Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rugged Lessons and Wake-Up Calls

After years of staring at her longingly, I was finally given full instruction today on how to drive this beautiful 1957 Chevy, affectionately known as "The Tonka Truck." In this photo, she still has the 1,000-gallon water tank in the back but I've since switched it out with a much smaller, white 300-gallon tank on loan from the neighbors. The yellow one had held chemically-treated water and I need to make sure my water is exactly that and nothing more. 

From now on, I am officially in charge of fetching my own H2O, for both the camper and the garden. Drinking water, I need to purchase in town. (I bought gallon jugs, which I just refill every week.) This means that I will drive this beautiful truck every time I need water, something I will now look forward to, especially now that I've recovered her seats (cardboard, straw and rusted springs) with an old Mexican blanket. 
I also learned to drive a huge ass 1951 front loader and I had about 7 heart attacks while Brent yelled from the ground: "Now see the big lever on your left? No, the other one! Pull that toward you! Now, let out the clutch and put 'er in reverse!" 

Holy shit. And that was just to get that monster out of the shed. I still had to pick up the yellow water tank and move it over the shelter belt by the grain augers. I had some trouble with the clutch-brake combo and nearly destroyed the tank but caught it just in time.

Brent then climbed into the loader bucket and had me lift him up and down nice and smooth, as practice, because they also use it as a crane. "We're going to need to you run the tractor at some point to help us so you need to know this stuff." Gulp! While up in the bucket, Brent pretended to lose his balance and fall and so I was now up to about my ninth cardiac arrest for the day. 
Then, he had me move the Tonka and I promptly backed into Brent's beater truck, giving it a lovely orange Nike swirl and jamming his tailgate shut until a sledgehammer can be applied. CRIPES! 

By noon, I was ready to drink. 

These days, I am awoken by one of several things: 
  • Rain
  • Thunder
  • Wind
  • Birds chirping
  • Metal clanging
  • Men talking
  • Trucks and/or tractor engines
The open window is my bedroom. This was during a water refill.
 Things that used to wake me up: 
  • Garbage trucks
  • Car alarms
  • Texts by friends in different time zones
  • Squealing/laughing Hearthstone children
  • Boudreaux purring in high gear
Okay, I miss these last two things something awful but I'll be happy to never hear another car alarm as long as I live.

After all the machinery lessons today, there was talk about the Big Move - when the camper gets relocated to a different part of the yard, likely tomorrow. For electrical and sewer access reasons, The Mae Flower will leave the current location, next to the shop, and move over to the side lawn of the house that Brent grew up in - also unlivable but NOT being eaten by Nature, like my mom's place. 

Camper will go where the shade is, on the east side.
Part of the new location involves a new fire pit, which means we had to "head to the bush" and cut up some dead trees. "The bush" refers to a section of our land that is pretty much wild forest, some cattle pasture and several chunks of the Pembina River:

So Brent threw the chainsaw in the back of his truck, handed me some five-sizes-too-big-for-me working gloves and off we went under a rain-spittle sky. We cruised through an overgrown world of lush foliage looking for just the right victim. Finally, he spotted a good 'un and he got to town. All I did was pick up the pieces, literally. 

It felt pretty cool to go and fetch firewood off the family land - no permits needed, no cash payments - just go and git 'er done. Ha. 

When we got back, we loaded the wood in the kitchen of Brent's old house. It'll have to stay dry until Brent builds a fire pit out of an old 55-gallon drum barrel. "No, you're going to cut the drum," Brent says, "I'll show you how to use a torch next week."

Lord, help me. I hope the damage is minimal this time....

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