It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

I don’t know why 200 didn’t sound like an unmanageable number of trees to get planted in two weekends. Right now it sounds downright ridiculous.

1 down, 199 to go

We had just closed the deal on the property and the local Conservation Districts Native Plant sales were taking pre-orders.  Since we needed to get as many plants in at the southern border sooner rather than later (it is the most exposed spot on the property and next to recently clearcut land that will be replanted) it seemed like a really good idea at the time.  I thought it was not going to be as much work because the plants were small and bareroot and wouldn’t require really deep or wide holes. Ha!  So much for thinking…

Too add insult to injury, the hills sure seem steeper when you are hauling trees, mulch, shovels and buckets of water up and down them all day.  But what the hell, we got a great price for the trees, they are bigger than we were expecting (unfortunately requiring deeper holes) and we are really working those glutes!

M went up on Friday to make a bigger dent in the storm cleanup so I could get started right away with planting.  He cleared an area equal to the area we cleared together over two weekends.  It was amazing – and he did it after a harrowing two weeks at his job.  It must be that fresh country air that gives him the extra energy.  Whatever it is, I am one lucky girl to have found him.  I couldn’t go up with him on Friday as I needed to pick up the second batch of trees, get the oil changed on the truck and square the animals away.  I joined him early Saturday morning.

clean as a whistle!  beginnings of our hugelkultur border along the alders.

cleared all the way down to the southeast spring. those are slash piles from the neighboring clearcut property in the background.

Although the weather was much better than the weekend before and we got started earlier in the day, we still didn’t get as many plants in as we’d hoped.  Planting down near the creek was a lot harder.  We had to cut through some pretty dense canary grass where the soil is much wetter and has more clay than the soil at the top of the property.  It took us twice as long to plant near the creek than it took us to plant in the woodlot where the soil is much more friable.

We planted 10 Vine Maple and 10 Serviceberry trees along the southern border; 30 Douglas Fir, 2 Grand Fir and 1 Port Orford Cedar in the eastern woodlot; and 7 Paper Birch and 2 Red Osier Dogwood down along the creek.  Last weekend we planted 10 Golden Currant, 11 Indian Plum and  10 Cascara along the southern border.  Only 108 more to go.

Before we packed up to go Sunday afternoon, we dug a few long, shallow holes under a large doug fir and laid the rest of the plants inside, watering them well and covering the roots hoping that will protect them until next weekend.  We will only have one day to plant next weekend as we signed up for an all day orchard management workshop and it is on Saturday (another “good idea at the time”).  Maybe I can go down Friday morning and/or stay over to Monday evening to get the rest planted.  We are pushing the limit with getting these bareroot trees into the ground as it is, so we’ll have to figure something out.

After all of the trees are in we need to get busy caging them and get the shitake mushroom plugs drilled into the alder logs – we are a little behind on that.  Then there’s the rest of the storm damage clean up and getting firewood ready for next winter.  And we haven’t even planted a vegetable…

About La Femme Farmer

Starting up a small farm is the goal for the second half of my life. It's a late start I know, but better late than NEVER! Growing food, cooking and eating are my passions and now I get to do it full-time (and then some). and yes, that's a tomato from my garden!
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