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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Old Garden

My beloved William Baffin Explorer Rose (affectionately known as Willie) climbing my old arbour.  I am hoping to have a Pergola someday on our new property covered in climbing roses.  Fingers crossed.

I figured it was time to talk about something other than our barn demo and our cedar rails and I thought it would be a good time to put on some pics that would show you another of my passions.  It is hard to look at these pictures now because my garden is really the only thing I miss about our house we sold, in order to follow our dream of living in the country.  Our old neighbour was in the office where I work yesterday and after a chat with him I got to missing my garden and wondering how it is making out under another's hand.   My husband and I started this garden from scratch and built it over about a 5 year period.  Living in town we were blessed with a good size lot that enabled us to fence off the back 60 feet in order to keep the dogs in the dog yard and my garden safe from trompling paws.  I'm just going to upload the photos in no particular order as I've been having a hec of a time with Blogspot(the blog software) and uploading pics.  I'm including shots from early summer and late summer so you can see some of the different flowers I had.

Early summer in my garden
Another early summer shot.  You can see the Astilbe plants in the foreground.

You can see the paths in this one.  The flower beds are supposed to be shaped like a pinwheel although I doubt from an arial view they would have been very correct.

My raised vegie beds.  I loved these beds that CAT built for me from one of his co-workers own cedar.  Our new vegie garden will be much larger than this one was ( I already have started planning).  We had so much shade in our old garden that it never thrived the way a garden will in full sun.  I'm looking forward to full sun gardening.

My father took this photo, after we listed the house I believe, toward the end of last summer.


This is the view from the garden looking back toward our old house(this is what we used to call the "dog yard" lol but it was really just our lawn.  You can see my little greenhouse on the left.

My little patio.  My husband and I purchased the bricks as seconds from a local company going out of business.  They cost us next to nothing and we spaced them far apart so the moss would take over.  In early summer the bleeding hearts were covered with blooms as were the Sweet Woodroffe.  It is looking a bit "green" in this photo

Well, these are just a few shots of our old garden. I know we will never have one quite the same again but with my 5 acres I have so many dreams and plans and oodles of space to start a new gardening adventure and I'm gnawing at the bit to get started. I just recently purchased a bunch of tarps on sale for next to nothing in order to kill off the grass in my vegie area. I am just going to lay them down, throw rocks on top (which we have in abundance if you read my blog about our fenceline) and kill the grass underneath. This will leave all the roots as nutrients for my soil but not any grass/clover alive to take over my garden. I'm hoping to give it a turn next summer while we are building and amend it accordingly and then the following summer I will be ready to plant. Again, fingers crossed and here's to hoping all goes well. Please feel free to comment by clicking on the word comment at the bottom of this post. Cheers!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Barn Demo Progress Report

We had another great weekend tearing down, or should I say cleaning up the old collapsed barn.  CAT took a vacation day during the week to go pick up our last load of cedar rails for our fence, so this enabled us to have two full days at the barn, one of which included our favorite cheap labour (our son).  I have to say that this type of work, outside in the fresh air, removing nails out of board after board and piling them in the trailer, is so great for your sense of well being (although a bit hard on the body I admit). 

CAT cutting down the trees around the last section of barn

We started the day on Saturday by removing the trees around the last sections of collapsed roof. Once the trees were gone I was able to take a pic of that section that shows a few trees holding up not only the side of the old barn but also the roof.  Very scary. 

A view of the underside of roof section being held up by trees.

CAT, yet again, went right at the metal roof which is very difficult to get off in spite of the age of the barn. You can see the pile of boards at the end of the roof line which are my job to move to the trailer and de-nail and also the one piece of metal roof which I should be moving to the metal pile. (I was just taking a little photo op break)

CAT removing pieces of metal roofing

This is what the site looked like by the end of Saturday.  It was just CAT and I on Saturday so we were happy with what we managed to do.

