Monday, April 11, 2011
Spring has finally made an appearance here and it is time for some serious outside work. Many new plants have been ordered. Some are for the shade garden. A large void there needs to be filled with soil fit for plants. Where do I look for good soil? None exists here as the glacier left more stone than dirt. This section of lawn, really only mowed pasture grasses, is scheduled to become a path. First, the sod is stripped and moved to a remote pile to compost.
Next, stones are screened out using two wheelbarrows, a shovel, a maddock and a screen. Soil that passes through the screen goes to fill in the shade garden. Stone left on the screen is dumped into the second wheelbarrow on its way to make the path. The edge board is temporary. Flat stones are stacked against the board creating a small wall that will keep the bed soil and the path stones apart when the board is removed. As the hole grows a second edge board will be placed, and the path will fill. This job completes two tasks at once. Plantable soil goes to the shade garden while another stone path appears. Everything is used. Both jobs move toward completion.
Our land was farmed for perhaps a century. Small fields and stony ground limited the profit for the farmers. Their efforts did make for great path stones. Sedimentary rock struck repeatedly by plows broke into small, potato chip sized, flat pieces that make great paths. They are firm to the step, tend to stay where placed and have a visual appeal. Round goonies are still here but a stone fork rakes them out leaving a flat path surface. Perhaps the goonies can be used to fill the woodchuck hole over by the compost bin.