Some manual labour, and getting things started

After dropping one daughter off at work, my other daughter and I did a whole bunch of manual labour around the yard.

The first thing we did was haul away the stuff I’d clean up in the old wood pile area, including moving the pile of debris to the back of the outhouse, and sorting through the pile of found objects and garbage.

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Clean up: old wood pile, progress

I was able to get about an hour of clean up in the old wood pile area. I made sure to check the temperature before I headed out, and it was only 22C. Thank God it wasn’t any hotter, because even that felt way too hot.

Y’know, I’ve always wanted to travel, and go vacation on some tropical island. I still want to do that, but I am realizing that I’d just die in the heat! 😀

So this is where I left off, yesterday.

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Not sure how to fix this…

While out and about this morning, the kittens were out in full force.  Including Doom Guy, who can’t seem to figure out that, if he wants me to pick him up, he has to be in FRONT of me, not behind…


I’m going to have little puncture marks, all up the back of my legs, thanks to him. 😀

Yesterday, I was able to clean up the platform to the clothes line.  The line itself needs a bit of maintenance before we can use it.  A bit more, if we want to set up three lines again, instead of the one that’s left now.


Whoever rebuilt this platform did a good job of it.

The original platform doubled as a dog house.  On the side, where the mock orange is growing now, there was an opening, and we kept it filled with straw for the dogs.  I even remember being able to crawl into it, myself, for some canine snuggles!

The cats can squeeze under the stairs.  At least, the smaller ones, can.  I don’t think Rolando Moon could fit through there.  Nor the skunk.

Of the stuff that was on the platform, I’ve only kept the bin, as a potential shelter for the cats in the winter, and a piece of eaves trough that I am wanting to re-purpose, but doens’t fit anywhere else right now.

I noticed, however, that there is stuff underneath, so I used my phone’s camera to see what it is.



Why is any of that, there?

Who thought it was a good idea to shove it under there?

The only way for any of this to be there is by pushing it through the opening under the step.

How am I supposed to clean that up?

The Re-Farmer

Building the new back gate

Today we picked up some fence wire to make a new gate for our second driveway.

The wire we got was 1 inch mesh, in a roll of 36″ x 25′  I was pleased to see the hardware store had 1 inch mesh in stock. When I price checked it a while back, the largest they had was 3/4 inch mesh.  I would have preferred something like a 2 inch mesh, but this will do just fine.

My younger daughter and I then went out to the back gate to replace the old barbed wire gate.


When we moved out here, the gate was open and we had no idea that it was in such bad condition.  When the girls went over to close the gate, they had to replace the post at the end (the lock and chain around it is the only thing keeping it closed) and salvage the wire as much as they could with what was there.

We salvaged the posts for the new gate, cutting down the round one at the end so that it was the same length as the middle ones.

In the process of working on it, I made sure to gather up and set aside the old barbed wire from the gate.


It’s amazing how much rusty barbed wire just disappears in the grass.  There were a couple of times when, even though I knew the wire was there, I still managed to catch it with a shoe, or almost step on it.

Keep that particular detail in mind for later…

On to the new gate!

The first thing we did was lay out the wire and position the posts more or less where they needed to be, while using other posts I’d brought, just in case we couldn’t salvage the old ones, as weights to keep the wire from rolling itself back up again. 😀

For the end post, we first affixed the end of the mesh to the post with U nails, then wrapped the wire around the post and affixed it again, opposite the first U nails.  Since this post will see the most movement, the wire needs to be secured the strongest here.

Once the first post was secured, we slid the next two posts under the wire, making sure their bottoms lined up with the bottom of the first post.  Then, after making sure the wire mesh was pulled taut again, the wire was affixed with more U nails.

Next, the gate was put in position and the mesh affixed to the gate post.

The main gate post on the right has a barbed wire loop at the bottom that the first post tucks into.  A second barbed wire loop at the top was then tucked over the top of the post to hold it in place.  You can’t see it, but the chain is hanging down from that wire loop, as it had been threaded through one of the links when the chain was added.

You can see my daughter at the other end, securing the wire mesh to the opposite gate post with more U nails.  The posts in the gate itself each has 3 U nails securing them, but at the end, the mesh is secured with 5 U nails.

The space between gate posts is about 22 feet.  Once the mesh was secured, wire cutters were used to remove the last 3 feet or so of mesh.

