Not what I was looking for

Last summer, while going around the property with my older brother, we had gone into an area filled with rocks and blocks of concrete and all sorts of bushes growing among them. My brother remembered that there were hazelnut bushes there. We didn’t find any, but I decided to check it out again, in case something managed to grow this year.

I didn’t find any hazelnuts.

I did find other things, though!

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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

Big garden area, progress

Today, my daughter and I got some progress done on the old garden area that we mulched with straw this spring.

We didn’t put anything under it, so things did start growing through it.

This is taken from one corner, next to the gooseberry bush and raspberries.

It looks a lot worse than it is. Partly because some of the weeds are so big, they take up more space on the surface than what they take up through the mulch. Partly because the mulch itself had seeds in it, and we’ve got oats growing in there, now.

We wanted to cover it, but first, we needed to kill this stuff.

Yes, we used herbicide on it. No, I’m not the least bit bothered by that.

Before we started, we tried to set up a hose to wash up later – and to spray any kittens who might come too close.

I’ve had some problems with the hoses. We’re down to two again, despite my repairs to them. There is, however, a garden tap. Basically, it’s a tap at the garden with a pipe running to the house, then a section of hose that can be screwed on to the water tap at the rear of the house. We’d never needed to test it out last year, so this was a good time to do it!

Yeah. That’s water spraying out of the ground, next to one of the wood piles.

I tried turning on the garden tap itself. Some water did start to come out, which turned really brown, then stopped altogether.

So I tried hooking up a pair of shorter hoses to the house tap, instead. One of them was spraying like crazy at the tap. When I switched to the other hose, it was fine.

So… we were down to one hose. *sigh*

While my daughter sprayed the garden, I worked on taking the pieces of wire that sewed the two sheets of black tarp together, out.

There was quite a lot of it. Some of the pieces were quite long and were done in a running stitch. On one section, there were two pieces used to created a double running stitch!

Getting it out was a challenge.

The kittens were very interested in the tarps!

After I got the wire out – and got scissors to cut away the fraying pieces that were catching on everything, I was able to spread them both out.

When the spraying was done, we left this area for a while, and I went back to working on cleaning around the old wood pile. After hauling another wheel barrow load to the pile near the burn barrel, I took a side trip into the barn, where I’d seen some tarps. The two black tarps are big, but not big enough!

While moving things to be able to access on of the tarps. I took a closer look at the old hoses that were in the way, and decided to try one of them out.

Much to my shock, it works just fine! No leaks or cracks, even though it’s really stiff from being in the barn for who knows how long.

So, we are back to two hoses. 😀

Later, my daughter and I spread the two black tarps over as much of the mulched area we could cover, while still making sure there is overlap. Then we checked out the two rolled up tarps I’d found in the barn.

One turned out to be an insulated tarp. We weren’t going to use that, even if it weren’t too small. We’ll save it for something else.

It turned out to be really huge!

Plus, it has grommets, so we can use tent pegs to pin it down.

We started to do that, but the ground is so hard, we actually bent some of the pegs.

Then, we had a visitor. A mom and her daughters came to look at the kittens to potentially adopt one. They stayed and played with the kittens, and took some pictures, for quite a while. I learned they got our phone number from the vet in town.

I had gone to the vet this morning, with updated pictures of the kittens, and little write-ups about each one, printed out. This family had actually phoned this clinic, asking about kittens, since they are also a shelter, and were given our number.

They will think about which one they will take and get back to us in about a week.

At least I hope so. I’d hate to get ghosted again. 😦

By the time they left, all the aches and pains were kicking in, and I had definitely overdone it on my broken toe, so I didn’t go back to get pictures of the tarps on the garden area, nor get back to working on the wood pile area.

It’ll be at least a day before I get back to it, since we’ll be doing our monthly shop in the city tomorrow. I’ll also be picking up a 5 kilo bucket of liquid honey I ordered yesterday, before we head out. My daughter is wanting to try her hand at making mead. 🙂

Until then, it’s time to shower off the bus spray and herbicide, pain killer up and go to bed early!

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.


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: 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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Clean Up: spruce grove, west perimeter



I got some clean up started today!

The area I planned to work on stays shaded for a while, which allowed me to work later into the day than otherwise. Dragging the bigger trees I cleared to one of the wood piles outside the yard really showed me what a difference that made! Walking into the sun, the heat hit like a hammer.

After a while, I stopped dragging them out and started a pile in the yard, instead. We’ll drag them out when it’s cooler!

I took before and after pictures from two different views. Here are the before pictures.

The area around the old dog house is where the wood pile was, when there was still a wood burning furnace. It has a pallet fence, and pallets on the ground, all of which are falling over or rotting. My ultimate goal for this year is to get this area cleared.

In the process, I also wanted to clear things a bit further back into the trees towards the outhouse, to access a fallen tree I want to clear out.

There turned out to actually be two of them. After taking pictures, I went to pull out what I thought was a fallen branch, only to find it was actually another dead tree – just a long and skinny one, with about 8-10 feet buried in the tall grass that I didn’t see!

I also cleared some poplars that were growing too close to the outhouse.

The dead tree I wanted access to was also longer than I expected. It extends quite a bit further into the trees, and in the third picture, you can see how its top has landed on other trees, causing them to grow bent.

I’m debating with myself whether I want to cut it into more manageable pieces and haul it out, bit by bit, or just drag the whole thing out in one go.

