Pile Progress: Wherein I “Drive” a Tractor

Sorting the rubble pile–which early on was one of those I-don’t-know-where-to-start-much-less-believe-it-will-ever-get-done projects– has quickly become one of my favorite chores to work on around the property. First, because this is the kind of mindless manual labor I can do for hours on a weekend to decompress, and second, because the progress is enormous.

Just as a little refresher, a few weeks ago when my mom and I started on the pile, this is what we were working with:


Which with Herbie the Bobcat and a little help, ended up looking like this:


Then, since I was nursing a broken heart after having to take Herbie back, I decided to start piling up some of the wood manually.


Like a magician, I actually managed to pull two more wheelbarrows out of that hay pile, bringing the total count on the property up to six.


The fact that I have a pile of junk on this property so extensive that it could hold six wheelbarrows is pretty astounding.

Also astounding? I managed to move a good pile of barn beams around without the help of Herbie. The trick is to just pick up one end and pivot it 180-degrees over and over until you reach the pile.


I also re-learned a lesson about levers and fulcrums that every six year old who has ever played on a see-saw knows: Don’t stand on one side of a lever and drop something heavy on the other end. You can guess how that turned out for me.

The one thing about this work that sucks is that I tend to use my forearms to help me grip overly large, heavy objects, which means I have to wear long sleeves for the next week or suffer odd looks from people who probably think I was attacked by an over-caffeinated chinchilla.


Which wouldn’t even surprise me in this house, as evidenced by the fact that I found chipmunk tail sans chipmunk on my kitchen floor last night and barely even batted an eye.


Yes. That happened.

Random animal parts aside, at the end of The Day of Many Wheelbarrows I had a pretty good start on the west side of the pile…


Then, last weekend I decided to tackle this:


Which meant getting the tractor out of the barn and putting it to use hauling garbage from the pile to the dumpster.

Getting to this point only required one call to my father that went something like this:

Him: Hello?
Me: I’m calling to register a complaint regarding my upbringing.
Him: What’s that?
Me: There was a serious deficiency in my education around driving lawnmowers and tractors.
Him: [muffled laughter]
Me: Not funny.
Him: What’s the problem.
Me: How do I make it go forward.

Yeah, it was a rough start. However, I got the hang of it pretty fast. I also had help from a friend who basically stacked a pile of firewood taller than she was in under two hours. And when we were finished…


So awesome.

I’ve basically got two thirds of the pile cleared out now, with one big section left. It’s still a ton of work, but feels so much more manageable than it did a month ago.

Now the real fun will come when I get to start building things from all the wood and brick I’ve saved.

9 Responses

  1. Circle the wagons…er wheelbarrows! You are making incredible progress and through your words I sense the feeling of accomplishment! Great job!

  2. Wheelbarrows aren’t that cheap new – I wonder if the previous owner had a construction business? Yuck to the chipmunk tail, lol!!

  3. If we ever get over to your neck of the woods, I’ll have my husband run a pest control solution up for you (it’s what he does for a living). I guarantee you that he’ll find all the holes the little critters keep on coming in!!

    He explained to me once that mice can basically squish themselves flat to fit through a crack about the depth of a quarter. Ick. Just ick!!

  4. One of my two wheelbarrows has a flat tire and tire goo hasn’t helped. So wishing I had a couple of those. Great progress!

  5. What is with the chipmunk tail? Seriously!! Can a chipmunk shed its tail like a lizard can? Please tell me you have a cat because finding a random animal body part in the house would have me calling in the exorcists. Just a little too freakishly occult for me!

  6. Looks like your making great progress. There has to be some sort of explanation for the Chipmunk tail! Have you got any plans for the nice wooden beams?

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