Clean up: broken tire planter – getting started

Today, I decided to tackle the bent up old tire planter.

Here is how it looked before I started.

Last summer, I moved the Mary statue and gave it a good scrubbing, pulled out all the invasive vines that had taken over the planter, and even cleaned up the concrete block being used as a base.

The vines are coming back, even though I’ve pulled them several times over the summer.

From this side, you can see how the willow has grown into the tire, causing it to bend. It’s even pushing the concrete block enough that the statue is at an angle.

There was a self sown elm tree growing out from under the tire that I cut away last year. The new growth you see here is from around the stump. When my mother last came by, she asked about it and was surprised I had taken it down. She asked me why and I just pointed up.

It’s directly under the power line to the house.

I was a bit startled to realize my mother had left it there deliberately, as opposed to not being able to get at it because she doesn’t live here anymore. Not only was it directly under the power line, but it would displace the tire planter even more than the willow already is. Apparently, she just didn’t care?

Last year, I just scrubbed the pedestal where it was and didn’t try to move it. In cleaning things up back then, I uncovered the bricks in the back. Eventually, I plan to move the bricks away and salvage them for something else. There wasn’t soil put in there, that I could tell. It seems to be just composted leaves. I have the horseradish from our Easter basket planted there, so I’ll be leaving that.

Some self-sown flowers were growing outside of the planter, near the pedestal that I left alone. There were more flowers growing outside the planter than in it! They are all done blooming, so I wasn’t worried about avoiding them as I worked.

The first thing to do was move the pedestal, statue and concrete block.

The pedestal turned out to have a wider base than I expected, sunk into the ground and mostly buried.

Moving the statue was a surprise for me. I man-handled that thing a fair bit last year, and while I found it heavy, I didn’t have any problems moving it. So it was a surprise when I went to pick it up and it didn’t quite work the first time. I was eventually able to get a good grip on it and move it, but it felt a lot heavier than before. I have clearly lost a fair bit of strength since last summer. 😦 I estimated it at only about 60-70 pounds (27-31kg) , so I should not have had that much trouble with it.

After I uploaded the pictures and processed them for this post, I was curious and looked it up. The statue is about 3 feet high. After finding other concrete versions (other, lighter, materials are easier to find), I had another surprise.

It actually weighs about 148-150 pounds (67-68kg). Even if I over estimated how tall it is by a few inches, it would still be at well over 100 pounds (45+kg).

I don’t feel so bad anymore.

I mean, it’s still a concern for me. Especially after just being at the doctor today, and trying to trace why my stamina has dropped so noticeably since last year. The only person I can compare myself to is myself, after all.


When it came time to move the concrete block, I had a bit more trouble. It just wouldn’t move. I had a pretty good idea why that might be. After digging around it a bit, I was finally able to pull it out.

Yup. It was full of roots.

That root in the space where the brick was is just the first of many roots from those invasive vines that I kept finding!!

I’m not sure what I will do with these. After I give it a good cleaning, I want to set the statue up somewhere nice and visible, and the concrete block makes a good foundation for that. The pedestal is the perfect size for the statue; I’m sure they were purchased together. I feel it would not be stable enough for the statue, though – especially with rambunctious kittens running around – so I want to find some other use for it.

Once these were out, I used a garden fork to loosen the soil and take out as many root systems as I could, though I did have to use pruning shears for some of them. Then I started hauling the soil away with a wheel barrow.

The first thing I did was FINALLY fill in those ruts the moving company left behind when they got stuck in the driveway.

No, that kitten isn’t using the fresh dirt as a litter box. It just looks that way. 😀

I also was able to fill in some holes along the sides of the driveway that were problems to mow around.

It’ll be nice to be able to mow through there and not worry about accidentally hitting one of these holes and breaking an axle or something.

After that, I started putting the soil along the new retaining all at the old kitchen garden.

I considered starting to dump it in the big garden area, where we hope to plant next year, but for the amount of soil I was moving, I didn’t think it was worth it.

Once I actually started moving the soil, I discovered I couldn’t put too much in the wheel barrow I was using. It did not seem to do well with the weight! I have a bigger one, but it’s got holes on the bottom.

This is as far as I got, today. I am guessing I got about 2/3rds of the soil out, but it’s hard to say. As I loosen the soil, I sometimes hit what I think is a root from the willow tree. I was able to start lifting the tire off the ground from the outside a bit. I’m hoping to get it to a point where I can lift it up and move it around to knock the last of the soil caught inside the tire itself. Once it’s out of the way, I’ll be able to see what I’m dealing with underneath. Mostly, I just want to get rid of as many vine roots as I can, trim that stump further down, then rake the whole thing smooth.

Who knows. Matka Boska might even go back there, sans tire planter. 🙂

One interesting thing I noticed while I was digging the soil out and moving it. I disturbed an ants nest in the process; tiny little orange-red things. It occurred to me that, in all my digging, the ants were the only living creatures I found. There were no worms. Not even signs of worms. Just the ants, and plant roots.

I found that rather odd.

If all goes well, I will be able to continue working here tomorrow, and be able to add more soil to the old kitchen garden in the process. That will depend partly on the weather, and partly on my own pain levels. My right shoulder (where nothing wrong showed up in the X-rays) was an annoyance. I couldn’t pull anything with it, whether it was getting the concrete block out of the dirt, or pulling up roots. I could only use my left arm.

What a pain. Literally.

Now that I have the X-ray results, it’s time to look into booking the physiotherapist. I hope she does directly billing!

For now, I’ve already pain killered up, and I think it’s an early bed time for me tonight. I was so stressed about the medical appointment, I got almost no sleep last night, so I’m pretty wiped out!

I think tomorrow I might even… *gasp*… sleep in in the morning! 😀

The Re-Farmer

4 thoughts on “Clean up: broken tire planter – getting started

  1. Pingback: Clean up: broken tire planter area – Done!! | The Re-Farmer

  2. Pingback: Fall Clean up: finally clearing the second tire planter | The Re-Farmer

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