This may take a while.

So the land was cleared Monday, and now commences the clean-up.

I just got in from trying to rake the raw, sodden mess that is my back yard into some kind of shape. Oh. My. Gosh. The contractors and their machines left it so ugly. The soil is churned up in ridges, compacted down along tire ruts, vines are tangled and mud-covered and sticking up in random clumps like wiry wart hairs, brown water fills every rut and hollow, the bases of tree stumps stick up here and there like snaggled, muddy teeth.

I feel embarrassed that my neighbors have to look at it like this. They’re probably wondering whether they will ever have a pretty view there ever again.

I despair as to whether that land will ever be arable. Keep in mind that we haven’t had rain for a week so the soil should be dry by now, and then consider that the corner by the pond is so swampy that I frequently splashed myself in the face as I raked too enthusiastically. I am covered head to toe in mud, and I only managed to rake about maybe 150 sf. I marked off the corner that I had “leveled” and sprinkled it with rye, and it looks so very small.

Not only is the earth a swamp, but it’s also not nearly as cleared as I had hoped. First, the stumps are still there. Apparently “flush to the ground” really means “sticking up about a foot”. I suppose there’s only so much you can do with a chain saw.

Second, the “root rake” that the contractors had promised on the bobcat was nothing but a nub-toothed bucket that did absolutely zero to pull the vines out of the ground, even as soft as it was. That area is invested with honeysuckle, ivy, and stick-thumb (green, woody vines about pencil-thick, with wicked thorns and a tough-as-hell root system). They are all still there: broken and trampled by the bobcat, but I’m sure their pernicious root systems will recover them in no time. I had so been hoping to start with a cleaner slate. Because of my time constraints today I wasn’t able to pull any out, just attempt to clean up the soil’s appearance a bit in deference to the neighbors and get some rye seed in as fast as I could. Doubtless I will have to go back and pull them all, though they are really the only things providing the soil with any structure at all right now. Should I perhaps leave them, and hope that the rye smothers them? I don’t know if even rye is that strong.

Not only are the vines – bane of my existence – still there, but so is trash. Apparently someone in a past life thought it would be ok not only to dump bottles, bricks, pallets, and *huge* piles of cement (they barely fit in the bobcat’s wide bucket), but also to cover a big area with a bright blue plastic tarp – and not a woven one that would have disintegrated by now, but a thick solid BRIGHT BLUE piece of plastic. They never removed it and it eventually got buried beneath a layer of mud and ivy. So there I was flailing at the soil and spraying big chunks of blue plastic all around me. All but the biggest crumbled when I tried to pick them up, so obviously they are pretty much here to stay. No way am I going to pick through the earth to remove every last tiny piece, so I suppose I must resign myself to blue-speckled soil.

I was so optimistic about the state of the soil today that I went out without gloves. Ha.

4 Responses to “This may take a while.”

  1. Ann Says:

    keep you spirits up, sweets!! If anyone can tackle that woods-turned-garden project, you can! Wish I was there to help!

  2. diana Says:

    Yeah, and I wish I were about to embark on a long trip to live overseas! Oh hey, wait, there ya go – let’s trade places! ;D

  3. gina Says:

    diana – I remember when I first started on my backyard. It was an overgrown, weedy mess. Nearly every time I went out there and looked around, I’d think “there is no way I can do this! It’s too much!” One thing that really helped me is that I tried NOT to look at or think about the whole space. I chopped it up into little pieces. Like “OK – I’m going to focus on this one little corner. Even if I can’t do anything else, I can get this one corner cleared out and ready for planting.” Each piece I finished encouraged me to tackle another section. Before I knew it, I had real gardens in my backyard. Granted, I didn’t have a forest cleared out like you, but my point is that breaking any large project down into more manageable pieces will keep you from going crazy. Good Luck!

  4. diana Says:

    You know Gina, that’s a really good idea. Yesterday I did find myself optimistically looking at just the little side of the hill where I plan to plant grapes, thinking “well, that would only take a couple days to get ready.” So yes, I think it will be better to break it all up like you suggest. Thanks! (I just wish it would stop raining now!)

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

:mrgreen: :neutral: :twisted: :shock: :smile: :???: :cool: :evil: :grin: :oops: :razz: :roll: :wink: :cry: :eek: :lol: :mad: :sad: