What I did for my summer vacation

[Warning: pointless post/ramblings]

Actually it was a "staycation." We usually scoot to the Caribbean for a week.  I’d like to say this was better.* Though home from our regular jobs for a week, we worked like fiends.  Our primary target was the multitude of Autumn Olive (exotic invasive) and Sycamore (native yet ridiculously prolific) taking over a nice four-acre field.  We we don’t quite know what to do with this creek bottom, except to not let it grow up into a monoculture (biculture?) of 14′ tall Eleagnus and Sycamore.  Our local rental joint delivered a spankin’ new JCB backhoe/frontloader last Monday, and fun was had. I have a thing for heavy equipment, and don’t stink with a Bobcat. But this was bigger than I was expecting.

To familiarize myself with the backhoe, I started out with a planting hole for a 15-gallon tree.  Oh, what Linda would have given for a picture of resulting crevasse."Dig hole 1000 x the width and 6000x the depth of the rootball." Whoops. Could have planted a minivan.  Took a bit of time to fill it back up to the point the entire tree wasn’t below ground. But I got better.  After several days, I was ripping out invasive species with surgical (ha!) precision. Take that!  Very gratifying.

The JCB 3CX with "EcoDig." Advertised as 18% more fuel efficient, so I’m helping the earth while I tear s*** up.

Then Joel surprised me with a truckload of mulch (Squee! Nothing says "I love you" like 4.5 cubic yards of shredded bark).  With Bert’s recent post in mind, I proceeded to "check the mulch for the presence of a foul or pungent odor." My snort-inhalation was perhaps too close to the pile as the fine bits of mulch went up my nose like it was 1985.  I did detect some volatile compounds as my eyes watered and the sneezing commenced. It was still a bit warm, so was careful not to get it too close to the plants. Not that there was much "tender" tissue since it hasn’t rained here in eons.  Will report back if I’ve ruined the bed.

Truckload o’ love. And yes, our "Farm Use" plate is held on by duct tape.

*Nope. Wasn’t.

7 thoughts on “What I did for my summer vacation”

  1. I remember a few years ago we sadly lost a huge American Elm to dutch elm and decided to have the stump dug out. The backhoe was much larger and we could have had him continue with digging and had a swimming pond! Getting rid of the stump a whole different story.

    So what are you doing with the trees you removed-chipping up for mulch?

  2. Mike: it’s a creek. We are removing only trees, not all vegetation. 50 yards from the stream. I do understand the riparian buffer concept.

  3. I wasn’t concerned for the riparian buffer exactly.

    I’m interested in reasons for the presence of the invasives, and the possibility that you have a buried wetland soil horizon that might be better suited to native plants. We find buried hydric soils whe
    re there were early dams: mill dams, splash dams, ice pond dams, etc. We interpret those soils to represent a pre-European wetland valley-bottom.

    Our main field site seems to have mostly poison hemlock and tear-thumb, which makes work less enjoyable than it could be.

  4. Sigh….I hope to one day be proposed to with a giant underground rain water holding tank with a pump to water my garden instead of a ring.

  5. I hope also to one day be proposed to with a giant underground rain water holding tank with a pump to water my garden instead of a ring.

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