Tag Archives: moving

The time of the fledglings

In addition to the local young woodpecker, who continues to flop around the house with no fear and seems to never get more than five feet off the ground, I found this little guy on our path.

I surprised the whole family, I suppose, as there were three full size robins flapping around in the trees, panicking and screeching.  The chick, size of a guinea chick, let me walk right up.

It doesn´t seem to have a lot of lift.  It seemed a big achievement to make it up on the stick pile, and then it flap flap flap! Coasted down into the field.  I wonder if this is the first day out of the nest. 

 

There´s a woodpecker zooming backing and forth from in front of the beehive to over the poplars behind the pigs.  She´s as regular as a transatlantic flight and obviously is tending a nest at one end of the flight path, or the other.

Meanwhile, back in the livestock zone:

It´s a pig´s life.  The pigs are happy to lounge in the shade. 

The Oreo mom insists on being inside the pig fence.  She´s mastered jumping up and through, where the holes in the fence are bigger, while the babies flow right through.

She´s out there now, smack in the middle of pigland.  She found a shady spot she likes.

I guess the pigs have proved that they won´t hurt her or her chicks.  At least she´s not worried.  They are 15´away sleeping off a big meal of milk  in the pig house.

Now I can´t electrify the fence if she´s making a habit of this.  Which is ok.  The fence is off more often than on these days.  The pigs and I have an agreement.  If I meet all their needs, they are perfectly content to stay in the fence.  Which means they are really in charge.  They´re simple girls, though.  They want shade, water – poured in the bowl and over their heads, variety, food before they get too hungry, and sometimes a scratch.

Funny how the birds make decisions.  Or is it the chicks?  Oreo mom has been all independent and  furtive, always hiding in shrubs and drifting out into the pasture, towards the pigs where only  the guineas roam, while Blondie mom has went her way the opposite direction and rejoined the Colonel´s main tribe.  Hey, I had some chicks!

Moving the Oinkers

The first thing you´ll notice is how they´ve grown!  The pigs got BIG, just like that.  Just, one day, they couldn´t be called pig-lets anymore.

They still enjoy a good sprint, they´re just…big.  Growing fast.

We´ve been shifting them along with their sheep/chicken fence.

It´s very gratifying to see them start rummaging joyously in whatever´s new and green.  It won´t be green for long.

It was hot day, so I couldn´t cut them off from their latest wallow.  I put a loop in the fence to contain their latest dig.  We´ll just have to accept that they´re going to dig a crater at every stop.

This one is quite large.  Quite deep.  Almost square.  The perfect size for one pig.

A little bit awkward to climb out of.

Until another pig comes along.

 

Can I get in there now?

Surprisingly, they both kind of fit.

This is just before they had a big fight, one with no winner, that looked like two water balloons trying to escape from a taco shell.  There isn´t room to wrestle in the wallow.

On the other side of the fence, the chickens wasted no time moving  in where the pigs had been, checking out the pig pallet.

Playing queen of the haystack.

And doing some wallowing of their own.

Moving House

The wretched old farmhouse is getting moved across the field to a new home.

Surprisingly on schedule (our third year here), we’re getting the old building moved off of its very sketchy “foundation” (six cinder blocks) and off of the eroded wet hole that it stands over, in favour of level ground.

If we let it go any longer, it’s going to fall over or rot.

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Before. Jacked up and set on skids, but still on the eroded hole.

Let me just say at the outset:  I know, I know, it would be cheaper and easier to knock this thing down and build a new one.   (It’s the first thing everybody says).

It would. I know.

I think I’m saving the house for purely sentimental reasons.  It’s over 100 years old, it’s the only remaining structure from the once flourishing and now completely non-existent turn-of-the-century gold mining community that once populated this corner of Nova Scotia, and I don’t want to be the one to tear it down, although that would make more sense in many ways.

We don’t even have a plan for it, just that we’re going to start with a basic rescue.

Before moving time, HW took out the central brick chimney, before the chimney fell through the floor and took some of the house with it.  The chimney wasn’t salvageable, because it took a couple of jogs, so could never have a liner inserted.

A neighbour of ours is contracted to move it.

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Tractor glamour shot

Initially he jacked it up, put two 8x8s under it, and under those, 4x10s, supported by cribbing set up in the muddy hole.

