Saturday, February 4, 2012

Burning, burning, burning

The last week or so has been all about catching up with cutting down the rice grass.  Rice grass is a very important component of my little ecosystem.  It has a very deep root system that holds the sand in place.  It is also a great green factor that helps keep the place feeling cooler in the summer time.

The rice grass goes to seed and then there is a dense tuft of golden brown dried grass left.  In the spring, this seems to shade out the new growth.  That seems to interfere with the grass growing thick and green.  The grass grows in clumps and is what is called a bunch grass.

Bear in mind that we have almost five acres and at least 3 of that is covered in rice grass.  We are finally starting to get rice grass in the orchard area.  The orchard area out front was pretty barren when we moved in. We have a lot of moving sand out there so I have been giving that area a little extra water in the spring by moving a sprinkler around for a  week or so.  It doesn't take much extra water to encourage the rice grass babies to really get going.

The first couple of years we lived here I cut the dead rice grass tops by hand and fed it to the goats.  I finally got a battery powered hedge trimmer but it was too big of a job for the little machine.  This year, we bought the gas hedge trimmer on line from ebay.  Wow, what a difference!

So, I am whacking down over grown antelope salt bush, smoke bushes and greasewood.  I cleared out the area where I want to put the miniature horse.  I whacked off the tops of the dried grasses.  Then, I have to start hauling and raking and piling it all up into a burn pile.  Since I don't want the burn pile to get too big, I stage a bunch of the brush and grasses off to the side.  I get a piece of newspaper into the middle of the small pile of brush and grasses and "Whoosh" it leaps into flames.  Those desert plants are really flammable.

I also used the hedge trimmer to clean out all the garden beds.  I cut the daylillies and irises, the silver sage and the yarrow off low near the ground.  I raked out the beds and burned all of that as well.  Sometimes I compost but this year I just want to be done with this phase so I can move on.

There is some transplanting I need to do.  More about that tomorrow.

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