and easy thing that would be perfect for a test recipe.

I was just settling in at my computer when the phone rang. It was my sister. Where we going to be home today? Yes… She then started telling me something about Holy days, and she wanted to bring us some chicken, when the phone started screaming and the signal was lost.

My sister had gotten rid of long distance service on their land line, and has been using her cell phone for long distance calls. The problem is, she’s in almost as bad of a cell phone dead zone as we are!

She called back a little while later. She hadn’t realized the line had gone dead at her end – the screaming noise was only at my end! – and had been talking for a while. 😀 When she realized just how much I’d missed, she cut it short and just said that they were going for a drive and wanted to swing by. They could be here at around noon.

So we decided to start the cookout earlier, so they could join us. Which meant no time to experiment with the new Dutch oven this time. We’ll have to plan a day for that. One of my daughters headed out to get the fire going, since it took a long time to get and keep a fire going when the girls had a cookout before, and stayed outside to tend it.

I admit that we are not the best of housekeepers so, of course, the place was a disaster. They did say they would only swing buy, but I thought they might want to come in for tea, so I went on a whirlwind cleaning spree. 😀

The fire was down to cooking stage by the time I was bringing the tray of food when my sister and her husband arrived.

Sort of.

I saw their car pull up the driveway, very slowly, stopping a little past the garage. I figured they’d drive up to the gate, but no. They backed up, then turned to park in front of the garage.

They didn’t want to drive through the “lake” and leave muddy ruts in the soil.

They also didn’t have rubber boots, because, why would they?

Which meant they couldn’t get to the inner yard. Or the house.

So it was a short visit, outside in front of the garage, as I slogged through the mud to them with my rubber boots!

I finally got the rest of the story, too.

My sister and her husband wanted to follow scripture for Holy days. They are Christian, but of a sect that also follows Old Testament Jewish traditions. They wanted to get all leaven out of the house for the Sabbath, and realized they had some breaded chicken cutlets in their freezer.

Rather than throw out good food, they offered it to us, while also just going out for a drive together. Something they haven’t done in a very long time.

That was very kind of them. It’s a shame they couldn’t come any closer to the house, though! They would have gotten their shoes completely soaked and muddy!

After they left, the girls and I had our cookout. My other daughter made tea and coffee for us, and we cooked up some hoagies to bring in for my husband, too.

I just had to take a picture of the set up.

I found it so funny to see the fancy tea cups with coffee in them, and the giant coffee mug with my tea in it, sitting on the very convenient concrete blocks. The lids did a good job of keeping the ashes out of their coffee!

Unlike my tea…

The grill my brother and his wife gifted us with could be swung over as needed to toast the buns.

My younger daughter doesn’t like hoagies, so she’s the one with the normal sized wiener. We only had regular hot dog buns, though, which are comically too small for the hoagies.

It was far windier than I expected, but it helped keep the fire going! We ended up staying out for at least a couple of hours.

We do enjoy cookouts. We need to build a more permanent shelter from the rain and wind, though, seeing as how we’ve had two tent shelters destroyed by weather already. I wouldn’t mind making something that can still be moved, though.

When we build our outdoor kitchen, sheltering walls are definitely going to be part of the design. Wind is a major and near constant issue. We all really enjoy cooking and eating outdoors, and would love to have a nice, comfortable set up to do it.

All in good time. The area I’m thinking would be best to do this – well away from any trees – is not far from where that old shed that lost its roof is located. We have a lot to do in that area because it can be made into a useable space!

Just one more thing on the list of stuff we plan to work on over the next few years. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

It’s a good tired…

You know, for someone who is a hermit by nature, I’ve been out and about an awful lot lately!

Today I was out again, after an unexpected change in plans. With the roads clearing up and the days warming up, my mother was wanting to finally visit her sister in the nursing home, to see for herself how she is doing. Every time I suggested a day, though, she would defer on making a decision, and then say that she’d go any time I had the time to take her. She just wanted me to give her at least a day’s advance notice. So a few days ago, after looking at the forecast and seeing that Friday (today) was supposed to be warmer, I called to suggest Friday.

