Feeling a Few Bricks Short of a Load

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Things are beginning to pick up out here at Three Geese Farm. A major landscaping project is coming to an end. A local landscaper who works solo (message me for his contact information) has done the bulk of the work — first transplanting roses that dominated the front and east side of the house and creating a stone walkway in its place. People can actually get to the front door now without walking through the grass. Three different walkways in the backyard break up a boring rectangle of grass. At his suggestion, we have added a variety of plants suitable for our climate — azaleas, purple sage, spirea, gold tip juniper, wisteria, salvia and lilies. Our landscaper has done a fine job using existing stuff we had laying around, like some old ornamental gates from to which he attached the wisteria, a pallet of sandstone slabs left by the previous owners, etc.

Before long, I will start mowing once the wildflowers go to seed. I am hoping to put it off until the semester ends in two weeks, and I am through with the two graduate courses that consume much of my weekend, reading and writing papers. Once mowing starts, it is a weekly routine that takes about six hours. Then there is bushhogging, long afternoons spent on the tractor. Let us not forget the myriad piles of fallen tree limbs that need to be picked up across these 57 acres. Not that I am complaining. It is all part of owning a beautiful piece of East Texas bottomland.

My Beautiful Mystery Companion and I managed to sneak off on a pleasant Monday afternoon to a local salvage materials yard that a friend told us about. We were looking for used bricks to be used on one of the pathways, which like the others will be filled with river rock we have had hauled in. We are going for a cottage-style look, as one sees in charming British films. I called the salvage yard owner’s son, who told us to come on out and fill the pickup with bricks for $20. That is a bargain if you discount our labor.

Spring rains have arrived in force, and the salvage yard was a muddy mess. I could not get any closer with the truck than about 25 feet to the bricks, which were in a large mound about 10 feet high on top of which a fellow was running a trac-hoe. He kindly took his lunch break while we carried bricks to the truck, about five at a time. Our boots kept sinking into the mud as we hauled a few hundred bricks to the truck. Soon, our clothes were daubed with mud.

I stopped once, looked at my BMC and said, “You have a doctorate, I have a master’s degree, and we are out here in a mudhole hauling bricks to the truck. Is there something wrong with this picture?

“It’s kinda fun,” she replied. And it was, in a pigpen sort of way. We loaded enough bricks that I was beginning to worry about the truck’s springs. The front of the truck was sticking up considerably higher than the rear. We cautiously made our way back to the farm, about a 30-minute trek. There, of course, we had to unload the bricks, two at a time, into a pile down next to the river rock pile, a load of what is termed tree soil, and a bit of leftover pea gravel. At least we have plenty of space to store this stuff, unlike when living in town.

Our landscaper is building a final path this week, lining the sides with the bricks. At least now he can haul a bucketload with the tractor. It beats using a wheelbarrow.

I also spent a couple of hours tilling the vegetable garden so my BMC can use her horticultural skills to get our tomato and pepper plants going. As always, we will have far more tomatoes and peppers than we can consume and will foist them upon anyone who shows up at the farm. It is a tradition.

It took about an hour for me to clean the dried mud off our boots several days later. Thus, work continues at Three Geese Farm, as summer peeks its head around the bend.

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