I started a new page for 2013. You can go here for the new pages

December 24, 2012

Ventured out to the farm to drop some thing off for use out there and also to look around to see what may have fallen over in the rain/snow/wind.

I was happy to see that (without walking all 17 acres) there was little that had noticeable damage. The Lilac bush did suffer and is now just half of its prior self.

Lilac in the front yard

I did notice at the end of the frontage of the property that a tree had snapped leaving a 6' stump. Amazingly, it actually fell inside the fence instead of over the fence and into the road! It was about 12" in diameter, so it will make good firewood for next year. (I didn't take a picture of it).

Not sure how much snow they actually got out here, but there was little left and I didn't even see any snow until I got to the turn off the Highway and then saw some on the sides of the road and in pastures.

Here is a few pictures from around the house:

Front/side yard Back yard

Orchard Upper Middle pasture


That was it for the trip.

November 25, 2012

This was the first thing I saw when I got outside to the back fence.

a fresh break

This is what I had seen from the window... the part that broke off.

On it's way down, it took out some branches on a larger tree that it fell beside. Had to have happened in last weeks nasty weather we had.

This one had also broken half way down, but I didn't go investigate where the other half landed.

The trees in that little wooded area are pretty tall, probably 60-plus feet, at least most of them. Glad they weren't close enough to hit the house!

Well, then I remembered that it was Sunday and football was on the television, so I sat down and watched some ball and had my lunch and watched more ball. Had to fight the boys for their couch and I ended up sitting on the recliner instead! LOL Tried to get the computer up and running but it never really worked right and dial-up is like a slow death... which is what I have out there.

In no time, night had fallen. Of course, night fall's very early at this time of the year!

Looking East Looking South

Since I hadn't slept well the night before coming out, I was already getting sleepy and once darkness came, I was really sleepy! I decided I didn't feel like facing the real reason I had come out to the farm and it would wait til morning.

Back tracking a little to the beginning of my arrival at the farm:
I was also annoyed that someone had put their garbage can in front of my house for pick up and then left the darned can there after it was emptied.
So, got out and moved it out of my way so I could park where I usually do, in front of the house. Had gotten parked, got the boys into the fenced yard and then noted that the garbage can had a substantial amount of water in it. So emptied that out close the the street and heard some "tinkling"... like ice. Thought to myself "boy, it must have really gotten cold out here last night".
Put the can inside the fenced yard so it wouldn't go rolling around and started hauling stuff into the house from the car. Upon my last trip out I noticed that the "ice" wasn't ice at all, it was friggin' glass shards!
So, not wanting my tires to end up in it at any time, I started picking it up... whereupon I also found about a dozen or so 1 1/2" wood screws (you know, the pointy ones) and some large nails. Boy, was I ticked to say the least. I think I got it all cleaned up and put it back into that garbage can.
Now, I had told my across the street neighbor that she could put a can out in front of my house if I hadn't put one out (which I hadn't), since they were doing a lot of cleaning in prep of moving... which they have. But I didn't give anyone else permission to use my garbage account and that just really ticks me off that someone took it upon themselves to do so. (The neighbor moved a few weeks ago).

Okay... that tantrum is over now, thank you for listening! LOL

To continue on the journey, Click here


September 29, 2012

Goodness! It's been almost 6 weeks since I blogged about the farm! Oh, that's right... I've been busy at the Portland house and my faithful helper went on a cruise and visiting relatives! Oh well, here we are again!

When we first arrived to the farm I heard this faint kitty meowing in the distance and we followed it to outside the fence where the blackberry bushes were pretty thick and, of course, overgrown. Fearing that the furry bundle might be injured or stuck in there somewhere we set about cutting down the berry brambles, pulling them out of the way, and following the meows... but, we never found the source, it seemed to be moving around, and it stopped meowing... so, we turned our attention to the business at hand... slave labor!

A bit later, can't remember how long later, this lovely little lady made herself known, out in the open, on the opposite side of the house from where we first heard her.
I'm sure she belongs at the neighbors house, she came up to me when I sat down on the ground and nearly climbed in my lap. She appeared well cared for and not a stray. When she was done with my attention, she then went over to David so she could get some lovin' from him too.

Okay, back to the toil of the day.
The little ATV started up pretty easily and worked hard when she was running. That little thing pulled some heavy (and not so heavy) bundles of branches and old lumber to where it will all become one with nature again.

