Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘mulch

Compare Contrasts

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I have mixed feelings about the comparison of our woods to our neighbor’s when it comes to the obviousness of difference in controlling the invasive Common Buckthorn. Do you notice the contrast in the images below?

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That line of green leaves on the low trees visible in the images on the right is increasingly dominating the understory beyond our fencelines.

It is pleasing to be able to clearly see the progress I have achieved in my vigilance to remove the buckthorn every year. At the same time, it is unsettling to watch the progress of the invasion playing out on the land surrounding ours.

Meanwhile, remember how happy I was to boast of stocking up on woodchips?

Cyndie has already succeeded in decimating the store of chips, distributing them far and wide for mulch around small trees and plants in the labyrinth and beyond.

We are on the brink of no longer being able to see most of the downed branches available for chipping with the arrival of snow season.

Yesterday, the driveway was still too warm to be covered by the first measurable amount to fall, but the leaves weren’t.

Our landscape turned white overnight last night. Animal tracks are clearly revealed this morning. I didn’t go out yet, but Cyndie said there were no bear footprints on the trails she and Delilah walked. Plenty of deer and an occasional bunny rabbit, though.

I’m going to be comparing our new surroundings today to the contrasting snowless world I walked less than 24 hours ago in my wanderings around the grounds.

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Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2021 at 10:00 am

Blocking Weeds

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Still attending classes for Master Gardener, Cyndie has already put some of the information gained into practice. Over the weekend, I moved multiple bucket-loads of compost with the big diesel tractor to her newest raspberry patch where Cyndie had laid down a layer of cardboard to block weeds.

Yesterday, I was moving wheelbarrow loads of woodchips to the labyrinth where she was applying a paper covering that we buried with four inches of mulch.

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We’re going to need to chip more downed tree limbs. As fast as the chips were created, they can get distributed even faster.

I’m pretty sure I’ve made it clear we have no shortage of piles to be shredded. I did some clean-up by the road when I was clearing the buckthorn there and the result created one more collection of trees and branches for chipping.

We have a new tool to augment the ratchet pruner we previously used when trimming branches and cutting up fallen trees.

After hearing our friends, Pam and John rave about this slick little battery-powered chainsaw pruner, Cyndie bought one the next day.

The first day we used it, we drained the battery and needed to get the ratchet pruner to finish the job. At least that taught us the workload it can handle. It worked great for me the next time I used it and only dropped to half a charge on the battery.

This is going to be a wonderful addition to our assortment of tools.

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Written by johnwhays

November 9, 2021 at 7:00 am

Finally Chipping

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My plan was to get both the tractor and the ATV down the hill to the spot where I’m clearing trees to make space for a new fence that will enclose the back grazing area. I put a bundle of tools in the ATV trailer and drove it down, parking between two existing brush piles. Then I walked back up to get the diesel tractor with the wood chipper mounted on the back.

To my surprise, I found the front right tire was completely flat. That certainly wasn’t in my plan.

I pumped it up and verified the leak was serious enough to need attention. The morning agenda suddenly had a new priority. First order of business would involve getting the wheel off the tractor, no small task when you don’t have the proper tools. Five of the six bolts came loose with a reasonable amount of effort, leaving the one that was obligated not to budge, to keep the project from being too straight forward.

Patience —albeit thin— and fortitude, produced eventual results, leading to the second order of business: I needed to find out where to take the wheel for repair. A call to my neighbor produced a recommended service station in town, but that place turned out to be too busy to help me right away. They offered up an alternative. I called the second option and learned they could take a look at it right away.

Now, I definitely know better than to blindly rely on the results produced by a Google maps search, and I even commented to Cyndie that I was surprised it was that direction out-of-town, but nonetheless, I fell for it without a second thought.

After a pleasant drive to discover the error of my ways, which took me down into a beautiful valley where there is absolutely no cell signal, I turned around and drove back up to high ground so I could call for directions. Sure enough, I should have headed the other direction out-of-town. Ironically, this place is where I recently stopped to inquire about finding someone to bid improving the footing of our paddocks. Two businesses operate out of this one location.

DSCN2136eThey fixed my tire, patching a hole in the tube, and after I got it remounted on the tractor, I was back to my original plan. The rest of the afternoon involved chainsawing and wood chipping. Everything worked pretty well for the rest of the day. I took down some more trees, and created a pile of wood chips by the labyrinth, to be used as mulch.

Working through the dinner hour, and into the mosquito feeding frenzy of early evening, I cleared some of the nearby trail with the trimmer so I could dump a trailer-load of chips there. While doing that, I came to one of the fallen trees that has been blocking the trail since May. Not anymore. I cut it into logs to be split for firewood.DSCN2139e

The flat tire was a hassle, but all’s well that ends well. I got a chance to test my ideas and it looks like things are going to work as well as we hoped. The chipper eats brush as fast as I can feed it and the wood chips look perfect for the trail and mulching around plants in the labyrinth.

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Written by johnwhays

July 26, 2014 at 6:00 am