Saturday, February 19, 2011

Merry Rough Terrain

We decided we should rent a heavy brush mower this weekend.  The weather was to be warm and clear and we opted to spend the time outside, rather than inside the farm house renovating.  We picked up the machine, touted as being able to clear up to 2/3 acre of brush per hour, from the rental store yesterday, just before closing.
Offloading the Merry Rough Terrain Mower
This morning we unloaded the unit, named the "Merry Rough Terrain Mower."  Interesting name... not sure what's supposed to be "Merry,"  -- the rough terrain or the mower.... nevertheless, we started mowing "merrily" around 10 AM.  This is one powerful mower, to be sure, and it took a bit of getting used to.  We took turns trying it out, though I never managed to shoot a photo of Joe behind the controls.  While one of us was mowing, the other was tending to the thorny vines that swung overhead, chopping them down with the loppers, even as they tried to snag our hair, faces, and arms.

Merrily we run along!

Or up a tree

Come on Judy, Keep up!

Dodging obstacles

I, for one, need a little more practice before I would consider myself to be a master of the Merry Machine.  In fact, I think I was stuck, wheels spinning, more times than I was actually moving forward.  Reverse is not a pretty picture with this particular mower.  Once stuck, it was easier to lopper my way out than to try to reverse my way out.  By 1:30PM, we were both pretty hungry and ready to take a break.

After lunch we continued the rough terrain mowing.  One thing we have a LOT of is rough terrain.  By the time we had to call it quits for the evening, we MIGHT have cleared 1 acre total.  Still, our bodies feel a wee bit less Merry than when we started, and we have a fair number of bramble scrapes and such even through our long, multiple layer, clothing.  Did I mention we have a LOT of brambles?
Underbrush Cleared

More clearing

Still more to go, but making headway

Underbrush, be gone!

The GOOD news is that we rented little miss Merry Rough Terrain Mower for the WHOLE weekend, which, of course, means that tomorrow after church, I will be donning my work-outside-overalls and joining Joe in the merry, merry rough terrain for round two.

Since we still had a little energy left after our day outdoors, we decided to tear off some more of the wall covering in the old farm house.  We wanted to verify what our home inspector told us when we bought the place last February.  He indicated that many of the floor joists would need to be replaced, but that the beams and rest of the structure was in good condition.  I'm guessing I will NOT hire this home inspector again, should I ever need a qualified opinion.  While he managed to point out outlets with missing covers, he missed the fact that 3/4 of the beams...those beams that support the WHOLE house were completely failed.  So why was I not surprised to see the state of the wall when the wallboard was removed?

Lovely Wall (oh, yeah!)

Demolition Man

Yanking off the Wallboard

Coaxing it with a Hammer

Yes, Yes, Lovely, Sturdy Wood....

Even better!

Ahh, the joys of bringing a relic back to life!

Stripped to the Bones...


Gorges Smythe said...

Have you considered extra goats for the brush? As for the inspector, he probably just told you what he thought you wanted to hear, got his money and high-tailed it down the road. After all, MOST folks don't know a building is unsound until it developes a 15 degree lean after a big wind!

Louise said...

I sound like a broken record but, it's true, I don't know how you do it. Sorry about the state of the beams. I can only imagine the extra work that's going to cause you.

Sharon said...

That Merry Rough Terrain Mower, looks about as easy to maneuver as a cheap garden tiller in a pile of rocks.

How do we get bamboozled by liars or swindlers? Our house isn't even 30 years old and every time we open something up, it's just another can of worms.

Well enjoy your afternoon and the progress you get with the Merry, what you have done, looks good!

aswesow said...

I thought you had goats! That mower looks like a good idea tho. Up here home inspections are a bit of a joke. There are no rules. To be fair tho, you did have to do a bit of digging to see what the inspector missed. People don't like to hear "I don't know"

Judy's Corner said...

Hi Gorges,

Last spring we got two goats, primarily to help us tame the place. They worked pretty well, but interestingly, they avoided eating the brambles. They ate the leaves, and did a pretty good job, but the job is a big one.

In the fall Joe worked with the goat farmer down the road, who taught Joe how to "harvest" the meat. Neither of us had eaten goat before, but it is pretty good, and certainly supplied at least half of the meat we have eaten this winter.

I hope to eventually get to where we are set up to have goats year round, using the milk and making cheese, and raising more kids. But we have to complete the work on the old farm house before we undertake building the permanent structure for goats.

We might get two more this spring, but haven't yet decided. They are certainly helpful in eliminating brush!

Judy's Corner said...


My neighbor asked Joe and me once, "aren't you too old to take on this project?" to which Joe answered, "too old for an adventure? Never!"

Time will tell if we will be successful. Meanwhile, it is certainly an adventure!

Judy's Corner said...


I actually like the machine, but it truly is a workout. If we decide to buy one, I should be in tip-top shape by the end of the summer!

The old farmhouse was supposedly inspected by the "water guy," the "pest control guy," and the home inspector.... NONE of them told us the truth. Each of them collected their fees.....

Joe asked the home inspector, after he'd crawled under the house to perform his inspection, "did you take pictures?" Of course, the answer was, "no" because otherwise, we would have HAD to challenge his assessment.

Lesson learned....crawl under the house yourself, and save the $290 .... I think we can all see when a switch plate is missing... hardly need to pay good money for THAT discovery!

Judy's Corner said...


You are correct -- we HAD goats! We currently have goat meat in the freezer, but no brush munching goats. Perhaps again in the spring but we are not set up for wintering over farm animals.

With regard to the home inspector.... he DID have access to see from under the house... he just did not do a good job.

They call me Blue said...

Wow...I have a whole bunch of those brambles behind my house and around it...better known in these parts as blackberry bushes...I have fought them before and have lost several times with many scars to show for it...if anyone has experience with those things they would know the little barbs on the branches sting for days and when you attack them they attack back...

Judy it was good to see you state the fact that a goat ain't gonna mess with them either...I used to watch my dog Blue (God rest his soul) move in and out of the vines sniffing and yelping every five minutes...he loved eating the fruits though...but that's the problem...birds and all sorts of animals love them and they seed easily from dropped fruits to left over excrement...better known as crap in these parts...hahahahahah...

The house inspector thing...funny is they never win one way or the other...but they can only tell you what they see...sometimes they don't like telling the whole truth because people don't want to believe it...and often reject the person's evaluation till they find out for themselves...for those who like sincere honest opinions...very they can make honest evaluations of what should be expected...well they love honesty no matter how much it hurts...truth is no one really knows the extent of the truth till they do what you guys did...and that is actually find it...

Hope all goes well with your projects Judy...wonderful story and pictures...luv ya...Blue