Nothing is Easy in the Country

With the Summer print issue, I (Gloria Hildebrandt) began a column entitled “The Gift of Land,” describing the 14-acre property near the Niagara Escarpment that I inherited from my father. I’ve heard some kind comments from readers who enjoyed it, so I’m going to post a few more musings about it here, with a few more photos than I can fit on the print page, because there is simply so much to share and so much I could use advice on. I’d love it if you could leave a comment helping me out.

Thomas with a broken leg. Photo by Gloria Hildebrandt

Thomas with a broken leg. Photo by Gloria Hildebrandt

I have a lot going on, on my property, but none of it is easy. Iron fencing materials have arrived so there can be a safe place to turn loose my little dog Thomas, who six weeks ago had an encounter with a schoolbus that resulted in a cast for his broken leg. It could have been much worse. Now there are only two weeks left before the cast comes off and my life will be somewhat easier. I was ordered by the vet to keep the cast dry by putting a plastic bag over it when it’s damp outside, and what with all the rain we’ve been having, it’s meant putting the baggie on and taking it off all day and evening, whenever Thomas wants to go outside.
You’d think it would be easy to have the fence built, especially as I’m hiring a professional. But because it’s going at the front of my house, I have plants to move out of the way, tree branches to cut back, even possibly a big tree root to chop away.
Nothing is easy in the country.

My weedy little front flower bed with some pretty blooms: Asiatic lilies starting, purple coneflowers & a lovely unknown. There's also a rose, sedum, dwarf irises & bleeding hearts in here. Where am I going to put them all? Photo by Gloria Hildebrandt

My weedy little front flower bed with some pretty blooms: Asiatic lilies starting, purple coneflowers & a lovely purple unknown. There’s also a rose, sedum, dwarf irises & bleeding hearts in here. Where am I going to put them all? Photo by Gloria Hildebrandt

You’d think it would be easy to transplant some flowers, but I have no available free space to put them in. I’ll have to create a holding bed for them, and that is hard work, as I have no available clear soil. Everything is overgrown this time of year.
Another thing I’m doing is spreading wood chips on some of the paths through the property. I had a big pile of chips delivered for free, from a tree-cutting company that’s clearing the hydro lines on our road. Many neighbours did the same, and now have a mound of chips on their front lawns. I’ve been making good progress chipping away at the pile, shovelling chips into the small tractor wagon, driving to the path where I want them spread, then using the rake to smooth out the chips and provide a dry, attractive footing.

Newly-chipped path through the property. Photo by Gloria Hildebrandt

Newly-chipped path through the property. Photo by Gloria Hildebrandt

It’s not that easy, being time consuming and energy consuming, but the worst thing is when the mosquitoes are bad, which, with all the rain we’ve had, is most of the time. We have to dress in bug shirts with hoods that cover the face, wear long pants, boots and gloves, and we sweat like we’re in a sauna, or as if we’re Ebola workers, as a friend said.

Gloria on the tractor, Mike at the wood chipper. Photo by Richard Longley.

Gloria on the tractor, Mike at the wood chipper. Photo by Richard Longley.

Then there’s a day like today: sunny, breezy, cool, without humidity or bugs. Simply perfect for gardening and property chores. I’d love to be out. But I have inside work to do on the magazine. Deadlines are looming. Revenue goals are hanging over me. I wish I could bottle today for a weekend with crummy weather.
There’s just so much to do on a country property, and even when you work at home and can somewhat set your own schedule, nothing is easy.

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