The project

It seemed like a good idea… at the time. The Pearl with her usual skepticism, had questioned the pile of wood chips partially blocking her access to the garage.
“Elliott what is that monstrous pile of garbage in front of the garage?” she questioned with a visible lack of tolerance.
“Garbage? Garbage? That’s not garbage. It’s environmentally responsible mulch,” I retorted with as much dignity as my twisted mind could summon.
It had all started when Hydro None had festooned the trees along their power lines with a blizzard of orange, yellow, and blue ribbons announcing their imminent arrival to carry out their butchery… er, judicious pruning of the vegetation threatening to short circuit the power grid.
Shorty Circuit, foreman of the crew, morphed his stern face into a broad smile when I asked if I might obtain a smallish pile of chips from their prunings.
“No problem. Where do you want ’em dumped?” he inquired politely. I should have realized something was brewing in his mind considering my past literary efforts, I had published outlining their work habits.
I arrived back just in time to witness the completion of the delivery- one massive pile of chips, smack dab in front of my garage as requested. Obviously Shorty’s estimation of what I wanted and what he was going to deliver differed substantially.
“Have a nice day,” he waved cheerily as he pulled away in a whirling cloud of chips. Revenge is sweet.
The Pearl pulled into the garage a few minutes later, plowing through half the pile to gain entrance. Then she issued her rhetorical question, concluding with a, “Then get to it!” I watched her retreat.
The first ten wheelbarrow loads did unplug the garage entrance. By then the sun was sweltering, I was exhausted and as a reasonable man I retreated to the shade of the deck with a wobbly pop to consider the situation. Maybe if I let that pile settle for a couple of days, they would be easier to move. An excellent idea. I settled back with a couple more refreshers to wait.
A day or so later the Pearl inquired, “What’s that smell coming from the chip pile?”
I had assiduously avoided that locale, hoping against hope, either some squirrel might have packed some away or the neighbours would have helped themselves to a supply. No such luck. The pile hadn’t shrunk at all and now a column of steam was rising from it as well as the pervasive odour of silage. Things were obviously heating up.
“You figuring on running a few head of cattle in your back yard,” snorted my neighbour as he looked skeptically at the pile and wrinkled his nose.
Reluctantly I wheeled out the barrow and tied into the distribution task at hand. After several days of fits and starts the bulk of the mess was finally distributed around every bush, tree, shrub, and perennial on my and the church’s yard.
“It looks pretty messy,” observed the Pearl, surveying my handi-work.
“No problem. The loose ones will get all chipped up and blown into the base of the shrubs when I mow the yard,” I stated with authority as I fired up the lawn mower.
The plume of chips that showered her as I hit the first pile elicited a howl of disgust from the Pearl who hurriedly retreated to her castle.
I guess the governor I had jammed open on my souped-up mower was set a little high so I tied it down a bit and set to on the grass and chips with determination. An hour later the lawn may have looked a bit like the litter of a chicken coop but the bulk of the chips were effectively distributed around the shrub bases. The row of lilies shredded by the first pass with the discharge pointed at them will probably recover. It only took another hour or so to pluck the shrapnel out of my legs and socks.
Shorty Circuit and his crew pulled up at 2:30, headed back to the yard after another hard day on the brush patrol.
“Want another load?” he asked cheerily. I saluted digitally and replied, “Not this decade.”


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