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Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Time Event
Dig we must
We had a shovel party out at Wilderstead this weekend. I hired three young men to help me start digging out the undercroft for my future retirement cottage. I took Jeffrey and T.J. over last night and Mitch met us there. I turned off the security camera (which caught a really nice Tom Turkey recently -- see below). We made some ramen for supper. Mitch brought his 12-string guitar and a violin his dad just gave him. I played rhythm guitar and sang while he noodled around on the fiddle, exploring what it could do. It was fun. Then we played a full game of Up and Down the River before bed.

After breakfast, we got down to business. With only a break for lunch, we dug for just over six hours. We're maybe a quarter done. It's a lot of dirt to move. My neighbor came out and spread my gravel for me that I dumped a few weeks ago. I didn't have time to get my own tractor running (again!), since the boys required more direction than I thought; I couldn't spare the time to work off by myself. They worked steadily, mind you, but none of them had ever really done this before. By the time we called quittin' time, they were experts. One guy would cut with a spade, while the others used a long-handled shovel and a scoop to remove the dirt.

After we were done, the guys wanted to go splash in the creek to cool off, so we changed clothing and went wading down in the bathing pool. Then we cleaned up and skedaddled for home. It was a fun time and very productive.

One thing I've had to wrestle with is what to pay unskilled (and especially, young) labor. I decided that if I paid them less because they're young, that's unfair; meanwhile, if I overpaid them because I want them to be able to earn money, that's screwy, too. So I strive to pay them a just wage for time on task. Plus, I feed them while we're on a work trip like this. If anybody's work is really substandard, I don't have to invite that person back again. But I must say, they all worked very hard today, and I got value for my money. That makes everybody feel good when we're done.

I wasn't supposed to exert myself. I'm still on weight restrictions from the surgeon. But I still had to work alongside them in order to keep them on task. Some things were just beyond me -- pushing a trimmer mower, hauling the barrow full of dirt over to dump it behind the retaining wall, etc. -- but so long as I didn't feel any twinges, I kept busy with them. I took some extra breaks, but that's okay (I'm paying them, not the other way around).

Just passing by, can't stop Just passing by, can't stop Turkey caught on Wildercam
Sodbusters Sodbusters Jeffrey, Mitch, and T.J. moved a lot of dirt
Candidate for enlightenment Candidate for enlightenment Forget it, Jesus has had a hard day
Omigodthatscold Omigodthatscold Jeffrey puts a toe into the creek

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