Oct. 2004 -- Clearing the clutter

October 31, 2004

This past week we finally had someone come in and clear away the brush, stumps, junk, and old buildings that we'd been wanting to have removed since we moved in. Additionally, we had some gravel paths and roads laid so we wouldn't be knee-deep in mud in the most-traveled areas. Here's a pictorial journal of the work, area by area...

The little house

The property we own used to be a cedar logging camp. When we moved in, the original house... just a one-room cabin... still stood on the property, less than 50 feet north of the house. Here's how it looked when we moved in.

The house was adorable, but it was falling down. Hoping we could restore it, we had a contractor friend come out and look at it. Unfortunately, he said it really wasn't worth saving. So we had the house bulldozed and a lot of the brush and scrub trees around it taken out.

Next to the house was a "paddock" with a ton of huge stumps and scrub growth. Because that space is so close to our well, we can't legally keep animals there... so there was no need for me to keep the old fencing. We cleared out the whole area, making a large area for lawn/landscaping and a vehicle turnaround. Here's a before and after... different views, but you get the picture.

The other outbuildings and the old sacrifice lot

When we moved in, the property had several dilapidated outbuildings along the edge of the old sacrifice lot. Here's a picture of a couple of them. There's another off to the side of these that isn't shown.

And there was also an old barn with an overgrown corral. I really debated whether to trash the old barn. It was still in pretty good shape, and those outside stalls might have come in handy later. However, it was right on the edge of the property, and I want to use that space for other things, including a second driveway.

Here's how the two areas looked after the initial bulldozing.

Of course all this demolition created a lot of junk. We burned what we could...

And what we couldn't burn, we buried. Hey, don't give me grief. Landfills bury junk too.

When it was all said and done, though, there was no trace of either the burn pile or the junk hole.

In fact, the old sacrifice lot is shaping up to be a gorgeous pasture in the next year or so. This is the before and after view from the back of our house. Nice now, eh? We'll get out there soon and get grass seed and straw down.

The new road

Between our house and the horse paddock, there was a thick stand of blackberries and stumps and overgrown JUNK. Yuck. It drove me crazy, and it blocked our view of the horses. Additionally, there were a couple of bushes planted in weird spots, an ugly area in the middle of the yard that was supposed to be a flower bed, and a large collection of junk we had accumulated during our own home improvement projects over the past month. Add to all this an increasingly muddy path between the paddock and the manure bin, and you had an area I was pulling my hair out over.

Here's how it (or part of it, at least) looked before we started.

They cleared out all the brush and junk except for the holly tree. (I don't really like it, but it's part of a mated pair.) Then they began to lay a road that curved from the driveway around the tree and along the fenceline. We wanted it wide enough to drive the tractor on later.

After putting down the bottom layer of big rocks, they put down a layer of fine gravel. To be honest, this is the only part I'm not particularly happy with. I find this gravel too fine... almost muddy. I'm afraid it won't hold its shape, plus it's kind of hard to slog through.

At the far end, the "road" passes the new manure bin and turns to follow the east end of the pasture. We couldn't afford to run the gravel all the way to the street right now, but we will in the future. This will be our second driveway.

The paths

The last thing we did was lay some gravel paths near the house -- one from the driveway to the house, and one that goes around the front of the house to the water spicket. Both were an effort at mud control. I don't like the fine gravel here anymore than I do on the road, plus I think the paths look really cheap and half-assed. But they'll do for mud control until we're ready to do some true landscaping around the house. Then I'll lay some nice decorative paths.

Next we're putting in a dog fence so we can FINALLY have a dog door. The fence will go around the house, roughly 25 feet from the house in each direction. Hopefully we'll get that and the grass seed and straw down in the next couple of weeks.


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