Mulch Mountain

A couple of days ago the county did a pass on Purdom Cemetery road, trimming the overhanging trees. That’s a stretch of nearly half a mile or a mile linearly if you count both sides. After the trimming, they brought a monster chipper and converted all the branches they had cut into mulch. My neighbor asked them what the plans were for the mulch and found it was headed for a landfill. He asked them if instead they would dump it in a clear spot at the top of his property on the road. They did just that yesterday so we now have a mulch mountain. To calibrate the picture, the mound you see is 10′ x 15′ x 4.5′. That’s 675 cubic feet, or 25 cubic yards, or maybe 350 bags at the retail stores. It’s mostly too rough for direct use in the garden but would probably be useable after a pass through my chipper and 6 months curing. Even then, it will be an overwhelming mountain and provide mulch for a lonnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggg time. So my exercise program for the foreseeable future is transporting the mountain to a location down by the garden adjacent to the existing compost piles. I measured that distance and it’s approximately 600′. The routine will be loading a cart with a 10 CF capacity, one pitchfork at a time. Then unloading it at the destination. At that point it goes into the chipper, a pitchfork at a time. Alternatively, may move the chipper up to the mountain and only move the finer product to the garden. I have no idea how many energy calories will be expended in the process but it will probably be billions. I’ll be a faded shadow of the old me by the time the project is done. I should get one of those first alert alarms to hang around my neck in case the pile wins.
Got another project scheduled for this weekend. Joey is coming up to (ostensibly) celebrate his birthday but the real reason is to put the finishing touches on the dock project almost completed last May. At that time the lake was high and it wasn’t possible to do any work under the dock. What I wanted to do was install a few planks across the back of the dock up where it interfaces with the land to break up waves that would undermine/erode the shoreline. We decided at that time to wait until the lake level went down so we could work under the dock. That happened big time this winter and we had planned to jump on this finishing task in April or so – warm weather and with the lake still low. But the weather proved wetter than normal in January and February so it’s now or never on the wave planks. Joey and Mark agreed to the job and I got the materials. I was originally thinking of using 2” x 6” planks, 12′ long and knew they were a little heavier than I could deal with by myself. I changed my mind and decided that 1” x 6” pieces would do just fine since these planks have no structural requirements art all. Cutting the weight in half made the lumber much easier for me to handle so I decided to try the job myself. The plan was to nail up the planks for placement and then screw them in with 1/2” lag screws. I had a little more difficulty getting the first 12′ board under the dock than I had expected due to how cramped the space under the dock really is. It looks like plenty of room until you actually climb underneath. There’s only 3′ from ground to dock which is not much more than a crawl space. I finally wiggled my way underneath and learned what the real problem was – that nice firm looking beach was soft, mushy, muck and I was sinking into it. What a mess. I somehow managed to get one plank nailed to the pilings – sort of – but it became abundantly clear that this was not a job for an aging butterball. I’ve convinced myself this will be a good job for Mark. First he’s small and second, he’s spent the last couple of weeks down on his hands and knees installing a hardwood floor in the new house so he’s used to working all hunched over. My plan is to slide some heavy cardboard or a piece of plywood under the dock to give it a floor – so to speak and take the yuck part of the job away. How thoughtful of me.

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