Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Methodist Humor?

I've never mentioned the small country church across from our property.  

If it seems unusual to have a church 
on a gravel dead-end lane 
then it helps to know that many years ago
before the construction of Rt. 11 
our lane was THE main north/south road
in the county!

We did think of the incongruity back in early October…..

Really we did.....
Here's hoping that Methodists have a sense of humor!
(especially since we procrastinated and left her up for a full week after Halloween!)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Let the Watering Begin!

There will be lots of perennials to plant in the spring, 
but the front beds are all finished for this winter.  
There's been no rain and the rocky soil doesn't hold moisture well 
so we're watering every few days….
that should be a bundle of fun when the temperatures drop this week!  

Walter and Matt worked hard on trying to get the trashy rocky clay 
that had been compacted and treated as a dumping ground during construction 
to be at least a little more friable.  
I'd expected the soil to be bad, 
but it was much worse than I could have imagined.  
Under the mulch, it was a mess….. 
Ready to plant…. yes there are still no curtains!

They planted the trees and we tackled the shrubs.  
Even after all of the soil amending, 
we found ourselves using a pry bar and pick to get through the rock in some places.  

Grow, grow, grow!!!  
Or at least don't die! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Roadside Buffer

When we sited the house it was a little disappointing that we wound up being so close to the lane.  If I could have waved my magic wand, I'd have pushed the house about 30 yards farther out on the point.  But the width of the house combined with the steepness of the slope dictated where we are now.

Thankfully it's a quiet dead-end so privacy isn't a huge issue, but nevertheless it's been an adjustment after so many years of being set back from the street.

The plan has always been to use the narrow area between the road as a thick buffer:  evergreens in the back and a smattering of deciduous shrubs, other evergreens and small trees to make a band of natural looking "woodsy" screening.

Without Walter and Matt's help and their excavator, I don't think we'd have gotten far past the initial shrubs.  The ground is so insanely rocky and the plants (especially the 12' tall arborvitae) required some massive holes.  It might have been a one year project instead of one week!

I can take no credit for the hard work in this area,  Walter and Matt did all of the digging and planting and Joe did the mulching while I was working at the kitchen shop.

In this area, we've got Arborvitae, chokecherry, serviceberry, leatherleaf viburnum, Callicarpa, juniper, sweet bay magnolia, witch hazel, and oak leaf hydrangeas.

Just starting….
All finished!

Buffer looking down the driveway before
After planting
Way down at the end of the driveway, you can just see 3 "Dr. Merrell" Magnolia Stellata.  They may be a little iffy down there, but I couldn't resist since they reminded me of my old garden.

A bed of perennials will be added in the spring and it'll be a while before the whole thing is thick enough to be a screen, but I can wait.

Tomorrow:  Photos of the front yard!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Woods Trail Update

No photos of the house landscaping yet!    

I feel like I'm bouncing around like a pinball this week, we had the best intentions of getting the last plants in the ground, photos taken and the witch down off the telephone pole today, but a morning visit to see the horses stretched out longer than we'd expected. 

When we finally left the barn, I threw another monkey wrench in our plans by stopping by a couple of stores in Staunton and before we knew it we'd been gone from the house for over 7 hours.  

And thanks to the time change, it's pitch black dark now at just a few minutes after 6.  Oh well.

So here are some photos of our work two weeks ago on the woods trail.  

We're branching off from the original loop trail and aiming toward the back of the property now.  This section is a dense thicket of privet, brambles, autumn olive and downed trees from last year's derecho.  It makes our earlier trail work seem child's play…. this is some hard going!

Tools of the trade:  safety googles, gloves, boots, weedeater with brush blade, chain saw and loppers.  
Oh and a smile!

To go even a few feet, requires clearing away the undergrowth with the brush blade and loppers. so that the chain saw can be used on the bigger downed trees.  
Cutting downed trees

"After" photo from the same point as photo #1.
Taking a break to study which way to go…..
Working around a  beautiful boulder….
The "Sylvester Rock"
It was a hard fought 25 yards and thankfully the whole trail won't be this bad.
Looking back at our progress