Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fall Projects

About 12 or 14 years ago I built a 24 x 16 pole shed out of used utility poles. It was mostly for hay storage when we were boarding horses in a more serious way and needed additional covered storage. It was built on a budget with many expenses spared. It wasn't pretty, but it was functional. You can never have too much storage space on a farm until you get older and need to thin out your stuff. I added a shed roof to the north side of the building and a short while after Stitch moved in It was determined that a small greenhouse was needed on the south side. Again, every expense was spared. There was very little actual money spent for materials and it showed, but at least it was functional and you could grow food in it for longer than you could if it was outside trying to survive on its own. The door was salvaged from a friend's remodeling project, windows were from old houses and remodel projects around the area. I bought some of the lumber new, but much was salvaged.
It ain't pretty, but it is functional. Then winter happens every year and the snow and ice fall off the roof onto the salvaged storm windows which don't use tempered glass. They break.
Here are the windows that we removed last weekend. Pretty sad.
So I was left with no south wall. A triple wide glass entry door that was being replaced by a local  homeowner came up a couple of months ago on our local ISP site. It was free for the taking, but moving a 106" x 80" door took some doing. My neighbor loaned us himself and his snowmobile trailer (he doesn't actually own any snowmobiles) and we hitched it to our truck and away we went. It was a monster to move, but we did it and brought it home.
Basically, it is three 3' wide insulated glass doors in one large frame. After the removal of the old windows and reframing for the "new" glass we were ready to install it.
Using the tractor to lift it over to where it need to be and with the help of my neighbors, Rich and Heather, and my friend Yvonne, we managed to get it in. No, it didn't go smoothly and we had to raise the top part of the frame because someone (guess who?) measured incorrectly. It was a quick fix and with the strength, determination, and wisdom (thank you friends and neighbors) we got it installed!
I'll seal it up against the weather, put some snowguards on the roof to keep the snow and ice up there until I can remove it safely, and wait until spring to put it back in service. I am really tired now.

In other news, Dakota is back for the winter while his owners  go off to suffer in Arizona until about May. He is an easy horse to deal with and he has spent a lot of time here, so he knows the routines. Yes, his eyes are blue.
Remember the maple tree in the backyard and all its beautiful colored leaves? Here it is today, nearly naked with its leaves on the ground. We know what comes next.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Color and Changes

The colors are going fast, but they all turn at different rates. Some are at their brightest and some have withered and fallen to the ground. Once in a while we get an early version of one of those Edmund Fitzgerald storms that will strip the trees of everything they had.

Some mornings going to work are still pretty nice with the timing of the sunrise.
And then I zoomed in on the Coast Guard Station and Artist's Point. It's about five or six miles away as the crow flies.
 The critters on the farm, both wild and domesticated and some in between are doing their fall thing. The options for them are to eat like there is no tomorrow and hibernate, migrate to somewhere warm, or tough it out. Most seem to go with the latter option.

Red squirrel doing what it does best.
A feral cat that we think is a female has been hanging around for a few months and we have been feeding it lately. She looks ferocious, but will only let me get about ten feet from her before she leaves.
A very colorful bee that matches the trees, but not the corner of the house. If you look closely you'll see that I need to stain the house next spring/summer. It'll take me all winter to get motivated to do that if I get started soon.
A chickadee wondering what the hell I'm looking at.
The mule keeping an eye out for trouble.
A sign that the weather will soon be a bigger factor is that the ships carrying freight are staying closer to the north shore. I caught this one sneaking past me yesterday morning.
As Elephant's Child reminds us, "Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen."  If that's what she says, you know it's true. Visit her if you want to see what it is like "down under."

Sunday, October 8, 2017

It's Still Falling and Empty Bowls

We are about at peak color now. The skies are different, the weather is cooler, and the days are shorter. I need to stay aware of my own Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) tendencies and try to stay happy. Time to start using the daylight light fixtures, getting outside and walking, and keeping nutritional needs focused. Trying it without anti-depressants as I find their side effects somewhat, you know, depressing.

Last weekend was the 14th Annual Libra ride. which brings local equines and their human caretakers, especially those who have birthdays around this time, to gather for a ride, competition, and a delicious potluck. The event has been hosted by this farm for those years. This year was delightful and delicious as usual. The ride was down a local county road which is covered in maple trees, followed by an in hand competition in our arena. There were eleven entrants in that. The competitors scored each other and yours truly had to add the scores to determine the winner. Here is some of the group.
Our friend borrowed the Colonel, our faithful mule and with map in hand had some fun convincing him to go through the obstacles.
Ultimately, Stitch was the winner with our little mare "Beezer" as determined by the other competitors. Here they are checking the mailbox.
The food prepared in my home and the food brought by the rest of the participants was wonderfully delicious as always. I didn't need to eat for a couple of days afterward, but I did anyway.

Ahh, the changes. Morning sun last week.
Filtered light on the Lake Superior Hiking Trail just down the road from the farm.
This is a piece of the maple tree next to the house.
October skies.
The harbor entry.
Birches Aspens across the road.
The yard.
Yesterday was a lovely day. I insulated the garage ceiling with cellulose, which is a blown in process, with equipment I borrowed from work. I don't heat the garage, but I like keeping the vehicles cozy in winter. Later in the afternoon I went to town to participate in our local Empty Bowls program which involves some pottery. Since I can easily make a serviceable bowl or two I thought it would be a good idea. You see, about 12% of our county's population needs some or a lot of food assistance to get by in the world. Granted we only have a little over 5000 people spread out in a fairly large area, but they all need to eat. People sign up to help make the bowls, local potters help finish them and later there is a sale of these hundreds of bowls along with a fund raising feed at one of the local churches. Last year was the first time I got involved if only to make a few bowls and eat some tasty food. There were a lot of people signing up to participate, even some from out of the area (how cool is that?). It was my intention to do it again this year, but my bowls would be nicer. So I get a phone call last week from the Art Colony to assist one of the teachers in the session I signed up for. I haven't thrown a pot for six months, but I'm game. I ended up making a few myself, but helped six people, nearly all of whom had never made anything on a potter's wheel, make what I hope will be serviceable bowls! Hannah, the actual qualified potter, was in charge of the hand building pots. It felt good to be useful and teaching is a talent that I never pictured myself having, but it was fun and for a good cause. If you are interested in more information it can be found here and some photos can be found here.

From the drive into town yesterday.
I drive this route at least every weekday and never get tired of it. Happy autumn to you all!