Saturday the weather cleared as promised, and the work party was a resounding success! We got more done than I had dared to hope for, and had a pretty good time doing it. It sure makes a difference when you have a large, willing crew of hardworking folks for a task like this. Here's a big THANKYOU to all of you who helped pull off this huge, muddy task. And now, on with the pictures!
Here's what we started with in the morning, all the holes which we dug out on Wednesday with their color-coded stakes ready for planting:
The first wheelbarrow load of freshly dug wild salmonberry plants. Before the septic mound was installed last spring, we rescued a large number of the native salmonberries which were growing where the mound was to go. They spent the summer heeled-in under a hemlock tree and then yesterday we re-dug them and moved them to the mitigation area. Some of them didn't make it through the summer (we didn't even water them), but we were able to find 50 of them in good enough shape to make the second move on Saturday. We gave them some extra compost and I hope they'll thrive in their new spot. They're tough little plants, so they should do fine.
Dave wrangles a salmonberry into a planting hole. These plants are much larger than nursery stock would be, but that just means more berries sooner!
Nick and I teamed up to plant some salmonberries. Some of the holes were, um, excessivly deep (damn that inexperienced & inconsistant backhoe operator, anyhow!), and required quite a bit of fill. Also, they were full of water. It took one person to hold up the plant, while the other shoveled compost into the water until it would stand up on its own.
Cary loads up another wheelbarrow with compost...
Bo takes on the rosa pisocarpus:
Nick gets started on the bark mulch placement. We not only had to clear a 2' circle around each plant (we flipped the sod over) but we also had to apply a 4" thick mulch over that area to further inhibit competition from the field grass.
Part of the group in action (L-R: Reimar, Nick, Bo, Cary, Charlotte. Anita and Chris managed to thoroughly dodge the camera but worked hard all the same.)
Charlotte not only wields a mean shovel, she looks good doing it!
Reimar was movin' pretty fast, but I managed to get a picture of him during a lull in the action:
Nick, Cary and Bo discuss the finer points of fence building:
I actually had to pull the plug on the fence building at about 6 pm, because Cary and Nick were out in the field working on it after dark in the rain with only the headlights from my car to go by. They got it around the corner though, and we'll be able to finish it up next weekend. (We came back on Sunday and took these pictures of what we'd accomplished.)
Here's a view of the finished mitigation planting, taken from the upstairs bedroom window. Looks pretty professional, doesn't it? The wood in the foreground is the fenceposts and rails, all laid out and ready to install.
There is just a little more to do, we have to install some "woody debris" (aka logs), finish the fence, and plant a few more shrubs along the west side of the driveway. Then we can call the county and arrange for them to come and inspect everything "as-built", and hopefully they'll sign off on it without any trouble! Then we can get out money back (we had to deposit nearly $3500 in a special account as a sort of guarantee that this work would get done) and just let the plants do their thing. They'll keep monitoring it (and us) for 5 years to make sure that the plants all grow big and happy in their newly restored wetland buffer.
It's so nice to have the lion's share of this work out of the way. This had been causing me a huge amount of stress which is now gone. Once again, a big heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped! It sure is nice to have friends and family willing to come together like this. :) And for those of you who weren't able to make it this weekend, don't worry - we'll have more work parties in the future!