Clean up: west fence line and maple grove

Today turned out to be too cold and damp to do the mowing between the trees I cleared last year, that I hoped to do today. I thought I might be able to at least use my reciprocating saw to cut some of the smaller stumps of trees I took down last year to ground level, so I could mow over them. In the end, I decided it was just too damp to drag out the extension cords and use electric tools.

Instead, I worked on an area I left partly unfinished last year; a double row of elms leading to the garden gate at the west fence line.

Here is how it looked before I started.

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Clean Up: mowing the big garden

Today started early for me, as I had to drive to my mother’s to take her for an appointment to get her CT scan. She had a requirement to drink a litre of water an hour before her appointment, then restrictions on going to the bathroom shortly before, so I wanted to make sure she got there early enough to not have to worry about the restriction. Given how long it takes to drive from her town to the city where her appointment was, that meant she had to start drinking her water while we were driving.

She also had to fast 4 hours before the scan, but my mother went a bit overboard and, aside from eating some crackers with her morning medications, she had fasted since the supper! So as soon as we were done, I made sure to take her to lunch somewhere fast.

By the time I got home, it was mid afternoon. The weather was holding, so I decided to break out the push mower and get as much done as I could. (I only got rained on a tiny bit! 😀 ) I was going to start working in the trees, but then decided to do the old, overgrown garden, instead.

When my brother brought the mower back, he walked me through what he had done. It started fine when we tested it, but he mentioned that he felt the prime pump wasn’t doing its job. So, just in case it wouldn’t start, he showed me where to open up the side of the engine, where there is a filter and an opening behind it, and told me I could basically just splash some fuel into it, and that should be enough to start it.

I’m very glad he told me that, because it wouldn’t start. I ended up having to do it twice! The second time was after I ran out of gas, but I found that if I filled the tank before it was completely empty, I didn’t have to do it again. Except I didn’t just splash it. I tipped the mower onto its side and poured a tiny bit, using the cap of the jerry can spout to hold the tiny bit of fuel I needed. After that, it started just fine.

Mowing the old garden ended up taking about 4 hours.

It is not a small garden.

It was also incredibly rough. Plus, I had to look out for stuff like this.

Thankfully, it wasn’t sticking too far out of the ground, but that’s something we’re going to have to dig up at some point. Maybe. Depends on how big it is, underground!

Here are the before photos.

Right now, the garden area is split by the section we covered with straw to mulch it, used some RoundUp when things started to grow through the mulch, then covered with tarps, that I worked around. That is where we are hoping to be able to start planting something next year. I also tried to get into those trees my mother left growing when she transplanted her raspberry bushes, as much as I could.

Here is what it looks like now.

Did I mention it was rough in there?

This picture barely begins to show how rough it was! It’s hard to grasp from the photo, just how big that hill in the foreground is. When this area was last plowed, this is where the tractor turned, so there are huge ridges all over.

If the weather continues to hold tomorrow, I want to work on mowing between the trees in the maple grove, plus the area leading from the big garden to the gate. My mother said she planted elms in there, so the area had not been mowed, but I see no signs of them.

And now I have to try and get the burrs out of my pant legs.

The Re-Farmer

Just a bit more…

I wasn’t able to get back to working on getting the tire planter out (I can wiggle it a bit more, though! 😀 ), but yesterday evening I decided to deadhead the spirea by the storage house.

I also cut them back from the grapes they were starting to encroach on again.

As I was doing that, I noticed some dead branches and figured I may as well take them out, too.

And those other ones.

Oh, and there are a few more…

Just a bit more…

The next thing I knew…

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Old kitchen garden, retaining wall progress

I am so happy I was able to get back to working on this today!

It is now basically finished for this year!

Here is where I started today.

I loosened the soil and leveled off the space where we could fit 1 more of the chimney blocks. In the process, I realized that I could completely miss the bunch of chives. However, I wanted to add a block to form a corner, so I decided to dig some out for transplanting, first.

After discussing what we wanted to put in these in the future, we decided to transplant just some of the chives into two blocks, just inside the corner. The bottoms were stuffed with mulch, then topped with peat, before transplanting. More peat was added, later.

I then went to work on the opposite corner, which had a bit of a problem.

That metal fence post is every so slightly in the way.

The ground here also started to slop upwards towards the house on this side, so I had to level the area by taking soil away from the area. On the other side, I had to level the soil by adding to it!

As for placing the block, I found I could push the metal post aside, just enough for it to line up right.

After everything we jammed in and settled into place, the post ended up being very close to straight, still. So I was happy.

On to the next step!

I raked the mulch I had moved aside, right up against the blocks, then used some of it to jam into the openings until they were filled to about an inch or two from the tops.

Next, I put a layer of peat on top of the mulch.

As I worked my way down the line, I added more mulch to some of them before adding the peat, just to make sure there was a deep, tamped down layer.

I then gave all of them a thorough watering, to give the decomposition process a bit of a head start – and wash off the tops of the blocks a bit.

As it breaks down, I expect the mulch and peat to sink by an inch or two. That will give us the space to add soil as we plant things in them.

As for the small openings, my daughter and I talked about filling them with sand or gravel. I don’t mind the idea of filling them with soil and planting things in them, though they are really too small for that. Even just leaving them empty will serve as a layer of insulation to protect the soil in the middle. However, if we were to put sand in them, it would keep unwelcome things from starting to grow in there, plus give a nice base to add garden stakes, supports, or even solar lights for lighting up pathways.

Since we’re stuck with those metal posts anyhow, I like the idea of using them to string decorative LED lights across, too. 🙂

I’m pretty happy with how this area is starting to shape up.

For those new to this blog, here is what the area was like, when I started cleaning it up last year.

Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four

We’ve made a lot of progress here! 🙂

The Re-Farmer