36 inches of lovely black dirt next door
First, a rant. When our neighbor to the east indicated the line for the new retaining wall separating the properties, there was a certain amount of excavation to be done to straighten it. The fill was dumped on our ¨back 40¨, next to the hill of dirt already waiting to be redistributed. So far so good. But when I went out to take a tour of our dominions, I noticed all manner of plastic, metal, and general refuse mixed in with the stones and dirt I was expecting. I spent a couple of hours filling 3 garbage bags with bailing plastic, plastic bags, rebar, foam insulation, styrofoam, and broken glass. Some genius had decided they really needed to spread the ¨infill¨ out and then run the tractor back and forth to really, really compact it down. The deeper I dug, the more garbage was revealed. Now, I fully expect to have to build some kind of sifters and go through all the stone/gravel/dirt/construction debris that´s accumulated over the last 3 years, cartload by cartload, but I physically can´t get down through this stuff to lever it out of the ground.
But that will have to go on the list of earth works - along with Mount Doom, now covered with weeds, and the giant pile of old wood scrap that was taken out of the house and barn when we started. unlikely to have any use now it´s been sitting out in the elements for years. Probably providing some dandy habitat, though.
General plan, updated to reflect the new house size and boundary.
The pile of rock occupying the parking area is reduced, but by no means gone. That´s actually good, since I keep coming up with new plans for stone - patios, terraces, steps.
I´ve gone back and forth about what to do along the other section of wall separating their garden from ours. At first I was all for a line of espaliered fruit trees, pruned high enough to admire the stone and tall enough to provide some screening, but I´m concerned about tree roots pulling down the wall and invading the vegetable beds. Also, anything tall will cast some shadow on their plot, which seems unneighborly. Panels or trellises for peas/beans/other climbers? I also thought about a step-over espalier of pears and apples between the beds and the barn. Might prefer a fence to keep out the chickens.
Is it better to try some lasagna layers over the winter to kill the grass and then excavate levels in the spring? Or just hire/rent a big machine and get it all over with. Can´t really afford that.
Good crop of elder flowers this spring, the apples and pear struggle on, big pruning job there. No sign of nuts on the walnut, again. I found what I think is a quince buried under the re-emergent blackberries and grape jungle on the south side of the barn.
Yes, there´s a barn under that
Other things I must have, some roses (alas, the hedge rose cuttings I took in June all died), a mock orange, some roses, peonies, lilacs, Christmas trees and hydrangeas. Another consideration is a cover for the patio on the south side of the house. I don´t think we can afford to roof it right away, so should we just settle for a wire structure for the traditional grapes or kiwis, or a pergola. Neither will do much for rain, but at least a pergola seems like an intermediate step to a covered space.
En fin, enough yammering. There´s lots to be done.