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End of the Road Farm

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    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    Propane isn’t quite as “solid” as I’d hoped.

    What issues?

    Profile photo of Mountain Momgramma

    Cost and availability. After 3 weeks of calling, saying it was time to fill my tank (per their stds)… I only had 10% left when they put 787 gals in. You don’t know want to know how much that cost.

    And that was just for the one month it was so danged cold here in WV. AND I was burning wood to supplement the heat.

    Once I’m past some OTHER Ps In M A, that I’m dealing with now, I’ll be addressing buying the tank and shopping for another source. And also having both furnaces evaluated for efficiency.

    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    You don’t know want to know how much that cost.

    I have a 1000 gallon tank, but it’s for primarily for stove and
    Generator. So I only fill up when prices are low.

    What kind of furnace? Forced hot air?


    What are others using?

    Profile photo of Mountain Momgramma

    Back now. House is forced hot air; timber frame & log. Garage studio has a combo furnace – gas forced hot air but a firebox to burn wood instead of propane. I hear two different things about how efficient that one is. Insulation in that building is probably minimum. I didn’t address that building last year. Maybe this summer.

    Just about everything in the house is propane. I’m planning to replace the gas dryer with electric. My power bill is surprisingly low here… but again, that’s because of the number of things that are propane fueled.

    I just need to reassess efficiency, make a few building modifications – and potentially replace the garage/studio furnace. Last summer, I replaced doors/windows and completely took out 5 windows in the west cathedral wall – and two doors in the living room (there were 5 doors on the main floor originally – LOL). It has made a big difference in how much the furnace runs. I think it was just THAT cold here… that long (about a month).

    Profile photo of Mountain Momgramma

    Time flies when you’re busting your butt and dealing with weather.

    Taking a break this morning. Work has shifted outdoors, now, although I do have a flooring re-do for downstairs scheduled tentatively for July. Carpet is simply NOT practical at a ground level used constantly as an entrance.

    So let’s see, I’ve done all the paperwork to put the new acreage into the forestry management program. Should get a tax break out of that. Still waiting on the state & the forester to come do an “inventory” and write the plan. I still to find someone to cut trees into logs for firewood for me. I got a splitter that will make smaller pieces of wood and I’m still splitting kindling by hand. Wood shed needs built, too. Yes, I’m starting now for next winter.

    Getting power run to the garden barn. I won’t be using lights at night that much, but it’s handy to have them and especially outlets for charging batteries, etc. Water hydrant out there is dry as death valley, not even any noise; so next week we start investigating why. (I’ve also spotted some springs down in the back 40 that might could be developed too.) I’ve eliminated the possibility that there are two wells here, so it’s just a matter of figuring out what was done when it was all put in.

    The ranger got a big brother a week ago. I got a Bobcat 590 skid steer. Bucket, rock/root grapple, auger. I’m probably going to have to go back & get rock teeth for the bucket and the digging bucket. I’m calling it my “force multiplier” for getting the more physically demanding projects in a timely fashion without killing myself trying to move things that are just too heavy for me. (I’ve already had the crap scared out of me with safety lectures, thanks. I’m going to practice first and get comfortable with the controls before getting into work with it.)

    This way, I’ll be less dependent on “waiting for help” and since I don’t have to explain what I want… I can just go do. It’s a long term investment that will let me do a lot of things in the back 40, too, from moving large rocks for… ummm… traffic control… and building projects, to terracing some of the hills to manage erosion, irrigation, etc.

    On the slope around the house parking area, I’m using concrete block, rebar and weed cloth for “kitchen beds”. Easy to access from the house for the usual herbs and such. Planting herbs around the boulders too – medicinals. If I have likely good spots down in the back 40, I might try to get some ginseng started too. The focus is mostly on perrenials, so I have 10 rosa rugosa to put in. The auger will help with all those holes in shale/rock. At least to get the hole started. Rugosa’s rose hips are a great source of vit C. They’ll also help feed bees and form a prickly hedge. I’m starting to develop the “perimeter inside the perimeter inside the perimeter” plan.

    Oh… the field at the bottom of the back 40 should be excellent for shooting. I think I can even get 1000 yds out of it; maybe more. The hunters are still around… and supposedly trading “help” around here for hunting rights. Keeping the deer down around here, will help with letting new trees come up back there.

    And I just saw a notice in last week’s paper for a county “Emergency Amateur Radio” net. Been looking at antenna locations… once the flooring is done, I can organize/set up/get the ham shack situated.

    And the kids think I’m bored and lonely out here all by myself. LOL….

    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    I got a Bobcat 590 skid steer…

    Cool, that will certainly help. Take your time using it and don’t let yourself get too used to it, rushing and complacency is when most mishaps occur.

