Green Seattle Day: November 4, 2017

On Green Seattle Day, Green Seattle Partnership sponsors three hour work parties in parklands all over Seattle.  This year Sarva and I agreed to help lead a team at Mountain View, a park that is a few miles south of our Greenbelt restoration site. Susan Zeman, a forest steward who often helps at our work parties, coordinated the Mountain View work party as well as one at View Point park which is located across the street from Mountain View. Susan had gathered enough forest stewards that Sarva and I were able to plant trees as well as being leads. Visala, Haley and Bob, who like Sarva and me are part of Amma’s GreenFriends group, also participated in this event.

This experience was particularly meaningful to me because ten years ago this park was completely covered with blackberries and ivy. Today it is a beautiful, healthy forest. It was inspiring for me to witness a living example what reforestation work can do. Someday our Greenbelt restoration site will look like this one.

Below are several photos from the Mountain View work party.

Here are some photos I found on the Green Seattle Partnership Facebook page. They are from other Green Seattle Day work parties.

On the same Facebook page, I found a synopsis of the work that was done that day. What a testament it is to what can be accomplished when we come together in support of Mother Nature.

A few days later, I returned to Mountain View park. I loved walking through the leaves and gazing at all of the trees we had planted. I felt renewed and excited to continue the restoration work at our Cheasty Greenbelt site.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

Throughout Seattle, there are groups of people working to remove blackberry vines, morning glories and ivy from parks and Greenbelts. The empty lot that is behind my house is in of one of the Greenbelts. During the last three decades, the invasive plants have completely taken over the once beautiful land. So many trees have died.

There have been times in the past where I cleared parts of the lot, but since I can’t take out all of the roots, they, of course, always come back. Lately removing the blackberry vines and other invasives from the lot has become a passion for me. A friend and I have worked many hours cutting them down.

This is my favorite tree on that property. (It is actually two different trees, and each one of them split into two trunks so there are actually four trunks, but I still see them all as one tree.)

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One of my first priorities was to remove the blackberry vines and ivy from that tree. I have done that enough times over the years that was a fairly easy goal for me to accomplish. For the first time, however, I noticed that there was a branch on the north side of the tree that was so long that it disappeared into the blackberries. I resolved to free the branch.

But how would I even get to it? There was no easy course.

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I planned my route to the buried branch and committed to free it the next day.

Early Sunday morning, I set out to accomplish my goal. First, I went to the storage shed to pick up the tools I needed.

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As I started to open the shed door, I walked face first into a big spider web. Yuck. I backed up to see where the spider was. What I saw was a yard spider that was bigger than any I’ve ever seen before.

I had been looking for a subject for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest. The moment I came face to face with that spider was the moment that I knew I had my subject for the photo story. Freeing this tree branch was indeed going to be a Quest.

I picked up my tools and then headed towards the stairs that go to the lower lot.

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Shortly thereafter, I again walked into an unseen spider.

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Okay, it is time for me to get conscious.

  • Pay attention to what I’m doing.
  • Carry the hedge shears downward.
  • Watch where I’m walking so I don’t slide on the uneven ground as I walk down the hill.
  • Don’t step in a hole.
  • Make sure I have my phone safely stored in case I need help.

I inched my way down the hill, drawing ever closer to the tree. As I descended, I appreciated how much clearing we have already done.

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Cutting a path through the blackberry vines, I drew closer and closer to my destination. It wasn’t just a matter of cutting down the upper layer of blackberries. If I opened a hole in the mass, I could see that many of the old ones were in layers three feet deep. I had to be careful not to accidentally put my foot into a drop off.

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Finally, I got close enough to the branch that I could begin cutting the vines that were holding it down.

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I worked diligently, oblivious of the time.

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I was excited to see that there were many signs of life on the smaller branches that were offshoots of the larger one.

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When I thought I had freed it, I discovered that there was still one part was still trapped. I couldn’t even see where it ended. It occurred to me that none of the other branches on the tree were anywhere near that long, so I decided to cut it just under the areas of growth.

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When I made the cut, the branch rose ten to twelve feet into the air.

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Free, free at last!

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Mission accomplished. As I started to leave the area, I saw so many other trees that need to be liberated from the blackberries. I recommitted to come back and do more of that work, but this quest was enough for one day.

Time to go home.

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Before I knew it, I was nearing my back deck.

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My quest was complete and it was time for me to have a well deserved rest.

Making a Difference- Jadav Payeng

In May, I wrote a post called They Touched My Heart.  One of the videos in that post was the story of Jadav Payeng, who at 17 started planting trees on a barren sandbar in India.   Since that time a documentary about him was produced by Will McMaster.  It is both beautiful and inspiring.  To me, Jadav’s work is a good example of the difference one person can make. Continue reading “Making a Difference- Jadav Payeng”