Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Repurposing Decay

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Old, moldy hay bales and piles of downed tree limbs make for excellent raw materials to build a natural barrier along our property line. As I’ve written before, it is one of my favorite dual accomplishments to clean up and declutter while also creating something functional out of the otherwise unwanted items.

This morning, the snowflakes are flying, right on the predicted schedule, in stark contrast with the surprisingly pleasant warmth and calm of yesterday afternoon. My thermometer showed 64°(F) late in the day yesterday. This morning it is 30-degrees colder.

Taking full advantage of the nice weather while I had the chance, I finished getting rid of all but two of the old bales from our hay-shed and moved them into position along our property border.

Those bales have served as the base layer on pallets for several years, taking the bulk of the ground moisture in the protection of the many stacks of bales piled on top of them. In that time, the twine holding the bales tends to break down, making it an unpleasant adventure trying to move them.

I spent many extra minutes tying added twine to hold the moldy bales together just long enough to relocate them to my growing natural berm. Interestingly, this was the only time on our property since the COVID-19 outbreak that I have needed to wear a mask over my nose and mouth. I would hate to get seriously ill from breathing mold when lung treatments are all focused on keeping coronavirus patients alive.

The branches from the large pine tree that tipped over during the winter made for excellent added structure, upstream to the bales, allowing me to get rid of the pile we temporarily stowed beside the driveway that snowy day when I had to cut up the tree so I could plow.

I’m finding it a great inspiration that I can use branches to develop a natural fence of growth sprouting over and through the tangled skeleton of dead trees that are so plentiful in our woods.









There is a never-ending flow of tree trunks and limbs transitioning from having reached for the sky to laying on the earth. One season, Cyndie and I worked to pick up all the dead wood and drag it out to be chipped or burned. Months later, when it looked like there was already an equal amount of new dead limbs on the ground replacing what we’d cleared, we realized how much actually falls. It was beyond us to keep up.

Now that I see the wood can be simply moved to the barrier I’m building –instead of needing the added work of chipping it every time or sawing it up to be split and burned– there is a better chance we can develop a tidier forest. At the same time, we gain much-needed material to improve the development of our natural barrier.

It’s a win-win!

Just my kind of favorable outcome.



Written by johnwhays

April 12, 2020 at 10:09 am

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