Sunday, August 12, 2012


Since I skipped the daily update yesterday, you've probably guessed that I didn't accomplish much of anything. I was actually gone all day. I went to Lexington to visit with a couple of friends, and didn't get home until late last night. The weather would have been perfect for working, but I think its important to spend time with friends and it was well worth missing out on a day working outside to see them.

Since I was out so late last night, I slept in this morning. When I did get up, we drove out to town for breakfast. Andrea left after breakfast for a day trip she had planned, leaving me home. I stayed inside until late afternoon, when I went out and started on several small projects.

The first thing I did was move the rain barrel I made at the Field to Fork Festival to the location where it will eventually be connected to the downspout. I wanted to get an idea of how much downspout I would need to cut off, and make sure that one row of concrete blocks would raise the barrel high enough to get a bucket under the spigot.

After that I decided it was time to unload the shingles that had been in the bed of the truck for more than a week. These are the shingles I picked up when visiting a friend, and had just never unloaded them. I had 3 bundles of shingles stacked up by the shed, so just added these to that stack.

A few days ago we had some storms that broke a tree branch in the black walnut tree next to the driveway. I remembered it today, so decided it was time to try to deal with it. The branch had not broken completely through, so was still hanging from the tree. I was worried that it would eventually fall and either block the driveway, or worse, hit someone.

My initial attempt at getting it down was based on a suggestion my Dad made. The plan was to tie a rock to the end of a length of rope, and then throw it up and over the branch, letting the rock pull the end back to the ground. I was then going to remove the rock, tie a loop in one end of the rope, and feed the other end through, so that when I pulled on it, it would cinch the rope up around the branch. At that point it would be a simple matter of tying the rope to the RTV, then dragging the branch out of the tree. Unfortunately, things rarely go as planned. The only rope I had that was long enough was one we had previously used as a clothes line. Even though we hadn't dried clothes on it for over a year, it hadn't been taken down. I took it down, tied a rock to it, and started trying to throw it over the branch. The first attempt was close but off by a couple of feet. While trying to get the rope back out of the tree the rope broke.

Since the rope broke, and I didn't have another piece that was long enough, I had to come up with another plan. Luckily I was able to tell by the dying leaves that in one spot the limb was hanging low enough I could reach it from the ground. I attached my brush grubber to it, attached a chain, and easily pulled it down with the RTV. I'm not sure how I would have done it, without the brush grubber. Its an incredibly useful tool, which I'll do a detailed post about at some point.

When the limb came down, it blocked the driveway. I knew Andrea would be home soon, so I started cutting it up to move out of the way. I was probably 2/3 of the way through it when she got home. I finished cutting it up, and piled next to the driveway so I could deal with it later.

Since Andrea was home I decided to go in and see her for a while. She updated me on her day, and I told her what I had accomplished. After having a small dinner, we went back out to work some more. She worked on harvesting some herbs and peppers, while I cleared some weeds from the section of the bed that has flowers planted. The bed is planted with a mixture of flowers, which can make it difficult to tell what is flower and what is a weed. We decided that anything more than a few feet tall without a flower would be treated as a weed and pulled up. I ended up with a heaping load of weeds in the RTV to haul off.

I cut the weeds up and added to the compost pile. I usually don't take the time to do it, but I like to cut the weeds up before adding to the compost. I had so much today I don't think I could have managed to get them into the bin without cutting them up first.

While I was adding the weeds to the compost, Andrea finished harvesting and then started preparing some herbs to be dried. She ended up with several cayenne, serrano, and habanero peppers. She also ended up with a large quantity of basil, as well as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and orange mint. The basil will be used for pesto, and the others she is drying. The orange mint she is just drying in a large box, while the other 3 she is drying in cardboard baskets that she made from cardboard boxes, which she weaved similar to what one would do for "normal" basket making. Before calling it a day, I decided to haul of some of the debris from the limb I pulled down earlier. There were 4 or 5 branches that were too big to be be chipped, so I hauled those over to the burn pile. Even though I got off to a very slow start, it ended up being a fairly productive day.

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