Sheer hard graft.


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Hi,

It's taken just six weeks to completely remove our 60' long hedge with mature hawthorn tree and erect a new mesh fence.

Unlike our friends in America who seem to have masses of space working on a level site using big machinery I suffered greatly with very basic kit. Below are pictures of the largest stump removed needing almost 24 tons of hydraulic jacking pressure to get it free; this is a tangled stump of Cherry Laurel when at one time had been around 30' tall; many smaller stumps were also removed including a cherry tree.

Jacks used were 2 x 10 ton bottle jacks; 1 x 1.5 ton bottle jack and a 2 ton trolley jack. Our site is very steep indeed making standing upright challenging; it took the best part of a week to get this one stump out and drag it across the steep slope using a 2,000 lb winch hoping it didn't break free and roll down towards the bungalow. The stump had to be "walked" across the garden applying as much pressure as possible with the winch whilst nudging the rear with the trolley jack; it sure was slow hard work.

Nothing about the job was easy; digging the fence post holes involved breaking through a shelf of 36" solid stone; I had to buy a new concrete breaker for this the breaker so heavy a sack cart was used to get it to the top of the garden also the sack cart was used to move the 3.6m x 100mm x 100mm posts which I could lift but after carrying the first up the mountain I thought I was going to drop dead. I moved four of the nine posts up the garden then two roofing guys next door took pity on me and carried the remaining posts up for me; I was grateful of their help. I also had some help having already felled half the big hawthorn a neighbour across the lane kindly helped with the half overhanging the lane he on the chainsaw me on the rope all the help being at the 2m social distancing due to the virus.

The trunks and thick branches were logged and collected by a neighbour for a woodburning stove; the hawthorn tree alone involved two trips using a big pickup truck; I had to be extremely careful because of the slope ensuring nothing headed at speed down the valley. Just placing tools like a spade on the ground often had the tool sliding away from me; incredibly hard work throughout.

Kind regards, Colin.

Stump removal May 2020 (1).JPG


This was a nightmare.

Stump removal May 2020 (7).JPG


Winch set up for use.

Stump removal May 2020 (10).JPG


Slow heavy work.

Stump removal May 2020 (12).JPG


Will I win.

Stump removal May 2020 (15).JPG


Final resting place.

Posts May 2020_0002.JPG


Why not have 36" deep stone to break through.

Fence job_0010.JPG


So steep I couldn't use a spade without sliding down the garden; small stones under my feet were like ball bearings. It was torture.

May 2020_0001.JPG


This is where the laurel stump was removed from.

9 June 2020 _0003.JPG


It was worth it in the end; we also bought a full wagon load of wood chip mulch which neatens the border whilst preventing more soil erosion not that there's much soil left it being stone.
 
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Hi,

Another week of hard graft has just about completed the job making it seven weeks in total. An half wagon load of wood chip mulch has been delivered so over the last two days I've been carting the mulch down the mountain using the wheel barrow; ten full barrow loads Thursday which just about flattened me but yesterday I must have brought in excess of fifteen loads down starting at the bottom and working towards the top; I had to come down slowly with each load because of the steepness; one slip and I could have been in real trouble. Only about two barrow loads left to use which I'll use shortly then I can finally relax; I've been busy washing the car this morning but I can now spend more time in the garden before dinner time.

Kind regards, Colin.

Garden June 2020_0001.JPG


Just how I wanted it to look; lower maintenance in future.

Garden June 2020_0002.JPG


I've worn the grass away with heavy use.

Garden June 2020_0004.JPG


To the bottom of the garden these laurels used to be 30' tall until I lowered them.

Garden June 2020_0005.JPG


More laurels the other side of the path; at least I can now talk to them.

June 2020_0004_01.JPG


This area had become very badly overgrown so I removed the lot apart from a few of the more expensive shrubs. I'm happy now with the garden and it's nice that walkers along the lane at the garden top stop to tell me how hard I've worked and how its been worth it; a number of walkers have even taken pictures of the wild flower meadow asking for information as to how I created it and what was involved.
 
