David has been building, off and on for a couple of years, a patio with a summer kitchen. It will probably be very nice when he’s done, and he is getting closer to done, but it is, right now, and has been for a couple of years, a giant pit of mud off the back porch looking oh-so-beautiful just about never. Last week, it was at the very peak of the whole it-has-to-get-worse-before-it-gets-better process. He had finally gotten all the dirt dug out and piled mostly in the middle for removal, and then, as it will in Kentucky, it rained, and it rained, and it rained. Oh, it rained for forty days and forty nights without a-stopping, oh it rained so hard that the water stopped a-dropping, didn’t it rain, children…. Sorry. Got a little carried away there.
Anyway, there it all was, all that dirt, loose and piled up. Did I mention that our topsoil is clay? Beautiful, red clay, so clean the children can sculpt with it. So in he drove, David did, bravely determined to scoop out the mess so we could move on to the better. But alas, before he could take out even one scoop, the tractor sunk up to her belly in rich, red, sucking clay!
We tried digging her out. We tried jacking her up. We tried wedging boards under the rear tires for better traction. And then, we tried chaining the tractor to the hitch on the van. At first, we made a tentative tug. Nothing doing. So we backed up and got a running start, and we pulled with a mighty heave, oh, yes we did! But the chain broke, the steel draw bar on the tractor bent and broke, and, thanks to that whipping chain, the back doors of the van dented. And still, the tractor was stuck.
Later in the day, when we’d recovered our morale, we asked the neighbor to come over with his much bigger tractor. He gave a push, and David maneuvered quite delicately to avoid taking off the corner of the porch, and we were free.
After that, we thought we’d just let the clay dry up for a minute before we tried to dig it out anymore.
That worked much better.