Yes, you heard me right... "when she was running"... LOL It did conk out a few times and after awhile and with some tinkering, would start again. Not sure what that's all about as I am not a mechanic. We each made a few trips up and down the hills hauling branches by hand... while the ATV was "resting".... great workout for the butt and thighs... but not so appealing in any other way! LOL

During one of the ATV's annoying "down times", frustration got the better of me and so I went and got the Rav 4.
With great difficulty, I am not a good backer-upper, I managed to back it up the small hill into the gated area and we hooked it up to a bundle of branches that I had "bundled"... unfortunately, the bundle sorta fell apart during travel because I didn't tie it up very well. So, the branches slipped out of the rope and he ended up with one small branch that he was hauling! Oops. (blush). That mess was cleaned up manually.
So, I wanted to haul out a particularly heavy load that was closest to the house. It wasn't a huge load, just a heavy, cumbersome one that I wasn't sure the ATV could handle anyhow. Got the bundle secured with some rope and we tied it off on the car, I dropped it into 2nd gear and away I went with my booty!
When I got to my destination, David and I unhooked it all and disposed of it. Actually, he did most of the disposing.. either way, it got done and my car was fine and performed well.... except maybe the nut behind the wheel! LOL

We did go into town and got some motor oil and a new spark plug about half way through the day and checked this and that on the ATV. The new spark plug made a big difference initially. But, eventually, it would conk out again. sigh.

When David got it going, there were 3 loads left to haul away. When it got to the last load, I told David to go directly to the garage with the ATV after he dumped the load... I'd make sure the door was open and ready for him to drive inside... which he had totally agreed to and had already decided to do before I voiced it.

It was a good plan.
But, the darned thing conked out about 10 - 12 feet from the garage door, so he ended up pushing it down to and in to the garage and parking it. At least it was inside now and it didn't die where it would have to be pushed up a hill or anything!

I now need to locate an ATV mechanic that does house calls, as I have no way to take it to anywhere or bring it back.

So... the mess is all gone now. The yard looks much bigger than it did when we got there! We were both tired from all that physical labor. We got there around 10am and left about 415pm... was a long day!

Looking West Looking North

Now, I will concentrate on my planned, re-planned, and revised plans for landscaping inside the fenced area! woo hoo!!

I did notice that FINALLY the berry bushes that I sprayed two weeks ago have started dying pretty well. Good riddance!

At the end of the day, I tried to explain to David that physical labor is a good outlet to relieve the frustrations of the work week... but, he just wasn't going for that. (snicker... it works for me! Oh yeah, I am retired! LMAO)

Oh... and as I dropped David off at his house... he told me that I can't call him any more! LMAO

Good friends are hard to find.

August 5, 2012
I found these pictures from when we first moved out to the middle of no where:

1969, 1st Winter 1970, 1st Spring

I have spent the better part of the last couple days gathering information about the city of Estacada and pioneers, thereof. It was pretty interesting, particularly because it helps my conclusion that the property my parents bought belonged to William DeShields, who was the first owner. He received it via land donation probably about 1856.

Here's the whole scoop (there is more history reference below the next set of pictures, keep scrolling when you're finished here!):

Some History of Estacada, Clackamas County, Oregon

Oregon Country. . .1818 - 1846
Oregon Territory. .1848 - 1859
Oregon Statehood. .14 February 1859
Estacada first post office in 1904
Estacada Incorporated in 1905
First Census in Oregon was 1850
Land Records at Clackamas County only go back to 1851

In 1843, Philip Foster along with Dr. John McLoughlin and their associates formed the Willamette Cattle Company. In 1844, Foster built a log house and moved from Oregon City to the 800 acres of property which is now called Eagle Creek, Oregon. In 1845, a gristmill was being constructed on Goose Creek near the Foster cabin. In 1846, Sam Barlow and William Rector blazed the Barlow Trail. In 1852, the Pierce family, who traveled the Oregon Trail from Illinois, settled on a donation land claim of 322.24 acres which would later become the town of Estacada. In 1850, the only public school between Oregon City and Independence MO was the the Philip Foster District #17.

In 1902, Oregon Water, Power and Railway Company bought land along the Clackamas River with the purpose of building dams along the route for their electric trains and the city of Portland.

The name of Estacada was randomly drawn from a hat in 1903 by members of the board of the OWPR. The name is Spanish in origin, meaning “Stockade or Picket Fence” in English, according to Mirriam-Webster. Others define it as meaning “staked out or staked”.

In 1904 to 1907, the train service was extended from Sellwood, Oregon to Cazadero, Oregon which was just south of Estacada. Boring, Barton, Eagle Creek, Estacada and Cazadero towns cropped up along the route. The line ended at Cazadero.
In 1911, due to the need of Portland for more electricity, the now named Portland Railway, Light and Power Co purchased more property up the Clackamas River at Three Lynx to build another dam. The railway was used to bring logs from the railhead to Estacada and then to Portland.
Traffic on the Estacada branch ceased in the early 1940's. In 1962 SP and UP RR purchased the railroad.

