Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Beginning of the End of Soggy Bottom?

There is a lot going on here at Soggy Bottom and if I'm not careful, I'm going to get so far behind I'll never be able to catch you up. Work has begun! The first big project is to drain the yard of the water so they can work along the foundation without fighting all the water. But first, our contractor, Michael White, needed us to clear a 10' swath through the overgrowth in the north side of the yard. In this cleared swath he would be laying a pipe to gather all the water and direct it out to the street.

Here are some pictures of the north side of the yard.

If you were to lay the pictures above side by side, starting at the top and going left to right, you'd start to get an idea of the overgrown in the north yard. But these pictures don't give you the full extent of the overgrowth. If you look at the pics in the "First Autumn" post, you could see what is behind the swath shown above. It's a mess of epic proportions, at least to me.

Paul Hess, a local guy who clears land, was recommended to us by a couple different people, so we hired him and his little tractor with a handy dandy chipper attachment, but me being the impatient thing that I am, I got out in the north jungle with my hedge clippers and scythe and started hacking away. What a nightmare. Needless to say, it was slow going. I might as well have been out there with a pair of tweezers.

You can see in the last picture above that I had started cutting some things down. The brush is comprised of American Bamboo, wild rose bushes that are wicked thorny, firebushes, and goldenrod, among other things. Oh, yes. And woody vines that Tarzan would find quite satisfying, and these vines wrap themselves around everything and are just impossible. Here's some close-ups of what we're up against:

Here are some progress photos of what I accomplished working one day by myself:

I didn't really get very far, and yet I worked and worked. I truly needed Paul's big guns. So he showed up at 7:30 one morning and we worked till 2:30. If he had said that we were going to keep going at 2:30, I think I would have thrown him off his tractor, jumped on and backed over him. I cannot explain to you how utterly exhausted every fiber of my body was, and I was wiped for two days after. Paul also brought his chainsaw - I think I'd like to have one for myself! - and he sawed away at everything while I pulled everything away that he cut down and fed it into the chipper. Fun!

The picture above is how far we got by 11:30, lunch time. Not that far it seems, even with heavier equipment. We did manage to get all the way across the yard by 2:30 and while it felt we hardly made a dent in all the overgrowth, it was enough progress for our general contractor and his excavator to begin their work, which they started today. WAIT TILL YOU SEE WHAT THEY'VE DONE TO OUR YARD! I cannot believe how much they actually got accomplished, but they have even bigger guns. I'll post those pics in the next day or so. Wait till you see it!