Finally broke it down

Just a bit about some of the clean up we did yesterday, since I didn’t get back to the computer until much later.

The girls were able to get the sheets of metal roofing that blew off the old garden shed out and strap them back on, but weren’t able to screw them into place. We don’t really have a way to reach the top. Too much stuff around the building. Will have to get back to it another time.

They also picked up some of the fallen branches around the yard. When I went out again later, I picked up some more. There are still a few areas that are are so wet, we’re not trying to get into them to do any cleanup yet.

The main thing I’m happy to have finally gotten to, was cleaning up that piece of tree that fell on the canopy tent. With the BBQ moved away, it was easier to get at, and the picnic table made a convenient saw horse. I was able to use the mini-chainsaw to cut most of it to size, then used a buck saw on the rest. I didn’t fill like dragging an extension cord across the wet lawn to use the electric chainsaw.

I cut it to fire pit lengths, and the whole thing fit into the wheel barrow, except for the little branches that went onto one of the branch piles. I kept the bark the fell off, though. The inner bark in particular is good for starting fires.

You can see the hole in the ground from the tent leg that got driven in when the piece of tree fell on it.

This was some nice maple wood, so it went into a pile we’ve got that’s almost all maple and apple wood we’ve been cleaning up, to use in cooking fires.

We’re looking forward to the winds dying down so we get get the fire pit going and finally test out that cast iron Dutch oven. We should get some excellent cooking coals out of this. Can’t let it go to waste! 🙂

As much as I look forward to the winds dying down, they are certainly helping dry things out. Even the water seeping into the old basement is visibly less, for all that we still got rain. Still, I want to get the platform set up again, so we can go back to hardening off our transplants. Theoretically, we can just put them on the ground, or even just on the platform bed frame, but they’d be in reach of the groundhogs if we did that. I’ve been seeing them running around in the yard, and on the garage cam live feed. I imagine there will soon be little ones, and hungry mamas would make short work of our transplants.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

Assessing the damage – and it’s not too bad

We still have high winds this morning, though it’s changed directions and not as severe.

The cats clearly appreciated the shelter the kibble house provided! Aside from when they were eating, almost every time I saw a cat, it was running, full tilt. Potato Beetle had spent the day in the sun room and when I was there last night to set up the second shop light, he asked to go outside. Silly thing. This morning, he wanted back in, and is now curled up on the swing bench, having a warm and cozy nap.

I found our BBQ cover in the maple grove, blown past the grape hyacinth patch. Do you see the bright blue picnic table in the background? The BBQ is just to the left of that. The cover had been pegged to the ground.

I found all the pegs, still in the ground!

I ended up moving the BBQ completely around the fire pit – the long way around, because the ground was too soft to go the short way. It’s now on slightly less muddy ground, though I also found a scrap piece of plywood that was big enough, and put that under the wheels, before putting the cover back and pegging it down again. Hopefully, the wind won’t be able to blow it away again. I’m a bit concerned that a branch might fall on it, but there’s really nowhere where that wouldn’t be a risk.

The sheets of metal roofing material we’d put over the old garden shed were blown off and are now stuck between the shed and a tree. The shed being placed in between trees is probably the only reason the shed itself has never blown over. The metal sheets had been strapped into place, to cover a hole in the roof. When we put it back, we’ll finally get the chance to nail it down.

We lost another spruce tree – this one was still green, too. It also fell over the top of another tree that had fallen.

I was not surprised to discover the trunk had ant damage.

We also had some shingles blown up on the high angle parts of the roof above the sun room’s roof. Must look like they’ve been folded back but at least one looks like it’s gone completely. I’ll need to pick up a new caulking gun and a tube of roofing tar so it can be fixed. We had to throw out what we got a few years back, on discovering the cats hand knocked it down from the shelf it was on, then peed all over it. 😦 By the time we found and dug it out from behind the shelf, there was no salvaging it.

