March 7th, 2014
This winter will end someday, I’m sure.
March 7th, 2014
This winter will end someday, I’m sure.
Tom and I went up to the other side of Ann Arbor to pick up a welder/generator we bought on eBay. As is typical this year it started snowing and blowing ferociously as soon as we left home. We were apprehensive, but as soon as we cleared the Indiana line the snow stopped and the sun came out and we had smooth sailing the rest of the way.
I’d left Debbie with the phone number and address of the place where we picking up the welder in case the person we bought the welder from was one of those crazed on-line serial killers so she could… well… I guess give him a call if we never came home .
We picked up the welder without incident.
The welder looks mighty fine in the back of my Ranger, but it’s destined for ‘The Tank,’ the F-550 we’re setting up as a service truck.
In a marvel of bad planning since we were so close to Ann Arbor we stopped at Zingerman’s Deli before lunch. When we were feeding the meter and got to 24 minutes I said to Tom, “that’ll be plenty of time.” An hour later, and many dollars lighter, we staggered out of Zingerman’s laden with meat and cheese and bagels and bread and spices.
Too much is never enough, so we stopped at Metzger’s German restaurant for lunch.
Tom had the knockwurst
with spätzle and sauerkraut.
I had the lunch special sausage (I forget the name)
with spätzle and potato pancakes.
Das leben ist schön!
1. Maybe that wasn’t a well thought out plan.
2. Life is good! Especially with sausages!
We had corn to deliver in January. And it snowed, and it snowed, and then it snowed some more.
Finally here in the last week of February the weather moderated enough that we were able to start hauling.
Those flecks aren’t dirt on lens, it’s snow blasting by on the 25 mph winds.
“It must be great to work outside,” I hear sometimes. Lana is enjoying being out in the fresh air.
While Lana was watching the auger, I was helpfully monitoring conditions, keeping an eye on the lane to make sure it was passable and making sure it wasn’t getting too warm in the cab of the truck. Somebody had to do it.
Looking to the north in the direction we’d soon be heading with the corn it looked like a scene from the movie ‘Fargo.’
But the despite the bad weather we got six loads hauled today and filled our contract, just ahead of the -12 degrees predicted for tonight.
After a long day in the cold, this is a reward.
It sure feels good to soak the cold away by the fire.
Rabbits are running amuck here at Skunk Hill. They live under our porch and breed like, well, rabbits. Owen and Spenser (the wonder dogs) spend endless hours chasing, but never catching, rabbits.
They’re killing our trees by chewing the bark and girdling the trees, and they’re just chewing tender plants to the ground, or at least to the top of the snow.
So war has been declared on the bunnies. We set the live trap and baited with it hay. In matters of moments we had a bunny in the trap. Unfortunately, the wonder dogs discovered the rabbit in the trap before I did. The howling and carrying by both the wonder dogs and the rabbit was the very definition of ‘histrionics.’
That was 3 days ago. Today I baited the trap, ready to capture another bunny. Owen was ready too.
A rabbit appeared in the trap once. Owen, like an elephant, never forgets. He’s keeping an eye on the trap, waiting for another rabbit to appear in it.
It looks like a frozen wasteland looking west off our porch.
It looks a little cheerier to the south.
Despite being a short-legged dog in deep snow, Owen does not shirk his guard duty.
After struggling with mud, snow, ice, slush, and bitter cold, we finished our log sawing project today.
We cut down a bunch of ‘junk’ trees; dead ash trees, trees that were leaning out into fields, trees that had split, trees that were never going to be commercial lumber.
We dragged all those logs up to the farmyard.
Then we had Dave Scheiber of Bent Tree Sawmill bring his portable sawmill out and turn the logs into lumber.
Dave’s phone number is prominently displayed in the photo above. Give him a call if you need some logs sawed!
This is the coolest tree we cut.
It’s a spalted maple. Spalting is caused by a fungus that infects the tree and makes these flame patterns in the wood.
It’s so cool another picture is in order.
I had Dave cut it into 2 inch thick slabs and leave one side natural with the bark on. I plan to make a slab table with natural sides out of it.
We saved the best log for last. A huge red oak about 30 inches in diameter and over 16 feet long.
It weighed easily 3000 pounds, including Bernie who is trotting across the top of it.
All those logs resulted in lumber.
Fencing boards and hay wagon flooring and furniture boards.
The slabs of spalted maple and other boards.
Big pieces of oak for the underpinnings of a hay wagon. Those big slabs of oak on the left are 3 1/2″ by 10″ by 16′ and weigh a good 150 pounds each.
Alas it wasn’t all sawdust and good times. We ruined one of Dave’s saw blades on this.
A lag screw someone had screwed into a log a good 8 feet off the ground. That brought the operation to a screeching halt. Fortunately it was the only foreign object we encountered.
We also ended up with about 6 pickup loads of slab wood, the rounded parts of bark and sapwood you cut off the log so you get a square piece to start slicing boards from. We cut the slabs into short pieces to burn in the fireplace next winter.
It was hard work and took a lot of time, but the end result of a huge pile of lumber and firewood is very satisfying.
Paul and Lisa got us a Himalaya salt cooking slab for Christmas.
It’s a slab of salt, about an inch and a quarter thick, and maybe 9 by 12 inches square.
We pulled it out tonight to roast veggies and shrimp. It went into the oven and then we cranked the temperature to 400 to let it soak up the heat for an hour.
While the salt block was heating I marinated the shrimp with crushed garlic and olive oil and the broccoli, asparagus, and green onions with olive oil and red pepper flakes.
The veggies went on first, because they’ll take longer to cook than the shrimp.
And after 20 minutes.
Then it was time to put the shrimp in. I’d read about skewering the shrimp on rosemary sprigs, but either my rosemary sprigs were too big, or the shrimp were too small. The shrimp just split when I tried to thread them on the springs. So the shrimp went on metal skewers with the rosemary strewn on top.
The shrimp only took a few minutes on each side to cook.
The shrimp were absolutely delicious. They’d picked up an amazing roasted saltiness from the salt block.
The vegetables on the other hand hardly tasted of salt at all. For some reason they didn’t pick up saltiness at all from the block.
We’ve got a couple of filet mignons on the menu for next week. They’re going on that salt block for sure!
The sidewalk’s drifted shut. Again.
Owen stood behind me and barked helpfully, because he wanted to get to the other side of the drifts faster.
And in no time at all he had a clear path to the snow on the other side of the drifts.
35 mph winds today, I expect when the morning light comes streaming in, we’ll get up and do it again.
We’ve had several mild winters in a row and I was beginning to believe that global warming meant we were going to have mild winters from here on out.
Well. Mother Nature has disabused me of that notion in the winter of 2013-14.
Debbie’s shoveling the walk as the sun comes up. It looks like she’s reflecting on the beauty of the sunrise, but I’m sure she was thinking, “Bleep! My back hurts!”
The sun’s going down and the snow is blasting across the fields, creating golden images that make me wish I was a better photographer so I could capture them.