More gutters and a pile of bones

IMG_2022The farm has been back in the family a year now and it’s amusing to me to recount that 80 percent of the work I’ve done there in that year has been involved with water. That includes getting it, repairing the damage it’s caused, and preventing further damage.

First up was the repair of the water system. There’s more to be done in that regard, but after some work on the well, we have basic water service. Then came repairing basement walls that were leaning in because a lack of gutters let water run down next to the foundation on the smaller house. Then came replacing gutters on both houses and adding back the missing sheets of tin that had blown off the barn roof.

Water truly is the enemy of every structure. Given enough time water will tear down everything ever built.

On my trip to the farm recently I completed the guttering work, adding gutters to the north and south sides of the farmhouse. That should help keep water from pouring down on top of the well house and from splashing up onto the siding, where the lower boards have already been significantly damaged. Now I’m ready to put guttering behind me. It’s a pity tho. I just learned to do it and now I may never do it again.

With the help of a borrowed hydraulic lift I also put the second story gutter on the farmhouse back into place. Sometime in past years this long run of guttering had come loose at one end and draped itself over the peak of the porch roof, creating a sad and forlorn sight. It felt good to restore it and it makes the house look much better.

We also resolved a lingering apprehension last week. Out in the farm fields were two mounds of earth that our renter has been farming around. Given the track record of the former owners we were sure they were burial pits for dead cows. And one was. We picked up lots of bones from the surface, then leveled the mound and picked up more bones. Still, it could have been a lot worse. The other mound turned out to be nothing more than a huge pile of manure, which, when spread out created quite the patch of superrich soil. A nice surprise. And we got rid of two mounds that had to be farmed around. I do like a clean-looking field.

The weeds have grown high this year. There’s enough debris still laying around that it’s not entirely safe to run a mower across the farmstead. That, plus the rich cover of manure that lies everywhere has created prime conditions for tall weeds. Can’t do much now except burn them when they die this fall. And then make a better plan for next spring.

There are chickens on the farm now–a rooster and his brood of five hens, part of a 4-H project. They seem quite at home, chasing after grasshoppers and bedding down in the heat of the day under the spirea. The rooster knows he’s in charge. The hens seem okay with that.

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