That was the worst of the wind damage – at least at our place. When checking the driveway cam, I noticed some trees had come down on my younger brother’s fence, across the road from us. It looks like a cluster of three spruces that were growing very close together, all came down at once. Their driveway that’s across from ours is not their main one, but is a bit like our own back driveway; there to access the field, but almost never used. I made sure to send an email to let them know about it, since their fence was damaged by the trees. I don’t think it’s something their horse could get through, but it still needs to be fixed.

When checking the driveway cam files, I didn’t see the trees actually falling. There is a slight delay between when the camera is triggers and when it starts recording video, and that split second was all it took to miss it – but I can still say exactly when the trees fell!

Even the “road closed” sign at the intersection got moved by the wind, spinning the whole stand almost 90 degrees.

The ground may still be wet and the winds still pretty high, but we’re going to have to get busy and clear up the fallen branches as best we can. There are just too many to leave lying around! I pick up some where doing my rounds, but we need to break out the wagon and the wheelbarrow to really get it done.

All in all, it’s not too bad for wind damage.

We won’t be setting up the platform for hardening off the transplants again, though. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get that set up again tomorrow, and start hardening things off all over again.

Oh, that reminds me. I got an email from the company we’d ordered potatoes from, with the opportunity to review. It was letting me know the order was packed and that, once shipped, we’ll be getting tracking information from the post office, once they’ve processed it.

There was also an apology for the delay. I completely forgot that this company let us choose what time frame to have the order shipped to us. I’d picked May 4 -10. It got packed on the 13th. They were delayed by weather, and were still catching up. When I responded to confirm I’d reviewed the order, mentioned I was actually glad there was a delay. If it had been shipped on schedule, we would not have been able to pick it up from the post office for a while.

I’m quite looking foreword to the varieties we picked.

The Re-Farmer

It’s crazy windy out there!

After my successful outing yesterday, now that the main road has been repaired, my younger daughter and I headed out today, to do an early birthday shopping trip. Her birthday is actually next month, but we don’t pay too much attention to exact days. 😉

It rained most of last night, though the water levels around our yard did not increase too much. There were plenty of fallen branches already. Once again, feeling so thankful we were able to get those trees cut away from the house a few years back. We do still have dead trees we’ll hire someone to take down, as they could potentially fall onto the house, but they are far less of a risk than the ones that were right over the roof and into the power lines!

Our birthday gift to my younger daughter was going to be a clothes shopping trip at a particular local Thai clothing store. My daughter mentioned she really needed some jeans, so we decided to hit a Walmart, first.

The first surprise of the day was the first mile of gravel road. When I drove it yesterday, there was one really bad patch at the intersection nearest us, where the gravel trucks sunk keep into the saturated road. Even with the grader going by, it was still pretty bad.

After a night of rain, that entire first mile of road was filled with saturated patches; none as bad as the one nearest us, but still enough that we had to carefully skirt around the worst parts – and I could still feel the van trying to sink into the road as we did! In fact, right now, the best part of the entire stretch to the highway is the spot that had been washed out and repaired!

Once on the highway, all was good, though. Since we were heading to a Walmart first, we make our usual stop at the town my mother lives in, to fill the tank and pick up some fried chicken for “breakfast”.

That was my other surprise of the day.

Gas prices went up 8 cents a litre, overnight.

My fuel gauge was just above 3/4 of a tank.

Apparently, my gas gauge isn’t accurate. The tank on our van hold 95L (25 US gallons, 20.8 Imperial gallons). That makes a quarter tank 23.75L According to my gas gauge, I needed less than a quarter tank. I have noticed, however, that the gauge stays at the full line for quite a long time, and that the needle seems to drop faster, the lower it goes. Especially if it dips below half a tank. I remember commenting about it with a mechanic at some point, because I was never quite sure how much fuel was actually in the tank. His answer? Just keep the tank full! 😀 Good thing that’s what we normally try to do.

While I was paying at the gas station, I remember to ask about the road we needed to cross to get to the next highway. The cashiers weren’t sure but, thankfully, the next customer in line was able to tell me that all was well. I’d heard the road had washed out at a new bridge, but all was fine, though plenty of fields were still full of water.

