Nah, we’re not Nazis, and we don’t plan to invade Russia to gain Lebensraum (living space) as Hitler did.  But, it’s nice to have all this room to roam around and do what we like.  Of course, what we like and what we are required to do are not necessarily the same thing, but that’s ok – we knew there’d be some work involved when we bought our 2-acre ‘hobby farm’.  We got out there the other day (whew, was it HOT), and planted a bunch of strawberry plants, about 75 in all.  We were drenched with perspiration when we got done with THAT job, I can tell you!

   I managed to take a fall the other day, nothing terribly serious but it *really* hurt.  My foot slipped when I tried to hop up onto one of the landscape beams used as a retaining wall (only about 12 inches high).  It apparently was covered in dew, and my left foot went out from under me, and I landed with my lower right leg onto that hard beam.  I had to sit for a few minutes with my teeth clenched, seeing stars, then finally surveyed the damage.  Just a minor skin abrasion, but it could easily have been a broken leg.  Note to self:  watch where you’re going, clumsy!

   I got another minor project finished the other day – I built a grape abor (wall, trellis, whatever) just so the grape vines would have something to do.  We had planted 4 Thompson Seedless grapevines some time ago, and they are starting to show signs of increased activity, so I figured it was time.  It’s right in the same part of the yard where we had the MAJOR horseshoe competition on Memorial Day when Bruce, Joyce, and Frances (Kate’s mom) came to visit.  I did the ‘master chef’ thing, charred a few steaks, and a good time was had by all.

   Today was ‘stump-grinding’ day – I had a fellow come over with his tractor to get rid of some pesky tree stumps that were really a nuisance at mowing time.  He showed up with his John Deere 460 on a big trailer behind his pickup and started the unloading process.  He undid a couple of pins on the sides of the flat trailer, jumped up on the tractor (well, climbed up – he was my age), and cranked it up and started driving it toward the back edge of the trailer, very slowly.  There were no ramps, so I was interested to see how he was going to get it down.  It was pretty amazing – as he neared the back edge, the whole back part of the trailer started slowly tipping down under the weight of the tractor, and just eased him down to the ground.  Neato!

   Anyway, he drove the tractor into the yard and commenced the grinding process – there was a rig on the back of the tractor that was attached to the PTO (Power Take Off) drive.  It was basically a big vertical wheel (mounted on a swing arm) sort of like what you might see in a sawmill, but it was for grinding, not cutting.  He’d back up to a stump, lower the thing into position and start slowly sweeping it back and forth, chips flying, until the stump was chewed off down below ground level.  It was NEAT!  You know us guys like power tools, and this was one of the best I’ve seen.  As it turned out, some of the stumps were from old cedar trees, and as the grinder cut them down, the sweet smell of cedar filled the air, and there was a large pile of red wood chips where once there had been a tree stump. 

  We’re gearing up for out trip to Denver for Erin’s wedding (she’s one of Kate’s daughters).  I can’t say exactly when it is, wouldn’t want to advertise to the burglars, you know, but we’ll have someone out to the house every day, checking on things and watering, so maybe all will be well.  We’ll be driving, so it won’t be quite so expensive as airline tickets plus car rental.  I installed an XM radio adapter in the car today, and that will help with entertainment on our drive.

   The fun continues on Shiloh Road – come see us when you can!

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