Oh, I was thinking Sunday, she tells me.

Hmm. Apparently, I was supposed to know this somehow? 😀

So we arranged for a trip on Sunday.

Then last night, while I was on my way home from visiting my friend in town, she called. It was pretty late when I got home, but I got through to her before she’d gone to bed.

She had been talking to someone in her building. They told her Friday was supposed to be a nice warm day, so she thought that might be a better day to visit her sister, instead of Sunday, and was I okay with that?

Oh, Mom.

I still had the day open, since that was the day I’d suggested to begin with, so of course, I was okay with the switch, but my goodness, that was funny.

We timed it so that she could visit in between when they would be doing lunch and supper. I used her car, of course, and left early enough to put some gas in the tank.


I filled the tank in our van last night. Gas was at 174.9/L It cost me almost $50 for a quarter tank. This morning, gas was up to 177.9/L My mother’s car was closer to 1/2 than 3/4 full, and she has a smaller tank than I do. It still cost almost almost $40 to fill her tank, and I didn’t even fill it all the way. The nozzle kept shutting itself off, so I kept restarting it until the pump got to what I knew would be close, and it turned out to be just a hair under full when I stopped.

Of course, with gas prices going up, the price of everything else is going to keep going up, too. 😦

We made the trip to where my aunt is, and since they still require masks and I can’t wear one (my mother shouldn’t be wearing any, either), I dropped her off with her walker and helper her in to the doors, where they had someone set up at a table. While my mom was being tended to before being allowed in, I found a place to park. We’d talked about where we were going to eat after the visit, and I’d suggested a fish and chips place instead of her usual fried chicken restaurant. She’s not doing meat on Fridays, so she agreed. I’m pretty sure the chicken place has fish and chips, too, but she would have just ordered fries if we’d gone there. It’s a tiny place and has only street parking, so after I parked my mom’s car, I quickly walked over to see how busy they were and what the parking situation was like, before heading back to the nursing home and waiting for my mom outside.

Her visit with my aunt was much shorter than expected, so I wasn’t waiting for long. We headed over to the restaurant so she could fill me in on how it went. Unfortunately my aunt, who’s 98, did not recognize my mother. She doesn’t talk anymore, and she fell asleep while my mother was there. At least my mother got to talk to the nursing staff about her sister, and left small gifts for her for later.

These visits are very hard on my mother. Still, she was glad to have finally seen her, and talk to the staff directly about how she’s doing. My mother can’t navigate their automated phone system, so I’ve been the one calling the nursing home to get updates for her which, thankfully, they are allowing. I’m not on the list of contacts for my aunt, but my mother is, and I’m someone they recognize as speaking on behalf of my mother, so they can give me information. Still, it’s not the same as my mother being able to actually see and try to talk to her sister, in person.

I told my mother that, now that the roads are clearing up and the temperatures are getting nice, she can visit her sister more often, and that I would be happy to drive her. She started saying, what’s the point? Her sister doesn’t even recognize her. I reminded her it’s been a long time since my aunt has seen her. If she visits more often, she might start recognizing my mother. Plus, at least she’s be able to see for herself how her sister was doing. My mother said she would think about it, but later on the the drive home, she brought it up again as if it was something she’s just thought of herself, and said it would be good to visit more often, now that the roads and weather are better… 😀

The place we ate at is very generous with their portions, and neither of us could finish even half of the fries, so we boxed those up. My mother didn’t want the fries, so she suggested I could give it to the cats. She’d covered hers with salt and vinegar, and I didn’t think that would work, but I took them anyway. My mother took advantage of having access to a car and we went to a couple of places before I took her home. While we were doing errands, I got a message from one of my daughters with a photo.

They’d got a fire going in the fire pit and were having a wiener roast for supper! We’ve used the fire pit so rarely since we’ve moved here, due to fire bans and drought conditions, so I was really happy that they did that.

By the time I was driving my mother home, I was so very tired. Being around people too much just sucks the energy out of me, and with all the other errands we’ve been running in just the past week, I was pretty wiped out. I think I was even more tired than my 90 yr old mother! 😀 So I didn’t stay long after putting her groceries away. It’s a good thing I left when I did, because it was starting to rain! It was mostly done by the time I got home, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be driving on those roads any later in the day.

