More storm damage

This morning, while doing my rounds, I was able to go further into the spruce grove, after checking the trail cam. Near the trail cam, I found a small poplar that was broken, and a few more broken branches. I also found that the asparagus have been completely denuded of their berries!

Which reminds me; I had been showing photos of the yard to my mother and she saw one of the red berries on the asparagus and asked me where it was taken. I told her were, and wondered about how they got there. My mother says they’ve always been there! Which would mean there have been little spears of asparagus growing here for some 60 years!

Wow.

Anyhow;

In the spruce grove, I had made note of several dead trees that I wanted to keep an eye on, and one of those came down during the storm.

I don’t know why this picture ended up so out of focus. 😦

Unlike the other trees that have come down, this one does not have signs of ant damage in the trunk, so it took quite a lot for the wind to knock this one down!

It landed right on another tree, which you can see bending under its weight. That little tree (which I think is a living maple, but it has no leaves right now) is the only reason it is not on the ground!

The other bent tree to the right isn’t actually under the fallen tree; it just looks like it from this angle.

The two dead trees in the foreground are right near the one that feel, and there is another dead tree a bit further back, behind it. I am hoping we’ll be able to cut those down before they fall, like this one did.

Here, you can see where the top of the tree is right in the top branches of another spruce.

Which is also dead.

By the time we finally clear out all the dead trees, the spruce grove is going to be a lot more open than it is now!

While making my way out, I had to stop and get pictures of this unusual tree.

It’s another dead spruce, but I’m fascinated by how this one spruce has been so stripped of its outer bark. Almost as if it had been sand blasted for something. It’s the only tree that is like this, though.

My goal for this year had been to start clearing into the spruce grove, so that will be my goal for next summer. The first thing will be to get at and clear away the dead trees that are already on the ground. Then figure out how to get down the ones that are fallen, but hung up on living trees. Only then can we start looking at cutting down the dead trees that are still upright.

That last part can wait another year or two, though (except the ones we’ll be hiring someone to take down for us, because they are closer to buildings). I need to start clearing the outer yard, too! At the same time, we have to keep on top of the areas already cleared, so they don’t get taken over again.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

Two more down

Between the high winds and rain we’ve been having recently, it’s been a while since my rounds have included all the perimeter of the spruce grove.

The predicted storms have, once again, passed us by – this time to the south – but we have been getting rain almost constantly for the last while.

Which would have been wonderful in the spring. The farmers in the middle of harvesting their crops are now being hit with a triple whammy. A cold late spring followed by a hot dry summer, and now when hot and dry is what the crops need, it’s cold and wet.

That’s the reality of farming, though, and everyone just goes with it. What else can you do?

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Clean up: around the outhouse and moving the debris pile

Ah, what a perfect day to work outside! This morning, it was cool enough that I actually wore…

*gasp*

…long sleeves!

😀

The goal was to move the debris pile from where I’m clearing in the old wood pile to the area behind the outhouse. Which meant I first had to clear around the outhouse.

Here is how it looked before I started.

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So, this happened…

Today, I stayed in town for my daughter’s short shift. One of the things I ended up doing while there was picking up a magnetic lifter. You know, the kind of thing you would use when you drop a screw and it rolls under a shelf. I wanted to try and see if it would help me find nails in the dirt in the old wood pile.

It kind of worked.

The first challenge involved kittens, who thought it was a springy new toy!

The second was the fact that I wasn’t completely sure if I was feeling a magnetic pull or not. I did find a nail in my test, but I don’t know that the magnet is quite strong enough to find things in that much soil. Sometimes, though, it felt like there was a constant magnetic pull, even though I could find nothing in the ground.

The third problem was… well…

…let me show you.

My attempts to get a photo of the nail it successfully found in the dirt was foiled by Doom Guy, who was absolutely desperate for snuggles!

His claws are incredibly sharp.

He is also having some major respiratory problems. 😦

Which meant I was stuck with a sneezing, snorting, snotty cat that was poking holes in my body while trying to get comfortable in my arms.

And shoulders.

And back.

And head…

Since I was in the area and not working on the area today (I try to keep Sundays as my day of rest, as much as possible), I decided to look beyond were I’d cleared, and get an idea of what I would be working in, next.

I found more of my mother’s flowers. Sort of.

I recognize those plants with the long, slender, pointed leaves. There is a bunch of them in the old kitchen garden. Those have finally started to show flower spikes. I doubt these will bloom at all. They are growing among many dead cherry trees that have new cherry shoots coming up at their bases. My mother had mentioned planting some flowers here, then blaming them for apparently killing some spruce trees I was telling her about. Except these aren’t near the spruce trees I was talking about. Anyhow, I did know she had deliberately planted flowers under the trees somewhere in this area, and now I have found them.

