Trip#4:  June 10, 2023 – June 25, 2023

30-yard dumpster count:  2

Utility trailer load count:  10

Saturday, June 10, 2023

For this trip, we decided to bring down a 14′ utility trailer we had in Maine, which I’d long ago outfitted with a nice stake body.  We bought this trailer when we moved to Whitefield, and it was very useful for that move, especially shop equipment.  But we hardly ever used it since, and in any event now we knew we could use it at the Lodge since we’d found a place we could take brush for disposal–the dump in Painter, where we’d brought the old paint before and noticed a big brush pile there.  So we planned to start hauling our own brush, rather than try to get it all into dumpsters.  The dumpsters were getting expensive, and were better saved for what we couldn’t easily get rid of otherwise.

Anyway, we took the truck this time, and I’d had it routinely serviced the week before–oil change, tire rotate, that sort of thing.  As is our wont, we departed at 0100, trailer in tow.  As we approached Portland, I noticed a noise and vibration, particularly at the beginning of Tukey’s Bridge, the curve leading over the new Veranda St. bridge, and other turns towards the right.  This was worrisome, and at first I tried to pretend it was nothing, but in my mind I was thinking loose lug nuts.  At the service, they had told me the lug nuts were rusty, but they’d cleaned them up and all was OK.  Maybe not.  After the toll booth before the turnpike, I pulled to the side, not in a great spot but I had to check things out as I could no longer pretend there was nothing wrong.  There was nothing immediately visible, and I didn’t like where we were stopped–it was dark and foggy, or maybe light rain, I can’t remember.  We cautiously continued down the ramp onto the Turnpike, but got off at the next exit in Scarborough and went to the big Cabela’s parking lot to really check things out.  The front left lug nuts were very loose, almost hand-tight, and some of the others around the truck needed some tightening too, but it was really those front ones that were the problem.  I cranked them all down but good with the 4-way lug wrench I always have in whatever vehicle.  This did the trick, though I checked the lug nuts at every subsequent stop on the way down (and several times over the first week or so till it was clear they were holding tight).

Trailering was no problem, not that it was expected.  The trailer was pretty light with just two bikes and an old bush hog that I was bringing down.  Hilly Connecticut (on 84 west of Hartford) caused quite a bit of transmission hunting, but no problems.  Travel was busier than the times past–summer Saturday–particularly after we got on DE-1  and all that sprawl-y mess to follow, with what was clearly beach traffic from all the drones from the cities of DE , PA, and NJ.

We arrived at 1240, all OK, 80, sunny.  I unpacked the truck, got the tractor out,  and all the usual post-trip tasks.  Dogs were awesome on trip, as always.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

We’d been unimpressed with the Food Lion in Exmore, so thought we’d try going up to Onley, about 15-20 minutes up Rt 13, to see if the Food Lion there was any better.  It wasn’t.  On the way there, I idiotically got a speeding ticket when the speed limit dropped to 45 in Onley…early on Sunday morning there was not the usual traffic, and I just hadn’t been paying attention.  62 in a 45.    Annoying and embarrassing since I’d not had a ticket in forever.

Back home (after a detour for a Hardees biscuit on the way),  after unpacking the groceries I unloaded the bush hog and bikes from the trailer, then got ready to troubleshoot the 4WD on the tractor.  I’d done some research back home when we had Internet, between April and now, and had found one small post on the related Facebook group that led me to an answer I’d not previously seen:  A driveshaft shear pin.  So I’d ordered spares for both the 4WD driveshaft and also the back end main driveshaft, which had its own (different) shear pin.  Happily, the rear shear pin–which held together the main driveshaft and the part used to turn the front wheels when 4WD was engaged–turned out to be the culprit, which was a relatively easy fix overall, and inexpensive (I think the pins were a few dollars each, which for JD is a bargain).

Not having the 4WD had really hampered me at the end of our last trip, so this was fantastic to get things back up and running correctly.  The tractor still had some other issues, mainly with the hydrostatic pedals getting really stiff sometimes (not always), which can hamper use of the tractor (mainly limiting speed, which can be frustrating), but otherwise it all worked and I had come to terms with the pedal thing a while back.  It still needs diagnosing and repair, sometime.

