Dirt, Wood, Steel & Smirks

Us, busy? No way.

Last week I said to MysteryMan (regarding some project or another for the house), “let’s just do that in the winter when we’re stuck indoors.” He blinked at me eleven times and then started checking of weekends on his fingers. Between vacations, obligations, holidays, and occasional sleeping… we have about 4 free weekends left before the end of the year.

It’s terrifying.

We handle it by doing what we usually do when things get stressful… Playing in the dirt.


This weekend was the point-of-no-return for the new donkey pasture. Which basically meant we got the fence in, or we didn’t get donkeys in the Spring. It’s hard to believe (or maybe not so hard, this is Michigan, after all) but the ground will be freezing in the next couple of weeks, and we might not see diggable dirt again until May.

We told ourselves this time last year that we’d put the donkey fence up in spring and then get the donkeys. Yeah. DO YOU SEE ANY DONKEYS? No. And it’s almost November.

So we finally sat down and had the come-to-jesus talk  about making some decisions on what to do with our current property and our hopes for  future property. I was pretty staunchly against boxing everything in with woven wire fences, and MysteryMan was pretty staunchly against digging 32 post holes. (Oh come on, I’m not insane. Mostly. We were going to rent an auger.)

Given that things might change in the next couple of years (we’re hoping once the addition is on to see how our finances are looking so we can purchase some additional acres to the North or East of us) I caved and we went with the woven wire for speed and flexibility when installing the 66o lineal feet of fence. But only once MysteryMan solemnly swore that we would move part of this fence and replace it with a split rail in the next year or two.

In 5 hours on Sunday we installed 330′ worth of posts, including some heavy corner posts we salvage from a recent demo site.


250 feet…so long you can hardly see the end of it. Can you say, arms ouch? Yeah.

What I loved about this project though, was that it gave me a chance to photograph some more old tools.


The tape for measuring the distance between posts, the digger for the big corner posts, and a level to make sure we didn’t end up on the slant.


We’ve determined the mathematical equation for MysteryMan being twice as strong as I am which is basically that he can get twice as many posts in with the same amount of time.

The count to date:

ME: 1 corner post, 9 line posts

MM: 2 corner posts, 22 line posts

Is that a smirk, MysteryMan?


He’s actually saying, “put the camera down and KEEP DIGGING.”

But darling, the entire Internet needs to see that pretty face of yours! (I like it when he goes full-on lumberjack with the beard.)

And Speaking of Lumber…

Sometimes “fortunate” things happen, like MysteryMan somehow gets to be in charge of a project where seven truckloads of freshly cut trees are going to the dump, but instead get mysteriously diverted (and deposited) in our backyard.


What are we going to do with seven truckloads of freshly cut trees, you ask?

I have no idea, to be perfectly honest. But it seemed like we needed them, because hey, not enough projects going on around here.


The truth is, I’d rather have these trees growing happily somewhere. What can I say? I like trees better than people. But since I didn’t have any control about the cutting-down of them, I’m settling for making something awesome out of them instead.

I’d like to try making some of my own hand-hewn beams with some of the larger ones (we have a few up to 2′ in diameter) even though when I told  MysteryMan’s grandpa that was my plan, he gave me that same smile as when he saw our 3-foot high corn. I like him because he definitely thinks I’m crazy, but he never says I can’t do it. And I think he might give me an even bigger smile if I actually do.

For these smaller branches…


I’d almost given up on finding the right kind of wood to build a fence like this around my garden:

But it looks like I may just have something to work with after all. Seven truckloads of something, that is.

SEVEN. Did I say that yet? Because that is a lot of wood. More wood than you would expect to see in your backyard ever.

I’m going to be making arbors for the next 15 years. But listen, you never look a gift-load of lumber in the mouth, okay?


6 Responses

  1. I wish I had 7 loads of branches!
    I’d make a lot of mulch to help control all the weeds that come with owning land!

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