Thursday, July 7, 2016

Aging like a fine whine

Or vinegar.

Now that I'm rapidly approaching the age of dead I begin to understand and sympathize with old dudes.

And let me just offer a blanket apology to old dudes everywhere for all the times (countless times, trust me) I've thought unkind thoughts about said old dudes.

Very unkind thoughts.

Oh, quit your whining and buy a scooter.

If you'd get up off your ass once in a while it wouldn't hurt so bad.

Lots of openings at the nursing home.

Fercrissake, you wanna borrow my pistol?

And so on and so forth.

Today's project was rebuilding a gate/brace post on a rocky knob down on the south unit. Over the winter the post snapped off right at ground level, offering a nice illustration of why you never use untreated posts.

As I began the chore I just wasn't feeling it. I felt slow and weary and tired. For no good reason. I'm finding that some days are like that and that's all there is to it.

I hurt, too.

Now I've got several old injuries that have hurt for years. Achilles tendon, formerly fractured elbow and leg, formerly dislocated shoulder, bits and pieces of metal in the chest wall and back of the not-formerly broken leg. That's fine, those things are supposed to hurt. I get that.

But a lot of the non-injured stuff hurts too. Frickin' joints. Some days they all hurt. Usually when there's work to do.

So anyway, I had to replace the rotted off post. It's an important part of the fence system, one of the two anchors of a half-mile of four-wire fence. As a nice bonus, it's located on a rocky hill, so it's not just a matter of digging a hole in soil. There's a thin skin of topsoil on that hill (as on most hills in this neck of the woods), overlaying a thick layer of decomposing siltstone. So sinking a 45-inch post hole means breaking up and extracting 44 inches of rock and sand.

I've got a hydraulic auger that mounts to the skid steer, but for a single post hole, or even a half-dozen post holes, it's just not time or cost effective. Hardened auger spades are $60 a pop and in rocky ground last about 2-3 holes.

All in all it's quicker and in many ways easier to use the digging bar and Armstrong Ph.D.
"new" post, hole, digging bar, Armstrong Ph.D.

Of course I couldn't just dig the hole, either, because there was a whacking great piece of rotting fence post in the way, and that had to come out first.

Oh, I got it done all right. But the chore that had taken me 90 minutes to do a decade ago (when I installed the untreated post!) took closer to three hours today. It was a good workout. And now I'm waiting for the naprosyn/aspirin/tylenol cocktail to work.

Please work!

For all my whining, though, it was a glorious experience. A perfect day weather wise, not too hot or humid or windy or sunshiny. And during my frequent rest breaks I had a magnificent view to contemplate. Including stemless hymenoxis and tenpetal blazingstar. Along with my pending demise.

I shouldn't complain so much. Few people in my age cohort can do what I do. For them, the failing body train wreck began long ago and many are confined to the recliner when not sitting down elsewhere.


  1. Boy, did this one ring true. I've taken to doing volunteer work at my church's school. The little kids keep me going. Did you know that recliners ware out?

    1. Little kids are awesome!

      I guess everything wears out. I'm not gonna go quietly though, I'm gonna rage, rage, rage until some little kid shoots me.

  2. As the wind and the rain wear down the land, so doth time wear us down.

    I definitely need to get out more.

    1. And I'd like to kick doth time right in the gronads. Just when I was finally gettin' good at stuff!

  3. You sure know your prairie flora. I would have just identified them as "plants".