While I was under the tractor and working, Heidi started work on a row of straggly cedar trees near the driveway, which trees created a blockade of sorts.  Heidi hated them and couldn’t wait to cut them down, which she did, leaving some 2′ stumps behind so I could hopefully pull the stumps and roots with the tractor.  There was also a tall, but spindly, loblolly pine (southern yellow pine) that I cut down because it was past Heidi’s comfort level.  Later, I did pull all the stumps with the tractor, the beginnings of some nice clearing work in this area.

I’d taken off the rear ramp/door from the trailer, thinking it would be more useful this way, but later I reinstalled it because it was going to be more helpful than I thought.  As Heidi cut the trees and branches, I loaded the brush in the trailer to take to Painter once full.  This trailer holds a lot, with its high sides.  Meanwhile, I did some more stump-removal work from some other things that had been cut down previously, including documenting with lots of photos the current condition of things outdoors, focusing on the area to the right of hte house, where we wanted to clear some small trees and underbrush and eventually create a circular driving area, since turnaround space was very tight in here.

We wanted to get a new grill (or a grill), so, finishing up outside work around 1500, we went to town for some blue cheese for salad dressing (apparently an exotica here, as all I could find at Food Lion was a tub of pre-crumbles ghetto cheese), then to Ace for a new grill (all assembled already, a bonus).  Back home, we enjoyed some good stilton (brought from Maine) with flies on the patio…there was a real problem with annoying flies during this visit, the first time we’d been (well) bugged by bugs so far.

Monday, June 12, 2023

The day started with a few heavy rain showers before 0800, along with some rumbles of thunder, but then cleared.  More humid for sure.  Hoping to jumpstart the ongoing work towards our construction plan, I emailed and texted Tommy Arnold and Matthew Freeze, hoping to set up meetings for sometime during our current visit.  Early in the day, I did some small chores in the house, adding some hooks, hanging pictures and a toilet paper holder.  Once working hours began, and the weather was better, we went out to work on the new “circle” area–I hoped to eventually build a circular driveway starting at about the gambrel shed and working around the large pair of trees that sort of defined this end of the driveway.  There really was little room for parking and turnaround as it was, and hardly anywhere to turn around a trailer.  I called and ordered a dumpster to be delivered as soon as possible, and was told sometime today.

We cut down many small trees, leaving “stump stumps” that I tried to pull or remove with the tractor–some success, but I cut flush any stumps I couldn’t budge.  By 1130, the trailer was full with cedars and other trees, so we headed to the Painter dump with this load–our first, and we were slightly apprehensive, since technically Painter is in Accomack county, while Exmore is Northampton, so our waste should really have gone down to the Northampton center way down near Cape Charles (not convenient).  But when I stopped at the attendant’s booth, he could have cared less, and just waved us in, admonishing us to stay out of the way of the fellow working a loader at the brush pile to turn all the brush into mulch in a huge chipper.  (We dubbed him “Chip” thereafter.) (1)

Back at home, we loaded the trailer again during the early afternoon, and headed back out for another trip to the dump at 3, home by 4.  (2)

During the afternoon, Matthew called, and bowed out of the project, saying he wanted to focus on his core business, which was historical house painting.  This was disappointing, but somehow also not–and not really unexpected.  I’d always felt like it was pulling teeth to get anywhere (so far) with our project, and he never seemed that engaged, though he was a pleasant fellow and was generally responsive.  This initially felt like a bit of a blow, but he’d given me a name of another builder that he’d supposedly talked to about our work.  When I called that builder, he told me he was working on a 2-year backlog, which Matthew had not mentioned.  That was a non-starter, and would prove to be a significant turning point in our project and plans.

About 1830, as we were waving off annoying flies that had took over the patio (and eventually indoors) when the dumpster arrived; the truck had had a breakdown and it took 3.5 hours to repair a broken cable, so he was working late trying to catch up.

Tuesday, June 13, 2024

A beautiful morning–clear, cooler, and drier.  The old couch that came with the Lodge really stinks–I Febreezed it, which helped, but it really didn’t smell good.

