A long and hard day

It is the end of a long day. I chose yesterday to go to the farms because the day was predicted to be the nicest day of the year, low humidity, sunny high about 80 degrees. And it was the best day – weather-wise. Otherwise, not so much.

Started off great. Got up early and headed south. Got to the first place at around 9 am and worked on my longleaf pine. But then I wanted to load up a couple rocks to take home. The big one you see in the picture hurt my back. I am getting too old for this crap. But that was not the end.

I went the other farm. My task was to cut some of the vines growing into my loblolly pines. The vines are a nuisance for several reasons. We have invasive Japanese honeysuckle and wisteria. Very beautiful flowers, but they just climb to the top of the trees and the wisteria wraps around the trunks and chokes them. My other concern is fire. Fire would not destroy my pines if it stayed on the ground. Southern pines are fire adapted, as I have explained on many occasions. BUT the vines form a kind of net that catches the needles and dead branches. It provides a ladder to the crowns. The chances of fire are slim, but not zero.

Anyway, I did not get to much work. First, I got a blowout on the way up, as you can see from my picture. It took me a long time to change the tire, since my back hurt. I did a little vine cutting after, but – not to get monotonous – my back hurt. And then I had to get back to town to get a new tire.

I went to Rick’s garage in Brodnax. They did a quick job and I got a new tire. My old one was ripped up and could not be plugged. While there, I started to feel sick to my stomach.

I drove the short distance to the Brodnax farm to check into my new plantation. We planted forty-six acres: fifteen acres of longleaf and the rest loblolly. I was worried about them because of the dry April, but from what I could see the wet May has redeemed them. You can see in my picture that a lot of brush has grown to cover the land. I will have to deal with that in September. I saw healthy trees in the areas I examined but did not examine much because I started to throw up and feel really tired. This is uncommon for me and I do not know the cause. It was unpleasant and made walking around difficult. So I went back to the truck and rested for a while in anticipation of the three-hour drive back.

The drive was too much, however. My back hurt and I still felt sick and very tired. I made it only as far as Petersburg. I didn’t think it was safe to keep driving and decided that discretion was the better part of valor, so I checked into the local Holiday Inn Express. I showered off the ticks and then went right to sleep. It was a fitful sleep, but I got some rest. I woke up about 230 am. The choice, as I saw it, was to get a few more hours of that fitful sleep or take off toward home. The advantage of leaving sooner was to avoid the gridlock traffic. So I went. It was an easy drive. There is not much traffic in the early morning, although I did still hit some traffic when I got to Washington about 430 am.

It was a long day because it kind of feels like today is still part of yesterday. My back still hurts but feels better. The stomach problem was evidently only a short-term deal.

I will have to go after those vines another time.

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