Clean Up: spruce grove, west perimeter

Finally.

FINALLY!!!!

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

Current Conditions

For the first time, I got an automated call on our land line, with a storm warning.

Looking at the radar, it still looks like the brunt of it will miss us – a town to the north of us looks like it’s going to be hit hard. Most of the warnings are for the south east of our province.

Earlier today, a big piece of tree behind the house came down – a tree right next to the 2 we had taken down earlier this year.

I am SO glad we were able to get that done!

The piece fell harmlessly on top and behind the pile of wood of the two we took down.

Looks like it’s going to be an interesting night…

!!

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: south fence path progress, and finding flowers

Today, I finally had both the time and the weather conditions to work on the south fence line of the spruce grove (there there aren’t actually any spruces left…).

So, while waiting for the freshly washed gates to dry, I brought out the weed trimmer, my new reciprocating saw, and a whole lot of extension cord!

Here is my first progress shot.

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Clean up: spruce grove, south fence continued

Last year, before it finally got too cold to work on cleaning and clearing the trees, I did manage to get some areas on the south side of the spruce grove done. Just a bit by the garage, and more more by the gate.

One of my goals for the day was to finally start working on clearing that middle section. Since we now have a working electric chain saw, which is the perfect size for the job, I figured it would be nice and quick. When cutting some of the larger trees, I’d made a point of leaving fairly tall stumps, so they would be easily visible and no one would trip over them. I intended to cut those flat with the ground, too.

I tested the chain saw out, first, of course.

Then went back to cutting by hand.

Check this out.

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Clear

Things have been rather hectic the past couple of days, to the point that I even missed yesterday’s critter of the day photo – I ended up driving my mother to the emergency and staying with her until she got the all clear to go home. She is fine, but she was scared about some chest pains. They never found what caused the pains, but once again, her heart is checking out just fine. They couldn’t identify what was causing the pains, so she had to go a regular doctor to start that process. :-/

In the middle of this, the girls took down a branch from the Chinese Elm in front of the kitchen window. The outside cats are going to miss their last easy access to the roof!

Getting it down took some doing. While one person used the extended pruning saw, the other pulled on a rope that was slung around the branch. This way, when the branch finally fell, it wouldn’t land on the roof, but get pulled away.

It worked. It landed right on my mother’s fancy lilac bush, but when I checked it later, there wasn’t a single broken branch on it! Very flexible branches!

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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.

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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.

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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

Abandoned

Usually, when I do my morning rounds, I stick to the inner yard and the garage.  Every now and then, though, I go farther afield and check on the septic field and the sheds in the outer yard.

Today was one of those days, and it took me past the old Farm Hand tractor that’s still sitting among the collapsing outbuildings.

You know how you walk past things time and again, look at them, but don’t always “see” what’s there, then suddenly something that’s always been there, catches your attention?

I had one of those moments today, when I saw this.

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Give it a shake

Ah, what a day!

When I headed into town to pick up prescriptions and allergy medications, it was snowing, but fairly lightly.  It picked up a bit while I was out and about, but not too dramatically.

Then I got a text from my husband.

The power went out at home.

Driving back through our own little hamlet, I could see no lights, anywhere, so I could at least be assured it wasn’t just our place!

Also, it was snowing quite a bit more heavily by then, too!

The power was out for about 2 – 2 1/2 hours in total.  The girls and I were about to head out to town, where we could get a data or WiFi signal, so we could check online to see what was going on.  The power came back on, just as we were putting on our shoes.

So we stayed home, and instead walked around and knocked snow off of the trees.

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I had already knocked the snow off of these lilacs, before I went into town, and it had to be done again, later on.

It was just above freezing, which means it was a wet, sticky and heavy snow.  Since it started off as rain, there was also a layer of ice under the snow.  All the trees that still had their leaves were drooping like crazy.  The girls and I went around shaking trees, or knocking the snow off with a rake or broom, as high as we could reach.

It’s a good thing we did, or there would have been a lot more weight on those branches!

It continued to snow heavily for some time.  I was sitting in my crochet corner when a noise out the window caught my attention.

Then I watched as a piece of tree came tumbling to the ground!

Soon after, I went outside to check on the trees and, right outside our door, this is what greeted me.

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This is from the Chinese elm, outside our kitchen window.  This is also where we park the van, when we drive it into the yard.

Thankfully, it was safely in the garage at the time!

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This is the piece of tree I watched from inside, as it fell.  It took me a while, but I think I found where it fell from.

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This is the dead spruce whose top we watched fall down in a storm, last winter.

I really look forward to when we can have this tree taken down!

The lilacs by the house were again heavily covered in snow.

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The cherry trees are drooping so much, you can’t even see that they’re there!

The girls had already knocked the snow off of this just a few hours before.  One of the branches was right on the bird feeder platform.  As I tried knocking the snow off, I found that it had broken right off.

I continued around the yard, shaking trees or knocking snow off with a rake, but some things, we just can’t reach.

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You can see the lower branches, where I knocked the snow off, but the upper branches are still a risk.  It doesn’t normally touch the roof there.  Hopefully, no more branches will break, and if they do, they’ll be ones that fall into the yard, not on the roof.

Another reminder that this tree needs to come down. 😦

Also…

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Snow and ice covered willow branches are hanging heavily over the power lines.

And there’s nothing we can do about it right now. 😦

The Re-Farmer

Hello, down there

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The larger of the orange tabbies now has a name.

Meet Jim.

I’m told there’s a tangential story behind this name.  I don’t know what it is. 😀

Jim wasn’t too keen on me coming closer to get his photo, and kept moving around.  From here, though, you can see the “platform” the cats like to sit on, to look into the kitchen.  This is where this tree had been cut down before.  There are also places where I can see larger branches had been cut down, too.  And yet, in a remarkably short time, when it comes to growth speed of trees, it is once again overhanging the roof.

Which is why we have decided that it’s going to need to come down completely, to protect the house.

While that will solve one serious problem, taking it down is also going to loose a lot of the shade it provides, which is why it was planted there in the first place.

It also means taking away one of the cats’ favorite spots.

I’m still entertaining the thought of leaving a trunk tall enough to make it a table.

The Re-Farmer