May 23, 2012 – Home Improvement

Sometimes you have to live with bad decisions made by those before you. I’m trying to rectify some mistakes by the previous owner without wholesale structural changes that wouldn’t be worth the space gained. The original foursquare house has been added onto a number of times.

To the left is a mud room add-on. To the right of the door is a single-story add-on bedroom. There used to be a garage attached to the mud room.

The best thing I ever did was tear off the attached garage. It was an attachment on an attachment and most irritatingly, it was built below grade, so every time it rained, the side of the garage attached to the house filled with water. An unforeseen bonus is the nice patio space that remains, shaded in the evening.

The siding on this side of the house was new last year after tearing off the garage, a new wall needed to be built, so it was a good time to reside the whole side of the house. However, there is this rather crappy space between the two additions leading to the basement stairs.

It gets muddy in the rain, I’ve put some random stepping blocks in to keep the mud outside. The garbage cans blow away in a strong wind, and it isn’t very attractive when sitting on the patio. A few days ago, I started building a small deck and fence to contain and conceal the garbage cans

I’m very happy with the results!

May 19, 2012 – Got Excess Nitrogen?

Three years ago a fancy new nitrate-retention pond was built. The idea was for all the field drainage to collect in a wetland. to use up any excess nitrogen before tumbling away downstream and off to a river. This is what the upper pond looked like three years ago.

There also was extensive grasslands around the ponds, but when we went to visit this year, most of those were plowed back up, after having been seeded to native plants just three years ago. Now, the lower pond shows signs of very high nitrogen (excess nitgrogen applied to farm fields and washed away). The masses of floating algae lumps have taken over the water.

Unfortunately,  most of the field drainage tiles lines are not fed into ponds like this and all that nitrogen is heading straight to the rivers and the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

May 18, 2012 – Hog Barn Refresh

There’s only two sides of buildings that haven’t been painted since we moved in. The north side of the old wooden machine shed, andt this, the east side of the hog barn.

Since Claire is one to keep busy, I put her in charge of taking care of it (except for the high parts).

May 17, 2012 – Another Barn Destoyed

Another classic turn of the century barn was put to rest. This is what the place where the barn used to be three days ago looks like now.

Usually it’s the same story – some equipment comes, digs a big hole, pushes the destroyed barn into the hole, covers it up, and then corn/beans are planted on top of it.

In the fifteen of so years we’ve been here, this is the sixth barn within two mile of our place to lose the turn of the century barn.