Thursday, May 1, 2008
After sleeping late I went to town and picked up the mail and newspapers, then got busy on the yard. It's early in the mowing season, so the grass wasn't horribly high, but it was certainly high enough to need cutting.
Friday, May 2, 2008
I did more mowing today, and did some seedling removal. Little trees come up in the yard, and I have to cut them off and dose the little stumps with Tordon RTU to kill them. After years of spraying with brush and weed killer and having a lot of little trees survive and come back, the Tordon is a great improvement. It puts a permanent stop to them. That truck that got stuck in the mud on April 13 remained mired after more than two weeks, with no sign that the soggy areas are about to dry out, so I called my friend Mark and he helped me pull it out with the tractor.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
I spent the day in Pawnee at the antique tractor and farm equipment show. This is one of the best events of its kind, always with plenty of great old steam traction engines, stationary engines, a few antique cars and trucks, and a good variety of tractors. I had dinner at the new Chinese place in Ponca City and found it good, but no threat to the two others. I decided to take in a movie, and saw Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day. It was excellent. Well written, well directed, beautifully acted, and with no explosions, chases, or spectacular special effects.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Today's main activity was yard work. I burned the burn pile out back, then did a lot more little tree removal. There are a lot of them to remove. Some varieties can just be pulled like weeds, but most won't budge and have to be cut off and killed with Tordon. I cleared them from a good sized area behind the house, but there are still plenty more awaiting my attention.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Since getting back from my trip I've been getting caught up a bit on mowing and other yard work. I've spent a couple of days on sapling removal, with more yet to do. This morning I acquired some equipment to help with the yard work. I got a 1950 Allis Chalmers WD. I bought it because it came with a loader, a disk, and a couple of plows. I put it to work right away, using the loader to haul some dirt to fill some holes in the driveway.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Today I spent the afternoon sawing up the locust tree that blew down in the front yard last month. The poor old thing has been dying for a couple of years, and some of the roots became rotten enough to make it easy prey for a strong south wind. Now it will supply some of next winter's heat. While I was at it, I brought out the ladder and trimmed the walnut tree in the front yard. That included bringing down couple of broken branches left by the big ice storm six years ago.
Monday, May 12, 2008
This afternoon I finished most of my tree sawing. It may take a few days to haul away the pieces.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
This afternoon I bought a sweetgum tree to replace the dead locust in the front yard. I used the "new" WD to pull the old stump out of the ground, and planted the sweetgum in the hole. I like to wait until late fall, when snowflakes are blowing and there are signs reading "All plants 75% off", but in this case I forced myself to pay full retail because the sweetgum appears to be a scarce item. I've been wanting one of these trees because of their spectacular fall colors.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I hauled away more firewood and did a little more sawing today. The old tree had a 16" trunk, so some of the pieces were pretty heavy.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
It was another day of some more sawing and more hauling away. By the time I hauled a couple of loads of firewood around back and sawed up a few more branches, the afternoon was pretty well spent. It was tough getting Zeke to pose in the truck with a load of wood. He didn't want to stay in.
Friday, May 16, 2008
With shopping and other errands, didn't get much done except washing dishes. I have to do that when I run out of clean ones.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
It was a semi-wasted day. I drove over an hour to get to an auction that turned out to be an absolute junkfest. The auctioneeer struggled to get any bids from the small crowd, and small lots of miscellaneous junk were going for $1 or 50¢. I might have been interested in some of the old books if they hadn't been mildewed and water damaged. The advertised "antique tricycles" turned out to be a couple of adult sized trikes, maybe thirty years old. There was a working wind-up console phonograph, and I might have got a good deal on it if I'd been willing to spend all day. At the rate things were going, I could see it would be hours before they got around to it, so I headed for home. I spent the afternoon unloading and stacking firewood behind the house and gathering up more cut up branches.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
This was the day I took down the wire pen I had set up to keep Zeke in when he was a puppy. He's turned out to be a pretty good dog, without the bad habit of disappearing for days at a time like some of the previous critters. He's usually waiting for me when I get home from work. Removing the fence posts was easy. I used the loader on the "new" tractor. It lifted them out of the ground with no effort at all. With the pen out of the way I mowed the area, then used the loader to haul away the big stump from the dead locust in the front yard. While I was at it, I decided to try pulling a stump with the WD. I picked one that I had tried to pull with the B with no success, and the WD yanked it out of the ground with, again, no effort at all. Clearing ground for gardening is going to be much easier with this tractor.