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Hi,

Thanks Ian; it's all coming together and I can look forward shortly to some quality workshop time at last.

Still plenty of jobs to do outside though and today I started treating our other fences; I'm using a diesel/old engine oil mix as treatment being fed up with modern last a year if lucky treatments. I had a big empty Adblue container so whilst fuelling the Yeti with diesel I put £10 worth of diesel into the container and got into a spot of bother with the guy on the till who told me he let it go this time but I should never use such a container in future for fuel; I thanked him and then bought a new 5L correct plastic container for fuel; in future I'll fill this then decant into the big container; I would never use the Adblue container for petrol but I thought it pretty safe to use for diesel; anyway I'm now well into this fence treating job having just treated all the posts.

Kind regards, Colin.

Treating fences_0001.JPG


I designed and installed this fence about 18 years ago it being bespoke due to the slope. In order to make treating it with preservative easier the panels are quickly removable with just four turbo hex head screws securing each. I lay a sheet of plastic on our driveway against the low wall and I can then tip the panels upside down ensuring the complete panel is treated also I have excellent access to each post too.

Treating fences_0002.JPG


The panels removed ready for treating tomorrow.

Treating fences_0003.JPG


Downhill view; I also dug out tons of clay in order to lay the new pathway; other neighbours have since copied this.

Treating fences_0004.JPG


Access to the bungalow rear from this side was by nine stone steps with a big hedge; the hedge and steps were removed then I made the fence; it's made a tremendous difference.

Treating fences_0005.JPG


Another fence I designed and made together with steps into the rear garden; nothing is level outside it being a steeply sloping site making even a small job challenging. I treated this fence this morning giving it a good soaking. I'll be interested to see how this diesel mix holds up compared to the Creoseal previously applied? I added wooden hand rails (Mopstick) to each fence for safety.
 
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Hi,

The hard work just goes on and on. Having finished the previous round of grafting I went straight on to the next round of grafting; this time leveling a rocking paving flag but as usual it wasn't a simple job.

We're on a steeply sloping site so any work outside is challenging. I laid these flags and built the garden hut about three years ago mostly during pouring rain but on one day just to cheer me up I was peppered with hail stones this in our mid summer.

As expected due to the soaking wet ground the flags have settled; beneath the hut they aren't a problem because I can adjust the hut by shims. I started the job and expected to do it quickly but after starting and lifting the flags down came the rain for two days. Nothing is level and with the hut on one side and steps the other side relaying the flags proved very difficult indeed.

I'm just passing a bit of time whilst it's raining again; yesterday morning I was catching up cutting back and hedge trimming when a sudden heavy shower soaked me to the skin; what a wonderful climate we have here in Yorkshire; scorching sun one day pouring rain the day after.

Kind regards, Colin.

Bit of progress_0001_01.JPG


I've laid many big flags but these were the most difficult to lay; normally I'd lay to a string line but here I used wooden guides allowing the bedding mortar to be accurately placed and tamped before gently lifting the flag into position.

Bit of progress_0001_03.JPG


The finished job taking a full day just to lay four flags but now I can walk on the flags without problem.

Bit of progress_0002_02.JPG


So many angles to contend with; I used stone I had to hand building the walls; the hut sits level. I'm rained off again today but over the last eight weeks it's been constant hard work. I knocked off yesterday at 7:15pm having just weeded the verge using the hoe along the lane; if I don't do this the weeds spread into our garden; it never lets up but at least I'm not bored. I've posted this flag leveling elsewhere but it's worth tagging on here just for interest. I used 1 Portland cement 5 sharp sand mixed with little water to bed the flags; adding too much water causes lots of problems better to err on the dry side.
 
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Hi,

More and more grafting over the last few days dodging rain showers some heavy and strong wind. The jobs never let up; perhaps I should wear blinkers then I wouldn't see the work I keep finding to do.

Kind regards, Colin.

Firethorn stump._0001.JPG


I removed a big prickly Firethorn years ago and have been fighting the stump ever since it constantly putting on new growth; whilst working at the top of the mountain for seven weeks the rest has become overgrown as seen around the stump.

