Tonight was supposed to be more productive than it turned out to be.  I was going to wrap up digging some post holes that I didn’t get to over the weekend.  Instead I ended up trying to figure out what to do with a couple dozen baby trees. 

This weekend was spent moving some stuff over to the new place, and looking at some potential new furnishings including rugs for the dining and living room spaces.  The weather was nice on Sunday so I got a couple of chores done outside as well.  I grabbed my post hole digger out of the shed at the old house and made an afternoon trip down to the new house. Once there I unboxed the cookie cutter mailbox I bought from Home Depot and gazed at the instructions.  Simple enough, after cutting a treated 4×4 to 48″, I grabbed my post hole digger, hammer, screwgun, some cement and a pail of water, and stowed it all in the Rabbit for the long trek down the driveway.

Driving down a bumpy pot hole laden driveway with a bucket of water is tempting fate. I only spilled a wee bit of my half full pail.











 I lined up a spot 3′ from my neighbor’s mailbox and dug a hole that was supposed to be 18″ deep; turned out I hit sandstone at 12″, I suspect an extension of the country road bed of some sort.  Good enough I said, and dropped in the 4×4.  I then dropped in some quick-setting cement around the post, along with some water and squished it all around; repeating this until I reached the top of the hole.  Next up I leveled the post in both directions and fastened a couple of braces.  I was going to wrap up by installing the cookie cutter plastic mailbox today but got side tracked with my aforementioned baby trees. The other thing I was going to do today was finish the post holes required for the porch steps.  There are “wrap around” steps in a couple of places.  To fully support these we’ll drop posts into the ground and header across with pressure treated joists.  Presumably we’ll then cap off all of that with five quarter floor boards for treads.  Each post hole should be 28-30 inches deep.  I dug about six of them on Sunday, by hand.  It was quite the workout.  I was hoping to finish today or at least get a few in but alas I never even picked up the post hole digger. 


Post hole. The white speck you see in the hole poking out is a water collection tube. Luckily by using a hand digger I could avoid the pipe once I hit it. A power digger would've cut it up pretty bad I suspect.












View of several post holes in a row. Not sure why we need so many, all it did was wear me out on a hot Spring afternoon.










We were showing the old house on Sunday, so that meant pack up the kids and cat and go down to the new house.  This was Daphne’s first visit to the new place.  She timidly came out of her cage and sniffed around.  I followed her around, petted her, and explained, in a soothing voice, about all the new places she’d have to explore.  She slowly navigated the open staircase and poked around the hallway, inspecting her new house without really knowing it was her new house.  Eventually she found safety in the panty; one of the few spots that currently is conducive to a cat hiding in an otherwise empty house.

"This will never do, you've ruined our lives, you idiot" my cat is thinking. "Trust me it sounded like an awesome idea", I plead. She's wondering when they're going to finish the upstairs hall doors too.

As I said earlier, tonight was tree planting night.  Not on purpose but out of necessity.  We bought a bunch of seeds and baby trees from our local soil conservation district.  We were supposed to pick them up on Friday but of course we forgot so we got them today.  Reading the instructions, the trees basically need to be planted right away.  I don’t know if frost matters or not but regardless I can’t leave them in my dining room in their plastic bags.  We decided to make a nursery so the trees can go from babies to toddlers in one area and then we can transplant them to their final home later on.  This arrangement will make it easier for our lazy butts to water the saplings and to protect them with a temporary fence.  I was going to plant them all individually but I didn’t have nearly enough time tonight for that.  Instead I cut a 6′ wide trench and laid all the baby trees on their side at a 45 degree angle.  We (the wife and I) then covered up their roots with some of the top soil we had scraped away when building the house.  A little bit of water and now we just keep an eye on them.  Temperatures will be cool this week and I’ll be out to check on them.  I wish I had the time to spend a day just planting happy little trees.  Somewhere out there are people who have time to do that sort of thing, and they truly have found the secret to a good and rewarding lifetime.  I am not one of those people.  I will be in a fabric cube slowly waiting for death to come rescue me instead of planting my baby trees. 

Our first new trees. Make shift nursery is made from bird fencing and metal stakes. Fresh trench houses conifers, shade and nut trees. About 30-50 trees total.

I was so happy to see our quickly thrown together little nursery.  All the little happy trees in a neat row.  I’m sure they’re probably scared though, in whatever way little trees can be scared.  And I got to thinking, Daphne was scared too.  My wife is having a miserable time of it.  And I know if Mr. James, our oldest, breaks down it’ll be the end of me.  In hind sight I bet the worst part of this whole project will be the moving. 

We’re all kind of like those little trees treading out into unfamiliar territory.  Life in our existing house, for me at least, is taken for granted.  I’m so good at blocking things out, it won’t bother me until afterwards that we’ve really moved.  Only time can heal such non-sense of the soul and mind.  We have a lot of good memories, and too many bad ones, in this “old” (to us) house of ours.  It’s more a testament to the fact that where we live is as much of our family as any one of us.  Like I said I try not to think about it lest I shed a tear and send my wife over the edge.  I don’t think I gave our current house its due which is regrettable.  We never really got started here cause we always knew we’d probably leave.  Like not really putting much effort into something cause you’ve got something else going on or coming up.  Our old house in many regards holds its own quite nicely compared to the new one….better pocket doors for example, and more importantly about nine years of memories including the fact that it’s the first house our two boys ever lived in.  Ten inches of insulation and glass showers don’t hold a candle to that. But alas life if about progress I suppose, or at least that’s what we kid ourselves into lest we drink all day, right? 

So our little trees are out there with a mesh fence around them, and soon Daphne, our boys and the two of us will be out there, leaving behind the comfort of home to go live in a house.  And we’ll all be in the same boat, starting from scratch.  Some for the first time, some for the countless time. 

I recon we could stay, after all the old place isn’t sold yet. On the other hand though, there are a bunch of little trees waiting for us in a makeshift nursery.  I suppose they’re going to need someone to look after them in their new home.

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