Archive

Monthly Archives: June 2016

_DSC5235

The ladies drop by for Montessori lessons from the humans.

_DSC5232

Today’s Lesson: insights into strangely retentive bipeds. These are two of three closet doors stored out in the woodshed for a few years; scrubbed with 000 Steel Wool to release grime and old paint and etc, then refinished with lemon oil. Finally rehung in the Bee Bedroom.

_DSC5238

E & I spend quite awhile pulling old metal scrap out of the lower river, then on to old or abandoned/new fence posts sequestered all about, and some old salt troughs made of car tires. Which led E to brainstorm; why not use those big tractor tires to guard the barn from the horses? So I rolled this one uphill to the barn, with E helping to steady it as the hill grew steeper and my enthusiasms waned.

_DSC5241

Why did rolling it up there seem like a fun idea? Tire #2 gets dragged behind the truck, with a few smaller bonus tires in the bed.

_DSC5245

 Mostly because I rolled the first tire through a sloppy mess of cow shit.

_DSC5248

Horse bumpers. The equine’s love the shade of the barn, and kick out the foundation and rub and rub. These tires guard the refurbishment of the barn, putting an endcap on two long troughs made of split tractor tires. 

_DSC5254

The inspectors arrive.

_DSC5266

All the tires, and old troughs, get holes drilled through to drain any standing water.

_DSC5263

Another round of holes are drilled and wire stitches/threads the tires together. The horses  wond when I’ll get around to filling the tires with grain or salt.

_DSC5258

Stanley told me I wouldn’t be able to cut wire that thick with those pliers, but I had to try anyway.

_DSC5277

We head out for sunset up onto the high ground on both sides of the valley, zooming about on a lender 4-wheeler.

_DSC5292

E spots a windfarm.

_DSC5289

I painted this landscape back in the 1990’s; no windfarm back then.

_DSC5286

We were just on the sunny spot on the far ridge a moment ago; the other side of the ranch.

_DSC5288

E stands in for scale.

_DSC5297 - Version 2

These deer run along with us for a bit.

_DSC5300 - Version 2

The Aspen save up that golden sunset light between them for the autumn.

_DSC5283

View to the North, and Belt mountain.

_DSC5282

This is where our place blends into our neighbor’s. 

_DSC5301 - Version 2

Belt mountain turns purple at sunset.

_DSC5303

Next morning; departure day. Yard is looking spiffy.

_DSC5307

Stone trails are all revealed. This one leads to the new footbridge.

_DSC5310

All tidied up for summer.

_DSC5322

We’ll miss the big bloom of Iris, but this white lady opened early.

_DSC5325

She awaits our return.

Advertisements

_DSC5309

_DSC5158

E & I went up the valley a bit to salvage these two viable cedar planks remaining from the piled remains of a demolished bridge put in by a timber crew who set up a mill to thin our forest back in the late 1970’s / early 1980’s. I don’t think such big cedar timbers can be found anymore. They are the sturdy looking forms spanning the creek in front of the worn old footbridge.

_DSC5159

Bridge or Trap? Depends on how you walk across it.

_DSC5164

The support rails are a pair of Lodgepole Pine felled from the forest behind the house, seated on rocks/dirt, and severely compromised by rot. The planks are thin, probably from the timber crew’s mill. Affixed with drywall screws, many screws have rusted and sheared making for flip-boarding.

_DSC5166

The planks were the only thing holding the lodgepole rail on the left together, and it comes apart as I pull it out. The one on the right is so heavy with water that I use the truck to pull it out.

_DSC5172

I use a pickaxe to pull bricks from a grass-mound, where bricks were planted long ago and still sprout. E & I loaded them into the wagon and trailed them down to the bridge. A pair of extra pavers from re-footing the woodstove a few summers back provide an “L” structure that will hold a span of salvaged cedar 4×4.

_DSC5174

Bricks disappear into the hole faster than you expect; more trips to the brick mound.

_DSC5169

The big salvage planks are a few feet shorter than the Lodgepole, so I clear the area while I come up with a plan.

_DSC5183

The first layer is all brick set deep in the mud, then this layer raises out of the creek. 

_DSC5187

We jump through all the structural footing, as the camera battery needed a recharge. Here the big rails run inside the pavers, resting on the 4×4 rail and held in place by massive toe screws, and further supported with Redwood end-cuts from the new Pergola back in Salt Lake.

_DSC5188

Safer to walk across than the old bridge already. Measuring for planks.

_DSC5198

The planks are 2×6 cedar runners salvaged from broken corral panels and an old feed trough.

_DSC5201

A few of the planks just fell apart while being sectioned, so E & I scouted out a variety of possible alternatives, many of which also blew apart. Eventually we had enough planks to skin the rails.

_DSC5202

I cut a step into the rails at each end with the pole saw- E points out that Safety Comes When Man has suspended the power cord over the creek. I probably should have used the chainsaw for this, as it is easier to establish a level cut with- but I was running low on fuel after all the big willow clean up.

_DSC5208

Putting in the first step.

_DSC5213

Standing on the step and beginning to skin the bridge. I’m using all-weather deck screws; they won’t shear like the old drywall screws.

_DSC5216

I pre-drill all the holes for the skin boards, even though the screws are “self-boring”, to ensure that I don’t lose any to splits. It takes more screws than I have left after triaging the garage, and I have to go through my collections of salvaged deck screws from SLC projects.

_DSC5219 - Version 2

The hawks play on evening thermals over the forested hill beyond the corral.

_DSC5228

The last step is cut and outfitted.

_DSC5156

Before: A memory of a bridge.

_DSC5308

After: Actual Bridge.

_DSC5074

E & I headed out with Stanley to make a few bbird fixes we’d noticed on a drive up the road the night before. We headed down an old road that the county no longer serves, and found an ancient world of forgotten bbird houses.

_DSC5075

I could fix this one with tools I had laying about in the truck, the one behind (and another we picked up further down the road) needs shop help.

_DSC5076

Bluebird’s view from their fixed house (occupied within a day).

_DSC5083

Fitting a new roof for this old BBird house is my kind of fun.

_DSC5084

Maybe a little too much fun.

_DSC5085

Definitely a bit of crazy fun. Or just crazy.

_DSC5096

Our Bluebird Trekking Tour set last summer for our anniversary- heading up to the high hayfield.

_DSC5098

Every house is as this: nested pair flitted out and watching us or the male out and the lady on the eggs.

_DSC5100 - Version 2

Happy Bbird House.

_DSC5101

Carpets of Larkspur.

_DSC5103

Galaxies of Shooting Stars.

_DSC5104

Alpine Meadows with wildflowers and cattle.

_DSC5107 - Version 2

Male Bluebird leads us away from his nest.

_DSC5110

Stanley and Elizabeth share silvered-fairie glances; everyone enchanted by the blue bird trek.

_DSC5112

Next morning. My birthday. We are heading up to fix the one house knocked down by itchy cows.

_DSC5113

House #1. Cow scratching post.

_DSC5114

House #1, back in service. (Occupied within a day.)

_DSC5115

This is the Bluebird view out the front door.

_DSC5118

I add some chunky stones to stumble up any cows that feel itchy.

_DSC5124

Next fix, miles away along the county road; still on the ranch.

_DSC5126

That little brown board keeps the roof/lid from lifting in wind and rain from coming in. 

_DSC5127

We head back down the old unserviced county road and put the refurbished houses back up. Their roofs are painted white with scraping the buckets of the garage paint.

_DSC5128

Kibbey Grade Road leads to lost treasures of BBird houses and views.

_DSC5129

Look out for the barb wire, bird nerd.

_DSC5131

E starts spotting old houses swept by wind and snow far afield.

_DSC5133

This one only needs a new wall and roof. 

_DSC5135

I found all the scavenger hunt items my silvered-fairie wife and the bluebirds set out for my 48 Annum Challenge. 

_DSC5136

New backing board.

_DSC5139

Angled staples provide grippy steps for baby birds to climb from the nest to the hole.

_DSC5142

Scoured with sandpaper. Cracks and splits jointed with staples. Ready for new top and side. 

_DSC5144

The 48 Annum Challenge required the return of 3 BBird houses. One of the scavenged houses was only good for recovering hardware for future triage of houses with more potential. This meant pulling a prototype bbird house that I had converted for Wrens, and reconverting for Bluebirds.

_DSC5145

BBird House graveyard bones.

_DSC5147

The green curve of pasture in line with my hat marks the end of the BBird Trekking Tour. We are getting thick with bluebirds up in here.

_DSC5150

I found this one in a muddy hole partly covered by road grade push-over. It is now safely on my fence-line, just a bit further along the county road.

_DSC5151

We head along the top of Kibbey Ridge Road to set up the field-found scavenger hunt house, finding a nice spot where it has a chance for another 50 years.

