The Big Clean Up

Saw the sun rise for the first time since we came home.  The sky is only partly cloudy this morning but a big rain storm is headed for us this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow so we both were out cleaning up the yard around the house while we can.  The mornings are really quite nice for this time of year but to a person who has been in Florida all winter it feels cold so before I go out to work I have to bundle up. Photo on 3-12-15 at 7.06 AM

Now a pair of gloves and I am ready to go.  I think the hardest thing about gardening is putting on my shoes.  I can’t cross my legs because my hip locks when I do and as you see I have a large middle so bending over is hard to do.  It doesn’t bother me to bend over to do the weeding but shoes are trouble.  Shirley, don’t you like my sweater?  It is just perfect for this as I can wear another sweater and heavy shirt under it, then as the day warms up I can just take off one sweater and keep on working.   I got the raspberry bed cleaned up. Photo on 3-12-15 at 11.10 AM

It is hard to see here but there are four rows of bushes.  I got all the leaves out or at least most of them- all I needed to so I could fertilize them.  They each got a couple hands full of 13-13-13 super rainbow.  The super part is added minerals and trace elements to build up the soil. Photo on 3-12-15 at 11.10 AM #2

This is a closer look at one row.  The leaf buds are starting to swell and soon these will be all full of leaves and berry buds.  The new growth comes up from these same roots and will be the new cane for next year.  All of these canes will be cut out this fall for after a cane bears fruit they die and must be cut out or they choke the patch.  In the back ground you can see one of the tree tops hanging.  Photo on 3-12-15 at 11.12 AM

Here is a closer look at that tree top.  It has gotten hung up in a smaller tree behind it so Norman will have to cut down that smaller tree to release this tree top.  The large tree that this came off of will no doubt die now as we can not get up that high to coat the broken tree and the water gets into the tree when it rains and rots the heart wood out of the tree.  This was a Tulip Tree – a poplar, so it is not a hard wood and when the ice got too heavy with all the small branches at the top it just shaped it off.  This is just one of many.  The soft wooded trees snapped off  and the hard wood such as oak and hickory had limbs brake instead of snapping off the tops.  A few of the older trees just up rooted.  Photo on 3-12-15 at 11.11 AM


Norman has been cutting up the downed branches and having to pile them up as the ground is too wet to run the tracker .  As you see we are on the side of the mountain and the land is a very steep slope and when it is so wet the tractor can’t get enough traction to pull a load.  When things dry out some he will take all these piles of wood down to the burn barrel and we will burn them.  There is just too many to leave as piles – we would be over run with them.  We do leave a few in the woods so the small animals have a place to live.

Photo on 3-12-15 at 11.13 AMThis is Norman with the chain saw cutting up the branches.  He is just a little behind the picture above.  He got most of these done today but before he finished a piece of wood jammed his saw and he had to stop to fix that.  We just finished dinner and he wants to finish this pile but I think he is too tired to work with the chain saw now so he agreed and has gone out to clean up the barn.  He did find out what caused all the mess in the garden shed.  There was a squirrel nest there and he thinks when one of these big branches fell and hit the shed it scared the surreal so badly he panicked and ran round and round in the shed trying to get out quickly.  Once he calmed down he remembered how he had gotten in and then left.  We don’t know how he got in, maybe up under the eaves.  Anyways when Norman finishes this mess he will be done with the branches that are in the way of the tractor so when it dries out he can use the tractor to help move all the wood to the burn barrel.  He still has a lot more branches to clean up but they can wait until after we get the gardens planted with the cold weather plants.  Photo on 3-12-15 at 11.08 AM


Standing in the drive way- looking down the hill in the north side of the house you see the grape bed, the blueberry bed, and then the raspberry bed.  I will do the grape bed tomorrow if there is an hour or so without rain.  We cleaned all of these area very well last fall before we went to Florida so the clean up is really very easy.  Last year we didn’t clean up as well in the fall and the spring clean up was a bear!!  So many, many weeds to dig out.  This year the only weeds that came over the winter can just be pulled out.  When I finished the weeding today I fertilized the aspagrass, blueberries and raspberries. Photo on 3-12-15 at 11.09 AM


