Just in time

Well, it took the three of us a couple of hours, but we finally did it. We got the tarp over the hole in the shed roof.

One thing I can say about that shed, now that we’re done.

It’s not going to last much longer!


The first thing to do, of course, was to open up the tarp.

This is what 20′ x 30′ looks like. It’s being held up at the back by tall grass.

The kittens really, really loved this tarp!

Now, I’ll say right from the start, this tarp should have been oriented the other way. We could have covered the entire roof with it. That, however, was not an option for us. There was simply no way we could do that, reach the edges and be able to fasten it down, safely.

The trick was, how to get one end of the tarp over the roof. I decided to make use of the remaining PEX pipe I bought to use as netting support in the garden, so make one end more or less rigid. There was just over 20′ of it left, too, so that worked out.

I was going to Zip tie the pipe to one end, but I couldn’t find my package of smaller sizes, and I wasn’t about to waste the long ones I had on this. I did, however, find an unopened roll of garden twist ties. I’d bought 2 of them a couple of years ago, and never used the second one.

The PEX was in a roll, so it took some doing to straighten it out as much as I could. With the temperature barely above freezing, I was trying to warm it with my hands and much as I could, to make it more flexible.

It still wanted to roll up again, especially at the ends, but it worked well enough.

Then next step was to tie twine to grommets near the corners. I’m glad I got those rolls of bale twine! Very handy. I used my arms to roughly measure out about 35 feet of twine, then tied them on.

Next, I needed weights. Something that I could tie to the twine and throw over the roof – keeping in mind that I’m not very good at throwing things! I poked around in the barn for a while and found these.


By this time, one of my daughters joined me. It took a few tries, but we got them over the roof.


With one of them, I was able to grab it with a garden tool, but the other one had to be pulled back and thrown again. 😁

Before we could haul the tarp over, though, we also had to prune some trees away. They need to be cut away from the shed completely, because of the damage they’re causing. I didn’t cut the dogwood, though. Unlike the maples, its not going to develop a large trunk or branches that will tear the shed apart.

By this time, my other daughter was able to join us. It took a LOT to wrestle the tarp over. There were so many things it could get caught on. On the side with the shingles, there were plenty of nail heads sticking out, and not just from where the shingles had blown away. It was even catching on the metal cap at the top. We had to use the extended pole pruner, at maximum length, to get under the tarp and lift it over whatever it was getting caught on – while also trying not to tear holes in the tarp! Of course, the PEX kept trying to roll up again, too, which certainly didn’t help any.

By the time we got it over, it was shifted so far to one side, the hole was completely uncovered, so we then had to fight with it some more, maneuvering it to where it needed to be using twine tied to the grommets. Then, once it was where it needed to be to cover the hole, the hole thing needed to be adjusted so that the roof was covered, the tarp could be tied down, and the door could still be opened.

At this end, it’s tied down at only two places, and I made sure to test to see if the door could still be opened. At some point, we’ll have to pick up some Bungee cords and hooks so that we can fasten it down better, while also being able to unhook them any time we need to open the door.

Also, that old children’s swing? You can just see a line from one of the legs to a fence post at the corner of the shed. For some reason, the swing is tied to that post with barbed wire.

Fastening the tarp in that corner was particularly dangerous, and not just because of that barbed wire. There is all sorts of stuff buried under there, hidden in the tall grass, and even sunk into the ground. Oh, and rolls of more barbed wire, rusting away.

Still not as dangerous as the other side.

Pulling enough of the tarp over so that the door could be opened, meant we could easily reach to fasten it to the wall.

AFTER turning under the sharp corners of some of the metal roof pieces, so they wouldn’t cut the tarp! We ended up rolling an old tire over for my daughter to stand on, so she could reach the edges with pliers.

Aside from the junk snowmobiles and the antique boiler/steamer thing (now that’s something that we should cover, too!) in the way, this area had bits and pieces of snowmobiles the cows scattered, my daughter found glass from the window that broke a few years back – I thought I’d found all the pieces when I fixed that! – rotten pieces of wood hidden in the tall grass, and boulders sticking out of the ground.

There are SO many large rocks sticking out of the ground out here.

With the pipe running along the back of the tarp at the grommets, we could get away with hammering only a few nails in, instead of one at every grommet. Which is good, because the wood of this wall is getting so rotted, it was hard to find spots where we actually could hammer nails in.

