Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The Great Ivy Removal Project has begun.  (I prefer the word "eradication" but the acronym wasn't as good.  Still, it implies something more permanent to me.)  But, regardless, we are starting to remove ivy from the top of our great hill.  I'm unable to estimate the amount of English Ivy growing out there; our yard is large.  I cleared about a sixth of the slope last year when I built the retaining wall.  There was terrible erosion before the wall got finished and I could put down mulch.  This time I'm leaving the hill and just aiming for the top.  The yard feels small outside our kitchen and dining rooms, but there is so much space up high that we've been wasting.  I'd like to move the playset up there and encourage ball play etc. to move up there too.

One of our neighbors worked one summer to rid his backyard of ivy, and his property is the largest one bordering our own.  He used a combination of mowing and drought.  And, according to his wife, frustration and grief over the death of his father and free time from recent retirement.

I suspect he had more free time than we do and we can't count on another drought. (I don't even want to hope for one.)  But, I got two estimates to have the work done for us and CD decided we could do this ourselves and save $700-$1000.

Sunday was a beautiful, warm and sunny day to begin.  We carried/hauled/pushed the mower up the hill. Steps are needed but not in existence yet.  And since they take either time and skill or money, they haven't been planned yet.  I'm not sure whether we can do this project without them or if we're going to need to stop and deal with them first.  Time will tell.

Meanwhile, we've gotten started.  It wasn't as hard as I expected to mow the area.  There were lots of sticks (and six ancient remains of Christmas trees prior to our own four) and undergrowth that has sprouted since we last cleared it two years ago.  We kept the boys busy hauling branches out of our way.  In just a few hours we mowed about a third of the usable space.  The far edge has never been cleared of underbrush since it gives us maximum privacy from the McMansion back there, uphill and three stories tall, towering over us.  We may leave that area with ivy for now.

Two areas show promise as play spaces.  The plan is to spray nasty poison on the ivy several times and then pile it deep with mulch.  We haven't figured out how to get the mulch up there yet.  Again, a problem for another time.  I'm happy that we've begun.  CD has less time than I do, but I can spray nasty poisons as well as anyone else, so I'll start on that.

*G.I.R.P. Now with Itching! 
CD's arm are covered with what looks like poison ivy and apparently itches like it too.  Pook's face started to develop an itchy rash which then spread down his neck.  Took him to the doctor ($40 copay) to have it too diagnosed as contact dermatitis (could be poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac....) and got him some prescriptions ($10) to deal with it.  Then I stopped at the big box garden center to buy evil poison brush spray ($25).

 I might keep track of expenses as we go to see how this works out.


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