Clean up: old wood pile, today’s progress

It’s been awesome to finally have some cooler weather, and a chance to get at least a bit more clean up done!

This old wood pile continues to prove itself a bigger job than expected.

Here is how it’s been progressing since I started on the area, if you want to look at earlier photos.

First post
Second post
Third post

Here, I’ve taken away a some pallet pieces from the back “fence” area and raked away debris to uncover… whatever I might find.

It’s hard to see in the photo, but to the right, near where it starts to be all grass, is a rotting sheet of… plywood, I think, with crab grass grown over it. What also cannot be seen is that there are a LOT of bottom halves of pallets rotting in the dirt, so walking around here meant being on constant alert for nails. There is no way I’ll be able to take the wood out; it’s too decomposed. I’m just hoping to find as many nails – or rake them up – as I can.

More pieces of wood – both old logs and rotten pallet pieces – have been cleared out, other wood has been hauled away, and I’ve raked up debris.

I’m hoping I can let that baby oak tree stay. 😀

Notice the dead tree in the centre? I kept trying to pull it out, but it was caught on something. Today, I finally cleared the back enough to find out where.

Cherry trees had grown through the pallets, and on either side of a branch. No wonder it wasn’t coming loose!

This is one of those areas that turned out to be a LOT more effort than expected. I’d already trimmed back some cherry trees to access the area, and today I went to clear the remaining stems and stumps.

The reciprocating saw has been incredibly useful, but one thing about it is that, whatever is being cut needs to be solidly in place. I started to cut the stumps to ground level, only to have them start vibrating like crazy, to the point that the saw just couldn’t cut anything anymore. I had to start digging around in the dirt to see what was going on.

The cherry roots had made their way through pallets and started to grow here, while the pallets themselves rotted away, resulting in basically a loose compost. Once I started cutting, the roots just started vibrating in the ground. I ended up digging out bits and pieces of rotted wood, leaves and soil to get at the base. In the process, I found myself pulling up roots that went in all sorts of directions, sometimes pulling up pieces of rotten pallet wood in the process.

Once this area is cleaned up, it is going to be such glorious soil to grow things in!!

Until then, I just keep finding more and more root systems and rotting pieces of wood. Much of it just crumbles as I try to pick it up, so I’m mostly focusing on finding and removing nail pieces.

Finding those with my feet is never a comfortable thing! Thankfully, I was finding nail heads with my feet, not nail points!

This is what that area looks like now. I’ve cut back the cherry trees that had grown around the dead tree branch, found more branches and logs to pull out, and raked away debris to reveal more of what I need to clean out – or avoid stepping on.

It’s the “avoid stepping on” that’s going to be the biggest issue!

In the process, I found more… things.

I got that section of hose out, as well as the old bird house, and in the process found a piece of metal, a fiberglass rod, a section of steel pipe, a roll of plastic so old and brittle, bits and pieces were falling off as I gingerly carried it out, some plastic molding, a teapot with a broken off handle, and a soup bowl with nary a chip or scratch on it.

Oh, and some broken bricks. I think there might be more of those to pull up, as I get more pallets clear.

Meanwhile…

… I started working on clearing around the old table.

When my mom was last here, I remembered to ask her why it was there. She started to tell me that my dad put it there do so something, but she sort of drifted off the topic. I think she might not actually remember – if she ever knew – why he put it there!

In the above picture, I’ve cut away bits and pieces of trees, saplings, branches, and the top of that dead spruce.

You can see the bent stems of the cherry trees it fell on. They had to have still been alive to be able to bend like that, instead of breaking, but they are dead, now, and holding the spruce tree off the table.

Dead trees supporting a dead tree.

I just kept cutting away bits and pieces until the table was finally clear.

This is very much a home made table! The top of it seems to be just a sheet of plywood.

Once it’s out of there, I’ll be able to keep clearing things away until I can finally take out that dead spruce.

The table top could be lifted on one side, but not the other. There is no sign of any nails or screws to hold it in place, so I’m guessing it was glued.

I had to stop soon after this was cleared. When I get back to it, I’ll have to snag a daughter to help carry this way to the pile of junk wood that will need to be burned. It’s quite rickety and would fall to pieces if I tried to just drag it out by myself.

My debris pile has gotten big enough that I will need to get rid of it. Which means, the next time I am able to get work done out here, I’ll have to clear the space behind the outhouse that I want to take it to, first.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to work out how best to move the old dog house, where to put it, and what to put it on! It’s sitting on a pallet right now, of course, and the wood has broken under it. I want to have to move it only once. I don’t want it directly on the ground, as it’ll just rot. I’m certainly not going to put in on wood. The other old dog house is on a thick sheet of dense plastic to keep it off the ground, but I haven’t seen any more of that.

There must be something around here that I can put it on.

Time to go through the barn and sheds again and see what I can find!

The Re-Farmer

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