This is the blueberry bed.  You can see the sulphur around the plants and today I added some super rainbow.  Now all we need to do is spread one half of that bale of peat.  The other half will get spread next fall.   We do mulch many of the other gardens also but not with peat, we get a truck load of chopped up wood from the mill in McMinnville.  They mill the trees for boards and then chip up the bark, small trees or misshapen trees and it makes perfect mulch.  All the nurseries use it.  McMinnville is the nursery capital of the world, there or tons of nurseries all over the county.  Some have just trees, some have just flowers, etc  that is where we got our fruit trees and berry bushes at Ideal Nursery they grow mostly fruit trees. The area that Norman is cleaning up contains all my wood land flower gardens like this one.  There are five or six small one and the spring bulbs are trying to come up so he is taking all the branches off of them and then I will go in and pull off some of the old leaves.

Photo on 3-12-15 at 11.14 AM Photo on 3-12-15 at 11.15 AMThis is the flower garden next to the porch and as you see my crocus are blooming.  The daffodils  are starting to bud and I need to get in and pull out all the old leaves and weed this garden.  My biggest weed problem here is the violets.  In the spring I can dig some of them out but when they grow on top of the iris I can’t dig them and they spread so badly just a few left in the spring become hundreds by fall and then  it is impossible to weed them out.  I have tried just letting them grow but they chock out everything else and they are so small you never see the flower, it is hidden under the leaves of the violets.  That and the wild onions are such a pest.  My flower gardens are beautiful in the spring and early summer, there is always something new blooming and they mark the change of season for me.  I’ll try to keep you posted on each new plant as it blooms.  Have a great day.

About Carol (Ouma) Petts

I am a retired teacher. I have taught all levels from kindergarten through college and have been retired now for over 20 years. The last ten years we have lived on a farm and lived off the land, growing our own food and canning for our extended family. Now we have sold the farm and are moving to Florida to truly retire. I guess I have always had a short attention span as this is our 11th move. We have moved from a small farm in New Hampshire, to more city type living, small business adventures, focusing more on traveling, Florida living, Georgia, and Tennessee farming and now back to Florida. My blog is a way to keep my children up to date on what I am doing and letting them know I am still alive and well. My children are spread across the country from New England to Florida, Nova Scotia to New Mexico and CA and several places between, They let me know what they are up to by commenting on my blog but they are so busy with their own lives most times I have to assume " no news is good news". Now I are starting on a new adventure so will try to give daily updates until we get settled into a routine. Then I know even if I am getting older and should settle down I will start looking for some new and exciting adventure to start. Welcome aboard. Norman died Oct 30, 2017 so I am continuing the journey alone with the aid of my children, grand children and great grand children. At present I am living with my daughter and we are 7 in one house and cover four generations. We range in age from 7 to 85 and are finding common ground, we are living proof that multi generations can live and function in a three bedroom house if they really want to. Soon my grandson will have his house built next door so we all will have a room of their own except for the seven year old twins who by choice will share a room.
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2 Responses to The Big Clean Up

  1. Rosemary Rafuse says:

    My, you folks have a lot to do. John says that chain saw looks like a Partner. He had one some years ago. Now he has an Echo. Some of our crocuses are under three feet of snow! We has sun and warm temperatures yesterday and are to get a foot of snow on Sunday! Spring is as little late here!

    • This week has been beautiful, at least three days of it so now everything is starting to bloom and every garden we have cleaned up is starting to grow. Tell John, Norman’s chain saw is a Poulan. He got it at Lowes. He had a Stilgh before but that cost a lot more so he settled for this one this time and is happy with it except it is heavier so he gets tired quicker. Usually the chain saw and Norman run out of gas at the same time. Tomorrow a cold front is headed at us again so our beautiful warn days will be gone for a while but at this time of year they come back quickly and the cold is no where near as low. No frost this time.

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