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!

Anyhow.

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.

Perfect!

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

Mostly.

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

Some chilly morning progress

At some point, I’m going to have to borrow my husband’s phone or something, just to have handy to take some progress pictures!

And kitty pictures.

I counted 26 this morning. !! And I didn’t see Rosencrantz until much later, nor did I see Rolando Moon, who seems to have moved on again.

My new phone is expected to arrive on the 28th, which is the day I’m taking my mother’s car in to get the tire fixed. The shipping notice originally said the 27th, which I would have preferred, since that meant I could have the phone set up and ready before going in for our first city shopping trip for next month. I’ll definitely borrow my husband’s phone for that trip, at least.

Once I was done my morning rounds, I grabbed the loppers and went into the south side of the spruce grow. We haven’t done any clean up in there for quite some time. Much of that area was under water this spring, anyhow.

This area has been mostly taken over by poplars, and that was what I was after. As we clean out the spruce grove, one of the things I want to do is cut back a lot of the poplars and plant more spruces. I want it to stay a spruce grove, not turn into a poplar grow. Spruces are better for cutting the wind and snow year round.

What I was looking for were tall, straight poplars small enough to cut with the loppers. At that thickness, they should still be flexible enough to bend as I weave them around the uprights. If it’s too thick to cut with the loppers, it’s too thick for the wattle weaving.

While I was doing that, I found myself working around the apple trees we’ve been uncovering out there. I asked my mother about them, and these were trees she’s planted herself, mostly from seed. My mother still has a hard time understanding that you don’t get the same type of apples from seeds at the tree they came from (as far as I know, there is only one type of apple that grows true from seed). We have no idea what kind of apples these can produce. The area is so overgrown, the much shorter apple trees barely had enough sunlight to start blooming. I was even cutting poplars that were growing through the branches of an apple tree!

Since I was there anyhow, I went ahead and pruned several of the apple trees, cutting away dead branches, and opening them up to more light. With the number of poplars I cut away from around them, that will be a help, too. We will need to come back with other tools to cut away the ones that were too big for the loppers to cut through, as well as other bushes I can’t identify at this point. I was happy to spot little spruces trying to grow through the tall grass and fallen trees and branches, which also need to be cleared away. I was also very thrilled to find a single Tamarack tree. There were three others planted closer to the house, in between some spruces, that are way too crowded together. I’m hoping to save them, but that might require cutting down the spruces next to them, and I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. This Tamarack, however, as all on its own and would not have been deliberately planted there. I really like Tamarack, and would like to eventually plant more of them.

Anyhow.

I kept finding more of these apple trees, but I couldn’t get at most of them. Of the ones that I was able to prune, though, I’m hoping they will finally get enough light to bloom and produce. I did see some flowers on one of them for the first time last spring, but no apples developed.

I am quite happy with how many small, straight poplar I was able to get at and harvest. Once I was done, it took several trips to drag the piles of them I’d made, over to where the burn barrel is. The branch pile may be chipped, but I’m already adding more to the remains that need to be burned! The next while was spent trimming all the branches and twigs off, adding those to the burn pile, then sorting the remaining poles more or less by length. Then they all got dragged over to the old kitchen garden.

I should actually have enough to finish wattle weaving the inside of the L shaped bed, and even start on the outside of it. What I think I will do for the outside is not have a 90 degree corner, like there is around the double lilac, but to have a curve, instead. I haven’t quite decided yet, but if I think having a curve would actually make things easier, and more even.

By the time the poles were dragged over to the old kitchen garden, I had to go inside to warm up! I don’t know what the temperature was outside at the time, but the thermometer in the sun room was at only about 3C/37F. Which is what our high of the day is supposed to be. It’s almost 2pm as I write this, and we finally reached that temperature outside. Tomorrow’s high is expected to be only 4C/40F, but after that, we’re supposed to have three days with highs of 13C/55F.

I have to get back at work with the poles I cut this morning, though, while they are still at their most pliable. It’s definitely going to be chilly work!

The Re-Farmer