Spring is here…finally!
Our weather has turned and rather than the one or two days of good weather followed by a few weeks of bad, it looks like this stretch will last (although I do see next Monday is supposed to dip below freezing, so I'm not too thrilled about that).
Things have been very busy this spring with lots of seeding, planting, bed prepping, etc. but, unlike last year, I am more or less on top of things - hurray!
Aside from seed starting, there have been a couple of new developments in the garden.
The first big change was something I spoke about last year – removing the large spruce tree beside our shed.
The pros getting ready for the job
Trimming all of the bottom branches
Making the final cut
Yup - you can tell that I'm not the video taker in the family - next time, I'll have to remember NOT to turn my phone sideways :)
The tree guys did an AWESOME job, both in the removal of the tree and the tidy up, leaving us with a wide open space and a beautiful stack of logs:
Lots of possibilities are floating around in my head for this area...
Once that tree was down, my husband and I decided to take down another one that was just in front of the veg area – this one was right beside our tractor access to the backyard. Here is the "before" photo again - the tree I'm referring to is the one on the right:
The 2nd tree we removed (on the right) looks deceptively large because
it was much closer to the camera; it was, in fact, about 1/2 the size of the other tree,
which is why we decided to tackle it ourselves
However, after we removed the fencing and took down the big spruce, I realized how much more open that whole area would be without that one tree which was smack dab in the middle. Just as with a cluttered room, it may be hard to get rid of the first few things, but once you get started, it gets much easier.
So it was decided – we were going to remove that tree as well. With the expense of having the large spruce removed (almost $350!), we decided to try and tackle this smaller one ourselves – a tougher task than we thought! Trimming the tree, cutting it down and then cutting it into logs took us an afternoon and we didn’t do anywhere near as neat a job as the professionals.
Unlike the pros, we didn't have an industrial chainsaw & chipper
to quickly & neatly deal with the 2nd tree
I really do hate removing trees, especially those that take a while to reach a mature size like spruce, but when I saw how wide open the space looked once that tree was down, I must admit I became a little bit giddy. Back to my cluttered room analogy, you often don’t realize how much space there is until you empty it out. It was incredible really, especially as the extent of the openness was rather unexpected.
Back to that original photo, just so that you don't have to keep scrolling up and down:
Now I have a rule when it comes to removing trees. For every tree I take down, I have to plant two in its place. Technically, I had already done that as I planted one spruce on the hill a few years ago and 6 fruit trees since then. However, I want to do more so I’ve decided that I’ll be planting 2 more spruce trees, which will be going at the front of our property. I may also add a couple more cedars & pines along our property line.
The 2nd change is a work-in-progress at the moment - and one of the reasons I've been relatively silent blog-wise as of late. We are doing a massive overhaul of all the perennial beds which is taking up the majority of my time.
Now, when I say overhaul, I mean weeding, pruning, mulching and editing, including removing some of the more invasive shrubs that tend to take over and send out suckers such as false spirea. Note that I didn’t mention adding any new plants – that’s because my plan is to clean up ALL of the borders first (a total of 10 areas) before I start adding anything new. You may recall that this had been one of my 2015 goals - well, spring/summer came and went and I only managed to do our front walkway borders:
The walkway borders measure 43' (13M) beside the house &
over 70' (21M) on the side facing the street
....not a small task!
This year, I think I have a chance of actually achieving my goal because of (cue The Beatles) "a little help from my friends” – well, my husband actually. Instead of the piece-meal approach I’ve had up until now trying to do the beds on my own, it will be a team effort this time. Our goal is to complete this task in a couple of weeks by ONLY concentrating on this – no other projects. Well, nothing other than what is absolutely necessary, like getting the seed potatoes in the ground (which I did this past weekend) and getting the peas sown (a task for today).
As with so many tasks, this one is taking longer than we anticipated. A couple of days of work and we've barely made a dent in the 15 cubic yards of mulch on our driveway.
Nothing says spring like a big ol' pile of mulch sitting on the driveway :)
With a bit of luck (well, maybe more than a bit!), we will be done the beds by the end of April and my attention can turn to the next high priority task - installing the drip irrigation. So far, this season isn't turning out to be as relaxing as I had anticipated ;)