The site at the end of Saturday

And this is what the site looked like by the end of Sunday. You can now see the neighbour's farm in the background and everything from that side of the barn is on the ground except for a small section of the roof which we have to piece down because it is caught on the tree underneath. I'm not sure if you can see it from these photos but there was one section of post and beam on the right that was on quite a lean there and we now have that ground level which has made a huge difference visually and also for safety.  I can't wait to get out there next weekend to do more. I'm an addict. I'm also showing a pic of our beam pile which is growing steadily. These are big beams that are too long to fit in the trailer.  Stay tuned for more updates.  I hope these barn posts aren't getting too repetitive for you all.  I welcome any comments in the comment section.

The site at the end of Sunday

Our ever expanding post and beam pile waiting for the logging truck to come pick it up

Monday, September 20, 2010

Old McDonald Had A Barn...And It All Came Tumbling Down

We had a fabulous day on Saturday working on the barn demo.  Our 16 year old son came to help out for the day after a little persuasion and he was a fabulous worker.  He has agreed to come back to help some more in the future between his shifts at his part time job, so we are looking forward to that.  Here he takes a break to catch up on some texting.  You will note our load of barn board is looking much better today as we really got in the swing of things with the demo.  I managed to convince CAT that we should be hooking on and pulling everything down to ground level to work on it and we gave that a try and it made a huge difference on how quickly we were able to disassemble, transfer to the trailer and my job was de-nailing and loading all the light pieces.  It was so exciting pulling down the large chunks with our jeep.  I cheered each time like a crazy person. lol  

You can now see all the old straw that has been laying under the collapsed roof and the next pic will show that piece of roof section on the right, once it's been pulled down, and the large beam has been moved to the pile.  We are hoping the farmer will come and move the straw this week so we can really go at all the barn board that is still standing next to our little barn.

These are the large timbers that we are collecting that will need to be picked up by the logging truck. CAT just hooks onto them with the jeep and then pulls them out.  It's hard to tell from the pic but they are quite large pieces.

While we were working away the farmer that owns the barns came to do a little manure spreading on the field near us. I just had to upload this photo for my brother in law.

We had another successful "Quest for the Holy Rail" on Sunday although we did get a flat tire on the jeep.  CAT had it changed in no time though, without one swear word (remember the last flat tire CAT changed on a jeep Mom and Dad, at the north end of Haida Gwaii?) and after eating lunch we were on our way.  We knew it would be 3 loads of rails in total so this one was not quite as large as last week, and it handled a lot better according to CAT. You can see in the second pic, how large our piles are getting and I'm sure CAT would be hard at fence building if it weren't for a barn that needed moving.
Load number two

The piles are getting bigger!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Quest for the Holy Rail

A while back before we owned our property I found an ad on Kijiji (like Craigs list) for some old split cedar rails for cedar rail fencing. We want to have this type of fence around the residential side of our property since it will just be to delineate property lines and not to contain animals.  I love the look of a cedar rail fence not to mention it makes a fantastic backdrop for flowers like Black Eyed Susans and Purple Coneflower, old shrub type Roses and on and on.  Anyway, at first CAT was unsure about the distance we had to travel to get these particular rails (approx. 2 1/2 hours away) but the price convinced him it was worth a try and so we set off Sunday morning on our quest.   We made it without an issue and put on our first load of rails.
We had been hoping to do it in two trips but we soon realized they were so large and perfect that it would take three trips to get them all.  We are planning to take advantage of rain days when we are unable to work on the barn, to go get our other loads.  We went slow and steady to test the load and situation and before getting on the highway we stopped to double check the tie downs.   They seemed just fine and I thought I would snap a quick pic of CAT's beloved trailer.  You can see the jeep is showing the weight a little bit.

It took us about 3 hours (with a dinner stop) to get to our property and then as CAT unloaded rails he sorted them into top, bench (middle) and bottom rails as well as a pile for posts.  I had the very important job of keeping the tally.  I have to say it was a much more enjoyable job then handing the posts to CAT when we were loading them. lol
A view of our three piles with the top rails on the left then the bench and the bottom rails at the back right
A closer look at the bench and bottom rail piles

Tops on the right and smaller rails on the left to use as posts
  We had a great day and were blessed by a gorgeous evening and sunset on the property. This pic doesn't do it justice but it was so pretty. Every cloud, even the ones overhead were pink at one point with the dark blue sky in between. It was so picturesque.  The first stage of the quest was a complete success.  Stay tuned to see how stage 2 and 3 go. And of course the actual building of the fence.
Sunset on Scotch Bush Farm

