The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Muddy hauling adventures

Hauling plywood through the mud with the heavy hauler.As you've probably gathered by now, we don't live next to the road.  A third of a mile of floodplain lies between our trailer and our car parking area, and during this abnormally wet winter that means a third of a mile of mud.

It's been weeks since the ground has been dry enough for the golf cart to traverse our swamp, but we went ahead and
bought a vanful of building supplies last week to finish up the homemade storage building.  Since insulation is, by definition, light and airy, we didn't have a problem hauling in enough to finish the walls.  But the sheets of plywood we plan to cover the interior with were another matter.  Mark wisely asked at the store to have the four by eight panels cut in half, but even a four by four sheet of plywood is extremely ungainly.  I set out on Monday to see how many sheets I could haul through the mud to move our project along.

Attempt 1 began with me hoisting four sheets onto my head.  By the time I crossed the creek, I knew this method wasn't going to work.  Luckily, I ran into the heavy hauler halfway home, lashed the plywood down, and marveled over how wheels made the work lighter.  Elapsed time: 1 hour.  Sheets per hour: 4.

Hauling plywood by tying it to my back.My major physical weakness is carpal tunnel, and I knew that I couldn't pull the heavy hauler through the mud again without waking up the next night with tingling hands.  So for attempt 2, I got out my hiking backpack and some rope.  Out at the van, I lashed four sheets onto the backpack and manhandled it onto my back.  The boards felt positively light, but they also went a bit akilter and I had to constantly push them back into place.  Elapsed time: 40 minutes.  Sheets per hour: 6.

Hauling plywood tied to my backFor attempt 3, I got smart and stupid all at once.  First the smart part.  I realized that the pea trellis material would make a perfect sling to hold the wood together, making it easy to tie it onto my backpack.  The whole thing seemed so easy, in fact, that I got greedy and decided to haul in six sheets instead of four.  Bad idea!  By the time I sloshed through the mud and made it home, I was worn out!  Elapsed time: 50 minutes.  Sheets per hour: 7 --- but that doesn't count the hour I spent collapsed on the couch afterwards!

At least we have some wood to work with, now.  Mark has plans to fix up the driveway, which may make all of this muddy hauling a thing of the past.  More on that later....

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I feel your pain I hauled nearly 2000 pounds of concrete for our foundation about 200 yards...then repeated for every stick of lumber and sheet of plywood for our cabin....does any one remember..Scott's failed Antarctic expedition and the Tractors failed and the ponies failed they man hauled the sledges....1000 miles plus only to die at the end....bummer eh?
Comment by Moontree Ranch Tue Feb 9 10:28:33 2010

Ha! My mom's always talking about failed Arctic and Antarctic missions. I guess I should ponder those next time I'm out there hauling!

(Also, Mark wants the world to know that he wasn't slacking off while I was hauling stuff in. He was doing another equally important task.... :-) )

Comment by anna Tue Feb 9 11:49:59 2010
Color me impressed. I'd have been sealing them in a tarp and waiting for drier weather. You're both better men than I!
Comment by SoapBoxTech Tue Feb 9 17:29:56 2010
I'll take that as a compliment. :-) I think I was just aching to do something really physical --- winter can do that to you!
Comment by anna Tue Feb 9 17:47:17 2010
That's pretty impressive Anna. I was tired just reading about it. Oh to be young again. Not that I could do what you did though. :) I knew there was a good reason Mark was not around. Nicely done.
Comment by HeatherW Tue Feb 9 21:31:01 2010
Thanks for giving Mark the benefit of the doubt! :-) I'm sure you could have done what I did --- it actually wasn't as heavy as it looks.
Comment by anna Wed Feb 10 08:11:12 2010

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