Sunday, August 18, 2019

Shed talk

The sky was cloudless most of the day. We didn't have a lot on our calendars so after our morning walk, I headed to the shed. 

It had gotten to the point to where when I took something down there to store, I would open the door cautiously, toss the item in and then close the door before an avalanche of tools, toys, and junk squashed me like a bug.

The temps were pushing 100 but the shed is in the shade. I would work 30 minutes before heading back inside to cool and hydrate.

By this afternoon, I started seeing real progress. Finishing will take a few more hours, but I'm on a roll.

I came across one old treasure I'd forgotten about. It's an RC cola bottle. I think it was an earlier one because I remember the later ones being different.

We'll hang on to this one.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Eight pounds of fuzzy love

We napped today, but my sleepy bliss was interrupted. I heard snoring. At first, I thought it was a dream. Eyes opened and listening. 

There it was. Again I heard a snore and then a snub. It wasn't Jilda. She rarely snores. 

When I looked over, it was Taz who is Jilda's shadow. 

My wife rarely makes a step that her tiny shadow is not in her footsteps. 

She was on the love seat next to my sleeping wife - snoring. 

Sitting up on the couch, I picked up one of my beekeeping books and began to read.

Taz realized that I was awake, so she sat up and glared at me. She seemed to be saying - if you wake mama up, you're in big trouble mister. You'll sleep on the couch tonight.

As often happens, the phone rang. It was for Jilda. I handed the phone to her, grabbed a handful of pastitsio nuts, my glass of sweet tea, and headed to the back deck for an afternoon snack.

Taz was uninterested in the phone conversation, so she came outside with me. 

As I looked over at her, I realized that she is eight pounds of fuzzy love.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Barn dreams

My nephew Haven is a plumber and he has connections with craftsmen/women in the area. He has a carpenter that specializes in restoring old structures.

The carpenter works a full-time job and does contracts on the weekend. I'm hoping this guy can help me make repairs on the barn.

I'll start buying up the timbers and siding that I need. We also have scaffolds that make the higher work much easier.

There's no way anyone will want to work in this heat. Hopefully, the weather will break next month and bring cooler temps.

I dreamed about the barn last night. My mind does that. When I switch gears and start focusing on a project, the work starts showing up in my dreams.

Below are pictures from the restoration of the front and sides several years ago.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Next up

Now that the chicken pen is finished, there's another project I've been scooting down the todo list for about four years.

There was an oak tree behind the barn that lightning had smite'd many years ago. I kept telling myself that I needed to cut the dead tree down but I never did.

When storms swept through in the spring of 2015, the tree fell. Thankfully, part of it fell one way and the trunk fell toward the barn.

The very tip of the truck raked siding off the back of the barn. All the beams and rafters were intact, but the siding was gone. It could have been much worse.

The front and sides of the barn look great, but the rear wall bugs me every day when we walk. FIX ME. FIX ME. I DESERVE BETTER TREATMENT THAT THIS. I'VE KEPT YOUR TRACTOR DRY FOR ALMOST A HUNDRED YEARS.

I've contacted carpenters a few times, but I never managed to get a game plan together to make repairs.

At the first of the year when I noted the projects for this year, the chicken pen was close to the top, but just under was to fix the rear of the barn.

I'll use treated 6" x 6" timbers on the corners, 4" x 6" on the foundation. I can get these at Home Depot. The siding is another story. The sawmill where I bought the wood when I rebuilt the front and sides went out of business.

This week, I found a sawmill that does rough-cut siding for the sides.

Soon, we'll begin making repairs. I'll document the progress here.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

I loved that guitar

We lived in a house trailer in 1975. It wasn't air-conditioned. We'd been married a year and we both worked at jobs that paid just over minimum wage which was $2.10 an hour.

I wasn't a whiz with finances back then. Even though we barely earned enough to eat and keep the lights on, I bought a Gibson Les Paul. It cost more than the car we drove.

The payments were low. It took three years but I finally paid it off.

It was a beautiful guitar. The design of the neck and the fretboard made playing the guitar feel almost like cheating.

A few years later, I got a job with the phone company and our prospects became brighter. We still weren't "in the money." but things were looking up.

As often happens when you live close to the edge, our car started guzzling oil. The engine on the old Plymouth Valiant was shot. We still couldn't afford a new car, so I did something that I still regret. I sold the Les Paul to a guy that worked with me at MaBell.

Scanning through some old photographs today, I came across this picture that Jilda took of me playing the Les Paul. I felt a twinge of sadness.

Did I mention that I loved that guitar?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


We walked even earlier this morning. Even so, that air was thick and still. The dogs were giddy when we started but their enthusiasm waned after the first lap.

Jilda and I pushed on and got a head start on our daily exercise goals.

After we finished, Jilda went inside to make us protein shake with blueberries, and too many other ingredients to name.

I went out to feed the chickens and give them fresh water. The last chore was to fill the backyard containers for the birds and bees.

When I flipped over the watering dish, a small frog hopped onto my shoe. I wasn't expecting it and almost had a hygiene issue. When I lifted the dish a little higher to was out some grass and dead leaves, I noticed another amphibian except this one was incognito.

It blended in so well with the earth, dead grass, and leaves that I almost missed him (or her.)

Not much else to report from the homefront - Take it away, maestro.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Spider's web

I normally post my column on Monday nights, but my column came from seeds that I wrote on here last week so I won't do a repeat.

When Jilda and I were walking yesterday morning, we were on our last lap up the barn road. She was a step behind me but I heard her say LOOK.

When I stepped back I saw a spider's web that looked like vinyl record hanging by a silk thread. I wasn't sure if the light was good enough, but turns out, I think it was just right.

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