The Flat, Buildable Lot
by Marijo Phelps 8/31/2009 / Short Stories
"Honey, why did we buy 20 tree tags to harvest our own trees. Please remind me," I was panting to catch my breath in the close to 9000 feet elevation.
It was a blizzard. Pieces of snow were attacking our faces. I thought hail only came in summer but this sure felt like hail.
"Here, grab that snow shovel, maybe we can use it as a toboggan to pull the tree in burlap back to the truck," Mick was panting too, I could tell.
Down the hill we went. Slipping, sliding and I fell but not on the axe I was trying to carry with me.
"Here, let's open the tail gate"
"Hon, there is no way we can lift this tree into the truck, I can't even pick up part of my corner, what are we going to do?" I glanced at the perfect tree, a ponderosa pine of 8 feet in height. It was "legal" according to the forest service. What they hadn't told us is how you lift something with that big of a root ball anywhere close to your truck.
"Look, there is sort of a ditch over there, I am going to drive the truck through it and hope the tail gate will then rest on the ground," Mick grabbed the keys and left me holding the tree.
Well, it looked like he figured out a solution. Jumping out of the truck with the tail gate opened, yes, on the ground, he ran back to the tree and me. We pulled our "pondie" on the snow shovel toboggan to the back of the truck. Wiggling the burlap bag with the root ball back and forth we were able to "walk" that tree onto the dropped tailgate.
Hum, only 19 more tree tags to go. Whose idea was this anyhow?
Much prayer had gone into this 5 acre lot at the base of Pike's Peak. We were one ay away from a final offer on a lot down the road asking the Lord to open or close the door. It was a beautiful lot with many mature trees and views. Mick just happened to run into an engineer at work that day and asked him about the surface granite.
"Well, is it decomposing?"
"Naw, it is flat, solid pieces here and there"
The engineer then told him that for drilling a well, the solid granite didn't fracture underground and we would not get water out of solid granite.
OK, Lord, there goes our lot. We were going to make a final offer that following day and had every reason to believe it would have been accepted. We backed off and stopped offering. (PS 6 years later the people who bought the lot and put a bunch of money into bringing electricity in still haven't built anything there)
This was the second lot in the neighborhood that we felt the Lord closing the door on. There was the one on the corner. It was flat and buildable but had not even the hint of one tree on it. Yes, Pike's Peak would be out the back with the rising sun coming up over the mountain. There were three other beautiful mountains in the front yard..
So, we made an offer and it was accepted. It was our 3rd choice. The first choice had lava rock on it and would have cost much money to blast and get a foundation in and we aren't sure now that it would even work for a septic. The people who bought that lot haven't built yet either.
Six years later and too many tree tags to count. We discovered that Home Depot has trees in containers with LARGE root balls and will give you your money back if they die. Yes, they cost a bit more than the ten dollar tree tags. I told Mick if I heard the word tree tag again I wouldn't be responsible for my actions.
So what do we have six years later? A totally paid for log sided home with a four car garage (well, beats hauling building materials down a basement when we have the shop in the garage) Our "yard" is a mountain meadow and in rainy years we have 12-15 varieties of wild flowers planted by the Lord. They burst in yellows, purples, pinks and oranges. And we went a little nuts in the tree department. I quit counting 2 years ago when we had planted over 200 trees and shrubs.
My name is now "Tree Lady" and you can see me out almost any day watering my babies.
While I water I see the mountains all around, most of the year they are snow capped. We have elk, deer, antelope, fox, coyote, bear, our neighbor has the mountain lion but he hasn't shared with us yet, show shoe rabbits and cotton tails, and picket pins (Richardson ground squirrels). The humming birds are gorgeous to see and the "electric blue birds". Oh, my..
The Lord truly does have his hand on this place. I have never regretted buying the flat, buildable lot. Well, maybe once or twice early on when we were hauling water and decided to do it all on one day. We watered from sun up till sun down and finally, all those trees and shrubs got their drink.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.
Saved by His grace in 1974, from 9 years of professing atheism into His loving arms. RN for 23 years, missionary with YWAM then statistical analyst for Every Home for Christ over 9 years. Living with my husband in the middle of a mountain meadow. GRIN! Wanting to spread the good news