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    The Road

July 14, 2007

Can you dig it?

My mother used to warn me that I would be a ditch digger if I didn’t study hard and get good grades. Well, twenty years later, after a good corporate run, a few of my own businesses and some very high marks in college, I am indeed a ditch digger.

The well drilling rig arrives in five days. We got 8 days notice of its impending arrival, and have to rush to finish the preparations for its arrival. Clearing 10 square feet of poison oak around our fence posts was easy. The hard part is the 8 foot clearance needed by the 40 foot rig to drill the well a few feet from a cliff. The cliff has about a gagillion tons of collapsed sandstone at it’s base, under which, the dowser assured us, is the best place to put our well.

So, out come the picks, the shovels and wheelbarrow to move the giant pile of rock and sandstone someplace else. (thrown off the side of the mountain on Thursday, to be spread on our new drive way today)

Yesterday was spent doing fire clearing. We need to clear 100 feet around the cabin to help keep wildfires from licking at our eaves, and with the help of a neighbor, we cleared quite a bit of brush and dead trees. Turns out the best way to limb giant fir trees is to knock a dead madrone into them. This is really fun when the tree is so dead and gone that two guys can literally pull the tree down with rope. Especially the part where we had to run under the deck to avoid getting smooshed. Having a fifty foot long tree trunk plummeting down on you is another experience that goes onto my “better than coffee” list, right alongside hydroplaning down a frozen dirt road and stepping on rattlesnakes. After the first tree, we started using the chainsaw and the full length of the rope, still using the plummeting wooden carcasses to limb the taller living trees surrounding them.

By the end of the day, we had uncovered a ten foot wide flat spot behind the cabin that will be perfect as a garage, keeping our ugly cars out of sight and hopefully in the shade. We also discovered three or four gorgeous berry bushes of which the bears and deer had been kind enough to leave us two berries each. Yum! Until the first tree on them.

So, shoulders and elbows aching, I am back up the hill now to continue developing my skills as a ditch digger.