It was a little bit cooler today, so I decided to do a bit of clean up around the spruce grove perimeter. Eventually, we want to clean out the junk pile, but it’s got kittens in it, so I am just working my way towards it.
Here is where I started working.
All those thistles and crab grass are growing out of a pile of … dirt? I’d already cleared a path to the chokecherry tree behind it, and now I wanted to clear the pile itself.
Which meant pulling the thistles and crab grass up by hand.
Yes, the row marker I used in the spring was still there!
It is now leaning against the garage, where there is at least a bit of shelter from the elements.
As for the pile itself, I’m not sure what it is. Stuff was pulling out of it easily, so I thought it might be an ash pile from cleaning out the old wood furnace over the years?
It’s really quite sandy in texture, though.
I’m sure this pile was made for a purpose, but if it’s not an ash pile, I just can’t figure out what that might have been!
After clearing most of the pile from both sides, I continued working my way towards the junk pile. I had seen branches piled there early on, and had added a few myself whenever I needed to clear something but didn’t have a chance to take the wood to one of the piles outside the yard at the time. Like part of the cherry tree by the house that broke off when I tried to move it around the post with an old bird house on it. In the above photo, I’d already cleared that out – and dragged out a length of those tiny decorative wire fences for around flower beds, in the process. It was pretty bent up, so that ended up on the junk pile that will eventually be hauled away.
My first load of very old branches that I dragged out after pulling away more thistles and years of crab grass.
I never did get another full load…
The closer I got to the junk pile, the more old branches I uncovered – as well as something yellow. It looks like a large piece of very thick plastic… tarp?
It was at about this point that I got stung, and found a small, yellow and black wasp stuck in my shirt.
After brushing it away, I kept a close eye out while pulling out a few more branches.
Aaaaannnddd… yes. There were more wasps.
To the left of centre in the above photo is the remains of a log. The wasps seemed to be coming out from under it.
So I took a hose to it, then eventually used a long metal pipe we use for poking around when doing a burn, to lift it over.
Yup. It looked like the opening to a ground nest was right under it.
I hosed that for a while, too. I don’t know if it was enough to drown out the nest, but there were quite a few wasps flying around. They don’t show up in the photo, but they’re there!
At which point, I was done.
I have never seen so many wasp nests in my life, before this summer. They’re all over the place! There is the tree in front of the kitchen window, and one beside the beet and carrot beds, that are nests. Then there are 3 active paper nests in various places, plus the one above the garage door that I got rid of, and the one under the eaves of the house at the old kitchen that I got rid of. There appears to be a nest inside the branch pile near the garage, and now this ground nest by the junk pile.
And those are just the ones I know of.
There isn’t much we can do to stop them from building under the eaves, but this is just more reason to get rid of the junk piles, debris and branch piles!
And those Chinese elms.
This is the pile of thistles and quack grass, with a couple of spirea I pulled up near the end, that I cleared up and added to the new compost pile. With so many thistle seeds, I plan to give them a few days to dry, then burn them. That will help with breaking down the old tree stump in the middle, and making sure more saplings don’t start pushing their way through again.
So, I think this is going to be it for clean up in this area for a while. I’m not sure what to do about the wasps, other than hosing the area down repeatedly. With the kittens living in the junk pile, I don’t want to be using wasp poison.
I think it’s time to pick up another wasp trap. The one I got before is currently being used to catch fruit flies in the house, which suddenly became a problem.
Well, a bit of progress is better than no progress at all!