This past Tuesday, the day gravel was delivered to the homesite, Deb and I were on The Mountain earlier than usual — not before dawn, but in time to catch the first rays of sunlight peeking through the trees toward the summit.
We looked upon our soon-to-be-homestead quite literally in a new light. Like that trailcam image I shared yesterday, mood had shifted and colors had changed. The warmth and angle of sunlight in the early morning, the “golden hour,” paints the landscape in hues seen at no other time.
Soon we’ll be able to take in the show every day. Give me peace and percolator coffee. The awning side of the fifth-wheel will face east, giving us front-row seats for watching the rising sun.
Tuesday’s early arrival also came with a practical discovery. The south end of the homesite’s lower level, the area cleared to make way for the septic system, was in full sun by 8:30am on the 9th of May.
That’s the spot where we hope to plant a vegetable garden, or at least one of our vegetable gardens, probably a combination of a ground plot and raised beds. Though we can’t cover the leach lines or dig where they run, there’s still plenty of room down there for a garden that’ll keep us busy throughout the growing season.
At the north end, which gets full sun a couple of hours later, we’ll have space for our woodshed. Once electric goes in and utility trucks no longer need access, we may move our storage shed there as well.
As I’ve said before, a whole lot of trees came down for the septic system and, later, for the power right-of-way. (Two of the three large trees in the center of the photo above, for example, no longer are there.) We might not have wished for that in the beginning, but the result now presents opportunities we didn’t know we had.
Incidentally, a reader asked me if yesterday’s tree-felling exercise “improves our view.” Maybe you wondered the same thing.
Well, yeah — it gives us a much better view of the road, and it opens up a clear line-of-sight from the road to where the fifth-wheel (and eventually the house) will be. I wouldn’t say that’s a feature we wanted, certainly, but there’s not enough alien traffic on the road to make it much of a concern. I think we’ll probably plant a row of bushes at the roadside, perhaps something dual-purpose like blackberries.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture holds “Free Tree Fridays” each spring, during which it gives away bare-root seedlings of native species. The program is over for this year, but when it comes to Yellville next spring we’ll pick up a handful of pines. I believe we’ll use them as ornamentals and to fill-in gaps left by all that necessary clearing.
Besides, I love pine trees, which are virtually nonexistent on our 20 acres. We’ll be careful where we plant them — not over the leach lines, of course, and duly mindful of overhead lines.
And what of trees that already came down on the homesite, now gathered into an enormous pile at the north end of the driveway?
Well, that’ll be a project, and a long-term project to boot. Once we’re living on The Mountain full-time I’ll begin picking away at the mass, limbing trunks and bucking them into fireplace lengths. Then I’ll haul them across the driveway to the woodshed, splitting what needs splitting and stacking it to season.
I’ll also segregate hardwood from cedar — the former to use eventually in our house’s woodstove, the latter for outdoor fire pits. Some of the seasoned cedar will find its way indoors, if only to get a cold woodstove going. A little won’t do any harm.
The woodshed will include a kindling box, too, making use of small stuff. Waste not.
No matter how efficient I am, however, I’ll be left with a lot of brush, including a bunch of small piles just off the driveway. That’ll have to be burned, a little at a time and under the right conditions.
So much to do. I expect to be torn between the necessary and the wouldn’t-it-be-nice stuff. I should have time and the freedom most days to pick and choose.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.