Yesterday morning, when I went outside to feed the critters and do my rounds, it had already been snowing for quite some time. I had to brush several inches of snow off the platform bird feeder, but the deer feed just got put on the ground in the usual places.
Of course, it got completely buried.
By this morning, when I went to put more feed out, I found this.
Can you tell the deer were here? 😀
That is all deer tracks, except for my foot path closer to the house, and you can see where they dug into the snow to reach the feed (where you can see I’ve placed more feed).
There were a lot of fresh tracks under the overhanging branches of the spruces, as well as by the apple trees, and paths from where they jump the fences to get into our yard.
It looks like we got a lot more visitors than our usual group of 3, plus the loan buck! Either that, or they just came back more often.
Today turned out to be too cold and damp to do the mowing between the trees I cleared last year, that I hoped to do today. I thought I might be able to at least use my reciprocating saw to cut some of the smaller stumps of trees I took down last year to ground level, so I could mow over them. In the end, I decided it was just too damp to drag out the extension cords and use electric tools.
Instead, I worked on an area I left partly unfinished last year; a double row of elms leading to the garden gate at the west fence line.
Yesterday, after picking the crab apples, I had time to start working on the old dog houses, as part of our winterization plans for them. We were getting severe thunderstorm alerts and, looking at the weather radar, it looked like these ones were not going to miss us, so we rushed to get a bunch of things done outside. The girls put the sheets of metal roofing back on the old garden shed that had blown off from the last storm, but there was no way to nail them in place, so they strapped them down, instead. Then they helped me move aside the dog houses, so I could work on the space under them.
The main issue was that the ground is not level, resulting in one of the dog houses tending to rock back and forth.
This was part of why that was happening.
Nothing like a big ol’ tree root to mess things up!
To try and level it, I first used a garden fork to dig things up and loosen the soil. After that, I used a garden rake to try and level the area as much as I could.
Which the kittens absolutely loved.
I then put the sheets of Styrofoam insulation back, but lay them out differently this time, after noting some issues from how we had it before.
I happened to have a sheet of dollar store tarp in the garage, so I used it to basically hold the 4 sheets of insulation together – and I hope it will serve to protect it a bit from the cats, who like to use the foam to sharpen their claws! LOL
Then I snagged a daughter to help me move the dog houses back again.
The kittens love it!
I have a couple more sheets of insulation that I plan to slide under the dog houses, so the kittens aren’t going to be able to play under there for much longer. 😀 Later, when we get a straw bale to cover our septic tank, I plan to add start around the dog houses. We are also looking at ways to use the sheets of black tarp that I cleared from the old wood pile to further shelter and winterize these for the cats.
Not long after this was done, we did get hit with a pretty wild thunderstorm. We promptly lost our internet, and even the power flickered off and on several times, though we never lost it completely. I later saw photos taken in town, where there was some flooding in the streets.
Looking at the long range forecasts, we might get storms throughout tomorrow and into early the next morning, before things clear up. We’ve had enough rain that I might actually have to mow the lawn one more time before putting the mower away for the winter!
I didn’t get as much done cleaning up in the old wood pile as I’d hoped, but a little is better than none!
This is most of the area I focused on today. I got more old pallets out, and a bit more rotten wood. For the most part, it’s too rotten to even pick up, but I’m hoping to at least get out the pieces with nails. I also cleared out some saplings that were in the wood pile my sister and her husband had made in the big garden, the summer before we moved out.
Most of the pile in the foreground is what I’d move there last year. I had intended to find uses for it, but I have access to better types of wood than I knew of back then, so I will be adding it to the chipping pile. I’ve got cherry wood set aside, and I have more than enough to work on, so any more cherry I take down is going to the chipping pile, too. There is still some apple wood I’d set aside by the old dog house. I’ll see what condition it’s in as I move it, before I make any decisions about it.
The pile of debris is growing, and I’m at a loss as to what to do with it. With the possibility of nails being in there, I can’t compost it, but there is so much soil in there, I just don’t think it’ll burn well.
I think, after I clean up more around the outhouse, I’ll spread it in the back. There is an access to the pit under the outhouse there, so it can be emptied as needed, so it should be kept open and clear. It’s not an area that will get traffic, to the risks of people finding nails is lower, and we certainly won’t be gardening or anything back there.
That’s one possibility, anyhow.
I did find a few things while moving pallets out.
A bent piece of sheet metal, two electrical insulators, and a perfectly intact tea cup – not even a chip on it! – buried under the pallet fence.
In between working on this, we got some progress on the garden area we mulched, and had some company, but I will write about that in my next post. 🙂
While doing my significantly more limited rounds this morning, I had to pause and get a photo of the ground by the feeding station. With the rain we’ve finally been having, things have really greened up again, and started to grow.
Including bird seed and deer feed!
This picture if of the area on the far side of the bird feeder, from the window – where we put the bulk of the deer feed in the winter. There is a smaller area on the side closer to the house that also has a patch like this.
The only thing I recognize in there is oats! We haven’t bought mixed bird seed, sticking to the black oil seed, since fall and we tried several different types, so I have no idea what all might be growing here. It’s going to get mowed, anyhow, but it’s neat to see!
While switching out the memory card on the trail cam, I got a picture of one of the asparagus growing wild by the fence.
None of the asparagus by the house is showing signs of berries, which makes these the only female plants around. This makes me extra curious about how they ended up growing here. It’s still possible that the seeds were spread by birds, but there are no other female asparagus plants nearby that could have been the source. The nearest garden to us is my brother’s, about a quarter mile away, and as far as I know they don’t have any.
I’m looking forward to when they turn that beautiful bright red again. 🙂