Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Scything the Meadows (now with Extra Back Pain)

Yesterday we scythed the meadows. At this juncture you might be wondering what a scythe is, because for some reason you don't live in medieval Europe.

 This is a scythe.

And you scythe with it. Usually to make hay. Except we weren't making hay and now I am confusing you.


Every year around this time, we have to cut sections of the meadows back because canada goldenrod is an invasive bitch. If left unchecked it will eat the meadows, and also I should point out that the meadows are what I want to become hay fields. Now where most people would use a bush hog or something, I don't. I get out their and cut that bitch back by hand. Why?

Because I hate myself. Because I think this way is better.

And also because I refuse to buy a bush hog and a lawn mower is not built for this shit. If a bought a bush hog I would have to buy gas for it, I would have to find a place to store it, I would have to maintenance it every year and it would lack the precision that a scythe has.

When you scythe it's just you and the wind and the neat shing ching sound the blade makes as it cuts through the devil weed. And the dull thump as you hit a stump, or the even more terrible scrap as you hit a rock, or the deeply dreaded twang of half buried fence wire fucking up your shit. Cleaning shit out of the meadows? Year round job.

This whole idea started really, though, because I couldn't start the weed eater. So I said, what else can I use? And this was the answer. We each have one, because each scythe is set to a specific person. So if you ever have to use one adjust the damn handles or your arms will fall off and you will weep bitter tears.

Last year it was a battle of epic proportions. Each meadow was almost nothing but goldenrod, and it's think woody stems were beating my scythe up hardcore. It was hours and hours of doing nothing but cutting this shit back and praying. Then we spent last spring and this spring spreading grass seed. And we were rewarded with a field of lush thick waist high grass in our target area*.

This year was much easier, although nothing quite gets your heart rate up like scything. I should also point out that I was doing this in the heat of the day because I had been at work all night and I had spent the morning sleeping. Because when shit has to get done, shit has to get done regardless of whether or not you feel like doing it. Or whether or not you are injured. Or whether or not you have slept at all the night before.

Look what I'm trying to say is that my style of farming is fucking hard.

But worth it.


*We can't do every meadow at once, obviously. So we sorta pick one and go, 'this is the year.'

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Great Retaining Wall Tragedy of O'12

Do you know the feeling where you spend a month and a half on one project and you give it everything you have and then some just so you can finally step back and say with satisfaction that it is done and you made it?

And then do you know the feeling where life shows up and destroys that project?


So it rained like a bitch shit ton, and guess what happens when you take really, really dry ground and then wet really quickly. You get this.

I was walking the dog, trying not to get wet by skirting the mud puddles. It of course had been raining like a crazy demon the past two days and the dog was happy to be outside sniffing things. Well we walked up the driveway and turned off into the wood, and that's when I saw it.

There was the initial flood of despair, followed by a rather rational discussion in the back of my mind if I could just deny this had happened for a while.

It decided no.

So I walked, blank and zombie like, back up to the house. Scott was working by the sheds, trying to fix the weed eater. His back was to me, and I had to cross the lawn to reach him. I had this sense that I was about to ruin his day. Ruin it hard core. That with every heavy step I was taking across the waterlogged grass I was one step closer to taking his happiness and smashing it on the ground.

I reached him and took a deep breath.

Then I smashed his happiness all over the ground. After that brief moment where his brain decided if it could deny this problem, we walked back down the drive and looked at it.

Scott was more optimistic then me. Pointing out that wall had stayed together all the way down and that we should be able to just add more rocks on top of it.

Oh fucking boy.

Well at this point, drinking was right out, because I had to work the next day. I went inside and did the only thing I could do. I took a motherfucking nap and prayed to god that things would be better when I woke up.

It wasn't.

So now I need more rocks.

You know, maybe it's not too late to deny it after all.

What were we talking about?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

We Have a Peep!

We have a peep! A real live honest to god sweet baby chicken.

Isn't she/he just the cutest? I am hoping it's a hen, although it's too early to tell. So in line with that hope I am going to name her, Miss. Peeperington.

Mostly she justs eats and sleeps and looks fucking adorable.

