Friday, April 6, 2012
Cutting Sod Blocks
Last night featured a full moon and a hard frost. The two are connected since the moon has an effect on the atmosphere similar to its pull on ocean water. Air tides pull more cold here from the north and a frost becomes a hard frost. This post will fill time while I wait for surfaces to thaw outside.
Cutting this sod away from a planting bed is a long overdue task. The pasture grass quickly invades the enriched soil of the planting bed making weeding a constant task. A three foot wide stone filled trench will keep out the grass and make an attractive path. Additionally, the sod blocks are needed now to finish the lily sod house.
The sharp blade of the mattock has cut around the edges of the block. Here the flat blade is cutting under the block severing the roots hold. A metal post serves as a movable straight edge.
Cutting under the block on both sides is the key to removing intact sod blocks. Accurate force drives the blade far under while maintaining a straight edge. Frequent stone strikes create two different sounds. One is the sound of steel on stone. The other is an expression of verbal discontent when the force of the blow travels all the way to the shoulder joint.
Many stones lie under our grass cover. Repeated plow strikes from years of trying to farm this land have left the stones broken and mostly small. Visitors admire our paths and inquire about the source of the stone. They are surprised to hear that the stone paths are made from material already here. A quick sift separates soil and stone. Both are useful raw material.
We needed the sod blocks to finish the lily sod house. Shielding the potted lily bulbs from the low spring sun kept this area cool during our seventy degree March week. None of these bulbs have sent up any above ground growth while lilies still planted out in the garden are up and growing. Three black plastic ribs are in place here to support the newly purchased tarp that will cover the sod house when future frost threatens.