A Post Office was established in Estacada in 1904 and the town was incorporated in 1905. The OWPR by that time had built and attraction in the area named “Estacada Park” along the Clackamas River to draw tourists to the area (so people would use their train) and the revenue would pay for the train and its maintenance.

The area that was the Park is now where the Community Center sits. The rock columns and the arch are now gone. There is a sign to commemorate that it had been there. The park had been built near the Hotel Estacada and consisted of river view trails, ball fields, a dance hall, gazebo for concerts and had cabin lots for sale. When River Mill Dam was built in 1911, the park became a peaceful place to relax and fish. Passenger service continued until 1932 by train.

Faraday Dam, originally named Cazadero Dam, began operation in 1907, just east of Estacada. In 1965 it was rebuilt after a flood rendered the original timber crib inoperable. This dam does not produce power, it is a diversion dam. It diverts the water to Faraday Lake, where the water flowes through the powerhouse to Estacada Lake which is a 2 mile stretch of water from Faraday to River Mill Dam.

River Mill Dam, just west of Estacada, began generating power in 1911. A fish ladder was built there in 1912 and has since been modified and improved providing fish passage up the river.

Cazadero is considered an historic site by USGS. It had its own Post Office from 1904 to 1918 which was located SE of the Cazadero Station.

Faraday, other than being a nice place to fish, I find no other historical information on it.

References for the above information:
Estacada Park

Great old pictures of the fledgling town

PGE website

Railroad story

Book, by local author on Historic Estacada

Estacada Chamber of Commerce

Abandoned Rails

Wikipedia, Cazadero

Estacada School District

Okay, that’s enough general history....

History of Cates Farm

01 October 1872 James K DeSheil sold the property to Edna and Richard Davis
28 September 1894 S.M & W.W. Davis sold the property to Frederick H Davis
14 June 1929 Frederick Davis, widower, sold the property in 1/3 portions to A.C & Lizzie Davis; Zina & Peter Rynning, and W.W. & Sarah M. Davis. (Est. 20 acres each).
09 November 1937 Charles & Lizzie Davis had the property
17 August 1945 AC & Lizzie Davis sold to Ben & Lulu Ziegler
27 July 1961 Ben Ziegler sold the property to Daisy Ziegler ½ interest for $10.00
03 January 1966 Francis Bernard (Ben) Ziegler dob 10/5/1885 died. He lived for 21 years in Estacada @ Rt 2 Box 737. Spouse Daisy Lillian (Lulu); father: Baptist Ziegler Mother: Catherine Dutterer
Fall of 1969 Dad and Mom bought the property from the Kollen’s
Early 1970's Elderly woman stopped by and said she was born in the house in 1900.

In looking at the plat map for “Indexed Early Land Ownership and Township Plats, 1785 - 1898", it shows Franklin Pierce’s property (mentioned above), which we now know is the city of Estacada, with William DeShields property just to the east of it... from which I conclude that the property and farm house my parents bought... is, in fact, part of the 320 acres of property obtained by William DeShields via a Land Donation claim. DeShields left AR around 1855 (maybe 1853) and brought his family to Oregon. DeShields and family show up on the 1856 Oregon census and the 1856 - 1859 tax rolls for Clackamas County. They are also on the 1860, 1870, and 1880 US census records for Clackamas County. These census records say that they live in Eagle Creek, but that is easily explained by changing boundry lines.

Oregon Historical records (Oregon State Archives) & Ancestry records:
1850, William and Elizabeth DeShields were living in AR on 40 acres with their family. One of their children is James Kell DeShields. Others: Pleasant, Martha M, Andrew, Amanda, Elizabeth, William, and Lemenslee.

1851 the Willamette Meridian was established and it includes all property in OR and WA

From the U.S., Indexed Early Land Ownership and Township Plats, 1785-1898, Vol 4 #1 Page 39 of Land Donation Claims, William DeShields and his wife obtain 320 acres in Clackamas County 3S-4E-22,27

1856 census shows the family to be on the Clackamas County Provisional and Territorial record #6913.
1856 - 1859 William DeShields is on the tax roll for Clackamas County Provisional and Territorial records #12275, 12275a, 12275b, & 12275c.
1857 census shows J DeShields to be on the Clackamas County Provisional and Territorial record #7990.
1857 Limenolee DeShields married Joseph Pinkley in Clackamas County, record #Bk 1 page 072
1860 US Census Wm DeShields family @ Youngs Pct, Clackamas, Oregon (Eagle Creek, OR)
1863 Martha M DeShields and Samuel Thompson get married in Clackamas County, record #Bk 1 page 072
1870 US Census Wm DeShields family @ Youngs, Clackamas, Oregon
1872 J K DeShields and Lucy Mayhall/Marshall get married in Clackamas County, record #Bk 2 page 177
1873 Pleasant DeShields and Annie Welch get married in Clackamas County Recprd #Bk 2, page 211

1880 William DeShields Estate record #0167, Clackamas County. (Died 27 May 1880 buried Estacada OR)
15 Jun 1880 James, his wife and two children are living with his mother in Eagle Creek.

