Thursday, July 24, 2014

Johnny's Projects and Jeff

Phase Two of the company summer revolved around Johnny's dam and outhouse projects. The supports under our dam had collapsed and needed replacing, which involved a concrete pour. Johnny did not want to mix the concrete himself but it was too small a job to bring in a truck. So he created more projects to use up more concrete... and bring in a truck. The outhouse had not been used for years because it would be dangerous to sit down. He moved the house out of the way and worked at digging out and redoing the throne.

Plus he came up with the idea of having cement platforms for ladders to climb down to below the dam where our irrigation pump resides. That was enough projects to warrant a cement truck but too many projects in too many places for one person and a half (I'm the half), so he invited his nephew Jeff from Illinois to come help. He arranged to do the pour just after the music festival nearby that Jeff likes to attend.

Jeff arrived on Wed., July 16, in the middle of our grandson Ian's visit (previous blog entry). We all went to the coast the next day for the sea star survey at Short Beach and checking on Black Oystercatcher nests there and at Cape Meares. Here Jeff is checking out a sea star.

That evening we invited Irv down for supper cooked by Ian... and, while he was here, would he like to help unload the hay that Johnny and Jeff had put on the hay wagon earlier.  Irv, 84 years young, was delighted to help.

Jeff put the bales on the elevator, Irv ferried them from elevator to Johnny who was stacking in the loft.

Jeff looks like he's having fun!
On Friday, after working all morning on the dam and outhouse preparations, Johnny, Jeff and Ian went to the music festival while I stayed home to catch up on things. The garden is producing and I'm picking and freezing peas and beans, cooking (and giving away) lots of zucchini, plus watering, hoeing, weeding, mowing, etc.

Saturday and Sunday Johnny worked on his own getting ready for the Monday concrete pour while Jeff hung out at the music festival and I took Ian to Devonwood to rejoin his parents (then picked and froze produce, weeded, mowed, etc.) I wish I had taken photos of the big beams Johnny used for supports under the dam, before he covered the top. They are hunks of beams from the old barn... re-purposed for the dam.

Monday morning Johnny worked furiously to get ready for the concrete pour. He decided we were getting more than we had use for so he quickly put together a bunch of forms for concrete stepping stones. Then the truck arrived...

First pour was over the side of the dam. Johnny is down at the bottom, creating concrete pads for ladders to stand on after the cement dries. That's Irv watching... before helping at the outhouse pour. The dam with its rebar grid is in the foreground.

Johnny, with Jeff's help, had dug out the outhouse hole. Johnny created a "pot" from a huge fiberglass tree pot given to us, laid rebar and made forms. The cinder blocks will go around the perimeter later for the old outhouse to rest on.

Since there would be no driving a cement truck across the dam, Jeff ferried loads of cement in the tractor bucket to the outhouse pad.

Irv and I shoveled it in, then Johnny and Irv worked it. (Obviously, I could not take photos while part of the process. I had planned to be the official photographer but... )

Here is the finished dam... I could take no photos of the operation as I was helping there while Johnny finished up at the outhouse pour.

Jeff added this to the dam.

The stepping stones used up what was left of the concrete, after pouring the dam. Jeff decorated them, too. The wood star is what he made for us last trip. He didn't like that it was buried in my flowerbed, I guess, so he elevated it to swing in the breeze.

On Tuesday, Jeff's friend Kathy drove down from Portland to tour the farm with him and take him back with her. She would take him to the airport the next day for his flight home. My last goat of the year to kid did so shortly after Kathy arrived. Johnny, Jeff and Kathy came into the barn in time to see the third kid pop out.

There was other excitement while Jeff was here but he missed it when he was camped out at the music festival over the weekend. A bobcat sat in front of the barn one morning waiting for a vole or gopher or something to pop up out of the ground.

It was disappointed and finally left. Johnny took photos from the milk room where I had called him to come with his camera when I saw the bobcat. I had been milking goats and happened to look out the window.

Always something exciting going on at the farm.

Johnny much appreciated Jeff's help with the concrete projects. Now he has to lay the concrete blocks and move the old outhouse onto its new foundation. No doubt he'll ask Irv to come help.

I'll take photos.

1 comment:

  1. It is so clever that you have maintained your old outhouse. We had one growing up that rotted in the woods, but there are so many times that Mom and Dad are without water and could really use the old outhouse again. Speaking of the outhouse, the only time I have seen a bobcat in the wild was when I was about 6 and on my way to the outhouse early in the morning. I got up close and it scared me to death! What a lovely creature though.