Today, I stayed in town for my daughter’s short shift. One of the things I ended up doing while there was picking up a magnetic lifter. You know, the kind of thing you would use when you drop a screw and it rolls under a shelf. I wanted to try and see if it would help me find nails in the dirt in the old wood pile.
It kind of worked.
The first challenge involved kittens, who thought it was a springy new toy!
The second was the fact that I wasn’t completely sure if I was feeling a magnetic pull or not. I did find a nail in my test, but I don’t know that the magnet is quite strong enough to find things in that much soil. Sometimes, though, it felt like there was a constant magnetic pull, even though I could find nothing in the ground.
The third problem was… well…
…let me show you.
My attempts to get a photo of the nail it successfully found in the dirt was foiled by Doom Guy, who was absolutely desperate for snuggles!
His claws are incredibly sharp.
He is also having some major respiratory problems. 😦
Which meant I was stuck with a sneezing, snorting, snotty cat that was poking holes in my body while trying to get comfortable in my arms.
Since I was in the area and not working on the area today (I try to keep Sundays as my day of rest, as much as possible), I decided to look beyond were I’d cleared, and get an idea of what I would be working in, next.
I found more of my mother’s flowers. Sort of.
I recognize those plants with the long, slender, pointed leaves. There is a bunch of them in the old kitchen garden. Those have finally started to show flower spikes. I doubt these will bloom at all. They are growing among many dead cherry trees that have new cherry shoots coming up at their bases. My mother had mentioned planting some flowers here, then blaming them for apparently killing some spruce trees I was telling her about. Except these aren’t near the spruce trees I was talking about. Anyhow, I did know she had deliberately planted flowers under the trees somewhere in this area, and now I have found them.
Once this area is cleared and more sunlight gets to the ground, I’m sure we’ll see more flowers, just as we are already seeing more flowers along the edges of the spruce grove that I’d already cleared a bit.
Then I found this.
That’s, my friends, a big patch of poison ivy.
Western Poison Ivy, to be precise.
We’ve been on the look out for poison ivy since moving here, and while we have seen some similar plants, I was able to confirm that they were NOT poison ivy. I had never seen poison ivy on the property before, even as a child who spent many, many hours roving wild among the trees. I had begun to hope I still wouldn’t.
The patch doesn’t seem to be very wide, but I also can’t see how deep it extends into the trees – and I won’t be able to until I start clearing back there.
I’ve been looking up how to get rid of it, and not looking forward to the job. At this point, I think I will just leave it for next year. I can avoid the patch when I’m clearing behind the outhouse and moving the debris pile I’ve raked out of the wood pile area. If I have time this year to clear into where those flowering plants that aren’t flowering right now are, I can avoid it on that side, too.
One of the things we found in the spruce grove was a bench made by nailing a board across 2 logs.
It was left where it was, but while doing my rounds this morning, I noticed something missing…
The board was off.
I’m not sure what knocked it off. The outside cats did sometimes sit on it, so it’s entirely possible some animal bumped it and finally knocked it off.
You can see how the rot was the worst, where wood contacted wood. One nail was still in a log (bottom of the picture), while a second nail at the other end (in the board, top of the picture) was rusted away to almost nothing; just a tall, thin bit of metal I would not have recognized as the remains of a nail at all, had I not been looking for it.
I cleared away the board and the nails, but didn’t bother moving the logs, yet.
When the spruce grove is finally cleaned up, I do want to set up a bench or two. Something make out of materials that won’t rot like this! 🙂
I didn’t get as much done cleaning up in the old wood pile as I’d hoped, but a little is better than none!
This is most of the area I focused on today. I got more old pallets out, and a bit more rotten wood. For the most part, it’s too rotten to even pick up, but I’m hoping to at least get out the pieces with nails. I also cleared out some saplings that were in the wood pile my sister and her husband had made in the big garden, the summer before we moved out.
Most of the pile in the foreground is what I’d move there last year. I had intended to find uses for it, but I have access to better types of wood than I knew of back then, so I will be adding it to the chipping pile. I’ve got cherry wood set aside, and I have more than enough to work on, so any more cherry I take down is going to the chipping pile, too. There is still some apple wood I’d set aside by the old dog house. I’ll see what condition it’s in as I move it, before I make any decisions about it.
The pile of debris is growing, and I’m at a loss as to what to do with it. With the possibility of nails being in there, I can’t compost it, but there is so much soil in there, I just don’t think it’ll burn well.
I think, after I clean up more around the outhouse, I’ll spread it in the back. There is an access to the pit under the outhouse there, so it can be emptied as needed, so it should be kept open and clear. It’s not an area that will get traffic, to the risks of people finding nails is lower, and we certainly won’t be gardening or anything back there.
That’s one possibility, anyhow.
I did find a few things while moving pallets out.
A bent piece of sheet metal, two electrical insulators, and a perfectly intact tea cup – not even a chip on it! – buried under the pallet fence.
In between working on this, we got some progress on the garden area we mulched, and had some company, but I will write about that in my next post. 🙂
This morning, thanks to cooler temperatures that I was able to take advantage of, I was able to finally get back to cleaning up around the east perimeter of the spruce grove. It was only about an hour and a half before I had to get out of the heat, but I think some good progress was done!
