Imagine finding a waterfall in your backyard. (No seriously…imagine it.) Now imagine that waterfall being next to impossible to see because the trees, vines and shrubs on your property are holding it hostage from your eyes. Would you settle for that? Yeah, neither did we.
So for the past week, Mr W, the kids and I have been stealing away to our lower lot to work on reclaiming one of the most picturesque areas of our land from…well…our land.
One of the biggest challenges for us in adapting to a world of both Mr W and I being at home is the impact its had on our finances. We knew going into this that it would take awhile to get our income levels back up to a more comfortable level again. We also knew that would mean putting a halt on our major remodeling projects inside the house.
Of course if you have that itchy “I simply must work to make something better” disease that afflicts Mr W…that means you come up with more creative ways to improve your home without spending much money. For us, that means walking out the back door and looking around the twenty-some acres we call home.
You might remember me posting about the waterfall last week when I was talking about exploring the yard with the kids. I actually discovered it last spring with Mr W’s sister while I was getting to know the yard. We ran across it in early March, well before the growing season had set in and the yard had hidden it from view.
Of course we were a little busy last year planning a wedding, so we never did anything to it.
But on our trip to visit it last week, Mr W and I got to talking about the potential of the spot as a swimming hole for the kids. At the very least, we figured the waterfall and the pond at the bottom of it would make a great spot for picnicking, relaxing and general outdoor merriment.
So last Thursday, we grabbed some work gloves, the loppers, a pair of gardening shears and headed down there for the evening. Of course most of the land surrounding the water looked like this.
And that’s not even counting the vines that had grown up and wrapped themselves around tree trunks above our heads. These were not small vines either…check out the size of these suckers…
So while the kids went to work moving piles of rock from one location to another (don’t ask me why, they thought it would be helpful and we knew it would keep them occupied…) and Mr W set to using the loppers on the new growth trees and brush, I started finding vines and pulling them out of trees.
Have you ever played tug of rope with a tree?
Trees are frickin strong.
In most instances, I was able to pull the vines down, often resulting in a length of vine more than twenty feet long. But in some instances, the vine was so firmly in place, I could literally hang from it. For those ones, I called in the big guns. (Ladies…watching your man rips vines from trees is actually pretty hot. It’s no wonder Jane was all about Tarzan. It certainly wasn’t for the stimulating conversation!)
Once we’d hacked our way down to the water side, space started to open up and things got a little easier. However if you look at the right side of the image below, you can see we still had a LONG way to go.
About this time we realized the brush pile of what we were carrying out was getting pretty high. So I headed back up to the house to grab some card board and paper from our recycle bins and some lighters from the living room.
Mr W got a fire blazing at the bottom of the pile and we went back to work collecting sticks and cutting down branches.
The thing that struck me as most amusing about the kids working with us is how quickly they tired of picking up and carrying sticks, but how happy they were to carry rocks. Those kids carried rocks that must have weighed a third of what they did. And they did it without complaint and with great glee.
But ask them to pick up random sticks to throw in the fire? Not interested. They couldn’t give us a good explanation for this either…
All in all, we put about three hours into cutting, pulling, piling and burning that night. It was a heck of a workout and it reminded me why I love to work outside in the early spring. (It’s cool enough that you work yourself to comfortably warm instead of working yourself to “holy crap I’m gonna pass out” hot.)
We made some pretty impressive progress. By the time we headed back to the house we could actually see the water from the yard.
We made plans to bring a chainsaw and rakes with us the next time so we could take care of some of the larger trees, fallen branches and general ground cover as well.
It may take us all spring, but one way or another, we’re going to carve this area out into a beautiful little niche for our family to enjoy.