Getting Back At It

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This week Damon brought his dump truck and small excavator to the farm. Last fall I had given him one side of beef for his family and another for his mother. Now he is finishing working them off.

On Wednesday while I was teaching, he and his niece moved my 20-ton winter manure pile to the back field. This will cut down on flies at the barn enormously. The pile will continue to compost over the summer and I will spread it on the field in the fall.

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Next, together Damon and I plan to address the 6′ x 200′ garden trench he dug for me behind the garage last summer. He had been convinced at the time that it was a mistake, and when, shortly thereafter, I became submerged in the massive house move, it looked as if he’d been right. Nothing happened with the trench all fall and winter. This morning it looks as raw a mess as it did when he first carved it.

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Rocks everywhere. Long heavy piles of dirt. The sour soil not even growing a weed.

However, as part of his beef payment, last October Damon brought me two truckloads of topsoil and then tossed the soil with my most aged manure pile. This topsoil + compost mix has been stacked, waiting to be moved in from the field, all winter. Here’s Toby making a pioneering ascent a few days before Christmas.

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Tomorrow is our school’s graduation. On Sunday, I will have a day off before next week’s meetings.

If all goes well, Damon and I hope to scrape up and remove the dirt and stones that border the trench, dumping them in an obtrusive pile somewhere in the back that is accessible to me for use later (I have a thousand pasture holes that need filling). Then we will truck the topsoil up the property and drop it strategically in piles down the trench.

If Damon has time, he will spread it roughly with the excavator. If not, I will shovel. (Despite my arthritic aches and pains, I can still beat most 8th grade boys arm-wrestling. Jobs like this are the reason why.)

I’m looking forward to getting back at it.

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