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The first baby steps of taking down our barn

Before starting the dismantling
After most of the trees are removed
Removing the metal roof from the collapsed barn beside ours
After having removed the barn board
Not a huge load for our first day of dismantling

Here are some pics of our first day on the barn dismantling. You can see how we progressed from first clearing the trees in the front to starting the dismantling of the barn that has already collapsed beside ours. We are keeping the barnboard/posts/beams from this fallen barn as well for future builds and to replace old or problematic pieces on our little barn. We may even be able to salvage some of the old tin roof for our chicken house but we will have to see. Some of it was so tough to get off that we ended up bending it quite badly.  You can see from the last pic that we didn't get a huge amount of board from our first day but a lot of time was spent removing trees and getting used to removing the steel roof.  We are hoping our next day will reward us with a nice full load of lumber in the trailer but rain is expected so it may not be for a few days.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labour Day Monday

Another before shot of the fenceline, just to refresh your memory
After brushing out the stone fenceline
Well the front fenceline has been brushed but we still have to move up some of the stones that have fallen down over time and also eventually we will be doing the road side of the fence as well.  I'm including another before pic for reference.  Also, I forgot to mention that we met our neighbour who has purchased the 5 acre parcel to our south side and he seemed like a fine fellow.  We chatted about our plans and it was fun to find out that he has a lot of similar ideas to ours.  He also plans on keeping chickens and having a garden and weirdly, where I have been thinking of planting a few fruit trees on our property, he was thinking of planting a few in the same general vicinity on his side.  This would be great for pollination for types that need such a thing.  He is also thinking of building next year but it is not for certain yet.  I look forward to getting to know him better.

Abbey and Jasper after running several times around the perimeter of the cleared part of our property
Here is a better shot of Abbey and Jasper although their tongues are hanging out from running around the property non stop.  At this rate Abbey will certainly be loosing that  excess weight she's been carrying.  Jasper just tries to keep tabs on her when she does her rounds (she walks the perimeter of the property and has always done this even in our old house) and then comes back to lay down for a minute.  Jasper will sigh deeply as he lays down beside me as though he's saying "finally" and then two minutes later she's up to do another round and he grunts as he gets himself up to monitor what she is doing.  After several go-rounds he just gets up and walks in the general direction she's gone and then stops and watches her instead of following right behind.  If it weren't for Abbey, he would be content to lay beside me and never move, although he has been very intent on the cows across the road and a few times looked as though he was going to saunter over to investigate.  I think we are going to have to really watch him just in case he gets it in his head to go cow hunting.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A few more pics of labour day weekend fun!

I thought I would introduce you to my canine companions, Abbey, our Springer Spaniel who is 10 and Jasper, our Golden Retriever who is 9 although Jasper seems to have his head down in the hay for both the photos ( I will try to get a better one of him).  They are loving the new property and are staying for the most part within our property line.  I haven't allowed them in the treed part of our property yet for fear they will be covered in poison ivy oils and transfer it to us but hopefully one of these days we'll be able to go for a romp back there.  For sure once the ground freezes and we get a bit of snow we should be safe.
Check out the pile of brush we pulled from the stone fenceline and also a pic of CAT's jeep with his prized and much loved trailer on behind.  I can't tell you how many times I've had to hear "that trailer is not as nice or as good as mine" as we travel the roads.  We did get an amazing deal on it though, and have thanked our lucky stars ever since.  The stone fenceline is almost done.  Hopefully there will be some completed photos by the end of tomorrow.

Are we crazy?

CAT and I have a lead on a log barn that can be ours just for taking it down and removing it.  It measures about 27' x 20' and some of the logs are actually the full 27' long.  After we remove the roof, we will be hiring a logging truck to use the boom to remove the logs and place them onto the truck and then to transport them.  It's going to be a tremendous amount of work but since we aren't building this year we have time on our hands to dismantle it and get it to our property.  Each log will have to be numbered in order that we can get it back together again.  It would be amazing to be able to put this old beauty on our property to lend a historic look to our place.  I can imagine it all chinked up, with flowers in boxes in the windows and maybe it will house some goats down the road.   I will add more details as we progress with it.