As we were pondering how and where to put some sort of permanent shed in the early summer…I noticed a familiar looking plot of land for sale online, for a good price. It was the lot just on the other side of the neighboring house.
So I wandered down to see it person… And realized it was perfect for a few reasons, but the big ones being the utility pole in the corner of the lot…where the fiber internet is strung (I made them do that!). It would be so much easier to bring the fiber internet to the QC along the small stretch of easement road, rather than the confusing and convoluted routes we were looking at before. And, it’s got actually a few flat areas. Not that the lot itself is flat, far from it…but compared to all our other 40%+ sloped lots, the flattened tiers and ungraveled driveway is a breeze.
Goal 1: Be able to drive a car at least further up the driveway… without worrying about starting the next wildfire with tall grass under the hot cars.
Goal 2: Fire prep. Even though there’s no structure on it yet, it feels very important for this lot to be hardened against fire for the sake of the neighborhood, given the utilities…but also for my own selfish interests – the internet line is hung the lowest, and even if the power is out, so long as the fiber line is intact, our backup battery can run the router for a few hours. And as we found out last summer with our OES (office of emergency services) engine friends…having a consistent, robust internet connection makes our place a desirable place to be, even with flames nearby.
Now that we’ve spent hours and hours clearing the area around the Cull Castle, the routine is practiced: pinecones and tall grass first. Pinecones get hucked to a designated area where they won’t continue to be a tripping hazard. Grass gets buzzed down with a string trimmer or weed whacker to less than 3″, sage is trimmed, whitethorn bushes are trimmed.
Woody wood waste and tall grass clippings get piled somewhere that will be easy to cover, and then burn in the winter.
Pine branches get their own pile – most will be broken down until it’ll fit in Clifton “Chip” Miller, and spread back out again as (amazing smelling) erosion-controlling mulch. The rest that are too thick or too twisted will go into the winter burn piles, or into friends’ with woodburning stoves’ fireplace. Low branches that are still attached to the tree get cut to a place where I’m not getting smacked in the face. Small pines are evicted.
It didn’t take long for the lot to reveal some mysteries. A lot of the sage brush had already been cut a while back and left in place (the power company? the seller?), along with some of the pine branches closest to the power lines. And several large, perfectly milled pine boards that had been apparently cut…and then left there to be covered in pine duff. Or maybe it was intentionally put there for a flat area? Who knows…
Despite the covering of pine needles and cones, it feels so much more manageable than the Cull Castle – in part because the Cull Castle has dozens of pine trees…the garage lot has 8. (And all 8 are big, old trees!)
Last updated: Aug 13th, 2022
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