 Why, yes, I am going to fill this entire post with pictures of my peep. Your welcome.

I made the decision to pull Miss. Peeperington inside and raise her by hand, because my adult chickens are apparently deadbeat parents. Assholes. Which cost me the first peep of the season because apparently my chickens are murderous dicks.

Luckily I still had my rat cage, back from when I had the best pet I have ever had in my entire life, my rat Pushkins.

May there be lots of wine in heaven for you, little guy. *sniff*

Anyway, I already had the cage set up, luckily because I had been at work all night slept in till three, only to staggerer blearily down to the chicken coup to discover that we now have 26 chickens. All I did was scoop Peeperington into my hand, carry her up here and start the heat lamp. I also placed a towel around the sides of the cage to help her warm up to temp faster. And that was it. Everything was ready to go.

So A+ for preparedness.

Miss, Peeperington is currently located in my office. Which means that, as I type this, I can look down and watch her sleeping blissfully. Except that I keep freaking she is dead and then I have to stop what I am doing and watch to see the comforting rise and fall of her breathing.

Also it's like a bajillion degrees in here, because, heat lamp. And I can't open a window because drafts can kill.

But otherwise, wonderful. It's like I have finally achieved my dream from when I was like, 8, and finally get to have a whole shit ton of animals and no one can tell me no because I am an adult now.

Adulthood FTW!

  You knew this was coming.

Monday, May 21, 2012

You Have Won this Round Google.

So a few of may have noticed that my blog was down a little while ago. Why? Because Google is a dick.

First off, when I first started fiddling around with Blogger, everything was going fine. It was a beautiful honeymoon. That is until Google showed up to the party. Google was constantly barging in on our beautiful relationship demanding that I integrate every account ever with them like a drunk alcoholic roommate. Presumably so they could own my entire Internet experience.

I had already completely given up my Youtube account because of this shit.


Because I don't need the rest of my Internet experience to know that I like to watch fat people falling off Segways. I want the internet to remain anonymous. All that terrible, terrible horror that comes with it. And Google is not letting me.

So you can imagine my surprise when my blog disappeared.

After the initial WTFsweetjesusholymotherofhellmotherfuckers. I went to Bloggers help page. Which was not very helpful. It told me to log into my account and make sure I didn't accidentally delete my own blog. I think that it something I would remember doing, but, okay. Also, if the blog is gone, how can I log into it? Okay.

So I go to pull up my blog account when I am treated to a message saying that suspicious things have been happening to my account.


Look, unless the dog had learned to type, the only suspicious things to have happened to my account is that I have been logging in at like 4am. Oh wait, what's this? The only way to fix it, the only was to unsuspicious my account is to give them my phone number.

Except they don't know my phone number, so if I was trying to break into this account, I could use any phone number, anywhere and Google would never know the difference.

Security my ass.

It wasn't like they wanted to send my an email, LIKE EVERY OTHER MOTHERFUCKING SECURITY PAGE IN THE WORLD. Oh no. Challenge questions? Nope. Facebook has better security then this. Facebook.

And there was no way around it. There was no other option. I had to give Google my phone number if I ever wanted to see my blog again.

So I did it.

And now I am getting texts about winning a free ipod.

I swear to god Google, I am going to punch you in your stupid fucking face.

You asshole motherfucker.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Multiflora Rose is a Demon Plant From Hell.

You might remember my previous entry about removing invasive species from my land. Specifically, mutiflora rose, and bush honeysuckle.

Here is three giant bushes in a row, oh boy lucky me.
 You know what, removing the bush honeysuckle was easy. Removing the multiflora rose was like being dropped into a nest of king snakes armed only with a bag of mixed vegetables. Even if you won, you were still gonna get fucked up.

I cannot began to describe the horror that is tearing down this plant. First of all, you have to cut the whole thing and move the whole thing as one unit because all the little thorns have stuck this plant together like Velcro. If Velcro was out to get you that is.

This is how it went down. First I would cut a hole into the side of the bush and then I would began to cut each think woody stem off at the base. Now, with bush honeysuckle, each limb could be drug away to the collection pile individuality. With multiflora rose, each limb would lock together in an evil tangly mass. I wanted to remove the whole plant and chipper shred the damn thing so that meant I had to drag each limb to the nearest road. Which meant that the plant had time to fuck my shit up.

