Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What a difference a mow makes

Have you ever heard those jokes "You might be a Redneck if..."? We find ourselves answering yes to a lot of them. Not all, but the ones that involve automobiles hiding in the tall grass or turning off the paved road... oh yeah. Point in case is today's topic: mowing.

We've been getting ready for the last snow of the year by putting down manure. It's good to fertilize your ground before a snow because melting snow carries it deeper into the ground than rain or watering does. We didn't have the money for manure last fall, so we missed out on using the 3-4 snowfalls we had this winter. Which is why it's important to take advantage of this last snow that will be hitting us in a few days.

But first, we have to find the ground!

You're probably trying to figure out what this is. That's okay, so were we! This is actually the rose garden side of The Oasis sitting garden just outside the front door. This is one of the places we needed to get manure put down. But, the problem was, we couldn't find it.

Believe it or not, there are several rose bushes and a few flowering apple trees in there... somewhere.

This next picture is of the walkway on that side, one of the many we have to widen, level, and repave to be handicap accessible. As you can see, the pathway is very narrow, marked by only a few pieces of natural stone. Since we're going to be widening the path from about 18 inches to 48 inches we don't want to fertilize everything that there. There's no point in wasting perfectly good cow poop on pathways that will paved over later.

Now, one thing you have to understand is that the tall grass is hiding more than just rose bushes and spoutling trees. We found all sorts of things in there. I had to go through with a gardening rake and carefully remove everything from the depths of the overgrowth. I raked while Grossmond removed everything I uncovered.

We found an old above-ground irrigation system that I think one of my aunts put in several years ago. One of those Odd Handymen who had worked on the property before we moved up was supposed to be taking care of it, but had decided to let the grass consume it instead. The result was a bunch of broken pipes that had to be removed before we could mow. There was also an old wooden flowerbed boarder that had long since decayed and been swallowed by the grass, decorative stones, an 8lb iron pulley, and many other smaller things. 

All of these things had to go. So, we spent almost an entire day carefully combing through the tall grass for lost treasure, then mowing, edging, and getting up into the rose bushes (once we found them) to clip the grass out with an old pair of sewing sheers. By the time we got the area cleaned up enough to lay down manure I was way too tired to do so. this is what the area looked like by the end of the day though. Compare it to the first picture up top to see the difference!

Last night Grossmond and I spent the evening working out the aches and pains we'd earned and just relaxing  a little bit in hot showers. This morning we went out and finished the job. Remember that pathway? we had to mark off where the new boarders will be before we could fertilize the flower bed. To do this we laid down some old 4x4s and adjusted them as needed until we found the position we wanted. Then we dug out a strip of grass a few inches wide and put other markers in to show us where the pathways would eventually be. 

No, it's not pretty, but it will be someday. Our goal at this point is just to get the manure laid down before the snow hits, and we have several other areas to work on. As if to remind us, Mother Nature sent us a hard cold rain about 5 minutes after we finished flooding in the manure. That was great timing. The flooding would have started the saturation which would help the ground absorb more rainwater as it came down. And plants love rainwater. On top of the manure, which the plants also love, it was a stoke of luck. 
But, the rain stopped a few minutes ago, and there's still a lot more work to do. So, it's time for me to get off the computer, grab the rake, and get back to work...



  1. The last time I tried to walk through that area I was attacked by overgrowth! Wow, what a difference!

    1. We are working on making it all Anna-friendly! :)