The chain fits through the mesh, which worked out perfectly.

The barbed wire loop at the top was replaced with the wire that was wrapped around the mesh roll, to keep it from unraveling.  It is the same type of wire the mesh itself is made of, but was long enough that we could fold it in half, twist it around itself, fold it in half again, then twist it around itself again (something I do with string or yarn to make cord when crafting).  The loop itself is secured to the gate post with a U nail as well.

Yay!  The gate is finished, and it looks SO much better than barbed wire!

That done, my daughter headed back to the house to put away the tools and supplies, except for the hand saw and anvil shears I’d brought to clean up some of the self sown saplings that were starting to encroach.

Remember what I said about barbed wire, disappearing in the grass?

Well, this was next to the gate.


The old gate had been on top of this pile of posts and barbed wire (and an ant hill).  My daughters referred to this as the barbed wire trap!  We’ve already had the renter’s cows end up on this side of the fence once (and as bad as the old gate was, it was enough to keep them from ending up on the road, so it still did the job. 🙂 ), and it’s always possible it will happen again.  I don’t want any cows getting hurt in barbed wired, so I figured I’d take some of the loose wire and pull it out to add to the pile of junk we plan to get hauled away later in the year.

I grabbed some of the wire and pulled…

… and pulled…

… and pulled…

Before I knew it, I was pulling up the wire from an old fence line, long since collapsed.  Since I had already started pulling the wire up, I couldn’t even stop, since lifting it made it that much more of a hazard.

Every now and then, I’d reach a fence post and try to lift it up, only to have the wood disintegrate in my hands.  On some of them, the bared wire was attached to the post with nothing but bail twine. ???

Now, the thing about barbed wire fences is, they never have just one line.  There’s usually three.  Which meant there were at least two more barbed wire lines, hidden in the grass.

About half way down the row of trees, I found myself pulling up two wires at once, because they were stuck to each other in places.  Then one of them ended abruptly, while the first one continued…

… and continued.

When I finally reached the end of the row of trees, at a large willow, I saw the remains of what turned out to be the last post of the fence line (I hope!).  I pulled it up, but the wires attached to were basically all broken off a couple of feet away.  I tucked the post itself against the willow.  I did find some ends and started pulling them up.  Once they were clear of the tall grass and old thatch (that area needs a controlled burn, big time!), I started working my way back, rolling up the wire as I went along, eventually adding in the second line as I found it again.

When I got back to the area of posts in the picture above, it was all pretty tangled together, so I tried lifting the post that looked like it was the furthest out in the line and began pulling on it.

As near as I can make out, the pile of posts were the remains of another barbed wire gate.  But why would there be two of them?  I’m thinking maybe an old gate was replaced with a newer gate, and rather than getting rid of the old one, it was just tossed aside at the fence line.  Then when the fence line collapsed, the old gate came down with it.

But that’s just a guess on my part.

I did, however, find the third wire of the fence!

So back I went down the row of trees, pulling up the third wire until it ended.  Which was about 2/3rds of the way down the row of trees.  Which means there’s probably more of it under the grass somewhere along the way.

Once I found the end, I worked my way back to the gate again, rolling it up as I went along.

This is where the fence line was.


The tip of the arrow at the back is pointing to the willow the fence line stopped at.

My guess is that, when the row of trees was planted along the fence that’s still there, this fence line was added to protect the plantings from cattle.  Since then, the current fence line was kept up, since the land is being rented out for grazing on the other side, but the inner fence was allowed to just rot away and collapse. [Update: I have since learned that I got this backwards.  It turns out that the collapsed fence is the original one, and it has been there for an estimated 40 years!]

Leaving barbed wire hidden in the grass for anyone, or any cow or deer, to step on, trip over or otherwise hurt themselves on.

Which just blows me away.


In the end, I couldn’t even get rid of the wire, because it’s all still attached to the main fence line.  I just didn’t have the tools for it.  So I moved the posts and the wire I rolled up into one, more obvious pile that I think even a cow will not bother getting into.

I hope!

After this, I cut away the spreading saplings on both sides of the area I’ve been mowing to the gate we just replaced, including clearing them away from the gate into the garden.

Notice that this gate has 5 lengths of barbed wire on it.

