April 3, 2013
Some Repairing and Maintenance at the Farm
Recently, there were a couple of different crews at the farm repairing and maintaining. When I bought my farm about thirteen years ago, I hired Alfredo LDC - The Landscape Specialists to build a long stone wall along the property line of Girdle Ridge Road and Maple Avenue. Alfredo and his highly skilled crew constructed a handsome double dry wall from quarried stone. It's really quite amazing, but with shifting ground, sections of the wall needed some repair. On another recent day, my arborists, SavATree, came with a crew to do some high pruning on various trees, including the stately allee of pin oak. The pin oak is a fast-growing tree, and the allee has really benefited from the pruning.
1 On a recent late winter day, a crew from Alfredo Landscape Inc. came to repair sections of the stone wall that encloses my farm along Girdle Ridge Road and Maple Avenue.
2 I hired Alfredo to build this wall when I first purchased the farm.
3 This style of wall is known as a dry stone wall. Dry stone is a method of building, in which structures are constructed from stones without any mortar to bind them together.
4 Dry stone walls and structures are stable because of their artful construction of a strong, load-bearing façade of carefully selected interlocking stones.
5 Certain areas of the wall needed repair because tree roots beneath the soil have caused the stones to shift and loosen.
6 This type of wall is known as a "double" and was constructed by placing two rows of stones along the boundary. The individual rows are formed from large, flattish stones, with smaller stones placed between the two, acting as supports, called chocks.
7 The walls are built up to the desired height, layer by layer.
8 At crucial intervals, large tie-stones, or through stones, are set in place which span both faces of the wall.
9 Those tie-stones greatly increase the strength of the wall.
10 The large stones on the top layer are called capstones.
11 Like the stones for the upright rows, the capstones are carefully chosen by these expert wall builders to interlock and hold the two walls together.
12 Dry stone walls have been around for thousands of years, and can be traced to the start of the Neolithic Age in 7,000 B.C., when the first farming communities emerged in ancient Greece.
13 When people began to cultivate their own plants and animals, they built these walls as a way of identifying land as their own. The walls also helped to keep livestock and poultry from straying.
14 When one visits Machu Picchu in Peru, one learns that in the 15th century AD, the Inca made use of otherwise unusable slopes by building amazing dry stone walls high in the mountains to create expansive terraces for farming.
15 Farmers in rocky regions all around the world are well-known for their stone walls. Stones needed to be removed from fields so the fields could be cultivated and were piled around the perimeters forming walls.
16 Those walls created a boundary, but they also formed enclosed pasture lands for grazing.
17 I have always liked the way a dry stone wall looks around a property and I have always admired the work of Alfredo and his talented crew.
18 And if anyone is wondering what the black fencing is - it's a tall deer fence, which does a good job keeping them off the farm.
19 A view of the the very long wall through the maple grove
20 On another recent day, a crew from SavATree, my arborists, came to do some more winter pruning.
21 Here they are pruning the pin oak allee, which had grown considerably during this past year.
22 A long pole saw was used to remove broken and dead branches and also any branches that looked especially crowded.
23 One fellow climbed into a bucket and secured his safety harness.
24 The controls for raising and lowering are right in the bucket.
25 The operator controls where the bucket goes.
26 Higher branches are pruned in this manner.
27 The pruned branches were chipped and carted away.