Firethorn stump._0002.JPG


Firethorn stump finally dug out so yet another job ticked off.

Overgrown (1).JPG


This area was badly overgrown; the decent shrubs I planted were being buried by weeds and other plants which had self seeded and were growing at an alarming pace.

Overgrown (2).JPG


Weeds and unwanted plants ripped out by hand then the ground dug over so now tidy for a while but I'll probably buy another half wagon load of wood chip mulch to prevent more weeds growing; I've also bought Roundup weed killer; I dislike using any chemicals but I'm running to standstill in our gardens with all this constant heavy grafting.

Overgrown (3).JPG


I planted shrubs and Ajuga ground cover; it looked lovely for a couple of years but with recent hot sunshine then heavy showers there were more things I didn't want than things I did want so I declared war on the things I didn't want.

Overgrown (4).JPG


A picture up the left side of the garden; I'm winning this long battle. The big stump remains from an 80' tall tree I felled and disposed of this being one of two such trees.

Side garden..JPG


Our side garden looking very untidy and a big disappointment; earlier this year I dug this over then broadcast wildflower seeds suitable for clay soil; this is the poor result.

Dug over._0001.JPG


I was out with spade early this morning and I'm now cooling down having dug the side garden over; it used to be pure clay but over the years I've kept digging over without removing weeds so now the clay is turning into soil and plenty of worms are present. It's been heavy digging due to the wet clinging clay/soil but I'm happy to have tidied two more areas.
 
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Hi,

I need to slow down because I'm cracking up. I ordered the half load of woodchip mulch requesting an early morning delivery for this morning Thursday so got up early had breakfast and sitting here in my work clothes I've just checked my order; I didn't add Thursday?

http://www.beneficialtreecare.co.uk/product/wood-chip-mulch/

I'll just put it down to a senior moment and in a way it's a good thing because it's pouring with rain; when I ordered the mulch I checked the BBC weather site and today was forecast dry hence I chose today. If I tried to shoot myself I'd miss.

Kind regards, Colin.
 

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Good call on the woodchip! It'll make things so much easier with regards to weeds - I put some down a few years ago and it's reduced my weeding workload by 90% - looks good and helps the plants too. Really suits the rest of the garden where you've used it.
 
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Hi,

Thanks Ian. At the moment I'm a bit disappointed with the mulch because there's weeds growing through it; I'm hoping it's just established weeds and if the rain ever quits I can spray them with Roundup weed killer then perhaps the mulch will come into its own preventing new seeds taking hold; like you I mulched a long border years ago and the mulch worked.

It's rained all day and is still raining as I type; typical summer weather living here.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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It took a round of two of weeding for it to work for me, but since then, it's been brilliant :). It stops a couple of especially prolific weeds in particular, so I've saved tens of hours work :D.
 
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Hi,

Thanks for the information Ian. :)

The load of mulch should arrive next Tuesday; this is the third load made up of a full load and two half loads; a full load 4 cubic meters costs £60 delivered and I pay £40 for each half load.

I don't like using chemicals and am unsure just how effective the Roundup weedkiller actually is because I didn't try it long enough; however browsing YouTube I followed instructions on making my own weed killer.

750g salt
560ml white vinegar
Dash of washing up liquid dilute with water.

Salt used is table salt and both salt and vinegar bought at Morrisons.

I have a 5L pressure sprayer so emptied the salt and vinegar containers into it; added a dash of washing up liquid then topped up with cold water giving it a good shake; I shook the mix a couple of times for half a day then wandered around spraying the weeds and plants I wanted to get rid of; WOW it worked a treat.

Unlike Roundup though my mix doesn't neutralize on contact with the soil so this needs taking into consideration but for my needs where mulch is being used the salt mix is ideal and a bonus is the mix is very cheap indeed.

Kind regards, Colin.

