Morning disasters, and morning cuteness

What a rough start to the day.

But first, some cuteness.

I think we can safely assume this tortie is a Broccoli baby. I’m starting to see it slightly more often, though still not as much as Broccoli Baby! 😁

It’s hard to say, but it’s possible that Broccoli’s kittens are actually the oldest ones. I seem to recall seeing her showing up at the kibble house looking not-pregnant, before I discovered Junk Pile’s kittens in the cat’s house. The difference in ages would be less than a week, I think.

My morning started out pretty sh***y. Literally. While sitting on my bedside, I spotted something that looked wrong in an empty shelf. I have a wall that’s almost completely covered with salvaged shelfing. Parts of it has blocked by my craft table, so they shelves there are empty. The cats like to use them to sleep in, but this one shelf at floor level, we’ve had problems with Nosencrantz using it to poop in, instead of the litter box. It’s hard to see under there. When I discovered this had happened, one of my daughters had to crawl under the table to clean it up for me – I physically cannot get at it.

Well, it had happened again.

That shelf is now cleaned up and blocked off with a box. The cats have lost one of their napping places.

While my daughter worked on that, I went to head outside to do my morning rounds.

I found this.

The sun room was completely torn apart. I took this picture after picking up the kibble bin, which had been pulled right out of its shelf. Thankfully, the lid mostly stayed on and very little had spilled out. Stuff had been knocked off the shelf above the kibble bin, and it looks like something tried to get in behind the rest, as it was knocked askew. I was using kibble bags to hold garbage; one paper bag with burnable garbed in it, one plastic bag with non-burnables for the dump. Both were torn up. Buckets knocked over, and the litter box completely covered in stuff. It’s actually in the photo, on the left, but you can’t see it. Even the water bowl somehow got messed up, my mini-chainsaw, its case and charger, knocked off the archery target it was resting on, etc.

What a disaster.

With kittens running through it.

They were very excited by my cleaning up the mess!

The sun room still needs a thorough cleaning, but that will require taking most of the things in it out completely, so we can wash the concrete floor, but the weather has not been good for that.

My guess is, skunks. Either that or racoons. The down side of having the doors propped open for the kittens. Other critters can get it, too! I try to tie off the doors so that when a kitten squeezed in through one door, the line pulls the other door more closed. Then, when a kitten pushed through the second door, the door behind them gets pulled closed.

The problem is, even larger critters can often squeeze through some very small spaces. And some of the skunks are already pretty small, so it won’t take that much squeezing. The only reason I think racoons are a possibility is because of the kibble bin being knocked down, and signs that critters tried to get behind things on the shelf above. Skunks aren’t good climbers, but I think a racoon would have done more damage. Hard to know for sure. They left nothing behind for us to find and identify either way.

The fuzzy little grey tabby was okay with my working around it. Not only did it not run away, but it let me pick it up and cuddle it – and even started to purr!

Socialization progress increased!

Once I finished with the sun room, I could finally get out and do my morning rounds, before having to head out to my mother’s.

Which is when I found this.

My guess is, kittens jumped on top of one of them. With the other, they got under at one end, then perhaps panicked, and ran through the end where the mesh is rolled around a board to hold it down.

Which means we’re going to have to peg down the edges. Which makes it such a pain to get at the space to weed or harvest. Better than having the seedlings eaten by grasshoppers when they germinate. Now if I can just keep the kittens from crushing them, too!

I found that as I was finished my rounds and was almost ready to head inside, when I found this.

The kittens discovered the toy I left for Potato Beetle while he was isolated in here.

This group of kittens has pretty much moved into the sun room; the four little ones from one litter, and the two out of four older ones, that have been hanging out together for quite some time, now.

We’ve had some pretty heavy rain, off and on, for the past couple of days. There was more last night. As I was unlocking the gate to go to my mother’s, I saw evidence of just how much there had to have been, at some point.

