Home Everything Else EMS Artifact Versus The Forsythia, Part Deux

EMS Artifact Versus The Forsythia, Part Deux

EMS Artifact Versus The Forsythia, Part Deux

That was a fast month. When last we left our gripping tale, I had dug out most of the Forsythia, cut back some other stuff and had fire pit day one.

Fire pit day two went better as I had the hang of getting the fire going. That involved going to Walmart and buying a couple of fire starter “bricks”. That, along with some cardboard and small twigs and brush, got the fire going well. Once that was started, I commenced to dragging out the larger brush and some saplings I’d cut down.

I was careful not to let the fire get too high, lest I become “that guy” who set the woods on fire and caused the fire department to come out and extinguish the fire. And tear up my permit.

I also decided to dig out that one root ball that was left. Which turned into about half a dozen or so root balls of various sizes. Each of which seemed to have a boulder attached. Lot’s of quality time with a pick axe and shovel as I dug around the boulders and pried the root balls out of the ground. I would swear that these things were growing as I dug them out, although that doesn’t seem likely.

Speaking of root balls, I burned the ones that I had dug out the previous days. I tossed them on the fire and watched gleefully as they burned. At least those wouldn’t start sprouting leaves again. I hope.

I carted some of the larger rocks and still wet root balls out into the woods behind my neighbor’s yard. Which he was okay with as long as I carted them way out into the woods.

I also now had a friend’s electric chain saw. He bought it as a yard sale, realized he had no practical use for it and gave it to me. It worked okay except it really needed a new chain. Which I only found out after I had bludgeoned a few small trees to death. Still, it was better than cutting them down by hand. Slightly.

Periodically, I’d stop to throw more brush, root balls, branches, or whatever on the fire. Periodically, I’d also stop to let my heart rate drop below 100 beats per minute. This was starting to be too much like work.

After about four hours of work, I had most of the debris burned, most of the big rocks out in the woods, most of the smaller rocks thrown out into the woods, and had discovered and disposed of a dozen or so baseballs, a similar number of tennis balls, a couple of whiffle balls, and several toy cars. All of which had resided for several years out in the Forsythia wilds.

Oh, and I also picked up a nice contact dermatitis. Which didn’t actually manifest itself for a few days, just about the time I landed in Dallas. Since I had the same thing last year when I attacked this mess, I knew to get some Hydrocortisone and use it liberally. Here we are a month later and most of it is gone. Most of it, but there are still a few stubborn areas that insist on periodically causing me to be slightly itchy.

Next time I do this, if there is a next time, I have to remember to wear one of my Louisiana fishing shirts with the long sleeves. They breath, so it doesn’t get too hot and they block the sun. And, hopefully whatever gave me the dermatitis.

Did I mention the thorns? Mixed in with the Forsythia were some thorn bushes, more like thorn trees. The stems or whatever they are called were the diameter of a shovel handle. The thorns themselves were about the size of a Ka Bar blade. Man, those things hurt like hell and left ugly cuts.

I also bought several bags of top soil at a big box store and got several five gallon buckets of prime top soil from a friend’s compost pile. All of which are spread on top of the sandy soil in the back yard to fill in holes and make seeding easier.

Seeding will take place in the fall, along with applying fertilizer. One the advice of a garden specialist (really) I will defer using my handy dandy roto tiller? Why, you may ask. Because it will dig up some deeply buried you know what and it will just start growing again.

Here is what the area looks like, so far.

As you can see, it’s a pretty large area. All of which I used to have to mow, but which became overgrown over the years. Some of the green in the dirt patch grew up literally overnight. Which means that the dirt I got from my friends compost pile is very fertile. It also means I’ll have to do more weed control during the summer.

I’ll spare you part three of this story, unless of course it turns out really well in the spring. Or really poorly.


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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.


  1. One of the ideas I heard from the Dallas “lawn specialist” Doc Howard, an easy way to prepare cleared ground and get rid of all of those “problem” plants…Take sheet plastic (clear, white or black) and cover the bare ground and secure the tarp (Think rocks, lots of rocks) and after a summer cooking under the plastic NOTHING is left alive. Of course this will also kill any and all beneficial ground microbes and earthworms, but those pesky invasive s will be history and the good bugs and worms will return in the fall. The K-bar style thorn trees I had on my property were Bodarc (sp?) commonly known here as Ironwood or Horse apple trees.

    MSG Grumpy

    • Thank you for the suggestion, I might try that. As to the Bodarc, I don’t think that’s it. I’m also not sure I want to know what it actually is. Just that it’s gone. At least for now.

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