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The stupid job

June 8, 2020

It wasn’t pouring with rain and it wasn’t freezing cold yesterday, so it seemed like as good a time as any to get started on the stupid job.

The first time I tackled this particular job was three summers ago. At the time, I didn’t realise what a stupid job it was. I thought it was a very socially responsible job. As I explained at the time, it began as an attempt, responding to a plea by the local fire chief during those long, hot summers, to clear all the tinder dry twigs and branches near the house. It turned into a whole, for want of a better word, landscaping project.

I spent a good chunk of June 2017 clearing twigs and branches and pine needles and pine cones and moss from both sides of the house and up most of the path to the well. At the end, I have to say, it looked amazing – particularly the right side (faced from the front) of the house, which for years had been nothing but moss covered by twigs and branches and pine cones. I discovered wonderful, huge rocks buried under the moss which I turned into a bit of a feature.

I even discovered a tap, buried under the moss, which has come in very handy during subsequent power failures.

06-03 tap

Oh, yes, by the end of June 2017, I was very pleased with my handiwork.

I don’t know why it didn’t once occur to me in 2017, but it just didn’t. I live in a house surrounded by fir trees. What do they do every autumn and winter? No, they don’t go to Florida or Mexico or Hawaii to escape the weather. They drop needles and cones. Lots of them. And when it gets windy they drop twigs and branches. Lots of them, too.

I realised in the spring of 2018 what I should have clearly understood in the summer of 2017: this wasn’t a one off, highly satisfactory project. It was an annual event.

Spot the difference.

spot the difference

Oh, please tell me that you can. Yes, that is correct. The view through the right window is the chunk I did yesterday, through the left the beginning of the much larger chunk I still have to do.


It’s not just the twigs and needles and cones in all these to-be-disposed-of piles. It’s also all the pebbles and rocks that percolate to the surface every year. (This being the reason everyone on the island grows fruit and veg in raised beds.)

I admit it’s still satisfying when the job is done. But it takes a long time and, really, it is kinda stupid, isn’t it? I mean, I’m just going to have to do it all again next year. Trust me, I’ve had words with the trees, but they just won’t stop dropping things. Oh, well.

The sun appears to be coming out, so time to get back to it.

Feel free to vote.


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