We’ve been hard at work for the better part of a year now. We’ve walked the woods, along with our friends, and picked up every scrap of garbage, rusted metal and oddball items. Something I never thought I’d say while strolling thru the woods: “Hey, I think that’s a water heater over there.” Sure enough, it was! In fact, we collected enough rusted metal to create a small mountain equal in height to the first story of the farmhouse.
As spring approached, we turned our attention to the landscape. We removed hundreds of feet of old rusted barbed wire fence line and old horse tanks,and refurbished the tack house (where we kept saddles & bridles). The week of the tack house restoration turned out to be one of the hottest weeks on record. The temps soared to 100 degrees and the humidity felt suffocating. In addition, we had disturbed a massive wasp nest so the wasps were swarming. Add to that, the most awful task of applying a tar like substance to the outer walls of the tack house that essentially served as a water proofing agent and glue for the new siding. Our carpenter, Lee and my son, Quinn get huge kudos for sticking it out doing that sticky work!
They started in the early morning hours in their meager attempt to get as much accomplished before the heat of the afternoon sun set in. It was miserable work, but the progress at least was visually rewarding. What a difference it made to cover the old cement blocks with nice, clean siding.
Next, we began painting the siding. There was still no break in the stifling heat, so I bribed my sons and some of their friends to help. My college graduate astute mind told me it would be a brilliant plan to start in the morning on the south side when the sun was low, so that by the time the sun bore down in all its glory, we'd be on the opposite side of the building. Brilliant, right? Wrong. What I had failed to time correctly was how long it took to paint the new siding. This rough wood drank in the paint like a dehydrated survivor on a deserted island. As the sun grew high in the sky and beat down upon us, we slowly inched our way around this small structure. We each took mini breaks, long enough to guzzle a cold drink and to swab our necks and arms with cool ice water. On occassion, one of us would feel a bit light headed, so we set up chairs under the shade of a nearby crab apple tree as our own mini version of triage.
My son and his buddies, thankfully worked along side of me, and seldom complained. Their demeanor seemed to be in direct proportion to the amount of food I supplied. So, I became on a first name basis with the local Subway owner, and the Kwik Trip folks whose doughnuts became valued currency for my teenage workforce.
About this time, we also had a crew starting on the barn. That, could be the subject of an entire book. Not to mention, we'd soon be tackling the major landscaping/garden installation project. You can read about the gardens in my other blog entries.
Wearily, as I climbed into bed each night, all I can say is thank you for the invention of Ibuprofen, sun screen, and doughnuts. Oh, and thank you for the professional exterminator who finally got that wasp nest - before they got us!