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.
 

Ian

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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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Ian

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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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