Fall and family create a perfect visit to the farm
Top photo: Matt and his girlfriend, Kristi Hearnsberger, return through the front gate after working to clean up after a fallen maple.
It still looks like a construction site, with the dumpster out front, the yard torn up and stacks of wood waiting to be used.
This orange and white cat shadowed us for most of the visit. It was obviously domesticated, but we hope it found its way back home after we left.
Just hangin' out on the deck - Matt, Kristi and Gayle.
A DeBaun family gathering isn't complete without a little fire somewhere.
Girls just wanna have fun.
The tractor and wagon after a workout in the woods.
Matt pulls down a red maple limb that fell in the windstorm on Labor Day weekend.
Front porch gathering is what this project is all about
We made our first visit to the farm this year (since the old house was torn down at the end of May) with other family members. And that is what the farm has always been about -- getting together with family, whether parents and kids, grandparents and grandkids, aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews. Brother Tom and wife Laura and son Matt and his girl friend, Kristi, were in Elroy having lunch when we arrived on Tuesday. The house was closed up and the drywall finisher/painter was busy doing his work. He emerged after about a half hour looking a little like a space man with his mask on and covered in white paint. As it turned out, he had started Monday and was just finishing up his work, and he cleaned up and left shortly after the others returned from Elroy.
Around 1:30 p.m., Scot from the Camp Douglas Co-Op came out to visit and discuss the location of our propane tank and the propane hookup. It looks like the tank can't be put exactly where we had hoped, but in the end it may even be better -- it will be partly hidden behind the garage. We plan to return next week for the installation. After Scot left, we did some cleanup and rearranging of the back yard to leave room for the co-op folks to manuever when they return with their equipment.
Later we took off on a hike with Matt and Kristi up to the top of the hill, went by the broken oak and took some pictures, then made our way from there to the point, where the road makes a sharp bend around the hill. Our hill basically narrows to a sort of "hogback." To get to that we had to fight our way through a jungle of blackberries and other undergrowth four to six feet tall, but we made it. It's sad to see how much the blackberries have taken over, especially along the hogback where the understory was mostly huckleberries -- much more scenic and much easier to walk through.
Around 5, we decided to break camp and all of us headed for Mauston for dinner, then scattered for the night.
The best part of this trip, however, was getting to work in the woods. Matt was keen on the idea and made several forays to trim brush or fallen branches at various spots in the woods. And on Wednesday morning we finally got in gear and loaded the wagon behind the tractor with the chain saw, pruners, saws and various other toys and headed to the top of the hill to clean up several places where trees had fallen across the trails, including the one we had blazed the day before. Tom and I took turns letting the chainsaw wear us out, and Matt and Kristi attacked the snags with saws and pruners. We cleared at least four of five blockages of the trail, but ran out of steam before we got to the last two on the trail that goes down the southeast side of the hill. Still, it felt good to get out in the woods and do some actual work.
This trip was interspersed with the usual wandering through the new house, imagining how things will be, sizing up the rooms and storage place and key systems like water and electricity. It is what we have been doing on every visit, but this time with family to see what's going on, it was a lot more rewarding.
A little fall color comes to the edge of the barnyard. This will be part of the view off the new front porch.