Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Best Laid Plans...

It's getting hot here in Bleecker.  Not Georgia-I'd-rather-live-in-a-pizza-oven hot, but really hot,and humid.  So Pam and I decided that we'd get up at the farmer's crack o' dawn for working on the land.  Which we did.

We weren't there at o'dark thirty, but we were there by 8 AM.  Pam started landscaping our tear drop shaped turn around for the driveway, and I hopped in the tractor.  Deader than a door nail.  It seems that some goofball had left the ignition switch in the "on" position, killing the battery.  These old tractors didn't start like a car.  To be sure that it wasn't in gear when started, you'd turn the ignition switch to "on" and then move the shifter to "start".  I thought this was a great idea until yesterday morning.

The battery is six volt.  I know Earl doesn't have a six volt charger, so I hied myself off the mountain (again!) to NAPA and bought one.  Back up the mountain, hooked it up, and waited.  And waited.

Our more astute followers are thinking WTF?  You don't have any power in there yet.  What are you plugged into?

The Kia.  I have an inverter plugged into the Kia, and an extension cord into the inverter.  The cord runs to Bessie.  So I go 12 V DC to 110 V AC to 6 V DC.  There must be some loss there somewhere.  

It's a positive ground, so I had to disconnect the ground strap.

The pic above shows how nicely the land is taking shape.  The mess in the left of the photo is the big wet spot, possibly a spring and future duck pond.  To the left is where it was graded, smoothed with Earl's invention, and then the back blade.  Next will come the rake.

This is to the right of the big wet spot.  To the right is the little wet spot, where maybe the underground spring surfaces again.

Pam made a little wattle fence.  See it in the pic above?  I have to admit, it took me awhile to find it.  Behind it is Wintergreen.  Whatever that is.  It's in the middle of our turn around is all I know.

After a couple of hours, Bessie's battery was nowhere near charged, so I pulled it and took it home.  

It was after lunch and I still felt the need to accomplish something, so I took the hand scythe and started trimming back weeds around the cabin.  After whacking off a fern, I saw something scamper away and then stop and look at me.  It was a baby finch.

I grabbed it and cupped it in my gloved hands.  It thrashed about for a few moments and then got still. I peeked at him.  He peeked back.  I called Pamela.  She took it and I went back to whacking weeds.  A short time later, Pamela came outside to announce that it was a finch fledgling.  Fledglings leave the nest as soon as they have gliding feathers.  They live on the ground and their parents find them and continue to feed them.  As you can see, the fledgling was quite at home with us now and wanted to be fed.  We put him in a bunch of ferns and left him for mom and dad.   We raised our kids.

Now, almost 24 hours later, the battery is 75% charged.  It might not take a charge.  Starting batteries aren't designed to be totally discharged like a deep cycle.  I might have to go buy another battery this morning.



  1. I guess you like things pretty flat, huh.
    Maybe the land wants to slope a bit more in some places to drain wet spots? I know.. it's just like you WANT it, but I can't help myself. Maybe it's the Vermont in me.

    Which makes me think of rocks! I love rocks: small, large, round, flat. I use them for practical things but also for whimsey. Our favorite rock project here consists of 3 very large obelisk shape, upright (250-300 lb?) rocks ala Stonehenge, with about a third of each'planted' below ground. A small, flat rock lays flat in the middle, pointing due north.

    Of course we almost killed ourselves installing them, and had lots of laughs when one fell out of our cart after taking us 45 minutes to put it in.

    If you are drawn to wattle fences, you might just LOVE landscaping with rocks... building even a small rock wall can be very satisfying. Walls use a lot of rock; you might want all of the abundance you have, so you can shop for the perfect candidates.

    Rocks are great under downspouts and in areas that can erode in heavy rain events (like those we're 'enjoying' this week). They can be paths, walks, they can line cold frames or greenhouses where they are heat sinks; I made a great little bench with one flat sided rock that told me it wanted to be a bench. Possibilities are endless. Keep your ears open for when one talks to you...

    1. Actually, the land slopes off nicely. There's no standing water anywhere, except right in the middle of the field. We had one period of three days when it didn't rain. The rest of the field was dry and dusty. The spot in the middle still had standing water. My guess is that if I dig down three feet, I'll have a pond there.