Once at the Walmart, I left my daughter to hunt down the clothes she needed, while I picked up a few things. More cat kibble, of course; that’s one thing we have the hardest time stocking up on. I also made sure to check out the garden centre, and made an unplanned purchase.

I picked up some strawberry plants. It’s something we were intending to do, eventually. These will be planted in the asparagus bed. I only got 4 plants, but strawberries are easy to propagate. At this size, they cost just under $4 each, though there were much larger plants in hanging baskets, with strawberries already ripening! Those were completely out of my budget, and we have nowhere to hang baskets, anyhow.

One thing I looked for but couldn’t find was lamp oil. The closest I found was citronella oil for those outdoor torches. I’m wanting oil for glass lamps we have; there are two we brought with us when we moved, and two others we found here at the farm while cleaning out my parents’ stuff. One of those actually looks like it had kerosene in it, though. It appears to have dried out, but the glass is stained dark. I haven’t tried to take the lamp down from the top of the shelf it’s on to find out; it’s safe from the cats up there! 😀

Anyhow, I used to be able to buy lamp oil at Walmart, but now I can’t find any. We considered trying Canadian Tire, but decided not to go there today. I’ve just looked online, and apparently they do carry scented lamp oil that can be used in indoor lamps. I had to read comments and reviews to find that out, since it wasn’t information included in the product description. Something to remember, the next time I’m there. It’s something to include in our stash.

My daughter was able to find a couple of pairs of pants that she needed, suitable for working outdoors, and was very happy. Once we were done there, we headed to the Thai place I originally wanted to take her to. She ended up getting two more pairs of pants that will be perfect for summer weather. While there, I found something for myself, too. I spotted what looked like swoopy folding bamboo and cloth fans. They turned out to be hats! Then, of all the things to find in a clothing store, I was very excited to find steak spice. This place has both a storefront and a restaurant. The building used to be a grocery store and butcher shop. The owner was a good friend of my in-laws. He had his own recipe for steak spice that is the best we’ve ever had. My FIL would mail us about 10 bags of it, once a year, so we could have fresh to use in our tourtierre filling. When the owner retired, I’d seen signs that the spice mix was still available, but I’d never actually seen it on the shelf before. As I was paying for my stuff, I commented on it and found out that when the Thai family bought the building, they also bought the spice mix recipe!

My husband was so thrilled when he saw the bag of spice mix. When we get a chance, we should pick some up for my FIL. He’ll love it!

That done, we headed home. During this entire trip, we were fighting the winds the entire way. We certainly weren’t going to be putting the transplants out for hardening off today, that’s for sure.

Then we got home and saw it wasn’t an option at all.

Pegging it down wasn’t enough for these winds!

Once everything was inside the sun room, my daughter and I straightened the platform out a bit, but didn’t try to put it back up. While my daughters finished taking things inside and putting them away, while I put the strawberry pots into a small bin to join the other plants in the sun room, I headed back outside and fussed with the tarp, pegging some corners down again to keep it from blowing away.

Then I switched to rubber boots and went to see what else needed to be dealt with.

The diverter on the rain barrel had been blown off. I tried to secure it, only to come back and find it blown off again; just not as far. Even the cover on the rain barrel, which is weighted down with the board and bricks that hold the diverter in place, was blowing off, and that thing is made of mesh! One of the containers with our winter sowing (which have not sprouted, yet) was blown right off the step it was on. Thankfully, the soil inside was undisturbed. I moved all 4 containers to a more sheltered (I hope!) spot.

The huge tarp covering my late father’s car gets blown around a lot, but it was really bad today, billowing like a parachute with a car inside. I ended up dragging out three old tires from behind the pump shack to weigh it down; one on the trunk, one on the hood and one on the roof.

While working on that, I noticed that the side door of the storage house was open! Thankfully, it’s quite high off the ground with no stairs, so no cats would be getting up into it. It made me think to check the back door of the barn. When the snow finally melted enough that I could get in there for the first time since fall, I found the top half of the split door in the back was open. I checked, and it had not been blown open again. So I went into the storage house – I don’t think we went into there even once, last year! – and got the door closed. The side door is next to the kitchen, which has exterior blinds in the windows. They tend to rattle in the wind a lot, so I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to reduce that. There wasn’t, but I found another surprise.