My daughters were still doing their cookout when I got home! They had the hardest time keeping the fire going, even with having access to dry wood.

The rain starting certainly didn’t help, but it didn’t rain enough to have to end their cookout, and it stopped shortly after I got back. I joined them for a while. It felt so good to be sitting at a fire like that, even with the mud all around the fire pit.

Then, since I had all those fries, the girls brought out cast iron pan to reheat them on the fire grill. I’m told they were quite delicious done that way! 😀

I didn’t stay out for too long, though, and left them to their cookout. I did pause to check out one of the little “lakes” that are forming in our yard!

Getting to the compost pile is going to be a bit of a challange!

We’ve got snowmelt forming a “lakes” forming all over the yard and in the paths we’ve dug right now! All that water, in between all that still-deep snow, is quite the sight!

We’re still supposed to get a bit more rain, then temperatures are supposed to dip below freezing overnight. I was going to say, I’m glad I won’t have to go anywhere for a few days, but I just remembered that we will at least need to go into town again to refill our empty water jugs. I really should have done it today, but it’s not something I could do while running errands with my mother. After that, we should have a few days “off”. I hope! At least until the middle of next week, when we’ll be dropping Turmeric off for her appointment at the vet that the Cat Lady arranged. Then, that same evening, we are now scheduled to pick up the freezer pack of beef I ordered last night. I chose their large “rancher” variety pack. The only item in the pack I know for sure will be in it is ground beef. I’m quite content with “surprise” packs, because we sometimes end up with cuts we normally wouldn’t think to get, usually due to the price/pound. Because it’s in a bulk pack, the price is by the pound for the whole thing, not for individual cuts, so we end up with a better price – and higher end cuts!

It’ll definitely be worth the extra running around.

Still, it all leaves me feeling so very tired. At least it’s a good tired, though!

The Re-Farmer

We have a fire pit again!

Today is turning out a bit cooler than yesterday.

The outside cats don’t mind at all, and have been widening their horizons. This morning, I only saw 10 of them, even though there was no kibble left in the kibble house at all. The warmer temperatures has them needing fewer calories to keep themselves going.

When I put seed out for the birds and deer, our three usual visitors took off. They seem to have formed an actual little herd together. The piebald has always been a loner until now, but the mother and her yearling seem to have accepted her as part of their group.

Even if they do still bicker over the seeds.

Since digging the path to the sign cam, I now head over to switch the memory card right after putting the seed down. The deer usually come back to the feeding station right away, so my going in that direction seemed to confuse them! They went onto the road, milled around the intersection, then ran off down a different road.

While I was switching out the memory card, I heard noises.

They were running back again! Then they stopped and watched me while I finished with the trail cam. As I walked back to the house, they came running along the road again. There’s one spot along the north fence they have been able to use to use to get into our yard, and that’s what they were heading for.

They’ve been in front of our living room window, on and off, ever since.

While things were still below freezing, I decided to keep working on the path to the fire pit.

This is as far as I got, yesterday. You can see the shape of the BBQ under the remains of the tent – and the piece of tree that fell on it!

The tent, not the BBQ. The tent protected both the picnic table and the BBQ from damage.

To the right, there’s a bar with a handle on it sticking out of the snow. That’s where the fire pit is. That handle is for the cooking grill.

This is why I didn’t want to wait until it was warmer. I’m standing on the cat path to the storage house to take this photo. There’s a low spot that fills with water, and it’s still too chilly for my rubber boots. 😉

Here, I’m standing where the path curves, so the rest of it can be seen. I’d dug out most of the fire pit by this point. Yesterday, I had dug to just past the big maple tree.

We have a fire pit again! Yay!

Now that it’s uncovered, the sun should melt away the remaining snow in it rather quickly. There are two concrete blocks on the sides, and a the support for the cooking grill is in a half-block. Those will warm up quite a bit, once the sun hits them.

