Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Trimming the hillside

This is the arid west and fire is an ever-present danger. Those periodic deadly conflagrations in and around LA serve as a regular reminder of what can happen. Yes, I live in the city. Yes, there is a fire hydrant right at my property line. But for many years, I have worried about all the deadwood in the mountain mahogany thicket up the hillside immediately above my house. Finally, I gave into my worrywart self and hired a father and son team to 1) take out the dead stuff and 2) trim everything back.

But that wasn't all. What to do with the huge piles of debris? Take them to the transfer station and pay the city to store all that good organic material in the sanitary landfill, where it wouldn't turn into soil for centuries? No way. Instead, we rented a chipper ; now there are mounds of lovely, soon-to-be mulch scattered about the hillside, as you can see above and below. The better to hold our precious rainwater as moisture in the soil instead of drying out immediately.

On a tour of inspection this afternoon, I was able to get a good look at parts of the yard I'd never really seen previously. For example, just look at the twist in the big fat honeysuckle stem/limb. Is that spiral growth part of what it takes to be in the vine business?

Up among the ivy, a fallen oak on its way back into the earth. Forgive me the picture below; I couldn't resist something so suggestive! BTW, I asked my yardmen to leave the large logs behind when they take the middle-sized small branches away. Their plan is to drop those in streetside heaps out in a countryside development. The mountains have a lot of people who heat with wood who will clean up such piles in no time.

This long-gone oak stump looks almost anguished in its death throes! As for the large tin can below, it's been moldering certainly for far longer than I've lived here (almost 25 years).

At this point, the hillside looks rather naked and I worry about how well the ivy will adapt to the extra sunshine. Hope it doesn't fry. However, if our winter rain and snow ever arrive, the scrub will send out new, green shoots looking to fill in all that empty space. I might even scatter a wildflower mix in the sunnier locations.

10 comments:

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

I've found a grand use for 'chips', viz, to cover our verge (That area between the street and the footpath ((sidewalk))). The 'chips' we have are of eucalypts hacked down in the neighbourhood. The material is very coarse, slow to degrade, smelled good to begin with and have snuffed out weeds formerly occupying the area.

Hermano

Granny J said...

bro -- sounds great to me. It seems such a shame to throw away leaves & pine needles & woody material suitable for chipping, when all could help turn decaying granite into soil.

Catalyst said...

Good for you for having it done, GJ. I wonder if that cloud of smoke from the controlled burn just south of Prescott might have urged you along.

Granny J said...

cat-A -- actually, what happened in LA was more to the point! Also, circumstances came together properly so that I had a couple of guys that I knew & trusted to do the job. Perhaps the most important thing of all.

Anonymous said...

off topic but there is a new bronze lizard in building 4 at yavapai college on loan from Heather Johnson, she did the library one as well if you recall, it is nice.

There is also a floor to ceiling plastic topo map of Arizona worth seeing there as well.

happy -t-day!

Granny J said...

anon anon -- thanks for the info. BTW, which building for that topo?

RV-boondocker-explorer said...

GJ, I really think it is important to spell the word, mouldering. (grin) It seems more old-fashioned that way, and why shouldn't words themselves be allowed to molder?

Granny J said...

boonie -- I had spelled it the proper way with the "u" & got the old spell-checker underscore. So there I was, it was nearly bedtime (as usual) and I wasn't sure of myself. So I let the spell checker rule. Thanks to you, I'll remember this lesson and consider my tried & true, very dated Webster's Collegiate.

Anonymous said...

The map is right next to the lizard on the ground floor of building 4, math and science. There are some bones and such there as well.

Granny J said...

anon anon -- thanks for the directions.

 
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