The illusive and lesser-spotted diggerman finally made his appearance on Good Friday. So in every sense it was a “good” Friday. He had arrived the previous Saturday to look at the job. I had relatives visiting so couldn’t spend long with him. His parting words were “I’ll see you Friday. ” Then during the week I got a text from my neighbour who is a mate of his to say he’d be with me Saturday. I assumed he had asked my neighbour to pass the message on.
On Friday I was reclining in the bath contemplating a lazy day ahead when I heard a commotion outside. After a few minutes it dawned on me it sounded like a digger. I lurched out of said bath half drying myself, wrestling with underwear and giving up. I pulled up a tracksuit bottom and threw on a t-shirt and ran out in pink fluffy slippers to let him in……
The chap never batted an eyelid. He had no idea why my neighbour had told me Saturday. I then threw on a pair of clogs and ran to lock in the goats, shove the pigs into the middle paddock and close gate, switch off electric fencing, wrestle open the yard gate, drop electric fencing so he could drive over it to dump the stuff he dug up. Suffice it to say neighbour’s ears must have been doing some burning.
The plan was to load dumper and drive out front gate and into field through field gate but I looked at the dumper and said I thought it would fit through the yard gate. Diggerman looked at me dubiously. Never, ever argue with a woman. He fitted. Enough said. We are not all spatially unaware!
He proceeded to remove mounds of stuff before tackling the tree stumps. The old pig sty which I now use as a henhouse had had a mound of soil dumped in front of it from when they dug out the septic tank. I knew there was plastic in it because last summer we tried to remove it and gave up. He dug away at it and then called me. He reckoned the wall would cave in if he went any further. I told him wall was sound from inside and to keep at it. He did and got the stumps out. What was revealed was the stone rubble base which will be left to dry out and we can hopefully repair.
I couldn’t believe the space. The soil is really good as well – lovely friable loam. Well it would be after years of leaf mould.
Next he opened and moved the gates into the area beside the hay shed where the other pile of stuff had been dumped when they were digging the septic tank out. More plastic, rusty iron, glass, and an old plough. I just can’t get my head around the mentality. My dad always said the Irish were a filthy race. I’m inclined to agree even though I’m Irish and I would never, ever litter. It was ingrained in me from a child. I used be mortified when dad tackled people littering. Now I admire his courage.
He started on the sycamore that had seeded itself right beside the hayshed that I had cut down last year. I said to him please don’t damage the shed. He told me with tree stumps you just have to be patient and keep at them. He did and after over an hour got it out.
Then he moved to behind my fridge/freezer sheds. These are probably built 70 years. The farmer’s wife used one as her dairy, so I’m told. The other has the dog’s name, Ross on the door and his bed was still in it when I moved in. I use it for coal and garden tools now.
There were two massive sycamores behind it. Last year they were cut down and the huge stumps were left behind. I was fed up asking people how I’d remove them. They all sucked in through their teeth and suggested injecting with weed killer (no bloody way), diesel, petrol, washing up liquid…….. I kid you not. I had reconciled myself to leaving them there and chopping down the shoots periodically.
He took into the first and started patiently and rhythmically rooting at it. His father arrived and directed him. It was like watching an opera. They kept at it then asked had I an axe. I had. They had got down to a massive root that was running under my sheds. It had already caused the huge crack in the wall. They hacked at it. They kept hacking at it until it split, then they began to loosen the stump.
The stump came loose and they began to try to remove it with a digger that was way too small. The dad said to me “where there’s a will there’s a way.” They got it out.
Next day they arrived back to take the other one out. I had to leave to collect the new piglets. I was only going to outside Clonroache, 20 miles or so away but it would take me 40 mins. The roads around here are designated “R” rural or “L” local. R should stand for rubbish and L for ludicrous. When I got back what greeted me was the first photo here. They had got the second stump out but had to call a friend with a teleporter to remove it. It was so massive it was one third the size of my sheds. Do not allow sycamores to seed and grow near buildings. This had to be less than 70 years old. They hardly built the sheds on a sycamore…….
Today I went out to take stock and commune with the pigs, as I do. The mound added to the previous building rubble mound (from house renovations), stunned me but not because of the size – which is huge, but because of the plastic pollution in it.
The amount of plastic is staggering and it dawned on me that a lot of it is probably older than I am, and it’s still intact, albeit a bit crumbly. A good reminder that plastic is indestructible and not even slightly biodegradable.
Honky loved it. She pulled it out to lie on in the sun. Pigs aren’t stupid. She knew it would keep the still cold soil at bay.
In other news I’ve got new weaners. A pair of terrified Durocs. They’re not electric fence trained so fun and games ahead. For now they’re in the shed beside the annoying goats. Soon they will be out and about and probably in with the neighbour’s mares and foals. Which it’s why you always need to keep your neighbour sweet.
6 thoughts on “The Diggerman”
What a great story! Long live diggers …except when they’re digging ATMs out of banks & shops!
So many ATM jokes and then I was left with the damn digger overnight……….
I think that your Dad and my Dad would have got on. If we finished early there was no skiving off, it was time spent knocking down nettles, sweeping or generally tidying up. He liked to say “That’s better, now it looks as if it belongs to somebody”. Mind you I think some farmers over here are as bad as you say in Ireland, when I was an agricultural merchant’s rep in Sussex some of the farms I visited were filthy. R
It’s endemic I reckon. One of the fertiliser bags I uncovered is from a company that ceased manufacturing 32 years ago.
We are all drowning in plastic.