In which a Swampland Farm needs one more thing to keep the stuff running right

There's an old saying that the only things you need in life are duct tape and WD-40.

If it moves and shouldn't, use duct tape.
If it doesn't move and should, use WD-40.

But here in the Swamp, we have one more essential ingredient: 

The answer is not "a tractor."  But the tractor at
Fish Creek is pretty handy


For various reasons, we were all in a deep funk on Sunday, and not even related to a certain regionally-popular football team loss.  Only a few of the Usual Suspects are football fans, and Monica, Patty and Duana and I are not any of them.

Patty brings the gravel with the tractor,
and the rest of us distribute it into the potholes

There is something very satisfying about gravel.  Especially for Swamplanders.  So when we were hanging around feeling blue the other day, we decided to move gravel for a while.

Patty posted a 12-second Facebook video of us shoveling gravel, and 40 people "liked" the video in about two hours, and several people said they wanted to shovel gravel too.

Including me.  And Mel.  And Mel's new junior, Jordan.

BONUS:  I was given an enormous roll of landscape fabric--FREE!

So, the very next day...we got a bunch of gravel and shoveled it at my house!

Monica's back was hurting, so she helped for a while, and then
opted to take pictures so she'd be able to walk the following day.

Black fabric in January:  MmmMMMmm nice and warm!

For the first time in 5 (!!!) years, we stripped Fiddle's stall down to the gravel layer, and leveled it out again.

Mel and I have similar child-rearing beliefs:
"Here, kid, this tool is called a pulaski.
Lemme show you how you're gonna use it."

When everything was flat, we backed up the trucks, and started moving gravel.

We started with 5/8 minus gravel for the bottom layer

It rained on-and-off during the early part of the day--the perfect weather to work inside the barn!

Mel's big dually 1-ton truck is a BEAST.
And I mean that in the best possible way.

We emptied out two tons of gravel from the big truck and then looked at the time:

"It's only 2:30pm -- we still have more than 2 hours of daylight!"  

After a stop for tea and cookies (essential to a pity party--remember, this all started because we were feeling sad!) we went back to the gravel yard and got another 2 tons of gravel.

You can never have too much gravel!

When Fee's stall was deeply bedded in gravel, we smashed it down a bit 

6 inches + deep!
and added wood pellets for bedding.  And floofs.

Fiddle totally played "bouncy house" in the stall all night.  
Meanwhile, out in the paddock...

Monica directed the paddock mud removal project, with Jordan helping.
Then we backed the truck in and started moving more gravel.

Fiddle totally objected to A. Truck. Parked. In. Her. Paddock. So. Wrong.  Wrong! WRONG!!!!

Fiddle chose to pout off-camera

She did everything she could think of to say that, while Mel is a lovely person, and a splendid farrier, and a brilliant provider of carrots, she believes that, seriously, Mel can't park for diddly.  

We laughed.  The Dragon didn't appreciate the laughter, which will amaze my readers worldwide.

Landscape fabric over the mud

First layer of gravel--not nearly enough. You can never have too much gravel.

We worked in shifts, trading jobs so everybody got full-body tired.

Top layer: pea gravel

Finished product:

Dragon-sized bouncy house
We didn't have time/daylight/money/muscle enough to gravel the entire 24x24 paddock.  But we moved 5 tons of gravel, and fixed the two main sections where she usually stands, plus the 12x12 stall.

And that was ENOUGH for one day.

And at the end of the was GOOD.


  1. oh, aggregate, how do I love thee? I dream of getting a few tons this summer to fix up my paddock.

    Great work that was done by you and your friends on a dreary January day!

  2. ooo, gravel, there is nothing better than fresh gravel! And new, happy footing for the Dragon. Such a good way to clear away the January blahs...

  3. *sob* Seahawks! I mourn you from afar! And to add credence to your uplifting of spirits with the addition of gravel, it is NO SMALL COINCIDENCE that I worked 16 tons of sand/clay fill into our road holes post "playoff game which shall never be mentioned again". Additional woe points for my current location in North Carolina!


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