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Showing posts from May, 2009

Our Gated Community

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Farm gates that is.

Were installing farm gates. It will make passing through the fence lines a lot easier than the ubiquitous barb wire and pole gate.

We have five of them on the property and I want to convert them all to steel gates. A barbwire gate simply consists of the fence line attached to three or four light posts and stretched across a fence opening to be held by a couple of loops of wire at one side top and bottom. Just nasty things. Although economical I always end up fighting with the things despite stretching the poles and wire before attaching them. When the snow mobiles go through the riders invariably leave them down as they are such a pain in the ass to put back.

The first thing was to remove the old posts and roll back the wire. Pretty easy with a skid steer with a four -in-one bucket. Just have to be careful not to chomp them in half if we want to re-use them.

We are installing steel gates that we bought at an auction last year. Now there's a whole 'not…

Strawberry Fields Forever..

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Well, If I can keep the things living through the -30c winters.

We spent the last two days adding a strawberry patch to the side of the Shop. This time of year it gets sun through out the day.

We started by leveling out an area about sixteen feet long to put the railway tie retaining walls in. I pinned the ties down with rebar rods.

I then covered the inside with some heavy plastic tarp that I get from the hardware store. It's the stuff their lumber comes wrapped in from the mill.

We then filled the space with gravel, tamped it down, added a layer of geotextle on top to stop any weeds and put down a couple of inches of sand which we also tamped down. I also added a four inch drain pipe to take away any water draining on the beds from the roof. Then we selected six 18 inch truck tires, cut the tops off and placed them on the sand bed. Filled them with a fairly sandy, loamy mix we had made up previously and then added perlite and peatmoss.

While we were hauling gravel and sand for…

Bag Man Redux

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As a mentioned in an earlier post we spent yesterday finishing the garden planting. We also added 16 more tires of spuds. Late Burbanks and Pontiacs. Jo-Ann had the brainiac idea of putting the smaller car tires on pallets so we could fill them up with planting soil at the pile and then just move them over to the garden where we placed them between the rows of truck tire. Works slick. Another local resource - used pallets. The local hardware store saves them up for me and then gives me a call when I have a trailor load. They are sure handy around the enterprise.

The spud-in-a-bag method is pretty simple. I used a small car or truck tire to hold the bag in place and then just filled it with soil after making sure I put a few holes in the bag for drainage.

After that we just planted the seed potatoes, eyes up and watered them. So far no spuds, but it's only been a day..
When the spud leaves start to poke through we will keep adding mulch to the bag to force the plant to grow v…

The Cows Come Home

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As I mentioned yesterday it was freezing around here. Snow coming down. In Prince George, 175 klicks East of us, they had to get the snow plows out. A friend of mine saw five cars in the ditch at 9 a.m. on his way in to Prince.

Jo-Ann looked out the window and gasped: " There's cows out there!". Sure enough, the motley crew had arrived. Problem was the fence around the house was cut on the Northern side for Walapini and drainage ditch construction.

We swung into action. Jo-Ann driving a skid-steer bucket with all the fencing supplies. I handed her a bucket of jujubes and she promptly lost a major crown. Today were off to a dentist in Burns Lake. Well it's five degrees Celsius from frost as we speak! Jo-Ann has sworn off jujubes.

By the time we cobbled together a gate and patched the barbwire up the cows had disapeared. Only fooling I guess.

When we get some time probably tomorrow we will make a proper gate out of some steel gates we bought at an auction last ye…

Getting our Crap Together..

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Sitting here this morning we are watching a bizarre scene out our kitchen window. Hummingbirds swarming the feeders oblivious to the snow storm behind them. Were having porridge to fortify us before the morning walk. What to wear? I put away the snow boots.. However Jo-Ann did pick up a couple pairs of Arctic wear socks at the trading post in town.

On a side note we are saddened to hear of the trading post's upcoming closure- if no one will buy it. It means a 100 kilometer trip to get propane. and good quality work clothes and the only chainsaw retailer from Vanderhoof to Burns lake. The reason seems to be that not enough locals are supporting local businesses. You can get it cheaper in Prince George. only 400 klicks round trip. And it has a casino..

During our walk yesterday we spotted the first flower of the season:


It's yellow and the greens are tasty.. Jo-Ann is knitting it a parka.

We spent the rest of the day planting the remaining bare tires in the garden. Except for…

Re-Tired Bag Man

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Despite the 4C(39F) were putting in the garden. We are starting with Tomatoes, Squashes, Lettuce, Spinach, Carrots, Cabbage, Broccoli, Radishes.. I know it sounds weird, planting tomatoes in this weather - but they are going in mini green houses. All the veggies are. The big trick is to keep them from burning when the sun comes out.

