Saturday, September 08, 2012

Stumped by a stump, walled and mulched, bushes and a puppy.

A few weeks ago, I posted about my 2012 yard project from hell, AKA, the stump that stumped me. As you may recall (the "I took time out of my hectic schedule" post), I just wanted to remove a stump from the yard. What I got was a saw blade-eating nightmare.

Saw-eating shale encased in stump.

This beast just did not want to give up the ghost. I began to think the Druids were right, Gods in trees, impervious to mere mortals and all that. Did I say "impervious?" Hell, the Russians had less trouble knocking down the flack towers in the Berlin zoo after WWII.

I finally chipped away at the heathen God-protected, rock-filled (yes, rock- as this photos shows) pillar to within a foot of the final elevation. Having burned through a couple of chain saw blades, five more blades for my Sawzall, two axes (handles snapped) a shovel and my pride, I conceded, since the ultimate solution, a '76 Ford Maverick and a chain was simply not going to happen. At least not until Miranda learns to drive. By then I'll likely be institutionalized- a common occurrence amongst fathers of teen-aged girls.

I would adapt and overcome, or move. Both seemed like viable solutions. Margie is still pissed about the not moving part- Saturday Market in Eugene beckons- one simply does not visit Oregon. One becomes one with Oregon and eventually finds one's way back. End of discussion, per Margie.

The Druid-stump remains lie beyond.
But alas, I faced my demon. I built a rock wall to cover my weakness.

Anyone who builds a rock wall and has seen the landscaping show where the host has an obscene grasp of the obvious, knows rocks are heavy. I lugged the hundred-odd chunks from the official "I broke another freakin' blade on the grass cutter on this one" pile behind the house to the armored stump location.

Satisfied with my creation, I needed to fill the area between the wall and the bank. Since I always wanted to dig out under the porch, Margie, with a devilish gleam in her eye, suggested that would clear two projects at once. Margie was still mad about not moving. I should have seen that in her piercing stares and mad giggling..

Go faster, Daddy!
So I commenced digging. In 95 degree weather. During the 2nd hottest summer on record. Did I mention the temperature and humidity competed to reach triple digits? To her defense, Margie brought me iced teas and a smile, or was it a smirk? I had five gallon buckets. Two of 'em and that went nowhere fast. Time to fix the ancient wheelbarrow with the flat tire.

Off to Homer's Home for a wheel. Back home to get the old wheel to match against the ten or so "Universal" wheels for the perfect fit. Back to Homer's. Out to the car with a wheel and ten bushes (Homer has sales, Margie loves sales, WD has debit card. Homer makes sales). Back at the ranch, the wheel fit and progress was made.

Eventually, I moved enough dirt to fill the newly walled area and as a bonus, I had a place to keep my riding mower accessories. I'd also sweat enough that a simple, "Miranda and Sunshine, give Daddy a hug!" sent both girls shrieking in the other direction.

Now I only had to plant the bushes, bulbs and add a little mulch. That would be easy. Except I sold my truck last fall  after the annual inspection revealed the frame from the rear wheels back had more holes than the average political party. Getting mulch would be the problem.

Now, let me say, people have done many things in Ford Mavericks. This being a family-type blog, I'll just say transporting mulch isn't one of the many fun things I've done in the back of one. I'll also add I'll be vacuuming mulch out of the trunk for weeks. Plastic bags rip. That's not on the sales receipt but it's one guarantee everyone stands behind.

Poor Grossy gets car sick!
And let me further mention I prefer horse manure for mulch but I draw the line on crap in the Maverick, Grossy's first car trip excluded, of course.

Finally, I stood beaming, the flowers planted, the mulch in place, the wall, ah, walling. That, of course, is when Margie came out and said, "looks good. Grossy ate Barbie. Sunshine's planning a castration."

The finished wall.
Here's a picture of the finished bed, armored stump successfully hidden. I'm not in the picture. I was at the "Holy crap these fools will pay this much for a cheap, plastic doll" store, buying a new Barbie when it was taken. Luckily Sunshine didn't hear me say, "this costs more than a real Barbie and for this price she would have brought a friend!"

"It was the chipmonk, I swear!"
All this brings me to my arrival home from the Holy Crap emporium and finding Grossy gleefully tunneling to China- in the middle of my new bed. On August 9th I posted about labs making it to their second birthday by luck. I'm thinking without luck, I may not make it to his first birthday.

Grossy was rather contrite. "It was the chipmonk! I was chasing him down this hole and ...."

If I could only teach him to dig out stumps. Maybe if I carve one to look like a Barbie?

Next year, I'm planning a much easier project- something simple. Maybe just a ten lane expressway?

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