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Oh, sure, I meant to get around to taking it out, but at twelve feet wide and forty plus feet long, it was such a daunting task. And the bids, holy cow, multiples of thousands. And so I talked about it the way I’d talked about Megan wanting to play the harp when she was eight. One day she got tired of me waving my hands around and being glib, and she said: “It’s not that I want to play the harp. I’m going to play the harp.” And she then studied with Marion Fouse, harpist extraordinaire, for the next eight years.

Mister Kitty dreaming of harp music
Mister Kitty dreaming of harp music; I know because otherwise he’d be making mischief.


I guess it got like that with my husband, Bill, on the Juniper caper. I was out there with my hand pruners, nibbling around the edges, trying to see how hard it would be to remove it myself, bit-by-bit. This is how I approach all projects, never admitting I’m actually doing it until I’m in too deep to quit.

nibbling at the edges, not fast
Nibbling at the edges is not fast.
years of dead underneath
There were decades of dead underneath.
stacks up quick, even with nibbling method
It stacks up quickly, even with nibbling method.


my highly inefficient method of removal
A highly inefficient means of debris removal.


Meanwhile, Bill was conspiring with friend Dennis, a guy with every manner of manly man tools. Next thing I know, they’ve got chains and a Sawzall and a ratcheting pulley, I’m told is called a “Come A Long.” And, of course, the rig.

men, chains, Come-Along, and utility vehicle
men, chains, Come-Along, and utility vehicle
pause to admire handiwork, Pumpkin remains unimpressed
Men pause to admire handiwork; Pumpkin remains unimpressed.


stump No. 1 is out. 5 more to go.
Stump No. 1 is out. Only 5 more to go.


With all that Juniper piled up, I was starting to lose hope again. Until I called Ranulfo, who sent his trusty team with their six-yard truck. Salvation is at hand.

they had to smoosh it good to make fit
The crew had to smoosh it good to fit


Okay. I admit. The guys’ way was better. And now I have a clean slate for planting. This is the fun part, and something I didn’t anticipate getting to do this year. I’m so excited, waking at 4 am to plot and plan. I have a fair idea of what I’m going to do out there, but always open to suggestions. I’m going to really try to keep it to plants with low water needs that make the birdies and pollinators happy. North-facing, full sun, and good drainage.


clean slate fka the Sea of Juniper

Pretty much the best thing ever.