Cleaning Up

– Posted in: Garden chores

Not this Saturday, but last Friday and Saturday (July 25 and 26)I cleaned up the debris of the fallen willow tree. I was not looking forward to this project because it would be both mind-numbing and labor intensive. Two or so years ago when I was cleaning up from the big maple tree that died in our front yard, it took me forever to clean it all up. The tree was massive, and every large hunk of wood had to be split into firewood before it could be hauled off. Some of the chunks of the trunk were so utterly massive I could not split them into firewood and was forced to roll/haul them to either the burn pile, or some location on the property where they could make seats or ornamental pieces (such as plant stands). It was all very much a gut busting, sweaty, and prolonged process. Though the willow tree was not nearly so big, I still did not feel like spending any portion of my summer hauling around chunks of wood.

When I am faced with something I don’t want to do, that is the time when I am most inventive. Not inventive for excuses (in my book there are no excuses) but inventive in finding a easier solution to the problem. Sometimes my ideas don’t turn out so well, and sometimes they do. In this case, I struck on a good idea. Teman has a hefty four-wheel-drive jeep. The back seat can be folded down in such a way that the back of the jeep is something like the bed of a small pick-up truck. If I loaded up log chunks in the back, and chained the more ungainly limbs to the back of the jeep, I figured I could save myself a lot of time and energy in hauling up the wood.

In the abstract I think Teman approved of this useful employment of his jeep’s power and four wheel drive. On a more emotional level, I think he was a little nervous about me driving it up in the field, and loading it down with wood. Not that he would admit as much, but he declared that if a hole was put in one of his tires it didn’t really matter too much because the tires really needed to be replaced anyhow. And, would I please pay attention to how much wood I loaded into the back of the jeep because he rathered it wasn’t weighed down so much that the suspension became ruined. But then he would mumble about it not being that big of a deal because after all “It is a beater.”

All his half-spoken fears ended up being for naught because, this once, I didn’t bust anything. The jeep was not overloaded, and everything worked as I had hoped. Over the space of Friday evening and Saturday morning, I hauled most of the willow tree debris up to the burn pile in the field. I say most because the half dozen or so largest chunks of tree trunk were still too bit to lift into the back of the jeep. I must cut them into smaller peices, or else roll them into a pile and burn them in the lawn.

I was glad I managed to finish such a large project in such a small amount of time. The little kids thought the greatest thing was that they got to ride in the jeep in the field, on the way down from the burn pile. If you can remember back to when you were a little kid, then you know how exciting it was to do something new, different, and perhaps a little dangerous. Riding in the jeep felt like all of these to the collection of little boys. Riding in the jeep wasn’t truly dangerous, of course, but it felt somehow greatly adventuresome and somehow a little daring to be riding off the road, out in the tall grass of the field. Knowing how they felt, I humored them, even when their exaggerated “Whooaa!” from the back of the jeep began to get on my nerves.

About the Author

At age fifteen, Rundy decided he wanted to write for his living. He is currently working on a novel, although it is not the novel he started at fifteen. When not working on the novel, he might be riding his bike, feeding his chickens, helping his neighbors, messing around with web design and computers in general, or writing on his blog, which discusses other topics in addition to gardening. USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 AHS Heat Zone: 3 Location: rural; Southern Tier of NY Geographic type: foothills of Appalachian Mountains Soil Type: acid clay Experience level: advanced beginner Particular interests: fruits, vegetables, major landscaping, chickens and other poultry

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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