Tag Archives: pond

April Activities

So with Kat away for this month doing the Earthship Academy in Taos, NM, I’m left here at the trailer to maintain the fort, as it were. There is all of the regular things to do: cook, clean, feed the cats, melt snow for wash water, bring in fire wood, those sorts of things. However, with Kat away, I have also been tasked with feeding the horses.

We have our two Arabians currently boarded at a nearby facility, and they do get hay, but one of them especially needs a bit extra as he seems to lose weight otherwise. I have been out with Kat to do this numerous times, but this is the first time I had to do it by myself. Fortunately, the boys didn’t seem to mind.

They paused a bit when I showed up, probably wondering where Kat was. But as soon as I showed them the buckets, they wandered over and proceeded to eat their portions. Nothing too difficult to handle, they are very well behaved.

As you probably noticed in the above picture, the ground is looking mighty white. We did have quite a bit of bare ground, but that all changed Tuesday evening. First we had wet snow, then we had ice rain which switched to regular rain and then back to snow. After it was all done, we ended up with this inverted Oreo cookie type situation. That would be where you have two layers of frosting with the hard cookie part in between. Why someone hasn’t come out with cookies like that yet, I will never know.

In any event, it has made everything very white again, and quite crunchy too. Fortunately, it’s not all that cold and with the sun shining, it clears the roof pretty quick. Here you can see all the snow piled up in front of the trailer’s plastic shield that fell off the roof earlier.

These are also excellent conditions for spotting animal tracks.

That’s just a picture of our garden bed and most of it is squirrel tracks, though there is what seems to be cat tracks going through the middle of it.

With it being such a nice day today, I decided to take a wander through our forest. This is a great way to spot trees that we will be harvesting for firewood, the time for which is rapidly approaching. I did come across this interesting specimen.

I can’t say for 100% certainty, but it looks to me like a porcupine had a major noms festival on that tree. They are notorious for stripping trees down to their underwear, as it were.

Here is exhibit number 2.

This tree didn’t have as much of it’s bark stripped, but it was also a much smaller tree.

I wandered for a while and eventually came up to the pond at the top of our hill.

You can see by the far shoreline just how full the pond is. We’ve been fairly fortunate that we haven’t had a tonne of precipitation or otherwise we’d be facing a lot of flooding like last year.

Finally, here is a picture of some snowy spruce trees.

Things are pretty quiet here otherwise. Most days it’s above freezing so there is a fair amount of melting going on. Hopefully as that progresses I’ll be able to start the firewood harvesting.

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Getting back outside

It’s the start of May now and things have warmed up considerably since my last post. April was all over the place in terms of the weather. The last you heard from us we had just had a big snow storm. I took those pictures on a Friday morning as we were clearing the fallen trees from our driveway.

The next day we woke up to full sunshine and it was quite warm. Everything started to melt. This is what it looked like in the morning.

By 16:00 that day, there wasn’t a tree left that had any snow on it. Sunday was nice a sunny too and by the end of that day, the driveway was clear of snow, though still mushy. The following day, on Monday, we hit 24C (75F) and it was really humid. We had a huge thunderstorm in the afternoon too, with some really loud thunder and close lightning strikes. So in the space of five days, we went from heavy snow fall to serious thunderstorm.

With all of that snow and rain, things have not been dry around here. In fact, all sources of water in the area have exceeded their banks and there is a lot of flooding. Fortunately, most of it is flooding the forest. There are a few cases of people who are near the York river who are having difficulties.

This reminds us of spring 2014 when we first came to look at the property. The other pond we have at the top of the hill was over flowing. Don’t remember the picture? Well, here is what it looked like back then.

As a way of comparison, here is what it looked like on April 26th.

That’s really close to the 2014 level. I should add that we just had a huge rain storm that lasted two days straight. We haven’t been back up to the top of the hill, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the upper pond has now exceeded the 2014 level. I say this because, despite having a drain pipe under the driveway for the pond we have beside it, we had enough rain to wash out part of our driveway.

The drain pipe couldn’t keep up fast enough and the water just rushed over the driveway. I’m sure there will be another load of gravel in our near future.

Going back a bit to April 18th, it had dropped below freezing the previous night and the pond beside the driveway had a thin layer of ice on it. It looked pretty spectacular so, of course, we had to take some pictures.

Needless to say, we have had some really nice weather, and some really wet weather in April. We have been trying to get out as much as we can to work on important projects outside before the bugs arrive. The project with the highest priority right now is firewood processing for next winter.

Last week we had a good run of clear weather so we were able to get out many days in a row. Unfortunately, a bunch of our time was spent clearing fallen saplings from the roadway up to the top of the hill. We did get some trees cut for firewood though.