Hopefully, with diligence on my part, I will find someone who may have a picture of the farm when it was just a cabin or have some idea when it was really built, etc.

August 3, 2012

David and I went out to the farm this morning and worked on the tree pile. He got everything "limbed" and a lot of the larger pieces cut into firewood size pieces.

But, before I get to that... imagine my shock when I looked out the back gate and DIDN'T see 3' tall grass! The guy I was hiring to cut it had never called to tell me he did it and ask for money, so I'm not sure who did it! Could have been the neighbor kid I guess. I have calls to make. Update: It was the guy I hired, he just hadn't gotten around to letting me know he did it! lol

Looking out the back gate

The back yard, mowed down

Maybe it was Aliens???? LOL

Crop Circle

Okay, back to the slave labor today! I actually felt better about the whole "trees down" thing when I looked at this. This was in one of the forks of the tree farthest away from the house. So, half of that tree (above the main trunk) was not healthy.

Center Rot

So, while David whittled away at the pile taking off limbs and cutting into firewood lengths, I piled the limbs and firewood. Okay, he helped with the piling and tossing firewood, too.

There is still some trunk and large branches to cut into smaller lengths but, the chainsaw blade needed sharpening (lest it burn up the motor working so hard), so we called it a day. When he gets back, we can finish that up. On the way back to Portland, we dropped the saw off to be tuned and sharpened.

I decided to keep this neato piece of tree and use it as a planter since it has a natural large divet in it and it will look very nice with a trailing flower growing out of it! (It is leaning up against a stump)

The orchard needs some serious help, but that will wait until probably next Spring while I figure out exactly what to do with it. The shed is engulfed in blackberries at the back, but I'm not doing anything with that until the right time of the year for detouring growth... which is late Fall as they are already dying, then spray with CrossBow. The weeds get sprayed in the Spring.

For those who don't know... this old house was originally a small one room cabin with a fireplace. Most likely, it was a "logger's cabin" so they had a place to sleep and eat while logging the area. The original cabin is that part of the home that has the very steep roof and the front porch. The steep roof is so the snow would slide off. Used to get a whole lot of snow out there.

I traced the property ownership back to 1870, but I was going blind from reading so much microfiche that I quit there and haven't been back to keep researching.

A lady had stopped by many years ago saying she had been born in the house in 1900. Over the years, it appears from the construction differences, that the kitchen area and back porch area were added to the cabin next, then the stairs to the upstairs room, then indoor plumbing, then the main floor bedroom. At some point, a laundry room was also created behind the kitchen (on the back porch).

From what I've read, indoor plumbing, although already in the cities and in hotels, was not a popular item for the very rural areas until the late 1930's. This is a very rural area... there is no "city water" or "city sewer"... it's a well and septic system. So, if it looks very rustic... well.. that's because it is! LOL

Deer, Elk, Coyote and small woodland creatures are very frequent visitors as well as the occasional black bear and bobcat. There have been years that Cougar were sighted in the area.

The house will be getting a new paint job this summer and will look very nice by next Spring with flowers blooming all over the place. I plan on removing the wood on the back of the house and opening that area up again, enclosed by screen, since it is the back porch. As long as the large critters can't get in onto the porch, I think it would be a good thing to open it up. I don't want to open the back door in the morning and be staring into the large eyes of an Elk or other large woodland creature!

There is a small window of time when the clay can be dug into without breaking ones' back... that is when the bulbs will get planted, unless I go with raised beds, then I can do it in the late Fall or early Winter... I'm thinking early Spring though.

July 29, 2012

A new day has dawned and with it a new plan and attitude.
After perusing the law again, I have determined that I can plant some new trees outside the 30' fire zone and still keep them inside the fenced area to protect them from deer, elk, and bear. So, I believe some dwarf or semi-dwarf fruit trees are in order. Well, after I get that other mess cleaned up, I will plant a cherry and a apple tree. The house will get a much needed paint job, although I haven't decided on a color yet. And, I will plant a zillion 2' tall plants in the 30' fire zone that the law says I can have there. Of course, all the plants I was originally going to plant are considered "fire resistant" plants anyhow, so I am not changing those plans. I think, I will also, as I was previously going to do, set up two raised beds for some raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Yep, I'm much better now! LOL

July 28, 2012

David and I got out to the farm a little before 9am today. It was nice and cool out with cloud cover. Last night, I had spoken to some neighbors who live at the very end of the road. My other potential arrangements to have the trees removed, as required by the insurance company, never came to fruition and David offered to cut the trees down for me.
But, trees can be very tricky to cut down depending on terrain, the tree itself, the trees around it, etc etc - this I remember from helping Dad. Although I have confidence in David's abilities, I was worried that neither of us was knowledgeable enough, or experienced enough, to safely deal with it. Plus, David is leaving on vacation next week and I didn't want him to get injured and spend his vacation in a hospital... for which, I'm sure I would never hear the end of. Okay, okay, I'd feel bad about it too!