I would optimistically grab a branch at it's very base, where there were no thorns, and give a yank. In a perfect world, this would either pull the branch free, or allow me to tow the whole bush along to the pile. In this world however, all that happened was that I would cause the remaining bush to sway wildly. Which, if you were me, meant you had an angry bush swinging wildly at you, trying to grab a handful of hair or claw at your face because apparently roses fight like drunk party girls.

Also, to add to pain, the thorns had a way of sneaking around my gloves or worse yet, falling down into my shoe and getting lodged in my sock. By the end of the day I looked like I had tried to wrestle a cougar.

Have you ever walked in the door and been afraid to look in the mirror because you are afraid that your land has cut up your face? No. Just me?

Luckily my face had escaped unscathed somehow. Mainly because I was not looking forward to trying to explain to my clients and coworkers why I looked like Freddie Krueger had found me in my sleep. I am also fairly sure that telling them the monster under the bed did it would not have been worth the looks on their faces because I need to keep my job in order to pay for things.

Which is exactly why I can't be trusted with this kind of injury.

At all.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Battle Against the Terrible Invasive Species

Today was a day of epic battle. A day of terror and triumph. The day I decided to go cut down some of the motherfucking invasive species on my land.

Namely bush honeysuckle and multiflora rose. Bush honeysuckle being exactly what you would picture it being, a giant bush of honeysuckle. At this point you might also be wondering why I would want to remove it. It's honeysuckle, Everybody loves honeysuckle, the sweet smelling the flowers, the soft leaves, the nostalgia of a favored grandma keeping some in the back garden. Except that the kind that you remember was most likely the native vine honeysuckle, you know, the one where you can pull out the stamen and get a drop of pure nectar on your tongue.

The thing I'm talking about is an invasive demon bush from hell.

The thing about bush honeysuckle is that it wants your meadows. All of them. Here is a picture of it.

Give me your meadows, I have teh hunger.
It will eat up all the space you have and then some. Cows and horses won't touch it, and the cattle farm at the end of the road has a huge field that is nothing, nothing but bush honeysuckle. So I decided it was time for it to die.

Armed with a pair of clippers* I spent my day removing this devil plant from my fields. And woods. And meadows. And any other damn place I could find it. This was all practice though, a mock battle if you will, for the true horror of my day. A plant that makes strong men weep and brave men cower.

Mulitflora Rose. You demon bitch you.

Try to contain your frantic screams. It can no longer hurt you.

The thing you have to understand is that multiflora rose is a member of the rose family and it has thorns. Real, sharp curved thorns. I would let the bush honeysuckle live if it was along the road, and out of my way, but I single handily fought every single mulitflora rose I found. If left unchecked, this demon plant will take over as well spreading it's evil monoculture as far as the eye could see. I found it spreading along the ground, I found it climbing up the sides of trees, and I found giant bushes of this stuff. It was everywhere and it was very, very sharp.

Let me tell you something right now. Bush honeysuckle will accept it's fate and die quietly. Multiflora rose goes down kicking a screaming and failing. It hit me in the face and snaked it's evil tendrils around my legs and back and tried to trip me, and on multiple occasions cut right through my leather work gloves like they were made of cotton candy.

Fighting back multiflora rose was a lot like what I always thought fighting a dragon would be like, if the dragon couldn't breath fire for some reason.

Actually, it more like that scene from Lord of the Rings where Gandalf fights the Balrog, but specifically that bit where they land in the water and it's evil flame is extinguished because I was cutting right after it had rained.

Yeah like that.

Okay. Look, if anybody you know is all like 'hey I should plant some multiflora rose in my garden', you should fucking tackle them. I don't care if you are in the goddamned plant isle at the Lowes, you motherfucking tackle them because we can't let the mutiflora rose win you guys. We can't let it win.

I thirst for your blood puny human.

* I know I won't be able to remove it entirely, but my goal is only to mange it, not to eradicate it. Because eradicating it would mean salting the earth so nothing would ever grow again.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Retaining Wall is Done. It's Over.

