I’d been looking forward to doing some yard work for weeks, believe it or not. I enjoy physical labor, and I like being outside, so yard work is the best of both worlds.

Matt wanted to create a little orchard in our backyard, and, as luck would have it, he got five fruit trees for his birthday. We already have two pear trees and now (if we can keep them alive) we also have a peach, Macintosh, yellow delicious, cherry, and a plum tree.

Luckily, our neighbor cleared the area we wanted to put the trees. He cut back everything, which was a huge help because we never would have finished in one weekend otherwise. I have no idea how to repay him, but I’m open to ideas.

Then Matt and I got to work. After everything was cut back these marshy, invasive grass root balls remained. Take a pickaxe to them and I got nowhere, but Matt was able to get most of them up in about 30-minutes each root ball. It was hard work. While he did that, I tilled the 30×10-foot space by hand since we don’t have a tiller and then transported ten 200-pound wheel barrels of dirt from just about the furthest point away in the yard from where we decided to put our little orchard. It took all the strength I had (and yes, I pulled my belly button in because I was nervous for my back). I kept telling myself that this was a Survivor challenge, which got me through.

By eleven on Sunday when we had to break for Mother’s Day celebrations I knew we would never finish by the end of the day, but my eighteen-year-old cousin was willing to help. Young, strong, eighteen-year-olds are a vital addition to the world. Once Sean got on board we were done in about three hours and had all the trees planted. There were moments of this last leg that I was pretty sure I was going to die, and I was cursing my Survivor challenges and wondering if the show ever goes off the air if it will still be effective in getting me motivated for difficult tasks. It better stay on forever just in case.

I really hope these trees survive and we get the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labors.