Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day...Day of Labor

Newly planted mums in the wire basket garden.

Having a little time off sure is nice. This summer has been so miserable hot that allot of little chores were piling up outside. There is still much to be done, but even marking a few off 'the list' makes me feel better.

This coming Saturday is the Celtic Festival...already. I'm planning on taking Rosemary's spotted wethers, who sadly still aren't named. Tomorrow morning I'll be putting them in a pen by themselves (they can still see the flock) in order to get them somewhat accustomed to being on their own. At the same time I hope to worm all the Shetlands.

This morning I have been 'all over the map' working on projects. First I moved some panels around to set up the catch pen for tomorrow, then I sorted and skirted three more fleeces. This is the last of the Shetlands. I have two more of the white merino/dorset ones to do. Then some laundry and other inside chores, and finally I worked up the nerve to use my electric chainsaw.

Here she is after her first real sawing job...

My Dad got the thing for me over a year ago and I've been 'thinking' about using it since. I've spent the last three days looking over the manual, and the saw and the extension cord. Laying everything out, thinking about it some more. As I've mentioned five hundred times before it's been so hot and dry (when it wasn't pouring down rain) that things have gone to pot around here. It seems the trees have just had a hard year of it too, with quite a bit of damage.

About six weeks ago, the redbud right out the front window, had one of it's limbs slowly start listing to the southeast. Over the course of weeks, it has eased itself ever closer to the ground. It just really added to the look of overall neglect the place has acquired over this (hot) summer. Very charming.

Little bit of kindling and fire wood to add to the stack--winter is a coming.

So today was the day, and ta-da! The limb has been sawn up, with the salvageable wood added to the fire wood stack. The top limbs will go on the burn pile. While I was at it, I trimmed up some of the other redbud limbs as well. It was really quite easy, but it's clear I have some things to learn. The best part of this little saw is that you don't have to choke it or gas it or pull any cords to get it started. Just add bar oil, plug it in and off you go. It's also very lightweight. Just the thing for limb trimming and adding to the kindling pile.

Since its been so hot and dry my tomatoes, peppers and squash plants have all just either died or look like death warmed over. My little bucket garden was looking pretty harsh, and I was sick of it. So up came the non-producing bean plants, pathetic marigolds, three tomato plants and quite a few weeds. The remaining tomato and pepper plants were re-staked, trimmed and moved up in a tidy line. In the wire basket bed I planted four mums---just for the color. I'm sick of the baked in the oven look and wanted something cheerful. The view out my back door is much nicer now and it makes me feel better when I look at it.

Tidier view of cleaned up bucket garden

As for the flood. Thursday night we got around 3.5 inches in less than an hour--on top of the 4.5 we had gotten through Wednesday and Wednesday night. The ground was of course saturated and so most of what fell on Thursday ran off. We had been very dry, so dry that the grasses in the fields were turning bone white, and weeds were even keeling over, so the rain was very welcome. Until it became too much of a good thing! (and sorry no pictures... my blogging yen just wasn't strong enough to record that mess while I was in the middle of it)...

Around 8 p.m. Thursday I noticed Gabe was sitting by the front door looking at the floor. I went over to see what he had, and instead of a bug, saw water flowing into the house under the front door. Yikes. I ran and got some towels and threw them in the floor, then opened the back door (both doors open onto the breezeway) and water gushed in over the door sill. Double yikes. I shoved my muck boots on, grabbed the broom and went out. The breezeway was flooding with about three inches of running water. It was gushing over the outer door's sills. I used the broom to 'sweep' the water towards the front of breezeway and out into the yard. My brain obviously wasn't functioning at this point and I thought it was just a 'little' problem. The whole time it's still pouring rain, and lightening. Finally I go back inside and that is when I noticed that the rain had seeped in along the wall that runs alongside the breezeway and that the back of the house was flooding.

The water was rushing out from under the bed and spreading rapidly across the house. Boone was laying on the corner of his bed, oblivious to the fact that water was soaking into the beds and creeping across the floor. I booted the dogs out, and Boone just had a fit about it all. I'm not sure if he thought he was in trouble, was upset that his inside time was being used up or what. Ashley went and got one of the outside cats and they curled up on the breezeway bed (one of few dry spots) and had a nice little bonding session.

Boone hangs on...

I grabbed towels and a couple of blankets and tried to sop up the water, I carried out the dog beds, I ran around like a chicken with it's head cut off, and the water still kept coming in the house. As an old boss I used to have liked to say--I was discombobulated. The power strips over in the corner couldn't be reached, so I just prayed I didn't end up fried. I finally remembered my beloved shop vac and slopped out to the trailer and got it. I had to empty it (of course) and drag out the instructions for the wet vac part (uhm...flood could you wait a minute while I read the directions??).

Finally after some false starts and much frustration I got the vac doing it's thing and slowly, slowly made some headway. By about 10:30 and 8.5 gallons of water removed from the house later, I was finally just running a fleece blanket (all the towels were wet) over the floor to finish drying it up.

I don't think anything got ruined. My computer desk did get some water on it. Not only did it flood through the breezeway but also in a little from the back wall. I've worked at building up the backyard over the last few years, but there was one small low spot and it came in there.

Friday was shoveling along the outside of the breezeway to make sure the drainage isn't being stopped up and washing and drying a million towels. I still need to fill in the low spot behind the house and then wait for the next deluge and see what happens. The house has flooded about three times since I've been here (25 years on September 1st!), and I had thought some of the things I've done had stopped it, but I guess it ain't so. This was probably one of the worst.

Fortunately the fur brats were so traumatized by the shop vac and water everywhere that they stayed in the front part of the house where the flooding was contained by towels. Boone stood grimly looking in the back door from the breezeway the whole time.....

But no permanent damage, and it could have been much worse--there was allot of flood damage in homes around the area.

Well, I best get busy putting together things for the Festival this weekend! Have a great Labor day!


Michelle said...

Whew -- I'm tired and stressed just reading about it all!

Vicki Lane said...

Love the mums! Doesn't it feel nice to plant something pretty in the midst of chaos!

Tina T-P said...

I'm with Michelle - Whew! Our house sits two feet up on blocks, so unless Noah is about, we're safe from flooding from the outside anyhow...

Glad you had a good day off. t.

kristi said...

I am just drained reading about your ordeal! But it was so good that you had reliable "help" to watch you work like a crazy woman! My cats totally freak when I put the wet vac on too;) I hope your week gets less labor intensive!

AJ-OAKS said...

Just reading that made me tired! Wow! Something right out of the movies.
Glad no major damage was done. Whew!
Oh, almost forgot, way to go with the chainsaw. You go girl!!

Karen Anne said...


Ever since my house in CA flooded, I've had a submersible pump.

Nancy K. said...

I can't believe you beat the water! Good job. I must object to poor Boone being cast outdoors during the storm though...he would have been much more comfortable on. your. bed.


I planted some mums this weekend too.

Kathy said...

Oh, Tammy! I can't imagine what you've had to go through with the flooding! Then, there's always the aftermath of worry about molds, crumbling drywall from water damage, and the myriad of other things think about.
I am glad you and the fur-creatures are all OK and didn't get fried. While I was reading your missive, I was thinking I hoped you had a top loader washer that could spin out water from towels to be able to use them again. Then, I remembered that my new-fangled front loader doesn't have a "spin only" cycle. So much for "modern".
(and I was miserable all summer here. Way too hot for me. So I fully understand where you're coming from.)
Hugs to you and pats for the doggies and cat peepul!