Yeah. This shed has definitely not got a lot of years left.

I suspect the nails won’t hold long. I’ll have find other ways to secure it and go back. The main thing, though, is that it’s now in place, and just in time. Ice pellets were starting to fall while I was still setting up the tarp. By the time we were done, it was a mixture of snow and rain. It seems to be snowing right now – at least, I can see some snow accumulated on the ground and the driveway, on the security camera live feed, but we’re also still supposed to be getting rain.

I’m glad we managed to get it done. How long it’ll last, with the winds we get, who knows, but there’s not much we can do about that right now. 😕

The Re-Farmer

Tree protector, and good roof news!

Last night, I finished off a section of chicken wire salvaged from row covers from last year’s garden, and made a protector for the ash tree sapling my mother gave me to transplant. I sprayed it with the high visibility paint last night, so it was dry and ready to set up, this morning.

You can’t see them, but it is pegged to the ground.

This should keep it safe from getting eaten by deer or something!

This afternoon, we were outside harvesting our potatoes, which I will share about in my next post. While we were out, I got a message from my brother, on his way home from our mother’s. Once he was home, we were able to talk on the phone.

The short version: my mother agreed to one of the estimates, and provided my brother with cash for the deposit.

We’re getting a new roof.

As expected, she did start to back off and starting saying maybe someone else could pay for half of it. My brother reminded her that if she started playing her games again, he would simply cancel the whole thing and the roof won’t get done. There is a possibility she’ll try again, but if it comes down to it, he will use his Power of Attorney to make sure the company gets paid. She can’t mess around with people like this, but has a long history of it. For now, she is following through with her promise.

While talking to my brother, I told him about how, in her efforts to lure us out here, my mother insisted that this place was “perfect”. We didn’t need anything. We could leave everything behind and move right in, because everything we needed was here. Everything was “perfect”.

Of course, we knew that wasn’t how it would be, but we were still thrown by just how bad we discovered things had gotten. As I put it to my brother, my mother didn’t keep up her end of the bargain, in her efforts to get us to move out here. Now her habit of making promises, then backing out of them when it came time to follow through, is costing her thousands of dollars more than if she had followed through on the roof situation back in 2019.

There is one possible thing we can do to help with that, though. Since the court ruled against our vandal (and he now owes me $500 in court costs), he had 30 days to appeal. I’m not sure if that was 30 calendar days or 30 business days. Either way, I’ve not been served with anything. Which means we might be able to get a scrap dealer out here to get rid of the old cars and other metal junk our vandal was trying to get money from me for. I don’t expect we’d get more than a few hundred dollars out of it, but who knows. It’s not something we’d do until spring, though.

The main thing is, we’re getting a much needed new roof. The work will likely be done in November, though their schedule might allow for something in October. We shall see.

I’ve sent an email and phoned the company to start the ball rolling. I hope to hear from them tomorrow, though they might contact my brother directly for the financial part of it, first.

I wish I could say I feel relieved, but I probably won’t feel that until the work is done and paid for!

The Re-Farmer

Some evening activities

After the onions were harvested, and my daughter no longer needed help with her build, I headed over to the platform bed frame the girls have been slowly getting painted. The top, where the litter boxes will be sitting, got several coats of paint. They’ve been working on the under side. It’s the legs that need the extra coats of paint, now that we know the newer basement floor can get water seeping in, despite the weeping tile.

There was just one last coat of paint to add to the leg ends, plus around the edges. The platform is upside down on the picnic table, so I went to put a couple of bricks under it, to elevate it enough to paint the edges, and not the picnic table.

As I came around the back, I found this.

Well, so much for my trying not to get red paint on the blue picnic table when I was painting the bench I made!

The platform now has its final coat of paint, though. We’ll be able to bring it back into the house and into the basement any time after tonight.

Meanwhile, my daughter got some good progress on the water bowl shelter today.

As you can see, it’s already kitten approved!

She worked on this without any detailed plan; just a general idea of the build, adapted to what materials were available. I found the scrap piece of half inch plywood in the barn, so that became the size of the shelter.

The smaller cross pieces at the bottom, inside the uprights, will be the supports for the floor. Another cross piece will be added for extra support. We might have some scraps in the barn that will work. With the floor lower that the top of the cross piece in the front, there will be a lip to prevent the bowls from being casually knocked out. When we built the kibble house, one of the first problems we discovered was that the skunks would pull the kibble trays right off, scattering kibble all over the ground and making an awful lot of noise. Putting a board across the front solved that problem. My daughter made sure that would not be an issue this time!

