“Two companion birds sit together in the shelter of the same pippala tree. One of them is relishing the taste of the tree’s berries, while the other refrains from eating and instead watches over His friend.” (Svetasvatara Upanisad 4.6) In this analogy the two birds are the soul and the Supersoul, the tree is the body, and the taste of the berries are the varieties of sense pleasure.”

SB 10.87.38

The local media has been buzzing lately about a film being shot in towns around us on the Ohio side of the Ohio River Valley. It is called “Unstoppable” and stars Denzel Washington. There are some very scenic abandoned railroad trestles that are convenient for the directors.

It is a stereotypical action movie about a train loaded with toxins or something that needs to be stopped or it will crash and cataclysm will ensue.  That is the staple of action movies — the perilous and thrilling split second escape or situation defused. The hero rolling under the slamming door, the ticking bomb defused at the last second.

All very adrenalin inspiring.  Movies aside, we are not without some adrenalin inducing excitement even out here in the sticks.

My garden finally dried up enough to get rye planted and the raspberry bed composted and thrown up.  As regular readers will recall, 9 of the 10 raspberries I planted last spring drowned out.

Six of them were from Miller’s Nurseries and they  guarantee their plants for a year after you buy them if they die for whatever reason. They ship some plants in the fall and as it was in the window for planting, I contacted them for  replacements. I also ordered 3 more that I hadn’t gotten before, some purple raspberries. I had bought some at the Amish auction and they were really good.

Many recommend trellising raspberries  and for trailing blackberries like I planted last spring it is mandatory.  They grow primocanes the first year that sprawl on the ground and then bear the second year. The second year canes are trained up a trellis to separate them from the next generation of primocanes and for ease of picking. After fruiting the second year they die and need to be removed.

I hadn’t gotten around to building the trellises yet but as the soil was still dry I decided to go for it. To set posts soil has to be dry. The way posts are held firmly is by tamping down all the soil removed from the post hole in around the post. Even though the post takes up much of the volume of the post hole, all the dirt is still used.  This is because soil has air in it, little microvoids.  When you tamp down the soil, the microvoids are eliminated and the soil becomes one might say structural.

If the soil is wet, the microvoids are filled with water.  Soil absorbs moisture, but that is different than being saturated.  If the microvoids are full of water, they can’t be eliminated and the post won’t be tight.

I went out and  dug 2 of the 8 post holes I needed. I then went and got Vidya to help because someone needs to hold the post straight when someone else tamps in the first dirt at the bottom.  She likes berries so she volunteered to help do some more.

This was good because if two people work on a fence post it goes more than twice as fast, due to efficiencies of tool usage.  One shovels dirt in the hole and the other tamps it. When the tamper gets winded you switch.  You don’t have to keep putting down and picking up tools and the pace is faster.  Digging the holes one loosens the dirt with the sharp end of the tamper and the other removes it with the post hole digger.

We got 5 of 8 done the first day. The problem for me is that if I have a strenuous  (for me) day, then the next day I have to recover, but as rain, season ending rain,  was forecast for the afternoon the next day, we went out early and did one. I then had to take a break so went in the house to rest for a while.  Then we did a second one but I was really dogging it. I told her I was going to take another break.

I left the garden but before I got to the house my glasses were getting misted. The rain had arrived ahead of schedule!  I immediately turned around and went back. Vidya was still there, sitting in the chair I would use when she was doing her part of the cycle and said we had to push on.

By the time we excavated the hole, it was a light rain. If the soil on the ground got wet, it wouldn’t compact so that sense of urgency, of impending doom, was weighing on my shoulders. I was very tired but the adrenalin was kicking in and dragging my sorry ass along for the ride.

We stepped up the pace and got it done.  I was exhausted so needed to sit for a while.  I had an errand to run so I got in the car and drove off, driving requiring no physical exertion what with power steering and brakes, and automatic transmission and all. By the time I pulled out of the driveway, I had to have the windshield washers on fulltime.  We had just barely finished in time!

Not only for that day, but for the winter, because it rained enough and the day length is so short with cold temperatures, the ground will be wet until spring. If Vidya hadn’t have helped it wouldn’t have gotten done.

Personally, I find real life adventure induced adrenalin superior to action movie induced adrenalin. Here is the finished product, minus the crossbars and wire that I can do anytime regardless of soil condition.  A project for warmer days in the winter, hopefully finished so it is out of the way for next spring’s work.

The blackberries are on the right. Note in the foreground some small flags. I had bought raspberries from two companies, the second one because they had a really early raspberry that comes in a couple of weeks before, so it helps to extend the season. They don’t ship in the fall but I had to mark the spots so I knew how to space the posts. Plus it is a step for next spring out of the way, marking plant location.

One of their raspberries had survived so I dug that up and replanted it when I threw up the beds. Since this photo was taken I have mulched the beds with hay. Although no top growth will occur, the root systems will grow work on establishing themselves and mulching will keep soil temperatures higher longer for them to do so.

After the two days of post hole setting, the next day was a wipeout. I usually pace myself but because I had pushed the next day I spent on the couch, really took me two days to recover. I fell off the horse for blogging, and even though I had this picture uploaded ready to publish, it has taken to today to get my act together to do any writing, hence the hiatus. Sorry for any concern that may have occasioned any of my readers aware of the tenuous nature of my health.