The dumpster arrives and I spend four days shovelling trash into buckets. The kids help pick up a lot of the metal and broken crockery. The first thing I put into the dumpster is this giant hitch from I guess a horse trailer:
It's too large, and too heavy to carry, so I have to flip it end over end the 200 feet down to the dumpster. Flipping it up into it is a Herculean task. Then once it's in, it doesn't fit. I have to beat it repeatedly with a sledgehammer to get it to fit.
There's also a riding lawnmower that burned, but it's way too heavy to move. I can't budge it. I try taking it apart and the nuts are welded with rust to the bolts - I actually break my socket adapter trying to take one off. So I leave the lawnmower alone. I'll deal with it another day.
It's days of very arduous labor, hours in the sun, a spartan diet, bathing with a hose, and in the evening we pick ticks off us with tweezers. Nobody said homesteading was easy. But when I've finished and filled the dumpster, it's quite a difference. Here are the before and after photos of the garden:
There are 9 beds altogether which I've marked out with stakes. Each bed is about 5' to 6' feet across, and thirty feet long. Between the beds are the concrete footers which will be used as paths. There's a blackberry bush which I leave in one bed. We'll see if it becomes a provider:
I take my square ended shovel and begin scraping clear the concrete to get to the edge of the footers and totally expose them. I always use the half-length shovels. Full length shovels are too awkward and heavy. You can make far more rapid progress with the half lengths.
Here's a photo of the concrete footers exposed around the first bed:
They make great walkways, allow for raised beds, give an extra radiant heat off the rock, and they were well-formed and poured - it's odd what care was put into these footers. There's a cold wind one day and we lay down on the concrete out of the wind and play cards.
We get gravel delivered. I'd ordered ten tons of 1/2 inch gravel, and get it for $180. I'll use it for a gravel floor in the pumphouse (shed), and in the foundation for the barn:
Somebody had poured a parking slab for their car at one point, and that's where I wanted the gravel delivered. But when the dumptruck tried to back up onto the slab from below he cracked it, and I told him to just dump it right there. That old slab was cracked and not level anyway.
Here's a shot of the dumpster full:
I did everything I could to wedge as much stuff in there as possible. But I didn't break the rules. I didn't put in any bricks or concrete or old tires. The first load they hauled away was 3 tons. After 2 tons you pay a $25 additional charge per ton. I was hoping we wouldn't get hit with that fee again and that I came out at under two tons.
The girls and I took a trip out to Home Depot (50 minutes away) when Junk Bee Gone showed up to take away the "can" as they call it. But my wife filled me in on what happened. They called her and told her the can was too heavy, they couldn't haul it away. The truck just spinned out and lifted in the front. There was a series of agonizing phone calls back and forth - I guess they were hoping I'd show up and start unloading stuff. No way. But by the time I came back the dumpster was gone. They'd hauled it away somehow. And the weight? 7 tons. They said I broke the record. How the hell I ever fit 14,000 pounds in that thing I have no idea.
Now we could start to plant. I'd noticed the zucchini seedlings' leaves were getting white. I did a little research - they were dying, too crowded and undernourished in the pot. So they needed an immediate planting. I tilled the front bed with a spading fork (the ultimate tool when it comes to gardening, a must have), planted them with a little compost, and mulched them with old dead grass stems.
I plant the corn, and beans also, while I'm at it:
As I tilled with the spading fork, I tried to disturb the soil as little as possible. I just cracked to aerate the deeper clayey soil, and only turned and crumbled the soil on top. We'll see how well this technique works.