A lovely morning

For all the insane blizzard warnings we are getting right now, today had quite a lovely morning! The sun was shining, and we were a relatively warm 3C/37F while I did my rounds. In fact, even as I write this, as we slide into the evening hours, the temperature has remained the same.

The outside kitties were out in full force, though I only saw a dozen of them at a time.

I noticed Chadiccous had a black more on one cheek. He doesn’t stay still much as I pet him, but it looks like he’s got quite a scratch across it; the black turned out to be dried blood. He seems okay, though.

It may have been warm(ish) and sunny, but the winds were pretty high. You can just see a bit of it in the photo, but the snowmelt along the driveway actually had surprisingly high waves rippling across.

Yesterday, I’d finally taken a shovel out and freed up one side of the gate, so we can now close it again.

The slide bar that holds the two sides together shows how much one, or both, gate posts have shifted since the hinges were repaired from the damage our vandal did, and the newly painted gates re-hung. The bar used to slide as far as you can see where the paint has been rubbed off, and there was no gap. As it is, the gap is lessened because I had to push the bar down, so I could slide the pin through, below. That screw that’s being used as a pin keeps the bar from sliding back, as the wind shifts the gate back and forth.

For now, we can close the gate again, though I think I’ll make it a habit of opening the gate in the morning, then locking it up again in the evening. With our restraining order in place, our vandal seems to be behaving, and we do get unexpected deliveries during the day.

At the very least, with the blizzard we are supposed to be getting, I think I’ll make sure the gate is open before the snow hits, just in case. I don’t want to end up with the slider bar freezing in place and having to dismantle it to open the gate, again!

I’m still holding out hope that the storm will not be as severe as predicted, but just in case, we are prepared to hunker down for a while.

The Re-Farmer

At the gate, and after the rain

While doing my rounds this morning, I found a strange thing at the gate.

The twine was caught around the lock and the caribiner, which usually hangs over one side of the gate, was hooked onto the chain link.

Right off the bat, I knew this was NOT our vandal. If it were, there would have been actual damage, like the locks being glued again, or something like that.

Needless to say, I was quite curious when I sat down to look at the trail cam files. I had a pretty good idea who did it.

I was right.

When my daughter’s package was delivered, the driver tried to shove it into the gate, then used the chain to try and hold it in place. The problem is, the gate moves in the wind. When the cameras were triggered again, less than 15 minutes later, I could see the package was already half-falling. My the time my daughter came over to get the package, about half an hour after it was dropped off, it was on the ground.

It’s a good thing it wasn’t fragile!!

Going through the trail cam files was interesting for another reason: several files caught huge flashes of lighting from last night’s storm! I even saw a deer and her little one, hurrying up the driveway, while the sky light them up repeatedly.

Yesterday blew past our expected high of the day, reaching at least 30C/86F, possibly 32C/90F. That was followed by a wicked thunderstorm that passed over us around 11pm. It was awesome! Of course, we lost internet well before that. It rained enough that I found our rain barrel by the sun room, which had only a few inches of water on the bottom, full to overflowing.

We *really* need an overflow hose on that thing.

The garden loved the rain, too!

I was seeing huge new blossoms on the summer squash. Even the Ozark Nest Egg and the luffa gourds had new flowers opening. So did the Tennessee Dancing gourds, but they never really stopped blooming, so that wasn’t a lot of change.

The Crespo squash is seeing more flowers opening, too, and some of the developing fruit is noticeably bigger! These two are the ones closest to the barriers than I can get clear photos of, but there are quite a few more getting bigger like this.

The sunflowers are loving the deep watering, too. And just look at this Hopi Black Dye seed head! It is getting so very dark!

I even had a baby harvest this morning.

The larger melon is a Pixie melon. There are still lots of those. The little one is a Halona melon. The remaining melons on those vines are not getting any bigger, as the vines are pretty much completely died back now. Most of the melons are all very securely attached to their vines, though. This little one was feeling a bit softer, so I had it with breakfast. 🙂

I even was able to pick some peas! With our first green peas, I did find a pod or two, but between the drought and the critters, that was about it. This is the most I’ve picked at once, this year.

That longest pod is the size they would all be reaching, if growing conditions were better.

I suppose I really should have left them for another day, as these were a bit on the small size, but I couldn’t resist.

I had them with my breakfast, too. 🙂

The melon wasn’t as sweet as larger ones we’d picked, but it was definitely ripe. The peas were also probably not as sweet as they would have been under better growing conditions. They were both still quite tasty, though!

Last night’s storm had blown the door to the outhouse closed. I opened it again and things were still a bit damp. It’s been a few hours now, so I am going to head out and see if I can start painting!

The Re-Farmer

Stuff we’ve found, and things to fix

While doing my evening rounds, I figured it was time to get a recent photo of our found object “art” display. 😉

The table itself was dragged out from under a fallen tree while clearing the edge of the spruce grove. We weren’t able to get at it until the old wood pile was cleaned up. The chair frame (barely visible at the bottom) was found somewhere else in the yard.

My daughter showed me where they found that crushed tea kettle, and now I’m even more perplexed as to why it was there and how it got crushed. Being driven over is not as likely as I thought, since it was in between some trees, where no vehicle – not even an ATV – could fit. The steel trap and the strip of rusted metal beside it was buried in the dirt under where the wood pile used to be, found while clearing out roots to turn the space into garden beds. Quite a few of what’s on there was found while cleaning up that old wood pile! The beer bottle was found along the East fence line along the spruce grove, most likely left there by my late brother. He did like his beer! The group of three cups to the right of the tea pot, plus the two Old Spice bottles, are the newest additions, found by my daughter in the junk pile way out by the plowed field.

