Daily Archives: May 18, 2012

Current Brush Dam Project

When I began this a person couldn’t tell there was an oak tree without standing off at a distance because it was so choked with cedars.

A gully was being cut down to bedrock in the swale.  I’ve got a lot more cedar in the immediate area I’ll be clearing, but I’m figuring before I put anymore on the dam I’ll stand atop what’s there and cross cut as deep as the chainsaw bar will reach to compact it as much as possible before adding more material.

Incidently, once I got most of the cedar cleared from around that oak I found this great, long, straight one.  It’s a keeper, though I don’t know what for.  Assuming I can get it loose and untangled from the upper parts of the oak without having to cut it.

There’s a watershed of maybe fifteen acres with a lot of slope draining into this spot.  My thought is I’ll bring the dam roughly six feet high after compacting, then thicken it with whatever cedar’s left in the immediate area.  Afterward I’ll move upgrade and create a series of brush berms across the grade to slow down concentration times.

Lots of work left to do on it, but watching that dam grow’s a smiler for me.  Someday I’m going to try to figure out what makes me tick.  This whole sudden new joy of doing all this came out of nowhere.  Gale’s up there laid up, doesn’t have a clue I’m doing most of it on his property, though I describe most of it to him.  He shrugs and tries to seem encouraging, but I doubt he can picture what’s going on here.

Meanwhile, me just down here working my arse off for the hell of doing it, not a clue why.

Old Jules

They Ought to Add ‘Barbara Allen’ to the Controlled Substance List

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’m really glad I don’t have free will.  If I’d had free will I’d almost certainly have screwed things up something awful.  I can’t see any way a person making a lifetime of deliberate, conscious choices could have made the necessary ones to allow me to eventually become me.  If I’d had to find my way through that maze all by myself there’s no guessing what I’d have become, what would have become of me.

I’m a firm believer the Universe gave us scorpions, black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders and similar poisonous orthropods to train a man to shake out his trousers and boots before he puts them on.  But he no sooner learns it than he begins to forget slowly, and eventually he’s pulling on his britches or boots same as if the Universe hadn’t blessed us with Brother Scorpion.

But if the timing is good, if the Universe is feeling generous, and if the asteroid Pallas is 85 days since a conjunction with Old Sol and 293 days since an opposition, sometimes the Universe will cut us a break.  A man can slip on his britches, pull up his galluses, feel something crawling up his leg under the cloth, dance around slapping his pants, and shake out a regular big bug carcass instead of the various alternatives.

But I’ve digressed. 

Yesterday I borrowed Little Red and headed to town feeling good, but worn down to a small frazzle from cutting big cedars with my expensively repaired chainsaw, dragging them over piece-by-piece to construct a tasteful aspiring beaver dam.  Made all the feedstore, thrift store, grocery store and dollar store stops grinning like a possum, joking with the store clerks.  Bought a can of Chinese boot wax and asked the clerk whether he could tell it from Shinola, which brought a blank look.

Even bought two packages of this for a buck each at Dollar Tree.  I’ve never seen the stuff before, but my thigh was itching something fierce from that non-black widow earlier.  I was feeling a strong urge to find a restroom and drop my pants for a looksee.

As a backup, in case whatever was going on down there was as full of drama as it felt, I picked up a tube of this, too, at a buck.

But I’ve digressed again.

On the way out of Dodge I swung by the Boys Ranch Thrift Store, second to the last stop.  Not much of interest there except a shopping cart full of hardback books with a sign, “Free Books”.  I nosed around, popped open an anthology, A Treasure of the Familiar.  It opened to “Barbara Allen“, which I haven’t thought of in half-a-century.  Walked out singing to myself, trying to remember the words to “Barbara Allen“, putting the first few stanza together.  Sang it a mile down the road to the dog-catcher thrift store, debating with myself whether to go inside, or just head home.

In the parking lot a joyful sight grabbed me.

The finest off-road vehicle I’ve ever owned was a 1986 Montero.  Thousands of giddy miles up and down mountains, desert and canyons in my old Montero.  That truck would squeeze between any two trees the Universe could invent, climb anything, go through hip-deep water.  But when you got it stuck, it was for-sure, lead-pipe cinch, STUCK.

So I left that place singing “Barbara Allen” at the top of my lungs, pretending Little Red was my old Montero, remembering and flying low to the ground.

Stopped in to drop off a few bags of feed at Gale’s, needing to lift something to bring myself down, but even after unloading a few hundred pounds of sacks, still singing, still flying.

Middling good day, it was.

Old Jules