An important part of the sheet mulching process is making sure that you’ve got an even level of cover, and that it’s not going to wash or fly away! So, we dance.
We had a work party today… spent a good amount of time in the Neutral Zone attacking the scotch broom, and we made crazy amazing progress! The wide sea of scotch broom that surrounded the little spruce tree has been vanquished.
This is where we were a week ago…
… and here it is all cleared up! And if you look carefully, in the far right and back, you can see Ana pulling the last blackberries from around the base of the tree in the distance. We discovered a very mature elderberry tree, thanks to Megan’s father and his weedeater, and Ana and her rake.
When we were finishing up in the thickest area, we discovered a teeming city of voles living in underneath the dense brush. Ana’s dog Luna was with us, and she did a great job flushing out and killing a few of the voles who showed their faces! She had the time of her life.. and spent the rest of the day looking under every brush and piece of grass for more changes to prove herself a great hunter.
Work party day! Today’s focus was on the future chicken coop… there was a stall in the barn that had been converted, but, years of neglect had taken their toll on the floor boards! It was time to take it all out and start over with new materials. We invited Megan’s sister Ana and her boyfriend Johnny to come work their magic on the demolition project.
Contemplating their tool options…
Ripping up the rotted floor boards by hand.
The exposed floor supports – rotted on the bottom from years of sitting in the wet dirt.
Final product: the exposed dirt floor! Next project: built it back up again with nice new flooring.
While we were in the area, we hauled a few more loads of compost to the garden site. Almost done with the second row! These days it’s a cardboard deficiency that’s keeping the progress slow… at this rate we’ll be planting before we’re done covering the original pasture!
So waaay back in December, we ordered a new fridge to replace the old, pretty crappy one that came with the house. It finally got delivered today!! Very exciting, it looks awesome and it’s twice the size of the old one. Now everyone come visit so we can use it!
Everything that used to be in the old fridge. We didn’t do a great job of cleaning the fridge when we moved, and I found some pretty gross stuff in there this time around. Ew.
New fridge!! It’s so shiny and white and pretty!
Vetted food products back in the fridge. Mmm, food.
I spent last week in Austin, TX, for work, so not a lot of progress was made on the property. But, I was home for the weekend, and before I got horribly, miserably sick on Saturday night, Dad came up and we made a small dent in the Neutral Zone scotch broom infestation.
This tree was dead – so dead that when I pulled blackberry vines from it’s upper branches, the entire trunk started to sway! The two of us were able to just push the tree down on it’s own. Hello, firewood!
We worked this weekend on expanding the covered area in the future garden. Megan’s mom helped on Saturday (we told her it was her birthday party, and she still came!)
If you recall my progress after day one, look how far we’ve gotten now!
This weekend we hauled a lot of compost! In addition to working on the garden area, once we ran out of cardboard, we got started on the next project: a hugelkultur bed.
Hugelkultur is a tall bed, made by laying rotting logs and other organic material on the ground, then stacking more leaves and sticks and branches high, with a final layer of dirt or compost. This method increases the warmth in the soil, and reduces the need to water during the summer. It also has the handy by-product of requiring a lot of waste organic materials, like sticks and leaves and rotting logs, that we find ourselves rich with this winter.
We had some help from my unsuspecting parents today, and managed to get almost 1/3 of a cord of wood cut and stacked today! All of his was windfall from the winter storm we had in January. Thanks, storm!
Scotch Broom: the bane of farmers, foresters, and highway maintenance crews. It was introduced in 1850, and has since expanded it’s domain across the Pacific Northwest. Here’s my favorite article, in case you wanted to read up on it!