Tim took a few days off so we could come up to the farm this week and I have been very busy. First I worked on clearing the brush alongside the driveway (and it is a long driveway) so we can see the stone "wall" separating our land from the hay field on the other side of a narrow strip of woods. After wrestling with the crummy loppers for several hours and getting a huge blister on my palm, I'm almost finished with that task. Then, with Julia Ellen's help, I staked out where some fruit trees will be planted in April and fertilized, limed, and covered each spot with a big pile of wood chips.
Thursday and Friday were spend making umpteen trips to the dump to collect more wood chips to cover another of my four long garden beds. I was able to cover most of one in October with horse bedding/manure before the dump got rid of all their piles available to residents (they now just have shredded wood chips from brush). It took 2 days because I had to pitch into the truck bed and then remove at the garden one scoop at a time. I did become more efficient at removing the chips when I lined the truck bed with cardboard boxes (yes, I scavenged these from the recycle container at the dump) and pulled them out onto the garden, but it was still slow going for most of the day. I think I shoveled and spread 7 pickup truck loads in the cold and my arms really can feel it. I know that my plants will appreciate all my hard work next year by the addition of all this organic matter. And since I'm not hauling another 14 loads to cover the two remaining beds, I will be able to scientifically compare the effect in next year's vegetable production.