Burying the Stump Dump

August 9, 2012

Last night my friend D spread tons of sand over the long gully in the back pasture that was filled with stumps, broken logs, rocks, and boulders by his father, Allen, when clearing the land in the spring of 2010. Allen referred to the gully as the “draw.” I called it the stump dump.

The rough dump had been impossible to walk over, much less mow, and despite my occasional efforts with a weedwhacker, it had grown up in an impenetrable jungle of raspberries and sapling trees. It was awful to have such a big section of the future pasture wasted. Two weeks ago I penned the sheep around it so they would eat down the foliage and I could at least revisit the contours of the problem.

D came by the farm. I told him how Allen had planned to smooth and cover the jumble of stumps and rocks but had run out of time. I explained how some months later Leon had tried to bulldoze soil from the back of the cabin knoll to bury the mess but had been forced to give up — the land was “too bony,” more rocks than dirt.

D looked around but didn’t say much.

A few days later he called me. Spotting a giant pile of excavated fill at a construction site in town, he had stopped and offered to take the fill away for less than the usual local hauler. He got the job.

On Sunday D hauled fill from 9 AM to 5 PM, bringing twelve big dump-truck loads down the highway to my farm. Last night after work he spread them.

By the time D finished, more than half the draw was smooth and level. I tried to thank him but he brushed my words aside with his usual scowl.

“Like I told you before. You help me. I help you.”

This is a pretty amazing return on cooking diabetic lunches and letting him camp and hunt on the back acres. I am very, very lucky.

Someday I’ll find more fill and I’ll be able to pay him to finish the job.

Crawling Out from Under

August 1, 2012

The last month on the farm has been hot, buggy, hectic, and exhausting. The same could be said about my personal life, minus the biting flies.

At one point the problems to be solved were multiplying so quickly I felt as if I had been trapped in front of a pitching machine firing staccato hard balls and if I lost my focus even for a moment I could only cower and cover my head.

My hope is that things may be settling down and I can get back to posting about the farm. Here is a teaser photo of Henry, my foster calf. Yes, I have three calves now! Two bulls and a heifer. Believe it or not, this is part of my effort to simplify.

All will be revealed.