Among the things we found lots of while cleaning this place out, are old canning jars that use glass lids. We went through them, and I’ve got shelves full of them that have no nicks or chips in them at all. We also found lots of the glass lids. What we didn’t find were the metal rings. A couple of jars had them still on, and they are so corroded, they’re stuck to the glass. These rings are deeper, to accommodate the width of glass lids and rubber sealing rings. The rubber rings are still available, but no one makes these rings anymore. I wouldn’t want to use the jars for actual canning anymore, but they could still be used for dry storage – if I could find more of these rings. I’ve looked online and could find some on ebay and the like, but they were quite expensive, and looked to be in poor condition.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, there in the storage house was a bucket of canning rings, and was that a deeper ring that I was seeing? After rifling through the bucket, I found about 8 or 10 of these rings, mixed in with some more modern ones, and almost all of them looked nearly pristine! I made sure to take them all out and set them aside. Now that I know we have some, I’ll pick up some of the rubber rings, and we’ll match jars, rings and lids, clean them up and have them available for dry storage.

I was very happy to find these!

Once done in the storage house, I came out and found that the tarp on my late father’s car was billowing again.

The wind had actually blown a tire, right off the roof!

So I fought with that some more. The car happens to be next to a pile of rocks that were cleared up from around the yard. Most of the smaller ones were taken out and used for various thing, but there were some bigger ones that were not so big I couldn’t lift them. After wrestling the tire back onto the roof of the car, I used rocks to weight down the edges of the tarp on the sides. It still billows, but no longer turns into a parachute. Unfortunately, several years of winds has been tearing the tarp to shreds. We need to pick up an actual car cover one of these days. There are covers for the make and model of this car, but they are not something our budget has room for.

It’s been interesting watching out my window as I’ve been working on this post. At the moment, the winds have died down, and the branches on the maples are just wiggling a bit. Other times, the entire tree is swaying, including branches that are as thick as many tree trunks. This particular maple I see from my window needs to have some of those big branches removed, to take weight off the trunk, before they break off completely. With winds like today, I am often amazed that they haven’t broken already. Especially since there is ant damage visible in the trunk, where the biggest branches split off.

Once the winds die down – hopefully, tomorrow – we’re going to have to spend some time cleaning up. Aside from the broken branches, things have been blowing out of the junk pile, and even out by the barn, we’ve been hearing the sound of metal being blown around; there are leftover pieces of metal roofing material among a pile of stuff near the barn. They’re weighed down with things like car tires, cinder blocks and metal grates, but they’re still being lifted by these winds!

Hopefully, we’ll just lose branches, and not any more trees. Or pieces of trees. We still haven’t cut up the piece of tree that landed on the canopy tent. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Morning harvest, and another one down

Well, so much for trying to support the sunflower in the old kitchen garden.

We had high winds again this morning, and the last of the three flower stalks on the remaining sunflower in the old kitchen garden finally broke. It was actually still upright when I came out this morning, but by the time I came back to the house, it was lying on the ground.

Sadness.

While checking the garden beds, I did get a little bit of a harvest this morning.

It all could fit in my pocket! 😀

This is the largest I’ve ever let a pattypan squash get. Any bigger, and they start developing their seeds. One of these days, I should try letting some fully mature. At that point, when the seeds are removed, they leave a cavity that can be stuffed for roasting, which I do want to try. We just really like them at this stage, though. 🙂 For next year, I plan to try other varieties of pattypan squash, and hope to grow some to save seeds, too. Since I accidentally bought three summer squash collections for this year, instead of one, we don’t actually need to buy more squash seeds, but I like to try new varieties.

That is definitely one of the biggest benefits of having a garden. There are so many varieties that are just never in the stores!

The Re-Farmer

After the rain

Oh, what an amazing rainfall we have had!!!

During a break in the rain, yesterday, we were able to bring in the onions that were still on screens under the canopy. They at least were dry enough to brush off the remaining soil, before their roots were trimmed and I strung them on twine, the same way I did the garlic.

