As you know, we moved just at the end of winter into our homestead! What you cannot read on a flat screen is the giddy squeal in my voice when I say that. Oh, it is a great deal of work, do not misunderstand, but it is the work of my heart.
Moving in just before the spring thaw, we quickly realized that walking paths would be a first order of business. The house has three doors that we use almost equally depending on which part of the land or deck we intend to use, and none of them had sidewalks. Our busy feet quickly trampled the grass into a muddy mess. The immediate crisis of muddy children was alleviated by dragging home some pallets from the local hardware store, free to a good home.
So the pallets lay for a month. The kids thought it was fun at first, like jumping on rocks at the local creek. Bugaloo, the two-year-old, quickly wearied of the long jumps and of the fear that her tiny foot would fall through the cracks. This was definitely not a safe option, nor a practical one, as the others in the house just started walking in the grass around them!
We live in Northwestern Montana, a place once known for its logging industry. Although there are hauntings of the logging industry, by and large, it is no more. One such shadow is a small operation on the edge of town, affectionately known as “Tom’s place”. One day I stopped in.
“Do you have woodchips?”
“Not nice ones. No one ever wants ‘em.”
“I think I do. How much are they?”
“No, really. No one wants these. They are rough pieces of cedar, not the nice garden variety you get at the hardware store. These have some greenery in them.”
Now, I happen to know that cedar is terrible for growing anything. It is terrible for a garden bed, ideal for a walkway! When he said that no one wanted them, it left him with an ecological dilemma. He ethically harvests trees for his business, and he wants to see that excellent carbon source used for the maximum benefit of the local land.
We live rather far out of town, and he was so pleased to find a good home for his cedar woodchips, he delivered a dump truck full for only $30! That barely covered gas, and certainly didn’t touch the labor of loading and delivering.
The kids and I spent several sunny days combing our land for just the right sized rocks. With the snow melting and the much anticipated sunshine, this was a labor of love. It was a wonderful excuse for all of us to study the nature surrounding us and we made a few discoveries along the way.
I found by studying the rocks on the ground that there was an overgrown flower bed, long forgotten. My children discovered an unusual variety of ant, and the land and our family officially began the introductions.
I have a total of three paths to make. Free rocks and $30 in mulch. Sunshine and a job completed—what a wonderful return on our money!
Enjoy your next job well done,