Archive for May, 2008

Kayaking In Our Back Yard


This past weekend we also got our kayaks from Flannel Man’s parent’s house and gave them a new home in the shed (aka. the detached garage). FM made some nifty kayak racks out of bent electrical conduit and pipe insulation. Now we just need to buy some brackets of some sort to hold our paddles.


We also took the kayaks out for the first time this year out on our pond. FM has been dying to go kayaking in the ponds before they separate into two ponds again. Mama Flannel and Brother Flannel (I just made that up) stopped by and took a few pictures of us for our We’ve Moved cards. I thought it would be more interesting than just a picture of the front of our house. They turned out pretty cool:


The ponds were a lot murkier than I thought they would be. I thought you might actually be able to see something in the center but no it was just black. In the areas that the pond has flooded too you could still see the tall grasses just below the water. Paddling under the willow tree and through the cattails was fun. When we went around to the smaller pond we found a deer stand in a tree that looked like it was on our property. It happened to be very close to the place I saw the deer last week.

We’ll have to do it again sometime but when we’re wearing kayaking clothes not jeans that could soak up gallons of murky water. We were hoping to be able to go kayaking out on a nearby lake this weekend but it was too cold. Oh, well maybe next weekend.




My Husband is a Pyromaniac


Flannel Man wanted to have a huge bonfire today with all the branches and tree he cut down yesterday and last weekend but we found out how difficult it was to get a burning permit in our area. So instead he spent the day hauling the trimmings into a brush pile he started in the woods and cutting everything down to fit. He sure broke in his new gloves too. I wonder what the neighbors think of all our chain sawing. Maybe that’s why none of them have come over to say hi.


Then that evening we went on the hunt for more tree caterpillars. We found a couple higher up in the trees and shrubs so FM went climbing.


They seem to really like our flowering shrubs and apple tree. Maybe it’s because their white nests are hard to see against the white flowers. We walked everywhere to make sure we got any new nests that had formed. I’m pretty sure the neighbors think I’m crazy because I was walking alongside the road with a machete and a camera.


Well, FM didn’t get his huge bonfire but we did get to burn some more caterpillars.



What happens when you give Flannel Man a chainsaw



Flannel Man spent the day playing lumberjack with the 14” bar chainsaw we bought from the seller. Note: FM doesn’t like having to use such a small wimpy chainsaw but it was a good deal from the seller. When we bought it from them it looked brand new. The writing on the bar didn’t have a scratch on it. Well FM took care of that.



We needed to trim the pine tree branches that were hanging out over the driveway. I thought we would just trim the branches alongside the road and leave the rest but FM had a different idea. He trimmed the branches all the way around because he thought it looked weird and because many of the inside branches were dead anyway since they don’t get any sun. He also cleared out all of the small trees that were crammed in “the circle” (we call it a circle but it really is only a half-circle) and the blackberry bushes that were taking over our lawn on the north side of the house. Here are some before, after, and during pictures:



When Tent Caterpillars Take Over


The focus of this blog was supposed to be about our home and the remodeling we do to it but I’m starting to realize it’s hard to filter everything out. Case and point was this weekend we went to sight in our guns at the range. Why do we have to sight in guns do you ask? Well, because we’re competitive highpowered rifle shooters. What does this have to do with home improvements? At the range we saw exactly what can happen when you let tent caterpillars take over.

It was shocking and sad all at the same time. Our home range is one of the best in the country. The club owns over 360 acres much of it untouched. Buffer zones are the key to keeping ranges alive otherwise people will knowingly build houses next to the range and complain about the noise. And even though the range was there first the range will eventually get shut down. This has happened to hundreds of ranges in our area and now only a few good ranges are left.

Anyway, the road to the range is a small gravel road that has two houses set back in the woods on one side and farmland on the other side. As we were driving down the road we noticed the huge tents of caterpillars everywhere. It was unlike anything I’ve ever saw before. Some of the tents were as big as my head! The tent caterpillars had gotten out of control and had spread to the neighbors, the trees on the edge of the farmland across the street, and onto the range. It looks like the caterpillars hadn’t quite made it to all of the land the club owns, but they had a good hold on the first couple acres.

I can’t even imagine what it would take to get rid of them at this point. We would have to cut down hundreds of trees and burn them, which is almost impossible because we only have a few drivable trails through the woods. So I guess there isn’t much we can do but to let them spread to the rest of the property. If only that neighbor had taken care of the situation when it started on their property we wouldn’t be in this mess. How could they let this get that out of control? Fortunately, with the sandy soil the range has about half of the trees on the range are pine trees that the tent caterpillars won’t touch.

I wasn’t able to get pictures of the really infested areas but here are a couple pictures from the range:



The Attach of the Tent Callerpillars


Lately, we started noticing tent caterpillars around the property. They weren’t that bad yet but we definitely want to keep on top of them. Flannel Man came home for dinner tonight (he works second shift so I don’t get to see him at night usually) and while it was cooking we went around and collected all the tents we could find. There are a few ways to get rid of tent caterpillars but one of the easiest is to just cut down the branch and burn it.



More Problems, Will This Ever End?


Well, tonight was a typical night in the fact that we discovered more problems that the seller left us with. I confirmed that the oven doesn’t work properly with an oven thermometer. Because the oven was so dirty we weren’t able to use it right away so this is only our second time cooking with it. The first was when we were cooking some really freezer burnt stuffed chicken breasts so we weren’t sure if the reason they weren’t cooking right was the oven or the fact that they had been in our apartment freezer since who knows when. But tonight Flannel Man was coming home for our once a week dinner and the oven thermometer proved that my preheated oven wasn’t anywhere near where it needed to be. I had to keep cranking up the temperature to almost 200 degrees above what I needed! I can’t cook anything over 350 degrees. How could the seller forget to put this on her faults list? She had put down that the front left burner doesn’t work and even that the timer doesn’t work in high humidity but she failed to remember that her oven is 200 degrees off?!? It’s taking me a lot of patience to not call her up and tell her how I really feel.


I’ve also found out we have an ant problem in the master bathroom. I saw one ant the other day and hoped we had dragged it in on our shoes. But that is not the case. Tonight I killed about 10 ants in our tiny bathroom. They were everywhere the sink, the tub, the floor, and the ceiling. My guess is they have a nest under the curled up linoleum next to the tub. We’re going to have to add ant poison to our ever growing shopping list.

When will this ever end?



A Mom & Her Fawn


Tonight coming home from work I saw two deer in the field on the edge of our property. It was getting dark and sprinkling but I ran out there with my camera and my bright blue raincoat anyways. It’s a good thing deer are color blind because I looked like giant blueberry alongside the road. I tried to keep really still since the mother was looking right at me. I only got a few shots before they went back into the woods. They’re nothing special so don’t get your hopes up.



This is the story of two twenty something newlyweds who are learning to adjust to life in their first house, a 1973 fixer-upper.
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