Thursday, 30 October 2008

Men at work!

Today the place was alive with the sound of saws, hammers and a backhoe and swarming with busy guys! I am totally impressed with how fast things can get done with the right combination of skills and tools. I used to be more into leisurely messing about with hand tools, but we are learning that it pays to just hire the man and machine power. We are having some badly needed work done on the homestead.

The most important project is a snow roof to preserve our ageing mobile home. I used to joke that while they are not made to last centuries, neither are we. But we do intend to keep going for another twenty years or so, and the place has been showing serious signs of strain. Husband Chris has been doing a heroic job shoveling the snow off the roof in winter, but it is time for more drastic measures.

I used to resist the idea of a snow roof because I didn't like the looks of them. Well, that can change. I never liked the looks of fenced-in gardens either, but now all I see is the joy of a deer-proofed vegetable patch! So this roof will mean sturdy shelter, and the ugly vertical poles can be a trellis for something flowering.

The other project is the revival of the chicken facilities. I would like to start a laying flock again. Alas, the fence around the outside run had fallen apart. Untreated poles made from local trees will eventually just rot. I also want to bury chickenwire a foot down all the way around to discourage digging critters.

The project included taking down some trees that used to be handy as fenceposts, but they got too big and were shading the veggie garden. That is the ultimate sin a tree can commit. Sorry trees, but the garden was there first.

We ended up with one guy on the roof, and three clearing away the trees. You have no idea of the mess that one fallen tree leaves behind. In other years we had some selective logging done with a team of horses. It took days to clear away the slash after the main trunks were hauled away.

This time our friend Neil with his intrepid little blue bobcat dragged all the trunks to one place close to the old house and neatly piled all the slash, ready for burning one of these days. Then he dug a trench complete with post holes for the future chicken run. Less than 4 hours of men and machine time for work that would have cost WEEKS of backbreaking human labour.
Son Alex is temporarily living in the old house, which is still heated with wood. He is getting handy with a chainsaw.

Here's a toast to men with machines!

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