The lazy part of me says, drag it out in one go. 😀

While working my way towards the elm tree with the tire around its base, I made a discovery.

I’d been able to somewhat see the log someone leaned against the tree trunk through the dying cherry trees, but what is that metal thing under it, and the fallen branch?

It’s a metal chair frame.

Because… of course.

I’m keeping this.

I’ll turn it into an art installation. To go with all the toilets I’m finding! 😀

Clearing around that elm meant I also finally reached one side of the pallet fence.

There’s a poplar growing through it.

I also uncovered a dead tree and some fallen branches.

There are some branches that I put in the area (you can’t see it in the picture) that I saved from the pile in the big garden area that my sister and her husband had pruned before we moved here. Some of it is apple wood. I also kept some of the dead and dying cherry trees I cleared today. I plan to cut them into discs, or other shapes, to make things with them.

It’s hard to see, but as I was trying to clear away the cherry and poplars, I found some of them were growing through the remains of pallets.

There’s going to be a lot of that, as I work my way into the area.

By this point, it was getting simply too hot to keep working outside, and I had to stop for the day. Checking the temperatures before I started this post, I found it was 30C, with a “feels like” of 33C. Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue tomorrow. They’re predicting thunderstorms, but we shall see!

Here are the after pictures of my progress so far.

That reciprocating saw made the job so much easier! The only other tools I had to use were pruning sheers for stuff too small to use the saw on, and a rake, to try and find the bases of the trees I was taking down.

Of the self-sown cherry trees in the area I cleared, I did actually keep one. It even has some cherries ripening on it! I’m hoping it’s far enough away from the elm tree to get adequate sunlight.

Clearing and thinning the trees is the easy part. The hard part is going to be dragging the dog house out (it’s on a pallet, which is rotting and collapsing under it), then digging all the old pallets, pieces of carpet, and who knows what else is buried in there!

The Re-Farmer

Basement finds and explorations

It’s been a hot one here today, so not a lot of outside stuff until later on. It was fascinating to find out from a dear friend that, in the city we moved away from, they had only 8C, and not too far from there, people got snow!

One of the things I need to do is re-pot some of our indoor plants. Today, I made a trip into the basements (which I usually avoid, because my feet and stairs don’t get along at the best of times!) to rifle through the various plant pots I had seen hidden in various places.

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The things I see

Posting is going to be a bit light over the next few days. Hopefully, I will be able to upgrade my WordPress account by this weekend, giving me more storage for photos. I am hoping to continue doing the before and after posts that I did while cleaning and clearing the yard last year. I will also be restarting the Critter of the Day posts – we’ve been seeing all sorts of new birds I’m excited to share with you!

It’s been a surprisingly chilly spring. It’s warm enough during the day, but even last night, we got another frost warning, and we’ve had our furnace turning on during the night!

Which leaves me feeling very behind on my work outside. I just hope this means we’ll have a longer fall to make up for it.

Meanwhile, here are some of the things I see as I do my usual routine.

Like when we open the garage.

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Guessing Game: here’s the answer

So, did you figure out what this is?

My hint was, it involves milk.

Here is more of what I found in the old kitchen.

These two basins were filled with all sorts of things, and it wasn’t until I finally got into this space to start cleaning that I discovered these parts and pieces.

The basin itself is set on top of the machine. There is a sort of tap that you can see inside the object in the foreground. You can see at the bottom of the basin on the left, where it goes. When milking, we would pour our pails of milk into the basin (which had a cloth across the top to act as a filter). When it was full enough, we’d turn that tap so line up the hole and allow the milk to pour out.

Below the basin, that pyramid shaped thing (on the far left) was placed onto a sort of peg (you can see an open one in the basin on the right). When the separator was turned on, it would turn, which would make the innards spin. The two spouts were mounted on top of this, directly under the tap, and the milk would pour over the float. As the fresh milk was spun, the cream would rise and go out the top spout, while the skim milk poured out the bottom, into the pails we had under the spouts. I remember an amazingly thick, dense layer of foam would form at the top of the milk.

This is what separates the cream from the milk. The raw milk pours through that opening in the top. It then gets spun through this pile of cones. Using the centrifuge principle, the lighter cream is separated, and both go out openings in the top that line up with the spouts.

One thing I did not find among the parts and pieces is a special key that fits into the holes of the ring that screws onto the top. You might be able to hand tighten it enough, but if you do, it’s very hard to unscrew it again without the key!

So what does that thing in the picture have to do with it?

It’s a tool for cleaning the separator cones.

If you look back at the first picture of the basins, check out the basin on the right. You can there is a hole in the cone. Each of the cones has three holes, and they all line up. The tool is opened, and the bar is slid through a row of holes in the entire stack. Once closed, you can hold it by the finger grips on the top bar, then dip the whole thing into water for washing and rinsing.

When I was a kid, I used to be fascinated by the whole process and, when it was time to clean the separator, my favourite part was cleaning the cones on that tool. Such fun to shake and rattle them like crazy on that thing! 😀

I am really happy to have found these. No idea what I’ll do with them yet, other than NOT put them into the storage shed. We found the manual separator base, and I think the electric one is still in the barn (hidden behind junk). It would be cool to clean them all up and get everything together again.

I wonder if that missing key is in the barn? Hmmm…

The Re-Farmer