By 0830 I was out at work, starting with the masonry pile by the old fence line halfway down the driveway.  This was the pile I’d started on in April, when the tractor broke down.  Now, I mostly hand-loaded the pile and transported it to the dumpster in the tractor.  As the pile of heavy bricks got higher, I loaded wood and that sort of thing from the various “kindling” piles around the property; these I could lift high and dump atop the masonry, and push in with the bucket for maximum density.  I had the dumpster about half full when I stupidly ran over a large nail protruding from one of Dee’s mega-rough “wood holders” that I’d picked up somewhere on the property–a board had fallen off when I tipped the load into the dumpster, leaving the nail behind the front tire.  Another flat.  I had a spare inner tube, though, so I removed the tire and once we loaded the trailer with various stuff we cut by the driveway (small cedars, twisty “ash” type trees, and that sort of thing), we headed off to the dump again (3), then swung by to drop the tire off at Coastal again.  They couldn’t get to it right away, so we left it and the inner tube for pickup tomorrow.

Back home, temporarily sidelined, I set up the Weboost cell signal booster that we’d purchased hoping (but not expecting) to improve our signal at the house; we really only got a reliable cell signal out on the patio, and for the moment this was our internet access too.  Amazingly the booster seemed to work, and we now had a usable signal in the house.  Still far from ideal, but at least we could use our phones inside.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Headed up to Walmart for 0700 to pick up various items, then over to Tractor Supply for new inner tubes for the tractor, and then went to Ace for some additional needs before picking up the repaired tire from Coastal.  Home by 0930.

With the tire back on the tractor, I worked on the large masonry pile near the gray shed, picking it up mostly piece by piece to load in the tractor and take to the dumpster.  Finally got it all cleaned up, which was a big improvement.  As before, I supplemented the heavy masonry with various wood piles from around the property to fill the dumpster to the top above the bricks.  Meanwhile, Heidi cut some more cedars out by the old fence line (now that the masonry pile there was gone) and removed part of the old wire fence that had once run across.  She filled the trailer pretty much by herself, after which we took it on another run to the dump (4).  Upon returning, I continued filling the dumpster with more “kindling” and pushed stumps out from the trees Heidi had cut before, nearly filling the dumpster by the end of the day.  This was going to be a very heavy dumpster.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

I cut flush some of the stumps I’d not been able to push out with the tractor, then cleaned up around the gray shed some more, including removing the myriad tarps from the last (huge) pile of big tree limbs stacked between some trees and some stakes Dee had driven into the ground.  This mostly filled the dumpster, and I got a few more things in the very top, including the old plastic Snark sailboat (named Jezibel) that Nana had had down here in the 1980s when they lived down the road.  This was one of many wonders I uncovered around the property.  I called Davis Disposal at 0930 to come pick up the full dumpster, after which we decided to drive up to Pokomoke City and H&H Furniture to look for a new couch, since the old one really stinks.

We did find a couch we liked (purchased from “Amber”, who honestly couldn’t have been named anything else).  She had her 8 year-old son with her in the store (apparently a week or so in between the end of school and day camp or wherever he would normally be goin), and he was a dead ringer for Jr. from Duolingo.

On the way home, we picked up a few more things we needed from Walmart, then bought a can of paint at Ace to try out on the gambrel shed–a color we were auditioning for the house itself.  Also bought a weedwacker so we could start maintaining the property a little better.  The dumpster hadn’t been swapped out yet when we returned.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Awaiting the new dumpster so I could continue with some of the property cleanup, I did some work in the shed before 0800, organizing things a bit better, and I installed a new mailbox cover I’d purchased to spruce things up.  With the tractor pedals still causing some issues, I looked things over, wondering about maybe the tierod needing adjustment?  I didn’t have metric wrenches on hand to try an adjustment properly, and couldn’t loosen the fixing nuts with the tools on hand without risking damage, so I gave up on this for the moment.

Once “noisy” working hours began (that’s 080o for me on a weekday or Saturday, 0900 on Sunday), I limbed some of the holly and cedar trees in the new turnaround area, and once more filled the trailer to capacity.  We took the trailer to the dump at 1130-1230 (5), and on returning found the dumpster still hadn’t been swapped out, so we continued working on some dead limps overhanging the driveway until the new dumpster arrived around 1430.  Then, I could get back to work on some of the remaining piles of junk around the property, filling the dumpster about 1/4 in a couple hours.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Clearing with a north wind.  from 0830-1400, I cleaned up junk in the woods behind the gray shed.  Here, I found an old fireplace insert, piles of plastic food containers (like the trays they sell in the prefab food section at the deli in the supermarket), empty quart oil containers, a bucket filled with plastic straws that had split and spilled all over the place, and, weirdly still, a couple dozen pens that were stuck vertically in the ground like so much asparagus.  You know, the piles of wood and old bricks were one thing, but this careless disposal of pure trash in the woods was a depressing finding.  Come on, Dee.   You should have been better than that.