When I mowed the sides of the driveway, grass clippings were blown over and mostly covering the gravel. Here, you can see that there was actually enough “wave” action to create ripples of dried grass clippings, all the way from under the gate (which the water tends to pool), to where the culvert runs under. The driveway starts to incline after that line.

What a way to start the day.

Beyond that, the phone appointment for my mother ended up being late. My mom and I have the same doctor, and I’ve had phone appointments with him where he called as much as an hour early, so I made sure to be there well before then. It ended up being late enough that I called the clinic to see if there was a problem. I was told he was running later and it might be a while.

He called not long after. After some confusion, it turned out he had no idea why we had this appointment. He had already called my mother to talk to her about the sleep study results.

He called her on the very day I’d made this appointment for her. The clinic had called her, but she wanted me to be there, so I called them back. He must have called later that afternoon.

My mother didn’t tell me about it, and had forgotten about it until he brought it up. Of course, I was confused. Though my mother did finally remember he had called, she couldn’t remember what he’d told her. So he explained it all to me again.


So it turns out my mother does have a form of sleep apnea – one very different from my husband’s severe obstructive sleep apnea. She’s been referred to the sleep clinic. In 6 – 8 weeks, she’ll have an appointment with a specialist, and will do and overnight sleep study at the clinic, and they will start talking treatments with her.

If my mother ends up having to use a CPAP or BiPAP, I’m not sure she’ll be able to handle it. Not so much being able to use the machine, but being willing to put up with wearing hoses on her face, and nozzles up her nose, night after night.

We will deal with that when the time comes.

The main thing is, the referral is in, and the sleep clinic will take things over about it from here on.

That done, I was able to help her with a few errands before heading home. We’re still getting rain here and there, so I will have to catch up on things tomorrow. The next couple of days should be good weather for working outside.

The Re-Farmer

In the clear!

Finally! We can use our water again!

When it was almost 4pm and the septic guy hadn’t showed up yet, I called and left a message, asking if he was still going to be able to make it. I got a call over an hour later. He’d had a breakdown, but everything was up and running again, so he was on his way over. It was almost 6pm when he got here!

Then he had the “fun” job of turning his truck so he could back through the gate in the chain link fence and down the newly cleared lane in the snow. He did get a bit stuck a couple of times. Not because he was sinking in soft ground – that was still well frozen. Because he was driving so slowly and carefully, he ended up spinning his tires on ice!

One of the spruce trees at the edge of the grove, closest to the house, died last summer. I’d been thinking that, when we have it cut down, we could leave the stump to use to support one of the tables and benches we want to put in the area, eventually. Or maybe a platform feeder for critters.

I’ve changed my mind.

We’ll get that tree, and the other dead one next to it, cut down as flat to the ground as possible, so the septic truck has more room to maneuver! It’s pretty tight in there for such a large truck!

Then, as he was setting up the hose to the tank, he had to take a blow torch to the lever to turn on the suction.

A blow torch wielding septic guy. I love it.

Meanwhile, I made sure to uncover the tank, and take out the screw that holds the lid in place.

Unfortunately, I had to switch tips on the screwdriver, and the tips were frozen into their holder, so it took a while to get the one I needed out!

I got it done, though, and he was finally able to empty our tank for us.


Shortly after he started, he suggested I check the drain in the basement, which I did. I was happy to see that yes, the water level did start to drop.

The tank did not seem unusually full, but there really isn’t much that can be seen in this type of tank. Still, he made sure to empty both sides as much as he could. For the new folks following this blog (welcome!), our system is not the typical gravity based septic tank, where all the effluent drains into a single tank. The solids sink to the bottom and the liquid, when it reaches high enough, begins to drain through a one way valve to a septic field some distance from the tank. Under such a system, we would have had to put an insulating cover over the tank itself, then along where the buried line is, and finally a wide area where the field is. That’s the system most people have. Our system is a double tank system. The effluent goes into the first, smaller, tank. The solids sink to the bottom while the liquid eventually drains into the larger overflow tank. That tank has a float that triggers a pump in our basement. The pump then suctions the fluid through a pipe to a septic field that is way out by the barn. That outflow pipe is not buried, but sticks out of the ground, and the fluid is ejected from several feet up.

