Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Before and After - The Outdoor Version

We have so many messes to clean up outside, and this is the year I'm hoping to tackle most of these eyesores.  It's hard to appreciate in the above photo, but had I not taken out the thistles and burdock growing in this area, they would have reached the top of the frame by the time July rolled around.  This tumble-down 2x4 structure, complete with shredded plastic that flaps crazily in the wind, formed some semblance of chicken coop in times of yore.  Overrun with weeds and one impossible-to-kill Manitoba maple, this area was hard to keep clean because of the wooden 2x4 structure that formed the base.  You can't even tell it's there, as weeds and grass have already covered it, but it prevented me from being able to run the mower through.

I've been meaning to take my biggest crowbar and tear the structure down, and on Sunday morning I had my chance.  The weather was a bit overcast and the temperature was just right.  Despite the fact the mosquitoes were out in droves, I armed myself with my trusty Dewalt saw, a hammer, a crowbar, some pliers, and went to town.

We've been using the old chicken coop on the right-hand side as a repository for some "bad" firewood we wanted to segregate from our "good" firewood we keep in the woodshed which stands to the left.  This "bad wood" is not really bad; it's just our vernacular for wood that's not the greatest for heating in the dead of winter, but good enough to take the chill off some of the colder evenings we've had this spring.  The stump serves as a chopping block, and I'm not sure if Eric still needs to chop more of our bad wood, so I left it there as a courtesy.  I really should have rolled it into the chicken coop, but I'll get around to that when I seed this area later.
I couldn't be more excited to have this eye-sore cleaned up.  I don't care if it's not super-mega landscaped perfection.  My goal isn't to make the cover page of Martha Stewart's Living magazine.  It's clean, OK?  There are no more man-eating killer weeds in here, and that's what counts.  

Believe it or not, it took me the better part of the day to dismantle everything, pry out all the nails, cut everything to wood-stove size, and remove all the weeds.  There are 2 big rocks partly buried in here.  They're sticking out just far enough to take a chink out of my lawnmower blades, so I've asked Eric to remove them with the backhoe.  He's reluctant to do this, because he thinks they're HUGE, but my reasoning is we won't know until we start to dig.  Maybe they're puny and a few shovelfuls of earth will fill the remaining hole?  Anyhow, we can put it on the bottom of the honey-do list. Same goes for removing the Manitoba maple stump - the dang thing keeps making suckers, and it's going to take a lot of tough-love to discourage its growth without resorting to chemical warfare.  I'll keep my clippers handy and stay on top of it this summer.  With enough abuse, it'll give up.  Later this week, I'll grab my landscaping rake, sow some grass seed, and pray to the sod gods for quick germination and good ground cover.  We still need to pull the metal stake out which must've been rammed about 3 feet into the ground.  Eric said he'd use a chain and the backhoe to remove it, but I think with one good rain, I'll be able to wiggle it free.

Eventually we'll need to tear down both sheds, but right now each serve their purpose as storage, and each gives us grandfather rights to rebuild them.  We're not quite sure which form our new garage/shed will take, but one thing is sure, it won't be small.  I've got a laundry list as long as my arm, considering we don't have a basement, attic or attached garage in our house.  Our new garage will have room for all of our wood-storage, our cars, maybe even the tractor, and hopefully a little loft.  I need to mention room for our drill press, because I'd love to get it out of the living room, and a decent workbench, because what we've kludged in the woodshed is not cutting it right now.  This is why we have a lumber-yard in our living room, and I know I'd love to regain control of our living space over the next decade without tripping over tools and projects, wood or otherwise.

I'd love to get some chickens.  And some mini goats and a donkey and some alpacas and a pair of draft horses.

And then I want a little green house, and a swimming pool and a water garden.  Not necessarily in that order.

Although my wants are long, my needs are little.  I've got all I need already.

But daydreaming about these projects while swinging a crowbar is what keeps me sane and motivated.  It's one nugget of wisdom I've learned over the years.  Doesn't cost anything - this overly active imagination - as my father would say.

That and the fact a drill press can be transformed into a Christmas tree with enough garland and lights.  I've learned that, too.


Robin said...

HAAAaaaaaaahahaaaaa! Ok I shouldn't laugh but you have good wood and bad wood too. And a lumber yard in your living room just like me. All I need is a drill press in my living room and you need a table saw in yours and our houses will match completely.

Right now we have a huge tile saw box riding around in our car back seat. It's been there since we bought it because I have no idea where to put it in the house with all the other tools taking up space. lol

Shim Farm said...

Oh hahahahaha right back at you! How many times have we put the seats down in the car to accommodate something, and just left it in the car out of desperation?

I am so happy you understand the concept of good wood vs. bad wood! I am sure we're not the only ones!

One day I might tell you about the drum set I had sitting in the middle of the living room, and the drafting table upstairs that is so huge, it could seat a family of 8. I'll trade you the table saw for them ANYDAY! LOL...

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