I’m not afraid of hard work and I don’t mean just hard mental work, I mean hard physical work. I am the sole owner of 1.4 acres of land in Upstate NY and it falls squarely upon my shoulders to improve and maintain my property. I do what needs to be done when it needs to be done and I never back down from a new landscaping challenge.
As stated in my “Not Profound” post every single tree I own is messy and drops branches, pine cones or leaf sticks. The spring cleanup of my yard is an ongoing process as with every strong wind more mess falls from the trees. My first spring in my home was last year and I gathered a decent pile of branches and pine cones. There was no designated bonfire pit in the yard because the previous owners apparently burned everything but the kitchen sink in barrels. So I picked a spot toward the back of my property, dumped the branches there and proclaimed it my bonfire pit. A proper bonfire pit is surrounded with rocks to define it but surprisingly enough, I’ve yet to find any big rocks on my property.
Last year was my first bonfire and it went off quite well with my girls, two close friends, ample s’mores and a couple of Samuel Adams Summer Ales. I’ve already started this year’s pile and while it isn’t as large as last year, judging by the wind again today, it will be soon. I still really wanted a true border around it so I began investigating the hedgerow between my property and the neighbors. Monday morning I discovered that behind one of the old burn barrels was a decent sized stack of cinder blocks. I fought through the vines and prickers for a closer look and concluded that the blocks had never been used for anything. I’d found my bonfire border! I resolved to get the blocks out of there that afternoon following work and went about my day.
Monday afternoon arrived and it was a beautiful, relatively warm day. My daughters were more than happy to play outside on the swing set and in the yard so I went out in work clothes determined to get the job done. I knew I wouldn’t want to carry every single block across the yard one at a time so I moved my wheelbarrow over near them for transport. In order to reach the pile I had to walk over a rather large mound of old ashes and burnt whatever and it was somewhat squishy and less than stable.
Wearing my leather work gloves, I yanked and pulled at the nest of vines until I could get at the pile and then picked up my first cinder block. That was literally the first time I’ve ever moved a cinder block and they were lighter than I expected but still a substantial workout for my arms. I carried that block over the squishy mound and into the wheelbarrow and repeated the process twice more before becoming fed up with that idea. I then began throwing the blocks out toward the wheelbarrow in a sort of backyard Olympics sport and I was impressed with my own strength.
I could put four cinder blocks in the wheelbarrow and still be able to move it so I made as many trips as it took to get the blocks over to the fire pit where I began placing them around in a circle. By the time I finished that job I was pretty beat. I’d pinched my hands between two blocks more than once, banged them into my hips and legs and scraped up my forearms because I’d become too hot in my sweatshirt to keep it on. Even so, I was ridiculously proud of myself and would do it all over again if need be. I’d accomplished what I wanted to and my bonfire pit finally looked substantial and permanent.
Everything I do on my property and in my house fills me with a deep sense of pride and increases my belief in my own abilities. I’m gaining tons of experience and discovering that yes, I can do whatever I put my mind to because I’ve successfully done so numerous times in the past. My long distance friend, who knows a lot about hard work himself, gave me a virtual pat on the back and while I don’t do any of this for acknowledgement or praise, it felt really good! A little “good job, Julie!” sticks with me as I tackle my next challenge and every other challenge along the way.