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Before initial move

That gave enough support to roll the house off of the hole and onto the planks set in the solid ground.

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Off the hole

Some problems arose at that point.  One gable wall is in serious trouble, having had structural members cut out for windows (?) and not having been reframed properly, so the whole wall decided to “burst” outward, threatening the roof.

We more or less tied it back together with come-alongs and a winch and bracing, to hold the rafters from spreading, and take this broken wall along for the ride.  It’s going to need to be completely reframed.  There turned out to be no header over either window.  This wall was never going to make it.

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Since the house has now proved too fragile to move like “normal”, by dragging across the ground on skids, he’s continuing to roll it on 1.5″ pipe rollers, under the skids on heavy planks.img_4487img_4484

This is time consuming, as every few feet you have to collect the pipes that spit out the back and move them to the front, and also move the (v heavy) planks to the front.  The house wants to drift sideways off of its planks, so he has to jack it up to adjust its heading periodically, plus the intended direction is not quite a straight line, so he’s slowly turning it.

Although it’s slow, the house just glides along when it rolls.

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It’s now past the leaning woodshed (we aren’t going to save that)

Moving day for the dog. Hilarity ensues.

It was time to move the dog house from its temporary location over to by our house.

Since the dog house, large, for a large dog, weighed about 300lbs, this meant taking it all apart, carrying the frame through the woods, and putting it back together.

First thing, the steel roof came off.

This made the dog very nervous.  He settled into the house like an Occupy protester and started dealing out morose looks.

IMGP8383Next, the sides started coming off, until we were down to the stick frame.

Perhaps I should explain that the dog is very attached to his house.  He loves it.   I’m not sure why he’s so attached, but it’s his happy sanctuary.  He visibly relaxes when he retreats to his house.  He keeps a select few favorite bones in there with him, and he gets a little worked up when I get in there to fold his blankets.

But it needs to move with us, so a little renovation is in order.

We took his blankets out and made a spot for him aside from the dog house.  He elected to stay in the house.

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Finally, we had to make him get out of the house, and sit on his blankets.  He did that with all the joy of a hunger strike.

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Are you going to take my blankets away, too?

We moved the house frame to its new spot, every step anxiously supervised, and the moment we dropped it in place, guess what?

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Then we brought over all the pieces, reassembled, and insulated his house.

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Now we have matching Tyvek houses

He’s still not sure about us.  Now he knows what we’re capable of.

Upheaved

I’ve been gone on a long blog hiatus, as I sometimes do, but this time, I have a better excuse than usual.

Due to bureaucratic whim/circumstances beyond our control, we were suddenly required to uproot and completely relocate at the end of March.  Moving stock and barrel is rough at the best of times, but to have to do it quickly and unexpectedly, with no warning, is traumatizing.

We managed.  It was exhausting, frazzling, and affirming.  We got unexpected help and had wonderful things happen to offset the difficulty, but the whole experience was more or less on par with eating a solid dropkick.  I’ve been doing the emotional equivalent of  sitting and blinking like a lizard suddenly exposed to light ever since, but I’m recovering the faculty of movement, optimism, and the sense that everything is turning out for the best.  For a long while we were just telling ourselves and each other that it would surely turn out for the best, while the present moment was most definitely sucking.

Coming so soon on the heels of completing the barn reno made the title of this blog post cruelly ironic.  Since I’d expected to be able to enjoy the finished barn suite/home for at least a little while, having to leave it abruptly on the eve of completion was sad and painful.  Now our next fixer-upper is an 11′ long little project.

Now I live in the USA.  We are temporarily settled into a corner of the Pacific Northwest, staying with friends who are living and studying sustainable agriculture, so there is an abundance of poultry, mulch, and weeding to make us feel at home.

Forth!  Blogging on this channel will resume shortly….

Phew

Survived the move.  The last couple days of moving were terribly hard, and the two after driving away passed in a daze of aftershock.  An awful lot to do in the days after, so I couldn’t just collapse into a three day nap, although life is much simpler in a 14’ camper.

Two days left to move.

Did a tiny batch of canning today with the last hours of stove ownership.  Gorgeously blood red plums and some pears, although found peeling the green pears terribly tedious.

Kevin showed her first signs of alarm when the fridge left.  I got the WTF meows and tail-twitching suspicious staring at the place where the fridge was.  I was surprised at this.  Whole house has been in furious uproar for weeks and whole rooms are totally emptied.  Even her favorite recliner got taken away, but no, it’s the fridge’s disappearance that gets noticed.  She doesn’t even get fed out of it.  She just sits in front of the door and gets whacked with it several times a day.

And so: a moment of humour.  I didn’t do it!  I just walked in and saw this and tried to get the picture before I died laughing.  She’s still sound asleep in the After picture.

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After.
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Before.

Organization glory

How daunting, overwhelming, and energetically crushing is the sight of a jumbled heap of “stuff” that is patently un-useful unless it is united with others of its kind (loaded bobbins, batteries, etc).  For instance, I never think, “I really need a blue Sharpie.  I’m gonna look in that shoebox of half-finished sudokus, mixed tapes, and not-quite-empty vitamin bottles that’s in the back of the closet.”   No, I’m gonna look in the box of office supplies, and if the blue Sharpie hasn’t found its multi-coloured cousins there, it’s SOL.

Packing continues.

This means, hauling out those dusty embarrassing boxes of junk compilations that provoke soul-searching questions like “What was wrong with me that I sheltered this in my valuable mortgaged home for years?” and returning the pens that still work, the profligate hair elastics, and the errant sewing notions to their proper locations.

And that, it turns out, is shockingly satisfying.  Continue reading Organization glory

Knee surgery

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This blackberry climbs the house with determination EVERY year. Even though it’s beautiful, I think it might damage the roof. Each spring and fall, we rip it all down, redirect it over its approved trellis, but no. The roof is the place to be.

Personally I’m sick to death of the saga of my knee, three major surgeries and a couple minors later, but anyways, an update.

Recovery from this, most major invasion, in which surgeon addressed about 5 different malfunctioning aspects of my damaged joint, is very, very slow.

Upsides: previously unimagined hours spent online, sleep requirements upwards of 12 hours/day, getting waited on and told to stay still.  Downsides: dizziness rising from prolonged inactivity, loss of muscle tone, and limited activity, to say the least.

I feel like I’m melting away, getting so small, but fitting my tiniest clothes is a small consolation for no longer being able to protect myself from a hummingbird.

I can do almost no strengthening yet bc of trauma and swelling, and this last week it’s developed a very alarming new locking-randomly-with-pain-when-attempt-straightening feature.  Not a meniscus thing, but a strange new tissue/muscle thing (I can tell these things by now).  So the hot, heavy foam brace is back on and I stump around like Quasimoto and can be quite effective.  For about four hours.

Unfortunately, this recovery coincides with harvest, summertime, and a moving deadline.  The vacancy date looms, but  it looks like we’ll manage.

Cat contentment

Shouldn’t have worried about Kevin coping with the move.  What with all the shuttling of boxes and stuff, the removal of furniture including her favorite chair, and the general furor, I thought she might feel insecure and fear being abandoned.

In fact, she’s actually become more content.  I suppose these days more closely resemble the construction zone atmosphere prevalent in the last 6 years (which she was quite at home with), than the rigid and sterile home-on-display-for-sale stasis of the past 6 months (which caused much confused querulous meowing: “What, no power tools?  Too quiet around here.”).

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...caught in the act of licking her lips, too

And heaven-above, during moving time, are there BOXES!  Boxes everywhere, boxes galore, boxes of all sizes to try out, new ones added daily!  Box pictured, offering ample stretching capacity, great views of food and water dishes, and overlooking possible fridge door openings, has clearly been “favorited”, so no chance of actually using it for packing.

We’ll probably carry her from the house in it.

the Great Divesting

Living conscionably has to start right now.  It’s nice to imagine a future life off-grid without flush toilets, and wearing the homespun wool of ethically raised squirrels, but generating mountains of garbage and emissions on the way from here to there is not ok.

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Although I’m still mostly flat, especially since my physio got too ambitious and set me back a week, I’ve been planning, listing, and mapping the next few weeks, aka The Great Divesting.  There’s a could-be-considered-gargantuan amount of sorting to be done, with some areas of the house gnarlier than others (basement!).  I think I’m going to tone down the scariness of it by getting a storage space temporarily.  Then the micro-sorting of stuff like papers and fabrics can be delayed until our time of homelessness.  Who wants to be sifting tax-deductible receipts when there’s a whole house to get thru yet?

Continue reading the Great Divesting