On Ice

I was able to swing by the lake this morning. I’d been able to swing by yesterday, as well, and saw that the first few ice fishing sheds were being put up. Today, there were a few more.

I stayed nice and warm in the car to take this photo – I wasn’t about to walk to the beach just to get pictures in this cold! LOL

To the left of the photo is a large mound on the beach. That is sand that was dredged out of the storm drain, after the blizzard we had in early October.

The ice is now thick enough to be safe to drive on, so ice fishing season can start. The “road” to this area is cleared of snow.

I wasn’t able to get pictures, but on the other side of the ice road, I could see vehicles in the distance, and snowmobiles pulling loads across. This is the area where a track has been cleared and people could get lessons in ice driving. Police and ambulance drivers also used the track to practice on. It looks like the organizers are starting to set up with that. No track is cleared yet, but that didn’t stop one car that I saw from going on the ice and spinning around through the loose snow.

That brings back memories! As a passenger, though, not a driver. 😀

It’s interesting to think about how there are entire industries and businesses that rely on ice like this!

The Re-Farmer

Photo(s) of the Day: water cats

Before things started to stay below freezing, I was able to give the bird bath a thorough scrubbing and add a bit of water. Which froze overnight, so I added more in the morning.

The cats just can’t get enough of that. Here, the top layer has frozen, so there are bubbles moving underneath that entrance them, but even while the water is freshly added, they’ll jump into it, getting their paws all wet!

Silly kitties.

They’re going to have to stop doing that soon, or they’ll get frostbite!

Still on the ice!

After dropping my daughter off at work this morning, I decided to head over to the beach and see how the lake was looking.

I am absolutely amazed that there are still ice fishing sheds out there!

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I can’t believe the ice is still strong enough to drive on! Most of the shacks are gone, and it looks like the last few are being readied to haul away.

What you see in the in the centre and to the right of the photo is water from the storm drain, partially covering the ice road. Yesterday, we had a quick dip into colder temperatures, so things froze up again, but we’re supposed to stay above freezing during the day for a while. As I write this, we’re still at -11C, with a “RealFeel” of -7C. We’re supposed to have a high of -1C, which means all that ice and snow is going to start softening again.

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In this photo, looking towards where the ice driving track was, you can see a sign on the left that has already started to fall over.

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Even the beach shows signs of how much more difficult it has been for vehicles to drive onto the lake; the top inch or two is thawed and soft, but it’s still frozen underneath, and you can see where several vehicles had to spin their way out of it.

With the temperatures we’re expected to have in the long range forecast, I expect this entry onto the ice to be soon closed to traffic completely. It won’t be long before the beach grooming machines are brought out, to clean up whatever mess has been left behind as the snow melts away.

At home, I’ve already started to do a bit of that clean up.

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The outside cats’ food and water bowls are now well away from the house. The last couple of nights have been cold enough for the water to freeze solid by morning, but there is enough access to water for them that it’s not a problem, as it was before.

On the plus side, it means we can walk to and from the garage on areas of ice, instead of slogging through puddles. 😉

Where the food bowls were, next to the sun room, has melted way into quite a mess. Frozen cat kibble and various bones and whatnot are now exposed. By this morning, the concrete around the house has, for the most part, melted clear. I was able to sweep things, and will eventually head out with garbage bags to pick up the big stuff that won’t break down into the grass easily.

I’m looking forward to being able to go all around the yard, and pick up all the twigs and branches that fell throughout the winter.

This is the ugly, messy time of year! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Roof status

Oh, while a wild and windy day today!

I don’t know if we got any of the predicted snow flurries last night, but there certainly was plenty of blowing snow on the highway this morning!

I did my rounds after driving my daughter to work, and found a few things.

The floor in the sun room was wet. Not just a spot or two, but a large area of damp.

I have a 5 gallon bucket I use to carry the deer/bird feed, and an ice cream bucket I use to scoop the feed into it. I store one inside the other, next to the bin I use to hold the feed. When I picked up the ice cream bucket, I found some water in it, and the bottom was all damp. Looking into the 5 gallon bucket, I found a couple of inches of water. These are all on a plastic couch. Looking up, I could not see where the water was coming from. The lid on the bin was dry and dusty, and the couch seat itself was dry, so that narrowed down where the drip had to be coming from, but I could see nothing.

