Monday, November 3, 2008

I was anticipating the usual freezing drizzle and blustery, blasting wind that begins around Halloween, but it was a gorgeous Indian Summer weekend. The ladybugs and box elder bugs that had finally dispersed with first frost reappeared. Even grasshoppers revived, hopping around the pasture. It was our chance to tackle the deep carpet of leaves that covered our lawn, driveway and pasture.

The lawnmower, lawn sweeper and I worked in partnership all Sunday. I started out thinking I needed to sweep the leaves before mowing, which took forever because the sweeper filled up so fast and then the leaves blew out. Then I figured out it was MUCH more effective to just mow through the layer of leaves and sweep them and the grass clippings up. Plus, this way, the leaves and grass clippings are automatically blended (green + brown) for my garden. I am a bit stiff today from bumping along on the mower for 6 hours and emptying umpteen loads from the sweeper, but it was satisfying. And fun. And now the entire farm looks civilized and ready for winter...

All except for a little unmowed patch by where the Willys truck was parked, where some gasoline spilled while Rog was siphoning out the fuel tank and we didn't want to risk any sparks nearby. Rog worked on the truck all weekend. He cleaned out what seemed to be a clogged fuel line, so maybe that will do the trick - we will find out tonight.

When we bought this place, the little garage was totally lacking garage doors, which we deemed a necessity. Last Monday (a cold, snow-flurry day), the garage doors were installed. It was quite challenge for the installer; nothing was square or level or standard or consistent. But the new doors look great - they have the look of carriage house doors but are economical, overhead doors. One of my weekend accomplishments was to prime and paint the trim. I decided to also paint the adjacent doghouse to match. Now, if I can just convince Nutmeg or Cocoa to use it.

The other key thing on my To Do list was to assemble the Wovel, a crazy shovel on a wheel that is supposed to be three times faster than a regular shovel and save your back. It took about an hour to assemble; afterwards I tested it out in the house on crumpled paper towels. Something about this tool tickles me--I cannot wait to try it in the snow! It was kind of pricey ($169, including the optional attachemnt for using on a gravel driveway) but I intend to write a newspaper review about it so that will cover part of the investment. Rog insists we still need a snowblower, so when we get that, I will challenge him to a contest. I bet when the snowblower won't start or runs out of gas, my wovel will save the day.

Rog taught Sara how to make his sourdough bread and they baked two loaves of yummy whole wheat sourdough in the pizza oven. We also roasted half of a gi-normous hubbard squash in there. It was quite dark, now that daylight savings time ended, but warm enough with the firepit to dine on the patio last night.

Our final accomplishment last week was to get the invisible dog fence hooked up. Rog had an ingenious idea, to hook up the dog fence wires to the existing electric horse fence wire that was strung around half of our property. It worked! We don't have all the wires buried yet but we are already using it with dogs. I hated to resort to these zapping collars, but the dogs had become more and more naughty, going into the woods and not coming when called, and risking encounters with skunks or hunters, or getting onto the road. We tested the collars on ourselves and we found them to be very startling and uncomfortable(but not cruel)--they would certainly deter me! It is hard to see the little warning flags because of all the leaves along the woods, so we are teaching them the word "fence" as a reminder. A couple of times they have suddenly bolted toward the woods, maybe after a deer or other animal, and when we yelled "fence!" they veered away and stayed in the yard. Whew!

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