Once this area is cleared and more sunlight gets to the ground, I’m sure we’ll see more flowers, just as we are already seeing more flowers along the edges of the spruce grove that I’d already cleared a bit.

Then I found this.

That’s, my friends, a big patch of poison ivy.

Western Poison Ivy, to be precise.

sigh

We’ve been on the look out for poison ivy since moving here, and while we have seen some similar plants, I was able to confirm that they were NOT poison ivy. I had never seen poison ivy on the property before, even as a child who spent many, many hours roving wild among the trees. I had begun to hope I still wouldn’t.

sigh, again.

The patch doesn’t seem to be very wide, but I also can’t see how deep it extends into the trees – and I won’t be able to until I start clearing back there.

I’ve been looking up how to get rid of it, and not looking forward to the job. At this point, I think I will just leave it for next year. I can avoid the patch when I’m clearing behind the outhouse and moving the debris pile I’ve raked out of the wood pile area. If I have time this year to clear into where those flowering plants that aren’t flowering right now are, I can avoid it on that side, too.

I really could have done without this.

Ah, well. It is what it is. We’ll deal.

The Re-Farmer

I’ll just move that…

One of the things we found in the spruce grove was a bench made by nailing a board across 2 logs.

It was left where it was, but while doing my rounds this morning, I noticed something missing…

The board was off.

I’m not sure what knocked it off. The outside cats did sometimes sit on it, so it’s entirely possible some animal bumped it and finally knocked it off.

You can see how the rot was the worst, where wood contacted wood. One nail was still in a log (bottom of the picture), while a second nail at the other end (in the board, top of the picture) was rusted away to almost nothing; just a tall, thin bit of metal I would not have recognized as the remains of a nail at all, had I not been looking for it.

I cleared away the board and the nails, but didn’t bother moving the logs, yet.

When the spruce grove is finally cleaned up, I do want to set up a bench or two. Something make out of materials that won’t rot like this! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Clean Up: old wood pile area, a bit of progress

I didn’t get as much done cleaning up in the old wood pile as I’d hoped, but a little is better than none!

This is most of the area I focused on today. I got more old pallets out, and a bit more rotten wood. For the most part, it’s too rotten to even pick up, but I’m hoping to at least get out the pieces with nails. I also cleared out some saplings that were in the wood pile my sister and her husband had made in the big garden, the summer before we moved out.

Most of the pile in the foreground is what I’d move there last year. I had intended to find uses for it, but I have access to better types of wood than I knew of back then, so I will be adding it to the chipping pile. I’ve got cherry wood set aside, and I have more than enough to work on, so any more cherry I take down is going to the chipping pile, too. There is still some apple wood I’d set aside by the old dog house. I’ll see what condition it’s in as I move it, before I make any decisions about it.

The pile of debris is growing, and I’m at a loss as to what to do with it. With the possibility of nails being in there, I can’t compost it, but there is so much soil in there, I just don’t think it’ll burn well.

I think, after I clean up more around the outhouse, I’ll spread it in the back. There is an access to the pit under the outhouse there, so it can be emptied as needed, so it should be kept open and clear. It’s not an area that will get traffic, to the risks of people finding nails is lower, and we certainly won’t be gardening or anything back there.

That’s one possibility, anyhow.

I did find a few things while moving pallets out.

A bent piece of sheet metal, two electrical insulators, and a perfectly intact tea cup – not even a chip on it! – buried under the pallet fence.

Weird!

In between working on this, we got some progress on the garden area we mulched, and had some company, but I will write about that in my next post. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: old wood pile, progress

Things actually got chilly last night, and we had a wonderfully cool morning! I was really looking forward to getting some progress in the yard.

Of course, by the time I actually got out there, it had warmed up considerably. 😀 It was nice, working in the shade, though.

With the way things have been doing this year, I decided that getting this old wood pile cleared was my one primary goal for the summer. Anything beyond that was gravy.

I may have messed myself up with this particular goal! 😀 It’s turning out to be a more challenging job than I expected!

This is why.

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Clean Up: spruce grove perimeter, starting on the old wood pile

This morning, thanks to cooler temperatures that I was able to take advantage of, I was able to finally get back to cleaning up around the east perimeter of the spruce grove. It was only about an hour and a half before I had to get out of the heat, but I think some good progress was done!

Here’s where I started.

(photo heavy post ahead! 🙂 )

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