_DSC5152

View for the Bluebirds on Kibbey Road of Square Butte (with smoke signal cloud above it) and the Highwood Mountains.

 

_DSC5057 - Version 2

It rained for a day or so. E & I put a fire in the woodstove and worked in the house with the U-Haul load we pulled up from SLC  with the truck (via relocube from Wichita).

 

_DSC5055

The weather breaks and it is on to powerscraping the old garage of it’s old paint down to fresh board. E has to unplug the fridge to bring me another length of extension cord to reach the farthest door.

_DSC5057

The last time this garage saw new paint was in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s when I was up for a visit and my dad put me to work with a hand-scraper and a paintbrush.

_DSC5056

A cool breezy day that never quite rains is perfect weather for chipping paint at high rpm’s. The hand scraper still saw some use.

_DSC5059

The day thinks about clearing up.

_DSC5061

The big door is clear. Two seasons ago Dave used his tractor to pull out the concrete footing that was heaved up into the door. Last summer we “fixed” the flip-up door, he and I used our sawzalls to remove an inch of the bottom of the door so it would close against its heaving concrete.

_DSC5064

The day really starts to freshen out.

_DSC5062

Stanley hears no rabbits in there, just a wren singing from its nest in the rafters.

_DSC5063

Leg table. Seemed like a good idea, but the bruises across my legs will be there awhile.

_DSC5066

6 hours of steady work and many grinding heads gone.

_DSC5072

Super-squeeze clamps tighten the panels and I set about tightening it all up with heavy-duty deck screws. This goes on ’til nearly sunset.

_DSC5073

The next morning it is caulk for all the upper seams and borders, still allowing water to escape the bottom of the un-caulked seam.

_DSC5079

After a few hours break for bluebird house inspection & triage, the caulk has set and painting can begin.

_DSC5080

The sprayer’s last project was the barn, but it is ready to push paint.

_DSC5081

Today’s goal: spend as little time on the ladder as possible.

_DSC5082

Already onto the second gallon. I thought I had four, but turns out; only three.

_DSC5089

Big door gets only one coat, the others are dry enough for a quick second coat before the paint runs out.

_DSC5086

Finished! The panel in the grass was for a temporary door on the old grain bin, but no paint left for that so back in the garage it goes.

 

_DSC5092

Painting projects from last summer and now.

_DSC4968

Meanwhile; cattle at the front gate.

_DSC4972

The cattle have been on the mooove since 10:am at our leasor’s place, in a slow steady 15 mile climb to their summer pasture here on our land.

_DSC4974

_DSC4977

_DSC4983

Asparagus grows wild at the corner of the yard; all good cowgirls have an eye for it.

_DSC4985

The support crew on their brave steads.

_DSC4987

A little family reunion for the early arrivals in the corral with the larger herd.

_DSC5006

Wi-Fi the cowdog lits out to see that everyone has made it to the Airbnb for the night.

_DSC5011

Greasy the Cowdog is pretty sure he should get most of the day’s credit.

_DSC5037

The next morning the herd is rounded up into the corral and split into their groups for summer pasture.

_DSC5031

Which one is the rascal? Trick question. They all are.

_DSC5036

This pair and a few more will live up here for the summer. I promise not to paint the Paint barn-red this summer.

_DSC4950

Heavy late snow followed by rain and things are green and toppled around the yard. 

_DSC4949

Giant willow branch fallen in the yard? Get Elizabeth to do a magic pixie dance, then…

_DSC5319

Pixies got mad skilz.

_DSC4947

Big hanging branch snagged in the tree over the creek. Let E sit under it and think for sec…

_DSC5318

Thinked & Thunk!

_DSC4943

Two giant willow limbs have Lyle Rock a bit bummed, Stanley helps think about this one.

_DSC5316

Silver-Pixie powers activate! Lyle Rock is happy again.

_DSC4942

If you believe in the power of the Little People and the Hidden Ones, stop now.

_DSC5014

Safety-Comes-When Man is here!

_DSC5017

Pole saw needed to sit in the sun a bit before it decided to work.

_DSC5023

Last summer’s giant stumps, with snag removed.

_DSC4960

The Widowmaker is de-limbed.

_DSC4957

Some big tie-down webbing and a come-along help subdue the rowdy limb.

_DSC4965

Like cutting a cuticle holding a whole ripped fingernail in place. 

_DSC4967

Safety-Comes-When Man defeats The Widowmaker.

_DSC5021

Now on to the real projects.