Today is Monday, August 21, 2017


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Did you ever start doing “one little thing” that led to another little thing and then another until you have taken on a BIG project? I guess it’s sort of like getting hooked on drugs or something. It’s hard to shake.

I can blame this on the wonderful weather we had this summer. Here in my woods it was so pleasant early in the day. The sun doesn’t top the rise and the trees to the east (the back) of my house until 9 or 10 o’clock and it was unbelievable for mid summer. I thought how nice it would be to have a spot to sit and have my breakfast. 

Most of my outdoor living is done in the front, either on the deck attached to the house or the one at the edge of the woods. The front is landscaped. My back lawn is minimal with woods and prominent limestone outcroppings close by. In fact that is why I built in this spot. I love to see the rock formations and this moist summer they were spectacular with bright green moss and tiny ferns growing on and around them.

I have two wooden benches whose backs flip over to form a table top. Scoot them together and you have a picnic table with benches attached. I thought that putting one of them in the back yard would be perfect. So I started cleaning up a spot for it. Nature does take over if you don’t stay on top of things. Leaves and sticks and branches fall and get blown around. Little things sprout and grow. And the years take their toll.

I picked up sticks and raked up leaves and other detritus, clipped and pruned little growing things, and cleaned up an area that would accommodate my table and give me a view of some of my rocks. I moved the table, bought a couple of small ferns to decorate it and I was ready. But … wouldn’t it be nice to have a spot to put one of my outdoor rockers as well? I could use my little wooden foot stool and sit there in the afternoon with a glass of tea, put my feet up and read my paper.

So I repeated the process using the rake and clippers. A few days later I had another little spot cleared. I worked early in the mornings while it was cool and stayed with it as long as the mood lasted. Sometimes half an hour, sometimes two hours, it just depended. When I finally sat in my rocker or at my table I realized that I needed to improve my view. The nearby rock outcroppings needed to be cleaned. I expanded the project.

Now those of you who have done stuff like this must wonder what I did with all the leaves, etc. I collected during my raking and clipping and picking up. I found a young man with a pickup truck willing to load it up and haul it all to the landfill. Marvelous. He hauled once. He hauled twice. I kept raking. He hauled again. And again!

As the summer progressed so did my BIG project. Oh what the heck. I might as well encircle the house. I was really enjoying the more open look of the woods. I clean back a short distance and from near the house you get the impression of a larger open vista. Good deal.

I have practically cornered the market in 39 gallon “Lawn and Leaf” bags, having filled over 50 of them! This does not include the six truckloads of sticks and limbs and branches that have been carried off. I continually had a stack of bags and limbs at the end of the driveway for easy pickup. I did most of the work myself, but the landfill charges by the load and it added up.

Yep, I really talked myself into a BIG project this summer. I would not have done it – and did not pursue it – in the 90-plus degree weather, but until the monsoon season hit us, I kept at it. It really looks great with its light fall of yellow leaves! And I only lack about 100 more bags.

Margaret Partee can be reached at 

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