If we keep doing farm work on the weekends, I’ll probably end up in great shape.
I mentioned in a previous post that Chareva hasn’t been working out at the gym, but hasn’t needed to because she’s been laboring around the farm all week. I usually head to the gym on Sunday, which wasn’t an option this weekend because it was closed for Easter, but I certainly got in a good workout nonetheless. As I sit here writing, my hands are forearms are sore.
When we first moved here, the pastures were all surrounded with old, rusty barbed wire. Besides being an eyesore, the barbed wire was a tetanus shot waiting to happen, especially with two rambunctious girls who don’t always see the need to keep an eye on what’s in front of them when they’re running. Some weeks ago, we paid a guy to come out and knock most of it down with a backhoe. Unfortunately, he left several piles of tangled barbed wire and t-posts behind. He also knocked down some dead trees along the driveway and left much of the wreckage from those behind as well. (I’m not complaining, mind you — he didn’t charge much, and it was a relief to be able to cross our driveway without climbing over two barbed-wire fences.)
Chareva has been adding to her garden in the front pasture – pumpkins and watermelons, among other future treats – and we needed to add more fencing around the newly-planted beds or risk having her efforts end up feeding the local deer instead of us. Since we’re trying to re-purpose as much existing material as possible, the obvious solution was to free the t-posts from the tangled piles of barbed wire and use those for an expanded garden fence.
So we spent a good chunk of Saturday working with a pair of bolt-cutters. One of us would pull on a t-post, and the other would start snipping away at the barbed wire until we could extract it from the mess. Some of the posts were too bent to be useful, but we still ended up with a good supply. Then we turned our attention to the piles of tangled wire, with one of us carefully unraveling it while the other cut it into sections small enough to stuff into a garbage can. (We’ve filled four of them so far, and we’re not done yet.) Then we hauled the t-posts to the garden area.
We also had to move a knocked-down gate post with a base encased in concrete to a junk pile we’ll have hauled away later. I tried dead-lifting it, but there was dirt packed around the concrete, so I lost my grip a couple of times. The good news is that I didn’t drop the concrete base on my foot. The bad news is that the post bounced up and smacked Chareva in the ribs as she was trying to help me steady the thing. (She’s fine, but she got me back on Sunday by yanking a sharp tree branch into my legs. Never mess with a farm woman.) We ended up having to roll the post to the junk pile, which involved some serious huffing and puffing since it wasn’t exactly shaped like a wheel.
I was pretty well wiped out afterwards, but recovered enough to play 36 holes of frisbee golf before dinner. I’m proud to say I don’t suck as much at the game as I did just a couple of months ago, largely because Sara convinced me to switch to her grip. (To quote her directly: “Daddy, it’s getting boring beating you all the time.”)
On Sunday, we took on more heavy tasks. First we hauled some rather large tree branches across one pasture to what’s called “the burn pile.” Okay, I admit it: I’d never heard of a burn pile before. In case you haven’t either, it’s a pile of junk you can legally burn, providing the stuff in the pile can actually be burned and you get a permit from the fire department. I believe we could probably roast around 200,000 marshmallows over our burn pile once it’s ignited.
Next I yanked some big bushes I don’t want (because they’re ugly and full of thorns) out by the roots, which involved pumping with my legs hard enough to negate any need for doing a set of leg presses at the gym. Those went on the burn pile too.
Finally, I pounded a dozen or so t-posts into the ground to expand the fence around the garden. We wanted to put the posts in neat lines, but the terrain had other ideas. There’s a reason Tennessee’s theme song is Rocky Top: there are rocks and rock shelves under the soil everywhere, usually directly beneath the spot where I intend to pound in a t-post.
I discovered the rock issue awhile back while installing the baskets for my frisbee golf course. To keep the baskets anchored, I pounded in some garden stakes over and around the bases. Some of the baskets ended up several feet away from my planned locations because the garden stakes collided with stones or rock shelves a few inches down. I’d be hammering away, and the sound would go from whack-whack-whack to ping! ping! ping! when I hit solid rock.
Same thing happened on Sunday with the t-posts. Chareva would get me lined up with the other posts, I’d start pounding with the (really heavy) t-post hammer, and then ping! ping! ping! … I’d hit a big ol’ rock a few inches down. Move the post a few inches …whack-whack-whack … ping! ping! ping! … move it again …whack-whack-whack … ping! ping! ping! … remove it and repeat the process until I managed to sink it. Our fence won’t run in nice straight lines, but I don’t believe the deer will be any less dissuaded from eating our garden.
By the time were done, my arms and shoulders were spent. Yeah, I lift weights every week at the gym, but this is whole ‘nuther type of exertion. This weekend gave me the most thorough workout I’ve had in quite awhile. I slept like a baby afterwards.
Speaking of babies, someone left a comment asking for more puppy pictures. They don’t look so much like puppies anymore. Below is a picture of Sara with Coco, one of the puppies, when we first got them five weeks ago. The next picture is of Sara and Coco today. Look how much Coco has grown in size relative to Sara.
I think that raw-meat diet agrees with them.