Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Reduce - Reuse - Recycle for plants

On our property, we have loads of purely ornamental shrubs and trees, including three large palm trees in the frontyard. And when we first saw the property, Robert and I imediately agreed that they all had to go and make room for edibles.

My wishlist is long and covers apple, cherry, plum, pear, persimmon, apricot, nectarine, peach and fig trees as well as asparagus, artichoke, pineapple, rhubarb, tomatoes, eggplant, cantaloup, watermelon, grape, lavender, sage and thyme (to name only a few).

So, what shall we do with these (at least to us) useless water suckers?
We very soon agreed that we didn't want to cut them or pull and mulch them (although, I can always use more compost). Talked to several nurseries; they refused taking them (not even for free), claiming they could not resell them since they could not guarantee the health of the plant. Eventually, we came up with putting them on Craigslist for free; just come over and dig them up.

What can I say; it is really true: One person's trash may be another person's treasure. I received many phone calls and most of these ornamentals are already gone. And all without Robert killing his back. Hallelujah!


We were delighted to not have to destroy these plants on our path to sustainability (I strongly dislike hurting anything) and actually made some people happy.

It was quite the job though, to get these three large palm trees out.

But with a little bit of teamwork, everything can be achieved.

"Nature never says one thing and wisdom another." Decimus Junius Juvenalis


  1. I like your site. Thanks! Here is a true story in return.

    The cattle truck showed up an hour late but at least it did finally arrive. We grabbed a long strong rope, some feed and a four-wheel drive Ford Tractor that had a bucket loader on the front of it.. The man in the truck followed us over to the other barn which was across the road from the main barnyard.

    The bull that we were after was almost as big as the tractor but he was white with some light brown spots and the tractor was blue. Many men have been mauled and even killed while trying to remove a bull from a pasture but this bull was good natured and like all cattle, loves feed.

    Coaxing cattle with feed is an old trick and more often than not it serves the purpose perfectly. I've seen whole herds of heifers chase a quad down the road when a man sat on the back with a five gallon bucket of feed for them follow.

    But, we weren't driving cattle this time, so we tried to lasso the bull and separate him from the heifers. The man who brought the truck was following the bull around a feed trough that was out in the middle of the pasture while trying to toss the looped end of the rope over the big bulls massive head. The first attempt failed because the rope only grabbed one-half of the bulls head so we had to wait for the beast to shake it off before we could try again.

    The idea was to lasso the bull but to let the rope go once we did. Once the rope was finally around the bulls neck, the plan was to recapture the loose end of the tether and tie it to back end of the tractor while the bull was being preoccupied with the feed. It would have worked if the rope had fell just right on the first try but since it didn't the bull was spooked and wouldn't come close enough for us to try it again.

    One has to be calm and quiet around cattle because they can spook easy. Seeing that we had no chance of capturing the bull under the circumstances we decided to relocate the feed trough and get a longer rope. We moved the trough from the pasture up to the lower level of the old barn and started shaking the feed bucket again. The cattle answered the dinner call and as fortune would have it the bull went into the barn behind a heifer whereupon we closed the two in by shutting a metal gate.

    Once inside the barn, the bull was preoccupied with eating feed so we were able to lasso him correctly this time. The bull was tied close to the back end of the tractor and then led to the cattle truck which was parked down by the road. I held the tether tight while another fellow operated the tractor. I rode on the tractor by standing on a running board and secured the animal by wrapping the rope around a solid bar that was attached to the tractor.

    The bull came quietly but at one point it seemed like the bulls massive head was going to get jammed in between the back tire and the tractor's frame so we halted and readjusted the rope. The ramp up into the cattle truck was already down and the side gates had been attached so we pulled the bull up to the ramp, loosed the rope and prodded the bull up into the truck.

    Well that was one down and another to go. The second bull was back in the main barnyard. So we repeated the process again, over there. The second bull was younger but he seemed to be more dangerous which is unusual because generally it's the other way around.

    I was the youngest of our crew of four. George was the oldest at 88 years old, his brother Bob is 84 and John is about 70 years old. I am 55. Bob has breathing problems and he can't walk around to good so he operates the tractor. Bob has poor circulation also. I took my glove off and held his frozen left hand in mine for a moment so that it would warm back up. I overlooked the snot that had been wiped off onto the wrist and grabbed it anyway.

    We all know how cold noses can run in the winter time. It was zero today.

  2. Ed, whow!!!! That is amazing! You guys are Rock Stars!!! Were you not terrified, after all one of these bulls must weigh more than all of you together ;-)?