Time to get those fruit trees in the ground. Spring has come early to the Willamette Valley this year, our deer and elk fence is up, let’s go!

Things go wrong. Larry thinks he will use his weed-whacker (you remember the weed-whacker?) to clear circles through the lush grass which has grown up in the orchard space, thus making it easier to augur the holes for the trees. But somehow he has mis-assembled this machine and it is frozen. He can’t fix it, having no tools to hand.

But this is probably okay, as we have to pick up the augur we’ve reserved at Philomath Rental, and they will surely have the tools we need. They do. This place is a candy store for boys, especially out back where there are drawers and shelves of every tool in Farmlandia. Plus a friendly owner who knows how to use them. It smells like oil in there, and there is a vending machine for peanuts. Heaven.

It isn’t long until we have the weed whacker corrected and ready for action, and the augur hitched to the Bob’s back. (Remember, Bob is the truck.) There are instructions, to which Larry has attended with admirable focus. Annoyed by the weed-whacker failure, he will by God make this augur thing work correctly.

Right. First thing, the the machine will not un-hitch from the tow bar. Swearing ensues. Luckily, at this moment, our friends Lou and Jae arrive. They have come down to see the about-to-be-torn-down house on the property with the thought that there will be wood to salvage. Lou may play the clarinet in our band, but he’s all about tools and guy stuff, cars, you get the idea. While Jae admires the mistletoe in the oaks, Lou and Larry get to work, and soon the augur pops free.

Good. Problem solved? The men position the augur. Larry flips the switch, and magically, a hole is bored into the ground. Way easier than trying to dig holes with a shovel, right. Except for one little thing. The reverse lever on the machine malfunctions, and there we have a one hundred-pound drill bored into the earth, which will not work its way back out of the hole. More swearing.

Bless good friends! Lou and Larry muscle the stupid machine out of the ground and in and out of eight more holes. I’m pretty tough, but without Lou’s help, the alternate ending to this story would have seen us so pissed, returning the machine to the shop, holes not dug, husband in a very bad mood.

Instead we go to lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Philomath, and reluctantly see Lou and Jae off to Portland. We return to the farm to meet the excavator. I am sure he is a lovely man, kind to his wife and children. He opines that our new deer fence won’t hardly keep nothin’ out, do we know how high deer can jump? Of course he may be right, but I dearly hope not. It will be his job to level the ground for the construction of the house, to dig a channel for the water from Well #1 to reach the house, and to take down the old house. I am sure he knows his business. I am not in love with him, as you may have intuited.

Next we meet with John from Consumer Power to discuss the power easement from our neighbors — who are extraordinarily nice in not only giving us the easement (not demanding payment) but traveling through Benton County hoops to secure the deal. These people I certainly do love! We decide where to place the transformer. Don’t worry, we’ll plant a lilac tree to shield it from the road. Yes, we always meant to have a lilac tree. Blue, I think.

It’s been a long day, and Larry says his leg hurts. What? I notice that he’s limping. Maybe it’s bursitis? Is bursitis contagious? On the way home, I can’t help the dark thoughts. I say that it doesn’t matter how long we have; we have this one day, maybe tomorrow, and that is enough. But I know what can happen. He will be okay without me, but I without him?

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