Shoveling

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I had been nailing earlier this week when my attention focused on the grading around the barn addition. Back in 2011, Allen had dug gravel from the pond and I had hired D on his excavator to spread it around all the concrete piers, but we hadn’t had enough to finish the job.

Now as I looked at my lower girts I’d suddenly thought in alarm, “Even if I can get this addition built, how will I keep the animals inside it?” Not only could a coyote enter under the boards, the gaps were so large a sheep might even roll out.

Thus my hurried purchase of twenty tons of gravel.

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We had a fresh inch of snow yesterday morning. When I let everyone out at morning chores, the calves entertained themselves in the cold by running and bucking and scattering the sheep.

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For my first hour of shoveling I decided to concentrate on building up a low berm around the outside of the addition. The ground was very uneven and slippery with ice.

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Donald arrived at ten. He is twenty years old, a nice boy and a hard worker.

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He is also not over-awed by authority. We talked as we worked and he was reminiscing about high school.

“In high school I was basically a bookworm and a nerd,” I confessed.

“I could have told you that,” he said.

We quickly set up a system of ramps on my berm. Donald filled the wheelbarrow and pushed each heavy load up the ramps to dump it inside the frame.

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Then I shoveled the gravel to plug the gaps. It was a slow process.

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It snowed on and off all day. Donald stayed for four hours. I shoveled for a total of seven hours before I quit at dusk to muck the barn, bring the animals in for the night, and cook dinner.

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We were only able to move about half of the crusher run — approximately ten tons. But if the pile is too frozen to work this morning, that will be good enough.

*  *  *  *  *

DH and Lucy have both been miserable with flu for the past week, with streaming noses, coughing, and persistent fevers over 102°. I rarely get sick — I tell myself no germ can withstand the power of cow manure! — but last night as my tired muscles unknotted in a hot bath, I realized I was beginning to cough.

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