Friday, February 17, 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Get to work, taking down the deck, part one

The deck that the previous owner built had seen better days and it made sense to take it down. I tried bracing it a couple of winters back but gravity worked against me. I needed the pond frozen over so I could stand on the ice to work.

Having to spend several weekends installing water heaters instead of working on the pond, I finally had a chance on the weekend of January 14. I cut some of the bracing and one of the posts. I used spring cleats on my boots and I wore chaps using the chainsaw. I didn't feel like bleeding out on the ice.

The ice was thick enough as I got a good solid thump when the pole it. Rest assured that I used proper techniques to drop the pole and the straight cut was just to cut it close to the ice. I used an older chain in case I hit a spike in the pole that I couldn't see. 

I dragged the pole up the bank as far as I could and called it a good first day. The 15th gave me another chance to work and I took the lower decking off.

One side a time:

And cleaned up the debris:

I unscrewed the plywood sheets and then split the 2x6 decking in two. Before my knees gave out, I dragged everything up out of the pond for later.

It took me several days to recover but it turned out that I wasn't able to get back because of warm weather came once again to Iowa and the ice just wasn't safe enough for me to work for a couple of weekends until February 4th.

Part two will show why I was one day short.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday wildlife, Monarchs from the fall

The neighbor think I'm mostly nuts because of many things but one reason is that I plant milkweed. I hope we can have some success helping the monarchs:

Monday, February 13, 2017

My lingering hiatus

It's been awhile and yeah, too long for those 3 or 4 readers still interested in this dream of mine. I have the regular excuses of too much work, too much at home and priorities that just push into the way. Truth is, time gets away sometimes when you let it.

We moved the boys to their new home, and made repairs to their bachelor pad while we made plans for spring like new shingles. The homestead needed work as well. Then the eldest needed medical help and we ended up having our own medical needs that came out well enough.

Time becomes preoccupied and I apologize for that.

Every so often, I question why I embarked on this endeavor. Many of the plans that were made have failed but a few came close to breaking even. The pond leaks, deer still tear up some of the smaller trees and rabbits clip most of the seedlings. We probably have a 90% failure rate after a couple of years' plantings.

It gets discouraging, especially when I walk the sweet corn that we planted to sell and find half of it knocked down after a storm. The pounds of hickory nuts that we picked up this fall and none were good, or the hundreds of red oak acorns that we planted two years ago and finding only a half dozen making their way a few inches high. It brings a pause to things once in a while.

So why am I doing this?

I guess it goes to the vision of 80 years from now someone, somewhere, will have the opportunity to make something like this:

Both chests were made by my father. The top three pictures are of the one made from box elder and the bottom two pictures are, of course, made from cedar. The cedar chest was one of several that he made for each of the grandkids but at the time, my youngest wasn't born. He didn't make one for him before he passed. It just seems that way sometimes. The box elder chest was part of what we received as settling things up after dad died and it seemed fitting that each boy received something made from their grandfather's hands.

We have several other things that dad made. Our kitchen table from red oak and a book case made from walnut and several other things come to mind but I'll leave that to when I can take pictures and share.

So this is why I'm doing what I'm doing. So someone could build a memory from lumber cut from our acreage. A memory that is as solid as the wood it is made from and then pass it on.

Stick with us. I might get it right once of these days.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday is buck day, three visitors

We've had three different bucks visit the acreage over the past couple of weeks.