In the future, as I work my way around, clearing the yard’s fence line, I will eventually cut back that lilac to uncover the gate post it’s growing over.  I checked the area over as I cut away the saplings and it’s clear, so the next time I mow down this way, I will probably mow a path to this gate, too.  (I haven’t done that to the gate by the fire pit yet, as it seems to need some clearing, first; I’m not entirely sure what’s buried under the thatch and tall grass, but it’s very uneven.)

This is the corner created by the garden/yard fence line leading to the roadside fence line.  Though I will be clearing the fence lines themselves, I have not yet decided if I will also clear away these self-sown saplings.  It might be nice to just leave them be.  They’re not blocking anything.  I’ll leave them for now and decide what to do with them later, when we get to the point of working in the outer yard area.

It wasn’t until I was at the computer, uploading these photos, that I noticed this…


I honestly don’t know what that happened!  I’ve got so many scratches from doing yard work, I don’t even notice them anymore.  😀

The back gate is finally done.  One more thing to check off the list! 😀

The Re-Farmer

The things we find, and arborist update

The arborist called about coming over today to look around at the work that needs to be done.  Since we rather suddenly have to buy a new CPAP, budget demands we have to split the work.

As I went to unlock and open the gate for him, I paused to check out the fence line from the garage to the gate.  It is along this fence that there is a power line to the gate that I was able to use to plug in the weed trimmer, not long ago.  Some of the fence posts are tipping, and the line itself is sagging, so I wanted to take a closer look.

While I was finding a top wire that was no longer attached to its post and following it along to see what was going on with that, I found something I hadn’t noticed before.  Another thing to add to the “why is this here?” list!


Another toilet?  Really?

And this time, the tank, too.

This is next to the garage.  Where did it get hauled from?  Why did it get left in the bush?  Why is it there?

The post it’s leaning against is also part of the problem with the fence line.  It’s also tipping, and that’s why the wire I had been looking at was no longer attached to its post.

I am really looking forward to when I can move on to this section for clean up.

As for the arborist, after looking around, we worked out the essentials.  So for an estimate of $750 (half of the $1500 estimate he gave me for the whole job), this is what we will get done.

At the south end of the yard, clear some of the willow branches away from the power lines.

Just north of the house, clear some of the maple branches in one tree from the power line.

Top off the dead spruce tree so that, if it does fall, it will not hit the power line.

Top off the two maples leaning over the roof so that, if they do fall, they won’t hit the house.

Everything else can wait until spring.

So I’m thinking early October to get this stuff done.

It was funny to walk through the maple grove to look at the area there.  I joked that I’ve done quite a bit of work since he was last out.  “I noticed!!” he said.  LOL  No kidding!  We could actually walk through the area and not fight our way through a blocked off path, or have to avoid tripping over pieces of tree trunk and dead branches in the tall grass.

After he left, my younger daughter and I headed into town to go to the pharmacy.  When we got back, we saw Butterscotch coming out.  I’d left some food for her and the kittens earlier, and she was eating.

One of her kittens also came to see us.


No sign of the other three.

I look forward to starting to clean this area up, too, but I do like the idea of leaving some sort of shelter for the cats to use, too!

Just without any grody, moss covered, rotting carpet pieces.

The Re-Farmer

Sun Room Cleanup – West side

Once I had cleared out half of the sun room, I had the space to work on the other half.

Here are some before pictures.


The moving boxes, I added to have them handy to pack things.  We’ve been using empty cat food bags as garbage bags, slated for the burn barrel.  Except we’ll probably just make another dump run tomorrow, with all the stuff we found.  Including many, many phone books for various cities, and years of seed catalogs.

Aside from the box for the weed trimmer, the rest of the boxes on this seat were here when we got here.  Including the one under the cat food bag with a toilet seat in it.

Also, an empty bottle of vodka.  ???

The orange extension cord coming out from under the door is plugged in in the old kitchen.  There is another old household extension cord coming through the kitchen window, that my dad used to power a clock and a radio.  I needed something more heavy duty for the trimmer.  When I got the room cleared out, I was able to put it through the kitchen window, too.


The dresser in the foreground had been upstairs, and was slated to go into the shed for storage.  I have decided to instead keep it in this room, and plan to put it under the shelf across the window in the other side of the sun room.  It will be good to hold things like our tools, gloves, etc.  The extension cords on it are the 100ft cords my older brother and his wife got us, so we could have electricity in the garage to plug in the block heater for our van.  Lately, I’ve been using them for the weed trimmer.