 
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Interesting, I've not tried that sort of homebrew weedkiller - but that sounds cheap and easily available. Great :D. Would be interested to hear if it works even on tough weeds? I've got a few that roundup works a treat on, as if I pull some of the weeds they just release loads of seeds - so have to spray carefully.
 
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Hi,

Thanks for asking Ian. I'm not an expert on weed killing and until very recently have always hand weeded; as you know hand weeding is nothing but a time wasting chore so I thought I'd try Roundup; I wasn't too impressed with Roundup so as said earlier tried my home mixed weed killer and this has rapid effect; I've tried it on things like small holly which pops up everywhere and it doesn't seem to do anything with this but generally I'm happy with the salt mix it killing most of the weeds just leaving a few stubborn weeds to physically attack.

I tried using Roundup stump killer on a big hawthorn stump and a smaller holly stump but both these have been putting on new growth; I've not yet tried dynamite but I'm feeling tempted?

I'm rather disappointed; I ordered half a wagon load of mulch in advance for early delivery Friday 17th but no delivery and no contact until I received an email explaining the company was very busy so I accepted this with good grace; I was further informed in the same email I could book delivery from 21st which is Today Tuesday so once again I booked; I've waited all day for delivery but as before still no contact so this time I've just sent an email politely cancelling the order; I've tried phoning the company twice today only to get the usual answer phone. I'm usually very patient but enough is enough. I'll now wait until I see tree surgeons working locally then ask if they can supply mulch?

Our local Kirklees council are so bad they cannot afford rubble skips at the recycling centers; we get one wheelie bin for general waste a second wheelie bin for recycling; the council expect us to pay for a bin for garden materials but for a while I've been dumping garden waste not rubble or anything like it in our general waste bin; this morning this bin has been rejected so I've emptied it and run the lot to our local tip; I can't complain that it's been rejected but I can complain about our terrible council who think closing roads to cars and allowing cycles is going to make a huge difference to Huddersfield Town; the difference won't be as huge as expected it will just close the remaining shops that aren't already boarded up. Please avoid Huddersfield like the plague; I spotted this shown below and although it's now old Huddersfield is still as described and still sinking; the cyclists can have the dump.

Huddersfield..JPG


Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Hi,

Salt weedkiller_0001.JPG


The bottom of this pathway was badly overgrown with weeds and clover etc; a decent application of my salt/vinegar flattened the lot in one go and it was rapid. It just needs tidying now and job done.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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We have a block paved driveway and always suffered from weeds and moss growing between the blocks. One application of the vinegar/salt/washing up liquid mix well brushed in as a flood did the job of killing it all off. Then I brushed the dead 'muck' out of the joins about 6 weeks later using an electric vertical rotating brush. The open joints were then topped up with kiln dried sand and another application of the 'mix' applied. Now, 7 years later, not a single weed or clump of moss has appeared.

Colin
 
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Hi,

Thanks Colin; I hope my weeds keep their head down for at least seven years but I've also taken another step. I've just knocked off wet with sweat after a gruelling day and a half; yesterday dinner time two tons of wood chip mulch was dropped on our driveway.

I had one and a half loads delivered costing a total of £110 but when I wanted this third load I was let down two days then cancelled the order out of frustration; I then emailed another company who ignored the email. Yesterday morning as we drove from home there were tree surgeons working nearby; they were still there when we returned so we parked the car and I had a word with the guy running the chipper asking what he did with the chips because I'd like them if he wanted to dispose of them. Amazingly he was delighted I'd asked because I could not only have this full load but a phone call would get me as much mulch as I could ever want from him; the price; FREE.

He said I would need to accept the full load and it would have to be dropped onto a driveway; I gave him my street number and sure enough as promised he arrived at dinner time; he was surprised when I handed him £20 which was well worth it to me; I say handed to him but actually put the money down for him to pick up due to virus social distancing.

Straight after dinner yesterday I managed over 30 barrow loads having to barrow up the steep site we live on into the side garden. This morning I was out early but as I now needed the mulch up the mountain involving steps and a very steep pathway I borrowed my neighbours plastic trug; I have a similar trug so I've been barrowing two full trugs at a time as far as I could then physically carried each in turn up the garden; it's been incredibly hard work but the pictures show it's been worth it.

