Here on the homestead I’ve been working on the garden. I have changed proposed garden spots several times, but finally settled on a spot up the hill behind the house that gets a reasonable amount of sunlight. I had seen part of a foundation and a set of steps up there and assumed a barn had previously resided there. However as I began to dig I suspected it was a house and sure enough after inquiring of one of the longtime neighbors I learned there was an old mining shack there. It housed some miners in the area. I suspected there is a mineshaft nearby as we have lots of bats every summer around the house. The UPS guy mentioned an old copper mine just down the hill a ways. I have to ask the neighbors about that and see what they know. I know there is an abandon shaft near the firehouse at the bottom of the mountain. Josh has been in it, says it was a hang out, evidenced by the chairs, card table, and numerous beer bottles.
Anyhow, I dug up some interesting but worthless artifacts where the shack was. Tons of nails and glass, part of a spoon, a couple broken medicine bottles, the sole of a shoe, furniture parts, buttons, scissors, belt buckles, an arrow head and tons of empty rife shells. I dreamed of doing an archeological dig when I was a kid and loved the school field trips to Fort Atkinson to see the museum and dig there, so this was pretty cool even though it wasn’t of much value. I got enough items to fill a gallon pail from just a 2x3’ square. I figure at this rate it will take me years to dig it all, so I decided to go ahead with the garden as planned and just dig a bit more of it each year.
A tree was growing up right in the middle of the spot, so that was removed. It was pretty close to the house and I think when they dug out the hill to build the house they cut into its drip line. Last fall it breathed its last breath. Josh & his friend cut it down for me one day last week. They assured me they knew what they were doing. I tried to remember that as it fell directly toward the house. I had the camera out and ready, documenting the work, but ya know when it fell toward the house, taking a picture of the fall was pretty much the last thing on my mind. Way behind things like “OOOOH CRAP!!!” “Steve’s gonna kill me,” “and the insurance company isn’t going to be too fond of me either” “Oh look there goes Josh hanging onto the rope sliding down the hill” and a host of other random thoughts all flashing through my brain at lightening speed in the second or two that it took to hit the ground. I am happy to report that it managed somehow to miss the house by just a matter of feet. The UPS guy just happened to be delivering a package, so he stopped and watched the whole thing unfold and got a good chuckle out of it, equally impressed that it missed the house.
I spent the rest of the day clearing the visible stones from the 18x33 garden space, creating 2 piles, one on each end of the garden, both piles about 5’ across, along with lots of sticks and tons of grass that I’ll compost and turn back into the soil in a year or two. I’ve got some chain link I’ll put up with some hog panels welded over the top to keep the deer out. Still lots to do for sure.
The 6 chicks that hatched late January were moved to the coop today. I put up a fence to get them used to the big guys but yet keep them safe. At night I’ll move them back into the garage and in a few weeks they should be safe enough to release in with the rest.
On a sad note, the roos killed Hopper the one-legged chicken. I thought she was finally safe. She just started coming out when I fed the rest of the gang and didn’t seem to get picked on or chased away any more, but one afternoon when I went up to gather eggs I found her dead in the chicken yard. It was sad as she used to follow me around and hide from the roosters behind me. Survived a bobcat attack, but succumbed to the roosters. My newest roos are more aggressive...well, were…they are in the freezer now.
Josh with the chainsaw....here goes. Behind the lens, I'm kinda hoping he knew what he was doing.
Knocking out the chock with a maul.
For some reason, this picture makes me laugh. Surveying the damage so far and figuring out how to proceed from there. I think the concensus was "hmm, we got a long way to go."
There goes the tree, just missing the house, draging Josh behind it. I laughed, "Did you think you'd hold it back?" He laughed, "I just was hoping to sway it to the side a bit." It actually fell slightly to the side and in doing so missed the house. Maybe next time he'll take my advice and tie it off somewhere behind. But then again, I guess his way worked.
Cutting up the spoils. We'll appreciate the wood next winter.
The new garden spot, now to get it tilled and get a fence up.
My new clothes line I had him put in too. I used to use a rope tied across the back porch.