For the septic guy, that means he has to run his hose into both tanks. Several feet down from the surface, deep enough to hopefully not freeze in winter, there’s a top to the two tanks, with different sized holes for each tank that he has to fit the hose through. There just isn’t much that can be seen

In theory, we shouldn’t have to cover this type of tank for the winter at all, but it would be remarkably unwise to take that chance!

It’s not a common system, and plumbers really don’t like them. 😀 However, it does ensure that the septic fluids are nowhere near the house and well.

It also seems to be having all sorts of problems, though some of them would be problems whichever type of system is used.

Like what happened this time, it seems.

After the septic guy was done and the tank was all covered with the insulated tarp again, I quite happily flushed the toilet before heading into the basement.

Only to find the liquid in the drain had increased again. The pipe to the tank was still mostly blocked.


Honestly, I was expecting that to a certain extent, but it would have been nice if it had actually drained properly again.

It was definitely rubber boots and latex gloves time.

The first thing I did was loosen and remove the cap to the access pipe. It, too, had disintegrating toilet paper visible in it.

I’d had previously used the old hose we kept hooked up from the last time we fought with the system and pushed it through the floor drain for quite some distance, though not all the way to the tank. I tried it through the access pipe this time, and still couldn’t get it all the way through.

The other thing we’ve kept handy from before is an old wire chimney sweep. The wire is just the right combination of sturdy and flexible, and we could shove the handle end through the pipes, forcing it through any blockages, even when the pipe was full of roots. So I got the old chimney sweep out and tried to push it through. It was definitely hitting something that didn’t belong! I was able to force it through, and reach all the way to the tank. After I ran that back and forth a few times, I was able to get the hose through the blockage, too. Once I managed that, I finally turned the water on. It didn’t take long, and when whatever was blocking the pipe gave way, I could really tell the difference. Even the sound of the water was completely different. I was able to push the hose all the length of the pipe, until I could hear water splashing into the newly emptied tank.

What a beautiful sound!

After clearing the access pipe out, I moved the hose over to the drain in the floor. I’d already cleared as much of the muck into a garbage can that I could, but it was still pretty… thick. Thankfully, I wasn’t seeing any brown in there! Still, the pipe between the floor drain and the access pipe was pretty stuffed. It made me wonder just how long this had been building up! Especially after I changed directions and ran the hose towards the weeping tile under the new part basement. Yes, things had backed up all the way to there, too!

My main concern with the pipe in that direction was tree roots. Yes, I did find more small tree roots as I was working on it, but not enough to be blocking anything. The blockage was all from the plumbing backing up into it.

So… that took a while, but I finally got water free flowing through the whole thing.

One good thing about having an unfinished basement with a concrete floor is that I can just take a hose to it to clean things up! With the drain clear, the floor got a cleaning before I could finally close everything up again and put things away. The very last thing to do was set up and plug in the blower fan, to help everything dry out faster.

How wonderful it felt to be able to wash up when I was done! Yay, freeflowing water!

For all the work that was involved, it really was just a one person job. Before I’d headed down to start, my older daughter had a proposition for me as their contribution.

Chinese food.

Which I gratefully accepted!

So after getting all cleaned up and changed, we got Chinese food for supper. The handy thing is that it takes the same amount of time for them to prepare an order as it does for us to drive over to pick it up. 🙂

We can tackle dishes tomorrow. For today, we’re far more interested in being able to take showers and do laundry!

Meanwhile, there is still the sump pump to deal with. I checked the hose while I was outside. Though cold, the sun on black plastic did seem to make a difference. At least as far as I could tell with the flexible hose. No way to know about the pipe through the wall. When things warm up again, I want to see if I can take the hose off and check the pipe to make sure it really was just ice that was blocking it, and not something else! I don’t want to open it up while things are still cold, and the plastic might crack. Until then, I’m leaving the sump pump unplugged.