Gaze upon it's magnificence. Gaze until your eyeballs hurt. 
Well I didn't die.

But it wasn't from lack of trying. Since Scott hurt his wrist, I had collected the last two loads of stone by myself . Optimistically, I had ventured out on a cool day, ready to collect the shit out of some rocks. Only to  find there was a problem. The nice rock bar location I had been getting rocks from, aka it's all downhill to the truck from here so I can use the wagon if I want, was pretty much tapped out of the size rocks I needed in areas I could get to with out breaking my ankles. So I was left with one other option, the other side of the rock bar. Which was of course, on the other side of the road, and also downhill from it. Downhill, you guys.

I spent a few moments debating what I should do. Should I take the wagon down there with me? There was a nice sized, but rather lumpy field off to right I could park the wagon in, but I did not think I wanted to pull the wagon all the way back up to the road. Of course this left me with only one option. Carrying the rocks up the hill through the rock bar.

Well fuck.

So that is what I did. Rock by painful motherfucking rock. Some rocks were so big I had to stop two or three times on the way up. I also realized that the trees were smaller and closer together here, meaning there was no easy clear path back up, epically if the rock was wide. But, hey no problem, as I worked my way back into the bar I thought, hey I'll just cut up through the meadow.

That was my second mistake. (The first was thinking this project was a good idea in the first place.)

Well I picked up a rock, and managed to sort of side step my way into the meadow. It rolled out green and level before me, the grasses rippling attractively in the wind. Energized by my path I boldly started out. Or as boldly as anybody waddling along carrying a rock the size of a dead baby sheep could waddle. It was about halfway through that my tired body registered that something was wrong. I was starting to sink.

Oh double fuck.

I had, at that moment, three options. One, I could drop the rock where it would surely sink in some and get super muddy and I just knew I would have to pick it back up at some point anyway cause I would be damned if I was letting this meadow take this from me. Two, I could try to cut back into the woods and hope that I didn't get a tree branch to the eye. Or three, I could go even faster and hopefully I would get clear of the sticky patch.

And by 'get clear' I obviously meant 'get all the way to the road.'

So that's what I did.

It was one of those sheer efforts of will where your whole world narrows down to the rock in your hands and the heavy pull on your shoulders, the dull squishy thud of each boot as it disappears down beneath the grasses, the overly loud whooshing of your breath. The road inching closer and closer with each step.

I don't quite remember getting the rock to the pile, but I do remember setting it down, going straight back into the house, making myself a thermos of the most caffeinated tea* I could find and then going and sitting on the wagon and not moving until I had drank the whole goddamned thing. I sat there on my ass feeling like I had just been kicked in the back a few good times, and thought about it all.

About the fact that I moved out here, from the city. I had lived in one city or another for my entire adult life prior to coming here. And I had had enough of it. I thought about how as a child in the suburbs I had laid on the floor of my room and read the countryside magnetizes my father had bought and fantasized about living out here. About having my own creek and covered bridges and meeting a cow and playing in the woods all day.

Somehow, I had never fantasized about having to build a retaining wall out of giant ass rocks because the driveway was falling into the creek, or that when I met my first cow I would be in a car and it would be in the road around a blind corner. Or that playing in the woods all day would come to mean things like getting kindling. I had never thought that living my dream would mean being completely and utterly exhausted, sitting on a rusty ass wagon in the middle of a field drinking caffeine like it was my last tie to life.

And then I realized something.

I was loving every minute of it. The sun was out, the birds were singing their love songs in the trees, the chickens were wandering up along the road trying to see what I was up to, and white silkily clouds were running across the sky. This was my land. And my rocks and my trees and demon meadow of treachery. And that this was worth more to me that anything in the whole world**

So I drug myself up and got the rest of the rocks. And over the next few days I loaded the fill and dumped it in the hole and we were done. Granted we may add few more capping stones here and there as we find them, but it doesn't need them.

This project took everything I had and then some. It took us an entire month of working on it almost exclusively but we did it. And it looks amazing. It looks like something that has been there for years and year and years.