I don’t know where my parents got those glazed bricks around the fire pit. They are everywhere, and I don’t remember a time when we didn’t have them. I like them but, my goodness, they are dangerous! So incredibly slippery! I accidentally stepped on them more than a few times while shovelling, and almost lost my footing, every time.

The space around the fire pit still needs to be widened, so there’s room to set up chairs or even just stand around a fire and not be too close to it. From here, I’ll dig to the collapsed tent to access the BBQ and finally put the new over on it. The snow on the fire pit side of the tent isn’t as deep as around the other side.

There are a couple of large, hollowed out spaces under a nearby spruce tree. I think they are where deer had lain down in the snow.

Then a path needs to be dug to the wood pile.

Critters have already made their own path to the pile!

There’s a cover over most of the wood, so if we did want to do a cookout, we have dry wood available.

Here is the entire path, looking back towards the house.

There is something absolutely delightful about walking down these paths, through hip and waist deep snow. They’re like some sort of secret passageway!

I fully expect to see hoof and paw prints down here, soon. 😀

Now we just need an excuse to have a cook out! For the past few years, we’ve hardly been able to use the fire pit at all, due to dry conditions. Winter has been the only safe time to light a fire.

Hhhmmm… Now I’m thinking of what we’ve got that would do well, cooked over a fire… LOL

The Re-Farmer

Temporary fire pit, finally moved!

Last night, I finally had a chance to clean up and move out the temporary fire pit I’d set up to burn things that wouldn’t fit in the burn barrel.

It was too dark for photos at the time, so I went back this morning.

This is where it had been sitting, and you can really see how the heat affected the ground, through the metal sheet it was on.

I’ve set it aside near the burn barrel for now. It worked out so well, I want to have it handy for future use.

That weed that managed to grow through a hole in the metal sheet was certainly tenacious!

I had originally intended to dump the ashes behind the old outhouse. That is where we’ve started to dump things that are compostable, but not appropriate to use in the garden later. Then I remembered something.

Not far from the burn barrel, there were two tractors. My dad had given one of them to my nephew. He and my brother, amazingly enough, got it running and were able to move it, though my nephew had to come back another time with a buddy to help him get it home. The tractor had been sitting there so long, its wheels had sunk into the ground, leaving behind holes. They had filled the holes with scrap wood and rocks that they found around the area, but it wasn’t quite enough. While we don’t usually go into this overgrown area, it was still a safety hazard. Especially when the renter’s cows got through the fence. Human or cow, it would be easy to break a leg in them.

I could use the ashes to fill the holes the rest of the way!

So I did.

Here, you can see 3 of the tire holes. The fourth is hidden by the little maples. The holes from the back tires each needed a full wheelbarrow of ashes to fill. A third wheelbarrow was enough to fill the smaller holes from the front wheels. That was even with the pieces of wood and rocks filling them! After those three loads, the fire pit was empty enough that, with maybe another shovelful or two scraped up, I could remove the ring and use the sheet of metal to pick up and pour the remains into the wheelbarrow. That last little bit went onto the larger holes.

So I was able to accomplish two things at once; remove the temporary firepit, and fill in some holes!

As for the little maples growing where the tractor was, I am debating if I want to let them grow, or if I should take them out. In time, we plan to fill in and level out this area, and maybe put in some polytunnels, raised beds, etc. This would be years in the future, and I don’t even know if we’d go into this space. If we leave them, and then find we want to build around there, they would be much harder to get rid of than now.

I still need to cut away the trees growing through the remaining tractor. I can decide then.

The Re-Farmer

First cookout!

Yesterday was a perfect evening for a cookout!

Well… except for the mosquitoes. The bug spray we used is supposed to last for 8 hours. It didn’t!

Unfortunately, my husband wasn’t up to joining us, so it was just the girls and I. One of whom helped me unload the riding mower for the van, while the other tended our first fire in the new set up. 🙂

Those blocks turned out to be very handy, in many ways!

With the pit all cleaned out, we were reminded of just how big it really is!

