Home > feelings, gardening > swinging an axe

swinging an axe

I spent a chunk of the day chopping down the bush honey locust out of the northwest corner of my backyard. My friend Trevor had pointed it out and mentioned it was a pernicious invader that had to go but then i heard that the cultivated ones weren’t pernicious. Last spring at the native plant show i talked to some experts and they said the white and yellow flowered kind were the aggressive ones and so i waited until it confirmed my memory that the flowers were white and decided to knock it out this winter. I see how it has a big edge over the natives because it didn’t drop its leaves until well into December.

Than we had a couple of weeks of ugly cold and now I’m cutting it down.  I spent a couple of sessions warming up and got serious on it yesterday. I was stymied because all the branches were seriously entangled and large chunks of it hung over the neighbors rusty old chain link fence (which keeps out the pit-bull), wires, and my own fence. I had it better’n a third down and hadn’t been able to pull out anything out of the mass. Finally I just started chopping off branches and pulling them out one by one. The final pieces I roped and had Harry pull on the rope to keep the wires up. Success.

Now I am hand sawing some of the mid sized trunks to line a path through the new beds. I am hoping to rake out the plant material, pull up the handfuls of grass & mud I haven’t smushed all apart yet and plant my wildflower mix. I picked that up last spring at the Missouri Wildflower Nursery in Brazito last spring. I am going to use a packet of shade mix, one of shade mix thin soil, some bush clover, and one other one which is escaping me. Getting the seeds on the ground is the part of the project that is time sensitive. Its barely early winter yet.

Swinging the axe has got me nostalgic. I got into chopping wood in my early teens. It helped me get a handle on my anger which saved me a world of hurt. There’s something special about cutting stuff down by hand. If I had used a chainsaw i could have blasted through it  but the noise and my general unease with machinery would have taken away from the experience. I wouldn’t have the satisfied delight from the tingle in my hands and the feeling that i did something in all those weird muscle groups around my body.

It reminds me of camping, and splitting wood for anyone whoever guested me and burned wood. I remember going home for christmas break with Claire and splitting her a winter’s worth of wood. I got into a rhythm and was nailing these big oak logs with one swing of the maul. It felt good, feels good now.

Categories: feelings, gardening
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