Mar 11, 2012: Whacking at the dirt with sticks

Well, we had quite a week on the ol’ homestead. Our new windows are awesome! Thanks to   God and Thermal Windows, we now have insulated, easy-clean, easy open beautiful windows in all of our bedrooms. Which means I have curtain rods to hang and trim to paint, which is why I’m glad to have the 17 ft ladder we found dirt cheap at an estate sale two weeks ago. God is good; He always supplies our needs, even if we don’t see them yet.

Our bathroom-pipe-leaking-into-the-kitchen-cabinet is dry again, and seems to be staying dry. I will be checking it daily for leaking, and eventually (I hope) I will patch the hole in our kitchen wall for now. (sigh)

Friday, I borrowed my Father-in-law’s truck to go to Watova, OK (find that on a map) to buy a truckload of garden dirt for…dirt cheap. :) The guy who filled me up has 80+ acres for sale, lots of dirt, and a beautiful view of the sky and horizon. I bet he sees twice as many stars at night as anyone else for miles. His house lives up on a mounded hill with long slopes in all directions, and very few trees or lights. Anyway, I parked the truck in our soggy swamp of a backyard, planning to offload the dirt on Saturday morning.

Saturday morning, I offloaded the dirt from 645am until after 8am, using a shovel and wheelbarrow, and then had breakfast. I wish I could start several mornings a week this way. But I couldn’t move the truck, and every attempt to get out just dug the tires deeper in the clay muck. After trying gravel, boards, and lots of rocking, we decided to attach a chain to our minivan and try to pull it out. Attached to the platform our HVAC sits on (to prevent flood damage) was a large chain (probably used for a previous resident’s big dog) and by God’s grace, a little WD-40 loosened the clip, and we hooked it up to both. With my wife in the van pulling and me in the truck backing up, we finally got it out after having a huge fight about how we weren’t communicating. (sigh) James fail. It’s amazing how a little emotional pressure can show you how much you need God and forgiveness in your life. Can I get an “Amen!” ?

Two of my students, Troy and Ashton, came over on Saturday to help us build a raised garden bed, and wow, did they work hard. Together, we tilled the dirt (hold on tight), laid cardboard and watered it down, dumped a layer of peat moss, a smelly layer of compost from our bins, and finally a layer of dirt from the pile on the ground. We got the tiller loaded back on the truck and took care of the ducks, too. It would have taken me so much longer on my own. Thanks so much for your help, guys; and you never complained about the mud, either. And you found the eggs. You are now officially members of the Thorpeshire clan.

My son, J.B, came out while we worked, and took a stick (his toy of choice), and began whacking the dirt in the raised bed. That’s my boy, whacking at the dirt with a stick. He would make a fine medieval serf, I have no doubt. :)

After they left, my wife joined me outside, and we built potato pillars out of old fencing, dirt and compost, and straw. We layered seed potatoes and dirt in the inner core, keeping it contained with straw outside the core just inside the fencing. Then, I built a little pen to keep the pillars from falling over, using two wooden pallets I cut up, and my new screws, bought dirt cheap (yes, again) from the estate sale. We put our extra dirt in a bin I made from railroad ties, and I finally staked down the raised bed (after filling it with dirt; sorry, Sweetie). While trying to stake it down, I split one of the ends of the bed, and split apart one of the corners. (sigh) James fail. Again.

My wife showed wonderful restraint and encouragement, and I figured out a way to secure the split corner and attach all the corners to stakes in the ground, so that raised bed ain’t goin’ nowheres. Thank You, God, for all Your help. And for the opportunity to work outside so much. I loved it. I want to do it again, even all the shoveling.

That night, it rained. Hard. We had more puddles covering more area of our yard than we had ever seen before. When God sends rain, it gets really wet, and the ducks get HAPPY. Thanks, God, for soaking our garden beds for planting. That was nice.

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