On March 17, thirteen hardy volunteers gathered to spread wood chips in areas that had been planted during the February 26 work party. The wood chip mulch will hold in moisture, reduce weed growth and enrich the soil.
Two neighborhood parents brought their children for part of the event. I felt moved when I realized that this forest may become important to these children as they grow up.
Most of the group had worked on this restoration project before, but for some it was their first time on the property. There was also a nice mix of GreenFriends members, neighbors and friends.
We didn’t have enough participants to do the traditional type of bucket brigade; i.e., handing buckets from person to person down a long line of people. Instead, everyone filled buckets for a short period of time and then most volunteers began to carry them to their destination on the other end of the site. Later on, the system changed again. At that point, part of the group carried the buckets the first half of the way, and then left them for others to carry to the planting areas. Once the buckets of wood chips reached a planting area, someone poured the chips onto the burlap.
My neighbor Christine was in two of my favorite photos from this work party. I took the first one during a time when she and I were filling buckets. At one point, she climbed to the top of the eight or nine-foot pile of wood chips and filled her bucket from there!
If you look closely you may be able to see steam rising from the wood chips. It reminded me of the steam I’ve seen coming from decomposing compost piles whenever I visit the compost center at Amma’s ashram in Amritapuri, India.
Marine took the other photo when Christine was talking with one of our young visitors.
We accomplished more than I thought was possible; spreading wood chips throughout three large planting areas and several small ones. The transformation in the look of the land was remarkable.
At the beginning of February 2018, the property looked like this:
During the first three weeks in February, work party participants removed blackberry root balls and ivy from the land. On February 26, another group planted trees, shrubs and ground covers, and placed burlap and two buckets of wood chips around each plant. By the end of that work party, this is what the land looked like:
And this was the beautiful sight that greeted my eyes at the end of the March 17th work party:
We have many more wood chips to spread. It is gratifying to know that the work we are doing now will give the plants a better chance of surviving the summer, a season when rainfall may be minimal.