What we still don’t really know is, why this happened at all. While clearing the access pipe, which is cast iron, I felt what seemed to be a bottleneck of some sort. Or maybe just a really rough area. There could be damage to the pipe that toilet paper catches on – and once that catches, anything else, whether it’s from the bathroom or the kitchen sink, could start getting hung up on it. We’re forever pulling cat hair out of the drains, so even that could be getting caught, though to be honest, I saw no signs of that.

The only way to know for sure would be to find a plumber that has one of those fibre optic cameras, so we could actually see the problem. And that’s not going to happen, any time soon!

However, it does mean it would probably be a good idea to regularly run that hose through the floor drain and run water through the pipe to clear anything that might be building up, as a regular maintenance thing.

This makes the third time since we’ve moved here that we’ve had septic issues leaving us unable to use our plumbing.

Very annoying!!

The Re-Farmer

Well, that was disgusting

It’s just past 2 am as I start to write this. Normally, I would be going to bed around this time, but I actually went to bed before midnight, for a change.

Before I did, I checked the old basement. Not only was there no increased flooding, but things had actually started to dry up. A good sign. I covered the drain with the plastic sheet that keeps the gases out and went to bed.

Not long ago, I woke to go to the bathroom and heard a strange, quiet rumbling from the basement. It didn’t sound like the well pump, nor the septic pump, neither of which should have been on, anyhow.

It was the sump pump.

The basement was flooded even more than before, the reservoir had filled, the pump was running so long, it was sounding wrong, but the reservoir wasn’t draining.

I threw on some boots and a coat and ran outside with the flashlight. There was nothing coming out of the sump pump hose in the old kitchen garden. I yanked it out from along the house, and it was flexible the entire length. I finally found the blockage, right by where it attached to the pipe from the basement.

I was able to flex the hose and could hear ice breaking up inside, but that did nothing for the rigid bit of pipe through the wall.

So back to the basement I ran, this time with a couple of large buckets. I had to unplug the sump pump, which had been running so long, it was hot.

By this time, my noise had awakened the rest of the family. Even my husband could hear me over the sound of his CPAP.

The girls came down to help. I used the small bucket with a wire on its handle that we used the last time this happened, and a broom handle it sink it, and started bailing water into a large bucket. That went to one daughter, who took it up the stairs. My other daughter took that outside to empty it, while I filled the next bucket.

That reservoir holds a remarkable amount of water.

After many trips, we got the reservoir bailed out as much as could be done with the small bucket.

Once that was clear, I checked the drain in the floor. It had disintegrating toilet paper in it, but not more than before, from what I could tell. I was going to hose that away after the septic tank was done.

The first time we had septic problems in the basement, that my brother and I worked on, we hooked an old hose to what used to be the cold water tap for the washing machine and used it to try and clear the pipes. The last time, when the plumber came with his drain auger, it came in very handy, so I’ve just left it there, with most of the hose rolled up and hanging. I pushed the end of it through the drain, and could get quite far. There is no blockage, that I could feel.

Once the drain cover was off, I could see water from the floor starting to slowly drain away.

Grabbing a long handled scrub brush, I tried to clear the drain opening, and it didn’t seem to make much difference in how quickly things drained.

What concerned me was that I started pulling up thin tree roots. That’s what the plumber had cleared out if there, not that many months ago.

After the tank is emptied, I should be able to run water through the drain in the floor and be able to see better. I’ll also open up the access pipe, near the septic pump, and take a better look, but that requires tools.

The drain cover has been left off. The sump pump remains unplugged. We will have to keep checking the basement more often, and if it starts filling again, start bailing it out again.

My daughter’s and I, meanwhile, have scrubbed up, though we still feel really gross. It’s not like we can take showers right now, though at least we can flush the toilet and wash up.

Now we have to get some more sleep while we can.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to fall asleep anytime soon, which is why I am sitting here, tapping out a blog post on my phone.


The Re-Farmer


Well, I can at least say that we can now use our plumbing again.

