Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cabin Life: Summer Accomplishments

The ScytheI’m sitting at the table on Saturday morning, looking out the big window at the layer of frost covering everything.  The car has a white windshield and the chicken coop has a good layer of frozen dew on it as well.  I guess now that it’s September, there are going to be more and more days like this.

Now that fall is almost here, I’ve been thinking back on the summer.  At the beginning, I was worried that this would be the summer that never was, what with snow until early June and then nothing but rain for quite a while too.  Then there was the heat wave, followed by more rain.  August was nice though.  It was hot but not crazy hot, with some rain here and there.  Of course, it rained almost exclusively on my days off each week, but what can you do?

Last night, I rebuilt the fire pit in the side yard.  It was working fine, but I wanted a larger one out there.  I dismantled the old pit and built a new one, about twice the size.  The funny thing is that I didn’t add any rocks to it.  The old pit just had so many rocks laying around not performing any function that there was a ready stockpile handy.

I got a fire going to enjoy the new pit, and since it was still daylight out and I was out of beer, I thought I’d do some work on the side yard.  I tend to call this area the front yard, since this is what I see when I look out the big window.  But my front door faces another direction, so the side yard it is.

In a way, the side yard is a much more active place than the front yard.  I park and walk through the front yard a lot, and that’s where the big fire pit is as well.  But the side yard is where the chickens are, the junk wood pile, the compost bin and the more manageable fire pit are.  It’s also where the solar panel and the remnants of the garden are located.

As I stood there surveying the yard wondering what project I could start, I decided it could be something fun.  The woodshed is done and almost full and the chickens are happy in their coop.  The main projects I wanted to get done are done.

I’ve wanted a horseshoe pit out here for a while, and this seemed like a good time to start it.  However, the most level part of the yard was covered in small balsam sprouts and other brush.  I had already cleaned up the entangled pile of old metal roofing and burned a bunch of old lumber that was slowly rotting away under the apple tree.  The ground was clear of debris, but not of brush.

I went to the shed and grabbed the scythe.  I had never actually used one of these before, but when I saw leaned up against the outside of an antique shop, I had just given in to the impulse and purchased it.  For twenty bucks, I got the scythe and an extra blade.

Walking back to the side yard with scythe in hand, I figured it would be best to have on steel-toed shoes.  So with the proper foot wear in place, I attacked the lower part of the side yard with the scythe.  I started out small on the goldenrod and tall grass, but soon got adventurous and tried my luck on a couple of the small balsams.  To my amazement, the scythe sliced right through them.  This was getting fun.

The huge blade on the scythe made short work of the brush, and I so had cleared a lot more than I intended to.  There’s plenty of room now for the horseshoe pit as well as a couple of raised-bed gardens.  I had decided to do something fun for the night.  Swinging the scythe left me sweaty, but it was fun.

 


Justin A Levine

Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.



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2 Responses

  1. Joyce Lovelace says:

    You might enjoy an essay by Wendell Berry titled ‘The Good Scythe’ which appeared in Organic Gardening Magazine and also in ‘The Gift of Good Land’ by WB

  2. I cannot fathom frost already