Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter 2010

Happy Holidays...From our house to yours...
Guess it will be a white Christmas..

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More snow, 12/12/10

We are on our second snow IS pretty but it is cold and nasty. Joel was getting a start on the plowing here and I shoveled just enough to fill the bird feeders. It is 15 degrees out so it isn't bitter cold but the wind makes it feel colder. Tried to add more photos but can't get them downloaded right now.

Monday, December 6, 2010

a foot of fresh snow

Well we were in the lake effect bullseye so we have so far gotten more than a foot of fresh snow since yesterday and probably will get another foot by tomorrow is after I shovelled after noon today.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Well we have our first 2 " of snow of the year, already doing dreaming with my newly arrived plant catalogs..I know..I know..can't buy yet.

I have been making  notes and sticking them on my 2011 calendars on things I want to do first thing in the spring, reminders and dream the fences damaged by the wind, as soon as weather allows in the spring, tear off the laundry room deck and build a new one that fits our  needs, tear up the pavers in the front yard and lay a walk..

didn't finish this year's to do list and already have one started for next year.

did get a temporary door and cat door and plexi panel up in the rear opening, so it is totally closed off for the winter..ot perfect, nothing is ever perfect, but it will do....picture is LAST year's snow, in the front yard.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Enclosing our rear porch, just in time before the snow hits

We have been attempting to cover and enclose our front and back porches for several years. We had the front porch enclosed a few years ago and part of the back porch done. We just added 3 more sections of enclosure to the back porch, getting it nearly enclosed before winter. Excuse the messiness as all the furniture is piled into corners right now while we are working on it..and blankets on things to keep cat hair off of them ..yes the cats love the warm dry furnished area.

this area is just outside our rear sliding door (which you can see to the left). In front of me in this photo we put plexigalass outside of the railing, framing it in with treated 2x4's. eventually we'll get this painted. In the summer I hang lace curtains here to block the sun when it is too bright in the west.
The area to the right is two doors that we salvaged. One was a 15 pane glass door that we laid on its side and braced with 2x4's between two of our posts, eventually the 2x4's will be painted and caulked..above the 15 pane glass door is a full glass storm door that was hung sideways by the hinges from a 2x4' attached to the ceiling..this can be traded out for a screen if we want to in summer. These will look better eventually when the framework is painted and finished off. You make do.
This next picture I'm standing in our dinette looking out the back slider door area (opened) at the doors you see on their sides above. They are a bit rough looking but you can see how much wind and snow will be blocked by these doors (become windows). We have a nice view through the clear view storm door on the top of our back yard, there is a bird feeder just to the left of the photo out in the back yard that is always a draw to wildlife.

Here you can see some more of the back porch, it is shaped like a backwards L, this is where the leg of the L goes North, there is a shed built up on the back porch to the right in this photo, you can't see it here, and then the back wall of the porch is glassed in with a salvaged picture window and scraps of plexiglass left over from the front porch enclosure. To the left the side wall is made up of two slavaged sliding door panels framed in with 2x4's. the hanging hooks are where we had lace curtains hung in the summer to block excess sunshine. We had to pile the furniture  back into this area while we worked on cutting the plexiglass and frame lumber and installing it so it was out of our way, eventually I'll rearrange the furniture and clean it up so we can use it on nice days.
You can also see that right in front of me when I took this photo above, is an open unfinished area. Eventually there will be a cat door framed in on one side of this opening with a plexiglass scrap framed in above it to narrow this opening up some (it is 4' now)..and then we will build some kind of door to fit into this space to give us access to the steps and back yard here. In the photo to the right you can see where we have a bunch of furniture piled out of our way while we worked on the porch enclosure. you can see the shed wall on the right and the salvaged picture window on the far end. Outside there is a deck walk 4' wide along the left side and on the far end. On the far end we have built a small roofed area to put our propane generator under so we can use it if there is a power outage, and the walkway gives us access to it. we also will put our compost tumbler out on the porch as well...for winter compost storage. I'll take pictures later when we get the furniture rearranged again and the decorations back up and the porch usable..still have that door and cat door/plexi panel area to finish up to have the porch totally enclosed.