For now.

The septic guy made it over in the late morning. The septic tank was, indeed, very full. When he had emptied it, however, nothing started to drain in the basement, so that – thankfully – ruled out the notion that the clog was due to fluids actually backing up from the tank, into the basement. That could have caused all sorts of problems with our type of system.

Also, when I called for him to come over, I asked what the rates were. They did, of course, go up a bit from when we had the tank emptied in the spring. I made sure to give him a tip, too. If anyone deserves a tip, it’s the septic guy!!!

Once that was done, I quickly grabbed lunch, then headed to the basement. Having helped my brother the last time this happened, I could go straight to where I figured the source of the problem was.

Which is when I had my first problem. I needed to get the cap off this access pipe, but my pipe wrench had disappeared. It should have been on the hot water tank, but I had the vaguest memory of taking it to use somewhere else. Too vague of a memory. I had no idea where it might have been.

While cleaning out the new part basement, we did find a couple of large pipe wrenches, so I decided to try one of those. I grabbed the smaller one, but it turned out to be broken, so I went back to try the bigger one.

Now, situations like this are among the reasons I’m glad we have the opening between the two basements blocked off, keeping the cats out. The mess was bad enough on its own. The mess with cats running through it, then tracking it through the house, is a whole different level of horrific. Unfortunately, it also meant that, to get something that is in the new basement, I had to go back up the stairs to the main floor, go down the other stairs to the new basement, then back up to the main floor, then back down to the old basement.

I don’t do stairs well at the best of times. Having to go up and down the old basement stairs, with its odd dimensions, was not a good thing. But, it had to be done.

So after a few precarious trips with me hobbling up and down the stairs repeatedly, I tried the big pipe wrench. That thing probably weighs about 10 pounds. Thankfully, it was not broken, but I still couldn’t get the cap off. Instead, the entire piece was turning. I realized I would have to take the entire top piece off, and that required loosening the bands holding what appeared to be a rubber seal in place.

That required tools I didn’t have.

At that point, I just hobbled half way up the stairs and called for my husband to bring me the big tool kit Finally, I was able to get the whole piece off the top of the pipe. And no wonder I couldn’t get it off! I knew the metal was rusting away pretty badly, from that last time we had to do this, but my brother did clean it up as best he could. About the only positive thing I could say is that, this time, there wasn’t any actual pieces of rusted out metal that had fallen off, for me to clean up.

I did take a picture, but it is too disgusting to share.

I then brought out the old chimney sweep that my brother and I had found was the only thing that really worked to break through the clogged pipe, last time. The end without the brush could be jammed through, and it’s long enough to reach all the way into the tank. I started to push it through, and barely got more than 10 inches before it was blocked.

I then spent the next… *checks the time* … two hours or so, trying to jam that thing through. I also had an old garden hose we’d used last time, too. It only has a female coupling on it, which works out quite well for a job like this. I could hook it up to the cold water tap that the washing mashing used to be hooked up to – I couldn’t use the taps at the laundry sink, since it was completely full of water… and… stuff. Very happy for the tap redundancy in this basement! Between the wire and the hose, I was eventually able to break through the clog. I knew I finally got it when the laundry sink suddenly started to drain! 😀

I then moved to the floor drain to work on for a bit. I had already had an idea of the cause of the problem, but here, it was confirmed.

There were roots running across the drain from the weeping tile under the new basement, all the way through to the access pipe to the septic tank.

I broke up and tore out as much as I could, but I just don’t have the equipment to do more. We do have a rotary drain snake, and I was able to use that to pull out quite a bit, but it’s just too small to clear the pipes.

Still, I got it to the point where water was flowing freely again, and I could start sweeping the water on the floor, and sweeping up… debris… for the garbage. I got most of it cleared, but not all. Once everything was flowing again, I made sure the dehumidifier that drains directly into the sump pump reservoir was set to maximum, then set the big blower fan up to face the worst of the wet and plugged that in.

