Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pen Progress!

So Monday I was laid out with a sore back, and I wrote the post about expanding the dog pen.
Tuesday my back was approximately a million times better, and I was feeling restless. I didn't want to risk re-injuring my back, but I was bored as hell sitting around the house.

But even taking it easy, I made a lot of headway.

Over the weekend the focus was clearing dead trees and trimming branches. It was a lot of work, some bending and straining to lop off limbs. So I took a different tack, I detached the fence from the trees and the posts, and I wove it through the trees, maximizing the length of the fence and the area for Kaylee to run. I did this without trimming branches or removing deadfall, the entire goal was to get the fence back up so the pen would be secure, with as little work as possible.

Even still, in the name of not pushing myself too far, I took many breaks, doing the three sections of fence in stages.

This area is going to change significantly (again) once the permanent fence is installed. The entire front fence area will be used to go further into the trees, yet again increasing Kaylee's roaming area. Upon bushwhacking for this section, I realized that there was a tree that had fallen, but wasn't exactly safe, so I made sure the fence did not encompass this area. It will be on the list of to do's once the permanent fence is installed, so we can expand into that area.

There's a lot of work to be done in this area, cleaning up deadfall and trimming horizontal branches. But it already looks so much better, so much less like a bowling alley. The diagonal stakes leaning on the fence are about to be moved to where we've been storing the stakes, I forgot to do that before I took the picture.

Hilariously, the before looks better in this picture, just because of the crappy green fence. But this area of our yard is barely used, and from many vantage points, the fence is hidden behind Stadler (above) and Waldorf (not pictured)

You can vaguely see how far the green fence goes back into the distance, disappearing from view about 1/3 of the way from left to right, in the picture. It goes around a corner and deeper into the woods which the camera couldn't capture.

This pic illustrates what I mean, better, but even from a closer vantage point you can't see where the fence is in the background. There's so much space for Kaylee to explore!!

So until M gets the new posts into the ground (which I haven't even purchased yet, so it's not like there's a deadline), I can work on gathering the trees and branches I've already pulled out/cut off, and continuing the same in areas I haven't tackled yet.

Funny how, despite being besieged by blackflies the entire time, accomplishing something just feels so good :)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Because I don't have enough to do.

Did I mention we’re expanding the dog pen?

The current state of things.

When we started the pen in the summer of 2015 we just wanted a place where Kaylee could run a little, and where she would beep and boop without having to walk her down the road every single time. We did it as cheaply and quickly as possible, driving in only a few stakes, and attaching the fencing to trees, mostly.

Now that we’ve lived with it for almost 2 years, we recently decided that expanding/improving the pen is a good idea. We had considered bringing it up the entire side of the property, but it looks like instead we’re just going to go deeper into the woods.

The back of the fence here will just continue into the woods.

One of my “wants” for the new pen is to get the god awful green plastic fence out of immediate view. I thought one of the easiest/cheapest ways to do this (for one section, anyway) is to have the giant stephanandra hedge (between Stadler & Waldorf, the two huge pines in our yard) grow into/over some chickenwire, creating a natural barrier.

Front fence will change, back fence will be moved deeper into the woods.

So a few days ago I picked up 2 heavy duty hooks, 48” x 25’ of 2” chicken wire and 2 fibreglass tension rods (to the tune of $25). I threaded one tension rod through the end of the chicken wire, screwed the hooks into Stadler (the pine tree the green plastic fence was attached to) and bushwhacked my way between the stephanandra and the old nasty green fence. Once I got close to the stake the old fence ended at, I threaded the other tension rod through the chicken wire and used another wire to pull the fence as taught as I could. The pen gained about 30sqft in additional space with this one change. I pulled the old fence off the old stakes, and rolled it up for use in the expansion. It already looks better!!

More space, and soon the stephanandra will hide the wire.
That burning bush has to go.

I’m excited about replacing the old shitty stakes (used for electric or wire fencing, typically), and installing actual wood fence posts. M said he would do the labour of installing, so yay! There’s a ton of ads on Kijiji (Canadian Craigslist) for sharpened tree trunks (essentially) to be used for fence posts, that sell for as little as $1.50 each. I’m going to use those, and wood rails top and bottom, with chicken wire in between. Something like this (only 2 boards instead of 3), with wire to block the gaps:


So today I spent some time scouting the easiest route to expand the pen. The plan is find some sturdy trees and forgo the need for stakes. I spent my time looking for the largest trees and removed dead trees and horizontal branches in the area, much like I have been doing for the waterfront path (with much less cutting down live trees). There were a surprising number of dead trees that I could pull out of the ground with one hand. I did, however, find a very large tree that is succeeding in falling over, though it’s still between 90 and 45 degrees.

From Stadler (the large pine) on the right to the largest pine on the left.
And then back into the woods.
You can see the falling-over-tree on the right under Stadler's arm.

Pulling all of this wood out of the area makes me think we need to rent a wood chipper. It would come in handy for the crazy number of wood piles we have, plus mulching garden beds, the waterfront path, and the dog pen.

"Everything the light touches is our kingdom."

In other news, M has spent several weeks troubleshooting the electrical problems with my bike. He got a friend of his out, an electrical wiz, and we’re still at a loss. It’s between the rectifier ($130) or the stator ($200), so you can guess what I’m rooting for.
Soon, hopefully, I’ll be able to ride my damn bike again.

I just wanna ride!!!

More rain in the forecast, though. I’m going to have to find some things to do around the house…

Friday, May 12, 2017

Wedding Fever

Last weekend M and I travelled to the Metropolis of Ottawa to attend the wedding of dear friends, Eric and Erica.

The Jungmeisters

It was also a reunion of sorts as lots of our friends from the Manitoba days, and even University were in the area!

While M was off doing the rehearsal dinner, I had a hotel picnic with an old friend and her littles.
Marie, Mylaine & Marc-Olivier <3
They were hilarious, high spirited and adorable. And it was great to catch up with Marie.

The next day I got to have lunch with Sebastien, though I'm sad we didn't get photographic evidence.

Then off to the wedding!

(Mike) Jeon and my handsome husband (Mike) (Old Man) Armstrong.
Eric and (Mike) Lane

The ceremony was beautiful and thankfully brief considering the cold driving rain and the outdoor venue, but inside it was warm, the music was great, the speeches were touching and hilarious (Eric really outdid himself).

And any occasion to dance with my husband, I'll take it.

And I know I'm biased, but I think I looked pretty good.

Yes, I am so skilled that I can make a post about someone else's wedding all about me :D