The Corona Bridge: a COVID-19 Project

When we started construction on our new house, it became pretty clear that we needed to manage the flow of water coming off the fields from swamping the house. At the suggestion of our general contractor, we had a swale cut on the east side of the house that diverts the water north towards the main road. While this has helped the water management tremendously, it has left us with a three-foot ditch that prevents us from accessing the east fields directly with our lawn mower. The lockdown around the COVID-19 outbreak gave us a lot of free time on our hands and Robin suggested building a bridge over the swale. She sketched out a plan and secured the building materials (which at the time there was still plenty available).

We decided to build as much as we could in our workshop rather at the site. The workshop has a nice flat floor and was pretty warm in comparison to the outside temperature.

The next weekend, we prepared the footings for the bridge. Then we used our John Deere 1025R tractor to move the finished sections to the final location.

Once in position , we joined the two halves together and installed the planks and the caps on the posts.

Both Robin and I are really happy with the way it turned out and access to the east side trails is now straightforward.

5,000 of 50,000,000

One of the first things Robin and I discussed after purchasing White Tree Farm was the reestablishment of woodlots on the property.  In one of the early discussions Robin had with our local conservation association, they pointed out that the Ontario government had committed to planting 50 million trees before 2025 and would provide low-cost trees and planting services.  In order to qualify for the program, potential landowners need

  • At least one hectare (2.5 acres) of suitable land.
  • Land that is open, or mostly open, and has not been defined as a woodland since December 31, 1989, per the Forestry Act.
  • To sign a 15-year management agreement to maintain any trees that have been planted.
  • To practice good forestry management habits.
  • To assume the additional costs associated with the ongoing maintenance of planted trees.

Robin and I jumped at the opportunity to take part , even though we barely had time to think about it.  We decided to plant a mixture of hard and soft woods in the southeast corner of the property. The team did the planting in early May, putting in 5000 trees over 4 acres.

When Robin and I were back in the area in September, we walked through the area and took the picture above.  It looks like the vast majority of the planted trees made it through the summer.  We will see what the next few years bring.

On the Trans Canada Trail

With the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation approaching in 2017, interest in the Trans Canada Trail has picked up considerably. The last big push was in the early 2000’s when a number of connecting trails were built between towns and cities. But things have been quiet until the nation’s 150th anniversary has revived the goal to fully complete the coast-to-coast vision.

So imagine our surprise when we found out the trail passes along the north end of the White Tree Farm property as it runs southwest from St Thomas.

Robin and I are thinking about ways we can support TCT travelers as they pass by White Tree Farm. More to come…

Workshop Progress

After a month or so of inactivity, our builder, Goodhue Construction, started work.  Over the span of three weeks, we went from basic framing to having it pretty much completed.  The following photographs (taken by the builder and our daughter Becky) shows the progress over that time period.

Everyone is very pleased on how it turned out.

Plans for our Workshop

If you look back far enough in Google Earth, you can see that there was at least a barn and a house at the north end of the White Tree Farm property in 2006. We believe the owner before us had these buildings removed, creating a blank canvas for us to build upon.

Robin and I have had a number of planning meetings over the past six months and we’ve agreed that starting with a sizable workshop would be the best first step.  We’ve engaged a local builder who drew us up some plans and he’ll start construction in the next few months.  The image above is of the south elevation of the workshop; it will be a substantial building.

Robin has selected the color scheme: red siding, white trim and a gray roof which will give it a classic Southern Ontario farm building look.