So to celebrate, and to stop the terrible pains in my back and legs, I did what anybody in my situation would do. I got drunk. Really super sweet Jesus drunk. And then I had a hangover that lasted all of the next day because I really did try to poison my body with alcohol.

I'm sorry liver.

I'm really fucking sorry about that one.


* I can't drink coffee, if you were wondering.
** Sorry Scott, but you're a close second.

Confused? Here's part one. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Just Had the Worst Morning Ever

So I got up and staggered outside to feed all of my wonderful animals, just like every morning. It was a beautiful morning, with the cold rain of last night laying on the grass and tuning to mist in the first few tentative rays of the sun. The air was as clean and pure as it must have been in the beginning of the world. It was magical.

That should have been my first clue that things were about to go all shitastic.

Well, I went back inside to my digital world, where I intended to do what I do every morning, read blogs. I pulled up the first blog and that's when I was treated to my first error message of the day. “Display driver has stopped working but has recovered*.” In fact it had recovered so hard that it shut my computer down. Well then. So I moved over to my laptop and slapped up the post. Which went fine until I tried to upload a picture. And the upload window never appeared.

Okay. I'll just use my PC. Which by this time, had recovered. So I saved the post as a draft and brought it up on the PC where the upload window promptly appeared. Yay! So I went to upload the picture with my shitty satellite Internet, when you guessed it, the display driver died a horrible death while I watched the little blue bar on my photo creep within millimeters of being done right before my screen went black.

It was probably a good thing Scott was off doing his morning exercises because I may have blanked out and rage murdered the first living thing I came across.

So. Back to the laptop. Opened draft, opened photo uploader, and watched as every single attempt failed because it 'lost connection to the server.' I tried over ten times to get a photo to upload. One photo. Fuck. So then I had to fix the PC, because it has a hard connection to my motherfuckingly slow ass goddamned internet.

Which meant I had to fix the PC. Now how I fix the display driver error is I have to go in and manually delete the update, even though I told windows it was not allowed to update without my permission. Which it apparently ignored and then I lost my shit and I told it that windows was never allowed to update again and then it told me that was a bad idea and I called it a whore. Because do you know how hard it is to sift through all those motherfucking updates? It's like the movie Jurassic Park where they contemplate going in and looking at the computers lines of code one by one.

Yeah. So I did that. I sifted through a million identical updates, all named shit like KB95567 when I am looking for something like KB95827. And then I deleted that bitch. And it felt damn good.

And now my PC works again.

But wait we are not done! The photos must be updated!

So I crawled back to Blogger, pulled open the draft folder and brought up the upload window. I then was treated to what I can only describe as a knock down drag out between my slow ass internet and Bloggers uploader. The progress bar would climb all the way up within centimeters of being done, only to fall back down to zero, only to claw it's way hand over hand back up to almost 100%. This happened at least five times before it finally uploaded. I did this for two whole pictures. And yes, I did reduce the file size before uploading.

So let me recap. I got to the computer at 8:27am. I finished uploading the last picture at 10:30am. It took me two hours to post one blog entry with two pictures. Two. Fucking. Hours.

You have no idea how much restraint it is taking not to just type motherfucker over and over again.

I am just going to stop typing now.

It's probably better that way.


* I get this problem from time to time. It is caused by windows downloading some bullshit update that I then have to go in and manually delete. Ha ha. Cause life is so much fun!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chainsaws and No Adult Supervision.

After digging all of the murderous angry fence post holes, it was time for everybody's favorite part- getting the fence posts. This involves grabbing the chainsaws, starting up the truck and driving into the back part of our thirty acres to cut them down like goddamned lumber jacks.

Awesome Lumber jacks.

Let me state right now, right here, that chainsaws are the shit, you guys. We took down trees like beavers that had been on steroids for a number of years and had just snorted their very first line of cocaine. The chainsaw was all like, oh you don't want this tree here anymore? SHAPOW! It's gone. Oh you need these branches cut off? SHABLAM! It was like if old timey lumberjacks had suddenly been given a god mode.

So we took the posts up to the garden, after nearly loosing a few of them off the back of the truck because nothing can ever be easy, treated the bottoms and placed them in the holes. That was the easy part. Because next we had to level them and tamp the dirt the dirt back down.

How do you tamp the dirt back down?

If you guess drag out the stupid heavy motherfucking pry bar and use the blunt end to repeatedly hammer the earth with my blistered hands you would be right!

Also Mr. Sun decided he was no longer going to pussyfoot around here anymore and that's pretty much how I got sunburn. Oh and before you go on about how I should have been wearing sunscreen, I was wearing sunscreen. And I reapplied it every two hours. It's just that I have the same skin as Edward Cullen except instead of sparkling I just loose all ability to repel sunlight. Which is to say, not like Edward Cullen at all because I am a real vampire.

What was I saying?

Oh yeah, the garden. Anyway we also placed the top rail on the opposite side where we had already gotten the posts up and the wire on. We just used zip ties to attach the wire, which I'm hoping won't come back to bite us in the ass because I have no idea how much outside/weather/sunlight a zip tie can take before it dies. Which probably means that the zip ties are vampires too.

In fact we were so productive we decided to bridge the drainage ditch that lead to the chicken coup.

Bridge it with chainsaws that is.

Okay first we took some old wood that used to be hideous planter thing and placed it down across the ditch to form the framework, followed by us scrounging for boards to lay across it to walk on. We screwed them down and surveyed our work. But there was a problem. The boards were all different lengths. How did we solve this problem?

If you guessed using the goddamned chainsaws instead of walking all the way across the lawn to the tool shed and dragging out a more appropriate tool, you'd be right!

Which is why we probably shouldn't be allowed to use chainsaws without an adult present.

But that bridge looks damn sweet you guys.

Damn Sweet.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Digging Fence Post Holes is Pure Agony.

So yesterday we had been working on fencing in the rest of the garden. For those of you who have ever fenced anything before, you know our terrible, terrible pain. Now on the first day Scott laid out where he wanted each hole to go in bright yellow florescent paint, which was by far the easiest and most satisfying step. Because the next step was digging the motherfucking holes.

You know, the holes that were filled with motherfucking rocks.

If you remember back to my previous post, I talked about various methods of rock removal, pulling the rock out, bashing the rock apart, or moving the whole goddamned hole. Well the best thing about this is that we did not have to move any goddamned holes. Which by that I mean that we had to cut one corner four inches shorter because that rock was not going anywhere. At all.

I should also take this time to point out that Scott hurt his wrist so I was doing most of the heavy work. And also my gloves disintegrated at some point in this process meaning my hands are covered in angry red blisters that hate my guts for bringing them into this world.

At lunch I put New Skin Liquid Bandage on my hands like it was going out of style because at that point I had found another pair of gloves and updated my status to we might finish this task today. On a side note, have you ever used New Skin Liquid Bandage before? It works pretty good, but don't take that as an endorsement because it hurts like holy hell to put it on. If you read the bottle it says 'may sting' on it in tiny, tiny print.

That is a lie.

Okay. You know that scene in Lord of the Rings Return of the King where Gollum bites Frodo's hand and gets the ring, only to topple into the volcano and burn to death while destroying the ring in the process? Yeah, it feels like that, only localized to one area. I had no need to use New Skin for a few years, so I kinda forgot applying it was like a practice drill for a bunch of bee stings.

But I digress.

Anyhow, it pretty much took us an entire day to dig eleven holes that were shoulder length deep. And also I fucked up my back because girls are not made to lift a heavy ass metal pry bar up and smash it down all day. After the first hole, which always goes well to lure us into a false sense of security, it was a motherfucking triathlon of rock smashing. There was the hole that was filled with huge rocks all stacked on top of each other so to get one you had to get them all, the hole where the whole bottom was one solid rock and we took turns smashing through it,* and the hole filled with the giant rock that we just had to bail on four inches early because all we were making was sparks.

It was one of those days where you stagger back inside and look at the clock and it's like seven and you stare at it stupidly because how can it be so late when you only accomplished one thing?

Yeah. It was one of those days.

One of those motherfucking days.

*I'm not fucking kidding here. We reduced that rock to powder and rock chips and pulled it up piece by tiny piece. That rock was a survivor is what I am saying.