To Build on a Hill

To Build on a Hill

To live on a hill is a beautiful thing. The way the light spills over the horizon during the golden hours morning and eve; the way the dew and frost settles and then burns off again in pockets; the way the wind dances through the trees and prances across the slopes in fits and starts and tiny whirlwinds of golden leaves in the fall. But to build on a hill is a foolish undertaking. If I had a dime for every time we’ve said, “we shouldn’t need too much fill dirt,” I could afford all the fill dirt we most definitely need.

Last time I said, “we shouldn’t need too much fill dirt,” we ended up needing nearly six feet of it at the low end of the project. That was just last month.

To build on a hill is an exercise in guesswork; of being in a constant state of uncertainty. Are we sure that’s level? Do you think that’ll hold? Are we going to run out of compactible sand again? That really doesn’t look level. And our rudimentary construction skills don’t help.

Yet, as we near the finish line. Not just with this project but all hillside building projects on tap here in the foreseeable future, I’m still a bit melancholy. We all agree that the end of the building era on this farm will be a good thing — for our marriage, our family time, our aging bodies, our life saving — but I might still miss it when it’s all over. Just a little bit.

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