Wednesday, April 13, 2022


These early spring days can be unpredictable: cool, cold, freezing, rainy, snowy, a hailstorm, high winds, and occasionally, warm. We're not even half way through April, but we've already had four days warm enough for me to be outside in a T shirt. These are bonus days, and I'm making the most of them. I feel as though I'd been shot out of a cannon, and that's just as well, because there's lots of outside work to do. On Day One of the warm days, I got out the weedwhacker and cut back all the overgrown greenery around Pond One. On Day Two, I took the Good Ship Louise out of drydock (in the drive shed) and pulled her down to the edge of Pond Two with the tractor. I raked up all the leaves that had amassed in the carport over the winter, collected and split enough kindling to last me till the cows come home, and then I went out rowing on Group of Seven Pond. It was pretty excellent, but I've got a lot of upper arm strength to rebuild. On Day Three of the warm days, I went out on Pond Two, and dredged out all the logs than had broken off and fallen in during the winter. This is heavy work, but once the branches are dragged onto the shore to dry out, it looks like a lot has been accomplished. Today was Day Four. It was a beautiful, warm day and I decided that since next week is going to be rainy, I'd better get started clearing the south fence line. I've been working at this project sporadically since I got here three years ago, but it's astonishing how much grows back over one season. There's an old cedar split rail fence running for several hundred feet. It separates my property from Cathy's property (she's my neighbour to the south and has become a good and trusted friend). A fence between us is a bit of a joke, honestly, because we never think twice about being on each other's property. We share tools and keep an eye out for each other. If she's in town and I need tofu or bok choy, she's on it, stat. If she needs me to run a security check on her property, same deal. But, you know, there's the old fence and I really like to look at it, all moss-covered and weatherbeaten. So I started clearing the fence line of all the tenacious tangled vines but are actually an invasive species, called grape-something. I think I cleared about 200 feet today. Here's the first section:
This part of the world is very rocky terrain. Not far from the fence line are two large rocks that always cause me misery. One is very angular and in an awkward spot. If the tractor ever hit that rock, I'd be both in hospital and in the market for a new tractor. The second is like an iceberg: 90% of it is below the surface. The top 10% is covered with moss, so the mower deck of the tractor has hit it several times over the years. I decided both rocks had to be moved. The angular one wasn't too bad. I basically grabbed it and tried to tip it over. On the tenth try, I succeeded. I may need some help relocating it but for now it's out of my way. It may not look all that big in this photo, but it is a brute.
The iceberg rock, I quickly discovered, needed to be dug out. Turns out it had two sidekick rocks, one on either side, but they were of manageable size, and I moved them with ease. It took me three tries to dig down enough to dislodge this huge rock. I needed a shovel, a crowbar, a length of wood and a manual tiller. The cavity it'll leave when it's finally out of the hole will be big enough to bury me in. I've had a good idea, though: I can bring a length of rope down there, wrap the rock in rope, tie it off securely, tie the other end of the rope to the tractor, and try to drag it out. If you never hear from me again, it's likely because this wasn't such a good idea after all. Stay tuned!

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