It’s been a hard week around the farm. Quite a few of my “critical” projects– the donkey fence, cleaning out the barn, building a chicken run, mowing the back field– are at a tipping point, and just as I lowered my head to plow through these first few weeks of spring, something stopped me dead in my tracks.
My grandpa had a stroke.
My grandpa is by far the strongest man in my life, and the one who loves me the best. We’ve been particularly close since I bought the Liberty House– he’s been my go-to guy when I need advice, equipment, someone to explain how to operate the damn mower. I didn’t quite realize how much I relied on him until he wasn’t there.
And, listen , you couldn’t take that man down with a tank, much less a little blood-clot to the brain, so he’ll pull though this just fine, but since he’s got some recovery time ahead of him I suddenly found myself without my go-to guy, and I was a little like, “Well, shit. Now what do I do?”
What I’ve been doing is visiting the hospital as often as possible, reminding myself how lucky I am to have him and to have spent so much time with him in the last year, and digging deep to remember that as long as I’m willing to work my ass off (no doubt that work ethic came straight from Papa, too) there’s nothing I can’t do.
So the little cart with a flat tire that my grandpa was going to fix and bring up to the farm so I could hitch it up to the mower and use it for mucking the donkey barn or moving wood out of the junk pile became my first project…
First thing Saturday I set to fixing the tire and hitching it up to the mower:
My grandpa was right (as usual) this cart made life on the farm a thousand times easier. I’ve been trying for the last two weeks to get the remaining part of the junk pile under control so that it could be mowed around. I’m having a huge problem with ticks on the donkeys (and myself) so getting rid of any tall grass in the pasture is priority one.
As you can see, I’ve got my work cut out for me. I actually found another wheelbarow-ish thing in the remaining rubble…
This may be one of the greatest finds in the pile so far because look what I can do with it.
However, the cart was actually way more efficient for the volume of crap I need to move.
I hauled a ton of brush and wood to the burn pile, and more wood went to the big barn to be sorted for future projects. Plus there was a truck-bed liner, and six garbage bags full of actual junk to haul around.
It doesn’t look like a good 30 hours worth of progress, but wading your way through a mass of vines, brush, grasses, and fallen-over-barn takes longer than one would think. There was a point where I was up to my eyeballs in what could only be Devil’s Snare and the first thought that came to mind was “I need a machete.”
Uh. I’m the person who damn near lost a finger tip to a piece of metal roofing. Give me a machete and I’ll probably cut off my own leg.
But, I happened to find this thing at the local hardware store instead…
Yes. It’s every bit as amazing and destructive as it looks. Plus, great practice for your golf swing. Not that I would ever take time to golf.
The cart also made a deep-cleaning of the donkey barn significantly easier than the last time I did it (which required enlisting my mom to help me drag a twenty foot tarp heaped with stall bedding a good 50 yards to the compost pile.)
I’ll tell you honestly, in the last week I’ve felt pretty stuck. Stuck because I don’t have nearly enough time to get all this work done, stuck because half the time I don’t have the right equipment or enough man-power to get things under control, stuck because sometimes I don’t even know what questions to ask much less have anyone to ask them to. But if I wanted to sit on my ass watching TV and eating bon-bons all day, I’d buy a brand new condo somewhere that doesn’t require any work or maintenance.
The truth is, even when it’s hard, even when it seems overwhelming, I love the work. I love spending eight hours outside on a Saturday fighting the jungle that is slowly encroaching on my property, slinging around barn beams that by all account should be too heavy for me to move, doing everything I can to be the best caretaker of this property that I can be.
And, you know, it has it’s rewards.
The good news is, starting Saturday I’ve got nine whole days off from my day-job (I haven’t taken a full week of vacation at once in…maybe ever) so if this place isn’t in working order after that, it might never be.