bunt sign

Saturday, August 10, 2002

Earlier this week, as I was minding my own business (I hope), a man came up and tapped on my window. Now, I don't get many visitors, living so far off the road here, but most of those who do drop by will knock on the door instead of the window. He was eating something out of a plastic container, and it turned out he was a carpenter on his way home from work.

Why was he here? Well, he noticed the condition of my yard and asked if I'd like him to clear out the weeds for me. I asked him how much he'd charge and then held my breath, but it was less than I expected. In fact, it was less than I thought it was worth, so we talked about how much work he'd do for that price. I think he saw the lay of the land and wanted to dive in right then and there. I had to restrain him a little from wanting to go beyond the fence into the neighbor's property.

I know he also wanted a crack at the garden, but all I wanted was for the high weeds to go down. The heat has been intense, and I've been getting just a bit nervous the last couple of weeks. That hasn't gotten me out of my chair to do much work out there, but it put me in the frame of mind to give this guy the okay to work a little magic. He told me he'd be back Friday.

And there he was yesterday morning at 8:30, with his grown son and a mower and a couple of weed trimmers. They didn't even come to the door (or the window); they just started in on the yard, one from each end working toward the middle. I didn't know how long they'd be here, or if they'd give up halfway through and tell me I got my $125 worth already. I wouldn't have blamed them, because I think the job was bigger than the guy thought. When he was here the first time he didn't spend much time surveying the terrain. If he had, I think the estimate might have been higher.

They took a break about 10:30. He told me his trimmer was getting too hot, so they were going to go get something to eat while it cooled off. While they were gone I made a quick trip to the post office. At that point I couldn't picture how the yard would look when they were finished. Even if they left it the way it was, it was already way better than when they started.

But they were back soon enough, and they worked through until about 2:00. The back porch thermometer told me it was 100F, and I wondered if I should go out and ask if they wanted to finish on a cooler day. I was ready to take water bottles to them, but they had their own so I just let them do their job. Toward the end I started peeking out the windows more and more often, not because I wanted to check on their work but because I was concerned about their well being.After they'd cleared the whole back yard, the side yard, part of the field across the driveway and all the area beyond the garden and under the big oak, the father came to the door and said he thought he'd made enough noise for one day. I handed him a wad of bills that included a little more than he'd asked for, and I told him I thought he did more work than he was charging me for.

He was grateful and offered to come back and clear the spider webs from the outside of the place, but I won't be ready for that until I can accumulate some more cash. It was worth it to me not to have to take out all the weeds by myself, but it's going to strain the financial position around here for awhile. All I told him was "no thanks," though. I'm sure he'll be around again when he has more time on his hands. Maybe by then I'll have more money.

dead but low

Looking across the back yard at my house, after the weeds were mowed down.

I hadn't seen much of the deer lately, but last night as it was starting to cool off I looked out and saw three of them strolling through the garden. They walked all the way across the newly mown back yard and started munching the berry bushes in the far corner. Before I had the yard done, I wouldn't even have been able to see them.

Then this morning, first thing (well, 9:30, first thing for me), I opened the bedroom blinds and saw two young deer just outside the window. And the three evening visitors came bounding over the fence again tonight at twilight. Maybe they've been around all along, but I was so buried in high weeds I couldn't tell. Once they're back on the other side of the fence and in the neighbor's overgrown yard, I can't see them any more, for the same reason.

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