Monday, October 29, 2007

all in a day's work. [two days, actually]

This weekend we got serious about the front walkway. As a project, it is the one that David and I both like the most, and were most wanting to do. It's not as functional or practical a project as most others on the list, but it has that nesting, at-home, Our-Home feel. It also has some real intimidating prep work.

So we put on our work boots on Saturday and fired up the tractor. I got to drive and everything, and Graeme helped David scoop and shovel the gravel out of the existing walkway area. Then we put the blade on the tractor and spread the gravel all over the driveway, as it was in need of being dressed after the rains and there were some low spots creating bogs. It looks really nice, and I'm pretty proud of the work. I like working on our home, even if it is just spreading gravel around.

Then David and the boys set to work on the pilot holes for the coming boxwoods. Weird as it might sound, just as I was wanting to plant a hedge, and David and I were deciding on boxwoods over other options, my mother was deciding that the 15 year old plants at her house simply Had To Go. So she has been holding off hacking them down, waiting for us to come fetch them.

We have an auger for the tractor, and it is mighty impressive indeed. Of course, the plants are four feet across, with a root ball fully three feet of that. When we all went down to my mom's to dig out the plant, we got as far as one with burlap underneath before we realized that there was No Way On Earth that we could pick it up to the bed of the truck. None. This sucker didn't simply weight more than I do; it weighed more than David and I together do. So we decided that we would come back on Sunday and bring the trailer with a ramp. We had a fine spaghetti dinner, and I crashed while David dug some more. That tractor-driving thing will wear a girl out.

On Sunday, we dug out two of the pilot holes, hooked up the trailer and convoyed in to town. Getting the shrub onto the trailer was a serious act of will as well as muscle, and my dad's help was invaluable in man-handling. Dad and David and I were talking about pick-up trucks, especially Toyota and how wonderful they are. It was all I could do not to say "If you like pick-up trucks, you're gonna love a tractor."

Once the shrubs were on the trailer, we were hungry and beat. The boys had eaten inside between digging bouts, but David and I were pretty much on the ready-to-eat-a-bear diet. We stopped by K&W for some basic, hearty food that didn't require either waiting or dressing up for, and then I followed the truck and trailer up the mountain.

Graeme and Ethan were chomping at the bit to get the shrubs in the ground. David and I certainly didn't want to leave them out overnight, possibly freezing and dying. It was six o' clock, the light was fading fast and we were weary. Add to that the fact that the holes were still nowhere big enough to accept the plants yet, and it made for a chilly evening's work. At one point, the night was catching up to us, and David turned the tractor around and turned its headlights on. Graeme jumped up and down. "O, man!" he cried. "Our tractor has headlights?!?!?!" "Yup," I replied. "That means we can work all day and all night, too." He's young enough that he thinks this is a great thing.

The boys did the bath and shower thing while David and I finished putting dirt around the last shrub of the weekend. They are indeed in the ground, watered and fed, tucked in quite nicely. It felt good to work on this, even though it was serious labor. I like the sense of us. I like that we all helped. They are lovely indeed.

Two down. Six or seven more to go.