Paradise ponders... I spent the entire day working with my brother Scott, preparing a place to plant 25 5-gallon sumacs, a ground-cover variety. These are going on the north and the west side of our shed. The idea is to cover the soil and suppress all the weeds while refraining from taking out the alfalfa. To get the grade right and to put gravel under the drip line, we had to move 68 tractor bucket loads of dirt or gravel. I did the tractor work, and my brother leveled everything I moved. The result is that we now have a very nice bed to put the sumacs in, though we still have one step remaining before we can actually plant: we need to roto-till the soil to break up all the great clods in the soil that I moved, and also (hopefully) to break up the compacted soil underneath that.
It made me tired just to watch Scott do that work. What he accomplished in a day would probably take me a couple of weeks – he's in fantastically good physical condition, despite being almost as ancient as I am.
I suspect we'll both sleep well tonight :)
If there's no rain in the morning, Scott will be down to roto-till and plant. Otherwise we'll wait until a few days after this storm passes...