This photo is looking to the east toward Joel's house. There is a working salvaged sliding glass door here with a screen that will close for ventilation in the summertime. You can see the shed that is built up on the deck to the left and our house wall to the right. This is where we place our bbq in the summertime. The place you see the chimney there is our shed that houses our outdoor wood boiler and you can see the roof of our greenhouse which is 4' down grade on level ground over the buried pex from the wood boiler (to give it in ground heat). The hammock has a blanket on it now to keep cat hair under control, but it can be folded up out of the way..still have our sawhorses handy as we are still cutting lumber and plexi to finish up the last opening and cat door/plexi panel area and then the entire porch will be enclosed and we can set the furniture back to normal, we do use it in the winter when it is nice although it doesn't get a lot of sun,just early morning and late evening as it is on the North side of our house off the kitchen/dinette.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Now that the leaves are off the trees

This is the best time of year for trail planning. Now that the leaves are off the trees and the views are opened up, you can see better through the woods to establish trails and destinations.

In my woods I had a few trees fall onto my trails, blocking them. They are too dangerous to cut right now as they are hung up on other trees or tree parts, so I will allow them to dry out and possibly fall loose from wind storms over the winter.

However, because these partial falls have blocked 2 of my trails and have inhibited safe passage on another, I have spent some time this week clearing new trails around the falls to provide safe access to the trails.

My  one main trail on the East side of the woods is blocked with a jacknifed tree that has fallen top first down onto my trail. Therefore, walking back toward my house on that trail I notice that the animals were going around that fall and creating a "run" that would bring me out to my clearing by the pond.

There were lots of branches down on the run and some logs that needed to be moved, however, with very little effort and a couple hours of time, I was able to pick up and move aside the fallen branches and logs and clear a trail that in a round about way gave me new access to my trails around my partially fallen tree. This new trail also offers some new views and new areas access, mostly through an alder swamp. The  new trail goes off to the East from my main trail that is blocked, all the way to the ditch that separates my woodsy area from a field we are allowing to revert to woods. I was able to clear a trail all the way to a road on the other side of the ditch, but will need to build a bridge over the ditch in that area for human crossing (deer don't mind jumping). Then I turned back around the direction I had come and realized that there was an opportunity for a trail to go off to the Southwest that would come out into our clearing just nort of the north bank of our pond. I worked that trail clearing it well to the clearing, pushing a lot of dead branches and wood out of my way. This will also give access to the deer from the run to our pond for their water needs.

So now there is a round about way to get to the field (once a bridge is put in) and to my main trail until I can get the falls cut down.

There is another fall that is hung up in trees OVER my trail back by the apple tree north of the horse barn, that will have to wait until spring to be cleared, as it is a large heavy tree and could fall and cause an injury, so that trail will remain closed until spring.

I had started a new trail from there to the east through the woods to a clearing in a swampy area in the center of our woods, but that won't be accessible either until that fall comes down, or I'll have to make another access trail to it. We'll see if an Indian summer gives me time to work on that later this fall...or not...a lot of work done this year on the trails so I'm satisfied and looking forward to spring so i can transplant a lot of my plants along my trails in the woods.

Also I put a lot of cuttings along the trails and threw berries and seeds out into the woods, so it will be interesting to see what cuttings take and what plants grow from seed and berries, in the spring.

Friday, October 29, 2010

After the wind storm end of October

Well with 50 plus MPH winds for 3 days we did have a lot of fence damage and some other damage, but mostly just dead trees blown over in the woods.

This one was broken and caught up on some trees over one of my trails back by the apple tree, it broke and left large pieces over the path, but the scarey part is what is still hanging up in the air over the path.