So, it occurred to me that Bob up the road may have been a logger in his working life, so I talked with the Ramona Lumsden and, after verifying that Bob is/was a logger, explained my dilemma. I told Ramona that I really was looking for a "supervisor" to help ensure no injuries to person or property and that I didn't expect Bob to be doing any of the work, but to guide David and I through it and that we should be there around 9 or 930am. She said they would be to the farm between 10 and 11am.

Ramona was particularly upset that the trees had to go because for many years, with Dad's and then my permission, gathered up pears for canning from those trees. Sadly, this year the trees were more loaded with pears than I ever remember seeing in past years. But, since I had time constraints on me, I couldn't allow the pears to ripen before I cut them down.

Well, Bob, Ramona, and their youngest son, Kenny, showed up at the house about 15 minutes after David and I had arrived! So that was a nice surprise and we could get an earlier start than I thought.

I have to say, before I get to the pictures... I have cursed these trees since forever because I don't like canning pears and they drop on the ground and attract a ton of bees of varying types... something else I don't like! I had planned, in my head, for several years to cut those old trees down and replace them with new fruit trees, but have never actually taken steps to do so before now.

BUT, they did provide great shade on the house and a wind break for that side of the house. Dad used to sit outside on warm days under the shade of the trees and in the night time, when there was a garden, he and Bronte, his dog, would frequently, sit under the trees and wait for the deer and elk to show up and Bronte (a small poodle type dog) would take off after them! ha ha Bronte is buried next to the one tree, in the place he would sit with Dad, waiting for the wildlife to come, for all the years they lived there together.

Okay... on with the pictures... I'm making myself sad.

First thing to do was eyeball the trees and decide which would come down first and where it would end up, cuts to make, etc, etc.

After David got the chainsaw running, Bob took command of things and commenced to make the cuts necessary. Kenny put in a wedge to keep it, hopefully, from going into the fence when it toppled over. (I said, hopefully)
Well, in a surprise move by the tree...(its main stump, years before we moved there, had split and basically created a fork)... half of it came off early and crashed into the fence!! The guys got the tree off the fence, the fence was not damaged, and then the rest of the tree landed where it was intended to go.

Second was the tree that was closest to the house. I had some burning junk leaned up against it, so the tree was cut above my pile and the stump will be cut down after I move that stuff. This one went down, just where it was supposed to and I don't think there were any mishaps with it.

Then, they got to the last tree... oh dear.

Because of its configuration, it was going to become the big problem tree. Bob made the appropriate cuts, it was tied off with a rope being manned by Kenny and the rope was also, ultimately, wrapped around the tall stump of the 2nd tree for extra stability and guidance.
But, this tree was determined it was going to fall on the fence. At one point, the chainsaw got stuck in the tree, a wedge was pounded in to assist the tree to falling the right way... but it just wouldn't do what it was supposed to do.
David was holding up, and pushing on, the tree to try to help it go the right direction, he also had to get the chainsaw unstuck and out of the way. At one point, David was pushing and Kenny and Bob were pulling and pushing on the rope to coerce the tree to fall.

Finally, Ramona and I (and I'm sure the guys too!) heard a loud crack and the tree gave up... but, the tree got the final word when it twisted as it came crashing down to the ground, sending the men folk running... and hit the house! (Hmmm.. maybe I should file a homeowner's insurance claim!)

Just kidding on the claim. LOL The house was undamaged, thank goodness. And, most importantly, none of the men were hurt. I thought sure that Kenny might have been hit by the tree since he was on that side, but, he was unscathed! I feel fortunate that I could take this picture, with everyone standing and talking coherently, after all was said and done.

When asked what I owed them, Bob simply said "nothing, it's just the cost of being a neighbor" and they smiled and bid us farewell, having done what I had asked of them, and left us with the mess.

The Lumsden family epitomized the "old school" country neighbor... responding to my need for help at the last minute and asking nothing in return... just happy to have been of help. You don't see much of that anymore. Sorta sad when you think about it.

