Sunday, May 31, 2015

Big Job Number One

Suddenly the sun came out on Saturday and changed our plans for the day.  We threw a cooler, a shovel, a kid, and a shaky plan into the truck and headed to Carmine to "work on our property." I borrowed a chainsaw from my friend, Bill, took another friend, Bev, up on her willingness to help cut stuff up, and we tackled the impossible.

After the first trek around the property a few weeks ago, my memory of the place looked something like this:

It felt a little like "what in the hell have we done to ourselves."

Once we got back out there on Saturday, I have to say, I felt like we could conquer the darkness and honest to god, start clearing a spot for our little tree house.  By the way, it's still too muddy to drive onto the property, so rubber boots were the fashion of the day.

Follow your Golden Rule, Christy - Take it in Small Chunks & Win Big

I'm no stranger to impossible tasks. In fact, I'm kind of good at figuring out how to achieve impossible results, so I decided to follow my own Golden Rule for Tackling the Impossible.
We walked the very front of the property because that's about how much is walkable at all. I thought about the pond, and decided that it's entirely possible it was formed naturally by decades of erosion.

We walked back towards the west property line from the pond and decided we could create our first little space near a cluster of gorgeous post oaks that were hidden behind brush and dead cedars. The spot is far enough away from the pond to give us time to figure out how to improve the water feature and repair current erosion and prevent it in the future.  In the meantime, it wouldn't be that much work to start clearing a path to that first building spot. So Tammy grabber her garden loppers and went to town. 

Baby, I love you, but you were in over your head.

It  was time to pull out the chainsaws and get to destroying dead cedars and the brush that surrounded them. 

Fifty is the New Twenty

Damn straight it is!

Bev and I still have both of our legs, and the bloodshed was minimal as we busted out the saws and ripped up a single tree that was actually about eight trees grown and fused together. We both turned 50 this year. Neither one of us was chomping at the bit to cut up another tree. One was enough for the day. The other 500 trees could wait.

There was no need to overdo it... 

So we drank a few beers.

No Need for Hopelessness

Actually, this will all come together faster than we think.
When faced with an overwhelming problem, taking tiny steps is how you find the solution. As we knock out tiny clusters of trash trees and dead wood, we'll really start to see the possibilities here.

We woke up this morning with aching backs, and we knew, by yesterday's experience, we do need to buy a tool shed to store the tools that have been laying on the floorboard of the truck. We can also store good lumber there. We'll make day trips on the weekends and start clearing space for a driveway, and then our little tree house.

Big Job Number One is complete.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Cabin Fever - A Test in Patience

We finally closed on the property!  Now it's raining in Austin. As you know, there have been record flash floods and terrible devastation down in San Marcos and Wimberly. This rain has us grounded in the condo, so we can't get out to Fayette County to start our new adventure. Tammy made me a sandwich, so I can sit here and imagine our rural future.

In fact, it was raining last weekend when we finally closed, and in true stubborn Christy fashion, I attempted to drive through the gate and explore our new piece of swampy paradise. I got stuck to the hubs.

So we met all the neighbors. I mean, everybody in Carmine, Texas took an afternoon drive to gawk at the two girls seriously stuck in a ditch. The two girls who met the sweet man across the road that tried really hard to lift my tailgate out of the muck with his front end loader.  The two girls who met George the wrecker guy who had to wench me out of that ditch. The two girls covered in mud. The two girls that met the man who runs his cows on our property (he's a real wealth of resources, thank god). The two girls the county commissioner knew would call him and ask for a culvert so that they could drive into their new property. He knew because I called him to describe exactly where that culvert needed to go, and he said, "Weren't you stuck in the ditch right there last Saturday?" Which takes me back to everybody in Carmine taking an afternoon drive to gawk at two girls stuck in the mud.

Anyway. Welcome to the country, y'all. And I forgot to take pictures because I was just too hot, too muddy, and too distracted to remember to do that. We did take a walk - or a crawl - through our heavily wooded, very soppy, soaked property that is home to a couple of little streams, one little pond, about a million trees, and a whole lot of mud.

We shall build a tree house

Jungle conditions require jungle accommodations. It makes total sense to build the first little cabin on our new place about 8 feet off the ground. I am actually very happy it was totally gross and wet when we explored. We could see exactly how the water moves through the property, and where it is causing erosion. Not only will a tree house be practical, it will fit very naturally into the heavy forest.

So I took to drawing a tiny tree house.  It's 16X16. It has a tiny porch. It has a tiny bedroom for me and Tammy. It has a tiny space for the kiddo. It also has a tiny bathroom. We can create a cool outdoor cooking and dining space underneath the tree house.  

The first structure doesn't need to be big because we will be outside except to sleep. We have an overwhelming amount of work to do. My friend, Bev, has already volunteered herself, a chainsaw and two home brews. And basically, that's what happens first. A whole lotta underbrush to clear. You know that saying, "You can't see the forest for the trees?" Take that expression literally, and you have an idea about where this land adventure will start.

In the meantime, this is Austin

It's a little stressful to think my tiny little courtyard, in Austin, went from this:

To this:

In such a short time. So imagine what twelve acres of virgin post oak and cedar trees is like. Multiply my stress by thick, thirsty yaupon and kudzo.  Now top it off with me just dropping the rest of my sandwich down my shirt and onto the floor.

The Cabin Fever is off the charts, y'all.