Sunday, October 09, 2011

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down..

There was no trumpeting, just a low rumble.  About a cord of wood or more came spilling out of the space under the veranda.  We were counting on a row of wood placed two years ago to keep a pile of wooden roller bearings in place.  Bad counting.  First one side came down.

We moved the errant wood out of the way and added a large pallet to act as a wall.  Moved the wood back.  Everything hunky dory.  Then the second bay came down.

Enough.  Trying to do things the short cut way just leads to more work.  Next year we are building an extension to house the winters 16 cords of wood.  This year, with a hard frost on the morning ground, and snow possible at any time,  we will just make do with a bearing wall we can pile the wood up against and then every four feet or so use a cross brace piller to give the pile some strength.

The lesson for me is to be aware of the voice that says: "hmmm - that doesn't look right.."  To stick with the basics.  I know,  you would think that piling wood is a very simple procedure.  And it is. But it was also very easy for us to get it wrong. Without  and end wall or split wood piller to stabalize  the wood it's like trying to stack roller bearings!

One of the reasons for piling wood is to dry it out.  Not a problem for us as all the wood is from Pine trees that are standing dead and have been for several years.  However, piled wood takes up a lot less space.  We've tried just leaving it in a pile - that's certainly the easiest - but digging frozen wood out of a mound of snow can be more work than is readily imagined.  So we completed the wood wall and started re-piling.   Two days later here's the finished project. 17 1/2 cords of wood.  Braces and an end wall in place.  All the stacks inside the end one you see here have a cross piled pile every four feet.  Probably going to make this the warmest winter on record.

Using a tote to bring the wood from one pile to another really speeded up the transfer.

That's the last block of wood and it went straight to the blue shed to keep the animals warm when it gets chilly.  And the guy that shovels the crap..

And using a wood handlers secret weapon: the Pickeroon, really made it easier.  No bending over to pick up blocks of wood.

 The little one is my weapon of choice. A Stubai ( the people who make world renowned ice axes ) from Lee Valley.  The yellow handled one sorta works but isn't in the same league.  The point isn't hooked enough and isn't sharp enough to get a grip on a block of wood without a heavy swing.

On the Chicken front we finished the new and improved chicken nests and added a handy dandy ladder for the birds.  Now we can get eggs without going in the chicken pen.

Of course some of the older birds want to get their own IPhones to keep in touch with all their many friends.  They are pretty good with the hunt and peck method of typing.  But most of their posts are just a bunch of squawking! Like mine, actually.

The new chickens should start laying any day now and we are looking forward to not having to buy eggs from the Super Value (not) in town.  I just about laid an egg myself when I saw a box of "Presidents Choice" free run eggs that were going for six bucks.  Wow!  If I could get six bucks for a dozen eggs we'ed be building fenced acreage for several hundred birds..

The Pigs are growing in leaps and bounds.  And they do leap and bound.  We were out last night under a half moon light moving a couple of old bitty hens into the main pen, a job we have learned that is way easier when the chooks are asleep.  We heard a grunt from just beyond the fence.  All the pigs were out gamboling in the moon light!  They have taken a particular fondness for windfall crab apples.  A couple of them will stand up when we enter the animal shed in hopes of receiving some treats by hand.

 Generally not a great idea, but they are very careful ( and we are too) and they pull the treats in with their front lips and happily and noisily crunch them up while keeping an eye on the next one - admonishing any other pig who gets too close to their treats!

We are getting hard frosts at night.  Early morning trips require some window scraping.

We installed a new wood heater in the living room.  Well new to us - it used to reside in Jo-Ann's parents house and I think it's major use there was to burn Christmas present wrapping paper.  With glass and brass cleaned with wood ash and newspaper and a coat of stove polish it looks great!  It works well, but I still have to tinker with the damping system.  I suspect something is clogged up on the air intake a bit.

Now that the woods in the next project is to get the garden harvest in.  Yesterday we dug up some spuds. Just not a crop to brag about!  Ah well we are grateful for what we did get.  Here's a sample of the three types we planted in tires:
Scab is a recurring problem.  Tho we noticed that some red spuds we planted in a mound of clay soil came out virtually scab free.  From top to bottom: Cariboo, Russian Blue, and Yukon Gold.  

Last night Cleo and I camped out on the balcony.  Enjoying the brisk fresh air and moonlight peeking through the clouds.   Cleo certainly enjoys it and remains happily ensconced in her own sleeping bag the whole night through, waking to the Rooster alarm clock as the Eastern sky lightens. Now to get her to stop snoring!

Hope where ever your camped this week is nice and cozy!

6 comments:

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Art, I do so worry when you go away for weeks at a time ! At least it seems you were busy. Oh man seeing those logs tumble down made me yell DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT all the way down here. What a hassle. You and yours certainly will earn any down time you get this winter snuggled up by a warm fire. You earned it man

Anonymous said...

Hi Art enjoyed your blog glad to see you've got all the wood in for this year.You make me feel guilty turning on the furnace that is till I get my bill not that I grudge paying for the gas,it's the taxes and delivery charge that get me.To keep you up to date on the lower mainland its a riot living down here and the Mayor may be arranging another one if the Lions make it to the Grey Cup.Say hi to Jo looks like the northern air agrees with you both.Sodbuster

Art Blomquist said...

HiYa Donna. We have been a little busy lately. Just got the garden, such as it was, into cold storage yesterday. Taking Thanks Giving day off to chow down on some beef brisket. The Turkey was going for 6 bucks a Kilo. Over three bucks a pound!

Sod, are you on facebook. You can get me there. I'll be staying away from Vancouver during the last game of any sporting event!

Anonymous said...

Art your chickens have had more exposure to technology than I have The short answer not on face-book but I know you live on savory road if you can give me your address I will send you my Email address Sodbuster

Anonymous said...

Art you can now find me on face book as I could not find you Sodbuster.

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