Friday, May 9, 2014

My Day


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


Sixbears said...

My wife planted a lot of seeds -inside. The snow just left our garden area. We do what we can to jump start the season. The grass hasn't even started to grow yet.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

That hickory will be a good solid piece of wood when you get done, it looks pretty heavy.
We got 3 long rows of tomatoes planted before it started raining this evening.

Lady Locust said...

Sounds like a pretty good day. Am curious to see how the hickory progresses.

Gorges Smythe said...

I've never started seeds inside, Sixbears, but I suppose I should, especially if I try saving tomatoe seeds.

I haven't decided what to do about tomatoes yet, SF, I've never yet been able to keep the critters away from them here.

I'll post some photos as I go, LL.

Angela said...

I think my husband has already had to cut our grass twice! We got a really good rain this evening. I hope it washed all or at least some of the pollen off my truck. I have been getting choked from being outside from the pollen. They are saying next week everything should be finished up it should get better.

I'm hoping to plant some seeds in our garden tomorrow. The past couple of years I've bought the Mortgage Lifter tomato plant at the Halfway Market in Milton in a big pot but we plant them in the garden. One year I planted one right beside my mom's house and it did very well there. Hers did better than mine!

Ralph Goff said...

I've got an old wooden hammer made by a relative many years ago. The head is elm, very tough and hard wood. I had to replace the handle. Just a piece of poplar.

Keith H. Burgess said...

A good read, thanks for posting Gorges.
Regards, Keith.

Gorges Smythe said...

You know, Angela, I've tried Mortgage Lifter a couple years, and the only ripe one that the animals let me get had the seeds sprouting inside the tomatoe, though it wasn't rotten or anything. I thought that was strange, but it tasted good.

Elm should work well, Ralph; they used it for wagon hubs in the old days, because it wouldn't split.

Glad you enjoyed it, Keith.

Chickenmom said...

Nice place - enjoyed the photo!

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, Cm. Most of what you see used to be the slab pile and sawdust pile of the old mill.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I never had the deer bother my spaghetti squash although they ate the beans. Maybe plant some things around them that would have stickers or something they wouldn't like touching.