Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Wow, the weekend is over already and I don't know where it went. The last two days have been a blur of work.

Sunday was a very hot day, once again. We finished hay and pine needle mulching the front garden on Sunday and then went over to the hosta bed behind the shop and started mulching there and also along the wall by the barn between the hostas. Ann was here by early afternoon on Sunday and started pitching in immediately.

I have no adequate words to describe how grateful we are to her for all of her help.

We brought up load after load of white pine needles from the Back Eight to use for mulching. It works best if two or three people work together to rake the needles up and fork them into the car trailer. Carl put the sideboards on the trailer so it was a big load when they were done. One trailer full covered the entire hosta bed behind the shop over six inches deep.

I was working on the hay mulch and was able to transport some partial bales using the forklift teeth on the 574. Now that we've mulched about half of the gardens, I sure hope this is the right thing to do, because if it isn't, we're going to have a mess on our hands I fear. Oh, it was so hot on Sunday, at times you felt like you could just melt. I set the sprinkler up for a few hours and it was a relief when I had to go move it just to stand in the cool mist.

We had a bonfire planned for Sunday night and around 6PM people started showing up. By the end of the evening, we had 20 people here. Laura, Travis and the girls came over and brought the stained glass windows back all framed with oak. They look SO much nicer framed! Travis did a fantastic job on them and they are very sturdy now, too. Carl is going to rig up something for hanging the windows in the garden for walks and in the house.

The bonfire really wasn't necessary last night since it was so darn hot out, but we really did need to get rid of the brush pile. Joel set up the time lapse camera to catch the action. This was a seriously big fire and whenever we threw more wood on, everyone had to back up their chairs to escape the heat, especially later on in the evening or risk toasting more than their marshmallows!

Just click on the arrow:

It was a lot of work to get the wood on the fire too, and Carl and Joel were working on it almost all the time, until Ann and I got done eating and then we took turns tossing wood. The heat was so intense it wasn't possible to get too near the pile.

We were covered in sweat and ashes by the time the night was over, and it got over much sooner than we anticipated as a thunderstorm was approaching around 2AM. The rain would have been welcome to slow the fire down, but the wind preceding it was worrisome. The wind switched from the northeast to the southwest and picked up in intensity when the gust front went over. Ashes from the fire were flying up into the standing pine trees making them look like eerily lit Christmas trees. We held our breath to see if the sparks would ignite the whole tree (or worse, the dry pine needles beneath the trees) but luckily, nothing caught fire.

As the wind increased, Joel decided to bury the entire fire because it was obvious the storm was getting closer. He worked as fast as he could (in the dark) with the Super H digging up sod and dropping it on the fire. After twenty minutes or so, he had the fire out. Today his arms and shoulders were very sore from the workout of steering the heavy tractor with loads of dirt in the bucket.

By now it was 2:30AM and we had all the food and chairs, etc. to transport back to the house. I had the 184 with the car trailer on , so the six guests who hadn't left yet kindly helped get everything on the trailer so I could drive it back up to the house. Then, after unloading everything, we decided to play Sheepshead until nearly 3:30 AM, teaching another young couple how to play. Ann spent the night as we were all too exhausted to think about driving anywhere and we finally called it a 'day' at 4:15 AM.

Finally, around dawn on Monday morning, a small thunderstorm passed through, giving us a trace of precipitation, just enough to settle the dust on the lane. I was up by 9AM and went with the doggies to Mom's for a visit and to pick up a tractor. Carl and Ann came up with Carl's car so the three of us could all take a tractor home. Unfortunately, Joel's tractor was having some starter issues so we had to fix it which took a long time. Then, as soon as Joel's tractor was running, the H was stuck in gear and wouldn't start either. Ann thought the tractors were boycotting having to work on Memorial Day and I think she is right. We had them all running before noon.

After a very large dinner and dishes out of the way, out the door we went. David and Kayla went kayaking on the Oconto River this afternoon, they were smart and spent the day doing something fun. I started to plant my annuals and finished along the garage wall, the river bed and the formal garden. Ann took a grinder with a wire brush and took off the loose paint on the pans for the pan fountain and repainted them. After that chore was done, she helped Joel plant and mulch the entire vegetable garden. Carl was trying to eradicate creeping charlie from the formal garden lawn by digging it out. As he said, now it looks as if a deranged skunk was wandering around tunneling under the sod.

We worked non-stop right up til 9PM and then sat down to roast some more hot dogs and assess our various aches and pains. Ann left at ten. We wouldn't have gotten nearly as far as we did this weekend without her help. Thank you, Ann!!

Well, it's way past my bedtime. Good night.


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