Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Look Back

As I mentioned before, this month marks the one-year anniversary of when my dad moved to town and I took over the "Benintendi Place," which is what everyone in the area knows it as.

Mr Benintendi passed away about 18 years or so ago, but it's still the Benintendi Place. What can I say, it's just how things work around here.

I thought I'd take a look back at everything that we've worked so hard on over the past year. Between my dad working an average of 60 hours each week, only one weekend off a month, the 2007 ice storm, and him having no animals to worry about, things got sort of overgrown. The place was already in a state of disrepair when he moved in, and it was hopeless that he'd ever be able to get things caught up on his own. But together, we're making faster progress than I could have ever hoped.

The south side of the barn, as I mentioned before, had volunteer trees growing up through large metal feeder panels, making it just about impossible to dislodge, even with a chainsaw.

On this day my dad hired three guys to help us out, and between them with their shovels and chainsaws and the bobcat, we were able to get the area cleaned up.

I saw "we" because I did put up the fence :)

The other area we worked on that day was clearing out the cattle pens and the area behind it, to get my new horse shelter set in.

We started off by pulling up all the fenceposts and knocking down the old boards. I worked on removing all the tin from the old windbreak.

Before long, it was all cleared out.

Sometime between when I lived here and my return, someone laid out a bunch of old irrigation, cut it apart, (I guess) sold what was valuable, and left the rest.

It doesn't look like much, but these are all connected by very long, heavy steel rods. It (literally) took a semi-truck to pull these away from the area. They're still sitting up in the field by the road, waiting for someone with a welding torch to cut them down into small enough pieces to haul away.

There was an old woodpile back here that we added a lot of old brush to and set on fire.

It looks small in the picture, but it had Dad and I scared. We were running around with hoses trying to contain it. It almost got away from us!

After the pile was burned, I had a lot of rubbish to still pick up, which disturbed a few of our legless friends.

I'm pretty sure this is the same one that was in my toilet, probably repaying the favor.

Once we got the area cleaned up, my shelter was delivered and I did a little bit of landscaping. Then I lost Eddie in June, and I had him buried right between the two Bradford Pear trees and I planted a rose bush on his final resting place.

A little later last summer I planted a few coneflowers and ornamental grasses, too. I hope lots more come up from the seeds!

There was also a lot of debris left around the house, so I backed my truck up and hauled off several loads like this one (loaded and unloaded by hand--it took forever!).

Once done, though, I had the room to plant the bed up by the back porch full of flowers.

Of course, we also worked on the house itself. The top was done and secured, and I've torn out more of the inside.

I was able to start gardening last summer as well, and I had more success than I could have imagined. I started off making a spot over by the garage.

And soon, with lots of fertilizer from my pasture pals, the plants thrived.

Dad and I got a total of 3 wood piles burned last year as well.

Then, of course, last month we got the other two taken care of.

Because she was so much a part of the farm, I do want to mention the loss of our lovely farm dog Stupid.

Fourteen years old for a farm dog along the highway is pretty darned good. I miss her lots, and especially miss her when I see a possum. She made sure no critters trespassed on the farm.

We had a lot happen this year, both good and bad, but I think it's safe to say there's definitely progress. When I was in the back trimming trees last night, to clean up the area to plant a fruit garden, for the first time I didn't just see potential, I saw progress.

Living a dream,


Alan T Hainkel said...

Good job, Jessie... shows you what you can get accomplished if you put your mind (and back) to it...

Annette said...

This was a great look back Jessie! It was especially interesting to me because I only recently started doing the blog thing so I didn't know the history. ...those irrigation pipes... awful!

Grey Horse Matters said...

You and your dad have got quite a bit accomplished in short time. You have a ways to go but a lot of the worst is behind you. Once it's all done the place will be gorgeous and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself (with the help of dad).

Did I hear you right, you found a snake in your toilet? I hate snakes by the way. I would have moved out on the spot!

Sorry about your dog it's so sad to lose our friends. My daughter just lost her Molly after almost 19 years. She was a good hunter too.

Nicole said...

Wow, looks like you got your work on! And with having it sounds like a full time job and all those critters! I'm impressed!!! I sometimes lose motivation... but it always comes back :) And my dad had to put one of his dogs to sleep today. She was up there in years but had a Huge cancer spot and it was taking her. So I understand about missing the farm dogs!

smazourek said...

Now that must be satisfying, looking around your place and seeing the fruit of all your hard work!

Jessie McCandless said...

Thank you, Alan--"back" is right! :)

Thank you, too, Annette! I'm very glad that you found me. I love reading your blog and seeing your gorgeous place--it gives me ideas and inspiration!

Arlene, that's right--a lot of the worst part of it is behind us. We have a lot of projects to do but at least we're getting to the point that it's not solely cleanup. And YES, I had a big old bullsnake in my toilet this winter!! Here's the link:

Jessie McCandless said...

I'm so sorry about your Dad's dog, Nicole. Stupid was technically my dad's too, and he took it really hard. He couldn't even be in the room with her when they put her down--I did it and he was so grateful. I loved that dog, but it hurts me worse to think of how much it pained him. She also had cancerus lumps--we had two removed but this last one came on fast and hard and she was miserable. We decided not to put her through any more surgeries and let her go.

It's hard to not get overwhelmed by all the work that needs to be done. I wish I was independently wealthy so I could just stay home and work on the farm all day LOL! Oh well, I do like working, though--keeping busy keeps me out of trouble :)

Thanks, Shannon--it is. I'm getting really excited about our plans for this spring, though. There should be HUGE difference coming over the next year!