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Near the front of our home, shards of holly grew menacingly, leaf edges twisted into fine daggers.  We did our best times past to combat the visible.  Cut and pulled, painful, sharp on our skin, not willing to delve into what lay beneath the surface.  Just below, a 250 pound snarling root ball laying, causing the mess, unseen.

Until now.


They boys picked food as we made plans.  Carrots, tomatoes, broccoli at their height, ready for them when they were.

We brought in the chickens to churn up the land.  Yanking out the landscaping plants from the 80’s, that have sat there since we moved in, making way to grow more food.

This one we call our little hawk.IMG_2580



Finley is especially fond of her, speaking to her like a baby.IMG_2578

The chickens claw and scrape, aerating and fertilizing.  We sent the boys to round them up if they strayed, a hopeless task for both parties except to encourage silly encounters.IMG_2558

We yanked and pulled out the old, the unhealthy, the broken, exposing the soil, while we gauged the holly, the numerous sharp offshoots disguising where the root all lay.

Andrew worked in clumps of hours over three days on the root, the more dirt we pulled back, the larger the root was exposed, sometimes feeling hopeless, impossible.  But time.  And more, trying, we were done treating the products, and ready to get at the heart of the problem.

Then, we saw it.  Huge, round, we had pulled back most of the dirt, around and even under, until finally, it snapped.  The root ball, larger than Elijah, snapped.  It took both of us to roll it as it bled dirt in clumps.

In it’s place, we planted a healthy orange tree casting new life where there was pain living deep down.




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