Once a floor is figured out, it will need walls on three sides. We have more of the wider boards across the front and back. They are pretty rotten on the ends, but they are also longer than needed. Most likely, the shelter will be flipped onto its roof, then boards added across the back with the rotten ends sticking out. Once they are secured, we can simply saw the ends off along the vertical support, then do the same thing on the sides. It doesn’t need to be perfectly seals. It just need to keep the snow out.

This should fit rather well beside the kibble house. The cats’ house, the kibble house and this water shelter, will together form a sort of U shape. The heated water bowl is plugged into an outlet inside the cats’ house, which has its own extension cord that is more than long enough to reach. So even if the regular water bowls freeze, they will still have at least one bowl of liquid water available.

We painted the kibble house a bright yellow, but we no longer have any of that paint left. I’ll have to pick up some more, probably next month. The kibble house could use a touch up, too. Plus, if we dig up the shingles we found in some sheds, we could do both roofs, too.

Yeah. We’re sucks when it comes to the cats.

Speaking of shingles and roofs…

This is a section of roof on the house that caught my attention today.

You can see a loose shingle has started to slide down. This is a very steep roof, but at least it’s low enough that it can be patched from a ladder. This section of roof forms the angled walls of the second floor. Both sides used to be like this, but my dad had one side raised into a low slope roof to make more room in the second floor. Unfortunately, that low slope is why there is now water leaking in through one of the second floor windows.

That brick chimney is for the wood furnace we can no longer use. When the new roof is done, that chimney will be removed completely. It needed to be redone since my parents bought the place. That’s what the chimney blocks I’m now using as planters and retaining walls were for! It just never got done, and now it never will.

This is the only section of roof that is north facing. Ice and snow remains here the longest, and you can really tell. All of the shingles are lifting. It’s worse now than it was even in the spring! This is over the attic above the old kitchen – an attic no one goes into, as the entrance is difficult to get at, so the girls have simply blocked it off with furniture.

The chimney here is to the old wood cookstove in the old kitchen. The stove can no longer be used. Not only is it unsafe, being so close to the wall with no heat shield (how did we never burn the house down when I was a kid???), but the fire box is badly damaged, and the door to the oven is broken off. Some day, however, we may be able to replace it with another cookstove, with a proper heat shield and protective flooring. If nothing else, it would be good to have something like that as an emergency back up if we lose electricity. We certainly have the option to cook outside, but if we lose power in the winter, not only would we want to be cooking indoors, such a set up would also be a heat source.

Not that we could do that any time soon. Right now, the only reason my brother was able to get property insurance was by providing photographic proof that all wood burning stoves – including the ones in the storage shed, installed back when it was a work shop – and the wood burning furnace were disabled. Without that, the cost of insurance would have been much, much higher, for things that can’t even be used. We’ll probably have our outdoor kitchen built long before we’re in a position to remove the old wood cookstove and replace it with something else.

The main thing for now it, getting a new roof.

I really hope my mother isn’t just yanking my brother’s chain again, and will actually follow through. I’m just praying that she’ll make good on her promise, and it can be done before winter. Not only because of how bad the roof is getting, but because it will probably save us money on our heating bills, too. Our equal payment plan has been reset to just over $330 per month. It used to be just under $300, but just this past month, our usage has been up 20% from last year. For January and February – our coldest months of the year – our actual usage in 2021 would have cost us almost $450 in January, and almost $600 in February. In 2022, our actual usage would have cost us almost $600 in January, and almost $450 in February – and March, too! Meanwhile, the upstairs gets freezing cold, even with their heaters. Then, in the summer, it gets so hot, their computers start to have problems. A few roof would help reduce those extremes and reduce the energy we use.

I’m afraid to hope my mother will follow through, though. I know once she sees how expensive it is now, she’s going to start backing off. I just hope my brother can persuade her how urgently it’s needed.

Well. We’ll see. The guy that came by today will send me his estimate tomorrow, and then we’ll see.

The Re-Farmer

Surprise visitors

The girls headed outside to get a few things done before heading to bed for the day, and were soon messaging me to let me know we had company!

Two of the renter’s calves had gotten into the outer yard.