My daughters informed me that the drip at the corner of one window upstairs is back. This drip was discovered last winter and, from the damage to the wall beneath it, has been dripping for some time. Those windows were installed the summer before we moved out here. They are well installed and sealed, which confirms that the source is from somewhere else – if it had been from the old windows, the drip would have stopped after the new were installed. We already figured that, but it’s good to have a confirmation.

By the time I got back from dropping my younger daughter off at work, my older daughter had already climbed out onto the roof of the living room – in this wind! – and cleared snow on the upper roof (which cannot be safely climbed not) as much as she could, as well as clearing the eaves-trough. There is an ice dam that forms on the roof edge. There is a visible discoloration in the snow in an area that might be where the melt is getting through the shingles, but it’s not possible to see exactly where it’s coming in right now. Once things are clear enough, the girls plan to look around to find the source of the leak and seal it.

During my rounds, I checked out a couple other areas we need to keep an eye on.

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The second story roof on this side is much steeper than the other, but it’s also North and West facing, so it doesn’t melt away as quickly as the South and East facing sections. Here, you can see where the branches are brushing the roof. This is one of the trees that the arborist will take down for us in the spring.

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This is where the log part of the house and the Old Kitchen roofs meet. Every year, this ice dam forms. So far, there is no sign of any leaking because of it.

I made sure to look at the roof over the sun room, and above it, and those are mostly clear of snow. No ice dams, but also no way to see if any shingles have lifted or anything like that. Last year, we had water dripping in through the bathroom ceiling, and never found where it was coming from.

It was while I was in the bathroom that I saw a drip through the window, in the sun room. I was able to see a water drop on the ceiling, this time. From where it is, it would be why the floor is wet. There was still nothing visible on the area above where the feed bucket sits.

This has been another confirmation for me. I had been wondering about sections of peeling paint on the ceiling of the sun room. It is, indeed, water damage. Once again, this shows that there have been leaks since long before we moved here. In fact, I half remember seeing the peeling paint in the sun room when we were last here and stayed with my late father, in 2015. Since the upstairs was closed off completely, in the winter, to conserve heat, no one would have seen the drip up there at all. My father would not have been able to see the dripping in the sun room, either, and there was no one else around who would have caught either. That would have been just as true while my mother was still living here, from what I have been able to tell.

Well, all we can do is patch it up for now. My mom has been talking about a new roof for the house, and selling off some of the scrap metal around the farm to help fund it. The place is definitely due for one!

We have one more colder day, then in 2 days it’s supposed to go – and stay – above freezing.

Which means, for the next week or so, we’ll be keeping a close eye out for drips and shingle damage.

The Re-Farmer

Ice and snow

I swung by the lake this morning, after dropping my daughter off at work.

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The fishing sheds are still there – from what I know, they were supposed to be off by three days ago! In the distance, I could see some people walking on the ice to a vehicle. There’s been a lot of plowing of snow, done, clearing “roads” to various areas. The open water that was visible the last time I got pictures from here, due to a water main break nearby, is all frozen over.

This morning, I finally started getting the weather alerts for blizzard conditions tonight, in the southeast of our province. The weather system is blowing up from the US, and there is an expected 10-20cm of snow.

Except locally. Our area is supposed to get light snow flurries overnight.

Starting from about a week from now, temperatures are supposed to go above freezing, and stay there. I’ve been reading about the ice breakers already hard at work on the major rivers to the south of us, that drain into this lake. As the ice will be breaking up and snow melting faster in the US and the South of our province than here, ice dams tend to form, leading to flooding. The ice breakers are working to prevent that and will work their way up towards the lake, as quickly as they can.

Here, the ice will soon start to “rot”, and form into candle ice. This can be very dangerous, as the ice still looks thick and solid, but easily breaks apart. On the lake, at least, the tides will break it apart and start pushing the ice onto the shore. I happened to be on this beach one time, many years ago, as the tide was coming in, and it was really quite dramatic!

