June 14, 2013: Morse Wildlife Preserve on the Last Weekend and Gardening Today

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted last, almost six weeks.  To be quite honest, it’s been hectic and I’ve had a lot of my mind since early May when I last posted about the Blackberry Sentinels and the 4o some year flashback.  With that said, I’m seeing a VA counselor now and I’m glad that I’m doing so, particularly as I’m quite open to help at this point in my life.  Finally acknowledging that this (PTSD) has been in my life for a long time has proved positive while at the same time also acknowledging the impact it has had on those in my life as well as to me.  I’m looking forward to this journey of healing.

Entrance to the Preserve

Entrance to the Preserve

Last weekend we went to the Morse Wildlife Preserve, a very short walk from our house.  Although we lived here for quite a few years (over 25) and have seen the sign for the past few years, we’ve never been.  Part of it is that the Preserve has been only been open to the public since late 2012 and then only on the second Sunday of each month.  We happened to see the sign last week that they would be open this Sunday and we jumped on the opportunity to see what it’s like.

The Preserve is about 100 acres and if you were to see it from the air you’d see houses on three sides (north, south, and west) and a marsh on the eastern side.   Given the locale, the number of people living in the area, it seems a miracle that the Preserve even exists at all.  I’m glad it does and I’m very glad to those fine people who donated the land for this purpose.

A beautiful cedar tree...note the incredible way the trunk has grown.

A beautiful cedar tree…note the incredible way the trunk has grown.

We arrived around 3:00 PM or so we didn’t have a lot of time to walk the various trails.  We did have a very nice walk through the woods, and climbed the observatory tower for a higher view of the surrounding area.  With the higher view it was rather disconcerting to see the land in it’s more natural state with houses and a manicured green lawn on the southern border.

The trail we choose led us through the woods and the first flowers we saw were called “Twin Flowers” due to two flowers coming off a single stalk.

Twin Flowers

Twin Flowers

View of the Morse barn from the observation tower

View of the Morse barn from the observation tower

Fairly quickly we left the forest and entered a grassland area where the observation tower was located as well as the Morse Barn, currently under restoration.

Daisy's and Wild Columbines, a native flower to the area

Daisy’s and Wild Columbines, a native flower to the area

In front of the barn a short ways off was the grassland area being restored and amongst the daisy’s was Wild Columbine, a flower native to the area and one that I had never seen before.

Although we didn’t spend a lot of time due to our arrival about an hour or so from the Preserve being closed, it was a very nice walk.

We’ll keep going each 2nd Sunday until the Preserve closes in October.

Now, to the Patio and Zaya.

When we moved here in 1997, the 1/2 acre we began living on was located on top of glacial moraine (a very thin layer of “topsoil” with rocks of all different sizes beneath the 1/2 inch to 1 inch of soil).  Over the years we had earth delivered, we dug, tilled, dug and tilled some more and over the years the yard began to take shape to where we now have many varieties of flowers, shrubs, and other plants in different parts of the yard.

The disconsolate lawn between the two houses - view from the roof

The disconsolate lawn between the two houses – view from the roof

The one area that stubbornly resisted our efforts to grow grass was between the two houses.  It was a shady area, thin soil, and, I’ll freely admit, my heart in trying to get grass to grow wasn’t in it all that much.  Over the years, I did this and that but I could never quite get the area looking like it needed to.

We, or I, talked about different ways we could improve the area over the years but seemed stymied on what to do.  Finally a little over five or six weeks ago, my wife suggested we go look at pavers as they might be the best bet.  So, off we went to one of the hardware stores, found what we believed would work and had them delivered.

Then came the hard part…pulling out the grass and laying the pavers down.  Pulling the grass by hand “diggy” tools was virtually impossible as the soil was so compacted.  Finally, as we were not getting anywhere, I fired up the tiller and tilled as shallow as I could to not damage the wisteria and other vines that we had planted over the years.  Once the tilling was done, we spend the next two days chiseling out the grass roots, and leveling the area as best we could given all the rocks just below the surface of the tilled earth.

Once the grass was pulled, the next day and a half was spent laying out the pavers and the next weekend I took off two days so we could have the time we needed to finish the job.  Leveling the pavers took another two plus (very long) days and finally we were done!  The next day we filled all the new pottery containers, transplanted the bonsai trees we’ve had for many years, picked out more plants, picked up a small table and two chairs and finally,  the transformation was complete.

The patio is beautiful, peaceful and we marvel everyday how it turned out….oh, Zaya, she’s my son and his fiancée’s German Shepard, aka, Zaya the “German Shredder” (as no toy is safe from her and she hairs everywhere) watching something of interest….

Our new patio, honeysuckles in the back, and Zaya, the German "Shredder"

Our new patio, honeysuckles in the back, and Zaya, the German “Shredder”

Thanks for reading….I’ll be more prompt for my next post.

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