Sunday, January 15, 2017

The List is Growing

The list of projects around the ranch was overwhelming when we moved in.  We methodically got to work, starting with the most pressing issues and working our way down.  We had finally reached the point of "would be nice" projects; instead of "urgent" such as water leaking through the ceiling.

And then the storm hit.  Although, our property held up pretty well with the streams filling, but not rising above their banks, we did sustain some damage.

And, of course, there was already the issue of having to do something about predators getting into the chicken pen.  Here is our little flock of three: two hens (you can see the tip of the tail of one behind the back post) and Calvin, the rooster.

And, then there is the family of rats that built a nest under the hen house and have now moved inside -- making a big nest in one of the nesting boxes.  I poked the nest with a stick and three rats ran out, up the walls, and into the rafters -- where they watched me destroy the nest.

We finally got a break in the rain -- four days of cold sunshine.  Brett has been busy putting chicken wire over the entire chicken run.  Saturday we worked outside all day -- I was busy pruning the orchard and my roses while Brett wrestled with chicken wire.

Of course, there is the matter of the fallen oak tree.  Brett put up new fence rails and we moved the girls back into their pasture.  Pistol has been picking her way through the twigs and brambles to get to the big limbs, where she nibbles on the moss that covered much of the tree.  Lucy followed her in but didn't like the feeling of all the branches around her legs -- and didn't seem to like the taste of moss as much as Pistol.  Mostly, they have been enjoying the sun.  All the animals are doing a lot of this.

The rain also made a mess of our driveway, which was on the "list" but under "would be nice" and not urgent.  It isn't urgent now, but its definitely made its way up the list.  The driveway is paved with asphalt and is full of dips and mended holes.  It looked... shall we say, rustic.  Now, it is missing a chunk, the sides have eroded and there are pot holes.  So, this summer we will have to have that fixed.

The biggest damage, other than losing the trees (the oak took out two trees when it fell, plus pushed another partway over), is our bridge.  The bridge crosses the stream and connects the house and barn side of the stream to the girls pasture and compost piles.  We cross the bridge with the horses, going back and forth to the barn.  Brett crosses the bridge with his tractor when he moves compost.  And, there are times when he needs to take his truck across as well.  The bridge has always been narrow, with room for the tractor but not really wide enough for his truck.  Now, the sides have eroded -- on both sides of the retaining wood sides and there is a deep hole dead center.

Brett spent most of last night, awake, thinking of the best way to re-build the bridge. He is hoping to finish up the chicken coop before the next storm hits on Wednesday.  The next dry spell after that will be dedicated to the bridge.

Project Priority List:
1. Chicken coop
2. Bridge
3. Upstairs bathroom (already gutted, we decided to remodel it before the big storm hit)
4. Tree removal (this will take years)
5. Driveway

Lucy is interested, as always, in our activities.  Nosy thing that she is.