The strings of garlic are cured and now in a cardboard box, while the braid of onions are now in the kitchen, making room for these to continue curing. It’s cool enough, but unfortunately, the humidity was at 77% at the time we hung these up. Which is still better than outside! With the fan going, I hope they will cure okay. I kept the tops on, so that they could later be braided.

While doing my rounds, I found several clusters of mushrooms had sprung up in front of the cucamelons and gourds, over night. An encouraging sign of soil health improving. 🙂

There were a lot of hungry kitties! Junk Pile’s kittens are showing up at the kibble house more often, but I only see them because they heard me coming out of the house and ran off. One has been running under the cat house, whiel the others dash out of the yard. Our chances of socializing these ones seems rather low, unfortunately.

We are still leaving kibble further out for Butterscotch’s and Rosencrantz’s babies. There seems to be a bit of territorial disputes happening, and this ensures everyone still gets some food.

We didn’t get the predicted thunderstorms, but we did have high winds along with the driving rain, resulting in this wind damage to some of the sweet corn. This is the middle block, which has the tallest of the sweet corn.

I think some of those cobs may actually be ready to pick!

With so much rain overnight, I decided to go and check the gravel pit dugout. This is how it looked yesterday morning.

This is how it looked about 24 hours later.

That is so amazing!!!!

For a bit of perspective, though, look at the green parts to the right of where I’m standing to take the photo, then at the top left, where there is an opening in the trees.

The green part on my right is part of the original gravel pit. While it wasn’t as deep as where the dugout is now, it would normally have been part of the pond that had developed in here. The area in the background on the left is basically mash, and would at least have been muddy. Which means, when we get an more average year of moisture, that entire pit should be full of water, with water extending into the low area on the right, and the marsh in the background. Where I am standing to take the photo would be a few feet from the water’s edge.

With so much water here, I just had to go and check the pond, too.

Yes!!! There is even water at the bottom, here!

That is just so awesome to see!

Okay, it took me a while to find, but I knew I’d posted photos of the gravel pit. Here is a photo of the old gravel pit, taken in June of 2019.

All that area of water that’s furthest away is where the new dugout was made. The area to the left is the shallower area that was left alone.

What a huge difference!

So appreciating the rain we got. For the cows and the wildlife, too!

The Re-Farmer

Double rainbow, and will it survive?

Yesterday evening, we found ourselves having another wonderful, solid rainfall! Enough to kick out our internet, but it was well worth it.

Then, even as it was still raining above us, the setting sun lit up the more gorgeous rainbows.

This is how it looked from the inner yard, beautifully framed by trees.

But we had to go to the outer yard to see both of them. Photos, of course, cannot do justice to the real thing! They were so incredibly bright and colourful.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen rainbows!

Along with the welcome rain, we’ve had a lot of high winds lately. Sadly, the wind broke one of the Hopi Black Dye sunflowers in the old kitchen garden. This was the very first one that had been started indoors to germinate, and I planted it, and one other, there when I didn’t think any others would make it, so it was the furthest along of all the transplants (which are recovering from getting their heads chomped off by a deer).

When I found it bent in half, I placed a support near it and tied the stem gently to it, but it wasn’t enough. I ended up lashing a piece of doweling directly to the stem to keep it from bending.

Yesterday, even with the doweling, I found it it leaning over again; the main support had actually been pushed over the the wind, too, and was no longer holding it straight. It was looking wilted, too, but I straightened it up anyhow, and hoped for the best.

Frankly, I’m amazed it’s still alive at all, with that damage!

Remarkably, when I checked on it this morning, it was no longer wilted! Yesterday’s rain perked it right up again. It might actually survive!

While doing my morning rounds, I picked some beans and a zucchini, then grabbed a selection of garlic, an onion and a shallot, to bring to my mother. She’s supposed to avoid foods in the onion family, but a little is okay, so I gave her just enough to get a taste of each.