The girls made sure the gates into the inner yard were closed, and found plastic covers we’d used in the garden and put them over the Korean pine in the outer yard to protect them, just in case.

The calves were very nervous when I headed over to switch out the memory card on the gate cam. They kept going for the fence into the hay yard – they are normally on the other side of that fence! – and I was concerned they might get spooked and hurt themselves trying to barrel their way through the fence. I made sure to move well over in the other direction, and they eventually followed the fence line back towards the barn. After switching out the memory card, I found them near the shed by the barn. As I came closer they went for the chain gate on the other side of the barn and simply slipped under the chain – and the electric fence wire on the other side! Clearly, the wire did not bother them at all.

I had already messaged the renters to let them know cows had gotten through, so I messaged them again to let them know it was just the two calves, and that they were back on the other side. I also let them know that I couldn’t see any breech in the fence. At least as far as the overgrown grass allowed me to see.

Later, after helping give Leyendecker his meds, I headed to the post office before the store it’s in was closed for their weekly inventory. I was just parking the vehicle back in the garage when I could hear a utility vehicle coming along the outer yard fence. The renter had come to check the fence, so I went over to chat with her. Oddly, she found it had been shut off! As far as she knew, she was the last person to check the fence. The power was low on the fence, so she’d come over with her little ones and a gas powered weed trimmer, cutting the grass and weeds away from the wire, and making making sure nothing was touching where it shouldn’t; she’d found a couple of places where the wire had gotten caught on the barbed wire of the outer yard fence. She told me that when she was done, it running at full strength, and she was sure she had left it back on before leaving. She thought one of their farm hands may have come out, though it they did, we never heard their utility vehicle.

The chain gate runs between two large gate posts near the garage, spaced far enough that large farm vehicles can get through. It used to have a barbed wire fence. I’d cleared the remains of it away from the opening and set it aside, long ago. The only thing keeping the cows out was their electric fence wire, so I’d made a rope gate. After that got broken – along with the electric fence wire – by deer jumping through in the winter, I replaced it with the chain we’d used at our main gate until we fixed the damage from our vandal. It has worked well enough, but with the flooding we had this spring, one of the gate posts was leaning most of the way to the ground. I now understand just why all those fence posts are so rotten! Until this year, I had no idea the area could get so flooded.

While we were talking, I pushed the gate post upright and propped it up with a scrap piece of fence post that was lying in the grass. She told me her husband was thinking of rotating the cows out again, soon. Remembering a comment I’d made the last time we spoke, she asked if perhaps we wanted the cows to be allowed into our side of the fence for a while, first, to help graze down the grass at least a bit. I told her I’d be fine with that. He may not do it, but just in case he does, we’ll keep the inner yard gates closed up. He is also still wanting to replace the outer yard fence. Part of the rental agreement is that they are responsible for the fencing. It would be good if he could get that done, once the cows have been rotated out. Right now, there is another deliberate gap in the fence, next to an old collapsing log building, that the cows sometimes gets through. As near as I can figure, the gap in the fence is for access to the expeller for our septic system. There is a low area next to it that the water drains into, all of which still has the remains of old, fallen barbed wire fence to keep cattle out of it. When they do replace the fence, I have suggested they may want to fence around the the expeller in some way. I also mentioned I’d like the fence to go straight to the road, instead of turning towards the driveway and around the old hay yard. They would loose a small grazing area and the low spot that I’d like to turn into a permanent pond again, but it would also mean quite a bit less fencing to replace. Certainly enough to make the cost difference worthwhile, I think. It would also mean the cows wouldn’t be getting into the junk behind two sheds, including the one with the roof that collapsed under the weight of snow this past spring. I think it would ultimately be a win-win situation.

But it’s up to him, in the end. Whatever he ends up doing, we’ll work with it.

I also told her about wanting to get all the scrap cars and stuff cleaned up, but that I’m still expecting our vandal to appeal the court’s decision against him. She was just shaking her head about him being so possessive about such junk. My mother had wanted to have it sold as scrap metal to help pay for a new roof, but it’s all so bad, I doubt it would bring in even half of what a roof would have cost, back when we got the initial estimates in 2019, never mind the estimate we got this year.

That reminds me. My brother had asked me to contact one more company for an estimate – someone my SIL knows personally and vouches for – so he would have 3 estimates to go over. I did that last night by email and got a quick response saying he’d call this afternoon, but so far, no call. Hhmm.

