Pottering: As in pottering around | definition – to spend time in a relaxed way doing small jobs and other things that are not very important He spent his holidays pottering around the house/garden. (From Merriam Webster)
Puttering: As in puttering about | definition – to busy or occupy oneself in a leisurely, casual, or ineffective manner: to putter in the garden. (From Dictionary.com)
Hi there! How are you all holding up? We’ve made it to September, yay us! This weekend, I stepped in a mostly empty bucket that was sitting on the kitchen floor, as one does, and I came down hard on my knee. That has meant a few days of sitting with my leg elevated and has effectively put the kibosh on “being productive”. Kind of a bummer when your getting ready to publish a post on meeting goals! Productivity and a clean kitchen are overrated, right?
I’m a Planner. I love having to do lists with tasks that can be crossed off and goals, both short term and long term. It’s a bit of a sickness. And it’s led me to believe that a recurring post with my main monthly goals for the acreage is a great idea! It might not be, since many of the goals seem very specific and particular to Keeper’s but I’m hoping they spark some ideas for others.
Point is, I love to potter around and putter about though in a slightly more effectual manner than their definitions suggest! Here are my acreage goals for the month of September 2020.
1) Tree and Invasive Species Clean Up
About half of my 2.62 acres is woodland. It already had a lot of downed branches, limbs and trees when I moved in. After the Derecho (an inland hurricane) hit Iowa in early August there is extra cleanup. The good news is, I want to keep many dead and downed trees (snags) in the forest because they are crucial habitat for wildlife.
Another more important part of this goal is to tackle some of the invasive understory that is dominating the woodland on the croft. The plant pictured to the left is a non-native species of Honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.). It, along with the other major invasive species, buckthorn, crowd out native plants and smother diversity.
July to September is a good time to eradicate these species because the “juices” (technical term) are flowing towards the roots in preparation for winter so by cutting them and treating the stump with a very targeted application of herbicide, it prevents them from re-sprouting.
Why did I use a banner of some dead grass above? Because, that’s future prairie, folks, not just a lawn graveyard!
I’m planning on turning about 1/8 of an acre (5500 square feet) at the front of my property into a diverse native prairie. Native seed is best sewn in late fall, just before the ground freezes (here that will be anywhere from late October to late November), so I’ll be working over the next couple of months to get the grass killed and the site prepped for prairie seed!
My specific tasks this month are to rake out the thatch and hit it again with herbicide.
3) Garden Preparation and Transplant Blueberries
Meet the killer project for this month. The covered area in the picture, behind my incredibly cute doggo, is the middle 1/3 of my future garden. I’m developing the garden slowly and in stages. Because again, transforming this much lawn into a garden space = killer.
This month I plan to remove the sod from this area and transplant four potted blueberries into a special higher-acid soil area that I will prepare. Easy Peasy? Late September is the latest this can happen if I want the blueberries to actually have a chance to do a little establishing before winter and I’m probably pushing it even then. It’s a nail-biter!
If there is one thing that has occupied my mind the most since the I acquired Keeper’s Croft, it is fencing. Do you know how expensive professionally installed fence is? Very. But guess how much experience I have with installing fence? ZERO.
I’ve spent hours online researching fencing materials and installation. I’ve stressed over exactly how large to make the fence area for my dogs and how to configure things for best use. It feels like this permanent expensive thing and if I don’t get it right, this whole endeavor is doomed. As you can tell, my fence feelings are fraught.
I think I’ve settled on what I’m going to do and am going to try to get my hands on materials this month. Steel posts and hog panels. I still have lots of questions (like gates? how do you install/make a gate??). However, the materials are relatively inexpensive and I can install them myself with the help of a friend or two. It will also be less permanent so I can reconfigure if needed.
5) Chimney Sweep
I have not used either of the two fireplaces in the house yet because they were not inspected before sale. The closer we get to winter the busier the chimney folks will likely get so I’m going to at least try to get an appointment scheduled this month. I like this task. Makin’ a phone call. I think I can actually do that!
That’s it! If I can accomplish these 5 things, I’ll feel like a superhero and if I don’t? A total an utter failure! Just kidding, I’ll regroup and get creative. To see how these fit into my overall planning goals, visit the post about my initial steps after moving to the Croft!
What are you hoping to get done this month?
I’m a little nervous to make the first fiction book I recommend a Young Adult Mystery but I’m in the middle of reading it and it gives me the September vibes. What are the September vibes, you ask? School starting, cooler weather, heading into fall. September Vibes.
Truly Devious is a mystery trilogy by Maureen Johnson that follows crime-obsessed Stevie as she enrolls at an exclusive and experimental boarding school. The school caters to older teens with unique geniuses and it sits dramatically upon a mountain in Vermont. Stevie is excited to be there because one of the biggest mysteries of the century took place there 60 years before. However, when some of her fellow students start dying, Stevie may have gotten more than she bargained for. I just finished book two and the series has been delightful thus far, so make a cup of tea and cuddle up with this fun story! Click the book cover below to check it out!
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