While walking around and thinking of the things we need to do, and what we need to do it, I decided to drag something out of one of the sheds. We’d seen some wire mesh fencing rolled up in a corner, and I thought it might be useful for when we build our trellises or something. So I moved a few things to get to the corner, dragged it out and brought it to the house.

I was really surprised. There is a LOT more in there than I thought there was. As far as I have seen, we don’t have any fences made with this wire, so I have no idea why it’s here or what it was used for. Whatever it was for, not much of the roll was used!

This will come in very handy.

This morning, after switching out the memory cards on the trail cams, I took another look at the fence by the gate post, where we want to put in a small people gate. The gate post itself has three holes in the steel where we could potentially attach things. At the moment, the ends of the barbed wire are attached to the post through these holes. We’ll have to put in a new post first, attach the wire to the post, then detach the wire from the gate post. We still need to settle on how wide we want the gate to be, before we know where to put in a post.

While looking at where the barbed wire was attached to the gate post, I noticed this.

*sigh*

It wasn’t like this in the fall. This is damage from temperature fluctuations over this past winter.

I checked the other sides, and the other gate post. The other gate post has no cracks in the concrete at all, but this one…

These are the two corners of the south facing side.

These are the west and east facing sides.

I don’t know that these can be patched, or if the base needs to be replaced. I recall my brother telling me about a particular type of concrete he wants to use to repair the cracks in the bottom portion of the barn wall, that could probably be used on these cracks. I will bow to his greater knowledge and ingenuity on this one!

Well, this does show which post was responsible for the gate shifting. When we hung the gate back up after repairing our vandal’s damage, it was level. Over the winter, it shifted enough that the pin for the sliding bar could no longer be used. By the end of the winter, however, the gate shifted back, and the pin can be used again. My daughter had thought it was the other gate post that had shifted, but with these cracks, I’d say it was this one!

Since I had to slip through the fence to get pictures on all sides of the gate post’s base, I decided to check out the fence line from that side. New fence posts had been put in until just past the end of the spruce grove. The rest of the fence has been slowly falling down. From the outside, I was able to shift the posts – they are so rotted, they’re broken loose at ground level – so that they were leaning into the yard, rather than towards the road.

The entire stretch of fence is basically toast. I think there might be one fence post that isn’t broken. At one point, I noticed a large tree had fence wire on either side of it. One of the wires had a break repaired. It looks like, when the break was fixed, whoever did it deliberately put the wire on the other side of the tree, so the tree would keep the fence up.

For that spot, at least, it’s working.

I will have to prioritize cleaning up along this fence line, so it can be repaired. We’ll need to pick up more fence posts; I’ve found some scattered all over the place, but I don’t think there are enough, and they’re different sizes, too.

My daughter just popped in and we talked about the fence. If we were just replacing a post or two, we could make do with the old post hole diggers we found around the property. However, there are just too many posts to replace for that to be practical for us. We’re not that able bodied! And since the equipment that we could have used is gone (the Bobcat had a soil auger attachment), or no longer functional (the post pounder my late brother built), we figure it might be better to just hire someone. All we really need is for the posts to be installed. Once they’re in, we can do the rest ourselves. Since this is a permanent fence line, we would also want to not just have posts in dirt, but to install them in such a way that they won’t rot away as quickly.

We also want to move away from barbed wire, so we would probably want to install posts closer together, and use other materials. We might start off with the “rustic look” and use materials on hand to make a simple rail fence, until we can come up with something more durable and permanent – and preferably deer proof!

But first, that section of fence line needs to be cleared. We’ll lose a lot of privacy in the process, but once the corn and sunflowers are grown in, that will suffice for the summer, at least.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

Gate post progress: painting done!

After giving the second coat of paint 8 hours to cure – and making sure they weren’t tacky, like we were having problems with before – I put the hinge pins back up.

All of the painting is now complete!

The chain will be held just by the hinge pins for now; I don’t want to start scratching the new paint by wrapping the chain around the posts.

Though the paint was not tacky to the touched, I didn’t want to take a chance of the pins and their washers getting stuck once the nuts were tightened, so I applied spray lubricant, first.

As a bonus, while I was working on it, I met our neighbour, who was out jogging. As she was walking back, we introduced ourselves and had a nice chat. They live a mile away from us which is a pretty typical distance for neighbours around here. 😀 I’ve seen them (well; their vehicle) pretty regularly, but we hadn’t had the chance to meet until today. 🙂

The posts are now ready to have the gates mounted on the hinges, whenever my brother is ready to come by with the last pieces he has for them.

I’m really looking forward to seeing our freshly painted gate up again! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Gate Repair: removing damaged hinges and adding new

I’m absolutely thrilled that my brother and his wife are over for the weekend! Their RV trailer fits in the inner yard, so they even brought their own “house” with them.

My brother, being how he is, was soon working on the damaged gate. More specifically, the gate posts. He’d actually been working on it for a while before he asked me to come and document what he was doing, so he’d managed to get the first of the remaining hinges off by then.

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Sanctuary

When we decided to move out here and take care of the farm for my mother, we had some ideas of what to expect, and what we might do in the future.

We were not naive about it, though, and knew that things would have to change with circumstances.

One thing I did not even think of at all.

That we might become a cat sanctuary.

Now, this isn’t all that unusual. Every now and then, I’ll read something in one of the local papers, or see a news clip someone shared on Facebook, about farmers and the 40 or so barn cats that they take care of. Along with their cows and goats and chickens or whatever.

We don’t have barn cats. The house came with yard cats. My dad loved them, and taking care of them was just a given.

I think it’s gotten a bit beyond that, now. LOL

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