acreage renovation: culverts

This is just one of the outdoor projects that we have worked on this summer.

At the front of our property are two culverts. They were overgrown with grass and had a mess of rocks of all sizes underneath.

They were almost impossible to keep nicely landscaped. We couldn’t mow the culverts because of the rocks, and we couldn’t easily expose the rocks because there was just far too much grass and weeds. Because it was one of the first things that visitors and neighbours would see, I felt like they were a negative introduction into an otherwise tidy yard and house. Something needed to change.

While my husband worked on a fire pit project, I decided that these two culverts would be my project. I began by digging up the grass with a shovel in order to expose the gravel underneath.

Once the grass was gone, I had around 6” of gravel to deal with. I removed nearly all of it, bucket by bucket, and spread it in other much-needed area on our property. Removing the grass and gravel alone took two days for each culvert. It was exhausting work.

Eventually, the ground had only a fine layer of gravel left. This I kept for drainage. I laid down plastic sheets in order to prevent unwanted grass and weeds from regrowing on the culverts. After covering a desired area, it was finally time for dirt.

As Geoff was excavating yards and yards of earth from the fire pit area, I asked him if he could leave it on the trailer until I was ready for it. He gladly agreed as he wasn’t sure as to where he would even put such large quantities. He ended up dumping four trailer loads of dirt onto the culverts. Spreading it evenly took another few hours, but I had help from two willing children who found it so fun to stomp on dirt mounds.

I took our wagon and went to my favourite rock pile just behind our property. There I gathered large rocks and small boulders and dragged them home. It took a few trips, but those, in addition to what I removed while digging up the grass, provided more than enough for the aesthetic aspect.

I did end up purchasing two wagon wheels from one of my favourite liquidation stores in Saskatoon. I had always wanted wagon wheels but had never really had an opportunity to use some. Lining the driveway with them provided me my first chance. I just love them!

I thought I had completed the project until a few weeks had passed and I noticed that weeds had started growing everywhere on the dirt. I spent an entire morning trying to weed the culverts but to no avail. I knew that I now needed to cover the dirt mounds with something- either gravel or mulch. I figured that mulch would be the quickest and least expensive of the two, and would still be really nice. Geoff purchased ten bags of mulch for me, and I set about spreading it. It was very easy, and smelled heavenly.

This project was a lot of fun to undertake. If you don’t like the way your culverts look, I highly suggest landscaping them!

Emory

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the fruits of my labour

With the change of the season came the need to harvest our gardens. I will be the first to admit that I didn’t plant as wisely as I could have. We moved to our acreage in early March and then created two small gardens from scratch. I planted vegetables late in the season in one, only to uproot them and move them all to the second one a few months later. My husband warned me that doing so would mostly likely kill them. It didn’t, but it certainly stunted their growth!

Negativity aside, everything managed to grow. It was just on the smaller side, or cute side as I like to call it. I was still able to get a haul of everything that we use in the kitchen daily.

Remy and I harvested some white onions, green onions, thyme, and bell peppers. We even managed to cut down one massive sunflower that grew from one tiny seed from the children’s festival.

The afternoon was bitterly cold, and our haul was on the tinier side, but it was a summer filled with growth. All of our hard work paid off in the end. I was able to learn a lot from my first two gardens, which will only benefit me next year! I will start my seeds earlier, plan better, and with Geoffrey’s help, build a larger and raised garden bed on the west side of our property.

Trial and error is never a bad thing. I still call this past season a successful one.

For any gardening tips please leave them in the comments below!

Emory

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po the saint

We recently added a new member to our household! Friends, meet Po, our St. Bernard.

This little girl is my fourth Saint and Remy and Wilder’s first. I’ve waited many years to get her, having wanting to be settled on an acreage before we did. We knew that moving out here meant that we could finally get one, and so last week we did!

So far she is very quiet and very sweet. I have had a couple of friends with kids over on different days, and everyone can’t believe how good and calm she is. They have all said that she doesn’t act like a puppy and it’s like we don’t even have a dog in the house. I asked for a calm temperament (because of our children) and I guess it paid off!

