Monthly Archives: February 2012

Scotch Broom Doom Part Two

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.

Chicken Coop Demolition

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!

Grown-Up Appliances

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!


Old fridge.


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.

Yard Work

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.

A few hours work and a few nice piles of uprooted scotch broom!

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 took a break and took a walk, exploring the boundaries of the property beyond the road to the west. Here’s a different view of the land, from the hill by the road on the west side.


Progress in the Garden

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!

1/3 of the way done!

While we were out in the yard, I spotted these footprints… Hmm, brave visitor.

It was such a lovely day, we let Watson out briefly. After about 20 minutes he went back to the door by himself and yowled to be let in. Weirdo.


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.

First layer: rotting logs dragged up from the Neutral Zone timber lot.

Second layer: smaller fir sticks and branches, fresh this year, from our windfall after the storm.

Next, clippings from the fruit trees.

Last layers: leaves, and mushroom compost.

Mostly finished! Just a few more layers of compost to cover everything, and our new kale-producing-machine will be ready!


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!

Some of the branches that fell from our trees during the storm.

Chopping up the windfall branches – kids, this was done by a professional, never cut logs while they’re laying on the ground!

The complete pile, stacked in the woodshed for next winter!

Scotch Broom Doom

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!

Dad, using the magic of leverage to pull a THREE FOOT ROOT out of the ground.

Conquering hero.