Monday, October 08, 2012

Me vs. The Dead Tree

The dead tree:

1. Gather tools. (Gloves, garden fork, axe, hoe, lawn edger, loppers, shovel, bag of small gardening tools, rake, broom.) Now, I didn't expect to necessarily need all of those, but I gathered everything I had (plus the axe and loppers which I had borrowed the other week from my mom) so that I wouldn't have to go fetch something, which would put me in danger of getting distracted by another task that needs doing.

2. Pull weeds that were coming up again in the area. Luckily they were far from having seed heads (not even flower buds), so I added them to my compost pile... "greens" to mix with the "browns" (leaves)! Yay!

3. Expose roots. Looking at my array of tools, I decided to start with the hoe. Normally the fork is my favourite digging tool, but it would just get bent whenever I ran into a root. I ended up using the hoe very much like an adze... the ground was so solid, the chopping motion would give me some purchase, and then I'd pull the loosened chunk towards me. My hoe is awesome. I bought it for one or two dollars at an estate sale, and it is *solid*, and has all the right angles!

4. Toss random bits of non-organics exposed by my digging into the trash bucket or dad's junk pile: broken glass(!), chunks of concrete, bricks, plastic, metal, rocks, five foot long metal pipe, firewood (organic, but doesn't belong in a garden), tin foil... sheesh. These finds did amuse me:

5. Take breaks as needed. Sometimes I just stopped for some water, sometimes I did a different task... like rake and sweep the area around the trash cans and back gate, where leaves and pine needles had accumulated. All pretty again:
Or rake up the leaves that were accumulating where my property meets the back lane:
My leaf pile is growing:

6. Chop smaller roots that are making it difficult to expose the big roots. (I didn't want to chop the supporting roots until I knew I could finish the job, since I didn't want it to fall over when I wasn't there.)

By the time I had to stop, this is where I got to:
At this point, I'd like to say something: "Ow."

Monday is a holiday (Canadian Thanksgiving), but they're forecasting rain, so I probably won't be able to continue this until next weekend. Given how much I ache, I'm not complaining that much.

I bought a come-along on the way to my dad's for dinner, in case the tree is still stubborn even after I start chopping its roots.

When I was talking to dad about my efforts to remove the dead tree, he explained why he had left it up: He used it to prop the ladder against so that he could spray the still-living tree. Hm. I want to save the still-living tree, but I also want the dead one gone, so that I can make the garden nice. I'll figure out something else when it comes time to care for the still-living tree.

To do:
1. Chop through roots.
2. Pull tree over.
3. Dig soil (mix organics into clay, remove roots from dead tree, but try not to disturb roots from living tree).
4. Plant perennials.

Snow, please hold off for a while longer! (Especially since I have other gardens to tend to as well!) *sigh*

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