Posts Tagged 'spring'

trillium & May apples

a sure sign of spring – May apples are growing all over out in our woods, with a few white trillium flowers blooming amongst them.

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signs of spring

we spent Easter weekend up at my parent’s house this year, and the weather was absolutely beautiful the whole weekend.  flowers were starting to poke up from the cold ground and even some were starting to bloom.

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everywhere you looked, there was signs of new life.  there was a fresh batch of baby kittens (strangely enough the mother cat had chosen to have your young kittens in the chicken coop!)

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speaking of chickens, my cousin dropped off a few new baby chickens for my parents (they were down to only 3 laying hens).

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all around their property, the boys found places to explore – the waterfall ponds, the big pond, the swamps, and the woods – looking for any little creature they could find… and more importantly, catch!

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frogs, tadpoles, snakes, turtles… all were at risk of being snatched up with dirty fingers or a dipping net – and spending the rest of the weekend in one of several critter buckets.

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I took several of the boys out for [multiple] rides on the pond in the canoe – they were able to catch several painted turtles that had been basking in the warm sun.

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walking in the grass near the pond edge, I even found a baby snapping turtle – I assume making his way down to the pond, only recently hatched from an egg.

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the boys weren’t the only ones that wanted to ride in the canoe – Arwen did a great job with me, especially for her first time out on the water!

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I did spend a large portion of Saturday working in my dad’s workshop – I had brought along all the cedar boards for building my cupola that will go on top of the barn.  I made significant progress – it is partially assembled, with the final assembly to take place up on the barn roof (I need it to be light enough to hand carry up the roof!).

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and for one meal, my dad made pastrami (from a Jewish deli cookbook I bought him) – it was delicious!

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all told, an excellent weekend of family, food, fellowship & fun!

it’s that time of year

spring is in the air, getting the itch to go sailing…

boat

HT: @jfedor

a spring clean for the may queen

I took this last week off from work (our boys were also on spring break) – but mine wasn’t really a vacation – I spent the week cutting down trees, brush, and clearing various other things at our property.

to back up a little bit… last year we found a nice piece of land nearby where we currently live, and eventually were able to purchase it (long story).  we had been looking for 3 to 5 acres… but stumbled on this piece which is almost 20 acres!  the downside… it’s a mess of a forest, and smack in the middle of it is a burnt down house.

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talk about curb appeal.

well, immediately after closing, we hired a demo contractor to remove all of the existing structure, and to clear the brush back along the ~800 ft long driveway.  but since then, we hadn’t been able to do much with the land.

so for several weekends this February and March, I would take my wife and boys out to the land, and we chopped down some dead trees, and cleared some of the brush by hand… but it was slow, back-breaking work.  we had piles and piles of cut up firewood.

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but several hours of work would barely make a dent in the brush, though.

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and also left us with giant piles of brush to deal with.

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so this past week was a full-time dedicated week of work to get as much done as I could.  Sunday night, I trailered down my dad’s 25-hp John Deere tractor (complete with a bucket on the front end and a back blade at the 3-point hitch, and I also bought a york/landscape rake for the 3-pt hitch).

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I had a truck full of tools to go with it: chainsaw, axe, various lopping shears, shovels, chains to pull logs and brush out, etc.

I spent Monday using the tractor to haul out some of the bigger chopped down trees and logs.  on Tuesday, my dad and 2 of my brothers-in-law joined me for the day.  I rented a big chipper to shred the piles of brush and tree limbs into mulch – that thing was amazing!  2 of us would take turns feeding the brush from the piles into that, and it just shredded right through everything.  my dad spent most of the day using his tractor to clear more brush, and drag it down to a burn pile.  we were able to burn a ton of the brush as well – it worked really well for some of the nasty piles of tangled brush left behind by the demo contractor last summer.  Wednesday through Friday it was just me, although several contractors met with me during the day to discuss our plans to upgrade the driveway a little bit as well as build a barn.  while I wasn’t busy with that, I used the tractor to haul the mulch piles back into the back woods, where there are several walking trails already made.

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I also used the york rake to clean up more of the brush scattered in the areas where we had cleared, and kept burning more brush as I collected it.  on Saturday, my wife and boys came down and helped a bit more cleaning up more brush.  I ran into a little bit of tractor trouble that afternoon, but was able to sort of fix it enough to get it back on the trailer and hauled back home to my dad’s house.

Sunday afternoon, I capped off the week by planting something new: some transplants from my dad & mom’s garden – black raspberry bushes and some asparagus.

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all told, it was a great week of work – thanks to my dad for his help (and the use of his tractor), and my 2 brothers-in-law as well for their manual labor, and I think the property is slowly coming along.  you can start to see the potential.  and the change from what it was before:

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to what it looks like now:

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I’m super excited to see how things change when spring turns everything green.

first day of spring

technically, today is the 1st day of spring.  but at least in Michigan, it certainly doesn’t feel like it!  a little while back we had a day or two or three of temperatures creeping up into the 50’s and 60’s, but ever since we’ve been back in a cold snap, with constant freezing temperatures, and random bits of snow falling as well.

but it should warm up soon, and sailing won’t be too far behind.

(full disclosure – this video for the song is pretty weird… but I kind of like the song, and it IS the first day of spring).

My friend…
Don’t just sit there and ruminate…
With your navel to contemplate…
It’s a beautiful day outside…
Time’s passing you by…
Come on out…
Don’t just sit there catatonic…
I’m feeling supersonic…
A warm wind is sweeping by…
The sun’s full in the sky…
And there’s no way of knowing,
No way to know,
Know how long it’ll last,
No way of knowing,
No way to know,
Know how long it’ll last…

happy groundhog day

the groundhog has spoken – this year it will be an early spring.

don’t drive angry.


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