Often times, when I explain this whole Moving-to-the-Adirondacks thing, city folks are very impressed. “The Adirondacks! That will be so relaxing!” Or if I mention that we are in the High Peaks area they’ll coo, “All that hiking, canoeing, and skiing! You’re going to be living the good life!” Truth is, our life here (I’m writing this from the Adk place) doesn’t remotely resemble those descriptions. Not yet anyway.
There are many little worlds in the Adirondacks. Ours is a small country village where folks own tractors and the six o’clock beer on the porch is still a daily tradition. Another tradition is hard work on your own land. Thats what I was up to most of this weekend. Yeah, I’m thinking about the satisfaction of getting much done, but I’m thinking more about how I am going back to the city dead tired. Completely exhausted. And I mean exhausted. Barely able to get up the two steps to the RV bedroom. (Seriously.)
We decided we needed more room out back behind the house. Now that all the pieces of the land jigsaw puzzle are in place, I thought maybe we could move the cabin back some. It’s about the size of one of those little tourist cabins – 10 x 15′ and 11′ tall. “Well,” Neighbor and I thought, “It is on 4×4 skids.” Men with a tractor and an idea are a dangerous combination. He brought the tractor over, and we gave the cabin a shove. It moved. It moved a good deal, but the gravel was bunching up and we knew we would get hung up. So we dug holes about a foot deep under-and-below two of the skids, and jacked the cabin up. Shoved some scrap wood under it so it could slide. Used a tire as a pushing pad. And after a mere four hours … it was moved.
I make it sound easy, don’t I? Nuh-uh. We had to dig through one-inch gravel a foot deep. With drainage rocks underneath it. The jack twisted and slipped out after we got it jacked up. Twice. And after running the tractor through the wet-new-soil backyard all morning, I spent three hours raking heavy, wet dirt. Before this all started, I was out at 6:30am raking down a pile of wet soil 5′ high. Not that I’m not pleased with the results. I am. But, between packing the city house, carrying heavy furniture around for two weeks, driving fourteen hours a weekend, and finishing each of those trips off with an icing of hard labor … well, I’m tired. And not good tired. I’m sick of it tired.
The upside? I feel a little bit more like a member of our little community. I’ve worked alongside various neighbors for a few weekends now, and I’ve realized that to some small degree, I am thought of as smart, able, and somewhat capable of doing the tough stuff. Cranky old Coot Down the Road derides me when I’m not around, but everyone else is on my side, and strongly so. And then again, Cranky old Coot derides everyone when they’re not around. (And I even gave him a present once. What a jackass windbag.)
Coot and all, these folks, the country hills, the ramshackle sheds, the six o’clock beers, the vegetable gardens out back, and the owner-built houses in this little farming community are My Adirondacks, where “the good life” has a whole different meaning. Yeah, okay. I guess it was a pretty good weekend. Lots to tell. I’ll fill you in during the week.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have 400 lbs of horse manure to unload out of the van. And I’m mighty pleased about it.