Every year I promise myself to pay a yard service for spring clean-up. But when I can actually get out working in the yard, it all seems doable. Then about mid May or so, I realize that it would be money well spent and I would then just have to maintain the beds rather than muck them all out. By that time, I assume paying someone to clean up would be prohibitive due to the rampant growth. Right now, the herbs are totally out of control, as are most of the flower beds. I keep picking away at them all, but the jungle is definitely winning. Gary's shoulder is still bothering him so I'm doing all the weed wacking and I'm only good for short bursts.
Last fall I mulched most of the beds with shredded leaves, which was quite helpful. Rather than digging them in or raking them off, this year I just weeded around them, which is working well especially on beds I mulched thickly. Getting the leaves during our rainy fall can be problematic though. I may try to snag some leaves from Dick this fall, I especially like maple leaves for a bit of color. I do know Dick uses a lot of chemicals on the lawns he maintains, but my guess is the leaves would not pick up too much, especially if he is raking or blowing them often. I'm also guessing people who favor putting green lawns likely don't want leaves laying around for very long. Maybe I can just run the pickup down to his place and have him call me when it is full.
We are mowing more often than weekly, I've been trying to note it in my Outlook calendar. The front field is getting ready to head out, and we just got the tractor back so that should get mown soon. That was a bit spendy - $2,500 - but everything is fixed and working well.
We also hired a crew to work on the road out back. They came Friday and dropped off a medium sized excavator and are running one dump truck. Imagine our surprise to find the operator is Rodger Binkley, who Gary worked with years ago at Taylor's Excavators. He's put on quite a bit of weight and wrecked his foot to the point he uses a cane, but is the same ol' Rodg. He stayed for a couple beers after work and we had an enjoyable visit. They're putting down road fabric covered by a good 2' of some gravel mix that is packing down well. Amazingly, the swamp is nearly dry which makes their job much easier. I should probably go out today and pull up whatever trees and shrubs the Conservation people planted that will be in the way of the road. I think it's mostly willow whips, which should be easy to relocate.
Finally got a break in the rain, so out I went to work on the herbs. Got the astrological section cleaned up and about half of the relaxation station. That section needs more plants, and the astro section has some missing holes as well. Pennyroyal (of all things) disappeared this year, or perhaps is just late emerging. I also lost a poppy, easy enough to replace, I think Lauri has one I don't have.
Mowed, weed wacked, cleaned out the sandbox, and planted a couple tomatoes. Trying to get all my stray plants IN the ground this week so they can all get watered in and established. I'm notoriously slow at this. I put them all on top of the well house so they are front-and-center, and trying to just tackle them one at a time...
Let the teenage chickens out for free range time again today. They are getting the hang of it. Flopsy is being a good mother hen and seems to supervise them a bit.
Sam came up over the weekend and brought Acer 'FranksRed' which is my memorial tree for Frankie. It's about a 14' sapling, and was really root-bound. We dug it in outside the herb garden in the front field where I can see it easily from the computer, kitchen, and front porch. I spread out a bag of steer manure, laid out a flattened cardboard box, and covered that with wood chips to keep the weeds at bay. Gary ran a hose out to it so I can keep it hydrated. It is right in line to block the neighbor's runway lights*, and is just starting to leaf out. Sam also cleared out the choking crabgrass around the katsura tree and I gave it a similar treatment.
*I sure don't understand the propensity of night lights on our road. I think we are perhaps the only people who don't have a mercury vapor come-on-at-dusk light. The people directly in front of us and the ones behind and to the right are both lit up like Christmas trees, they must have at least a dozen lights all around their houses and yards. What are they afraid of? I much prefer the light of the moon.