Sunday, March 13, 2011

- Making little ones out of big ones: Whacking rocks

We cut a lot of scrub brush last fall ... mostly Texas persimmonAshe juniper (the locals call it cedar), Possumhaw and Yaupon (which look much the same, except that one is deciduous and the other is evergreen). My best estimate is that we lined about 200' of the driveway with branches piled 4-5 feet high and 6-8 feet deep, much like the pile looming behind this 4' tall tom turkey. You can do the math, but it added up to an awful lot of brush. Fortunately, we found someone willing to bring in a mega-chipper, leaving behind three piles of shredded wood that took up considerably less real estate.

We also have some walkways that can be tricky to navigate, to say the least. This is the path leading from the fire pit to the dry creek bed at the back of the property. It's pretty typical, with limestone ready to trip you up the moment you stop watching your step.

So I started spreading the shredded wood chips over one of the pathways, which was a pretty good idea ... except  there were some pretty high-profile stones with sharp ridges on top. Even with a thick bed of mulch, they seemed likely to trip up unsuspecting hikers. That realization inspired a trip to the shed to retrieve my old geology pick, purchased in 1975 when I was an undergrad at William and Mary.

Wielded with a steady hand (and a good pair of safety glasses), it made short work of the limestone in the middle of the path. I may have failed at flint knapping, but I definitely succeeded at rock busting.

Sadly, the old gray pick, she ain't what she used to be. After a couple of days, the shank started to work its way out of the handle, making it less than safe for continued path remodeling. I suppose I could get a new handle made, but I'm thinking a new sledge hammer may be a better call.

Until then, I'm heading to the kitchen to whip up a batch of Snickerdoodles. Which is a total non sequitur, but that's pretty much how life is these days ... better than fine.

  • 1/2 cup Land O'Lakes butter with canola oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs. Stir in flour, cream of tartar and baking soda. Roll small balls in cinnamon sugar and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees. Note: I find these do better if you don't use convection.