Also our neighbor's trampoline flew into our yard,

I did also hike through the woods and cleared two more off to the east to the field and then back around to the SW to the clearing..they will be nice for the animals and for us to get through as well.

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 3/4 our first hard freezes

Had 27 degrees on the 3rd and 24 degrees on the 4th, both hard freezes. We had not gotten a frost before then so our first frost was also our first hard freeze. We were ready for it but sure wouldn't have minded if the plants had lived a bit longer, but I have my greenhouse full.

Now they are saying "Indian summer" as we have 60's and 70's for highs in the forcast for the next week and a lot of sunshine.
Which means time to get some cleaning up done since the freeze.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Getting ready for Autumn

Got all of my potato and carrots dug and some onions.

Dug up some more plants to plant in the shallow pond end and on the banks, have planted several light blue and yellow siberian iris now as well as some hosta, fern, filipendula, elderberry and lythrum on the shallows but also on the steep banks I put in some pinkish purple everbearing roses called Purple Pavement as well as some variegated vinca vine to spill down over the bank with the roses..moved the variegated dogwood down the bank closer to the water to help it as it was suffering from the drought.

Even got another mowing of all the lawns in now but not the trails..hopefully they have been mowed enough for this autumn going into winter and won't require another mowing until Next June.

Even moved a few pepper and tomato plants into the greenhouse to see if possibly I would be able to get some harvest off of them yet this year.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Finished dock building and planted some marginals...

Well I finished building the dock yesterday and put the final bolts into the arbor  frame today..went around and dug up a few plants to plant in the boggy area around the dock...dug up a large clump of light blue siberian iris, several tiny hosta bits and a small filipendula to put around the dock and on some high dry areas.

The water level in the photos is still way way below the final photos you can see where the normal water level will be.

First photo is looking from behind the house across the pond from the SW
You can see the arbor and the dock across the pond on the north side here.

This view is from the West side looking toward the dock, you can see that there are still two water levels, the closer is about 2' lower than the farther water level..which is still about 2 and a half feet lower than the normal pond level..since the new dig.

This is my  favorite place to sit in the yard, the view is the pond and the field, and the woods to the North. beside that aspen tree to the left you can see my baby butternut tree, there is also a baby carpathian walnut and black walnut farther to the left..25' the right is the pond, see next photo. You can see the trails going back off into the woods to the North.

You can see that the bank still has some work to be done on it, near the trees, and the trails go off on this end of the woods as well. the Pond is to the left..nearest area is a shallow area that will be planted to some bog plants but it is generally about 2 and a half feet deep when it is full..

this bank is all clay, and has now been sown to grass can see the rock piles in the shallow dried out end of the pond..there are also some marginal water plants planted in this area..which generally would be under 2 and a half foot of water here..If you look at the far banks you can see how low the water level is, it would normally be to the top of those far banks.

Here is a closer photo of the dock and arbor, which will have a rustic trellis built on it eventually. You can see the clay piles on the far bank that still have to be moved and the banks shaped. The water will eventually reach up to the top of that far bank when full.

Looking down from the dock to the water lilies..which just finiahed blooming..these ones are white. There are about a dozen large lilies in this area but they are delapatated from the drought..and there are others on the other pond areas as well. There are other marginals in this area also. You can see on the far bank how high the water level SHOULD be.

There are lots of goldfish in this area hanging out until the pond is healed, but can't see them right now cause Ron just roiled up the clay in the water washing a shovel off..

I am standing on the dock in this photo looking toward the SE toward the bank on the far side of the North pond area..the one large pile will be left as a backdrop for hunting (in the center) but the other piles will be removed and this area on the opposite bank will be levelled and seeded to grass seed for a recreational area. The lilac tree will be cut down to rejuvenate.

The water level will go all the way up to the grassline when the pond is full..this are will be landscaped with the backblade (with Joel's talented tractor work) in the future as well...right now it sits till Joel has time to mess with finishing it. Water level should be up by 2 and a half feet by Srping.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Water is filling in in the new pond dig

With just a little rain since the pond dig the water is already filling in some so you can now see a little more of the outline that will be present when the banks are finished and the pond is full.
Above photos are from the same shot one week apart, youcan see the outline of the pond now filling in.

