I’ve gone mute lately. I guess I’ve been concentrating on other things.
This past weekend was part play, part work. Saturday we went to my parents’ house. Mom was having a bad day for pain, but despite that it was very good to see how much better she’s doing since her surgery. Even having a bad day, the improvement was noticeable – in her attitude if not her mobility. I gather she’s usually better than that. She keeps telling me to bring my laundry with me, so this time I did, and managed to knock out two loads while we were there. Bob and dad talked about chain saws, mom and I chatted, and I think Charlotte got a good “gran-gran” fix. She got to see grandma, she got to play in the sandbox with grandpa, she got to try out a tricycle in the driveway – what’s not to like for a little girl?
Sunday dawned earlier than I would have liked. The little girl who used to play quietly while we slept in has been replaced by one who wants to play downstairs. So far we haven’t encouraged her to try to go *down* the stairs by herself, and I don’t want her to for a while. Then when I went in to change her diaper and get her dressed, she was *quite* clear that only daddy would do. Sigh. So up we all got, and started our day. Bob went out to mow, and I went out to keep Charlotte busy away from the lawn mower. I got the flowers from last weekend planted, and introduced Charlotte to weeding. We filled up her little plastic wheelbarrow with pulled weeds, and she was just over the moon about it. She could not wait for daddy to be done with the lawn to go to the compost pile with her. I wish I’d had the camera – she was very cute running along with her little wheelbarrow full of weeds. I ended up doing more weeding than planned because she wanted it filled back up again. Twice. Once I teach her the difference between the weeds and the flowers, I’m going to hire her out - after all, she’s built closer to the weeds than I am. J Anchors were added to the swing set legs, and we moved on to the next item on the list. “Move rocks.”
There was a likely looking rock right on the corner of the driveway turn-around, and we thought we would start with that one, as it was closest to where we wanted it than the Plan B rocks. We assembled the implements of destruction, grabbed a piece of oak for a fulcrum, and gave it a try. After prying at it from a few angles and realizing that my toes were coming off the ground, the bar was curving, and the rock wasn’t even moving, we decided that particular rock was the tip of an iceberg, and was not going to move without heavy equipment. So that rock is still where it was last week, and where it will be next week and all the weeks thereafter.
Plan B involved taking all the tools and such into our front woods and scavenging the remains of an old stone wall that I stumbled across (literally) while spraying the mountain laurels. Charlotte was not on board for that – I think she’s a little scared of the front wooded area. It was lunchtime anyway, so we broke for food, and after lunch Bob convinced her to take a nap. We, however, went back after the rocks.
Big rocks. Bigbigbig rocks. Did I mention that they were big? And heavy?
In any project I prefer to start with the biggest/heaviest whatsis so that I’m wresting with it while I’m freshest. No point in tiring yourself out on the little ones and then not be able to do the big ones. So I picked a likely looking rock, inserted the bar, and gave it a nudge. It moved easily, and Bob and I decided that it was manageable. I apologized a lot over that rock - it was bigger than it looked. It was heavier than it seemed. And it was down in a hole that it might have been in for a hundred years. We had… difficulty with that rock. However, it was a learning experience for positioning fulcrums and using smaller rocks as wedges. It certainly gave me an appreciation for what it took to build those old walls, but I couldn’t help but think that the farmer who put it there in the first place probably had a mule. Or two strapping sons. Or both. Regardless, we finally got it out of its hole and strapped to the cart bed, and discovered that pivoting the cart bed back to flat was going to be as much fun as getting the rock out of the hole. Did I mention that this rock was bigger than I had anticipated? And heavy? We really could have used a third person at that point, but we managed to get it up over the axle. We bogged down in the leaves and humus a few times getting it out of the trees, but once we hit the asphalt driveway it got lots easier, even going uphill. Getting it tipped off the cart and into place behind the house was a little hair-raising, and the bed of the cart whanged me hard in the ribs just at the point when we lost control of the weight, but there was no harm done. Given the potential for crushed hands and feet, a sore spot that didn’t even bruise is getting off pretty lightly.
That rock is going to anchor the corner of the woodpile pad, so once it was in place it was actually time to measure and mark. We broke out the tape measure and string and the line level, and marked our edges and our heights. That was discouraging. I need a lot of rocks. A LOT of rocks. I’m consoling myself by remembering that this whole project started because I was disassembling the circles of rocks that used to mark gardens that aren’t there any more, and they piled up so high, so fast, that this seemed to be a viable solution. After catching our breath, we went back in the woods for more, and I made a discovery. I had been assuming that these rocks that were hardly peeking out from the leaves and branches had been the foundation course of an old wall. They poke up maybe six inches in places, and run in a straight line for a ways, but the rest of the wall is apparently long gone. Or perhaps not. The bottom of the hole that we had just created was another rock, with more off to the side. Either that wall had *deep* foundations, or it just… sank. It’s fairly sandy on our side of the road, so it’s possible. Whatever the answer, we have all the big rocks we care to move. Time like this, I wish I had a friend with a Bobcat. Or a mule. We hauled out two more loads of two (smaller) rocks each. We got a second row across the end, and some large edge rocks set in place across the length of the garage.
At that point my legs gave out, and I decided to lie on the lawn and watch the clouds for a bit.
It was quite the cardio workout. If we just went in there and moved one big rock every day, we would both be in better shape. Of course, we don’t have the *time* to do that. But if we *did*…
I think that we may actually have this done in time to stack the wood on it this fall. The hard, slow part is hauling the big anchor rocks into place. I know that I should probably be digging a course in, but I just can’t face it. We’re going to try it this way and see how it goes. We can get some pressure treated 4x4s after Pennsic while we still have the Jeep and the trailer, and I might just get four cords this year. It’s kind of hard to figure. We went through almost every scrap of last year’s three cords, but Bob was home much of the winter, so there was someone feeding the stove during the day. This winter he’ll be at work, so we’ll burn less. But I hate watching that pile dwindle in the spring and wondering if we’re going to make it. I guess the final determination will be what the price per cord is.
By the time we were done and had everything picked up and put away, I was too tired, and too stinky to sew. The idea of trying to cut accurately measured pieces that tired was laughable. So I guess I will cut four chemises for Charlotte *tonight.* I really do still have a lot to do before Pennsic, and time is running out…