Slow going on a wet March weekend

I found this tractor tire in the lower pasture in January. Today we rolled it up to the barn.

This past weekend, we spent our first night out at the farm since last November.  We were finally able to drive all the way in on the driveway though the snow isn’t entirely gone.  Yesterday, D. picked up where he left off in November pulling boards off of one of the useless buildings along the driveway.

My efforts were a bit more scattered.  Before he drove in, I walked in with the utility can of water, noticing along the driveway that the garlic we planted in the fall is already coming up.  It’s too soon to say whether or not all the raspberry bushes and grapevines that we put in around that time survived the shock of transplantation.  I unlocked the shack and started a fire to warm things up and then took a bucket down to the spring to get some water for this morning’s dish-washing.  Glad I did, because this morning it was pouring rain.

Then, with my tall rubber boots on, I walked down the length of the stream from the barn, looking for the tractor tire that I found in January.  On the way, I found broken glass and jars and bottles that were intact, various plastic containers and plastic sheeting that had been discarded, a rusty bed frame that was falling apart, some perfectly good metal fence posts that were neither in the ground, nor attached to any fencing at this point in time, rusty barbed wire and a tire much smaller than the one for which I was looking.  Since I wasn’t prepared to carry any of this stuff out, I put it in piles along the stream bank so that I could come back for it today.  In addition to all this man-made junk which was rather disheartening to find, I also found a lot of bones.  Some bovine; a couple of leg bones, jaw bones with teeth, vertebrae and part of a cow’s hip.  Considering that no one has lived at the farm since 1979, the bones have to be pretty old.  I also found a deer antler and some bones including a rib.  When I located the tractor tire, I realized that I couldn’t tip it up on my own, let alone roll it up a hill.

Then I started moving sheet metal salvaged from a building that has mostly fallen down to areas where we have horrible weed problems and where we’ll try smothering everything before we try to plant something better.  The two areas that I’m concentrating on for now are at the northwest corner of the barn and the area in front of the milk house.  We pass these areas often and it would be nice to see something other than burdock and thistles by next year.  I also went down to see how D. was doing with demolition.  That too was slow going, but I brought him a sandwich and a beer and later a ladder and a couple of other tools.  I took some of the planks we’d removed from the building in the fall and took them up to the barn to reinforce the floor where it is rotten so that we can get around better in there.  There are probably thousands of pounds of old hay that need to be removed, some in bales and some loose.  I’m guessing we’ll have all the mulch we need for the gardens for years.  I also opened up a couple of storage rooms in the upper level of the barn to see what we’ll have to do to clean them out and to see if the floors need any work.  I got a bit of a surprise when I opened the second door though.  There was a raccoon up on one of the ledges.  I wasn’t happy to see it, nor was it happy to see me.  I shouted at it and it started to stretch for a hole in the back wall of the room.   (Note to self, holes must be patched if we want to keep anything in those rooms.)  Later with the raccoon gone, I noticed some holes lower too.

After dark we saw some stars in the sky and the moon rose, but it began to cloud up.  It was windy overnight and I thought I heard a tree branch break.  The willow tree is much on our minds these days with one branch having broken off when it was windy in November and with two branches now broken but still up in the tree.  The tree is dangerous and we need to have it taken down sooner rather than later.

This morning we woke up to  pouring rain.  It still seemed dark when I got up close to 8 a.m. to make coffee.  I moved on to chopping vegetables and grating cheese for an omelet and then let D. go to work cooking.  After breakfast, I took the vegetable trimmings and eggshells down to the compost bin and it wasn’t raining hard.  We decided to retrieve the tractor tire and D. got to find out how twisty the stream is and where we have additional springs since he hasn’t been down there before.  Getting the tractor tire off the ground, across the stream and up the hill to the path was dirty, difficult job for which I cannot take most of the credit, but I also managed to remove a bunch of the stuff I set aside yesterday in a bucket I’d brought along this morning.  I just put the bucket in the room in the barn.  I’ll sort the trash from the recycling some day when it’s dry.

We’d planned on spending more the day there, but since it wasn’t very pleasant and we didn’t think we could get much done, we thought we’d leave early enough so that I could make rye bread to go with the potato leek soup we’d planned on for dinner.

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