Sunday, November 28, 2010

So, What Else is New?

With winter sneaking up and the Thanksgiving holiday, our time at noTTafarm has been short but sweet. 
Here are a few details of recent progress:

1.)  Trenching the new water line begins tomorrow (Nov. 29)!  It should take about three days to run the line to the house.  I hope we can get a few "action" shots along the way!

2.)  Soon after the water line is installed, work will begin on the structural corrections needed in the original house.  We have found an awesome contractor who has every confidence that the job will be quick and relatively simple (for him and his crew...not for me to understand.) 

Scott conducted an on-site meeting with the structural engineer (Rick) and the contractor (Terry) so that the three of them can coordinate the structural changes.  The house will gain new steel beams and columns in the basement.  On the second floor, Terry's crew will eliminate a wall between two bedrooms and shore up the ceiling joists with a new laminated beam.  After a quick trip to the attic, Terry determined that the ceiling  joists are each one solid timber, running the complete length of the house.  Those were some tall trees that gave their life for the home's 1920 construction!

3.)  Yesterday (Nov. 27), Scott and Carl cut down an Ash tree in the front yard south of the house.  It was quite the show, what with all the chainsaw noise and ropes and such.  They got it down, and Marita and I kept busy dragging the little branches to the burn pile.  Unfortunately, the camera was left at home!  (You'll have to use your imagination.)
 The Ash trunk has been sliced into easy-to-burn chunks.

4.)  While in Kearney for the Thanksgiving holiday, Scott bought a trail camera at Cabela's.  He has it set up in the barn to see if we can discover who or what is digging big holes under the concrete slab.  Is it a badger?  Or perhaps a fox?  Or a run-of-the-mill racoon?  Stay tuned to find out!

Trail Maintenance

Remember a few weeks ago when we rented a woodchipper?  Scott and Carl spent half a day grinding up branches that were stacked in the brush pile.  On November 20, Scott hauled two trailer-loads of chips to the trail on the western slope of noTTafarm Forest.  He managed to cover about two-thirds of the circuitous trail, and it looks great!  I'm not sure when but I do know that given the utility of the mulch, we will be renting the chipper again!

I did help a little...but shoveling is hard work!  I managed to drag a few branches felled by the recent snow storm to the fire pit.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Surprise Snow Storm Sweeps noTTafarm!

Omaha wasn't supposed to get much snow...maybe some high-level stuff that seems like rain when it gets to the ground - or so we were told by the experts.  By Friday night, it looked like a winter wonderland, albeit a slushy wonderland.
 Today was rather cold and windy, a high in the 30s with spotty sunshine.  We started the day by taking some food and water to our friendly corn crib kitties.  The snow was about 5 inches deep.
 Here, Kitty, Kitty!

The real tragedy of the snow...a small oak tree in the yard area east of the house fell victim.  It's trunk was weakened by deer using it as a scratch post, and was finally done in by the snow and wind.  Sad!

Barn Door Rehab No.1

The barn at noTTafarm is one of our favorite things.  It has so much potential and could some day be a woodshop, a guest house, or a party venue.  One thing we know for sure is that it needs a little TLC.  Scott decided to tackle rebuilding the door on the west side first.  Luckily, the weather on Saturday, November 6th, turned sunny and warm in the afternoon, just right for a carpentry project.

Scott decided to widen the door by 20 inches.  First, he had to pry off some of the siding.  As you can see, the orginal door (on the left) is rather battered.

The first fun discovery of the day...a treasure trove of Asian beetles.  They were busy eating part of the barn until Scott accidentally used a little wasp spray.
Once the siding was down, Scott used the Sawz-All to eliminate the stud.

The end of daylight savings time is wrecking our days at noTTafarm!  It got pretty dark pretty early, so Scott worked by placing a 500W shop light on the roof of the Escape.  I enjoyed the evening by sitting in a lawn chair inside the barn, biting my nails as the Huskers fought off those pesky ISU Cyclones (in overtime).
Sunday morning, Scott was back at noTTafarm to try and finish the door project.  The new 20" wide side door is constructed in the same style and uses the original siding.
Scott shows off the new 20" door.  Looking pretty good, so far!
Another late day at noTTafarm . . .still not quite done.  Luckily, Scott was able to take a vacation day on Monday, November 8th.  He called in reinforcements (his dad) and spent the whole day enjoying the beautiful fall weather and continuing work on this project.  He had the camera with him all day but forgot to record any of his progress.
Fast forward one week to November's the finished product!  Scott and Carl ended up harvesting siding from the old outhouse and completely rebuilt the wider door (on the left.)  It looks great and is much more sturdy.  More doors and windows will be fixed as time allows!

Saturday Sonya!

After we returned the chipper Saturday afternoon, our buddy Sonya stopped by noTTafarm for a visit.  She is practically our neighbor, living just up the road in Springbrook. 
Soon after this visit, Sonya left for a week in Mexico.  We hope she had a great time with her friends - but that she comes back to noTTafarm soon!

How Much Wood Can a Campchuck Chip?

Saturday, November 6th started out cold and blustery! What a great day to rent a chipper and tackle one of the brush piles.
Scott picked up the chipper at Croft Rentals before meeting up with his dad at noTTafarm early in the morning.  The chipper needed to be returned by 12:30 - so the boys worked furiously to eliminate at least some of the brush.

Scott realized that running a chipper isn't nearly as fun as he thought it would be.  Some of the branches, especially Chinese elm, are too slippery to be gripped by the chipper's teeth.  They did make a good dent in the brush pile, though, and we now have a nice pile of mulch to use on some of the walking trails.
Carl summed up the chipping experience with a sigh.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Camp Fire

Marita had another great idea!  She suggested we get the Camp family together at noTTafarm for a good old fashioned hotdog and s'more bonfire before the weather turns colder.  Since most of the family works weekends, we picked Tuesday, November 2nd and invited the crew.
Scott started the fire and sharpened all the roasting sticks.
We moved the picnic table near the fire pit.  That table has been so handy!  Scott wants to build another one or two so we can have big parties outside.
 Mother Nature didn't disappoint us.  Another beautiful autumn sunset! 
A side benefit of having a party...we burned a bunch of wood!  Now there are only about 1,256,781,987 logs left to clean up.
Carl was a little tardy to the party due to a meeting; and we missed our college student Andrew.  But it was so great to see everyone and give them a taste of what we hope life will be like at noTTafarm!
(From left:  Kate, Pete, Marita, Tonya, Jeff, Scotty, Pat)