I was able to have lunch at my mother’s, then we ran errands together. There was only one place I wasn’t able to go in with her, as the store is still requiring face masks, even though they are no longer mandated. I find it so strange and arbitrary that I can help my mom at the clinic and go into a medical lab with no issues, but the second hand store has issues with open faces. I did get a laugh at the grocery store when my mom commented to another customer about her still wearing a mask. It turned out she had no idea they were no longer required. I hadn’t even finished explaining the mandate had been lifted when she was tearing that thing off her face. And here I’d just been talking to my mother, wondering at the people walking around outside, alone, with masks on, which has never been mandated, and she was suggesting people didn’t know the restrictions had been lifted. My response was, of course they know. Who doesn’t know about it by now? Well, it turns out she was right!

One out of the ordinary stop we made today was a hardware store. She was looking for something specific, so I snagged an employee (who greeted me by name, which was weird, because I had no idea who he was – even if he weren’t wearing a mask!) and told him what my mother was after. My mother half-recognized him; turns out he’s from a farm just a couple of miles away. I never knew really knew him, and probably hadn’t seen him even in passing, in more than 30 years, and am amazed he knew who I was. Maybe it’s because I look so much like my mother?

Anyhow, with him helping us, my mother got to the real reason she wanted to go there.

She asked for an estimate on some garden sheds they had on display.

*sigh*

I told my mother, we don’t need a garden shed. If she really wants to get something that will help make the place look better, a wood chipper would be more useful. She wouldn’t hear of it. She’s got her mind set on a garden shed to replace the old and rotting one that’s here. Well, it’s her money, and it would certainly get used, but if she wants to get something for the farm, it’s about the least needed of things on the list. Heck for the amount the estimate came out to (including concrete deck supports and delivery; we’d still have to assemble it), we could get a solid chipper, hire someone to haul away the junk (including the old garden shed), replace the main entry doors and frame, and still have money left over.

When I suggested the chipper instead, her response was one that has become her default when I point out things that are needed, vs what she wants, on the farm. She told me to talk to my brother, as if he could afford to get this stuff! She still planned to talk to him about the garden shed.

After I got her home, I took a photo of the estimate to share with my brother, and she started back tracking, saying there was no hurry. :-/

The seasons are moving along, though, and having a wood chipper by this fall would be a huge benefit for gardening next year, but she still can’t wrap her mind around the concept of mulching as it is, no matter how often I explain it. She’d never heard of it before, therefore this is a “new” thing, and wrong.

Ah, well. It’s her money, and she can spend it how she wants. I just hate to see her waste it on something so low on the priority list. Especially since it’s more about appearances (as if there’s anyone who can see it!), rather than usefulness, and she complains about how ugly the branch piles look, every chance she gets! Plus, if she wants to get something “for me” so badly, you’d think she’d want to get something I actually want or need. But it’s not really for me, anyhow. It’s for her, and what the neighbours think – the ones that live a mile away… LOL. 😀

So that got done, and we did have an actual good visit, even with our usual head butting. I left early enough to head to town to pick up some prescription refills for my husband. For the first time in a year, I was actually able to walk into the store to do it, too. Then I did a quick grocery run, dashed home long enough to put things away, then did a dump run.

I must say, it felt very good to finally get home and stay home! 😀 I try to combine errands as much as possible, so we don’t have to go out as often, but my goodness, it is draining. I much prefer my hermitage! 😀

Meanwhile, I’m going to have to go out again tomorrow, to get things we need for early the day after!

When we were living in the city, I thought nothing of running out three or four times a day. Now that we’re living out here, driving out even once a week for errands feels exhausting.

I am so spoiled by living here on the farm again! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Taking stock

Of course, I just have to start with my morning smiles!

I am so glad we were able to build the kibble house for the outside cats. It’s working out really well! We have about 5 days of warm weather coming up next week. The perfect time to add a sheet of rigid insulation under the floor boards, then add another board across the front, to keep the containers from being knocked out. Hopefully, the winds will have died down more by then. We don’t have anywhere near the high winds we had yesterday, but it’s still too windy to be trying to work with things that become sails! 😀

Speaking of winds, my morning rounds were a bit more extensive, as I checked to see what damage there might be. I found the back doors of the barn were actually starting to pull open. They are double doors, with one side “latched” at the lintel, while the other split door is held in place by the first one. If it weren’t for the bar holding the one side in place as much as it did, no doubt that both sides would have been flung open. As it is, they were pulled open far enough that the split door was barely held in place.