The totally dry are is filling in a little from the rain.

Still a LOT of water needs to be filled in to reach the normal water depth level.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


We have been having lake effect rain and strong winds the past few days..thought my covered swing was safe, as it hadn't blown over since I had moved it under the tree, thought the tree was protecting it...but no..I found it in the pond today with the awning shredded (evidently by the protector tree).


Awning is now removed, think I may like it better without the awning anyway..we'll see..but it shouldn't blow over any more.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Well some rain has come and the pond is beginning to fill in where we have redug it out deeper now, probably about 4" up on the level now than it was just last week. I realized my porch gutter that drains to the pond had pulled away and none of the water was going to the pond from the porch roof (about 40 gallons per storm were being lost) yesterday I repaired the porch gutter and the leaks are mostly all cleaned up now (the drain still needs some repair but the gutter is working beautifully). So  now everytime we have a rainstorm the biggest share of 60 to 80 gallons of water should be heading for the catchment pond with much less leakage. The new drain material is on the shopping list for next trip to the store and then 100 % of the water off that area of the roof should be heading for the pond, which should make a huge difference in the pond levels for next year. Good to see the water levels going up and the new dig taking shape. Photos soon (it's raining out).

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Well when I went out to the pond at 8:30 last night, I was sure surprised to see a whole bunch of goldfish feeding. I knew that there were probably some that survived the dig, as Joel was careful to NOT DIG in the area that we thought that the goldfish had taken refuge, but with all the herons and drought, we weren't sure that they had survived, as we had not seen any.

Well there they were, several of them, feeding on night bugs, just east of the dock I'm building. So fun to see them happy and healthy, but we really need a lot of rain !! That area that they are in is so low from the drought and the dig, I'm not sure how much longer they'll survive if we don't get a good rain.

The UP is supposed to get 5" today, but not us, we'll be lucky to get wet.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Last day of summer 2010

Well my TO DO list is still mostly undone, not good, summer is gone and I am kicking myself for what I didn't get done. Oh well. We do have the firewood up for at least half of the winter, the pond got dug, some trails were made in the woods and the greenhouse does have harvest size greens and salads growing nicely in it so I'm not totally behind on everything.

Today I'm thinking, time to start cutting down some of the spent plants in the garden, and using some of the "parts" to mulch an area of woodland trail that is rough and has stump parts sticking up through, to lessen the trip and fall problems.

Yesterday was 80 degrees and rain, today in the 70's but we know that won't last, so time to get myself out there to finish up some of the things that need to be done.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

work on pond banks yesterday (9/20/10)

Yesterday Joel worked with the tracgtor on the far (East) bank, removing piles of clay and backblading)..between the lilac North and olive South.

Building a little target practice backstop.

Looking back toward the pond from the east field to where Joel was removing dirt piles and backblading. Still needs a lot of work and lots of piles to move. There is another huge pile behind the liliac (will be visible in other photos farther on). and south of these trees as well photo.

Here are two of the piles south of the Olive and North of the Hemlock tree. Joel began to remove part of these piles to level an area to the right not visible in photo. SE corner of pond banks.

Looking NE over the partially dried out pond area that was not redug, on the far side of the dock is an older pond area that was deeper and still has some water in it..and white water lilies.

I have been hand levelling this bank so I could sow it to grass seed. The dock will be finished when I can get to the store with the truck for lumber, and I still have to put trellis on the arbor. There are plants planted along the place where the water level comes to when the pond is full. From near to far there is a baby white pine, smoke bush, red and gold barberries, spierea, iris, ajuga, ligularia, filipendula, blue spruce, alberta spruce, white edge dogwood, hostas, hardy geraniums, siberian iris, willows, box elder, japanese maples, red maples, rhododendron, weeping willow, fir, chamaecyparis, junipers, arborvitaes, euonomys, snowball, weigela, purple leaf beech and cherry , etc.

