Carrying the Bench

August 31 – Most of the recent action around our house has taken place in the garden area, but it’s no wonder! This time of year most of our hours are spent picking and canning or keeping the heavy grass mowed along the fences. How well I remember when we first moved out here from Pennsylvania, we thought it was pretty sad when we walked along the trails and found that we needed to mow before the grass reached the bottom wires of the fences. We don’t do that well these days because there are so many other tasks awaiting our attention that really do need to be taken care of first.

160831_CallOutWhen I point out that it’s time I really got to work, Dale usually says something like, “Don’t worry! You can do that tomorrow or the next day. It doesn’t really have to be done now!” Although he is perfectly correct, I still do the best I can to keep things clean in the area.

Of course, there is a very easy way for him to do what he suggests. I know so little about lawn mowers of any kind that I have to wait till he fixes them up so I can mow. Luckily, he doesn’t give me a hard time, but just goes out to the barn and checks under the mower, puts in the gas, and pumps up the tires. “OK, you’re ready to go,” he calls, and off I go, usually to spend at least four hours using the riding mower! He has the harder task, though, using the push mower, as he gets no help in the job. The power comes from his ability to push and keep on pushing with those strong arms.

160831_BenchBefore working in the garden, we carried an old heavy cast iron bench up from the picnic area to the front yard, about 300 feet! That was not an easy job! At first I was surprised that I could move on holding my share of the load, but when we first reached the area around the sunflowers, then the walnut tree, then the driveway area, and around to the front of the house, I was pretty proud that I had been able to help!

We have had this beautiful bench with its pattern of flowers on the back for quite some time. Our daughter Biz and her husband Harvey gave it to us years ago. They had purchased one just like it at an estate sale. We don’t know how long it has been around, but usually estate sales are held by the children of those who are no longer living, so it must be pretty old. Dale has kept the wooden bench painted with the same beautiful red that it had in the beginning.

160831_DaleBenchSo why were we carting the bench up to the lawn right in front of the porch? We had decided that the weather was not too good for it, whether rain or snow, and planned to put it on the porch along with Dale’s many succulent plants and some fold-up chairs. Dale spent a number of hours just repairing the bench as it needed to be sanded down and repainted, both on the top and on the bottom. I don’t remember how many times he told me not to touch the wet paint, but I really didn’t plan on doing that!

Unfortunately, during the years when Dale was still working in an office, and I stayed home with the kids, I got into a number of paint projects, and had a lot of paint to clean off my hands and legs and even my chin! I have never been a very patient person with regard to getting a project completed in as short a time as possible, while Dale is a real perfectionist, and he wants everything to be done neatly. (Well, I want it to be neat, too, but not to take so long!)

160831_BackYardAfter that task was done, we went out to the tomato patch and gathered in all the ripe tomatoes before more rain arrived. Dale always laughs when he sees me dressed—all ready to go! A pair of blue jeans that I have kept out on a hook in the garage, just for jobs such as this. Along with that is a navy blue light jacket that I can zip right up to my neck and keep the sleeves tight by putting a rubber band around them. The final piece of clothing is a heavy woolen winter stocking cap that fits so tightly on my head that some of those long, long tomato vines can’t possibly pull it off! Surely there aren’t anywhere near the numbers of tomatoes we had been picking, but I don’t plan on canning any more of them, so there will be plenty to distribute to our friends before the patch has given up at trying to bear fruit. – CHRIS

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