House and Acreage Restoration

Random Posts that Never Came to Be

Sometimes, I don’t have quite enough material (or photos) to really justify a complete blog post. So, in such an instance, I just combine random things that have occured in the house building process to create a complete post. So, here is random blog post number 2.

The Lawn Mower

Until this fall, I had never mowed a lawn in my life. Yep, that is correct. I am one of those rare creatures who never pushed or rode a mower, despite living in a house with a lawn. I fell just perfectly enough between ages of my siblings to avoid mowing. My mom also seems to enjoy mowing, and as I dealt with so many allergies growing up, it is not surprising that mowing was a task I avoided.

Tyler taught me to mow the lawn.

And not with just any mower, with this baby:

IMG_1973

She’s industrial and ugly looking, but boy did I connect with my inner testorone while riding her. (Double entre much?)

Remember that show “Home Improvement?” How the main character Tim would grunt for more power? I felt powerful on the mower. Cutting grass and making noise on a big machine.

Yes, indeed. I do enjoy mowing.

Murder in the field

I may have briefly mentioned previously, to some of you, about how I have become a murderer (second degree, unintentional) on our homestead. But, now that some time has passed, I feel more comfortable sharing the demise of the two families I killed.

There was this tree that was partially dead. In fact, the brach was hollow. My mom and I were cleaning up branches around the acreage and brought out a ladder to, as it were, cut some of these dead branches off the trees after a storm. So I got up on a ladder to cut down this dead, hollow tree branch. When this hollow branch fell little pink bodies rained from the tree and lastly, a field mouse jumped out. The pink bodies? Her babies. Baby mice. They were old enough to start shrieking a terrible baby mouse cry. But young enough that they couldn’t move on their own. They looked like large pink jelly beans with tiny legs that flailed around, unable to help them in their peril. I cried.

The momma mouse was very confused as to where her babies were. She was still sitting on the dead branch that lay on the ground and refused to leave it. I tried coaxing her, but I understand why she wouldn’t trust me (I also don’t speak mouse). I wanted her to find her babies and keep them safe. I moved all their little bodies near each other (without touching them) so that if they died, they would die together. In a matter of a day, their pink bodies had gone missing with no trace. I understand that mice carry diseases. I understand I did not intentionally rip apart a home. None the less, it is quite disturbing to kill a new-born family of mice while they are sleeping in their home. But it gets worse.

Not my photo (I tend not to photograph murder scenes), but an approximation of what the little pink bodies looked like---however they were smaller/younger than this guy.
Not my photo (I tend not to photograph murder scenes), but an approximation of what the little pink bodies looked like—however they were smaller/younger than this guy.

A mere few weeks later, Tyler was showing me how to use a sythe. (The thing that death carries around with him). He bought an old sythe off someone and sharpened the blade. The leach fields (used for the septic tank) are covered in James and the Giant Peach style weeds. We can’t mow them down, the leach fields cannot be touched for one year. So the sythe was are only option for getting rid of the weeds. We were out in the leach fields, cutting down some weeds when Tyler had me try the sythe out. One swing with the sythe and a mouse jumped up from the field, while the same baby mouse screaching came up from the grass.

All mice, stay away from me. Please. I can’t listen to your screaching any more.

Breaking the Law

The city is currently doing some road construction just a few blocks from our homestead. They are widening and leveling a paved road that runs from the lake through residential areas to Hy-Vee, Walmart and the major east to west Highway. Which means, residents in our part of town have to drive to the highway to get to Hy-Vee or Walmart. It’s not that our little town has tons of traffic compared to…well…compared to any town I’ve ever lived in, but no one likes to stop five times for traffic lives when trying to buy the onions they forgot for dinner that night.

So this little construction project has created a crazy side effect for us. Our gravel road runs parallel to the street that is closed.

Let me further mention that our gravel road is not kept up. The side of the road we live on in annexed in the city, our neighbor across the street is technically in the county. So…I think we just basically get left alone.

In the spring, the road washes out…in heavy rains the road washes out. It is constantly filled will divets and bumps. The wildlife are always hanging out on it (deer, a red fox, mice that I haven’t killed yet, woodchucks). People walk their dogs down our road because it’s a peaceful area without traffic.

But…it’s not so peaceful anymore. Our gravel road has become the sort cut for residents to use to get to Hy-Vee and Walmart and bypass all the stop lights.

This would not be a problem if these drivers used a little bit of common sense on the road…but that would be expecting too much. They speed…oh my goodness do they speed! Up to fifty miles an hour on an unkempt gravel road! I saw a truck that was so impatient to get down our road, that they passed our 90-year old neighbor while she was turning into her driveway. With all the additional traffic, someone is going to get hurt.

The city thought so too. So, oddly enough we were given two of these:

photo-59

Now, it doesn’t make everybody slow down. (Because people are always going to be idiotic about speeding). But what it does do (that I have noticed) is let people know that if this practically deserted road has such a low speed limit, it is probably because it’s a shitty road. So I do think people have become more alert.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped the other side of the spectrum. The people who drive SO SLOWLY by our property (because they are mesmerized seeing us working on the house) we call “Looky-Lous.” And that is where the accident will happen. Someone will be putzing around at 5 mph to see Tyler working on the roof and another car will drive up the hill at 50 mph and not see the “Looky-Lou” and we’ll get an epic crash.

 

Lots of terror and death and possible injury at the homestead. Halloween must be around the corner….

 

 

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