September 1, 2020 – Leelanau County, Michigan
When we left Florida this spring, we had a set of goals in place to install our utilities and build our barn on our property in Michigan. With the onset of COVID-19, we figured that we might have to scale those goals back a bit. Well, here we are at the beginning of September with all of our plans completed and more. It has been a great summer for us, despite the pandemic!
We last left you with siding on west side and back of the barn. Since then, we’ve finished the east side, then moved the scaffolding around the front.
The peak was a real trick to reach. Good thing we had the extension levelers for the bottom!
Here I am with the last piece of shake siding.
It was tippy-toes to get that up there!
Before long, we had all of the siding complete! Coach lights and gutters put the finishing touches on the exterior…
…while lights finished off the interior. That officially wrapped up our goals for the summer! We didn’t stop there though. I added a workbench inside the barn and then focused on finishing our shed that I rushed to build last summer.
I tacked on the batten strips, painted it and then roofed it to match the barn.
Another project we had was to cut up all the logs from the trees we had cut down along the driveway. We gave the wood to Lane and Patti, as they had helped us out earlier by supplying us with water the first month we were here.
Lane and I had a couple days of cutting.
We ended up with three loads like this. Diana and I saved two nice logs and took them to the sawmill near us to make into some pieces for the cottage. More on that in a future post.
While Lane and I were doing that, Diana had noticed that a bush she had trimmed earlier had sprouted a bunch of new shoots. Looking it up, she discovered that it was Autumn Olive, a highly invasive plant that takes over the forest edges. Turns out that it was a suggested planting for erosion control in the mid 20th century…until it started taking over everything. Diana went on a mission to rid our property of it.
Here she is, loppers in hand! Per the NW Michigan Invasive Species Network and her own research, she is cutting them and chemically treating the cut stems.
We pile them up and chain them to the bucket of the tractor…
…and stack them on our burn pile.
We will wait until there are no leaves on the trees to torch this…preferably on a rainy day. We still have a lot more to add to this pile.
We are also trying to grow grass in several places. That means spreading topsoil, seeding and putting straw on top.
It’s nice having a car hauler for a trailer, as I can drive right up the ramps and scoop off the dirt with the tractor.
Here I am spreading it out before seeding it. While I am doing that, Diana has been planting Daylilies that Mary gave us and Iris that Lane and Patti gave us.
Here are the Daylilies…
…and here she is planting the Iris.
So as you can see, we’ve accomplished a lot this summer! It hasn’t been all work though. We’ve had several physically distanced get-togethers with several friends and family, along with a day of kayaking at Sleeping Bear Dunes. We even got to meet our great nephew for the first time!
Miles is wearing a little outfit we got him at RonJon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach. Becky and Dan couldn’t be happier, and Charlie even approves. 🙂
As we reflect on the summer, we look back to a photo Lane and Patti sent us the week before we arrived on May 2nd:
Our place was nothing but our little shed and a building site in need of leveling. Compare that to this photo I took today from the same place, a mere four months later:
We are thrilled with where we ended up. Hopefully our cottage build next summer goes as smoothly as this year’s barn build did. 🙂
Be sure to stay tuned for our next post, as we wrap up our summer here in Leelanau. Until then, safe and happy travels to all!