Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Old farm surprises

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work needed to turn this old farmstead around. So much junk. So many decrepit outbuildings. So much...um...nature.

On a good day (like the day I bought it ;-/  ), I see mostly the potential. On a bad day, I see just the decay.

Some days I feel like I'm making progress. Small, incremental victories. Other days I am sure I can hear mother nature laughing.

So, lately, I've been working hard on a little patio next to the house. Just someplace simple to put a table and chairs, so we can sit outside away from the bugs and the dirt. It's backbreaking work. I'll do a whole post on it when it's done -- soon. Anyway, part of the effort has been spent collecting old bricks from around the property and hauling them to the patio site. About half the bricks came from a pile stacked -- long long ago -- next to the lawnmower shed. There is a cement pad along the south facing, outside wall of this shed that was used by previous owners to cache building and fencing materials like bricks, cement blocks, t-posts, roles of field wire, old kennel panels, and god knows what else. I've been chipping away at it for awhile. If I think I can use some of the materials, I do. I've used a 200 ft roll of woven wire, some t-posts, and now the bricks.

It can be challenging to pull things out of the pile because of the vegetation that has crept in over the years. One vine in particular completely engulfed the pile and the side of the shed last summer to the point that nothing underneath was accessible. The vine reminded me of kudzu -- that invasive vine in the South that swallows whole trees and buildings and anything else that doesn't move. In the fall, when the leaves fell off, I made a half-hearted attempt to hack the vine back so that I could reach things, but some of the vine was inaccessible because of its growth under and behind this huge stack of materials that I hadn't yet started to remove. A catch-22 of sorts. I did the best I could. I cut as many of the main trunk branches as I could reach. Pulled out lots and lots of branches.

Here is the shed two summers ago.

Here it is in March, after I had done much cutting. 

Still, I knew I didn't get it all. 

Here it was when I went out to gather bricks for the patio recently. 

This is what a warm, wet summer will get you. See the resemblance to kudzu? To say I was bummed would be an understatement.

And then I saw this. 

And this.

Holy moly. 

I am positive there was none of this going on last year. 

It never once occurred to me that this might be a grapevine, but a grapevine it is. A huge, beautiful, fully matured, producing grapevine. 

It seems the hacking pruning I did last year, brought it into fruit this year. I have ALWAYS wanted a producing grapevine, but never lived anywhere long enough to pull it off. I've even planted vines in pots and carried them with me from house to house. 

Never have I produced a single grape. 

Until now. 

There are no words to express how thrilled I am about this grapevine. 

So today is day of potential. :)


  1. Now aren't you glad you did not attack it with Roundup and kill it completely .... have fun with the bricks.

    1. Ha ha! Yes! How sad would that have been? Thankfully, I don't ever use herbicides. Brute force and whining. Those are my methods of choice. :)

  2. Ha! I started laughing at this about halfway through, thinking "oh man, that grape vine is going to love that pruning. I hope she likes grapes":) I am glad you discovered a treasure.

  3. Brute force and whining. Love it :-D.

  4. How amazing is that!? And it's growing right where you can easily harvest it, you lucky girl, you. A real challenge when buying an old farm, is that the previous owners - if they were old farmers - never threw a single thing out. They just kept everything!

  5. Now that IS a good day--and a sign that you're exactly where you're supposed to be. Your farm is a lovely place. Just think of all the beautiful potential it's got and how wonderful you will make it. It's going to be amazing.

  6. I love that shed...a keeper. The grapes are a real bonus!