Saturday, August 30, 2014

Flower Girl Visits, Grants Approval

As the wedding quickly approaches, Pat and Kathleen continue to come out and work on a variety of projects. This past Tuesday, in addition to the bride and groom, the groom's grandparents, and the groom's brother, the soon-to-be flower girl arrived: Sophie! Our great niece just turned six, is enjoying kindergarten immensely, and adores her soon-to-be aunt Kathleen.
Don't you just love school uniforms? 
 Twirling on demand from the photographer.
Oh, that face! 
There's no mistaking who Sophie belongs to . . . she's all Camp.
After some serious consideration and pondering, Sophie agreed to be the very best flower girl in the history of flower-girling. Kathleen's pretty happy about that.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!


It's been a rainy couple of weeks here at noTTafarm but the weather gave us a break last weekend (August 23-24) and Scott was finally able to get outside and on to the visiting tractor. Saturday was particularly hot and humid but Dad Carl came over to help eliminate the final pile of rotting firewood from the west yard. Scott used the tractor and scooped up big piles while Dad picked pieces by hand and tossed them in the back of the Ranger for transport. What used to be comprise a backyard eyesore is now at the bottom of the hill east of the barn.
Thanks for the help, Dad!
On Sunday, with my brother Tim here for support and muscle, the low area east of the barn was tackled, tractored, and tamed. The goal was to clean up the final remains of the big piles we burned several weeks ago. Even with all the rain we've had, the smaller of the piles was still smoldering! Tim even got a little burn on his arm from a hot piece of wire. 
The boys were very excited to show me a melted piece of glass they discovered.
The first task was to clear an area and dig a big hole. The remains of the west burn pile were then pushed into the hole and neatly covered up. Prior to burying, the boys pulled out all of the metal, broken glass, and various un-burned trash for proper disposal.
Once the hole was filled, Scott spent some time grading, 'round and 'round on the tractor to create a nice flat area. We'll soon have to get a new burn permit and try to eliminate more of the south pile. This area is well on its way to being cleaned-up and ready for nature walks.
Confidential to Ward Family Members:  Tim got a little sunburn on the top of his head the previous day so he wore a cap for a change. I could not believe how much he looked like Mark! The cap must be magical. Thanks for your help, Mark Tim!

Mom and Dad return from their Alaskan vacation tomorrow night. Scott will certainly miss having a tractor and a big pick-up truck at his disposal! We even used the truck to take another load of metal to Scrap Central on Saturday; another $16.53 earned.

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wedding Prep Kicks into High Gear

With only three weeks until The Big Day, we've been steadily checking things off the "to do" list. There's still quite a bit not done but we're all feeling good about the progress. Check it out:
Saturday morning, Scott went to The Grass Pad and purchased a trailer-full of sod for the west yard. Pat happily pitched in, helping to get the soil smoothed and graded.
It was hot and humid on Saturday but that didn't stop the boys from getting all the sod set and ready. They even had to make a quick trip late in the afternoon for another 10 rolls of sod. It sure is nice to have grass growing on this former-big-burn-pile spot!
Just when they thought their work was done, Dave The Hay Guy arrived to bale the grass in the east pasture. Scott decided that he and Pat needed to stack the bales on the trailer and tow it back to store in the corn crib and in the barn. The 51-bale yield will go a long way toward seating at the wedding!
Poor Pat - he worked so hard all day! Who would think this city boy would be so good at tossing hay bales?
While the boys toiled in the hot sun, Kathleen had her hands in hot water. The centerpieces will utilize dozens of jars and bottles - all of which had to go through a tedious label-removal process. We got a pretty good system down and, thanks to some elbow grease and Goo-Gone, the task was completed.
Tuesday after work (Aug. 19), the boys turned their attention to building a platform on which the bride and groom will stand during the ceremony. Another construction-goods pallet was utilized as the foundation with more great room ceiling tongue-and-groove pine as the surface. With such a sturdy stage, Kathleen may break out her tap shoes!
The basement craft room has turned into Centerpiece Central. Kathleen is creating the most beautiful arrangements, and the bottles we scrubbed clean look amazingly pretty!
The Adirondack chairs are undergoing a facelift, switching from orangey-pink "Gladiola" to a rich "Lavish Lavender." The chairs are going to look great near the fire pit!
Friend-O'-noTTafarm, Marie (aka Punky) shared a great idea for decorating. She is letting me borrow her collection of insulators. Some will hang in trees, others will be tabletop decor but they are all going to look beautiful with the addition of tea lights and jute twine. Great idea, Punky! Thanks for stopping by tonight to walk me through your vision!
Stay Tuned for More Progress!