Well, whatever we end up with, we’ll see if my mother will follow through on her promise to pay for a new roof. I suspect she’ll renege on that. She’s been teasing about paying for a new roof for years now, as a way to manipulate my brother, so I’d actually be surprised if she follows through. Still, if she does, a decision has to be made quickly; these estimates are only good for 30 days, because the prices change so quickly. Even if the work can’t be done right away, if a deposit is made, that locks the contract until the work is done. Still, it would be awfully nice if we could get a new roof before winter! It would make a significant difference on our heating bills, too.

The Re-Farmer

Beautifully warm – and a new path

Wow, what a gorgeous day, today!

The forecast was for a high of 0C/32F today. As I write this, just past 5pm, we are at 4C/39F!

It was a perfect day to work outside.

This morning, after feeding the critters, I tried to keep the burn barrel going while hauling away more snow from near the house. It was so warm, I had to take off my parka, and I was still overheating in my sweatshirt!

I actually meant to post these photos yesterday, when the melt was just starting to kick in. Today, that trickle was pouring. There is nothing slowing it down, either, so while the end of the diverter is still buried, the water has obviously cleared itself an opening, somewhere inside the pile of snow.

The ceiling in the sun room is dripping like crazy. The drips are right over a shelf, and I had some boxes stored on top. My efforts to cover those and divert the water away were clearly not working anymore, and the boxes were getting soaked in places. They only have packing material in them, so I ended up putting those into an old feed bag, and the boxes went into the burn barrel. The top shelf got covered with an old feed bag, then I made use of the under-bed storage box that we used to start seeds in last year. Between the container and the lid, I was able to get under most of the drips, and for those that still missed, I had buckets on the floor.

You can see how much water has already accumulated, after about… 6 hours? Maybe 7.

We need a new roof so badly. *sigh* I shudder to think about how much water damage is in that ceiling!

On the plus side, by the end of today, most, if not all, of the snow should be gone from the roof, and the leaking should soon stop.

After a run to the post office this afternoon (more on that in another post), I went back out to do more digging. This time, to the trail cams. With all the cold and snow, I was no longer switching out the memory cards every morning. Today, I decided it was time to see how they fare.

The driveway cam was easy enough to deal with. I just had to re-dig a short path to it’s stand, and I could change the batteries and the memory card.

The sign cam, on the other hand, was a whole different ball game!

I took this photo when I was a little more than half way to the corner. In previous years, this area was crisscrossed with deer paths and the tracks of other wildlife. Between the deep snow over the garden area, and the piles of snow left by the plows along the road, the animals stayed away from this area completely. The roads, driveways and cleared paths in people’s yards were much more accommodating!

Even under the trees, sheltered by branches, I had to shovel a path right to the corner.

This picture was taken just clear of the trees at the corner, where the snow was nowhere near as deep.

Here, I was actually standing on the hard packed snow of the deer path to the fence.

There was just no way I could have gotten to the corner, without digging this path. I don’t have snow shoes!

There’s something we might need to invest in at some point!

It will be about where this path is now, or a bit to the left (west) of it that we will be planting silver buffalo berry bushes, this spring. 🙂 We still want to keep an avenue between the berry bushes and the trees at the fence line open for access.

At the time I was digging out this path, it was 3C/37F. I had on a light coat and a t-shirt this time, so at least I wasn’t overheating, by my goodness, it’s amazing how hot 3C feels, after the temperatures we were having not that long ago! With the snow melting, it was very wet and heavy, too. Even if we could get a snow blower this far out, we couldn’t use it; it would just clog up.

Thankfully, I really enjoy shoveling. 😀 What an excellent workout!

With these paths cleared, I’ll be able to add switching memory cards back into my morning routine. I finished uploading the files from the trail cams while I was writing this. The gate cam, which is set to take short video files only, recorded 160 files before the batteries died. The sign cam, which is set to take 3 stills, then a short video, recorded only 58 files before the batteries died. With the high piles of snow along the side of the road, and no wildlife going through the deep snow between the sign and the road, there wasn’t a lot that could trigger the motion sensor on that one!

It’s going to take me a while to go through all those files!

I think I’ll save that job for later. 😀

The Re-Farmer

What a job!

My brother, being the wonderful person that he is, came over to remove the rusted out screws on the trailer frame with an angle grinder.