After getting the top of that couch cleared, I moved it to the cleared side of the room and found…


A whole lot of crap.  Literally.

And bird seed.

I moved the bird seed out so we could put it into the bird feeder, when I noticed something odd in it.

A used strike plate for a door knob.

Because where else would you store a strike plate?  Right? LOL

The outside cats made a MUCH bigger mess under here.


That plant was there when we moved in, in the fall.  I have no idea if we were supposed to tend it, but by the time we noticed it, it was too late.  Not that we could have reached it, anyhow.

The table it’s on turned out to be a very old metal topped table with a drawer.  The drawer had some tools, and all sorts of odd bits and pieces; outlets, screws, a refillable lighter, scrap bits of fabric…  With that curtain being used as a table cloth, no one would have been able to access the drawer.  Who knows how long it was all there!

The box you can partly see under the table had decorative bottles, a bag of chess pieces, and… very familiar toys.  Toys my girls played with, when we last lived in this province.

No clue why they were kept, and why they were left there!

That laundry basket has been there so long, when I tried to move it around, it practically shattered on me.

The old boots ended up being tossed.  There were also a number of single shoes.

We’ve found all sorts of old shoes while cleaning things up, in some very odd places.

Here are the after pictures! 🙂


I swept up so many dead bugs and spiderwebs.  *shudder*


Right in the very corner, I found another nest of dead Asian Lady Beetles.  😦

What a difference!

After this, we basically just put what we were going to keep, back into the room.  It’s supposed to rain tonight, but… well, the weather predictions have been calling for rain or thunderstorms a few times, and we’ve not been getting them, so who knows.

The next big thing I will do here is empty the room completely, then mop the floor.

Meanwhile, we have more boxes and other stuff to haul to the shed for storage.

I look forward to this being a usable room again!

After this, the only room left to pack and clean is the old kitchen.  THAT is going to be a challenge. :-/

The Re-Farmer

Sun Room Clean Up – East side

Today, while the girls finished raking up behind the other house and adding to the flower garden, I finally got started on the sun room.

This addition to the house was the brainchild of my late brother, to create a space that my parents could sit and enjoy “outside” without being exposed to the elements.  My late father used to love sitting there.  It was also easier for him to get outside with his walker, as there are no steps to clamber up and down, like at the main door.

We’ve been using the room to store bags of feed for the outside cats, deer and birds, and now we’re using it to store the yard work tools we’ve been using.  However, we’ve basically only been able to use one side of the room.

Here are a couple of before pictures.


My dad’s walker is still there, and still used by my mother, so she doesn’t have to struggle with bringing her own walker over here.

Behind it is what appears to be an antique prayer kneeler.

I’m keeping that, and hope to be able to refinish/preserve it.

That plastic church on the shelf across the window is something I thought was one of those Christmas village things.  It wasn’t until I started packing it that I realized it’s a hanging bird feeder!

It is now hanging off the stand in front of the living room window, waiting to have some bird seed added to it.


We’ve been using my dad’s old seat to hold the feed bags (just cat food, right now).  It’s one of those glider rocker type seats.

The crutches in the background, leaning against the shelf on the right?  Those were there so long, the padding of the handle leading on the shelf was actually stuck to the wood!

Of course, cleaning this all up was… interesting.

I started at the window, taking things outside and getting it cleared enough that I could move the seat outside.

When I moved the green garbage can, I figured I’d better check to make sure there wasn’t any actual garbage in it.

I found a plant pot.

Full of gloves.

Then I spotted a… wire whisk?



I don’t want to know what’s on that.

It got thrown out.

Yes, I was wearing gloves for all this!

When I finally could move the seat, I found this, under it.


The cat poop, I was expecting.  During the winter, we sometimes found one of the outside cats had snuck into the sun room while we were putting food out, and at least twice, we discovered a cat in the room the next morning.  There is no way a cat could be in there that long, without making a mess.  Unfortunately, we had no way to even look for it, never mind clean it up, until now.

I also found the world’s cheapest, dullest knife.

Once I could access the shelves, I finally could start packing up the books, magazines and old Polish newspapers, as well as the various odds and sots around.

