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Death and new life in Grey County

It's a bright, sunny day at the farmette. I can't wait to get back into the vegetable gardens, which were cleaned up yesterday. Planning to put composted sheep manure on to ready them for planting. We've had quite a bit of activity over the past week on the farmette and at the Thorntons.

Last Saturday, we had the tree guys in from Matthew's Tree Removal come and take down most of Hagar, plus an old tree that was past its prime, as well as some tidying of another large maple in the front.

Poor Hagar - our oldest majestic maple - really took a hit with all the wind storms lately. She has to be at least as old as our 156-year-old house and had already lost several limbs over the decades. When she lost the entire right side, and it came down on the neighbour's property (no damage to anything else), we decided the time had come.

It was a sight to behold. Derek's up there in the bucket carefully taking her down, bit by bit. The men were very respectful, put cones by the smaller trees that we've planted so they didn't mow them down in the process, and cleaned everything up perfectly.

They were efficient too. The entire operation started at 8:00 a.m. sharp and was completed by 5:00 p.m.

We purposely left a good chunk of Hagar's trunk so she can continue to host the wee birds, squirrels, bugs and other critters for a long time to come. See?

On the opposite side of tree life, on Friday, I went to help my sisters plant Sandy's Christmas tree operation. Sandy had already been up since 7:00 a.m. preparing the site - which mean picking billions of rocks and stones and churning up the clay-like soil.

Here are Sandy and Barb picking a few of the last stones we harvested. Honestly, in Grey County, it feels like rocks are the main crop.

The three Harris sisters really put their backs into the task. We had 40 balsam firs to plant.

Sounds simple, but there was figuring out the grid, hole digging, sheep manure spreading, planting, tamping down the earth to get rid of air pockets, putting on and fixing weed mats by hammering in two 6-inch staples each (that's 80, by the way).

Luckily, it was a fine day, and we were up to the task. Okay, we did get a little punchy, singing television tunes from the 1970s, and by the end of it, all of us were POOPED. But it was most satisfying. Job done. Payment is a lovely Thornton Christmas tree in five to seven years. Sounds fair.

Until next week. Gratuitous cat photo courtesy of Fred a Wilma a couple of months ago.


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