The current state of things

This morning’s rounds were extended rounds – but about a mile and a half! 😀

The first order of business was to check the old basement. The south side of the basement is still slowly getting wetter. The sump pump is doing its job quite well. The north side hasn’t really changed much, and I’ve no doubt the big blower fan is doing a lot to keep that side more under control. The larger puddles of water got swept into the drain or the sump pump reservoir, and another of the chimney blocks was brought upstairs, before I headed outside.

I hadn’t slept much, so I was outside earlier than the cats are used to, so I didn’t see many of them! 😀

The first cat I saw was The Distinguished Guest (TDG), and he was limping. Favoring the same leg that Potato Beetle still does. Now that we know why Potato Beetle was limping, I have less concern. It’s probably a bite or claw injury. Considering how aggressive TDG has been to the other cats, I can’t say I feel much sympathy for him. I didn’t see Potato Beetle this morning, and whenever that happens, I worry that TDG has injured him and he’s suffering somewhere. 😦

I don’t know where Rosencrantz has set herself up again but, wherever it is, it’s very close by. She just seemed to magically appear at the kibble house of late! The only thing I can say for sure is that she’s not coming from the junk pile.

Speaking of junk piles, while Junk Pile (we have GOT to come up with a better for her!) was eating, I blindly took a couple of shots of her kittens through the window. This was the best one. I think I count 5 in there.

While switching out the memory cards on the trail cams, I was happy to see the water on the driveway has actually receded. To get to the sign cam, I went outside the fence line and didn’t even try to go through the snow and water along the garden area. While I was at it, I “made” a bridge. 😉

This sheet of plywood I found in the garage was set up over the drainage ditch, turned the other direction, so I could drive over it with the riding mower. Which isn’t working and, according to the place I last took it to, not really worth paying someone to fix, anymore. Since we won’t be driving a riding mower through here anytime soon, I pulled up up the plywood and laid it the other way. That helped increase the flow of water, too. I don’t know who dug this drainage ditch, how long ago, or what they used to do it. All I know is that it’s very uneven and rough, even for just a push mower.

That done, I went for a walk to check out the state of the road heading south. For the first half mile, it was actually pretty good. There’s an area that has a series of small ponds on one side that has the potential to be an issue if we get the predicted rains – we’re still under a rainfall warning that extends to the north of us, with accompanying flood warnings – but this morning, it was still pretty good.

Then I got to where the municipal drainage ditch crosses the road.

The culvert is marked with that red plastic tube on the left, and is the only reason this section isn’t already washed out.

This drainage ditch crosses the quarter section we’re on, cutting through the rented out fields into our neighbour’s quarter, until it crosses the road here.

The drainage ditch then cuts across the corner of this quarter section to another road and another culvert.

I wasn’t going to go that far to check the state of the road, seeing how things are here!

The drainage ditch is completely full; the line of higher soil, created by dredging, marks one side of it. Right now, we’ve got one flooded field draining into another flooded field!

The first area that’s washed out is past the drainage ditch. You can somewhat see how much of the gravel has been washed off the road and into the ditch.

The second wash out has done a lot more damage to the road.

Half the road has been washed down right to the rock base!

I took this next wide angle shot while standing in the middle of the second wash out.

There is still SO much snow and ice.

Here, I’m standing in between the two washed out sections. The water is flowing with remarkable speed!

I took some video, too. Once I have time, I’ll test out my new movie making software and make a little video to upload.

So this road is not a viable alternate route for us. When I get a chance, I plan to walk the road to the north and see how things are, there. We may not be able to avoid the pothole riddled main road, though.

Enough snow has melted that I could check out a few other areas, once I got back home. The path to the outhouse and the back of the garage is still full of water, and the pit under the outhouse is flooded to the top.

The garlic beds are clear of snow, but the soil under the mulch is still frozen solid.

Our first high raised bed is also clear of snow – but the snow around it is still quite deep!

I noticed one of the cages protecting the raspberry bushes we got my daughter for her birthday last year was knocked aside, so I made my way through the snow to get to it. Some of it even held my weight, though when it did give out, I found myself knee deep in snow.

Once we have rows of high raised beds built here, I can see that it will greatly affect the snow in the area.

The arrow in the above photo is pointing to the raspberry bush, and shows where the cage is supposed to be. The cages got dug out of the scrap pile around the old garden shed and placed over the raspberry bushes, after we discovered the deer were nibbling on them.

I found a couple of large rocks under the trees to weigh the cage down. Hopefully, it will hold until we find a more permanent way to protect the raspberries.

Hopefully, the raspberries have survived. Shortly after we transplanted them last year, they got hit by that one unusually cold night in late May that killed off so much. Then there was the drought, the heat waves and the deer. Now we’ve got this winter that just doesn’t want to let go. These poor bushes have had a very rough start! At this point, there’s no way to see if they’ve survived the winter. Hopefully, we’ll know in a couple of weeks.

