The photo above shows my temporary front yard “workshop.” It’s in the front yard by chance; it’s temporary because the only thing I plan to do there is make a maul from the piece of hickory lying on my “lawn chair.” The hickory chunk is 36” long to reference the size of the oak tree. It wasn’t nearly so large when I was ten and off-bearing edgings from the sawmill and piling them against the oak. The mill shed sat about twelve feet forward of the oak toward the county road in the distance. It was under a shed that I’d estimate to have been about 24x48 feet. I’ve got a lot of memories of those days. I wish I still had the mill there, just the way it was and still working, but those days are forever gone. Now, the mill site is my front yard.
The flat road-bed-like area to the right of the oak, which leads toward the road, is where neighbors used to back in to get sawdust for their barns, chicken houses and gardens. The county road was gravel back then.The sawdust pit was somewhere along where you see the slope in the yard, but we had sawdust thrown a considerable ways over the hill, all done with a coal shovel and a huge homemade wheelbarrow, since there was nothing automated on the old two-block mill.
Along the right side of the oak, in the distance, you can see the small rail enclosure around my Jerusalem artichokes and the tires that I moved and planted seeds in the other day. My “garden area” is along the north edge of the lawn, so it gets most of the sun, except late afternoon and evening.
Today, I used the double-bitted axe to even up the butt-swell some on the hickory chunk. The next step is to use a hatchet to cut a V-groove around it about a foot from the large end and about 2-1/2 inches deep, so I can split off the sides of what will be the handle area. I think Roy Underhill may show how in one of his books, or maybe it was in Foxfire.
I tried to start the lawn-mower today to trim my jungle-ish grass, but it wouldn’t even turn over, though it has a new battery. I tried jumping it, just in case, but it was still a no-go. I took a look under the hood, but you have to be left-handed, 50 pound Chinaman to work on the thing, so I called the shop and they’ll pick it up when they get the time. Until then, my grass will keep reaching for the sky. The year I drove mail truck, and was pressed for time, I did my first mowing with the farm tractor. I don’t have the tractor anymore, so if the lawn tractor won’t do it, I guess it will be a scythe and rake job.
I planted a few spaghetti squash seeds and some yellow summer squash seeds by trees and roof drains in the back yard today. If they DO grow, the deer will probably get them, but then if I start working, maybe I can afford some turkey wire.
It’s been blowing oak pollen so bad today that I finally had to come in before I clawed my eyes out. It sprinkled on us this evening when we went to town to run an errand. It’s supposed to storm tonight; I hope they’re wrong, but only time will tell. © 2014