Monday, June 11, 2007

Base Burning

You've heard of base jumping, right? It's where crazy people jump off of cliffs, buildings or other structures with a parachute and hope it opens before they hit the ground. We'll, I've come up with a less lethal, yet still painful if wrong, alternative. I'm calling it base burning. Let me explain.

On Saturday, we had work day at church. I was out in the sun. One person offered me some sun screen. I refused but went to my wife to get some. She said I didn't need it. Well, it appears sometime between me asking Brooke if I needed sun screen and the end of work day something changed. I burned, but not badly. I was much more worn out than I was sun burned.

Jump ahead to Monday. We didn't get all of the grass around the edges of the parking lot cleared, so I got an early start (7:30am) on that this morning. I considered sun screen again, but then the idea of "base burn" came to me. I figured I had already burned and should be OK this time around. Now that makes about as much sense as jumping off a building and hoping your parachute will work, doesn't it? So I got too much sun again today. Noting severe, but the backs of my arms are pretty sore this time.

But I must tell you about the grass removal "experience" today. I tackled a section of the parking lot where the grass had grown into the parking lot as far as six feet. There was a lot of grass in the dirt, so it was rough going. I finally figured out I could wet the area down (actually try to SOAK it) and the grass roots came up easier. There were still remnants of parking stripes on the ground, so I tackled the area one parking spot at a time.

As noon approached, I was pretty "over-sunned" and pretty tired. I was ready to quit, but looking at the spot next to me, it seemed small enough. I thought, "If I have a goal in mind, I know I can do it". I was right, I got it done.

But there were a couple mis-calculations that cost me today, and they both had to do with a lack of understanding (or thought?) as to the weight of wet dirt. When I started out, I had two trash cans. The plan was to fill them with the scooped up grass and dirt and then dump those into the dumpster and start over. When I had the first two trash cans filled up, I tried to drag them toward the dumpster. I'm guessing they weighed at least 350 pounds each (no exaggeration). They were even too heavy to try and drag someplace to dump out in the field. So I borrowed Stan's pickup and hooked up the church trailer. For some reason, I thought I could heave those trash cans onto the trailer (on 18-24 inches off the ground), but I was wrong (again). So I proceeded to shovel the dirt from the trash cans into the trailer (talk about feeling silly) and then went to dump the trailer in the back of one of our fields. That was around 9:00am I guess.

Since the trash cans did not work, I just scooped the dirt/mud/grass roots into the trailer for the rest of my day. When I was looking at that one last section around noon and trying to determine if I had the strength to do it, I neglected to take into account how difficult it would be to empty a 4x8 trailer full of dirt and average of 2 foot high! When I got out to the field, there was no scraping it off the back of the was wet. I tried to unload it one shovel at a time, but even that was challenging with all the grass roots holding big clumps together. By the time I got it the dirt out, I was beat for the day.

I cleaned up the trailer, put it back, put my equipment away, ate lunch, talked a friend into getting me a second 52oz. Gatorade, took a shower and then pretty much sat at my desk working the rest of the day.

So today I learned not to fill trash cans with heavy dirt/mud/grass roots, don't underestimate the amount of effort it will take to empty a trailer full of this stuff and do not subscribe to the idea of base burning.

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