The snow has receded enough that I was able to check out a few more areas before heading back inside. Another check on the basement, then the last chimney block was brought upstairs. Getting those up the old basement stairs has been a real pain. It’s one thing to carry a block down the hallway or across the yard. It’s quite another to safely get them up those stairs. I finally got it worked out, though. Basically, once a block was lifted to the highest step I could reach while standing at the bottom, I had to go up a couple of steps, to line myself up with the next step it would go on, carefully bend at the knees (my busted up knees!), grab the block and brace it against my belly (sometimes, my extra girth comes in quite handy!), straighten my knees to lift the block while using the hand rail to keep from falling backwards, and use my belly to place it on the next step.

Then the process is repeated, step by step, to the top. Thankfully, there is room for a block in front of the door, which has to be kept closed to keep the cats out. Then it’s, open the door, chase away cats, wrestle the block clear of the door with enough space to get past it, chase away the cats again, then close the door – hopefully remembering to turn the light off, first!

After that, it gets easy. The only difficult part is getting through the old kitchen door, without letting any cats through.

It’ll be a while before we can prep the area the blocks are going into, so we can take our time getting the blocks out the rest of the way. Getting them out of that basement was the main hurdle, and I’m very glad it’s finally done!

And that’s the state of things for now. As I write this, we’re at 5C/41F and we’re supposed to reach a high of 9C/48F, so things are melting. The rains are supposed to hit us this evening and continue through tomorrow, before changing to a mix of rain and snow, the day after, with highs of 4C/40F.

Then, three days later, they are now saying we’re supposed to get a high of 18C/64F. Long range forecast after that has highs ranging from 16C/61F to 19C/66F for the next week.

Hopefully, by then, the soil will have thawed enough to be able to absorb more of that moisture!

We shall see how things turn out.

The Re-Farmer

Change of plans

I made a trip to the general store and post office today, to pick up a big bag of bird seed. We’re switching from the deer feed to black oil seed now.


The gravel road was bad yesterday, but it was much worse today. The road itself was drier, but the last mile had water levels from the north that were higher. On the way back, I made a point of stopping near one of the municipal drainage ditches to take photos.

Further back, you can see where the water is creeping onto the road. This section wasn’t too bad for potholes. I was more concerned about the culvert.

You can tell where it is by the whirlpool. It was barely keeping the water flowing at an adequate rate. The field behind is completely underwater. That line of snow you see? That’s the drainage ditch.

On the other side, the ditch continues through a bison ranch. That’s why the fence is so fortified right into the ditch. A bison still manages to get out, every now and then.

That is some fast flowing water! The drainage ditch on this side is full, but is still containing most of the water.

It was at a culvert like this, near my brother’s place, where the highway was undermined and had to be closed completely.

Thankfully, we’re a bit higher and don’t have anything like this for the last mile to our turnoff. That last mile, however, is the worst stretch for potholes. It’s really hard to play “dodge the pothole”, when it’s all potholes.

Our own driveway is also getting wetter, and I could feel the van trying to sink as I drove through. I wouldn’t want to drive over it with the van loaded down with more weight, as it would be if I were able to get the rest of the month’s cat kibble. So I decided another trip to the city to do the rest of the monthly shopping can wait.

Of course, I came home to a message from my mother, She was wondering if I could take her shopping tomorrow.

The road is rough enough on our van. I’m not sure how her car can handle it. The last time I drove her car in conditions less severe than this, a tire blew out on the highway soon after. I am sure of exactly when the tired was damaged, too, when I hit a rock that was uncovered inside a pothole.

I haven’t checked the road to the south we would normally take as an alternate rough yet, but it was taking her car down that route that led to the tire blowout.

When I mentioned the main road’s condition, my mother suggested we wait. The grocery store is able to deliver her groceries for her, if she needs it, and that’s what she thinks she will do. She then started talking about years when the main road would get washed out completely – right about where the municipal drainage ditch is now! – we had to take the road to the north to get around it. Likely because the road was also washed out to the south. To the north, there are a lot of marshes, though, and that’s the direction water is building up from.

Gosh, I remember the roads around here washing out every spring through most of my childhood!

If we do get more rain – and our weather alert has now switched to a rainfall warning – I am not sure that the culvert in the photos above will be able to handle the increase in water. Unless it washes out in another spot, first! The temperature is suppose to increase quite a bit tomorrow, which means there will be more snow melt as well as any rain we might get. It’s going to be touch and go.

Until all this clears up, there’s no point in the municipality even trying to do anything about the potholes, and they’ll have much more to worry about if the roads start washing out!

We can wait a while on the shopping. We got a bit of rain this afternoon, and I can see on the security camera’s live feed that our driveway has even more water on it.

A reminder that we really need to get more gravel on that driveway!

I’ll just add that to the list of things we need to do, when we win the lottery. :-/

The Re-Farmer