11.25.2014

Whack 'em, Stack 'em, Burn 'em Up

  After having two nights where there were a few hours below freezing, I decided it was time to put our garden boxes to bed.  I'm kicking myself right now for not taking pictures as I uprooted our okra, shook the dirt off, and cut the 8-10 ft stalks into short pieces that fit in the bottom of my wheelbarrow.  Once I got them all pulled up, shook off and whacked up, I put the pieces in the compost heap, and hoed and raked the garden level, then removed the string that we use to divide the bed into a square foot grid.  Once the bed was all leveled off with fertilizer and compost worked in, me and my 'assistant yard helper', Beaux, loaded a bale of hay into the wheelbarrow to spread out on some of our box beds.  Peggy stepped out with the camera when she heard me laughing at my helper.

As soon as I loaded the hay, he naturally had to jump in and climb on top and assume command of his yard chariot.  "We" spread the hay over the new garden bed, our asparagus patch, and over the larger garden bed.

We left Peggy's herb garden and the strawberry patch uncovered since they both have green things growing in 'em.  On cold nights we can just cover them with towels or old sheets.  The strawberries won't get their straw for another month or two. 
Looking close at or garden bed, you can see some green onions growing through the hay.  They should be fine this winter, barring some errant deep freeze.
  The next morning I rode over to good friend Sam's and from there we went to see Sam's kin, Lance. Lance is also a member in our 'trading country boy network'.  The place Lance works was changing out their scaffolding boards, so rather than see them go to the dump, he loaded them in a trailer and brought them home.  Sam and I loaded up a truckload of these solid oak 6' long boards and dumped them in my yard.
The boards are heavy oak 2" by 12" inchs and on each end have an iron pin through them.
With that in mind, I got out our sawhorses and my skill saw and went to whacking each 6' board into 4-18" pieces.  These I stacked in two different places in the yard.  The end pieces got  put in a pile by the new big fire-pit I'd made, while the middle pieces with no pins in them got stacked on the back wood rack (by the doghouse, now 'cathouse').  Since the ones that don't have pins in them are very easy to split, we'll use them in our smaller fire pit.

So after whacking away at them, the pile got smaller, until after a couple water breaks and a couple hours went by, they were all whacked up.
After whacking and stacking and toting and sweating, there wasn't but one more thing to do.  Sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor. (MarkyBear lurked under the chair waiting for an appearance of the new tiny yard kitties)

The pit worked wonderful and even passed a grilling test with flying colors. The corner drafted well and did a great job, giving a few pork chops a great smokey flavor.  Of course my sweet spicy rub didn't hurt anything.
Life in our backyard aint all 'work and no play', and after all that whacking and stacking was over it was time to sit back, relax and be thankful for my well-stocked fire pit and woodpile all from our country boy network. As I lifted my first beer in salute, I gave ol' Sam a call and hollered, "Hey, where yat? Why aint ya here?"  but he wasn't around to hear it. Well, I figure, after all that whacking and stacking and hauling and hoeing and raking that all cost me nothing, but gained me a lot; I sat back and enjoyed the satisfaction of a well-earned rest by a nice roaring fire; priceless.
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