I enjoy yard work purely for the end result. I don't relish getting covered in grime and itchy grass but I know when I am finished I will be able to see improvements immediately.
Smokey Acres is a bit over two acres. Our house and main yards sit on less that half of that. The majority of our land is a field with well worn paths made by children and dogs. There are a couple horse corrals - void of horses - and my husband's shop which is larger than our first house.
Every year about this time we get a notice from the "weed witch." The weed witch reminds us that every year by May 1st we must have our weeds and grass trimmed to one inch in height or less. This is to discourage rampant wild fires in our dry valley made worse by the current drought.
So, about this time every year my tribe bans together and we tackle the acreage. This year, our son was old enough for the first time to operate the riding lawn mower solo. His foot reaches the brake and he comprehends the gears so we let him loose in the back field. My husband specifically pointed out the obstacles to avoid - but he is nine. One busted water main later and he was a pro!
My daughter and I tackled the trees and shrubs while my husband assaulted the dry foliage with a weed whacker. I think one of the sounds my husband dreads hearing is the whine of the chainsaw when he is not operating it. I am not gifted with grace so he grits his teeth every time my eyes light up when he gases it up.
This year, the chainsaw broke before I did so my daughter and I had to prune the old fashioned way - with sheers. We made great progress until we came upon The Tree. The Tree was dead. It was an old kumquat tree that never really took root. I needed the chainsaw but I had already broken that. Chains on a saw should really be more resilient. I pushed the tree to see how sturdy it was. It was somewhat weak. I began to push it from side to side. I used my feet to push on it. I pushed on it with my arms. I used all my might to loosen it from the soil. I grunted as sweat poured off me. I was in the zone. Zoning until my daughter asked, "Mommy? Why are you acting like a gorilla with that tree?"
I started to laugh as I realized I truly was channeling my inner Silverback.
"I just want this tree out Ellie so we won't waste any water on it. It is all dried up."
"Well," she said, "Just give it one more push. I think you almost got it. Do that gorilla thing one more time."
I did as she advised and the tree toppled over! We danced around our sad, uprooted dead tree at the accomplishment.
My husband rounded the corner and said, "How did you get that out without the saw?"
"She pulled it out like a gorilla, Daddy!" Ellie told him proudly. Not really sure if I should feel complimented or not?