Sunday, June 9, 2013

...I got a rock...

June in New England means the weather is sometimes hot enough for bathing suits and the sprinkler, and sometimes cold enough for jeans and sweatshirts. There are days when the kids hedge their bets and wear bathing suits under their sweatshirts. Gardening in New England is like being Charlie Brown on Halloween.

Plum thundercloud #2
(in hole #4)
We've spent the past week digging holes for trees. We have a young honeygold apple tree that's not doing as well as we'd like and yes, we've transplanted it during the growing season. We know it might die, but it's been loitering in the front yard for weeks, humming "Strawberry Fields Forever." We had to do something before it started inviting Pippin and Braeburn trees over and blasting The Presidents, U2, and Warrant all night long. We also planted two plum thunderclouds and a June Snow dogwood. I'm partial to any dogwood because I grew up in Virginia, where it's the state flower. Finding a dogwood tree that likes Massachusetts is better than seeing a double rainbow and having it still be there sixty seconds later when you haul your kids over to the window.

The first hole took us two hours on a Friday night. Dig, dig, clink! Excavate...toss... Dig, dig, dig, clink! Sigh. We're living it up, I tell you! Using the 2-hour-per-hole baseline, we figured we'd be digging holes all afternoon Saturday and Sunday, but that we'd get all four holes dug over the weekend. We could have three trees in and the fourth relocated by Tuesday evening.


To dig three holes, we spent four hours each afternoon on Saturday and Sunday, another two each on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings, and a final four hours on Thursday.  To be fair, about two of those hours were given over to planting the trees. On Wednesday evening while Dan and I were entering our third hour of excavating the Alps-shaped behemoth in the fourth hole, we called Penelope and Emma outside and told them to order a pair of pizzas. You'd have thought we'd said we were moving to Universal Studios. WE get to order the pizza? Call them and everything? 

*not* a chocolate bar, a whale,
or a coffin
Thursday afternoon we were back outside, still working on that rock. More stubborn than a beagle, it threatened to keep me from writer's group, and Dan from his bug fixes. Dan's suspicions loomed like the thunderstorms forecast for that evening. I'd have called the rock our white whale, but having explained to the girls (while digging hole number two) that the white whale was the obsession that eventually destroyed you, I was reluctant. We just kept enlarging the hole, wiggling the rock, then levering it up a few inches and bracing it with smaller rocks. Finally, at five o'clock, we prevailed! It took the two of us to roll it over to the pile and maneuver it into a safe position. Then we nestled the last tree in its new home and rewarded its patience with compost, a long drink, and mulch. I speed-scrubbed myself clean enough. I hadn't written more than 500 words in the past week. I needed writer's group. S.D. had promised strawberries.

In the end, I made it to group where I enjoyed both strawberries and applause for conquering the rock. Dan fed the kids and dove back into his code. Last week, Dan and I were Cash and Jewel, wrestling Addie's coffin across the river, except we succeeded without crushing any limbs. Plus there were no buzzards. Just a lot of rocks.


  1. I'm still applauding. Congratulations! Our backyard contains a small pile of rocks that came from flower beds. Neighbors always promise to take some...they're free! And never do. I think they found some of their own. :(

    1. My mom took a bunch a few years ago. Dad was not thrilled about lugging them all the way back down to Virginia so they could sit in a pile in the middle of his front yard.

      I'm still confused about why I'm finding so much granite when I live two miles SOUTH of The Granite State. Isn't there some sort of line telling the mountains to change composition? ;)