I know that David and I are both grateful for them coming down. If these things could happen with an experienced logger at the helm, imagine what could have happened with two inexperienced folks doing it alone!

And, bless David's heart, he has always been there when I need him and I have lost count of the debts I owe to him. He is a true best friend.

It only took about 30 - 40 minutes to get the trees down, but the clean up will take much longer! LOL We did get a good start on it.

We took a break from that tree stuff and got the nasty awning down. Now, I need to do a new job of screen on that window. I slapped it up quite temporarily several years ago so Dad could get some ventilation in the house. Many of the windows no longer open. But, with the bee population, a screen was needed right away and well, forgot all about doing it properly since it was working fine the way it was! LOL

Then, we went back to the clean up and got about halfway through with limbing and dragging the parts to be discarded to the now huge pile I will have to pay to have removed. The burnable wood will go to David for his hard work (and the work still to come), so we started a pile of that also.

In talking with Ramona, she said that when she checked it out years ago, the last time there was a wildfire in the area was 1929'ish. That was some 83 yrs ago! So why all the hoopla now? Makes no sense to me.

I also have my doubts that the *expletive* lawmakers intended the "wildfire zone laws" to include existing domiciles and vegetation. Even in reading the law, it seemed to only mention new construction of homes. I should have researched better before making a final decision of what I was going to do.

Actually, in re-reading the law, it doesn't say you can't have trees in that 30' zone, it says they want your vegetation to be no taller than 2' and that TREES have to be "limbed" at least 8' from the ground. Oh well. Gone now.

I had thought that when the trees were cut down, we would discover that the centers were rotten or the trees were rotten, they looked so gnarly on the outside and they were probably at least 75 yrs old... but that wasn't the case.
These trees, all three of them, were healthy, strong, productive trees with no internal signs of distress. I feel bad for having killed them.

I truly wish I could end this little ditty on a happy note. But, I am just not feeling happy. I wish, now, that I had not taken the trees down.

This.... was a comfy, cozy, home and yard to come to....

This... is not....it will take some getting used to... if I ever do.

July 21, 2012

Got out to the farm around 930ish I guess. We first looked over the new brush cutting equipment and David got it started up. The blade for the brush actually didn't work very well on that field grass, so had to stop and switch to the grass cutter instead. The grass cutter did very well but the grass kept tangling up around the housing. When David first started out with it on the west side of the house, a raccoon that has taken up residency under the laundry room got quite alarmed and annoyed. I only saw its front legs but David saw it's head and said it was fairly large. I hope they eat mice, rats and snakes so it keeps the underneath of the back porch nice and tidy! ha ha I was also glad it wasn't a skunk family as their dislike of being bothered by noise could have had a much different end result... as in us having to leave! ha ha You can see from the pics that the field grass outside the fenced area had grown failry high. So cutting it was not an easy task and I was, frankly, very glad that David came out to help me with this project.

David worked his way around the 3 sides of the house while I busied myself with cutting the MANY parts of the trunk that made up the large bush on the west side of the house and I cut the blackberry plants that were in the way of the grass cutter. The grass cutter did not do well with the larger stalks of the blackberries. On the East side of the house, now that the grass is gone, I will fix the siding back up for now and probably paint it when I paint the rest of the house. David had to help me to remove the many parts of the bush because it just didn't want to go!

East side

House Back looking West

House Center back

House Back looking East

The boys will be VERY unhappy to find that the only place they could get cooled down when it was hot out, outside, is now gone. It was also a good hiding place for them. They're gonna be pissed.
Bush Before Bush After

After all that work... and make no mistake about it... it WAS a lot of work for us both... it started getting hot out and the bees were coming out... so our final activity for the day out there was to gather up most of the firewood I had promised to him and hauled it back to his house and then I went home.

Monday, David is going to take Dad's old chainsaw in for a new chain and tune-up and next weekend he will cut down the pear trees for me and the wood from those trees will also go to him. Since he is going to do it for me, I will cancel the other guy I was going to hire to do it since I haven't heard back from that guy anyhow. David helped a friend of his cut down trees, with that saw, at his friend's house, so he's done this before.

Before the tree cutting, however, we'll take down the bent awning at the front of the house so we won't be too tired to do it at the end. ha ha

Hopefully there won't be any problems with weather and such things to prevent the cutting of the trees because otherwise, it will have to wait a couple of weeks til he gets back from vacation.

With the savings on the tree cutting maybe I will be able to paint the house this year after all! Poor thing sure needs a good paint job on it.

Okay, that's it for today. I need to get cleaned up and then I'm going for a nice long soak in the hot tub!

July 12, 2012

Decided to go out and get a little bush trimming and get some measuring done around the perimeter of the house.