This metal ring is one of several my late brother had acquired. He worked in demolitions, and once had the job of dismantling a coal fired electric generating station. A company in the States had purchased it, so my brother and his team had the job of dismantling the pieces that would go to the train station for shipping. Dismantling them was very dangerous. While the station had not been used for many years, there was still coal dust all over, and coal dust is explosively flammable. What wasn’t shipped to the purchaser was demolished and went to the landfill, so he was able to salvage sections of pipe. This is one of three that I know of, that became fit pit rings. 🙂

As for our cookout, we have a terrible habit of starting to cook way too early. We’re just too impatient to wait for proper cooking coals! 😀 So we deliberately didn’t being the food out until later. The question was, how to set up the food and fixings? The picnic table is in the process of being prepped for painting. The folding table we’d used before is now being used for something else. Plus there was that whole bug problem.

Solution found!

Yup. The mini greenhouse! We could put everything in, the close it up to keep the bugs out. 😀

The only thing that was a bit of a problem was how wide the mesh is on the shelves. The squeeze bottle kept tipping over. 😀

Ah, perfect!

Did I mention how handy those blocks turned out to be? 🙂

After we’d had a bunch of hot dogs, we build the fire up again, then tossed in a packet of stuff to make colourful flames. I’d actually bought them last year, but with the fire bans, we never had a fire to use them in!

I’m sure the colours would have been much more dramatic if we had waited until it was darker. 😀 We’re saving the second one for another time.

Unfortunately, no one remembered to read the packet to see how long the stuff lasted. We still had S’mores to do, and a coloured fire is not for cooking over. I was eventually able to find that it could take from 1 – 2 hours, depending on the fire and conditions. So we built the fire up more, until it was all burned up, before letting it get down to cooking coals again.

Then we made S’mores. 🙂

The problem with that is, while we all love to toast marshmallows to golden perfection, none of us actually like eating them all that much. 😀 I could sit there and toast marshmallows all day, as long as I had someone else to eat them! 😀

It was a wonderful, peaceful evening. While the girls and I were out there, we got visits from Creamsicle and Potato Beetle, with all their loving attention. We also got to see Junk Pile cat’s THREE kittens! Just flashes of them, really, as they’re even more skittish than their mom, but they are now coming to the house – even into the sun room! – with her. We also got charmed by a chipmunk on the stacked wood pile, and even Stinky came by, determined to dig for grubs among the nearby hawthorns.

With our big shop coming up some time next week, the girls and I will have cookouts in mind when we make our list. 🙂 I can definitely see popping on the racks and cooking supper out there.

Hmmm. As I’ve been working on this post, I’ve noticed some connectivity issues. We had still not received a call from a tech about coming here to check out equipment. The secondary account is still getting no signal at all, while the primary account is also kicking out much more frequently than usual – and no winds or storms to account for it. At least my daughter can still work. That’s the main thing!

Now let’s see if the connection is back, and I can hit “publish”! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Fire pit mods, done!

We have been talking about using the fire pit to do an actual cookout tomorrow (weather willing!). That will require a trip into town to pick up things we want to cook over a fire, so I cleaned out and modified the fire pit today.

The first thing to do was empty out the ashes. I have done that once before, in our first year here, but not as thoroughly as I wanted before adding modifications to the pit.

I filled our large wheelbarrow twice! The first load was pretty much all ashes, while the second was a mix of soil and composted ashes.

I dug down far enough that I was starting to fight with root mats. Then I started hitting a… mat?

I pulled out the buried remains of… whatever this is.

It’s some sort of woven material that looks similar to a tarp, but… not.

When I pulled it away, I had another surprise under it.

Do you see those whitish specks among the roots?

Those are ants eggs!

Ants have somehow managed to survive in the fire pit! Considering how hot it would have gotten, just last night, I’m amazed. They weren’t just under the sheet, either. I found more around the edges, elsewhere.

Well, I hope they move on to someplace else because, now that the ashes and dirt are gone, they’ve lost what protection from the heat they had!

Clearly, this fire pit has been used to burn garbage, too. Along with the green mat I pulled out, I found broken glass and old nails, along with more expected things, like chunks of wood and rocks.

Once the pit was cleaned out and raked even, it was time for the concrete blocks.