The area I planned to work on stays shaded for a while, which allowed me to work later into the day than otherwise. Dragging the bigger trees I cleared to one of the wood piles outside the yard really showed me what a difference that made! Walking into the sun, the heat hit like a hammer.
After a while, I stopped dragging them out and started a pile in the yard, instead. We’ll drag them out when it’s cooler!
I took before and after pictures from two different views. Here are the before pictures.
The area around the old dog house is where the wood pile was, when there was still a wood burning furnace. It has a pallet fence, and pallets on the ground, all of which are falling over or rotting. My ultimate goal for this year is to get this area cleared.
In the process, I also wanted to clear things a bit further back into the trees towards the outhouse, to access a fallen tree I want to clear out.
There turned out to actually be two of them. After taking pictures, I went to pull out what I thought was a fallen branch, only to find it was actually another dead tree – just a long and skinny one, with about 8-10 feet buried in the tall grass that I didn’t see!
I also cleared some poplars that were growing too close to the outhouse.
The dead tree I wanted access to was also longer than I expected. It extends quite a bit further into the trees, and in the third picture, you can see how its top has landed on other trees, causing them to grow bent.
I’m debating with myself whether I want to cut it into more manageable pieces and haul it out, bit by bit, or just drag the whole thing out in one go.
The lazy part of me says, drag it out in one go. 😀
While working my way towards the elm tree with the tire around its base, I made a discovery.
I’d been able to somewhat see the log someone leaned against the tree trunk through the dying cherry trees, but what is that metal thing under it, and the fallen branch?
It’s a metal chair frame.
Because… of course.
I’m keeping this.
I’ll turn it into an art installation. To go with all the toilets I’m finding! 😀
Clearing around that elm meant I also finally reached one side of the pallet fence.
There’s a poplar growing through it.
I also uncovered a dead tree and some fallen branches.
There are some branches that I put in the area (you can’t see it in the picture) that I saved from the pile in the big garden area that my sister and her husband had pruned before we moved here. Some of it is apple wood. I also kept some of the dead and dying cherry trees I cleared today. I plan to cut them into discs, or other shapes, to make things with them.
It’s hard to see, but as I was trying to clear away the cherry and poplars, I found some of them were growing through the remains of pallets.
There’s going to be a lot of that, as I work my way into the area.
By this point, it was getting simply too hot to keep working outside, and I had to stop for the day. Checking the temperatures before I started this post, I found it was 30C, with a “feels like” of 33C. Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue tomorrow. They’re predicting thunderstorms, but we shall see!
Here are the after pictures of my progress so far.
That reciprocating saw made the job so much easier! The only other tools I had to use were pruning sheers for stuff too small to use the saw on, and a rake, to try and find the bases of the trees I was taking down.
Of the self-sown cherry trees in the area I cleared, I did actually keep one. It even has some cherries ripening on it! I’m hoping it’s far enough away from the elm tree to get adequate sunlight.
Clearing and thinning the trees is the easy part. The hard part is going to be dragging the dog house out (it’s on a pallet, which is rotting and collapsing under it), then digging all the old pallets, pieces of carpet, and who knows what else is buried in there!
It was lovely doing my rounds with morning, and I just wanted to share some of my flowering finds. 🙂
One of my mother’s fancy lilacs is now blooming. Last year, while cleaning up this flower bed, I took out a maple tree that was growing in the middle of it!
At its base, where I had pruned and cleared quite a bit, there is now massive new growth of this lilac.
Swallowtails love lilacs, we’ve noticed. 🙂 I wasn’t able to get a picture of one this morning, though.
The first couple of my mother’s poppies opened this morning. This one is near the lilac bush in the above picture. The large leaves you see to the left is a small cherry tree. Small enough that I hope to transplant it to a better location, by next year.
Another poppy that opened up this morning is under the bird bath.
We’re going to have lots of these blooming, this year!
I tried making my way through an area of the spruce grove this morning, but there were too many fallen trees and undergrowth blocking my way. The wild roses scattered throughout, however, were blooming enthusiastically in the mess. It should be interesting to see how they do after the area is cleaned up, and they have more light and space. 🙂
This is one of the plants I’ve been seeing growing all over the places where I had pruned branches and cleared away deadwood. This one is near the south fence of the spruce grove, where I’d managed to do some clearing before the snow fell, last year. This is the first of the flowers I’m seeing from this plant. I don’t know the name of it, but we’re going to have quite a lot of these, all over the place! 🙂
I also did a bit of patriotic decorating today.
Canada Day will be here soon, so I set up four sturdy little flags that we have, on the East fence line, facing the road.
Last year, before it finally got too cold to work on cleaning and clearing the trees, I did manage to get some areas on the south side of the spruce grove done. Just a bit by the garage, and more more by the gate.
One of my goals for the day was to finally start working on clearing that middle section. Since we now have a working electric chain saw, which is the perfect size for the job, I figured it would be nice and quick. When cutting some of the larger trees, I’d made a point of leaving fairly tall stumps, so they would be easily visible and no one would trip over them. I intended to cut those flat with the ground, too.