Next, I cleaned up some large piles of rotting lumber, and several sheets of old metal roofing, and another large pile of stakes, adding it all to the dumpster.  Finally, I picked up more of the piles along the driveway, this time a pile of dimensional lumber offcuts, stuff that looked like the waste from building stair risers or roof framing.  Lots of little angled pieces, basically useless.

Meanwhile, Heidi was at work cutting down many small trees lining the driveway and loading the trailer.  This was starting to make a real difference along the driveway, opening things up and pushing back the overgrowth, and now we were making real progress on the piles.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

We took the full trailer to the dump early (0700), then swung into Hardees for our favorite breakfast biscuit, home by 0800.  I’d done a little prep work earlier, and now I painted the gambrel shed with our chosen color, #790 Bayberry Blue, Clark and Kensington satin.  Years ago, when looking at cottages on PEI, I saw a neighboring house painted a brilliant and cheery blue, and had taken a few pictures for posterity.  This was the color we were attempting to match.

We thought we’d try it out on the shed before committing to it for the Lodge itself.  It was just what we wanted, and with some fresh white paint on the trim, the shed looked much better and gave us some good insight and encouragement for doing the Lodge later.

In the kitchen, I removed the doorway from the dining area, along with the interesting (but disgusting) hinged pantry cabinet that had been attached to its back side.  This went in the dumpster; the door itself was a nice solid door that I saved for some future use.  This was just a lingering project, and while we had a dumpster I wanted to take advantage.  I also removed the last of the old shutters from the house and sent them to the dumpster, along with some assorted bric-a-brac.

Afterwards, I attacked the huge pile of large timbers near the second shed.  These I hand-loaded into the trailer, which I parked nearby.  Eventually, I got to a point where most of the big stuff was in the trailer, and I could use the tractor to start to scoop up and organize what remained–a lot of dry mulch, crumbled wood, and some larger pieces.  This stuff went into the dumpster.  By the end of the day, the trailer was pretty full, but there was still a pretty good-sized pile of debris remaining.

While this was going on, Heidi was working on stripping off the vines from the trees.  When we first started coming here, the ivy vines growing up most of the trees seemed interesting and pretty, but we’d come to see how horribly invasive and damaging they could be.  By cutting them off a few feet above ground, and stripping from there down, the upper portions of the vines would die off and eventually fall from the trees, preventing further tree damage.

Monday, June 19, 2023

I replaced the mailbox with the new one I’d bought.  I found the post came right out of the ground and was rotting badly–I’d have to replace it, but for now it would continue to serve.  I managed to get the old mailbox and its old brackets off the post, after which I could replace the platform and intall the new box.

We had a meeting with Tommy at 0945, mostly an update on where things stood with the basic plans for the proposed second story addition.  Tommy was working with us to get the plans engineered, and eventually approved for permitting purposes, and he was a wealth of good information.  He suggested $65,000 as a rough guess for doing the work for the second story (including all necessary structural changes), and closed in with new roof and windows.  I thought that seemed lower than expected, but encouraging too.  We were still waiting on the stamped plans from the engineer, which stamping would be required before we could ever go before the county for permits.

Afterwards, I finished cleaning up the big log pile, and also picked up old lumber leftover from the old gates out by the pillars at the roadday and some other junk to fill the dumpster as much as possible.  I called the company at noon to have the dumpster picked up.  This would be the last dumpster for this trip–we’d turned and burned quite a few so far, and now all the big bulky stuff was gone from the property, and what remained we could take to the dump ourselves for now.

In the woods, there was still another pile of stuff to be cleaned up–remnants of an old shed, with metal roof, and other debris.  This would have to be cleaned up sometime, but for now I could leave it alone.  The same was true with the gray shed and its contents–eventually we’d have to deal with it, but not this time around.