It’s already warming up nicely this morning; we even had fog, as we drove to town, closer to the lake. We’re supposed to reach +1C this afternoon, but it already feels that warm in the sun. The outside cats are definitely liking the warmer temperatures, and spending less time in the sun room.

I’m looking forward to when I can empty that room and clean it out, though. The warmer it gets, the worse the cat urine smell. 😦 Ah, well. All in good time!

The Re-Farmer

On Ice

I took this video a few days ago, while my daughter and I were out playing Pokemon Go (Clamperl is adorable!). We were parked by the lake, which was busier than usual.

Yes, that is open water at the front! There is a storm drain where the open water reaches the shore. Just up the street behind us, there was a major water main break, so lots of flowing water at a time of year when there is normally none. The side of the street, completely engulfing what is normally the parking lane, was a river of water stretching the length of the block. No surprise that much water did this to the ice.

This is also where vehicle access to the ice, with an ice road to the ice fishing shacks, is. It was blocked today, for an event. A track is cleared on the ice, and people get to learn how, or practice, driving on ice.

The ice fishers don’t have much season left. The official word is that it all has be cleared off by March 10. Counting today, they’ve got just 12 days left. With the bitter cold we’ve had this winter, I would not be surprised if the ice were still safe to drive on, even after that, except for the fact that they will be going out with ice breakers after the 10th. This lake is big enough for tides. Without breaking up the ice first, as it weakens and rots in warmer weather, the tide will break it up and push it in, damaging docks (the permanent parts that don’t get taken ashore in the fall) in the process.

The Re-Farmer

Well, that’s not good

The formation of icicles outside our bathroom window was noted recently.

Since that window looks into the sun room, not outdoors, this is something that should not be happening.

My first thought was condensation, but after thinking about it for a bit, I realized that didn’t make sense.

So when I went out to do the cat stuff this morning, I remembered to check out the window from the other side.

I found this.

Continue reading

Give it a shake

Ah, what a day!

When I headed into town to pick up prescriptions and allergy medications, it was snowing, but fairly lightly.  It picked up a bit while I was out and about, but not too dramatically.

Then I got a text from my husband.

The power went out at home.

Driving back through our own little hamlet, I could see no lights, anywhere, so I could at least be assured it wasn’t just our place!

Also, it was snowing quite a bit more heavily by then, too!

The power was out for about 2 – 2 1/2 hours in total.  The girls and I were about to head out to town, where we could get a data or WiFi signal, so we could check online to see what was going on.  The power came back on, just as we were putting on our shoes.

So we stayed home, and instead walked around and knocked snow off of the trees.

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I had already knocked the snow off of these lilacs, before I went into town, and it had to be done again, later on.

It was just above freezing, which means it was a wet, sticky and heavy snow.  Since it started off as rain, there was also a layer of ice under the snow.  All the trees that still had their leaves were drooping like crazy.  The girls and I went around shaking trees, or knocking the snow off with a rake or broom, as high as we could reach.

It’s a good thing we did, or there would have been a lot more weight on those branches!

It continued to snow heavily for some time.  I was sitting in my crochet corner when a noise out the window caught my attention.

Then I watched as a piece of tree came tumbling to the ground!

Soon after, I went outside to check on the trees and, right outside our door, this is what greeted me.

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This is from the Chinese elm, outside our kitchen window.  This is also where we park the van, when we drive it into the yard.

Thankfully, it was safely in the garage at the time!

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This is the piece of tree I watched from inside, as it fell.  It took me a while, but I think I found where it fell from.

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This is the dead spruce whose top we watched fall down in a storm, last winter.

I really look forward to when we can have this tree taken down!

The lilacs by the house were again heavily covered in snow.

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The cherry trees are drooping so much, you can’t even see that they’re there!

The girls had already knocked the snow off of this just a few hours before.  One of the branches was right on the bird feeder platform.  As I tried knocking the snow off, I found that it had broken right off.

I continued around the yard, shaking trees or knocking snow off with a rake, but some things, we just can’t reach.

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You can see the lower branches, where I knocked the snow off, but the upper branches are still a risk.  It doesn’t normally touch the roof there.  Hopefully, no more branches will break, and if they do, they’ll be ones that fall into the yard, not on the roof.

