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Monday, April 22, 2013

Accelerando Verdure

Now things are happening quickly. The forsythia is blossoming. I spent some time yesterday plucking dandelions, and today digging thistles. The grass seems to be growing before one's eyes and some places we'll have to mow in the next few days or the growth will become rank. Over the weekend we removed the mowing deck from the little tractor, got everything clean and sharp and greased, and put back together again. This is a finish mower for around the house and gardens; for the more remote areas we have the rotary brush mower to mount on the back of the big tractor. But we're resolved this year to mow less than last: the novelty has worn off, it uses a lot of fuel, and we've got lots of other work to do.

The kale is making a big comeback and will be featured at dinner tonight in a potato-kale soup.

Another good task accomplished over the weekend was laying out the grid to plant the 150 cider apple trees to be delivered in a few day. The flags are all labeled with the names of the fifteen varieties we'll be planting, and laid out according to early, middle, and late harvest season. Saturday is the big day.

We also made further good progress clearing and burning brush from the downstream dam embankment, though after nine inches (!) of rain over the past week, it took a lot of persistence to get the fire going. Yet to do is the area in the foreground of this image, surrounding the outlet structures, then seeding the embankment to a "waterway mix" of grasses.

Aside from the dam, over the past several months we did a lot of other clearing and trimming of brush and invasive species such as honeysuckle and wild grape, and yesterday got a lot of that gathered into this large windrow behind the barn. We'd prefer to process this stuff with a chipper-shredder but so far haven't found one for sale used or at auction, and they can't be rented, so this pile may fuel another bonfire. All of this came from along the lane and verges of the farmstead, where to leave it in place would have been unsightly (we're possibly a little too fastidious about appearances); the brush that gets cut in the wood and along the fence lines we've left in place to decompose and as wildlife habitat.

In addition to the cider apples, we're putting a lot of other trees in the ground, including black and Northstar cherries, black walnut, and red and burr oaks. And now Alan is home from his day job, so it's time to pull on my boots again and head back outside to get these hardwoods planted.

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