Mark Your Calendars!

It's time to start thinking about Lumberjack Days!
Our annual celebration of all-things noTTafarm will take place a little later this year on what is sure to be a crisp, cool, sunny, beautiful weekend in October. We hope you can stop by sometime on October 11 and/or October 12. Scott plans on taking it easy this year; no big projects, no heavy lifting - just a bonfire, some recreational chainsawing, and maybe a beer or two. Husker and Wildcat fans need not whine:  this is a "bye" weekend for both teams! Keep watching the blog for more details as the date approaches. 
See You in October!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wedding Arch? Check!

The bride and groom-to-be were at noTTafarm before 6:30 tonight (Tuesday) to work on more wedding tasks. While Kathleen and I worked on planting flowers, Scott and Pat decided to take advantage of the glorious weather to work in the west yard on the wedding arch. I would have never guessed that they could plan, construct, install, and refine the arch in just a couple of hours . . . but that's what the boys did! Check it out:
After cleaning the cedar logs of their extraneous branches, they made sure the two verticals were exactly the same length. Scott decided the arch should be 7 feet wide so that the Ranger could easily drive between the two upright posts.
Pat grabbed our new post hole digger and went to work! He quickly dug the first hole, 3 feet deep, only taking about 10 minutes to accomplish the task.
The second hole provided the extra challenge of having a few tree roots which Pat quickly cut through.
By the time Kathleen and I were done with our planting, the boys had placed both uprights in the holes Pat dug, and were ready to place the horizontal piece across the top.
While Pat held the ladder, Scott notched the top of the uprights with the chainsaw to provide a cradle for the horizontal piece.
I wasn't able to photograph the placing of the horizontal piece because the boys each lifted an end and went up their respective ladders while Kathleen and I steadied them. They sure did make it look easy! As a final measure, extra-long screws (leftover from the great room roofing) were drilled through the top log and into each vertical post.
Great job, Pat and Scott!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

BOOM Goes the noTTafarm!

If you are near noTTafarm any time over the next three weeks and you smell diesel in the air, you can thank my dad. He agreed that Scott could borrow his New Holland Boomer 35 for some noTTafarm maintenance! Dad towed it to Omaha last night and won't retrieve it til the last week of the month. Scott could barely wait for 5 o'clock to get here today (Tuesday) so he could get home and start driving.
Bibbers watched (of course) as Scott backed the Boomer out of its temporary home.
Looking at Scott's happy smile, I can hear my big brother telling me, "You'd better get your checkbook ready because he's going to want a tractor now." You're probably right, Mark!
Scott decided to do a quick practice with the front loader controls, scooping up one little chunk of sand.
He moved the bucket of sand to behind the barn, then off-loaded the sand into a waiting trash can for storage. With that little exercise, the Boomer was put back in the corn crib for the night. Something tells me it won't be long until the smell of diesel wafts through the beautiful August noTTafarm air once again.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Old Tools, New Flowers

On a recent antiquing jaunt with her mom, noTTafarm super friend Amy B. spotted something that she just knew that I needed. She was right, of course, and I became the proud owner of an old wheelbarrow - complete with faded Bicentennial paint job and steel wheel.
Now that the big pile of bricks has been removed from the south side of the barn, I decided this spot was the perfect place for the wheelbarrow to rest in its new life as a planter.
Scott had to reinforce one of the wooden rails as it is quite rotten - but that only makes it more charming, right?
The finished product uses a mix of yellow and purple which should look great for the wedding.
Speaking of the wedding, Pat and Kathleen were out Tuesday night so I had Kathleen help me get the Gleaner's flower boxes ready. We used rust and purple mums.
Now we just need some sunshine and some rain to get the mums to grow before the Big Day.
Thanks for your help, Kathleen! 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sand Trap

