The push was on. There had been some scattered snow showers in November and now December was on us. If we were going to get the orchard mulched it was now or never. In the shadows snow still lay in a very thin veil on the ground, but in the sunny spots the frost hadn't quite set in yet.
We knew we had to find a reliable source of wood chips so we started making some calls. Tree service companies were hit-or-miss as they were willing to part with chips but only when they were in the area. The land is off the beaten track so most companies wanted us to pay them to haul it up there. So that was a "no-go".
The other thing that is not helping is the fact that our area now has 2 bio-mass facilities where they pay loggers and tree service companies for their wood chips. Don't get us started on this one. First, of all this means a lot of loggers will be cutting extra trees that they wouldn't have normally (stuff that would be junk before is now dollar signs). Second, I had a chance to visit one of these plants and when I asked the general manager how efficient they were he shrugged his shoulders and said, "so-so". I don't believe that these plants should be labeled as "green energy" sources. But like I said.....don't get me started.
But all our calling wasn't in vain. We had known about a large wood chip pile quite near to us in a neighboring town. We thought it was only for the use of the people who lived in that town. Denise discovered that anyone could take from it and that the pile was refreshed quite often from town projects or local people who dumped wood chips there. So the wood chip issues seems to be resolved for the time being.
The second thing we needed was a large amount of cardboard. Nate did some calling on this and on a Friday drove to all the local appliance stores picking up all he could. He also got in touch with a local manufacture of cardboard boxes (yes we have a plant here in the county that makes cardboard boxes) and asked if they had any scrap or waste. They told him that they recycle all their waste but they did set aside bundles of boxes for the community, free of charge (you know - for moving, packing a kids for college, putting in an acre of garden space in an orchard....normal cardboard box stuff.)
So in mid-December the mad rush to finish the orchard commenced. We borrowed one friend's full-size pick-up truck and another friend's double axle dump trailer to move the wood chips (we actually borrowed that first friends tractor as well to load the chips - he lives right near the pile). Seven full loads later we had all we needed to get the job done.
Here is a video and some pictures to show you the process.
THE ORCHARD IS DONE! - HAPPY LITTLE TREES!
and happy little us