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

The power of a pickup truck

Weather forecastThe ten day weather forecast is often what spurs us on to crazy exploits.  Realizing that Friday was our lone day of sun before the rain set back in, Mark donned his work clothes at 8:30 Thursday evening and rocked the truck out of what remained of the mud.  Twelve hours later, he was in town replacing the tires and then shoveling masses of horse manure into the truck's bed.

Meanwhile, I stayed home to see what I could do about scavenging some bricks from the old house's chimney and collecting bits of discarded rip-rap to toss in the most muddy Pile of manurepart of the driveway.  Then I rearranged the woodpile to put all of last year's wood in the front and cleared a path so the truck could be driven around to the back.

Finally, I cooled down from what was already turning out to be a scorcher.  You see, I had a crazy, over-ambitious plan of not only unloading the horse manure, but also hauling in the load of firewood we'd had delivered to the other side of the creek, and I figured that if Mark and I tag-teamed our mandatory cool-down periods, we could get twice as much work done.  So, in a rare show of housewifery, I met him at the door with his AC running on high and a cup of ice water and cold watermelon in my hand.  He ate that (and his lunch) while I unloaded the manure --- so much easier to shovel it out of a truck than in.

The day had taken on a dream-like quality by the time the two of us heaved huge slabs of wood into a towering pile in the truck.  We filled the cab with chicken waterer Pickup truck haulingsupplies that had also been piling up in the parking area and I walked home while Mark and the truck did the work of about 100 people by transporting goods the third of a mile to our trailer.

I made Mark go cool down again while I unloaded the light boxes.  This was clearly a mistake --- I seem to know Mark's limitations better than my own, and the afternoon sun was pounding on my hatted head despite the lightness of my burden.  By that evening, I would be suffering from the early stages of heat exhaustion --- a pounding headache, clammy skin, and nausea.  But at the time I was running on adrenaline --- look at all this biomass driven right to our doorstep!

Hauling firewood in a pickupLuckily, Mark thought the suggestion that I unload the firewood by myself was nuts, so he handed me wood off the truck while I obsessively stacked it into neat rows, segregated from last year's bone dry wood which we'll use first.  I'm always amazed by the power of teamwork, which in this case meant that we unloaded the truck in perhaps thirty minutes flat.

"So, I was thinking," I tentatively broached the subject of yet more hauling.  "I know you've been eying that futon..."  Mark's room was devoid of furniture save a bed, and he'd been wanting a futon for months.  There was no point in buying any furniture, though, when we had no way of bringing it home.  Maybe this was our chance, if we could survive a few more hours driving to town?  Mark was game.

And that's how we ended our Friday at 8:30 pm, a truckload of manure, a truckload of wood, and a futon (and wheelbarrrow) richer.  I went to bed shortly thereafter with ice on my head, but it was all worth it.  Mental note --- when I complain about us starting work late on dark winter mornings, I need to remember the twelve hour summer days that preceded them.

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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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So weekends off is a myth after all?
Comment by Errol Sun Aug 7 09:26:25 2011
My post was about what we did Friday. I was just so exhausted that I didn't write it until Saturday, so it didn't show up until Sunday. :-)
Comment by anna Sun Aug 7 10:38:58 2011

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