When you pay good money for 4 yards of sand, you want to utilize every last grain - even when you sorely overestimate the quantity needed to create a brick pathway. Scott decided to make a dent in the pile at the end of the driveway (it's been there since May, right?) by saving what he could in easy-to-use containers.
Does it seem ironic that sand - one of a cat's favorite things in which to dig - is now filling up containers once used for kitty litter? Luckily, Scott has been hoarding saving these buckets over the past few years and has built up a good hoard stockpile.
Little-by-little, the sand went into the little buckets. 
The filled buckets - about 15 total - are now stacked in the barn for future non-cat-related use. But I wonder what he'll do with the rest of the pile?
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

One Pile Gone . . . One To Go

We've been saying for just about 4 years that the two piles of rotting firewood in the west yard need to go. With the big wedding just a few weeks away, we got some excellent help on Saturday to eliminate one of these problematic eyesores. Mom and Dad Camp spent a few hours with us in the humid heat of the afternoon, and made quick work of the pile.
Mom did her best to toss the logs into the back of the Ranger. Scott took about 12 Ranger-loads of this stuff down to the burn pile east of the barn. I call it "stuff" because the wood was mostly not wood . . . it was more like dirt held together by pulp. I wonder how long it takes for firewood to rot to this level of rottenness?
 Great job, Mama!
It was like old times, having Mom and Dad working with us in the yard. However, as the pile got shorter, the snakes grew more plentiful so I excused myself to run an errand with the Bride-to-Be.
Thanks for your help, Carl & Marita!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Wilson, The Great (Black &) White Hunter

The other night, it was getting late, so Scott decided to look for Wilson and bring him in for the evening. He was quite surprised to see our big ol' kitty in the neighbor's pasture south of our property . . . waaaaayyyyyy south of our property. Apparently, Wilson thought it would be fun to check out the turkey flock but only from a safe distance.
With the grass recently mowed and baled, there are not many places for a big black and white cat to hide. Luckily, he was easy to spot! Silly kitty had quite an adventure but came jogging back when he heard Scott call.
Stay Tuned for More Cat News!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Brick Pathway Complete!

For most of the summer, Scott has been piecing together an extension of the driveway apron and a pathway to the barn. The inventory of bricks pulled from various flowerbeds have been stacked and waiting for use for years. Finally, by late this afternoon (today, August 3) the project was completed.
On Saturday, Scott tackled the area nearest the south barn door. Bricks were added to create a entryway pad plus a few rows were placed for a future northbound path.
With divergent paths, Scott toiled to curve the path both north and east. Note at right the dwindling brick pile!
Scott was up-and-at 'em early this morning to extend the 4-bricks-wide path up toward the garage. As the path curved around the driveway, its width changed to 3-bricks and then to 2-bricks wide. If we ever find a batch of inexpensive (or better yet, free!) antique pavers, he'll be able to extend the path further.
Finally! The final paver is put in place. Good job, Scotty! 
Carl and Marita were here to witness the completion. They both pitched in by spreading and sweeping sand between the bricks. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
Look at this beautiful layout near the barn door! 
Scott outdid himself - he had to space bricks to create a curve, cut some in half lengthwise to fill gaps, and use driveway gravel to ease the transition to the barn door's concrete stoop.
Of course, the project had to be approved by the boss, Bibbers! 
Scott is happy to provide Bibbers with a brick pathway so that his travel from the barn to the food bowl near the house can be as comfortable as possible. Spoiled Kitty!

The next tasks will be to plant some grass seed and figure out a way to store the excess sand. We severely overestimated the amount of sand this project would take. But the good news is, if the Missouri River rises to a thousand feet above flood stage, we'll be ready.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Fire Smolders, Pile Dwindles

The brush pile fire that Tim and Scott started on Saturday (July 26) continued to smolder for several days - even after Scott used about a jillion gallons of water in an effort to extinguish. However, with a week of cool temps and low winds, we weren't too worried. Wednesday after work, we checked on the progress.
It's hard to believe that the huge pile we felt was insurmountable is pretty much gone! Best of all, we didn't find any nests of snakes or badgers - just lots of barbed wire and miscellaneous junk. Later this month, we plan on clearing this area further. You'll just have to . . . 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!