I need the measurements to make sure that I have the primary fire zone and secondary fire zones at the right place. Since it is a "wildfire zone" out there (and in 70% of Clackamas County), there are certain precautions that are mandated by law. I'm okay with those things and in doing them, most every thing I was going to do anyhow, but I prefer to do them in my own timeline. I would prefer to do these things at the proper time of the year - but, I won't go into that.....

Where the lilac out by the fence was growing through the fence, I trimmed that part, but the whole, old, bush needs to be trimmed way back. The lilacs that have been forever by the front porch I also cut down, except the one by the corner. That one needs a chainsaw to cut it down. Lilacs are actually considered a "fire resistant" plant, but in the primary zone, you can only have plants that are no more than 2' tall.

The "before" picture is not accurate because I had already cut down one of the bushes... it was in that empty spot.

Now that the lilac bushes are down, I can finish the front of the porch and get the water seal stuff on that section.

The bush at the side has to go, too. I had planned on doing that today also, but by the time I finished the lilacs and hauled everything and the odds and ends of rotten lumber outside the 30' primary zone, the sun was getting hot and the bees had come out in full force, so I abandoned the idea. It seemed that the bees were getting quite annoyed that I was taking down the bushes.

My loper things will cut up to a 2" branch so I think I can cut down the whole bush myself.

July 3,4, and 5 2012

Well, so much time had passed from the time David and I had performed our slave labor at the farm. That was way back in mid-May. Wow! Didn't realize how much time had passed.

Imagine my surprise and dismay when I pulled up and saw this:

The ground was amazingly still soft where it had been tilled up, it had not yet turned to the hard clay it usually is. The grass had grown to about a foot tall. I had some work to do. So, first I found a huge tarp to use on the tilled ground to keep it covered. Then I did a lot of weeding and weed eating, sprayed the grass by the house and fenced it off so the dogs wouldn't get in it, uprooted the yellow rose and moved it to a new location and ripped out most of the hummingbird vine.

So, then I decided that I needed to get more supplies and since it is under control for now, I took a few flower pictures instead.

Next on the agenda will be getting that area beyond the fence under control. I will be taking Ashbury the Aspen twig out next week and planting him in that area. He has grown to about 3' tall so I need to get it out of my Portland back yard and out to the farm!

That's it for now! Stay tuned for the continuing saga! ha ha

May 12, 2012

I headed out this morning to David's house and from there we headed out to the farm for a day of slave labor... little did we know! LOL It was also already getting hot when we got out there, which was mid-morning, and that didn't make me happy.... I am no longer a heat tolerant person.
So, I had also taken Benedryl before I left my house, anticipating the tree pollen to be in the medium level. Unfortunately, it also made me very sleepy, so David drove out to the farm! LOL
Got out the roto-tiller, a supposed top of the line kind of machine... I can't think of the name at this minute because I am basically brain dead after the days toil. Anyhow, I could have never handled that machine by myself for a "first time tilling" of the ground. David was getting beat up by that thing and it would easily try to drag you across the land. It was truly not a fun time, but I was so grateful that he came out to do that for me... or it wouldn't be done. It is missing, we discovered, the tine adjuster assembly, but I don't know if that would make any big difference in the handling of it.
So, moving along... David wrestled the machine around and was getting the tilling done..

While he did that stuff, I busied myself pulling up the tires that I had used as planters and digging up the plants therein. It did take me awhile as the tires had sunk a bit into the ground, but I did it and got them moved over to the fence from the front of the house where they had been. The Rhody I moved to the East fence. Refilled the tires with dirt and built up the front under the tires so they wouldn't decide to come down the slope. Actually, the last one I was going to move, David moved for me, the Benedryl had worn off so I was awake again, but my allergies were kicking in and that was a bad thing. I needed one more tire because the little plant on the right hand side of the photo didn't have a tire and the bricks just looked stupid. So David found me another tire to use under some blackberry brambles and got it out and down to the new location. It looked much better with a tire. For those who don't know... those old tires (no rims) make great planters for NON FOOD items. They insulate in the Winter and hold moisture in the Summer.

I did allow David to have a couple breaks and 1/2 hour lunch! LMAO

Next, it was time to start my retaining wall. So, we set out to the shed to get my brick things... I don't know their technical name.... so stop rolling your eyes! LOL
When he got the door open, there was a pallet standing up blocking most of the "view" inside. I am quite certain that I had purchased the blocks that have two holes and are about 8 x 6 x 4" because I wanted to use the top block on the wall as a little planter. They were no where to be found and I am very certain that I did not put that pallet where it was. Apparently, since I am not up there 24/7, someone saw fit to relieve me of the blocks (they were outside of the shed in shrink wrap on a pallet. I thought the berry brush would keep them hidden for the most part).They left the pallet inside the door. gggrrrrrrr (note: the door to the shed doesn't lock because it has shifted to much and I couldn't get a lock on it).
So, we loaded up some of the blocks that were in there, they are about 8 x 6 x 2" and I started with laying the bricks and putting in rebar to hold them in place. David continued bringing the bricks until there were no more. It didn't really go very far and now I have to buy more to finish the job.

