Clearing the Land – Finally a “Little” Progress

Have you ever just felt like you have been so busy for so long and still don’t have anything to show for all of your efforts and hard work? That’s kind of the way we’ve been feeling for awhile now even to the point we have been MIA on the blog. Along with trying to do all of our normal daily routines, garden, and animals we have been trying to work on clearing that patch of land we bulldozed back in January.

Bulldozing Trees with a D4K Caterpillar
Bulldozing Trees with a D4K Caterpillar

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It has been snowing for about 24  hours now with only a few brief breaks. It started yesterday around noon as snow. It took me 2 hours and 40 mins to get home yesterday from work. The highway was impassible and a complete parking lot. As soon as I could I took some side roads, some of which were blocked from wrecks and such. Why do people in 2 wheel rear drive cars think they can drive in this stuff? Every vehicle that I saw in a ditch or stranded was one of these or a van.

NC Highway 68
NC Highway 68

I believe we got about 7 or 8 inches before it switched over to ice and a wintry mix. It iced for several hours through the night and early morning.

Our road is out there somewhere
Our Road is Out There Somewhere

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A Little Deer and Fox Watching

We are enjoying discovering all of the photos on our Bushnell Trophy Cam. It’s so fun to see what’s going on when we are not looking, but it  also allows us to plan and prepare better. We mostly have deer traipsing through the area, but are seeing the occasional fox. Both will be potential problems for us with our current and future trees and our garden and chickens once we move to the land in a few years.

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Cutting Our Own Christmas Tree

This year Jon and I decided we were going to pick and cut our Christmas tree from our land. We usually buy a live tree. Now that we had 37 acres of our own, surely we could find a suitable Christmas tree!

We do not have any of the “fancy” firs or spruces on our land. We do have many a pine tree, but they are not any of the pretty shaped pine varieties. There is an overabundance of the “not so pretty” loblolly pines, but they just are not suitable for a Christmas tree unless you are trying to achieve a special Charlie Brown Christmas. However, what we do have that grows naturally and has a nice shape is the eastern red cedar.

Eastern Red Cedar

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More Fall Color

Oh, I love this time of the year. The air is cool, but not cold here in NC. The colors this week were just fabulous! I believe we hit our peak. I just Ooooo and Ahhhh on my drives to and from work each day. I am so blessed to have such beautiful scenery along the way. I have tried to take many a photo to capture the brilliance, but only a few really show up.

View at My Parking Space at Work
View at My Parking Space at Work

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My First Crochet Scarf

It seems we are having several “firsts” around here lately (first plum, first apple, first egg) and now I have finally completed my first crochet scarf (although it did take me 3 trips to WV and 1 to SC)! Technically this is my 4th crochet project as I did the Beginner’s dishcloth 3 times before it all clicked and I got it right (mostly). I am very excited about learning news skills even if it is taking me longer than anticipated.

Back in March we were driving to West Virginia to pick up Jon’s boys to stay with us on their spring break from school. I wanted to get a new project picked out and started before our drive up so that I could work on it on the ride. I  made a goal that with each new crochet project I would learn 1 new stitch or crochet concept. It can be quite difficult to search for a new pattern that only has 1 new thing rather than 3 or 4! I was worried about getting overwhelmed so I kept searching until I found just the right “simplify scarf pattern” on ravelry. This pattern uses the chain, single crochet, turn, and the double crochet (my new stitch to learn). Some crochet patterns can be a bit confusing to read, but Sally’s pattern was simple and concise, just what I needed.

I got on youtube and reviewed several examples of the double crochet until I had figured it out.

Double Crochet

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Trees: Deer and Storm Damage

Saturday, Jon was working and me and the kids were going to run down to the land to check in on things. We needed to water the 5 apple trees we planted back in the spring. We have not checked on them for a few weeks as we’ve had an excessive amount of rain. Everything at the house was quite water logged for a while.

The soggy mess we had for quite a while

We were finally drying up from all of that at the house and figured the trees maybe getting a bit thirsty. I also wanted to check on the wild blackberries at the land. The blackberries we planted at the house are ripening up nicely. There are a lot of wild blackberries on the land and I figured some of them would be ripening too.

The trees are planted near the entrance of the long road/driveway of the land. When we arrived this is how we found the apple trees.

They are still alive, but they were beat all to pieces. At first I thought maybe they were beaten up by the storm we had little over a week ago.  There were several limbs bent off, broken, or just gone! As we started watering them I was inspecting them and looking around. I found several large deer prints in the dirt around them. I then believed it is deer that are eating our precious young apple trees! It is out in the boonies with a lot of rural and woods around. How in the world are we going to stop that?!? This will give us a new problem to research a solution for.

A bit disgusted, we got back in the car to drive on down the driveway (I use this term loosely) to where we normally park. The driveway is quite long and we usually park at the end of the gravel in an area that has been cleared off a bit. The thought is that will be the location for our house someday. I just barely had the pitiful apple trees in my rear view mirror and came to this.

Large Oak Tree Fallen Across the Driveway

This was a very large oak tree that had fallen across the driveway (assume from the horrible storm from a week or so back).Yes this is a road although you can barely see it for all of the weeds that have grown up! Oh my we need a bush hog. This is what the road look liked just a few months back.

There was no way of driving passed or around this tree. I parked the car and got out to check out the situation. It was obvious this tree was way too big for us to move today. Jon and the boys were going to have to come back later with a chainsaw to get it moved. Just past the fallen oak tree there was this smaller tree. This I could have handled on my own, but since they would have to be back with a chainsaw I left it. Again, this is a road….or at least it is supposed to be. And what’s worse the non-road areas were even more overgrown!

Smaller Fallen Tree Across Road

I decided to just walk the rest of the way checking out the blackberries as I went. The kids opted to stay in the car. It was probably just as well as I was really feeling down and probably needed some alone time. We had just been here a few weeks back and everything has changed what seemed like overnight! I was stressing about how in the world were we going to be able to keep up with this place for 5+ years until we actually move out here. It all of a sudden felt like a daunting task.

As I walked I came across some daisies that seemed to lift my spirits.

Daisies Simple Beauty

I remembered most of the blackberry blossoms I had seen were at the end of the driveway/gravel. That is where I was heading, but was checking out the sides of the road as I went. Of course it was quite difficult to tell the road from the sides of the road. There were some smaller patches and vines scattered along the road. None of them were ripened yet and were quite small. I’m sure the size of the berries were because most of the vines looked very young. Maybe they will fill out more by the time they ripen.

Wild Blackberries Seem So Small Compared to Those from Our Vines We Planted at the House

As I walked I saw I red fox trot across the road way up ahead of me. I tried to take a picture, but could not get my phone out in time. I don’t recall ever seeing a red fox before. I haven’t seen too many foxes period, but the ones I have seen were gray. It was pretty, but of course we know they are bad news for chickens. That’ll be something else we have to address when we move out here with the chickens. But that is so far away right now that I cannot focus on it.

When I reached the clearing area I found many blackberry bushes. There were only a handful to be picked right now. Most were still red. These berries had a little more size on them, but still looked small compared to those we have on the vines we planted at the house. We are still amazed at the size of them at the house.

Larger Blackberries on Larger Vines

I was also a bit disappointed to not find more than a handful ready to pick. I guess with the damage to the apple trees , the fallen trees, and everything so grownup and snaky it didn’t take much for me to get disappointed.

The good news is the apple trees are not dead, the fallen trees did not hurt anything or anyone, the weeds can be mowed, and we do have a lot of blackberries to be picked once they ripen.