Kind regards, Colin.

Mulch July 2020_0002.JPG


Two tons of mulch meaning a great deal of work for me moving it up the mountain entirely on my own.

Mulch July 2020_0004.JPG


Top side of the bottom hut now fully mulched.

Mulch July 2020_0006.JPG


The side garden where I've tried for two years to grow meadow flowers without success; weeds grow abundantly though.

Mulch July 2020_0009.JPG


My long handled snow shovel is absolutely brilliant for handling the mulch; this shovel has now shovelled five tons of mulch; it scoops up a large amount at one go; I use the shovel first to rake down the front of the pile exposing loose mulch then it doesn't break the shovel; it works a treat; I've never seen a snow shovel used this way before but it sure works.

Mulch July 2020_0012.JPG


Our site is very steep and it's tired me out but I'm pleased now hopefully with little weeding in future.

Mulch July 2020_0014.JPG


A distance shot up the garden this just the left hand side; I've taken care not to run the mulch right up to the base of shrubs. This short pathway is incredibly steep.
 
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Hi,

For the last 33 years I've been dragging the petrol mower to the top of the mountain cutting cross ways as I came back down. At first we had lots of grass but over the years I've considerably reduced this; my mower has wheels so it's a problem cutting near borders if wheels drop into the border scalping the grass.

I've been wondering if I can dispose of the mower completely and looked at strimmer videos on YouTube? Here's a video showing how to edge a lawn with a strimmer and this looks perfect for me as we live on a very steep valley side;


I've just bought a heavy weight Hyundai petrol grass trimmer & brush cutter At £139.99. This is a serious bit of kit and I'll be using it in Autumn to strim the meadow; I tried it briefly on the grass but it's so big and heavy coupled with the steep garden site I simply wasn't strong enough to control it when I tried edging.

1597229757754.png



I'm geared up for heavy strimming brush cutting so I also bought one of these in a sale;

1597230074669.png


This smaller strimmer is due to arrive today and will be ideal for lighter duties including edge trimming; Safety is important too so I've bought this;

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Chainsaw-Brushcutter-Safety-Helmet-Metal-Mesh-Full-Visor-Forestry/312935251921?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

I also have an Hyundai rotavator;


I'm trying to make less maintenance as I become older; just walking up our garden is tiring.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Hi,

As usual just more work. We're shortly to get new neighbours; our laurels are growing through the boundary fence; it's not a problem at all with our current neighbour who employs a gardener but to be on the safe side I've cleared a wide channel up to the fence so we don't expect problems; better safe than sorry and we want to be friendly with our new neighbours. These laurels are well over 30 years old with very thick trunks so the petrol chainsaw has been earning its keep again. I've also removed the old tree trunk and done quite a bit of tidying since taking the pictures.

Higher up our garden the neighbours conifers are leaning over into our garden two of them and one of them is damaging their wall so I've emailed today asking for permission to remove both conifers and dispose of them saving them the expense of getting someone in and having further wall damage; they are excellent neighbours so I might be lumberjacking again shortly; work never lets up living here.

Kind regards, Colin.

September 2020 (12).JPG

The fence belongs to our neighbour but I erected it for her about 3 years ago and the laurels quickly grew through it.

September 2020 (13).JPG

Here the laurels are cut well back; the tree trunk has also been removed and I even treated the fence but this isn't shown. Another job ticked off and I'm still dreaming of quality workshop time.
 
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Ian

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Good work @Retired - those trunks are huge indeed! Give it 2 weeks and laurel will somehow fill that space again :D.
 
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Hi,

Many thanks Ian. Unfortunately what you say is oh so true; laurels quickly get out of control and the only way to kill them is to dig them up which I've done a lot of.

Now the laurels are low and clear of the fence they won't get out of control again; I'll soon be out with my cordless Makita hedge trimmer as soon as new leaves appear; I've declared war on them. :D

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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