Digging Holes

Oh my god, holes. We dug six holes today and it was not easy.  Some of the soil in the garden digs like it’s mixed with concrete.

Kyle went to Tucson today, leaving us with two tasks: dig up three fence posts and three cat’s claw trees.  We got to work right away, and the first two fence posts went easily enough–at least only taking one person’s effort.  The third was a bitch.  These fence posts are embedded in the garden via poured concrete going down at least two feet; this third post had been poured into untouched soil.  We encountered this soil in a particularly hard stretch of the wall we’re building.  It’s like digging through stone.

It was a fun morning anyway, as the weather has turned warm and the alpacas were particularly friendly.  We took a mid morning break and fed the alpacas some food scraps, including a prepackaged salad mix.  Thunder, the doe-eyed male alpaca, was into it.  He bullies the other alpacas away and dives right in, savoring every last bite of old soggy lettuce.

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After the fence posts had all been dug up and laid out next to the barn, we turned to the cat’s claw.  Cat’s claw is a nasty tree with spikes that snatch at you–more than once they’ve gotten caught up with my hair or pulled Pat’s hat right off his head.  I sort of relished taking them out of the ground.

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The way to take cat’s claw trees out of the ground is to dig a big hole so you can get down at the deep roots and lop them off, one by one, deeper and deeper in the ground, until the main root is thin enough to sever.  We started with a small one and were discouraged to find the root was long and tenacious.  With some work, we got it out.  The next one was bigger, but we managed just the same.  The third one, though–it was rooted in the same hard soil, and it took a lot of patience and tenacity to get it out.  We used the heavy bar to loosen the soil and slowly shoveled it out, severing the roots as soon as possible.

Kyle had us save some of the long portions of the cat’s claw and the big mesquite tree cuttings for making snaths, the handles of scythes, which he is eager to use next season for harvesting his own hay.  He’s been showing us videos of scythes all week.  I think it’d be a great addition to his operation here.

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