Not what I was looking for

Last summer, while going around the property with my older brother, we had gone into an area filled with rocks and blocks of concrete and all sorts of bushes growing among them. My brother remembered that there were hazelnut bushes there. We didn’t find any, but I decided to check it out again, in case something managed to grow this year.

I didn’t find any hazelnuts.

I did find other things, though!

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Bitty Baby Gooseberry

While picking chokecherries, I also checked out one of the gooseberry bushes.

This is the biggest of the gooseberry bushes, and the one that got the most water over the summer, since I had the sprinkler going on the raspberry transplants. It has a fair few berries on it, while the others have either no berries at all, or almost none. The really dark berries I am holding are “ripe”, but so small, they’re practically inedible.

Note for future: transplant the gooseberries out from under other trees, and put them somewhere where they will get both sun and rain!

The Re-Farmer

Clean Up: Maple Grove, evening progress

I wrote up my last post while taking a hydration break from working in the maple grove.  By the time I was done, I found myself nodding off at the keyboard.  I figured lying down wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Three hours later… 😮

But, I’ve got it done as much as I can for now.

Here are the before and after pictures of the two North rows.

I cleared out two of the tree spruces in the foreground of the second picture.  The two I took out had a few green sprigs here and there, but were otherwise dead.  I also cut off the dead branches from the one in the middle.  I am hoping that, now that it’s open and clear, it will survive.

The remaining spruces in that northernmost row are doing pretty good.  I trimmed the lowest branches, as well as the dead ones that I could reach with a hand saw.  The dead ones were mostly on the south side of the trees, where they had no light.  The other living spruce trees, I only took off what was in my way as I moved around.  I will finish cutting away the dead branches when my birthday gift comes in. 🙂

20180702.cleanup.maplegrove.eastside.raspberry.patch

This is the remains of a row of raspberry bushes.  I can see some dead canes from years past, but no fresh canes in this area.

To the right, you can also see a gooseberry bush I found.  I had cleared out a broadleaf tree that was between two spruces, and discovered the gooseberry under it!

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Then there’s this gooseberry bush, in dire need of having the deadwood cut away.  It’s growing next to a chokecherry tree, which was also overgrown and in need of pruning at its base.

20180702.cleanup.maplegrove.eastside.gooseberry.chokecherry.cleared

It was amazing how cutting just one sucker at the bottom of the chokecherry tree cleared almost everything up!  A few downward hanging branches to clear away, and various saplings, burdock and stinging nettle to clear away at the base, and what a difference!  I even found some raspberry bushes with baby berries on them.

The gooseberry, on the other hand, has almost no sign of berries on it at all, and what little it does have are not looking good.

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This is the very end of the “raspberry” row, with an apple tree near the compost pile.  There’s even a lonely little asparagus fern growing in here!

20180702.cleanup.maplegrove.eastside.appletree.after

I found more salvageable raspberry canes.  After cutting away some lower branches and saplings at the base of the apple tree (including maple and elm saplings), it was basically just weeding and removing old raspberry canes.  There are some plants in there I recognize as flowers my mother planted, so I tried to avoid taking those out.  Lots of creeping charlie and burdock in here.

At this point, I called it a night.  Which worked out perfectly, because that’s when I got a call from the second tree care company about coming over.  It was another father and sons team. 🙂

When they got here, I showed them the areas I wanted work done on, plus the trees to come down.  He asked questions about how far back I wanted to cut things (basically, enough to not have to do this again for 5 years).  He wanted to know about the overhanging branches, which would normally be left if they are not touching the lines.  One of them is a very healthy maple tree, and cutting it back would mean removing pretty much half the tree.  When I pointed out it was from those overhanging branches that we got the burned branch from, and that it had happened before, causing a power outage, he understood why I didn’t want ANY overhanging branches at all.  They even measured the trunks of the trees that will be taken down, including the dead spruce.  They had to take into account being able to get their equipment in, too, and I told them about the three different gates that were available.  We also talked about cleanup.  He charges extra if they bring in a chipper, but I did say I wanted to keep the chips for mulch, and to keep the bigger wood, too.  He mentioned they don’t usually chip dead branches, because it dulls the cutting edges, but the stuff they’ll be cutting back will mostly be life branches.

He took a whole bunch of notes, and I will get the estimate emailed to me.

I told him about how we don’t own the land, and that I am getting estimates to talk to my mother and brother about before a decision is made, and that I’m hoping to get it done in the fall.  Or spring, if the cost is higher (which I suspect it will be, with these guys, but we shall see).  He was good with fall, mentioning after August is when they’d be available to do the work, so that works out.

And that’s it for the next while.  Tomorrow will be a trip to the city for my daughter, which should give my body time to rest.  Feeling pretty stiff and sore right now! 😀

The Re-Farmer