Sunday, April 17, 2016

Man-made Miracle

Maybe the title should be Parent-made Miracle.
It is a saga.
Let's dig in.

Two years ago, this entered our lives:

It was top soil, preserved for spreading around after the completion of our house.
(Which was supposed to be done a mere 6-8 months later. Pfft.)
It was eventually joined by several other small mountains, these consisting of rocky subsoil.

It offered a great deal of adventure for our six children.

But after a summer of this: 

And this:

I determined to do something about all of the dirt.
My dad came and taught me how to use a backhoe.
I spent many hours moving dirt, getting rid of the mounds of subsoil.

Picking rocks became a family project that has continued to this day
and will likely continue until our deaths.

But the original mound, that of top soil, as well as other issues resulting from the removal of the trailer and a rather large mistake by one of the subcontractors, remained.

Of course, the kids didn't mind!  It was a sledding hill . . .

during all seasons.

 All the while, the dirt and mud continued to plague my life.

Every day, multiple times a day, I would look out my window and worry about the impending summer and its imminent dust devils. Here I am, weeks from delivering a baby and in no condition to run large machinery, not to mention the fact that we were overwhelmed by what needed doing and not having the required experience to know just how to do it!

How could we push through another summer with dust and dirt and mud and a basically unusable yard?

Last fall, I was able to clean up this one small side of our front yard and got grass planted.
You can see some of the mess that remained on the left of the picture.

But nothing would grow on the rocky subsoil.
We needed the foundation drainage addressed and the leveling issues addressed before we could spread the topsoil.

We were stuck.
. . . 

Until Friday afternoon, when my parents showed up with this:

My dad called it a baby gift.
Seriously, men should have more say in baby gifts, if this is what they look like!

Friday evening saw us working speedily to create a large raised bed out of rock where we deposited much of the remaining subsoil.  Since it doesn't grow things easily, I intend to fill these beds with plants that aren't fussy about soil quality.

We also dug a long trench and buried the foundation drainage.

Everyone, e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e, worked hard until the sun set.

The next morning, my body reminded me that I am not 17 and fit; 
I am 9 months pregnant with my 8th baby, I'm 39 years old, and I'm chubby.
But when Mom and Dad are working, you don't sit and watch.
I had to put on my brakes because, while sore muscles in the spring are good, a sore pelvic floor at this stage of my pregnancy is not good.

Everyone picked up the slack, mostly my amazing mother, as we tried to keep up with Dad in the Bobcat.

Another bed was created around another pine tree to absorb more of the junky soil.
Some of these rocks were VERY heavy for a bunch of girls.

But we persisted and did what needed doing!

Finally, it was time to get serious about removing this pile.
Saying goodbye!

It is still a bit unbelievable, but the truth remains:
Our yard looks like a yard.
The piles are disseminated and spread beautifully around our land.

We retained the berms at the back corners of the property.
(I have plans for them, too.)
We'll need to do quite a bit of raking yet, before we can spread grass (and wildflower!!) seed,
but we are well on our way!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, 
miracle-working parents!
with their own long list of spring projects to be working.

Your legacy of goodness, service, selflessness and hard work continues.
I love you!
I can't stop looking and wandering and planning.
I am so happy!
Thank you.


  1. Of course you're welcome! It was fun hard work and we loved it.

  2. This is SO AWESOME!!! :D I'm so happy for you! :)

  3. Yay! Ditto on men gifting this sort of stuff! I'd rather have a Bobcat for a day than flowers any day...

  4. I'm dancing for you! Best baby shower ever!!

  5. I am thrilled that you get to welcome baby girl with one less stress on your shoulders. Hurray for helpful parents!

  6. It looks wonderful! What a loving and practical gift. The Mattoons are all awesome.

  7. Yeah for wonderful parents...I've always thought that unconventional "showers" are the best kind.