Once everything is dry, we’ll be able to clean up the last of the mess and disinfect the floor.

It’s a good thing this is NOT a finished basement! I am also very happy that I made sure everything that we do have down there is up on bricks, not directly on the floor.

As disgusting and messy as the job was, it could have been much worse. Most of what backed up was from a load of laundry. It could have been much, much more disgusting, that’s for sure! Still, when it was done, I was so incredibly glad to be able to take a shower!

We will still need to call someone in to clear the pipes of those roots. Otherwise, we’ll be doing this again before too long. 😦 It could probably wait until spring, though, since the trees are going dormant and there will not be new root growth for a while. We won’t be able to get all the weeping tile done, but if we can just clear the pipes that are in the old basement, that would make a big difference.

The main thing is, things are now draining.

And I am drained!

The Re-Farmer

Well, it’s a good thing we cleaned up the outhouse

Oy vey.

It’s past midnight as I write this, and it has suddenly become a rather unpleasant night!

I was returning from the bathroom when, while walking past the old basement door, I heard a splashing sound I should not have been hearing, so I went down to take a look.

The septic backed up again.

The pipe with the P trap was full to the top, and water backed up into the laundry sink to the point of overflowing. Thankfully, we don’t really use this basement much, because the water has spread pretty far. Thankfully, whatever caused it to back up happened relatively recently; the last major use of water was a load of laundry, and greywater seems to be most of what I was looking at down there.

I’ve already arranged for the septic guy to come over tomorrow morning. Getting that done was actually in the budget for next month, which means we would have had it done at the next of next week, when my husband’s disability payment came in on Thursday.

Once the tank is empty, I can see what I can do about unclogging the pipes. I am guessing it is the same sort of thing that happened last time. If that turns out to not be it, we’ll have to call in a plumber.


The last time this happened, we were able to set up a honey pot in the bathroom until we could use the toilet again. We don’t have it anymore; I took it over to my mother’s when we found out she was having mobility issues getting to the bathroom at night. We did, however, get the outhouse cleaned up, and made the entry safe to use. So we do have an alternative.

There’s a bit of a new issue, though.

Once we determined that we would have to use the outhouse, I grabbed the flashlight, some cleaning supplies and toilet paper to set it up. It’s been a while since I’ve gone in there, so I wanted to sanitize the seating area. When I opened the toilet lid to clean it, however, things looked… different. When I was cleaning it out before, I made a point of checking underneath, and saw the contents were composted and level from being flooded out by melting snow over the years. It needed to be emptied, but not in any urgent way.

It’s now full.

Of gravel.

After shining the flashlight around, I was able to spot a small hole.

It looks like a groundhog made a den entry leading under the floor boards, filling much of the space under the seat with gravel.


So that’s going to have to be all dug out. It can be accessed from the back of the outhouse, but not very easily.


It’s been a while since we’ve seen the groundhogs; I’ve seen one, once, a couple of weeks ago or so, and that’s it. They no longer visit the bird seed, and we no longer see them around the yard. It seems early, but they seem to have gone into hibernation already.

I suppose it’s good to find this out now, and not in the middle of winter or something.

I am not looking forward to having to clean up the mess in the basement.


The Re-Farmer

Morning disaster

Ah, the “joy” of cats in the house.

When I picked up my mother to take her to the doctor yesterday, she came out with a big bucket riding on her walker, full of Christmas decorations. She didn’t want them anymore, and there’s lots of room on the farm, so…


We aren’t using even a quarter of our own decorations this year!

So last night, I went through the bucket – which turned out to be 2 of them, and they were fermentation buckets from wine making kits. I’m finding them all over the place! Now I have two more… *sigh*

What I found was one full sized sparkly garland, some smaller lengths, and bits and pieces that are so small or so messed up, they’re not even worth keeping for crafting. I filled a basket of baubles, most of which were newer, but a few of which I am sure I remember from my childhood. There were some random pine cones, some still glued together. Then there was a … garland “cake” with small red ornaments as the “cherries”. I have no other way to describe it! I believe it’s supposed to be a centerpiece? I don’t know.

