Another Good Day on the Farm

Today the kids finished weeding around the strawberries and I got the plants covered with bird netting. The berries are still green, but here and there I see the faintest blush of red. Now we are ready for them to ripen.

Having finished cultivating the garden, Greg ran the cultivator over what used to be part of our gravel driveway and is now part of our yard. Next we will spread aged compost over this area and sow seed for buffalo grass.

Then Greg got busy with the secondhand gas-powered chainsaw, which is finally in working order after months of mechanical problems manifesting themselves. One of the problems turned out to be a bent bar, which made the cuts go agley and caused a lot of irritation. Now that the bar is straight, the chainsaw is a pleasure to use, and before long Greg was on a roll. It is such a delight when good tools work the way they’re supposed to.

The first tree he tackled was an unsightly, mostly-dead, shallow-rooted, mistletoe-infested hackberry tree to the northeast of the house. We’ve been concerned about this tree for some time because of its relative position to our roof. Greg studied the photos in a how-to-fell-a-tree article I found in a 2007 issue of The Progressive Farmer, which I picked up free at the Luling library. Then he had at it.

I was working on the strawberries at the time, away on the other side of the house, and had no idea what Greg was up to. At one point I did see him walk to the shack and bring out an axe. This, as it turned out, was supposed to go inside a cut he’d made and help the tree fall away from the house.

But before he could make it back to the tree, there was a loud crash! I hurried over and found the tree recumbent on the ground. It had biffed the roof on its way down (startling the girls, who were inside), but the damage was far less than if the tree had come down on its own in a storm. We think the roof panels can be restored to their rightful shape, and anyway they are on the least visible part of the house.

The next hackberry to come down was in the front yard. No contact was made with the roof this time.

Greg lopped off all the limbs from these trees, drove the trailer into the yard, had the kids load the wood into the trailer, and drove the trailer to the brush pile.

Sometime today we heard the ching ching of T-posts being driven nearby and knew one of the Henkes was working too, no doubt enjoying the beautiful weather as much as we were.

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