Off Grid...Chapter 101
Talk about some crazy hot weather....whew. Thankfully our house stays very comfortable without any A/C as long as we close up the house by 11:00am or so. Ok, lets get to the story.
Last Saturday 6-12
Jimmy gave Mike and I permission to go to his pond to take some fish out for our pond. He also left his watering barrel out by his barn for us to use to transport the fish. Mike and I hook up the trailer and go over to Jimmy's property.
He is weaning his calves and while we were picking up the water barrel I got a picture of his calves.
Mike got the water barrel and strapped it onto the trailer. Then we drove down to the pond. It's time to fish. Mike gets his pole ready while I get a 5 gallon bucket of water ready to transport the fish back to the barrel. We start walking the perimeter of the pond while Mike fishes. This is a very quiet pond. Finally he catches some small fish. He caught 2 small bass and 1 bluegill. It's OK that they are small because we don't want anything big for our pond.
One of Mike's "small" catches.
We added some water to the barrel before putting any fish in. Here is Mike putting fish into the barrel.
Now that we have gone around the whole pond it's time to try the cast net and see if we can catch some more. Our cast net is 6 feet in diameter and it has weights around the edges. This is how it works. You throw the cast net onto the top of the water, it is a big circle, the weights drag it down and hopefully it is over some fish, then it gets pulled tight which closes the net, and then pulled to shore.
Mike throwing the cast net.
The net going over the top of the water.
Closing it after it sinks and pulling it back to shore.
Mike does this about 5 different times but doesn't catch any more fish. After that we bring the 3 fish home and release them into our pond.
Then we wash out the barrel and return it to Jimmy's.
Today we went onto town and while we were there we ran into Albert, the man who bought our old property. He told us the gate was unlocked and we could go over anytime to catch some fish. Since Mike and I aren't ones to waste anytime we get it set up. On or way home, Mike calls Jimmy to see if we can borrow his barrel again. We get home, get the trailer, pick up the barrel, and head over to the other property. The new owner has already made some changes. He had a brand new wood fence installed on the front of the property with a new gate....and no lock.
We used to have so many fish this old pond. We knew because Mike used to catch and release the bass and bluegill all the time. We also used to feed the catfish. We had about 50 catfish including 4 albinos and a couple of "torpedo" carp(that's what they look like).
Mike got his pole set up while I started to fill the barrel with water. It was kind of slow and the first fish Mike caught was too big for our pond so he threw it back. Here is one that is a keeper for our new pond.
He's walked and fished the whole pond and has only caught a few bass and some bluegill.
Here is, what Mike calls a yellow belly, which is like a bluegill.
Next we take out the cast net to try and catch some catfish. We brought some dry dog food to lure the catfish in. It works as a backup when you don't have catfish food, lol. We sat for quite awhile feeding the catfish. Only 20 or so showed up and the albinos are gone. It looks like somebody came in and fished the pond out. That's what happens when you leave gates unlocked and there are no "no trespassing" signs. It's sad because we had those fish in this pond for so many years.
Mike throws the cast net quite a few times and only catches some bluegill. Now it's time to get creative and try for some catfish. Mike uses some dog food that has been o the water, so it;s soft, and puts it on his hook. He throws it out and almost immediately he catches a catfish.
and she's pregnant.
The second one took much longer but Mike finally caught another catfish. Now we have a total today of 3 bass, 2 catfish, 2 yellow belly, and 7 bluegill. It's time to get these fish home. They are all in the barrel with water. Jimmy told us to add a bag of ice because when it melts it makes oxygen for the fish. We never heard of this but we give it a try since we have a 15 minute ride back home. We make it home, slide the barrel off the trailer, and pour the fish into our pond.
We made it just in time. Just as we got back to the house the skies opened up and it poured.
After a couple of hours it finally stopped raining. Mike and I clean out the barrel, which got a very good rinsing from all the rain, and return it to Jimmy's. On our way back into our property we stop and check out our pond.
The water is gushing out of the pond.
And through the culvert that is under the driveway and out the other side.
And into the creek.
Unfortunately with all this heavy rain our pond is now very muddy. It will be that way until we get some grass growing on the banks.
I also spotted a deer on our side hill.
Wow, it is hot as heck out and very humid. Mike and I got to work early before we can't work at all. It's time to work on the next section of our ditch. This is the last of the rock that we dumped o the side. Now it has to be hand placed in the ditch.
Mike seeds the hill so we can put the curlex on.
We roll out the curlex and then I staple it down.
After a few hours we finally got all of the rock done and it is hot....but the bank and ditch look good.
Now we need to protect it from the cows so they don't destroy our work. Mike hammered in rebar at the bottom entrance to keep the cows out.
Then he put in more rebar at the top to keep the cows from coming onto the curlex. As you can see this is where they were once before.
A job well done and we are past the curve.
Time to get back in the house because it's too hot to work outside. While Mike and I put the tools away, Niki finds a nice cool spot.
It's a wet morning. Good thing we got the bank done yesterday. Mike started the day by hardwiring our generator into our electric panel that goes to the house. Now if we need the generator as backup power it's one simple switch.
I go up top to check on our ditch....and guess what happened? The cows destroyed our nice work.
It rained on and off most of the day. That night we had a very cool sky.
We got a call from Jimmy. He is sending a guy over to deliver more gravel for our driveway and also some rip raft for the rest of our ditch...and you thought we were done. While we wait for Jimmy's guy to show, we load up the Jeep and the tractor and go down to do some work. After all of the tearing up when we installed the electric, we now have to put it back together. We start with the big hill and flat are that we had cleared for a turnaround. Mike starts throwing some rye seed, in hopes of it establishing quickly, while I go behind and spread the Fescue.
The big area.
After the seed is down I start a light rake to mix the seed with the soil. This way of it rains hard it won't get washed down the hill.
While I finish that, Mike goes down the the pond and seeds that area.
The poor fish. The pond is so muddy but at least we haven't seen any floating. We think they are all still alive.
I got the big hill and the flat area done....now we need just a little rain each night, lol. Yeah right.
Next Mike and I start working on the barn area.
We rake and shovel any rock and throw it on the pond wall. Then we seed it. As we get closer tot he transformer the dirt is hard as a rock. Mike uses the tractor to pull the rock away from the transformer and hopefully loosen the dirt a little.
Jimmy's guy shows up with the gravel. He dumps that and then goes back for the rip raft for our ditch. While Mike helps him navigate the dumping of the gravel I start working on another hill.
This one is a rocky mess.
Finally I get the rocks raked down and I get it seeded.
Mike puts out straw by the barn area.
Jimmy's guy shows up with the rip raft, 18 tons of it. Guess what we will be doing next week?
It's too hot now and time to go in.
Mike said he would take me out tomorrow if I cleaned the Jeep. So while he worked in his building I stripped the Jeep and cleaned it all. What a mess. I also got most of the mowing done and laundry.
Later on I gave Niki girl a bath and that's about it.
We took a drive to the big city, lol. We went to Kingsport to visit a fellow Cd'er at her new shop. We had a very nice time meeting her and checking out her shop and her next project. We wish her the best with her store and the next project, which is massive.
We got home late so no work today.
Mike and I were in a funk. I told you....it's all or nothing with us. Today is one of those nothing but piddle days. Mike organized the back building....again and I worked on my garden.
I hope you all enjoyed it.