That wall is going to be 3 levels high and the tires will only be noticeable from the street, if at all. I will have to haul some dirt out there to fill in the area between the wall and the fence and around the tires. I still have to do the wall on the East side and then decide what to do with the middle! LOL

Next on the list was to lay down some landscape fabric to discourage any grass from growing where he had just completed all that roto tilling. Up by the East fence and by the house, I will use Round-up and then "fabric" that too. So, we put the fabric down and put up the little fence I had to keep the dogs out of my "space" until I'm done with it (yeah right! LMAO)

Then, we piled back into the car and left, both moaning about tired muscles and aching this and that. It was a long, hot, 6 hours of slave labor! I am so glad I didn't have to do that battle alone.
We will each be enjoying out hot tubs at our respective houses tonight! LOL

If you scroll down to the April 29 entry, you can see how it looked before!

April 29, 2012
Headed out to the farm today, knowing full well that there would be a few hours worth of yard work to do so, I also took my other weed-eater with me.
It had grown substantially more since last week when I came up. sigh

So, it took about 4 hours, but I got the tall, still wet, grass weed-eated down, moved the pile of firewood that had fallen over to the same side as the other pile, moved the wood that was piled up by the fence to where the firewood used to be and piled up some other wood that was next to the fence to get it out of the way of the young man who mows the other side of the lawn for me.

I had planned on mowing my yard at the Portland house when I got back home, but I was just all out of energy and my lazy muscles were already letting me know they weren't happy. My back is killing me, although, it has actually been hurting the last few days. And, lastly, my allergies had kicked into full gear by the time I was covered in grass and weeds from all the weed eating.

Nope, not doing anything else today! LOL



Yard Work

First, these are the new babies across the street. Cute, huh? There are actually 4 of them but these ones seemed happy to pose long enough for me to take their picture. LOL

The part of the yard that I am planning on doing the "landscaping" of was horribly overgrown with grass and some weeds, so I took the weedeater out to cut that stuff down and give the plants a chance at feeling the sun on their faces.
The side of the yard that has grass still on it was fairly tall, but the area is so small, I don't have them mow it. While I was weed eating it down, I accidentally hit a little garter snake that was hiding in the tall grass. I thought I might have killed it, but when I went back to that side, I saw this trail... my guess is, she slithered off.

I don't really care for snakes, but since she hadn't done anything to hurt or scare me, I felt kinda bad for hurting her. Besides, I hope they eat mice!

Next, I worked my way around the "tire garden", you can see how much grass etc I cut down. It was so tall you couldn't even see some of my plants like the Lambs Ear, or the tires they are living in. Under all that green you see, is black plastic.
Tire Garden

Over by the tire garden, I came across this little fellow. He sat very still until I finished distrupting his day and waited for me to return with the camera to take his picture. Then he left. I haven't seen any frogs out there for eons! He was about the size of my palm!
Ribbit Ribbit

On the east side of the yard are some purple flowers I got from my friend, Debbie, that seem to like their new home. I forget what they are called but they are very nice.

In between those two tires of purple flowers is the Clematis that David and I uprooted from his front yard and I hauled out to the farm. It, also, seems happy in its new home and it bloomed this year!

The pear trees in the front yard are always so pretty when they are in full bloom!

David and I tackled the insertion of the stainless steel chimney pipe into the old chimney. First, had to remove the old stuff... that was a nasty dirty job!

Then, it was time to put the new stuff in. Also quite a job to accomplish mostly becase the pitch of the roof is so friggin' steep! David, bless his heart, was the one to get up on that steep roof. Now, I am waiting on a length of pipe for the inside to connect the wood stove to it all and hopefully it will all work! LOL

A couple years ago, I enclosed and put in windows on the front porch. It made a big difference in how hot/cold it got in the house since many of the storms seem to come from the south (the house faces south). So, getting tired of the "unfinished" ugly appearance of it, I decided to put shakes on that part that I constructed. I think it turned out fairly nice. I also came across this little fellow inside the front porch and returned him to the "wilds".

And, last, but never least.... the boys! They were impatiently waiting for me to get done with the designated chores and bring them back to Portland after having the beejeebers scared out of them from fireworks the night before.

Kitchen and Living room

Downstairs Bedroom

Attic and Storage rooms

Laundry room

Upstairs Bedrooms

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