Backhoe day #2

I don’t believe I mentioned that three of our days on The Mountain last week were downright summery. Temps were in the mid- to high 70s, one day over 80°F. Now we’re in the middle of a cold stretch — it got down to 24°F last night, with a “feels-like” of 16°F.

One benefit of the cold weather is that the night skies are crystal-clear, perfect for stargazing. Another perk is that I get to wear turtlenecks, fleece and those wonderful Alpaca socks I found at the farmers market in Polson.

We didn’t leave for The Mountain this morning ’til the outside temp hit 32°F and we could turn on Ernie’s heat pumps (instead of the furnaces, which we’d run overnight). After a pleasant and now-familiar drive we arrived to find our backhoe operator hard at work.

The goals today were to take down several oak snags and to push the remaining debris (or as much of it as possible) off to the ends of the work site. We weren’t looking to clear a larger area, just to clean up and better define what already had been cleared.

In two days of work, eight hours in all, the guy did a bang-up job. He even improved access from the road, so that we can bring Mercy onto the site if we want to. We sent him home with his backhoe, cash and our thanks, and we look forward to working with him again.

The neighbor who’d stopped by last week with his Polaris Ranger was back again today, too, but for a different reason. This time he handed us the keys.

Deb and I decided the other day that it’d be invaluable on The Mountain. We were satisfied with its condition and care, as well as with the deal we struck. We got a complete walkthrough from the previous owner of the buggy’s features and quirks, as well as a few hacks, before I drove him back to his home at the base of The Mountain.

Then we had to take it for a spin, of course, if only down the road and back up. I took the first turn, followed by Deb. Believe me, we were all smiles.

We’ll park the Ranger at Deb’s cousin’s cabin for the time being.

When we rolled away from The Mountain this afternoon, we left behind lots of work to do. In the coming weeks we’ll again attack piles of debris with tractor and chainsaws. Still — and Deb’s cousin suggested this — we need to step away and explore, really get to know that piece of land.

We can definitely do that. And especially now that we have the Ranger, I’m sure we will.

This very good Tuesday ended with dinner at the Neighborhood Diner in Harrison — the “Black Jack Burger” and a bowl of white beans for me, a roast-beef dinner (with green beans and mashed ‘taters) for my missus.

Life is good.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB