The day didn’t set out to have a theme but in retrospect it’s obvious.

1. The U-Boxes

We made our noon appointment at U-Haul in Augusta, though for unknown reasons they’d been expecting us since 11. At any rate, the four pods were out and accessible in a medium-sized garage bay, interspersed with two or three belonging to other people, and we backed the van partway into the space. About 45 minutes later we pulled out, the van considerably less empty and the pods hardly less full. We claimed:

  • garden stakes, both wood and plastic
  • tomato cages
  • a spade
  • a roll of deer netting
  • several nested stacks of large (plastic) planters and pots
  • a bin of lightbulbs and floodlights
  • our 6-foot stepladder
  • a collapsible workbench
  • Marsh’s guitar
  • a box of fleece and a bin of yarn
  • a laptop
  • A couple of miscellaneous bins that looked interesting and/or useful (for camper life), such as the contents of the kitchen junk drawer
  • …and the items we went for in the first place, our birth certificates and passports

Neither of us knew what to expect on seeing all our mortal possessions for the first time in months — and not to be able to retrieve more than a fraction — but I think we both found it heartening. Our stuff was there, had survived the trip, was safe & sound, and — importantly, despite what we’d gone through getting the pods down to regulation weight — looked like a reasonable amount of stuff for the new house. I’ve been afraid it will be too much.

We touched a chair and an ottoman with fondness, and glimpsed a mattress a bit yearningly, but battened the boxes up again without much angst and went to our next stop.

2. The Bookseller

Paper comes from wood. Books are made of paper. The Barnes & Noble in Augusta is at one forgotten end of a sprawling mall-like complex, and everyone there had to want to be there. Nobody was just biding time till the next multiplex showtime or until their poodle was shampooed. I may have been imagining it, but there was an earnestness of purpose among the clientele; none of the usual vague wandering which is the only explanation for cocker spaniel calendars or Buffy sippy cups. This store had all that, but I like to think they didn’t get much custom.

We came away with minimal damages including Locke & Key #5.

3. The Land

We unloaded the garden-y type things that we’d snagged from the pods, and then waited for the lumber delivery. I let the water run for an hour from the sillcock (it’s supposed to run for 6-8 hours before we get it tested).

I wandered some nearby areas, enjoying the first signs of spring.


I love mosses.


After dwelling on all the debris and tires and rot, it’s nice to be able to share a new season of beauty.


4. The Lumber

Last, the wood I’d ordered came.


The driver backed the trailer to the spot we wanted it dropped.


With creaks and pops, the whole stack slid to the ground when he pulled away.


What you can’t see from these angles are the two 12-foot 6×6’s. They will be the new columnar supports for the “outside” staircase (replacing a pair of spindly angled 2×6’s) and they are gorgeous. Straight and fine-grained.

What you can see in the last picture is the top stack of pine 1×8 planks — notice the knots? That stack is plain-sawn directly from a whole cant. I’ve never bought lumber like that so ‘close’ to its tree origins.

I wanted to stay and sort and appreciate the wood, but it was raining, I had to cover it, and we had to get home.

We enjoyed our woody day.