    Yea, retirement is so boring! (Sarcasm)

    I sometimes wonder about retiring from retirement. ;-)

    Profile photo of zeerfzeerf

    Sounds like things are coming along nicely, great to hear! Will have to check out those rosa rugosa also.

    Profile photo of Mountain Momgramma

    Monsoon summer continues out here. When it’s not raining cats & dogs, it’s too hot & humid for this old lady to do much – and it turns out that I’m still an “all you eat buffet” for mosquitos and no-see-ums when I forget my spray.

    My D (40 yrs old) is here for a bit after the end of her contract work and end of a long term relationship. On balance, that’s a good thing. She’s split & stacked all the wood that was cut last year to work out her frustrations. :D She’s in prep mode for a 6000 mi cross country road trip with her dog in a ’77 Pontiac that she hopes to complete in 3 weeks. The optimism of youth! LOL. But she’s experienced, can wrench on her own vehicle for most things, and didn’t start driving on her own until she promised to keep tools & fluids, etc in her trunk.

    The “power to the barn” project is one step away from being completed. Electrician and son were caught by the July 4th storm out there, wiring up the interior. We’re waiting for 3 days in a row WITHOUT rain to trench the line to the meter panel. Haven’t gotten it yet.

    I have a big puddle out there, as I’ve been grading 6-10 ft away from the building with the bobcat. I still can’t see really well from inside the cab, so I need to remediate the grade, which isn’t letting the water drain at that corner… which also has a vein of clay in it.

    Backhoe buddy has spread a good bit of shale on the driveway and it’s holding up much better in the downpours than gravel did. Driveway is long and very steep at the gate… so since purchasing the additional land gets me a longer frontage on the road, I’ve mapped out a way to decrease the angle of the slope and make it slightly more navigable in snow… and STOP the worst of the runoff in downpours.

    (Joe, it’s been like a tropical storm or nor’easter here every single week since the end of April. UNHEARD OF amounts of rain here.)

    This week has been super busy. Mon-Tues was replacing carpet downstairs with vinyl laminate hardwood style flooring. Great stuff and I can mop up the mud the dog & we track in. Wed-Thurs, I had 97 trees cut out of the new path of the driveway, 3 big piles of mulch from the smaller branches, and everything else cut in rounds to split. Apparently the size of that pile has totally demoralized and depressed my wood splitter – which won’t run and now won’t start. D & tree guys did some troubleshooting on it, but she won’t try just adding some sta-bil to the gas tank… like the head tree guy and I suggested. It may very well NOT fix it, but it’s an easy thing to try. I’ll deal with it after she heads out for TN (her first stop).

    My “chaperone” – the hunter who helped watch over this place till I bought it – had a terrible motorcycle accident a month ago. Severed his spine among other injuries. He’s doing rehab in Atlanta and last I heard he MIGHT be getting some feeling back below the waist. His sense of humor is intact and he’s working his butt off to get some mobility back again. Hope to see him during hunting season with his buddies.

    I’m so glad I didn’t decide to wait till this year to replace the windows and doors – or get a wild hair to replace the roof. (Which is on the to-do list, along with adding more insulation up there.) The rosa rugosa STILL haven’t been planted – I’m holding them temporarily in some dirt, but it looks like I’m going to need a better “holding bed” for them to overwinter. Delays due to weather have totally messed with my plans… and at this point, I’d like to just be snowed in for a week or two. I’m TIRED of trying to fight it right now.

    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    (Joe, it’s been like a tropical storm or nor’easter here every single week since the end of April. UNHEARD OF amounts of rain here.)

    Relatively speaking it hasn’t been that bad here, but it is closer to the way Florida weather was 30+years ago.

    We have lakes, ponds, streams, and swamps that haven’t had water levels (some were dry) like this since I was young. My camp is effectively on a island now and I couldn’t be happier.

    There is a “rails to trails” bike path I enjoy a few times a month that has a section under a good two feet of water for maybe 30 yards. I get some funny looks when I pedal right through it while others are turning around. ;-)

    Anyway it sounds like your making progress, which is good. We almost never make the progress we planned.

    The heat will cool down before we know it.

    Profile photo of Mountain Momgramma

    3 days in a row wasn’t long enough to dry up the puddle at the corner of the barn; and the back of the barn was swampy. But last week, we only had one little shower in 5 days. So yesterday, I figured I’d better not squander the opportunity and now have basic grade all the way around the barn. That wet corner is full of clay – and is like quicksand. I’ll start dumping shale in there to firm it up and deal with one more problem later. I need a “spa day” – LOL.

    D’s made it to Portland; had a 3-4 day layover with friends in Santa Fe while she connected with a guy about work. I figure she’ll think about heading back on Tues/Wed this week. So between now and the time she gets back, I need to get some yard work done.