We have a few of them around, but most of them are where they are, for a purpose. Like the ones around the storage house, that are holding various panels to cover what used to be the top of the basement. I haven’t moved them to try and see what they are covering yet, so I’m leaving them be for now.

I did have one available that wasn’t being used, and there was another in the middle of the tire planter, that had been buried in the middle to support the bird bath, which is now set up in a different location. So I dug that out and hosed out the dirt that had filled the openings.

I then had to decide how to orient things.

I decided to orient it with the nearby gate. That gap where the wind usually comes from, and I wanted some air flow over the fire. The openings in the blocks will allow for some air flow from the sides, too. I used one of the oven racks to determine how far apart to put the blocks.

I wanted to have the option of using both racks, so I also brought over the 1 half-block we have.

It’s shorter than the full blocks, so I added a couple of bricks under it, to make it level with the others.

Then I hosed everything down.

We now have several options.

If we want to do a simple wiener roast, we can leave the racks off, and the blocks can be used to support our roasting sticks.

Once we’ve built up the coals, we can place both racks on, like in the picture, for a large cooking area. If we need to, we can still easily feed the fire from one end.

Or we can use one rack across the middle, supported by the two large blocks.

Or, we can have one rack towards the end, supported by all three blocks. We’d be able to keep a fire going at the open end, and push hot coals under the cooking area as needed.

We can also fill the half block with coals for anything that needs high heat, like setting a pot or kettle of water to boil, and have the one rack covering it as it is in the photo, for air flow. To do this, though, we’ll need to get a long handled, metal scoop, like are used to clean fireplaces. Mind you, it’s entirely possible we already have one, hiding in one of the sheds. LOL

Now that the set up is complete, we can keep it in mind when we go into town tomorrow. We still might go for an ordinary wiener roast, but who knows what we might find to inspire us, instead. 🙂

I’m really looking forward to it! I hope the weather co-operates. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Clean Up: fire pit ring

Yesterday, things were a bit cooler and finally nice enough to start a fire in the fire pit!

I’ve been putting small branches and the invasive vines I’ve pulled up into there since last summer, so it felt good to finally burn that stuff away!

While I was at it, I decided to clean up the bricks around the fire pit that the skunks revealed while digging for grubs.

Knowing that these were the glazed bricks we’ve got all over the place under there, I decided to use the sidewalk ice scraping tool. Just a flat blade that would slide across the surface, and cut away the root mats at the same time.

It worked remarkably well!

In the above photo, I’d finished uncovering the bricks all the way around.

There was some seriously thick root mats covering some of them!

The next step was to hose them down with water, including using the jet to pressure wash some of the dirt out from between the bricks, and between the bricks and the fire pit ring.

Where the water pooled showed me the most uneven areas of the brick ring.

What I will eventually be doing is taking them out completely, leveling the base off as best I can, then putting them back.

Ideally, I’d be adding a layer of gravel under there, first.

I am seriously considering taking the wagon and a shovel out to the old gravel pit to see what I can salvage out of there!

Until then, we make do.

My next step was to use break up the ridge of soil and root mats around the ring some more.

Every now and then, I’d find a small rock, but then I hit was seemed to be a much larger rock.

A strangely flat and smooth rock.

I found another brick!

For a moment, I thought maybe there was a second ring of bricks, but the angle of it was too random for that.

Somehow, a single brick got left to one side, and got buried with the others.

The ones around the fire pit getting buried makes sense, but how does a lone brick on the side get left there long enough to be buried, too? Did no one try to mow there, before it got covered? Did people using the fire pit (and I know it did get used) simply walk around it until it disappeared, along with the other bricks?

So very strange!

I set it aside with another brick like it, that I’d found under some nearby maple trees. 😀

(These glazed bricks have been around for as long as I can remember. I have no idea where they came from, but they would be at least 50 years old, and probably quite a few years older. While I intend to take them out of the various areas they are in now, to replace them with what should be there instead (like infill around the house!), these are going to be kept and repurposed. They’re too slippery to use as a “floor” for anything (which is probably what they were salvaged from originally), but I think they would be great on walls or something, at some point.)

