Spent the weekend at the farm. Taught Patty how to use the zero-turn mower, which she had a blast with. I set her up with a small rectangle to mow and she ended up mowing the whole place, about 7 acres of grass in all. She had the noise canceling headphones on and was evidently singing out loud the whole time.
That night we had one heck of a bonfire!
Finally have the contractor engaged and onsite to dredge the pond, install a proper overflow pipe, and repair the dam. It is still slow going as he’s trying to get the pond drained as much as possible so he can get his equipment into the pond without getting stuck. So far he has installed the pipe and riser but has left the ‘tee’ at the bottom open so that water will drain through the pipe instead of continuing to erode the dam. Once he gets a little further we’re going to have a dock installed where the overflow pipe is right off of the dam. Should be a pretty darn nice pond once its all done.
Dam cut before pipe installation
Overflow riser pipe from the side
Overflow riser from the current top of the dam
Trench dug from the stream feeding the pond around the island
Below are pictures from my game camera of the local wildlife.
Mama, Papa and baby geese
The Pack on the hunt
Deer on a cold morning
Coyote on the prowl
Bobcat returning with its dinner
Troupe of Turkeys
Tom Turkey giving a show
Bullfrog in the barn pond
Buck with antlers just starting to grow
Doe and Fawn
Egret poking its head in front of the camera
Two river otters (right side of pic)
Turkey vulture ‘recycling’ groundhog
The winter wheat is coming up strong giving the whole place a very green look. We’ve received plenty of rain this spring and the grass has responded accordingly, needing to be mowed at least every four days.
Buttercups on the hill behind the house
Spent a good part of spring break cleaning up the place and also opening the pool. Me and Patty worked pretty well as a team pulling out bushes, trimming hedges and generally getting the place squared away.
Wife pulling out the bushes decimated by the deer
Trimmed the top of the Leyland Cyprus’
2014 Pool Opening Day
Had two huge piles of brush to burn and it ended up getting a little more interesting then I ever expected. It took two days and nights to completely burn it all and boy were the coyotes howling it up at night. Evidently that time of year is coyote mating season.
Went til 2-3am each night
Took stock of the orchard and found that 27 trees had died or were otherwise missing. Decided to replenish, a much bigger job than I anticipated. Dug the holes with an auger on a bobcat loader, that ended up being the easy part.
Bought the trees from Stark Bros. nursery online, a mixture of various apple types in a semi-dwarf size. Planting them ended up being back-breaking work over about 3 weekends. Then I put up a 5′ diameter fence around all 27 trees to keep the deer out until they grow large enough. Way more then I had bargained for, but it should be plentiful in a few years. We now have an orchard that has 55 trees, mostly apple, some peach, pears, and cherry though.
Digging the holes, the easy part
Last tree in, note the rock pile
Uncle Sonny, my Mom, and brother Mark help put up the final cages
The melting snow has really saturated the ground. In the three years that I’ve owned it I’ve never seen the ground so saturated. The ponds are all handling it ok, even though none of them were constructed with proper drain pipes and even more problematic overflows. The picture below is the pond over by the barn. The overflow is the only way for the water to escape, and it isn’t really low enough because you can see that there is water topping part of the dam…not good.
Water topping the dam
Went down 7 days after the big snow, no one had yet traveled up the driveway as you can see in the shot below. I originally thought that most of it would have melted on the gravel driveway and the minivan could have made it. Tom Bledsoe suggested I borrow his 4wd pickup and drive up and down a few times before taking the van over. Luckily I took his advice as the minivan would have never made it back up the hill to get out. After driving over it twice in the truck I had a very hard time getting back up the big hill in 2wd.
A foot of snow that had compacted but not been driven on since it fell a week ago
At least big for this area. A few shots from the security cameras, we received about a foot of snow.
Looking back from the barn