As we are planting we are also adding tin foil to the top tire on the inside to reflect the light. It makes a huge difference. I am also adding sand, from our new found pit, and Perlite to loosen up the clay based soil. Actually a glacial alluvial mix. We also plant all the cabbage and squash through slits in a black geo-textile that lets water in, blocks weeds, and keeps heat in the soil. A high tech mulch. I have found a new tool for working in the re-tired garden. It's a three pronged garden fork that has an extending handle. Perfect for stirring up the soil. Here I am making a menacing gesture with it. Or I have gas. I forget.
You can …

Chop Wood

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We didn't have to carry water. It was falling from the sky.

It was too cold for Gardening yesterday. A couple of times on our morning trundle we hid under convenient spruce trees to wait out a hailstorm. I am thinking of installing benches to make the sites more comfortable. Maybe stash some rations for prolonged storms.

We decided to cut up the fir tree that had fallen down from the tree building. Most of the wood was fine with only the outside chewed up by ants. The top of the tree was too rotten and the bottom 5 feet had too many nails pounded into it. Makes cutting it with a chainsaw a dangerous and chain filing intensive operation.

I was using an old Stihl chainsaw with a 30" blade. I had bought it second hand and it seemed to be in pretty good shape. Yesterday I found out that the handle had been broken and then glued back together with some epoxy putty. After some hard starting, pulling on the cord, the putty let go. Jeez. Maybe I can find some parts on line. A …

Boyz 'N Toyz

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My Brother Tiny just got a new toy. He plans on renting it out for light excavation work. The great thing about this one is that he has trailer that will handle it so it is very mobile, Unlike the big one that pretty much stays parked at our place.

During our morning walk today we had to huddle under a Spruce tree a couple of times to get out of the hail. Two days after the tomatoes went in the tires..

The tips of all the Poplar trees are quickly turning green. Almost over night. Yesterday we noticed, despite the near freezing weather, that they got greener as the day progressed- despite the atrocious weather. Mother Nature breaks out. Today on our walk between hails we even noticed strawberry plants starting to come out. These are the little tiny ones about the size of your little finger nail. I have never had the patience to pick a decent amount for a pie.

We are upgrading the entrance to the place. Complete with a tree arch and a white 2 X 6 fence. So fare we have the lumbe…

Underground Green House Project

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Among other things. When ever I mention that I am building an underground greenhouse I get the strangest looks. Its just the walls that are underground. The roof is transparent and lets the light in. It's based on the idea of a walipini, first used in Bolivia I believe.


Kind of a low tech method of getting some plants growing in inhospitable growing areas. Such as our 2b. Any way all good fun. I picked a site on the side of a south facing hill North of our Re-Tired garden to give ours a try. It's right where the excavator is digging.


Far enough that there is no shade near it and close enough that I can power it. Mine will be a little different in that I am berming it with tires that will have packed clay in them before I put the dirt back. I haven't decided on using green house plastic or the corrugated type for the roof. Probably the latter as it will have to carry a snow load. And I need to figure out how to insulate the roof during the cold times. Some type of …

Making the Moats Out of Life..

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Just the thing you want to see when your having your morning cupa and thinking" Darn rain - wanted to work in the Garden.." And I wasn't joking when I said I just took the winter tires off of the Toyota and the Van.


My brother Tiny came up day before yesterday and dug a swale, well moat around the North, or uphill side of the main house. This will capture all the spring snow melt that previously rushed down the roads and hillsides and flowed through the yard. One benefit of this will be to fill a new pond just west of the Garden. Splash party for the doggies. And if I make it big enough and put in a pond liner..and a diving board...hmmm.

Yesterday we tried out a new load mover in the back of Betsy Ford, the yard 4X4.

A poor man's dump truck.


The gravel was shuttled from the new pit we opened up. Kinda marred the ultra light landing zone, but I will flatten it all out with the Cat later. That load of gravel in the tail gate might not look like much but its a heaping buc…

Big Iron

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These are some photos of a couple of mowers. From what I can google they are turn of the century items. Obviously well made. I wonder if anything we make out of metal, especially farm equiptment will still be here a hundred years from now?
This is a John Deere:



The hub:
The cross arm:
Made in Moline:
And a Canadian mower. It looks "plenty skookum" also.
The name plate:
I can still see the John Deere green on the JD one but have no idea of the Frost & Wood colour. I would like to paint them and put them on some concrete pedestals down at the Savory Road entrance, as part of the entrance spiffy up project.

It's really neat to see how well made and consequently durable these things were. A little bit of spit and polish a cutter bar and a couple of well trained steeds and they could be put to use.