Once I broke up the ridge, I used the metal blade on the scraper to push the soil away, to try and level things a bit more.

The grills in the fire pit, btw, are the racks from our old oven. After burning away what was already in the pit, I started working on the pile of branches by the collapsing log cabin. When a solid bed of coals was formed, I put the oven racks in it, then built the fire up again on top, to burn away any grease or whatever that got on them while being used. We basically didn’t bother to clean the oven when we knew we needed to replace it fairly soon. It did have a self-cleaning function, but we didn’t feel it was safe to use. With elements on the stove sparking, we didn’t want to find out if anything electrical would give out in the oven, too!

So I used the fire pit to get the cruddy bits off.

Shortly after this, my daughter joined me, and we built the fire up once again, to get rid of more of the branch pile.

I also used a metal rake to spread the soil out more, then took the hose to it, to break up the clumps. The water no longer pools at the bricks. 🙂

After a while, my daughter took out the oven racks and set them aside to be hosed off, later.

The next thing I want to do is empty the fire pit of ashes, which will be spread over a garden area or two.

Once it is cleaned out, I want to add some cinder blocks or bricks into the pit. They will be there to hold one or both oven racks. This way, if we wanted to, we could use pots and pans for cooking over the coals. I do have a campfire rack, but it’s meant to put food on directly to cook, not hold the weight of cooking utensils. The oven racks and bricks will open up more possibilities for what we can do on our fire pit. 🙂

While I was working on uncovering the fire pit ring, I had help.

Not the most useful kind of help!

More like the “pay attention to me or I’ll trip you” kind of help! 😀

Eventually, he got tired of trying to make me pick him up and went for a nap. 🙂

Such a cutie!

He would make such a loving indoor cat, but we’ve had no luck in adopting him or Creamsicle out. 😦

Lately, Potato Beetle and Creamsicle have perfected the art of rubbing against our legs WHILE we are walking, somehow managing to maintain contact and pressure even as we pull our legs away.

Such determined creatures!

Also, Potato seems to like my new shoes. Maybe that’s it. He’s happy I no longer have these.

My left shoe had actually blown out like the one on the right, but I’d used Gorilla Super Glue on it. Amazingly, it is still holding! The other shoe was only coming loose at the toe tip, so I glued that – only to have the sides blow out, soon after! The tip managed to hold on for days longer.

I’m not a shoe person. It’s so hard for me to find shoes that accommodate my feet, I don’t bother. I have one pair of regular shoes. Maybe a pair of sandals, too, if I can find them. Not this time of year, apparently. :-/

Women’s shoes don’t fit me, at all. I can wear extra wide men’s shoes, but to get the right width, I go with a size that’s a fair bit longer than my feet. Which is why I keep catching the toes of my shoes on things. 😀 It means my shoes wear out on the sides faster, as my feet bend in a different area than the shoes are designed for. It doesn’t matter if they are cheapies, or if I spring for a higher end shoe. By the end of a year, all my shoes end up looking like this!

Which, if nothing else, is entertaining!

The Re-Farmer

Winterizing: wood for the fire pit

I had some daylight left, so I decided to see how far I could get on another thing on my to-do list before winter.

Some clean up of the pile of larger wood, by the fire pit.

We may not have been able to use the fire pit over the summer, due to fire bans and unsafe conditions, but we should be able to use it in the winter. 🙂

Among the dead trees I cut down, leaving tall stumps until I can come back with a chain saw, there are three spruce stumps that form a triangle.

I decided to take advantage of that.

My reciprocating saw got quite a workout today! I was able to cut to fire pit size, and move the enter pile of larger wood, and even get some larger pieces in the “kindling” pile!

The disturbed area by the tree with the tire around its base is where the pile was.

The tall stumps worked well to keep the stacked wood in place. We can also use them when we put a tarp over the wood. We can even nail it in place, so the wind won’t blow it away.

Yeah, we plan to get cheap tarps. Actually, there is at least one I saw in the barn that we can dig out and see if it is still usable.

Another job I can mark off the to-do list! 🙂

The Re-Farmer


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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