Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Our morning took us back to Nabb, this time to work with the neighbor of the folks for whom we moved blocks yesterday. They had told us that the man next door, Greg, had broken his arm while trying to work on his property. We called him last night and asked him if he wanted help and he eagerly said that he would welcome as much help as he could get.
We started by using movable fence to corral Greg’s two cows to help us access the pasture they usually occupy. Greg is worried about the debris in the pasture (including glass and metal shards) hurting the cows, so we needed to spend a bit of time trying to locate the most dangerous pieces. The cows were afraid of us, though, so even though we had access to their feed to lure them into the corral, we had to get out of sight and send Greg and his broken arm down into the corral to convince them to go in.
While in the front yard, we started a field walk to clear the debris from the yard, starting at the road and continuing to the camper in which Greg is now living. People in Indiana set their homes (even if temporary) far off the road, so a front yard around here is a pretty substantial space. Others had walked that particular field before us, so the job wasn’t as daunting as it might have been.
We then moved to the back yard and took on one of the main jobs that Greg wanted done: moving three already-existing burn piles out of the pasture to the garden area between the camper and the pasture. The work was tedious, but it helped us get some perspective on priorities. That is, Greg wants to get some more cows, so he wants as much living grass in the pasture as he can get. Thus, even though the group wouldn’t at first see the “lawn” as a priority, when there are livestock involved, things are different.
We moved one of the big burn piles out of the pasture then broke for sandwiches, gathering in the shade of the camper because it had gotten VERY hot. We guzzled water out of our coolers (with ice!) and then discovered our new favorite thing: honey shots. Karen got us some fabulous local honey and once we gave it a try, we decided to just take it straight out of the squeeze bottle. We would tip our heads back, put a tablespoon or so of honey in our mouths then hand it off to someone else to do the same. We decided it was giving us energy and helping us fight off our allergies. It probably was helping on neither of those fronts, but we didn’t care because we loved it.
As we were finishing lunch, a car pulled into the drive followed by another, another, another, etc. Suddenly twenty or more people were there, representing a local church that has shown great dedication to tornado relief efforts throughout the area. They are committed to helping Greg get to the point where he is living on his own property in whatever permanent home ends up there. We talked to the pastor who serves as their leader for a while then we left the next few jobs at Greg’s house for their group to complete and then headed back to Joe’s ravine.
We got to Joe’s in the blazing sun (yes, in Indiana, in April) and starting cranking timbers into firewood piles and burn piles faster than ever. It was hot and we were getting seriously whooped. Then Joe came home and we cranked things up even faster. He had cut down a huge beech tree and we were mercilessly heaving it in every direction to clear the space. Even though each day when we arrive at Joe’s we feel like we are facing almost the same situation we faced on the first day, we also are beginning to notice that huge swaths of walkable space are now cleared. On the first day, we could barely get one foot in any direction off the path that Joe had cleared. Now things are different.
Still, we didn’t have nearly as many hours of work in us as we have had in previous days. Humidity is harsh.
We got home early and were soon met by the cooks for tonight’s dinner, both of whom are from Shelly’s church in downtown Madison. (“Downtown” in Madison is truly “down,” as there are big steep roads that connect the higher elevations of the city – “the hill” – from the lower ones – “downtown.”) We ate huge amounts of home-cooked food, watched a movie, and crashed out whenever we felt like doing so.
Another productive day, even if painfully hot at certain points. Nice.