We headed out on some errands for for lunch, and returned around 1430.  I did some final cleanup hither and yon, and continued some minor work inside the shed to help organize it and make better room for the tractor.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

With the full load of big logs, we headed to the dump at 0700 (7).  There was a shower on the way, but it stopped before we got there, though rain threatened during our unloading of this big load but mostly held off.  We had rain on the way home, so while stuck inside I dismantled the insides of the old stereo cabinet, removing an old, non-functional turntable and reel-reel machine (to the dumpster).  Around 1030, the rain stopped, so we went out to the end of the driveway to clean up some existing piles of brush Heidi had been cutting, and some new work.  After a while, it began to rain again, which was OK for a while since we were under the trees, but soon it was raining hard and we were soaked.  Miserable, honestly, but we filled the trailer.  After a quick change to dry clothes, we headed for the dump again at 1300, but it was soon raining hard again, so we turned around in Belle Haven, not wanting to unload in heavy rain.  Around 1500, the rain stopped, so we chanced the dump (8), dodging the raindrops and home by 1530.  The weather during the evening was better than expected.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

We had rain and wind overnight, and into the morning.  Pretty miserable out with a forecast for “showers”, but in reality it was mostly heavy rain and 40 knot winds.  The lights blinked a lot–I think it’s because there’s a holly tree limb that rubs on the service wire leading to the house.  The branch is kind of forked over the wire, and I was afraid to cut it because I worried it might damage the wire.  The wind blew down lots of small branches, and even the whole top of a pine near the waterfront at our neighbor’s house.

The rain stopped around 0930, but the wind continued.  Antsy, we drove around a bit, searching for a boat ramp at the nearby (by water) Bayford boat launch, and then just some random drive-around.  By happenstance we ended up back at Rt 13, so went up to Walmart for a few items, picked up some lunch, and drove to Davis Whaf to eat lunch.  It was a hard place to find, and once we did, there wasn’t much there, but we could park and look out at the creek.  Home at 1300 to wind, but no rain, so I went out to clean up some of the blowdowns and other mess from overnight, along with more wood form the end of the driveway.  It started to rain again at 1430, and I declared myself done.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

No rain all day, but cloudy.  I pulled several dead, downed trees from the thick ivy along the driveway and cut them up, leaving some of the biggest pieces set aside for later disposal since they were larger than we were supposed to bring to the brush pile at the dump.  We both worked on various cutting throughout the day, filling the trailer:  Vines, the hateable “yellow stuff” (some fast-growing weedy tree that had grown up in thickets along the property), cedars, and more.  But with the trailer full, I remembered that Thursday was the one day of the week that the dump was closed.  So we kept cutting and stacking wood by the driveway, to be loaded into the trailer once empty again.  I got the trailer hooked up to the truck and ready to go first thing in the morning to the dump.

Friday, June 23, 2023

To the dump at 0700 (9), back at 0815, then loaded the trailer with all the stuff we’d cut yesterday, filling it once more, so we went right back to the dump (10).  Home around 0930, the sun was trying to come out but everything was soaking wet from the previous rain.  Since the trip was winding down, we went into town for a few things, got some flowers at Food Lion for Wallace and Grommit, then returned to the Lodge, where I hung up the cool forest service sign that Dee had  on the newly-painted blue shed.  I did a few odd chores around the house to use up the day, after which we went to dinner at Wallace and Grommits from 1830-2300, a fun time.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Our anniversary!  It was warm and humid out, and we decided to try the small heat pump for the first time, which did a nice job cooling the house.  At 10, we went over for a boat ride with Wallace, during which he showed us quite a bit of the creek and nearby environs.  Fun to get out on the water.  The weather was terrific.

Afterwards, we spent the afternoon getting ready to go home in the morning.  Trash and recycling to the dump, stored the trailer, packed the truck, and put the tractor away in the shed.  Early to bed for our early departure.  I did my usual walkabouts to document things for posterity, and just to enjoy the day.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Departed 0054:  77 degrees!  Left the trailer to be used here more in the future, then had an easy trip home, arriving by 1230.

39.6 miles, 12.1 MPG avg (got under 10 MPG on first tank heading down (with trailer), much better thereafter.  First tank coming home averaged 14 MPG, was 15 MPG till we hit the highways with higher speeds.

Continue with October 2023.

The Lodge: October 2023