Remy adores her and Truman has even warmed up to her as well. We hope that her mellow attitude will rub off on him. Nothing seems to phase her, which is the opposite of Tru.

For now, this is our life with Po.

Emory

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becoming a zero waste household

This post will be one in a series of our new zero waste journey.

Now I have been pretty horrible in regards to taking care of our planet up until this point. We had bins for recycling when we lived in the city. I rarely used them. I gave Truman our table scraps and then threw out what he didn’t eat. I didn’t conserve water. I ran the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer nearly everyday. I let the tap run excessively when I washed my face or washed my hands. The list goes on.

Since moving to our acreage, we have began to adopt a more waste-free lifestyle. It all began when I read this Instagram post on composting:

In recent years, only an estimated 38% of food was composted in the US. Food scraps make up about 30% of everything we throw out 😱 not only that, when we send our food scraps to the landfill, they decompose with no air, creating the greenhouse gas methane – a gas that is 34x more potent than CO2.⁣

Composting diverts food scraps from landfills and creates rich, nutrient soil that can be used to grow more food- it is truly circular!⁣

Then I went on to read this one:

“So why is it so important to keep organic matter out of landfill anyway? Won’t it just breakdown there? Well basically, no.⁣
.⁣
Landfill areas are so densely compacted that there is not enough microbes, air, light or moisture for organic matter to breakdown. Did you know that they have found 20+ year old intact carrots in landfill!?! Compared to my worms who could break down a blended carrot in a couple of hours…⁣
.⁣
When organic mater does begin to breakdown in landfill, it does so anaerobically (without oxygen), which produces greenhouse gases as a byproduct.⁣
.⁣
So by throwing your organic scraps into your kerbside bin you’re ensuring they probably wont break down – and if they do, they’ll produce green house gases.

After that, I was convinced. I told Geoff that we were going to start composting that day, and he was on board. He went outside a few days later, and built me a bin out of spare wood that we had laying around.

Now we keep a large container with a lid inside of our house where we collect everything. Then once a day, or every second day, we go outside and empty it into our compost pile. I can’t wait until we are able to use it in our garden!

Because we have to get our water hauled to us, we conserve conserve conserve. We have a 1500 gallon tank in our basement. I do the dishes in the sink every morning, making sure to not fill the sink too full. We don’t flush the toilet with every trip to the bathroom. Instead of bathing once or twice a day, I instead have a quick shower every second day. The kids, on the other hand, share a bath once a day. I wash our clothes only once a week, and hang them out to dry instead of using our dryer. We only turn the taps on low and quickly turn them off whenever we are done.

Our liquids get pumped to a spray field in our yard while our solids go to a septic tank.

We are also collecting rainwater from the eaves on the garage for all of our outdoor plants.

At the moment, I am striving towards eliminating all paper towel from our household. Producing paper towel consumes 110 million trees and 130 billion gallons of water per year. I am in the process of cutting up old towels and shirts to use them as rags. I hope to stop buying paper towel by the end of the month!

Finally, because we do not have garbage pickup, we now make a point of separating our recycling and bottles out of our trash. We take those in, and store our garbage in a bin behind our garage until it is ready to go to the dump. For now, that is our solution.

Stay tuned for my next post on further changes toward leading a more waste-free household.

Emory

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acreage video tour

Hello! Today I am publishing a video tour of our new acreage. We have neither had the time nor money to make any real improvements to the interior yet, so I thought that it would be a great idea to document it now before we do! That way, I can see the changes over the years to come. It will also allow you guys to have a better understanding of our latest home. :-)))

I will add that received a few messages with my previous post regarding everything going wrong. What I failed to mention was that our home was actually a foreclosure, which means that we bought it in “as is” condition. This made us very nervous, but at the same time we would not have been able to get it as quickly as we did or for the price that we did. So, it was a gamble (but one that paid off in the end).

Enjoy the video, lovely people!

Emory

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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