Monday, May 04, 2015

Harvesting Rocks...

We've been busy with household chores the last couple of weeks. Nancy's been tending to her flower beds and I've been working on our garden. I've had vegetable gardens in the past and they've been very productive. But since retiring and moving north in 2010, this will be my first year with a garden in 16 or 17 years. Funny, but I don't remember it being so much work!

In the 1990's, when I put in my last garden, the soil in my backyard was heavy, with more clay, but there were a lot fewer rocks. I guess the soil of northern Wisconsin is a lot different than it is 150 miles away in the Minneapolis suburbs. I would have liked to buy a new 48" tiller for the back of my tractor, but it made more since to just find an older, walk behind tiller like I had before. I watched Craigslist for a while and found a Simplicity 1005 tiller that was not too far away and at a reasonable price. It's 40 years old but the 5 HP Briggs and Stratton still runs great!.

Tilling the garden has been a lot of hard work. Getting the big rocks out has been the hard part! I till a few feet and dig up a rock, till a few feet, another rock...
I filled the tractor bucket quite a few times and broke a shovel handle trying to get out a really big one. I think I'm just about done harvesting rocks.

Just about ready... 24' x 24' with room to expand. I'll get 3 or 4 yards of compost and get it tilled in by the weekend.

I thought that I was done with my trailer the last time I posted, but I found a few more things to fix. I remember seeing pictures of trailer suspensions that people had forgotten to service. Well, my trailer is 40+ years old, so I thought I should take a closer look at the spring shackles. I'm glad I did. I found a lot of wear in the shackle holes and the bolts that attach them. The holes should be 1/2", they've grown over the years. My riding buddy, John, made me a new set, one inch longer for a bit higher ride. Thanks John!!

Old shackles and bolts...


I added a retaining pin to keep the tail gate from popping out.

I hasn't been all work though. On Sunday, we went for our first kayak ride of the season. We checked the conditions of the Namekagon River on the National Parks Service web site, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) web site. Both showed low water levels, so we decided to put in further down stream than normal, with hopes of finding deeper water. We started at the Spring brook Landing...

...and got out 4.9 miles down steam at the Big Bend Landing...

It was a fun trip, even with a strong head wind. We saw lots of wildlife and heard Chickadees and Pileated Woodpeckers. There were many spots where Turtles were sunning themselves. Often singly, or groups of 2 or 3. We saw one group of about 9 to 12 very large Turtles at one point. But they ducked into the water before either of us could get their picture.

There were several trees that had been chewed on Beavers...

More pictures...

Some of Nancy's...

Spring is here. The grass is green, the trees have buds but only a few have any leaves yet and there are dandelions in the yard.

It's hard to believe but two years ago, on this same weekend, the Fishing Opener, all the lakes in northern Wisconsin were still frozen over...


  1. Front tine tillers are a lot of work. But if you want to harvest rocks, you need the right tools...

    That trailer must have seen a lot of miles to get that much wear on the shackles. Is there rubber inside of the spring eyelets? If not, it's harder on the bolts and the shackles.

    Nice photos from the kayak trip. The water still looks cold...

    1. Yes it is a lot of work, but the tiller does a pretty good job of flipping out the rocks, or at least bouncing on the big ones so I know where to dig.
      The springs do have rubber bushings, but what you see is over 40 years of metal on metal wear and corrosion
      It's all good now.

  2. Looks like you are having some beautiful weather.

    Glad to see it isn't all work in the yard and you've had some play time with the kayaks.

    1. It was so nice on Sunday that we had to take a break. We go 3/4" of rain that night so thing are greening even faster.

  3. fresh vegetables are always nicer to the taste than store bought and that looks a nice size to have
    Q will you have trouble with animals getting into the veges
    the trailer looks a lot different with a refurbish on it and seems you caught some trouble with the running gear before any mishaps
    and what a place you have there in that river
    very very nice place indeed

    1. There are a lot of deer and rabbits around me. Once I finish with the dirt work, I'll put up a 2 fence system. An outer fence of wire mesh to keep out the rabbits, and a 6' high inner one to keep out the deer. It should work..

      The Namekagon River is part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, a national park with 255 miles of scenic river corridor.

      If I was looking to take a long river trip. I could put in near my house and float all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. Take the Namekagon to the St. Croix, to the Mississippi to the gulf. All of them flow into each other.

  4. I've been along the Namekagon but never on it.....that really looks like fun.

    You'd have at least a few miles of uphill floating before the downhill part comes ;)

    Really nice to see green as far north as you guys are. I'm really hoping to spend some time up there again this summer.