Speaking of odds and sots…


There were tucked away behind the kneeler.  Mouse and rat traps.

Very gross traps.

The got garbaged.

The scrap carpet got added to the haul-away pile, outside the yard.

Here are the after pictures.


The far wall is one of the log walls of the original part of the house.  Behind the bookshelf that was there, I found a pile of dead Asian Lady Beetles, that had made themselves some sort of a nest to hibernate in, partly under the paneling.

I really hope I swept them all out, but probably not.  We’d have to remove the paneling.

I’ve left the shelf across the window to finish clearing later.


What a huge difference!

Once this side was clear, I had the space to start moving things around to work on the other side.

Which will be in my next post. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Maple Grove Clearing – a big, rotten mess!

In this photo from my last post, you can see part of the mess I also cleaned up today.


That round thing of rotting wood is the top of a giant spool that was used for electrical cable.  It was likely used as an outdoor table or something, at some point – that was a popular thing for a while. This top part, I was able to tilt up and roll away to the back of the shed.

But not before I had a very close call.

There’s a reason I stopped to clear the area around the chimney blocks instead of focusing on the trees.  As I stepped towards one of the trees behind the mess, to clear away branches that had already fallen, I felt something go through the sole of my shoe.

I immediately pulled back, put away what I’d been working on, then went back to dig through the dead leaves and old grass.

I found this.


This area became a priority clean up!

This rotten wood turned out to be part of the remains of an old pallet.


The above photo was taken after I’d cleared away the old pallet, and even removed a bundle of wooden stakes.

There’s a tire rim under there.

Because of course there is.  There are tire rims fekkin’ everywhere around here! 😀

I’d already moved some sort of basin that was screwed onto a metal base.  I have no idea what it was used for since, unlike the other basins I’ve found around the yard, it wasn’t used as a planter.

I used it to hold the rotten, some nail filled, wood I was finding.


Then, when that was full, I used the blue … barrel? … you can see in the previous picture to hold the pieces of wood I found under the top of the wire spool.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After moving out a whole bunch of rotten and rotting wood, I tried to move the wagon that was leaning against the chimney bricks.


It promptly disintegrated.

The top half wasn’t as bad, but when I moved the bottom half, even one of the wheels just sloughed off.


I wonder how many years it sat there?

After I moved it, I found something that brought a smile to my face.

My stone “ostrich egg” !!


My late bother and I found this in a field somewhere, when I was a kid, and brought it home.  The size and shape made us think of an ostrich egg, so that’s what we called it.  It actually turned out to be quite handy.  My mother used to make sauerkraut in a big clay crock (which I believe we still have in the basement!).  After layering the cabbage, she put an upside down plate on it to keep the cabbage in the liquid.  This rock (after being cleaned thoroughly, of course) was put on top of the plate to weigh it down.

I’m so happy to see my rock is still around. 😀

Then I moved on to the mess under the top of the wire spool.


The base of the wire spool itself was completely rotten, falling apart as I pulled it up.

Then I raked up the decaying leaves and whatnot that was under it.

Whoever put the spool there took enough care to place it on bricks.


With enough time, not even that was enough to keep it from rotting.

I did find another mystery, though.  Can you see it?  Just above the brick at the bottom, right.


There was a pair of seashells under there.

I just… accept mysteries like this, now. 😀

I took out the bricks, cleared away around the chimney bricks – found some more small bricks, and raked around it.  Here is how it looks, now.


The little stools had been leaning against the chimney bricks.  They really should be tossed, as they’re old to the point of unstable, but they can stay here for now.


I forget what the long clay “pipes” are for.

All cleared!

And – most importantly! – no more rotting wood with nails sticking up.

Back to clearing the trees!

The Re-Farmer

Another Mystery

This afternoon, while my daughters broke down the pile of branches I’d trimmed at the back of the house, I got the ladder out to caulk the holes in the wall left from the original internet satellite dishes.  Hearing the noise, my younger daughter came around to help.  Sweetheart that she is, she braved the incredibly bouncy ladder to fill the holes while I held the ladder for her.

My older daughter came around to see what was going on.  In the process of looking at her sister caulking the higher set of holes, she noticed something very strange, under the eaves of the second floor roof.


Yes.  That’s right.

Linoleum tiles.


Why is that there?

The Re-Farmer