Even one of the garage doors were my mother’s car is parked were being blown open. We finally had to roll and old tire, still on its rim, in front of it to keep it from blowing open. Those doors are supposed to be held in place with spring latches at the time, but the piece one of them latches into has broken, and both sides of the door are sagging. Another thing on the list of things to fix!

The tarp I put over my late brother’s post pounder is being torn to shreds. I’ve tried tying it down more, but the recent winds have undone all of that, and more. I was at least able to cover the motor with a plastic bag until I can find another tarp large enough to cover the whole thing.

Oddly, I found a piece of aluminum blown onto a stack of wood by the old garden shed. It’s the same material the eaves-troughs on the house are made of, though it’s not a trough; more like an edge piece. I have no idea where it blew in from! Still, when the girls are on the roof to clean out the eaves-troughs on the second level, it’ll be a good time to check the roof for damage in places we can’t see from the ground.

We also lost another tree in the spruce grove. Not a spruce, this time.

One tree broke off about 8 or 9 feet up, and another next to it lost its top. Not too bad for losses, all things considered.

Cleaning up in the spruce grove was my goal for the past 2 summers, and it just didn’t happen. We really need to get in there and clean out all the dead wood. It’s quite the fire hazard, and the area is almost impassable. In checking out the latest breakages, I was pleased to see there’s quite a lot of red bark dogwood, as well as wild roses, in the area – two things that I want to encourage the growth of, as we clean out other things. In time, the plan is to transplant more spruces into the spruce grove. So many have died, it’s almost not a spruce grove any more! A lot of what we’ll be taking out of the grove are small poplars. These are pretty flexible and springy when they’re small, so we are planning to find ways to use them to make things like arbors, trellises, and other things, where I plan to use bent wood. The larger ones that will be cut down will be used as support posts. Among the things we want to make is an arbor with a gate to put on one side of the driveway gate. This is for when people come by, to make deliveries or whatever, while the gate is locked, so they don’t have to climb over the gate to get in, potentially damaging the hinges. I also want to make combination benches and climbing trellises to set up in different areas around the yard. It’ll be good to be able to actually use the small trees we’ll have to clear out to make useful and pretty things, rather than just adding them to the chipper piles.

I also made a run into town today. I was intending to do it yesterday, but just did not want to drive in those winds. Especially since I wanted to swing by the cemetery with some artificial flowers my mother gave me to put at the graves of our family. While there, I took the time to pick up and replace some of the stuff from other graves that got blown around, but some of them, I just couldn’t tell where the things had come from, so I just set them aside.

Among the things I had to get in town was more bird feed and suet, and I’ve also picked up deer feed. From the droppings I’m finding, they are coming around more often. We will start leaving out small amounts for them to get used to finding it here again, but at this time of year, it’s more like dessert. There is plenty of wild food available for them.

I just checked our long range forecast. When I last looked, tomorrow was supposed to be one more cooler day, then it would warm up over the next few. Now it’s saying the next two days will reach highs of 11C, then highs of 9C for the next couple of days after that! So we’ve got 4 days to do as much as possible outdoors before it starts dipping below freezing again. It’s looking to be a pretty mild November, but I still really want to get more mulch on the tulips the girls planted, in particular. The eaves-troughs are the only essential thing left that needs to be done; the rest is stuff that we’d like to get done, but if we don’t, it’s not a big deal. We shall see what we manage. Tomorrow, it’ll be on the girls for the most part, since the van has been re-booked for the garage for then.

I will be very happy to get that oil change done, and those winter tires on, before winter really hits!

The Re-Farmer

Wind damage and salvaged apples

Yesterday’s high winds knocked quite a few branches down.

This one would have landed on the tent, if it had still been there.