I told him about the box for an angle grinder I’d found in the garage. The one with human teeth in it. He figures that is probably the strangest thing we’ve found, since moving out here! Though I admit, there are some things that are still competing for that top spot.

I had to pop over to the house while he was working on the trailer frame, and he was done by the time I came back! I did find one that he’d missed, though, so I was able to get a picture of him working on it. 😀

He also removed the remains of old lights at the end, and cut the bolts of a piece in the corner that had been twisted completely around. That corner that you see? Where those squarish marks are? There used to be a sort of bumper there, with a piece on the frame below the bolt hole at the very end. The piece is still there. It’s just now on the inside, instead of the outside.

Some of the old screws he took off still had their heads on them. They were hex screws. Totally the wrong kind of screw for the job.

After he was done, he showed me how to use the self drilling screws I picked up, and we took measurements. Exactly 2 sheets of plywood will fit on there, but we will need to cut openings for the tires and make some sort of fenders.

It is now ready for cleaning and rust removal and, if all goes well, painting.

Then he surprised me.

He had ulterior motives for coming out. He didn’t drive all that way just to take off a few screws for me.

The shed next to the barn, where we found the table saw, has holes in it. I believe it was last year, or maybe our first year here, I’d helped him cover holes on one side, but we weren’t able to do more at the time.

It’s been bugging him, ever since.

We still have sheets of metal roofing in the barn, left over from when the barn itself, and other buildings, had them installed.

Note the piece of equipment with the board leaning on the tank. I’ll have more to say about that, later.

On the left is what we put on last year. We actually dragged them out from a pile outside the barn, and one of them had a piece cut out of it.

On the right, my brother has already covered one hole with a short piece. None of the pieces we had were long enough to cover the whole length, so he put short pieces along the bottom, first, so there would be an overlap.

The scary part was having to go to the peak of the roof and unscrew that top cap, so he could slide the panels under it. He screwed a scrap of plywood we found in the barn down first. There was no way he could have climbed to the top without it.

This was interesting.

There are three types of shingles on here, and so much of one type has blown away, we can see what are likely the original shingles.

What an interesting diamond shape! That roof must have looked great, when it was new!

Here is how the roof looked, at the end.

Bits and pieces, cobbled together, but who cares what it looks like? No more gaping holes!

My brother is just screwing down some pieces of metal we found in the barn that could be used as top caps. After that, he put in more screws as far as he could reach from the ladder, so the winds won’t catch and blow them off.

It was very, very dangerous up there. That ladder on the right was the best place to get up there, but there were tree branches in the way, making it even more dangerous. Once he was safely at the top, I went and grabbed a saw and cut away almost half the tree (one tree at the base, two trunks up the sides).

I’m keeping that wood for future carving!

My brother is really, really awesome. We spent hours out there, working on it, and I couldn’t do much more than pass him things, and hold the ladder for him.

Remember that piece of equipment by the building?

Thanks to ladder holding, I was looking at it from angles I hadn’t, before. I asked my brother if he knew was it was. It belonged to our late brother, and has been sitting there for at least 10 years.

After looking it over, we figured it out.

It’s a boiler system for steam cleaning.

The boiler itself is pretty amazing.

There should be a cover on that round opening.

Just look on the date on that thing!

It had to have been salvaged from somewhere. I wonder if my late brother built it? He certainly had the skills to do it.

The fuel tank is actually part of the trailer frame! On the left, you can see the fender over one of the tires.

Both tires are flat, which is why this end is resting on the ground.

The white tank in front would have held the water. It was most likely used to steam clean culverts or something like that.

That boiler isn’t the only old object of interest we talked about.

As we were putting everything away and getting ready to leave the barn, my brother pointed at a metal object on the floor and told me to make sure to keep that. I had no idea what it was.

It turned to be part of an antique hand pump for a well. A wooden handle would have been attached to it. I was told there was another one, but my mother had sold it to a scrap dealer, years ago.


After all this, my brother couldn’t even stay for lunch. Our mother was expecting him, and by the time we were done, he barely had time to come into the house and say hello to the rest of the family!

Have I mentioned my brother is amazing?

I don’t know what we would do without him! No one living knows this place better than he does! And certainly no one else in the family has the tools, skills and knowledge – not to mention physical ability – to do stuff like this. It’s been many years, since I was physically able to go up on a roof like that! Of course, being a woman of ample proportions, I would have gone straight through a roof in that condition, with or without a sheet of plywood to climb on!

