Friday, June 08, 2012

An Interesting Juncture

We have reached an interesting—and not insignificant—juncture. With the recent assistance of our local electric utility, we have essentially gotten control of a broad band of our little hilltop from its northern boundary to its southern boundary.

Last month, the power company spent a few weeks clearing trees and brush from the power line rights-of-way in our area. As our property is criss-crossed by a number of different power line, this meant that a number of broad swaths were cleared first, by crews with chainsaws, then second, by an armored bush-hog.This was a super-duper bonus for us, because first of all, we had long planned to remove many of the trees that were dropped anyway (we have a long-standing no-spray preference for the rights-of-way, which imposes a reciprocal obligation to provide a modicum of maintenance) and had that done for us.

The bush-hogging was great, because it replaced a lot of messy undergrowth with a thick layer of coarse mulch that will help keep the open spaces open and temporarily suppress regrowth. Finally, we appear to have gotten a decent amount of firewood on the ground for the gathering, and have already made an effort at harvesting that for eventual bucking and splitting.

So, beginning at the northern property line, we have a cleared swath beneath the power line. This abuts the open pines, then the summer chicken yard, then the main garden. The significant part of this is that we have finally cleared and tilled the last major portion of the garden around the old maple stump, so for all intents and purposes, everything within the fenced area is productive garden or flock space. To the east and west flanks lie broad bands of forest which we at least have a basic understanding of, and plans to one degree or another. Along the garden and summer chicken area, we can see clearly how we have pushed the forest back by several ranks of trees, to provide more open space and more unobstructed sunlight for the growing spaces.

Continuing along the hilltop, in the back (south) yard, we will be fencing a garden area in short order, producing a fenced-area-within-a-fenced area to grow veggies safe from the marauding poultry. In the winter, this will give us another secure area for the turkeys to occupy, netted over and protected from the harshest winter winds.

It has only taken us to our seventh growing season here to reach this point, and without the little boost we got, I wouldn't feel quite the same sense of completeness. We still have a lo-o-o-o-ng way to go, but it makes me feel like we've made some kind of breakthrough, some kind of milestone. It feels good.