August 30th, 2015

wayside cross

Dig We Must

What I Did on my Vacation

I finally took a week off. A real week off. And I set myself the goal of finishing the footer trenches I've been digging out at Wilderstead.

Last August, I tried to do the job with a mini-excavator. I have NO SKILLZ with heavy machinery. I stopped before I completely ruined the site. There was no more time to work on it that year. So this spring, I laid out the site anew and started digging by hand. I got just over half the rectangle excavated and had to call a halt for a while due to Annual Conference, Summer High Adventure Trip, yada yada. Oh, and Deanne was in a car wreck. And it rained like the second coming of Noah for six weeks or so.

By the time I finally got around to the work again at the beginning of August, I still had almost half the distance to go. Plus, the existing trenches had filled up with silt (= mud) from the rains washing over the dirt I'd already dug out. I borrowed a pump and got the standing water out, then I started to dig again.

This week, I went out to the holler early Monday and got in three solid days of digging: 2-2 1/2 hours in the morning before the sun got too hot; 1 1/2 -2 hours in the evening after the sun began to wester. Wednesday was cool and overcast and I dug through the afternoon, rather than the evening. And by Wednesday, I was finished with the basic trenches.

Thursday, I ran over to Cincy to do some errands and returned to E-ville. Did laundry. Ran down to Linton and Pleasantville for some personal stuff on Friday. Attended the NAUMS Annual meeting online Saturday morning and then drove back out to Wilderstead and slept in the cabin last night.

This morning, I prayed with and for my church as they began their worship at EFUMC, and then I went out to muck out the old trenches of all the accumulation that had been washed down into them. And with that -- I'm done digging, at last. Oh, there'll be a lot of finicking around yet, but I'm ready to start building forms and placing rebar. With any luck, I'll get some concrete poured before it gets too cold for it this fall.

Once fall sets in, my attention has to turn from concrete and walls and so on to finishing clearing the right of way for REMC to bring electricity down the hill to our habitable area. I figure it'll be easier to cut down brush and saw up/haul off downed timber once the weeds have died away.

I'm a long, long way from getting a house built; but I'm at least one baby step closer to getting it started. Not bad for an old guy with no significant money and no significant construction skills, who can only get out to his property a couple of times a month.

Anyway, I enjoyed my boondocks sabbatical. Digging is hard work, and it's hard to keep yourself psyched up for it. Deanne was holding me up in prayer as I addressed myself to the necessity of it each day. But the days were fine and clear, and the nights were cool. I went to bed only when I was tired, got up only when I was rested, ate only when I was hungry, and took a nap every afternoon. There were also books to be read. I'm sure it's not most people's idea of a vacation, but all in all, it was lovely.