Sunday, April 12, 2009
American the beautiful
Here's the mess of grape vines and trash that I meant to deal with today. I got most of it done.
The elm tree in the foreground is a good marker. Watch that tree.
We (me and the chickens) cleared out the vines, then started excavating what turned out to be a partially buried trash dump/burn pile.
You can see the kind of trash we had to deal with. Household kitchen trash, bagged or not, some of which was burned.
Notice the flags. Somebody buried a couple of small American flags.
The only way to handle this shtuff, short of just burying it which is illegal, is to sort out the trash from the dirt and wood that will rot, and then push the dirt into a new place out of the way. I used the tractor loader to dig up the trash and then sorted through it by hand, finally pushing the dirt away with the tractor.
The sheep, for the most part, just watched.
At the end of the day we had sifted through about five yards of mixed dirt and trash. The trash, two pick-em-up truck loads, was hauled off to the transfer station. As I understand it, we've had a street legal transfer station in Jackson for many years, open every Sunday, so this trash should not have been dumped like this.
The old lady who lived here was ill towards the end, and we think that the way this stuff got piled up was because her developmentally disabled brother was looking after the chores while she was ill, and, unsupervised, just started dumping stuff out on the land. There is a time discontinuity in the trash we find, and a disparity in the way it's placed. Stuff from the seventies and earlier, before the transfer station, is relatively neatly piled in a series of dumps. Stuff from the early 2000's was instead just randomly dumped everywhere.
What makes sense to explain this is, when the old lady was well, she made the brother take the trash to the transfer station. Later, when she got ill, the brother forgot the transfer station part, but still "took out the trash."
The soil beneath the main trash pile is not usable. There were batteries and household cleaners and other sources of toxicity. We will probably just put some grass seed down. But there is much cleaner soil that was previously beneath the grape arbor that is now available. All in all, this project added about a 80 foot by 20 foot patch of land that can be used for garden patches, between the camera and the tree, plus a similar-sized piece that can be used for compost heaps or a small lawn, on the far side of the tree.
That seems to me like a good day's conservation work.