Clearing the Property – part V

Hi. It’s been a while.

Much has happened, since I last wrote: I frantically continued to clear as much of the yard as I could – knowing how things would slow down with the arrival of my son; and then BOOM! 45 minutes after walking through the hospital doors my wife delivered our baby boy; and just when I thought things in the yard would slow down, I remembered how small a role a father has with a breast-feeding infant; also, we had so many friends and family members around that I continued (when appropriate) to slug-away at the yard. And this will be the final “clearing the property” entry, as I officially have my “blank canvass.”

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I could talk for hours about my boy; having a 2-year-old and an infant; and all the joys and pains that go along with it, but this post is about the budding garden.

I have to admit to a bit of a change of plans – in the picture above, the stacked wood marks the half-way point of the backyard (from shed to back fence). While the property is cleared, I don’t intend on doing much else with the ‘back-half’ until next year. So, the focus: front half.

Behind the shed is mostly grass – actually no, it’s mostly blackberry mowed down so grass can grow amongst it. This was historically a veggie garden, so I am expecting to find few rocks and half-decent soil.

On the left, in the picture above, was forest floor. It is almost exclusively rock and stump. Fortunetely, it dips below the level of the grass and even the ground closer to the fence, so my intention here will be to sit the garden beds ontop. While that doesn’t seem to fit my needs and expectations of how the garden boxes will perform, there may be advantages: First, after a few years, the rotting stumps and all the root material will begin to act as a sponge. It will hold water well into the summer and release nutrients as it breaks down. And since we know acids from composting materials can slowly dissolve rock into minerals, then leaving the rock is good too, right? No – I’ll dig those up. Digging some will give me a few inches with which to mix the soil from the ground and the soil from the bed for better moisture gradiation. Besides, if I want rock broken down, I will use sand. Sand has an infinately larger surface area than a solid rock, allowing it to break down more quickly. As far as our life-time is concerened – rocks are permanent.

Luckily, I will raise the paths between the garden beds to have the appearance of sunken garden beds, so putting the rocks under that fill will lessen the quantity of fill. Also, should a stump exists in place of my paths, I will cut them down to a manageable size and burry them as well. I am certain that most plants will not send shoots up through deep soil – how deep, I’m not sure.

 

Here’s another admission: That property divide using cut rounds…. largely a result of me getting tired of carrying wood. For days I carried rounds up to the side of my house where I will build a woodshed (this sunday if all goes according to plan). Some of the big fir rounds were so heavy I struggled to get them up the stairs. So all the little ones left…they’ll stay there a while. In the meantime:

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Check this out! I cut the hedge in, and up to about the 6′ mark. I stacked the wood against the existing wire fence. These were all the big guys! I have since covered all those weeds with cardboard for weed control and mirrored the hedge trim on the other side of the fence in order to place my woodshed. That fence, which is totally rotton, will come down and be replaced with one about 20′ further back. This will keep the wood shed in the back yard, and a side door into my garage in the back yard and next to the wood pile.

Wood pile near the door?! Seems crazy right? I agree, especially after finding this guy:

As someone who loves bugs, I shouldn’t hate spiders….but look at that thing!? It’s a mostly harmless Woodlouce Spider, but it might also be proof that there is no God. (And yes, I’m one of those jerks who tries to take micro-pics with a cell phone. Here’s another example:)

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Your guess is as good as mine. It’s a crappy photo, but an amazing colour. My guess is a beetle larva, but it’s legs seem longer and better developed than what I know of beetle larva. Any thoughts?

 

That’s enough about bugs, I know. This is all very exciting for me. After 7 years in a condo, I am finally finding more things to do than I have time for. Do I miss my 5 minute walks to brew-pubs, and riding my bike to WhiteCaps games? Yes, but this feels way more satisfying.

Here’s where we stand right now: Wood shed gets built this weekend, maybe too we will build more garden boxes. (Father in-law and uncle in-law built one for me this week).

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15′ by 5′ by 24″ high. Just as I wanted! Digging into this area was easy. Soil was actually good. There are few rocks, and the gravel/clay (that I suspected would be below, since this is an area that the glaciers stopped with major sand and gravel deposits…including some purely sand islands) begins quite deep – maybe a foot down. In this picture I am standing at the low point, so I may only need to dig and inch or two at this point to get it level. Yep, lots of fun to come. There’s a few more to go, and it won’t be easy, and it won’t be cheep, but getting out in the yard is always worth it…

 

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See ya next time!

 

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