Another reminder that this tree needs to come down. 😦

Also…

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Snow and ice covered willow branches are hanging heavily over the power lines.

And there’s nothing we can do about it right now. 😦

The Re-Farmer

So. This Happened

Last night, the girls alerted me to a leak that started in one of the rooms upstairs.

Right near an outlet, too.  So they shut down their computers and unplugged the power bar as soon as they could.

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The water was coming in between the window box and the moulding.  It was leaking out the bottom, too, for a while.

These windows were installed just this past summer.  Wherever the water is coming from, it’s going into the wall, first.  The girls crawled out to clear things a bit, and they found the wall itself was quite dry on the outside.

I emailed my brother about it and he thinks this has been an annual leak; we just happen to be here to see it.  Even when my dad was still living here, the upstairs was hardly used and, in the winter, blocked off completely at the stop of the steps, to conserve heat.

It stopped leaking during the night, but now there is water damage to the nice, new window frames.

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There is a similar water stain on the bottom of the frame.

20180303_120750.25%So today, the girls crawled through the window to try and clear the roof as much as they could.  This is what they found.

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This moss is over the north window (it’s the south window that’s leaking).  After speaking with my brother, he tells me that moss has been there for many, many years.  They had replaced the rotten wood all along the outside wall this past summer, too.  He also cleared the eaves (I believe they are called gutters in other parts of the world) several times over the summer.

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This is the ice dam they found under the snow; my daughter included her thumb for perspective on how thick the ice is.  Unfortunately, the ice was going under the shingles in some places, so they couldn’t get it off without damaging the shingles.

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Check out the beautifully clear – and empty – eavestrough!

This section of the roof was raised to make more room in the second floor, so the slope is not as steep as it should be.  Now that the upstairs is being used and heated, even though there has been very little snow this year, it would be melting from underneath and not draining as well as it should.

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They also got a picture of this for me.  I asked my brother about it, and apparently it has always been like this (I was very young when I was clambering on the roof as a child, so I did not remember it).  So the water is draining directly onto the shingles, rather than down the side of the building.

Not that there is much water to drain right now, since it’s not melting into the eavestrough.

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This is not the only area with potential problems.  These are new icicles outside our living room window.  Formed between the eavestrough and the eave.

Apparently, my dad did not believe in soffits.

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This ice jam has formed at the corner between the master bedroom and the old kitchen.  I’m told it’s an annual thing.

You can see the pruning saw leaning against the wall in the corner.  It’s on a very long pole.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to do the actual pruning, before the sap flows, as we wanted to.

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This section of tree is the one that’s causing the most problems for the shingles.  Despite my brother cutting it back over the years, branches are touching the roof again.

I wasn’t able to unhook the broken branch that’s stuck on the TV antennae support wire.

The only way to make it not be a problem anymore is to cut that whole “branch” (it looks like a trunk!) back to the main trunk.  To do that, though, it has to be cut back in sections, so as not to cause damage to the house as the pieces fall.

Theoretically, it can be done with a ladder, but the safest way to do it is with a lift bucket.  Because a chainsaw would be the best tool for the job, and using a chain saw while on a ladder is just not ideal!

No one has lift buckets around here.  We’d have to hire someone.

We do have chain saws here.  There are three of them in the garage. I’m pretty sure one of them used to be ours; we’d given our chainsaw to my late brother before we moved out of province.  No need for a chainsaw when living in a city apartment!  It’s unlikely any of them work.  We’ll have to get some maintenance done on them.

It is not the only tree that needs to be cut back severely back there; there is another huge maple with a large trunk leaning towards the house.

Then there is the tree in front of the kitchen window.

Let’s look at this photo again.

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Ideally, we’d get rid of it completely.  It’s the reason the eavestroughs needed to be cleared so often.  I was thinking we might be able to, say, turn the stump into the support for a table top, so we’d have a sort of picnic table out there, but this is a Chinese Elm.  It has been cut back severely in the past, but it just grows back.  Apparently, these trees are very hard to get rid of.  It was a mistake to plant such a large tree so close to the house, but I think my mother had wanted the shade, and this is a variety that grows very quickly.

Little by little, we will figure out what needs to be done, and do it.  The challenge will be to prioritize things!

The Re-Farmer