Monday, May 19, 2008
After a session at the dentist's office, I didn't get much done at home. I did have enough time to set up a fence panel as a trellis for tomato plants, and to pound in fertilizer spikes by a couple of trees.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
They're here! This morning while doing my morning three miles before daylight, I saw a few lightning bugs. This is a late appearance; they usually show up around May 10. Today's activity was more of cutting up that old tree in the front yard. I'm heading down the home stretch. One or two more sessions should finish the job.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Yep, I guessed right. Today I hauled a lot of cut up firewood and stacked it behind the house, and it looks like one more day should finish the job.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Well, almost. There was more kindling than I thought. Looks like I'll spend part of my Friday afternoon loading up the rest and hauling it away. There may be enough of it to last through most of next winter.
Friday, May 23, 2008
On second thought, that can wait another day. I'll probably spend most of tomorrow on yard work anyway. With the coming of warm weather, it was pretty steamy in the house when I got home, so I finished taking down storm windows and putting up screens. A little breeze in the evening feels good.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
A good soaking overnight left .7" in the rain gauge. After doing laundry, I played on the computer while waiting for a strong breeze to dry things out a little. This was the day to finish gathering all the little branches and twigs of the late locust tree from the front yard and haul them away. With that chore finally done, I sharpened the blade on the Dixon mower and spent the last half of the day mowing. This evening I went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. Harrison Ford and Karen Allen are back, twenty years later, and this time instead of evil Nazis they're up against evil Commies. There's a lot of spectacular action, and it's all good fun.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
I've been contemplating a disposal problem. Aunts Mary and Ernestine used to haul branches, pulled weeds, and other yard scraps across the road and down into the trees and dump them in a pile to rot into the ground. I decided to do the same instead of having a burn pile in the back yard. It's better for that stuff to go back into the soil than up into the air as smoke. The problem is that in a wet winter or spring the ground down there gets too soft. My truck got stuck in the mud in the middle of April, and a month and a half later there's still water in the ruts where it was stuck. It finally dawned on me that if I'm going to have a place to dump yard waste, it needs to be north of the road where the ground isn't so boggy in wet weather. So today I started clearing a road east of the barn so I can get the truck in to haul the stuff. I spent about six hours on the project and made pretty good progress. With tomorrow being a holiday, I expect I can get most of the thing done.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Well, I spent most of the day on the road project. After .7" of rain in the gauge Saturday morning and another .7" this morning, it was pretty soggy work. I made pretty good progress again, and should have the thing ready to use in a few days.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Egad, this is getting to be too much. Another .7" in the rain gauge this morning. When I got home this afternoon I went out and spent a couple of hours cutting trees and brush, and again it was pretty wet out there. Areas of open pasture were squishy to walk across, and grass down in the draw was bent down flat from water running over it during the storm. Luckily, the area where I was working was pretty well drained so it wasn't soggy there. The idea of this job is to have a place to dump yard waste north of the road where I'm less likely to get stuck, but as wet as the weather has been lately the whole place is pretty boggy. I hope we'll get two or three weeks of dry weather, not just for this, but for the wheat. We don't need another disaster like last year when most of the wheat was a total loss because of the wet weather.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
After a trace of rain in the morning, the rest of the day was dry. The pasture was still wet but less squishy. This afternoon I continued the brush and tree removal. Some of it involved Osage orange, which requires going a little slower because of the thorns.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Today it was more of the same, cutting up branches. Another session or two should clear the way for the truck to get to the dump pile.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Excellent! In only an hour this afternoon I finsihed clearing the way for the truck to get to the dump pile. There are a few branches to trim, but the way is open, and none too soon. The truck is full of trimmings to dump. I'll get to that in the morning, before the day heats up. Zeke and Miss Kitty came out and hung around while I worked. I'm pretty pleased with the way Zeke has turned out. He's a friendly dog, but he doesn't seem to feel the need to wander like some of the previous critters. I usually find him waiting for me when I get home from work.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Well, I drove my truck full of branches down the new road to the dump pile but couldn't back up to the pile to unload. The ground was still too wet and slick for the truck to get any traction. I recruited a neighbor to drive the tractor and we got the truck back to the pile, I unloaded it, and we pulled it back up to drier ground. At least the road is open and I can use it if the ground ever dries out enough. With that main part of the job done, I spent the rest of the day clearing a loop at the end of the road so I can drive down and return without having to back up. I spent the evening on a trip down to Ponca City to buy some new boots. My current ones are wearing out after three and a half years. After a nice dinner at the Royal China, I got home about sundown, just in time to get this picture: