As mentioned previously, I took Tuesday off from the bookstore to get my seedlings into the ground in the garden. I wish I hadn’t been home that day!
The weather was glorious…sunny and warm…quite a change from the cloudy, wet days which had dominated most of April and May! I put on a tank top and a pair of shorts, pulled my hair back in a ponytail and slapped a baseball cap on my head, slathered all exposed skin with sunscreen (I thought…more about that later!), and off I went!
I had been outside for a couple of hours (worked through lunchtime) when I heard heavy equipment in our driveway. I knew the men must be coming to continue working on our septic bed. The guy Jim had talked to about it a month ago had warned us that we would probably be losing our lilac bush, and that they would have to come into our back yard to do the work…we had come home to see a small hole at the edge of our yard Monday night, with a backhoe parked beside it on the other side of the fence.
I was putting my little peat pots of seedlings into the ground when the backhoe started tearing up the lilac bush…I watched with tears streaming down my face as most of the lilac bush (he left one small piece right next to the deck), and all of the alders behind it were destroyed in front of my eyes…bird habitat, shade and privacy all gone in a few short minutes! The scoop of the machine caught in the wire fence, and broke it…the driver barely paused from his horrible work…
Later, the backhoe operator climbed down from his perch to view the destruction he had wrought. He was a young, well-muscled man wearing sunglasses, a ball cap, a black tank top, and jeans. He strolled into the yard and waved to me as I stood, staring, in the garden. I felt like I should talk to him.
Slowly, I walked over. I was so angry, I didn’t care that I wasn’t wearing makeup or hadn’t shaved my legs in recent memory, or that my face was sweaty and tear-streaked, or that dirt from the garden was stuck to my sunscreened ankles! “You’re going to have to fix that fence! It belongs to me!” I said, realizing that I was still crying.
The guy looked at me and probably wondered what he’d gotten himself into. “Um, yeah…I caught it by accident.”
“I don’t care what you do, even if you have to twist it back together with pliers…just make sure that it’s closed before you leave. If the deer get into my garden, it’s not going to be pretty!”
He assured me that he would.
“I’m sorry…I know you’re just doing your job,” I said, wiping the tears angrily from my cheeks. “But, do you see all those bird feeders?” I asked, pointing to the eight bird feeders on our deck (Jim hadn’t put out the three hummingbird feeders yet this year). “That lilac bush was where our birds sat! Please tell me that the apple tree is going to stay!”
“Oh yeah…I’m going to just do a track wide enough to drive through,” he assured me.
“Thank you,” I said. “Well, I guess I should get back to my garden. I’ve got a bunch more plants to get in.”
I finished up in the garden just after 4:00. I was using the hose to rinse off my metal trays when the backhoe operator came up behind me…
“Excuse me…could we get you to unlock the basement door so we can see where the pipe comes into the house?” he asked.
“Okay…just let me finish up here, and I’ll run down and do that.”
I let them into the basement and warned them not to hit their heads on the low beam…I laughed as I told them how many times I’d “brained” myself on it. They located the pipe and I closed and locked the basement door after them.
Later that night, I was getting ready for bed when I absentmindedly scratched my lower back…ouch! Looking in the mirror, I realized that I’d been squatting in the garden for nearly six hours, and that the back of my tank top must have been riding up…I had a lovely red stripe of sunburn above the waist of my shorts. Jim put some aloe vera on it for me.
We were driving home from work on Wednesday when I mused, “I wonder what death and destruction waits for us at home!” I was joking.
Arriving at the house, I ran to the back door to see what the workmen had been up to…the first thing I noticed was that the apple tree was GONE! That little @#$%er had lied to me! The fence was now open on two sides, allowing the deer full access to our back yard. The backhoe had obviously been digging all day, and sat in the middle of the hole, surrounded by dirt.
The guys were back yesterday and spent the day bringing in truckloads of dirt and dumping them in our yard. I was home from the store again because I had a migraine…I successfully resisted the urge to throttle a certain young backhoe operator, and stayed in the house all day. Jake barked his head off.
It’s a good thing for him that my landlord is out of town right now…otherwise, he’d be getting an earfull from me…I am not a happy camper!
To be continued…