So that was a whole lot of hours in the sun, but the job is done. My brother figures, this probably added about 10 years to the life of the building.

Well. On this side, maybe. The other side probably won’t last that long, and I think we’re out of metal roofing material to do that side, anyhow! It doesn’t get the brunt of the weather, though, the way the side we covered did.

What a job!

While I may not need to do it this year, I should cut the rest of that tree down. It would be a shame to work so hard to preserve the shed from the top, only to have it wrecked from the bottom. The tree is growing right out from under a wall!

Little by little, we’ll get this place fixed up.

The Re-Farmer

First Estimate

I called several companies to get estimates to get our roof done.

The first one came by today to do an estimate.

He spent quite a bit of time checking things out and taking measurements, after we did a walk around. During the walk around, we talked about the chimney from the wood furnace that will need to be removed. I couldn’t tell him, one way or the other, if the TV antenna would be going back up after the roof is done. There is an unused satellite dish to take down that he included as a removal, though my brother might take it down himself before any roof work is done.

Among the things he noted was that, whoever did the roof last time, did not do the valleys properly (I think the roof was redone by my late brother, with various family members helping out), which could be easily seen from the ground. When on the roof, he identified two leak spots that corresponded to leaks we’d found inside during the winter. I brought up the possibility of finding rotten wood under the shingles, so he included the rate per foot that would be added on, should any be found.

The guy clearly knew his stuff, was very professional and efficient, gave me a very detailed estimate, then took the time to explain some of it. Such as how the step flashing would not be under warranty, because they would not be able to install it properly, due to the existing flashing being under the siding. They’re not going to break the siding to install new flashing, so they would have to install it over the siding. A silicone bead would be run across the top that would have to be redone every year, until we redo the siding and the flashing is property covered. At which point, that flashing would also be covered by the 30 year warranty.

His estimate also included things like converting plumbstacks, applying and supplying ice and water shields, one and two ply underlay for the different slopes, and replacing the goose neck exhaust vent. Clean up is included, too. It was all quite thorough.

The final number was almost $8,500, plus 5% GST. Given that I am sure they will find rotten wood to replace, I would expect the total to reach about $10,000. Which is pretty much in line with what I was expecting.

I also got a call from another company my SIL passed our phone number to (someone she knows personally), so we should have a total of 4 estimates to go over, by the time all is said and done.

I expect the other estimates to be similar, except the metal roof one, which I expect to be higher. Those come with lifetime warranties, so it’s a longer term investment.

So now we have to figure out how to come up with $10,000, or more if we go with a metal roof.

Before it becomes a real problem!


The Re-Farmer

Shingle damage, fixed

We had a nice day, and my wonderful daughter was able to get up onto the roof to take care of the damaged shingles we’d noticed a few days back.

This is what one section looked like before.


While up there, she noticed quite a few were loose, and took care of them, too. It definitely looked like they were damaged when that patch above them was done.

Here is how it looks now.


She also sealed the exposed roofing nails that were part of the higher patch.

Then she moved on to the other section of roof to fix this shingle…


This is how it looks now.


When this was done, she went to the other side, were we can’t see the shingles from the ground, to check for any others that needed fixing. She also checked the area above their window, where water has been leaking in the winter. She did some more patching, but also noticed the area above the window did not feel as solid as it should.

She noticed many patch jobs.

We so need a new roof. 😦

The Re-Farmer

Shingle damage

We noticed some damaged shingles yesterday, so I made a point of checking it out and looking for any other damage while doing my rounds this morning.

This is what we saw when we came home yesterday.


You can see the patch job above, where some shingles had flipped up. One of my brothers had fixed it, and now I wonder if these shingles came loose due to unseen damage done by feet while the patch was being worked on. The roof is old enough that it wouldn’t take much.

I also found this.


It looks like a shingle got flipped up.

I could not find any other damage like this elsewhere, though I cannot see parts of the roof from the ground. I’ll need to ask my daughters to check, from the second floor.

The North side of the old kitchen roof, however, is looking pretty black, getting darker closer to the eaves.

We can patch things up as needed, but the reality is, we need a new roof.

Plus new flooring.

Plus all the walls need to be redone.

Plus the wiring needs to be updated in places, and simply increased throughout the house.

What this house really needs is a total renovation.

Which would basically happen if we win the lottery or something.

Until then, patch jobs it is.

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.


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.


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