Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: Preservation of my inheritance

Okay, so I’m over that political snit I had last week and onto something more tangible. Both my loyal readers know that I have masters of liberal arts degree and despite my reputation as an academic, over the years I have become quite sufficient at manual labor.

The case in point here would be my attempt to preserve my inheritance. As luck would have it, my parents moved into their house about 30 some odd years ago… and since my dad passed on, my mom really hasn’t been able to do much with her yard other than to hire Peter Geck to mow and such.

So for at least the last 20-some odd years the backyard has ostensibly been ignored to the point where a huge washout in the back managed to cover the first two layers of lap siding in dirt. Of course we didn’t discover this until we moved a bed in the basement bedroom that hadn’t been moved over 20 years. We were a bit taken back when discovered that roots literally had grown through the sheetrock… thank goodness for my son the carpenter… and his father the laborer who, back in January, had to dig the frozen dirt out with a pick axe.

That was phase one of preserving my inheritance, phase two was removing this huge dog kennel that my dad built 25 years ago. The details on the dog kennel were the 22 six-inch thick trees that had entwined themselves into the wire… yep, had to dig up the stumps by hand too… ugh.

So I hauled in a ton of crushed rock to take care of the washout and then had to terrace the other end of the yard where mom had a huge evergreen removed last summer… it took 23 landscape timbers to make the terraces… and worse yet my math indicated that I needed 12 tons of black dirt delivered and dumped in mom’s driveway.

The dump truck pulled in and it didn’t take me long to realize that I may have over ordered… like way too much for a 62-year-old… but I was committed.

So here’s some math for ya, I figure each shovelful weighs around 10 pounds, and it took 15 shovelfuls to fill the wheelbarrow and then haul the dirt filled wheel barrow, then level each load with a rake and then return to the pile and the pile never seemed to diminish. So the question is, how many wheelbarrows did it take me to move the pile from the driveway to mom’s backyard?

My math indicates I hauled 24,000 pounds of dirt one shovelful at a time.  Here’s the test – How many shovelfuls and how many wheelbarrow loads did it take for me to move my pile from the driveway to mom’s backyard? Actually, I’m not too worried about my inheritance; rather, after 10 weekends on this task I’m hoping henceforth that all the effort I put into this good deed might allow the rest my good deeds go unpunished.

Here’s hoping that your inheritance is easier to preserve than mine… and by the way, the answers to my quiz can be found below…



Ulmer’s test answers


The answer to Dan Ulmer’s question posed in his column is this – 169 wheelbarrows and 2,535 shovelfuls, one aching back, coupled with Dan’s advice to see if you can find someone else to do such things…