Spring Monday, Apr 10 2017 

must be on its way, my hands are like shredded sand paper, my horse is shedding all over me, the crocus are blooming, the daffodils are coming up, and the frogs are going at it in the pond. The rake and one’s hands are the most useful tools right now.

I really need to finish mowing the lower pasture, but I think I’ve got it to the point that the turkeys are unlikely to try to nest in it. Not that I would mind the turkeys nesting in it, usually I would encourage it, but this year is the year that it is getting something of a makeover if all goes to plan. And a turkey nest would be in the way.

I need to look into sprayers….

Tribbles Friday, Apr 7 2017 

New England style tribbles. Several hillsides of them in this area, steep, wet, and never cultivated.

Can you go anywhere? Wednesday, Apr 5 2017 

The answer is both yes and no. The creature below will go almost anywhere, until gravity takes over. (not that we would try that, though one bit was sketchy enough that I got out and walked down, ‘so I don’t have to worry’ quoting the driver there) However, the tracks, which give among other things almost two and a half feet of ground clearance on a already fully articulated beast, add a foot of width and 500 pounds, bringing it up to just shy of 2000.

But the real limiting factor are the trees! It is over six feet wide, and while it can drive over things up to about two inches in diameter (species dependent) anything larger you have to go around. So no, actually you can’t go anywhere. At least not in New England. Sometimes, you leave it and take a rather pleasant hike up into the woods. (which is always enjoyable, but it is time consuming)

However, there are huge positives. The biggest, aside from being an all terrain snowmobile and UTV (which is useful!), is that it has much, much less point ground pressure. This means less soil disturbance, no ruts, and no erosion. This is a huge bonus from a water quality/environmental/security standpoint.

Fun and games!

Vroom! Sunday, Apr 2 2017 

Ignoring the still melting snow, we took two of the tractors (the ‘new’ one and the red dragon) down to the lower field.* The dragon, with its handy front end loader was used to push fallen (or falling) trees out of the way. The ‘new’ Ferguson, it dates from the 60’s, trundled about in circles scaring the bittersweet. The ‘new’ brush hog, all of thirty five years young, got its first baptism of rocks. Oops. I’m thinking the other brush hog just might get armored and used for that purpose on re-clearing the fields with the rocks hidden like demonic Easter eggs in barberry bushes.

Continued progress! The invasives on this place will get conquered yet!

And done before the critical nesting time period for the turkeys and other ground nesters.

*The third, with the sprayer (not yet acquired) hooked to it is going to be the woods tractor, the oldest of the Masseys, fondly referred to as Fergie, it is excellent for rough, rocky ground with poor clearances. It will probably get the old brush hog attached to it.

Snow Saturday, Apr 1 2017 

again! Happy April Fool’s Day or something.

Did get a bit of work done in the barn though. Dismantled the old kiln, salvaging much of the firebrick, the wiring harness and the top for alternative uses. Amazing how much space that freed up. Of course, we promptly put a fifth wheel hitch into some of that space, but that is a remarkably small and movable object. So space was actually gained!

Of course, it did require the front end loader to get the kiln out of the barn and onto the pick-up truck. And some hefty chain. But, progress here and there, little by little. And always pleasant to spend an afternoon Doing an actual project.

Feeding the neighbors Thursday, Mar 30 2017 

(their bees actually)

The crocus tried to come up in February and got nailed back down through all of March, but they were up and blooming today* all along the fence. Mostly early species crocus, I’ve had a devil of the time with the rodents chewing their way through the area (which is daylilies later in the year). But some have survived.**

You could hear the bees from about ten feet away. Every single open flower (and some that weren’t, literally I watched one bee trying to pry a flower open!) hosted a bee, with others buzzing about. Pretty neat. And not just the neighbor’s honeybees, but a number of smaller pollinator types. The rodents may defeat me there; but it is so fun to see the bees, who were clearly so very hungry, that I am going to figure out a better location for the crocus.

*it might snow tomorrow….sigh. There are still snow patches in the very middle of the field, full sun!

** hundreds if I actually counted

A Century Wednesday, Mar 29 2017 

Happy Birthday to the original Big Red:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_o%27_War

And an interesting video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t704d8ARGrc

Since Sunday, Mar 26 2017 

me scrubbing stairs is hardly an exciting thing….

Here is a cartoon from a few years back, from the guest book, right now the ice on the pond in question is still there and rather rotten, no fishing parties yet:

Trees again Friday, Mar 24 2017 

One hemlock: gone. One black cherry: gone. Three ashes: gone.  All little guys, no more than a generous eight to ten inches in diameter (the cherry was four). The hemlock was interfering with the power line rather badly, the ashes (and the cherry which had to go to get the ashes) were just simply in the wrong spot. And also either close to power lines or close to trees we didn’t want to squish. Which was why I hired the job out to a guy with a bucket truck.

Now to reassess the areas and figure out what is really best suited to be there. I should probably rebuild that fence again, which runs through one of the areas in question. It was a nice fake zig zag, but it was made with sugar maple poles some years ago, and has rather fallen apart. Sugar maple rots remarkably quickly, even in a fence where it isn’t touching the ground.

Something to contemplate while waiting for this snow to melt.

Planning Wednesday, Mar 22 2017 

Since the weather isn’t cooperating in the slightest. Contemplating the best way to deal with the walk up from the barn….it has to be something a good sized snow blower can deal with. Shovels are out. Something that isn’t slippery, something that works nicely in the informal landscape, but is a straight path (see snowblower).

Possibly poured concrete, maybe with brick headers set to break the monotony and to be decent expansion joints. Maybe with a brick or stone turnaround at the top? Poured concrete is the most cost effective, despite the challenge of pouring it, but getting it to look good…that requires thought.

Still the mud doesn’t work, and shoveling….well for a lot of reasons I’m aiming at long term, labor saving improvements that will let either older people, or one person, deal with the place sensibly. The upfront costs are probably less than the long term ones, and as long as the aesthetic trade-off is minimal it makes sense. (in this case it is a positive in any sense, since Mud) The visuals haven’t quite clicked yet, but I daresay they will.  Who knows, maybe we will even deal with the power lines at the same time!

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