Despite the gray and wet day out there today, it wasn’t actually raining for the first time in days, so we were determined to get in as much work in the garden as we could. We’ve been wanting to get started on the clearing and such for the land that will someday be the vegetable garden, but even getting started was hard.
First we had to clear the opening from the driveway side into the opening in the stone wall. It’s wide enough for a tractor, as it was once a logging road or something like that. But there were big rocks in the front that we had to move before the little lawn tractor would be able to even make it up to the opening. A six foot heavy pry bar was very helpful in getting those out of the way.
Then, once we could get the lawn tractor actually through the opening, we found that it got caught up on the small stumps that were left from the trees we fell last fall. They were only four or five inches off the ground, but that baby tractor has absolutely no ground clearance at all.
In the totally not fun department, Frank was trying to manipulate the tractor out the opening again, and it jumped in a direction he didn’t expect, and pinned my left foot against a rock. That was so painful that I screamed, but nothing is broken, luckily. I got a big goose egg that turned purple, and a definite limp, but it didn’t keep me from sticking it out most of the day, even.
Frank cut a bunch of the old rotting logs that were lying around out there into firewood length, and I stacked it against the wall. We kept the stuff for the downstairs woodstove in a separate stack from the ones for the woodstove in our bedroom. Either we’ll leave these woodpiles out here until the fall, or we’ll start migrating them to under the deck, but we’re not sure yet. There’s so much work to do!
Frank cut down a few new trees, including one maple tree that he wants to use for building a bed to grow mushrooms on, so that trunk got cut to two eight foot lengths and two four foot pieces. The rest was firewood, and then it was time to bring in the big tractor with the chipper attached to it so that we could start chipping the brush with the new toy.
What fun that was. Usually, we’ve rented a chipper, which makes for a long three day weekend full of frustration and a lot of hard work, because we’d want to get in every possible minute since we were paying by the hour or day. But since we own this guy, we got it running for probably 30 minutes, cleaned up all the brush from the trees that got cut today, and that was it. I positioned the detached trailer from the lawn tractor in the right spot to catch the chips, and that worked out very well.
We filled the trailer up, and then got started on a new, quick compost bin that Frank knocked together from two wooden pallets that we had from somewhere, and he built the back from scrap wood he had in the basement. So we layered shredded paper, coffee grounds, wood ashes from the woodstoves, and the newly shredded tree chips into the new compost bin. Frank also added quite a bit of compost starter, as the shredded paper is from junk mail and the coffee grounds had boiled water poured over them so would be quite sterile.
Oh yeah — we struggled with the bin that nearly ripped my arm out of the shoulder socket and started putting some of that old potting soil from last year’s window boxes in this new bin as well. Getting that bin out of the basement was not fun, so I’ve got to figure out a better way to deal with those boxes at the end of this season.
We rescued about a dozen trillium from this area as well. There are probably 50 more at least out there, so I’ve got to find someplace to put them, or someone who wants them. I really don’t have a shaded spot that I know will still be shaded in a year, because of the expansion we’re doing in all directions. I think I might try the Gardenweb plant exchange and see if I can find some takers that way. We dug up as much of the root ball with these as we could, so hopefully it was enough to save the plants.
We worked ourselves to the ground out there today, and we barely dented what needs to get done! One of the most urgent things that needs to get done is to cut the little stumps closer to the ground so that the lawn tractor can make it in all the way. Maybe use the trimmer with the blade attachment?
We of course also need more compost bins as well. We set up just the one because we only had two pallets on hand. But we’re going to start taking the truck to town again now that it’s spring, so that we can start collecting the coffee grounds again, and maybe we’ll find some more pallets. The number of bins we are going to need to make the amount of compost we need is mind-boggling.