The cats, of course, were extremely curious. As these were on the dining table until I could figure out what to do with them, I covered the whole thing with a shiny gold vinyl tablecloth that was in the one bin of Christmas decorations we brought up. The girls still ended up having to tuck it under and weight it down, because of course, as soon as the room was empty, the started jumping on it.

That was not part of the disaster this morning.

With my husband’s pain levels, he has very different hours than we do. It’s not unusual for him to be forced out of bed in the wee hours. He tries to help as much as he can, though, so he took over the job of topping up the cat kibble and refreshing their water in the basement – going up and down the stairs is painful, but it’s about the most exercise he can handle right now, so he does it. Then he fills a jug of water for the outside cats and leaves it for me, so I’m not having to run water while one of the girls is in the shower or something. He leaves that on the counter between the kitchen and dining room.

On the kitchen side of that counter, there’s the sink in the middle with counters and cupboards on either side. On the dining room side is a floating counter that’s about a foot higher than the sink. Very handy to reach from both sides. It’s also the perfect length and height that we fit a pair of cube shelved under it; a 9 cube shelf for dishes, bowls and platters, and a 6 cube shelf with cube storage boxes holding our hats and scarves, mitts and ear warmers, etc. Yes, all 6 of them are full of winter gear.

There’s enough space between the tops of these shelves and the underside of the counter to hold my many tiny bowls, jars and pinch pots, among other things.

The counter top has our advent wreath on it, as well as things like a fruit bowl, paper towel roll and other odds and ends. You know how it is. All flat surfaces immediately get filled! I’ve manage to keep it pretty open, lately.

Unfortunately, the cats do jump up on there, when we are not around, so I have been finding the candles askew on the advent wreath, and things knocked over.

This morning, I was awakened by some very unhappy exclamations from my husband – and more than a little blue language.

Coming out, I discovered him desperately trying to find something to soak up what turned out to be almost a gallon of water, while also chasing away cats.

One of them had knocked over the jug of water he’d prepped for me to give to the outside cats. Nearly a gallon of water.

My husband unrolled the remains the paper towel roll (which was already partially wet from the water hitting it on the way by) while I dashed (okay, hobbled…) for a mop.

The next while was spent mopping up and moving things. My husband’s back soon gave out and he had to leave.

The cube shelves are open in the front, of course, and water not only got into the shelf – and the stuff in it – but under the shelf before flowing around the counter and puddling all along the front of the sink. We’ve got a couple of those interlocking foam mats there, partly to make it easier on the back while doing dishes, partly to cover the damaged worn out floor, so that had to be removed, too.

Once the bulk of the water was cleaned up, I had to empty the 9 cub shelf and pull it out, to get there rest of the water out from under it. The cube shelf itself has water damage, but as I emptied it, I noticed more damage on the bottom shelves. The stuff we use the most off is kept at the top, the least often at the bottom, so we don’t have a lot of cause to see this. It seems that things the cats play with have been getting in there, and they’ve been digging to try and reach them. Enough that one cube actually has a hole scratched into it! How long that’s been there, I have no idea!

So right now, I’ve got the shelf out and drying. Then I had to do the outside rounds and feeding of critters. I’ve since cut some pieces of wood that will be placed under both shelves to lift them a couple of inches off the ground, so that if there is another spill, it won’t damage the shelves even more. Every single dish, bowl and platter will need to be washed before we can put them back.

Only then can I deal with the dining table and do the old dough bread baking I had planned for today.


At least it was just water, and nothing was broken.

I am now going to go investigate the unfortunate noises I’m hearing…

The Re-Farmer

Future plans; checking out the old chicken coop

While doing my evening rounds today, I decided to take a look at the building that we had used as a chicken coop, when I was a kid.