We started off with that small pile. Anything big I buck up on site and the smaller branches we just haul back and use the saw buck I made last year to make it easier to cut. It sure saves the back using the saw buck.

Another day, and more wood. I split some of it by hand. The cherry is pretty easy, but I leave most of the elm as it is painful to split by hand. All of it is dead already, which makes splitting it much easier than if we were trying to split live wood by hand.

We cleared out the middle section of our wood storage at the back of the trailer and this is where we are piling the newly harvested wood.

It’s not a lot yet, but it’s better than nothing. We’re hoping that things will dry up this week so we can get back out and do some more.

When we aren’t processing firewood or working on other projects, Kat and I like to take walks down our road. Kat uses this opportunity to pick up all of the dang garbage that people throw out their vehicle windows. We live on a very quiet road, but that doesn’t seem to stop people from polluting it. We’ve gathered several large garbage bags worth of things people have tossed away, most of it is beer cans.

There are some nice things to see while we’re out walking too. Like some pussy willows we found growing beside the road.

You have to take advantage of pussy willows pretty quickly as they turn into fuzzy tree buds soon after they appear. Yes the buds are all out on the trees now and some are even starting to sprout a few tiny leaves.

Soon everything will be exploding with colours. The leaves will be out in full force and the flowers will be in bloom. Heck, even Kat is looking really awesome in her spring colours.

She doesn’t tweet as nicely as some of the birds we have hanging around our place, but she sure is nice to look at.

It’s always good to end with a smile 😀

Tree problems

Through most of July we didn’t get much rain and things were really dry. There was a full fire ban on it was really hot for a few weeks.

Well, that all changed on August 12th, as we got our first big rain storm that day. It came down hard and fast and left big trenches in our driveway.

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Alas, that was just the beginning. On the following Tuesday we had a day long down pour. That rain didn’t fall as hard, but it fell *all* day.

As a result of this, our pond by the driveway is full again. Here you can see the drain pipe we put in doing its thing.

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Unfortunately, some of the trees growing in the pond couldn’t handle the sudden change and decided to fall over… right over our driveway.

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Here is a better picture as the panoramic gets a bit bright on the right side.

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This would normally only be a minor inconvenience. However, my chainsaw is kaput as I burnt out the motor in it during the spring cutting dead elm for firewood. I had to walk down to the neighbour’s place and borrow theirs to do the cleanup. You can see it there in the picture above.

Or, if you’d like to see the reverse perspective, try this one.

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It was only a poplar tree, so it wasn’t difficult to deal with. Interestingly though, when I finished cutting the trunk at the edge of the pond, the weight of the root ball was enough at that point to move the tree trunk back in to a semi-upright position. There was added humour to this as there were three frogs who had been sitting on that log, who were launched into the back of the pond. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of that.

In the end, the driveway was cleared and we were able to once again leave our property via vehicular means.

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All is well that ends well.

Summer time nature

Well, it’s been a while since I posted something resembling an update so I thought I would start out with some nature pictures. I’ve posted numerous autumn and winter pictures of our property, but I thought I would add in some summer ones you all of you can enjoy the greenery.

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We’ve had a lot of sunny days with clear blue skies. It’s nice, but it’s also really hot.

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As you can see, we live in quite the lush forested spot.

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It’s good for the sole to wake up to the lovely wilderness.

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This is a picture of our ever decreasing pond beside the driveway. If you look carefully you can see several hundred tadpoles swimming around in there in the sun soaked waters. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much rain so their volume of water is continuing to shrink.

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This is what the entrance to the roadway that leads up to the top of the hill looks like. Very grassy.

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In addition to the wild trees and plants, we have been attempting to grow our own stuff as well. Here are some pansies that Kat started from seed. They’re doing quite well.

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We also have a whole slew of herbs we planted in old water bottles we cut the tops off. That really tall one is dill. It just shot up. We also have parsley, sorrel, thyme, sage, purple basil, cilantro and tarragon. There were a few others that didn’t take, but these ones seem to be doing quite well.

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In our larger garden bed we have several varieties of vegetables and a few flowers. Kat spends her time sitting around drinking beer with the slugs so they are too inebriated to eat our plants. It seems to be working so far.

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Up beside our shipping container we have another growing bed where Kat planted several varieties of flowers. Again, we got these from our neighbours, the Kellys, who were “downsizing” their garden.

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As long as we can get some rain, the plants seem to be doing well, but it has been over a week since anything wet fell out of the sky in any amount that you might call significant. We do save as much rain water as we can for watering, but it does eventually run out.

We’ll do our best to keep things going.