    Joe, you got any dogs that need or are ready to rehome yet? I have survived the D’s puppy so far. He likes sticks – and is so proud of himself because he pulled a 6 ft long branch up the steps, to the landing leading to the porch. He mulches it. Who knew pitbulls were retreivers?

    I’m thinking I want something with a calm personality; calm, cool and calculating. LOL. The hyper, spazz, always needs attention/play of the puppy makes me crazy. But he HAS learned “the look” I give him, when I need him to chill.

    Profile photo of JohnnyMacJohnnyMac


    In our house “chill” is actually a command word, using the hang loose hand signal:


    I always find dogs respond better to body language/hand signals, which is probably how he learned your “look”

    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    Joe, you got any dogs that need or are ready to rehome yet?

    Right now I only have my own pack. So I am down to five.

    My latest addition is a senior female GSD.

    In her day she was a real “bad ass” Schutzhund 3 (SchH3) trained/titled. She’s thirteen so on occasion you see the K9 she was, but now is mainly enjoying retirement. Her handler was a friend and veteran, but he died of cancer. His family was fine to keep the much younger trained male.

    With no one interested in her I stepped in to provide her a much deserved home.

    I’m thinking I want something with a calm personality; calm, cool and calculating. LOL.

    Have you checked if there are any fostering opportunities in your area? This can be a excellent way to (for lack of a better term) test drive a dog for your home while not making a permanent commitment.

    If you wanted to consider this route I can give you some good pointers to consider.

    JohnnyMac, combining body language/hand signals with verbal commands is always a good idea and once understood provides more options for different situations. Most people get a kick out of seeing my dogs obeying hand signals alone.

    Profile photo of Mountain Momgramma

    Well, I guess I’m not talking anyone’s ear off given it’s so long since my last update. Not much WORK going on in the winter, except keeping up with the woodpile, cleaning stoves, etc. And trying to plan.

    Priorities this year are to TRY (weather permitting) to get the garden situated & planted. It’s probably a good thing I’ve had more time to re-evaluate the drainage situation, think about growing under cover, etc. I have changed my mind on some things.

    We have been sorting out the studio space this winter, as well – and now have 4 sewing machines between us. (The D is planning on building a house on the property.) I’m streamlining – purging – as much as possible to make working with all our various tools more functional. Not getting as much target practice in, but spring, I suppose will come someday. D wants to get a concealed carry class under her belt, and I know I need a refresher. One weather forecast says we can get 5-8 in of white stuff, with ice next week. Joy.

    Monday, I’m meeting someone here to get an assessment on a generator. There’s a list already of what I “need” and “what would be nice”. I miss the whole house generator I had at the beach. Ole reliable diesel engine. My needs aren’t as huge here, so the 1000 gal propane tank I want to dedicate to it, should last a good bit. Yeah, it’s overkill for the weather-related outages we have here but in a grid-down situation of any kind, it’ll buy me some time to get back-up ducks in a row.

    Also been dogsitting a lot for D, since she has a new beau… and he has a chocolate lab. The difference between the two personalities is opposite ends of the scale. LOL, I think the lab is a lot more my speed.

    The entropy in the institutional systems that have made the country “work well” seems to be converging. All the various things on my “threat radar” from economic, social, weather, etc seem to be rolling together downhill. I think I’ll be pouring a larger concrete pad for the generator; big enough that I can also mount the tower/ham antenna I have picked out. Then, I can relearn everything I’ve forgotten on that topic… since being busy with so much other stuff.

    Well, it’s supposed to start snowing again pretty soon… and I have to go get another of wood and split kindling… I had twice as much wood this winter, than last year – thanks to D being almost as much a machine as the log splitter. But it’s not where I use it…

    and that’s another thing I’ve realized lately, is that there is a reason old farmsteads had the functional outbuildings so close. When the weather’s foul, it minimizes steps on ice/snow and still lets you take care of things.

    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    Also been dogsitting a lot for D, since she has a new beau… and he has a chocolate lab. The difference between the two personalities is opposite ends of the scale. LOL, I think the lab is a lot more my speed.

    One of the great things about fostering a dog for a few weeks or more is you get a chance to learn their real temperament and personality.

    Few dogs will be the same after a few days to a week after being removed from a kennel.

    …is that there is a reason old farmsteads had the functional outbuildings so close. When the weather’s foul, it minimizes steps on ice/snow and still lets you take care of things.

    Great observation!

    Much can be learned from how real old timers did things in your area.

    Sounds like things are coming together nicely. ;-)

    Profile photo of Weswesmc

    @gramma great to hear from you. Keep us updated on your progress.

    C2G Feb 2015, CTT March 2016, CQB June 2018

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