Since we first moved here, the roof/attic has been slowly settling downwards by noticeable amounts. The board you see me puling away from the wall used to be directly above the door. As things settled downwards, this board ended up over the top of the door, making it impossible to open. Now, it has dropped further but has weakened to the point I could just pull it away from the wall and the door.

That meant I could pull the door open.

Sort of.

When I pulled on it, that top hinge came loose (the bottom one was already loose). I ended up just lifting the door out of the ground it was being pushed into, and sliding it to the side.

Previously, the only way I could get a look inside had been to shove my phone through the gap in the door and use voice commands to take pictures, hoping it was angled half-way decent. Today is the first time I could actually go in and see what’s in there since… well, since we still had chickens, when I was a kid.

I didn’t go far.

Why are there so many old tires, all over the place? And so many of them still on rims!

At the far end you can see the nesting boxes, and to the right is the roost.

It was so strange to look at it. In my childhood memory, that roost was much, much higher. In my mind’s eye, I was expecting it to be a couple of feet from the ceiling. I actually remember looking UP to the roost, when I went in to tend to the chickens!

I’m pretty sure this old cabin did NOT have a dirt floor, but it was always covered with straw, except for the part under the roost, which was covered in chicken poop, so I can’t quite be sure.

I’m kinda hoping I am remembering that wrong, and this really is a dirt floor. I remember helping clean out the old straw, but not well enough to remember if there was a floor under there.

Whatever it is, I did not go any further in than I could while stepping on some boards near the door.

I don’t know what that material is that’s covering the walls. It’s almost like asphalt shingles, except much thicker.

You can see where the clay between the logs crumbling out in places, such as right by the door in the above photo.

This little side area is where we would keep new chicks. There is another little space at the far end with a door that was basically a frame with a screen finer than the chicken wire I’m taking this photo through. New chicks would have been small enough to squeeze through chicken wire. I can’t quite remember, but I think that’s where the feed was stored.

You can also see the outlet where we plugged in the heat lamp for the chicks. Below the window is an opening for the chickens to go outside. There was chicken yard enclosed around 2 sides of the cabin, with the area on the other side of this wall sectioned off, and another door to access it from outside. This way, the new chicks could be kept away from the older ones, even when they were big enough to venture outside. When they were fully grown, the doors into the chick enclosures would just be left open. In the summer, we would leave the main door into the enclosure open during the day, so the chickens could wander around the barn yard as they pleased, then closed them up in the coop for the night, making sure to close up little opening in the wall, too. Skunks, foxes and weasels were the most common predators we had to keep them safe from. Especially skunks.

To take the above photo, I am standing in what used to be part of the smaller chicken yard. You can see the piece of electrical cord coming out from under the right side of window frame. The cut end is hidden behind a dried up leaf. The outlet itself is in a different location than where that wire is, so I don’t know what it’s actually for. You can also see signs that the outer wall used to be covered in plaster and painted white.

It’s in rough shape and kinda gross, but of the 3 log buildings we’ve got, this is the one that’s the most solid and least damaged. If there is any chance of salvaging it, we’ve got to take care of some things.

One of those things is to cut away the trees that have been growing against it. This one here is growing partially out from under the back wall. Though efforts had been made to protect the roof by adding what looks like a corrugated tin over the original wood shingles, the branches of this tree has torn off a whole section of it, and is tearing more pieces off with every strong wind. You can even see one of the pieces of tin from the roof half buried under debris at the bottom of the tree. Which gives an idea of just how long ago it was torn off and has been sitting there.

Quite a few sheds and outbuildings have trees growing right up against them. They are almost all maples. One near the pump shack had been cut down; there is a rather large stump there. Maple stumps throw out new growth, though, which might be great if you actually want to coppice them, but not so good if you’re trying to protect buildings.

When we moved here, my original timeline has been to work on the inner yard for the first 2 years, then start on the outer yard in the third summer. Last summer was a bit of a write off in some ways, so it’s going to take another year to finish that, but there are things that need to be done in the outer yard that really shouldn’t wait.

Cutting away the self-sown trees that are causing damage is one of those things!

The Re-Farmer