Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sam and Jacci - 3; Woods - 52

Do you remember last January when we payed some guys to cut & haul all of the honeysuckle off of the slope in the backyard? Since it was their off-season, they did the work in the cold and snowy mud for less than they would normally charge. Good deal for us. Getting rid of all that honeysuckle made us feel like we had won a small victory over our wild, overgrown woods.

We were right on both counts there. It was a victory, and it was small.

What would you imagine might happen to a long-neglected woodland edge that was finally freed from the brambly honeysuckle that covered it for... oh, I don't know... at least 20 years? Here's a hint: the slope was getting sunlight all spring long.

You got it! It was weed heaven.

Actually it was weed and thorny wild raspberry and sumac and grapevine heaven. We had moved in last December, so when things began to leaf out in the warm weather it was a real eye-opener. Not only was our slope totally over run with some serious vegetation, but we got a clear picture of exactly how densely our understory was jam packed full of honeysuckle. You couldn't see a thing down there all summer.

Finally, the honeysuckle and sumac leaves started to fall, and we could begin to devise a plan for our next stage of attack. One afternoon while the children played in the backyard, I took loppers to most of the sumac on the yard's edge. The pile seemed so little compared to the work I hade done, but it did at least make a difference in knocking out some of the vegetation that was slowly creeping closer to the back of the house.

Sam's mom and dad (Susan and David) were here last weekend, and he and David got out there and took care of some more of the slopey wildness. Sadly, that also meant taking down one of the little trees we had been hoping to save - one of my favorites, an American Sycamore. It's obvious that we're going to have to do some re-grading of that slope, though, and there was just no way to get around the small trees that have grown up there. Besides, I really want a clear view of the woods from the backdoor, so that (when our children can finally walk around down there) I'll be able to see them clearly from the house. The Sycamore was smack dab in the line of vision. Sam had been itchin' to fire up the chainsaw, anyway :)

So, then there was a felled tree in the backyard. Sam and I kind of looked at each other and said, "Now what?". Nice. Good planning, guys.

But, on Tuesday evening, Sam hacked away at the tree, combined the pieces with my sumac, and made smaller piles all over the yard. Then, he bundled 'em up and put them out front. I think next time we have a decent amount of wood, we'll try to advertise on freecyle - the wood isn't aged enough to burn this year and it's mostly too sizeable for kindling, but maybe someone could use it. Now that Sam has the 3' by 3' firepit dug (the largest city laws will allow in town), we can at least burn some of the smaller things Sam cut down earlier in the year. They've been down for a few months - wonder if they're still too green to burn well? Anyway - tree down. Another point for us :)

The woods are still whoopin' our tails, though. There's a whole lotta work that needs done. Good thing the trees have been so thoroughly enjoyable to look at this fall... it's beginning to feel like it's worth it.


Cathy said...
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Cathy said...

Hi Jacci, how do u do it all? You all make me tired just reading your blog! LOL I thought our little yard took a lot of work. Yeah right. Love to all and kisses. Mom