Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Arrival of Spring

It was noticeable a few weeks ago when my allergies started up, but it's been visibly noticeable the last couple weeks.  Those ghastly Bradford Pears are blooming, and will be stinking it up soon.  Our maples have little red tufts on them.  The bulbs have sprouted their leaves; daffodils elsewhere are in full-bloom.  The peepers have returned.  Last week I spied the first small grasshopper.  Tuesday night, while burning a brush pile, we spied a possom finding quite the buffet on the back slope.  We also heard a pack of coyotes in the distance.  Later a couple of amphibians started a short chorus at the creek, to be taken up by another group farther off in the woods.  DH followed a rabbit around the yard for a bit as well.  Oh, and we have our first two gnats/fruit flies of the season in the house.  *grumble*

The maple at the head of the old driveway.  Can no longer recall
if it is a Red Maple or a Silver Maple.  We need to restart our tree
study of the property...

Turkey-tails on a log that's been waiting patiently to be cut into rounds.

Yeah, I don't remember what this tree was either...might be one of the
tulip poplars, or a horse chestnut....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Property: Driveway Relocation

After months and months of trying to get ground conditions and schedules to mesh, the driveway relocation was finally going to be underway!  The kids and I were housebound during business hours ALL week because we were waiting for the pipe to be delivered.  They never called so we had no clue that they had actually delivered first thing Tuesday morning.  When DH called them Thursday morning we all figured out that it had been set down at the end of the cul-de-sac, much to the bewilderment of the neighbors down there.  Fortunately they moved it to our property Thursday afternoon.
Apparently we assumed incorrectly that since they wanted the location
marked it meant they were lining the pipe up for us.
Friday morning DH's co-worker arrived with his bobcat.  He made quick work of clearing the saplings that had regrown and cutting the new drive.  A couple other co-workers arrived and between the four of them (plus the bobcat) they got the pipes lined up and stabilized for the backfill.

Starting on the backfill.
The bobcat made quick work of pulling up the gravel from the old driveway to use as backfill for the piping.  He didn't even really get any up from the lower drive and parking area (where the future orchard will be going once we get it cleaned and prepped).

Can you spy the end of the pipe?

Looking up the new driveway towards the road (and the
abandoned house across the street).
Once the pipe and backfill was accomplished, it was time to take out the two oak trees in the mound so the mound (that took me three seasons of manual labor to create in an effort to reduce the flooding of the front walk) could be demolitioned in our effort to reduce our erosion impact.

The mound isn't as impressive as it was in 2005 when I stopped
working on it--a lot of it eroded away across the parking area.
No nests were sighted in the trees prior to felling.

I jokingly asked a good friend "How many Rednecks does it take to fell a tree?" 
She responded:  As many as know about it.
They're good kids, and they were a tremendous help! 
It was just too humorous to not snap a pic.

Down goes the first one.
Looking down the old drive to the second oak.  This one was a bit frightening.
The angle of their cut wasn't exactly perfect so when it finally went,
it thumped straight down onto its base then started leaning in a
different direction than it was cut.  The guys did a great job of
 scrambling out of the way, but initially (from my vantage point in
the house) it appeared to be heading straight for them.  It wasn't.
After the two trees were felled they were pulled to the vicinity of the woodpile, and the large tree that fell in the back woods last winter (ground got too soggy for it to stay put) was pulled out as well.  The bobcat returned the mound to a better slope for the run-off and everybody went home.

The following Wednesday 18.5 tons of crush-n-run gravel was delivered (between rainstorms) and DH spent all morning spreading it on the first length of the new driveway.  At least one more load will be needed (if not two) to finish the drive and the parking area.  One of three brush piles (from the felled trees) was burned the night before the gravel to make sure it wouldn't be in the way.  A parking shelter is also to be added.  Once all of those deliveries are made I can start working on beautification of the new drive area, as well as prepping for the orchard to go in next season.

[I need to get pics taken of the mound area, the brush piles, and the length of gravel]