Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Changes on the Upper Area - Horse Free for 1 Year

When we first got here the upper area was a jungle. Trees that had been cut down (the bad ones) were left and big branch piles and stumps and vines had grown over everything. Horses were up there on and off for a few months until we decided we had to boot them out. The critical moment was when I moved some 3 foot palms from in the gully area up onto the top and watched a horse walk over, bite the leaf and haul off with the whole palm with me chasing from behind! There was plenty of stuff for them to eat, they just wanted what they watched me plant more. They really messed it up - it stunk, vines were all that was left, and there were bare patches from where they liked to stand and pee.

After a lot of work it is looking better! Jeff has chain sawed many of the stumps...we've cut "bad" trees selectively...we have consolidated piles of branches which have since decomposed...I've used the compost around new plantings...we have pulled vines and more vines to encourage the grass to grow.

The big tree on the left I kept so I can start a small tree under it and use it for shade. There is agave, canistel, plumeria, pomegranite, jakfruit, mamey de pais, ylang ylang, a small lime, bay rum, cashew, moralon, 3 coffees, aguacate, flamboyants, bananas, palms. Most were 6 inch starts and a few were seeds. It'll be interesting when everything grows up! I tried to plant on the contours and leave adequate spacing. It is tough though, since 15 feet from tree to tree makes everything look bare! I know from past "too close together" plantings and from glancing around the yard at mature trees that it will all work out.

Here is the seedling of the flamboyant on the top of the photo (second tree from right).

And here is another flamboyant I started from seed. Jeff just whacked the grass down after 3 months of letting it go (he is sick of weed whacking) and I raked the cut grass. Normally I would leave it to mulch the ground, but it was 5 feet tall and I needed it to keep building my trail. I rake the grass and dismantle stick piles and use the sticks/branches to lay out the trail location. Then I dig dirt from the top and shovel it over the twiggy stuff into an almost V. That angle ends up flat when the sticks and grass cuttings decompose leaving me with a flat trail. It is getting nicer and things are getting easier to maintain. It will be really nice when everything grows up and the shady areas below keep the grass down and all the stars in the universe line up...yes I am dreaming. Rains can flatten any terrace or trail you've made unless you constantly work it. Trees (the bad ones) can overtake an area in no time and the vines make everything a tangled mess. But yes, it is like a little arboretum in the making! I see it all clearly.

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