Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chapter 99...Filling The Pond And A Cow Goes Swimming

Off Grid...Chapter 99

Mike and I didn't get as much done as I expected this week but we still managed to do a lot of different things.

Monday and Tuesday-
Both of these days were rainy which wasn't good for outside jobs but it was great for my garden. We spent our time doing paperwork and reorganizing the entire house. All cabinets and drawers were emptied, cleaned and refilled. I think Mike and I have one of the most organized houses around, lol.

On Tuesday Mike built a hose hanger for us using an old piece of 2x4 that we had. We were hanging the hose over the fence and wire but we were worried about the hose getting a hole in it from the barbed wire. Here is a real easy fix. We are going to add some pipe over it to round it out.

And of course the cows had to check it out. While Mike and I were up top, the cows started their trek down the back hill and along the side of our house. Well each and "every" one of the cows had to stop at the new hose holder to check it out. Nosy little things, lol.

That night we had a really pretty sunset.

Jimmy was away for the holiday so none of his guys showed up to finish the pond wall. Well, today he is back and he sent Randy 2 over to operate the track hoe. Mike had Randy 2 dig out a new section to finish building the pond wall up. This time the dirt was not top soil. After Randy finished building the wall up, Mike had him start on the "big" rocks. We have an extra pile of very large rocks that Mike wants to put on the back side of the pond wall for strength.

Randy picking up the rocks.

And moving them to the back of the wall.


The pond will take some time to get cleaned out but it is full and fresh clean water is circulating through it.. Here is the new pond.


The over flow pipe is doing a great job. Here it is in the back side with the water ruining out instead of flooding the top of our wall.

The rocks on the wall.


Mike and I have also been working on something else. We decided to bring electric, from the electric company, into our property to protect the value of the land. Our plan is to bring it from the main highway and in through our gate and to the barn. Today is the first day the electric company is working on it.

They cut some trees and installed a new pole.

And the wires are being hooked up.

Now it's up to Jimmy and his crew to get the next 1000 feet of wire underground to our property and to the barn. Hopefully they can start next week.

Tonight we are having Mike's daughter and her two children for a BBQ. I spent the day cleaning and prepping food. I also mowed the lawn and did the weed whacking. Mike used the blower to clean up after me. We had a very nice time with the kids.

We have some more projects to do around the house. What else is new, lol? We made a trip into town to pick up supplies.

Today we are going to change our bedroom ceiling light for a fan/light combo. Since we don't have any windows in our bedroom it can get a little stuffy so we are hoping this ceiling fan will help circulate the air for us. We also added 2 ceiling vents in place of the ceiling tile in the main living area. This will help with air flow throughout the house.

Mike starts off by taking out the old ceiling light.

Then he adds the 4" duct that hooks to the fan/light and then it will extend out the side of the house through a vent.

Then he takes the old ceiling tile and measures the the fan box. Then he cuts the square out of the ceiling tile for the fan box.

The new fan/light is ready to be connected outside.

Thankfully we didn't sheet rock the ceiling. We would never have been able to make changes like this.

Outside the house Mike has to install the vent. He starts off by marking a 4" circle. Then he cuts a small hole through the siding.

Next he uses the reciprocating saw to cut out the 4" hole.

Then he puts the vent on.

We think this should help the airflow in our bedroom when it gets stuffy.

Later on the cows started to make a ruckus. I came out of the house the same time Mike came down from his building. We saw a couple of cows by our border fence just below the house. Mike and I walked down and one of the cows, Red, was mooing like crazy. Two of the calves were stuck on the other side of the fence. Mike tried to get the calves to come closer but he just scared them farther away. They still won't come near us. Anyway, we didn't want to make it worse so we came back to the house to call Howard but no one was home. We heard them going farther and farther away from the house but they were staying close to the fence line where Red was calling to them. I don't know where the other mother was but it happened on Red's watch.

Mike and I went down to the pond to see if they got back in. The cows are getting close to our pipe.

Red was still calling them from the pond area. She trekked all the way back up to the top to find them. While she wandered off, Mike and I checked on the pond.

Mike uses the rake to clean the debris off the top of the pond.

The front side of our overflow pipe. 

We have the pipe set up so nothing will get clogged but it never hurts to help it out. We also noticed that the back part of the pond wall by the pipe is very wet. We think the cows are getting it wet. They seem to like hanging out on the wall.

Back to the cows. The little gray calf went behind the barn and her mother didn't see her go. Now the gray cow is having a fit. This must be what teenagers are like, lol. They just cause so much trouble. Anyway, now the gray cow goes back up to the top. Next thing I hear is a big rumbling in the trees between the pond and our front gate. Out comes one of the black cows and Red. The lost calves must be closer so Mike and I ride to the front gate. Sure enough the calves are on the other side of our gate. Too bad our gate opens "out" and they are afraid of us. Red is right behind us. Mike now tries to open the gate to let the little ones in while he also tries to keep Red inside. What a fiasco but finally Mike got the calves back in.

We ride back up to the pond and see what's making our wall wet. Here is one of the cows cooling off. Sure this is probably the mother who lost her calf and she didn't care

Well I don't think we will be able to keep that side of the pond clean, lol. At least they are bathing next to the overflow pipe but now we have to make sure they don't break it. Mike goes into the barn and gets some rebar. He starts to bang the rebar around the entrance to the pipe.

Four pieces of rebar are in and the pipe should be protected.

While we are doing that, the gray cow is back down and spots her calf...and she is ticked. She charges over to her mooing away. Yeah, just like kids, lol.

And some pictures of my garden to finish the day.

Here are the onions, lettuce, radish, and carrots.

The squash, zucchini, tomatoes, bush beans, and marigolds....with some extras in the pots.

And the main section with the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, pole beans and marigolds.

Ugh!!! It's another rainy day. We took the day off and Mike took me out to eat. And it wasn't fast food, lol. We only go out to eat a couple of times a year so this was a nice treat. This was actually the third time since last June.

We also had to buy a tile saw from Lowe's. Time to get started on our wood stove wall and floor section.

That's all for now. I hope you enjoyed the story.



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  4. Electricity ... can you sell back to the electric company any excess electric that you produce through your solar panels?? Here in Ontario that is a big business. The Hydro Company will purchase any excess electricity that individuals produce and put it back into the electric grid. A possible source of income??

    1. We can't because we are not hooked up to the electric company.

    2. Do you have any way of knowing if you have enough capacity on the panels that you could have an overflow of power?
      Seems a shame you have to go to the expense of getting the lines in to protect your property's value, yet cannot benifit from selling back power inn your peak times. I do understand that the cost of putting up the extra lines up to the house makes it prohitive - and it would null the "off the grid" part of your process here... just seems a shame to lose that potential power, from that side of your investment... :-)

    3. We have extra power and a loss in the summer months but not the winter.

      It's OK with us. This place will be a future investment for Mike's daughter. You need to protect the value of your land.