Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

See nature. See nature eat. Eat, nature, eat.

The original plan for this afternoon had been Cooks' Guild. (The morning being the annual pilgrimage for apples.) Decay, however, had other plans.

Early this week, the mailbox fell over. It turns out that, underneath the fine 4x4 holding it up, there was a six-inch layer of soil that had once had wood in its ancestry. As far as I can tell, the only thing that's been holding the post up in recent months has been inertia, and a few toothpicks worth of surviving intact lumber.

In order to put a new mailbox right where the old one was (which really is the right location), I needed to excavate the remainder of the old post. Beneath the layer that had completely disintegrated, though, there was still a halfway decent spike of vaguely-square wood remaining, albeit a sort of rounded 2.5x2.5 by this point. This, sadly, meant that a simple post-hole digger didn't work: it couldn't close because of the remaining bit in the middle, so it couldn't get enough purchase to lift anything out.

So this afternoon's recreation was a couple of hours on my knees, using a trowel to loosen the dirt (and rocks -- well, actually mostly rocks with dirt acting as mortar) around the post, and digging it out with my fingers, feeling like nothing quite so much as a collie trying to retrieve a mastodon's femur that he's accidentally buried too deep. (Or, really, an archaeologist from 2001, watching the monolith emerging as I cleared the soil around it.) Fortunately, I managed to get the stump loose while I was still only 3/4 of the way down to my shoulder in the ground: if the bottom had actually proved out of reach, I would have gotten rather cranky.

Anyway, the mailbox is now sitting placidly on a new post, pretty much right where it's always been. And I have that combination of satisfaction and odd cramped muscles that comes with unusual manual labor...
Tags: diary

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