Just North of this bank is a woods that I have been putting cuttings and seed pods and wildflower seed at the edges of the paths and clearings. Some of the seeds I have put in the woods edges are: Baptisia, Hollyhock, Miniature Hollyhocks, Ratibidiam, Helianthus, Black eyed susan, Anthemis, Lady's Mantle, Gaillardia, Purple coneflower, Blue Globe Thistle, Hardy Geraniums, Queen annes lace, pink and white Lychnis, Poppies, Sweet William, Sweet Pea, Foxglove, columbine, bluebells, spiderwort, rose hips, siberian iris, daylilly seeds, Veronica, Salvia, Liatris,m and Dames Rocket.

I have finally got this entire bank sown to grass seed.

As I said earlier, there is the clay pile that is North of the lilac bush yet to be moved, as you can see it is mammoth !!
In the photo above I am standing on the North bank loking toward the SE bank, a lot of the banks were moved as you could see in the first few photos, but that huge clay bank still has to be moved, as well as all the piles on the south and on the west. That channel there is on the east side of the island. The pond water level is down several feet, so not only will it be deeper but a lot wider when it is filled back up to normal water levels..if you can see cattails in some of the photos, imagine that they would normally be standing in 6 inches to a foot of that is how deep the water level will be when the pond is full again.

This has been quite an adventure, digging the pond deeper, but hopefully someday we'll have our flowing well keeping it full and going over the overflow, and maybe someday we'll plant it to fish for food..yummo.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thought I'd throw in a few wildlife photos

Wanted to share some of our wildlife here  on our properpty..a few photos from the last two years..
Bambi, absorbing the reflected sunlight against our rear shed, he knows where to find a good resting spot.

Possum, nasty things..yes they are..but kinda ugly cute

guess maybe I'm looking forward to the snow, as it seems most of my favorite wildlife photos are taken in the Winter.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Raining today, rain is good

Well now that we have dug out the pond deeper, rain is a good thing. I have gotten the dock framed in now, so the rain is welcome to fill the pond back up the 2 1/2 feet that the water level was down, before the dig.

Some areas it is now down more like 4', so we need a lot of rain (or snow but I prefer rain).

June 14 last year after digging out this end of the pond.....You can see where the water level was in June of last year..but now....the same shot in the framing in the dock and arbor post below you can see where the water level is at now. Obviously we NEED the rain,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Framing in dock and a small arbor on North Bank of Pond

Just finished framing in a 10' long dock on the North Bank of the Pond, with a small arbor at the entrance to the dock and to help provide support for the dock where it attaches to the bank.
View of the dock and arbor from the peninsula on the west side of the pond. Pond is still dry from the redig and drought. When filled the water level should be just below the underside of the decking of the dock.
There are several white water lilies in the slightly deeper area at the east of the dock (far side this photo).

Looking out over the dried out more shallow area of the pond, the far end is slightly deeper and is holding water.

Going up over the clay bank to the arbor, the arbor is very rustic, but I'm not sure how I'm going to finish it. Am thinking of using rustic branches on it for vines to climb, or possibly using lattice. Will make that decision at a later date, but will be putting climbing roses and seedless grapes up over the arbor as well as possibly a woodbine vine as well, there is a goldleaf chamaecyparis on the east side of the arbor and a red leaf barberry on the west side.

Looking from the North bank toward the dock, still a lot of clay/dirt piles from redigging the pond the last two weekends.

Looking through the arbor toward the dock, with Joel's house visible beyond the far end of the pond. The last two weeks we rented a backhoe and dug out the pond to a deeper depth, although it is much less wide.
When the water fills in it will reach up to the top of the far left bank, about 2 1/2 feet deeper than it is right now on the left of the dock frame. The dock when finished will be just above the water level when full in spring.