We haven’t figured out what to do with the tent yet (other than keep the canvas parts). You can see two of the metal pieces that broke. On the table is the hub they had been attached to. It has no damage to it. :-/

We didn’t lose any trees this time, but we did lose part of one.

This is the apple tree at the very end of the row. In the spring, we had cut away the dead part in the middle, but the saplings that sprouted out the base looked healthy. They don’t have a lot of apples on them, but the ones they do have are larger than any of the other trees, so these young trees were already drooping from the weight.

This one simply broke away from the trunk of the original tree.

When I came back this morning, I was intending to pick the apples off, then cut away the broken tree.

Once I got a better look at it, however, I realized it was still quite attached to the roots. It just wasn’t attached to the dead tree trunk. Even after a chilly night, there wasn’t even any wilting at all.

In fact, it might actually be salvageable.

So instead of cutting it away, I took advantage of the remains of the dead tree, and tied it upright again.

If I can keep it supported upright long, as the tree grows, it should be able to old its own without the support of the trunk. It might take a few years, but that’s okay.

If it survives at all. If it doesn’t, I’ll cut it away then.

Check out the size of this apple!

It would have gotten larger, too, as it ripened. They probably could have used 2 or 3 more weeks.

These are all the apples from that one branch, including a few that had fallen to the ground.

I will be including them with my juicing, today. I’ll start off with just the sweet ones I used to make the crab apple cider vinegar; I’m hoping to get enough to do two gallons of hard apple cider. As the jugs will need room for the sugar, it’ll get less than 2 gallons of juice needed, but still pretty close. Once I get that, I don’t mind mixing different types of apples. Any remaining juice will be for drinking. 🙂

The juicer is out of storage, and now I need to get off the computer, get everything prepped and start juicing! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

So many cats… and a bit of a hang up

I was talking to my daughter a little while ago when she happened to mention the current indoor cat count we have right now.

Eighteen.

I … really hadn’t thought about that. We’ve now got 8 cats upstairs, plus the 2 mamas and their 8 babies in the basement.

That is insane.

Two Face has changed noticeably after her surgery. She is so much more cuddly now. Lately, this is what I’ve been waking up to.

She now likes to lean hard against me while I’m sleep. Cheddar also likes to do that, so I woke up book ended in cats.

Then there are the boys outside. I think they’re lonely! All the ladies, except Rosencrantz (who didn’t make an appearance this morning) are now indoors.

Potato Beetle was funny this morning.

He wanted SO much attention!

One of the things I started to do this morning is dismantle the shelter we made with the old dog houses, so I can use the black tarp to help warm up the soil in one of the areas we want to plant.

There was a bit of a hang up.

The snow had accumulated in one area, enough for the cloth to touch the ground. Of course, that created a puddle when the snow melted.

Freezing the tarp to the ground.

I used a metal bar that was one of the weights keeping the tarp from blowing away to bash apart the ice, then left it to weigh down the tarp. The ice should melt away faster now.

But not today.

We’re barely above freezing temperatures today. Starting tomorrow, and for the next 14 days, according to the long range forecasts, we will finally hit double digit temperatures.

The dog houses were well used over the winter, I was happy to see.

I could see tamped down paths in the straw around them, the insides were flattened, and there was a hole leading under one of them. I even found a flattened spot on top of one of the dog house roofs, where something had curled up and made a nest in the straw, directly under the tarp.

The straw will be left here for now, though wind might be a problem.

In some places, it already is.

It’s been quite windy for the past couple of days. This tarp is being torn to shreds!

I would love to have someplace I could properly store this old post pounder, but the one shed that I could pull it into has a roof full of holes and is starting to fall apart. Like way too many other things around here! 😦 If I could clear enough space in a section of the barn, we might be able to store it in there, though at this point, I don’t even know how we would pull it. The hitch damaged, and both tires are flat.

We’ll figure something out.

I am really looking forward to the warmer temperatures. I’m just itching to get to work around the yard! Tomorrow, though, I have the rest of the seeds I have waiting to get started indoors.

Then I have to start scavenging around the various sheds and the barn, to see what’s available to build trellises out of.

I’m looking forward to the work! 🙂

The Re-Farmer