Fresh Paint

It seems the longer the chore takes to finish … or the more time I have to think about the work I’m doing … the easier it is to draw a correlation to Life. It happened earlier this summer when I had a lot of protected time on the tractor.

This weekend it happened again over painting. Well, technically it was over pressure washing. The prequel to painting.

The old barn has been many things over its lifetime, including a serial season marker. My first forays upstairs were the summer we got Patches, a rescue Calico meant to be a barn kitty. I spent many hours upstairs, alternating between reading Charlie Brown books to her and roller skating. Of course, once the hay was put up for the year, no more roller skating. Patches only lasted about 4 weeks as a barn kitty before finding her way up to the house, into the house, and staking out her favorite napping nook in the middle of my bed.

It’s been a few years since the barn’s been painted. {sigh} It was time. [Normally I’m a big fan of painting. But the barn’s two stories. And to get to the peaks is a real pain in the neck. Literally, a pain in the neck.] Because it’s been a while, scraping needed to happen. But then I had a brilliant idea.

I’ll say two things about pressure washing: 1. It’s one of my most.favorite.chores.EVER. and, 2. It’s way easier and way more fun than scraping old paint. Okay, three things. I <3 my pressure washer. I use it every chance I get. And sometimes I’ll even make up excuses to break it out.  Love, love, love.Photo Aug 15, 12 47 30 PM

So, Saturday pressure washing day. Let the barn dry out the rest of Saturday, paint on Sunday. The red paint on the east side trim came off like a champ. The red trim on the west side just cleaned up nicely.

Photo Aug 16, 1 06 49 PM

The white paint on the west side, that’s a different story.

Toward the peak of the barn, no problem. Cleaned up as pretty as you please. Toward the lower half of the building, however, it began to bubble and then to flake away.Photo Aug 15, 3 13 03 PM


Perhaps I had the water spray dialed in a little too much. But then, the barn’s only had about 15 layers of paint brushed on over the years; who’s to know what condition the wood is actually in?

And that’s when it struck me how pressure washing to clean the side of a building but ending up blasting away old layers of paint is <wait for it> a metaphor for life.

Sometimes you have to be a little … bold … to reach certain places that need to be cleaned. And what the Safety Committee doesn’t know… The Safety Committee would likely frown on my “creative solution to a challenging problem.” The 11 foot extension pole might pass inspection, but they’d probably freak out at my best monkey impersonation hanging out the second story door to reach the tippy tip of the peak (at least there isn’t any photographic evidence of that).Photo Aug 16, 1 49 49 PM

Pro tip: whenever possible, identify someone to hold your ladder.


Several people very dear to me, people in my inner sanctum, are in the midst of what can only be described as “significant life events.” Events of such a nature that most of us don’t anticipate, don’t think to prepare for, that we aren’t ordinarily equipped to deal with. And yet, in each separate case, I’m witnessing my friends meet the difficulty, acknowledge it, make adjustments, and move on with life.

In a manner of speaking, they’ve let the pressure washer of the event strip away all the inconsequentials that subtly build up over time. It hasn’t been an easy thing, or without some pain, but they are prioritizing the people and things in life most important to them. As I watch them “dry out in the sun” I know that their hardwood, what makes them them is in good condition. And they know it, too.

Photo Aug 15, 3 16 19 PM

In a short while, they will be ready for a fresh coat of paint, of a new layer of protection otherwise known as Priorities. Even now they are beginning to gleam again.

It also struck me that paint can be used in more than one way. With the barn, we paint it to cover the wood, to protect it from the elements. But paint can also be used to hide away imperfections, to create a false front, as it were. Put enough coats on, and no one will ever notice.

Hairy Beasts...working hard...

Hairy Beasts…working hard…

How many times have I been guilty of a check up from the neck up, plaster on a smile and head out the door, because it’s so less messy than to let a vulnerability show? Or to share that sometimes the inherent challenges of my Old People aging really weigh on me–I mean, really weigh–and that I feel overwhelmed more and more frequently? How many times do I think, “I don’t want to be strong; I don’t feel up to adulting today, ” and then say “FABulous!” when someone asks me how I am? Slather on a coat of  pretty glossy, water resistant stain and call it good.

To paraphrase my friend Tyson, too often people notice the pretty things and fail to appreciate things just as eye grabbing in the other direction.Photo Aug 15, 3 16 29 PM

So, here’s to pressure washing, flaking off old layers, ditching the debris, drying out, and (an authentic coat of) fresh paint.

Photo Aug 16, 2 36 16 PM

“It’s ALIVE!”

“It’s ALIVE!”

Say that in your best B-grade monster movie actor over-the-top anguished voice. Because it is. Alive. The List. The To-Do list. Farm work. Chores. #daylightsburning

Finishing up the hay finished that project.

Number three on the revised list, it’s a living, breathing thing, mind, number three on the revised list was to cut the grass on the neighbors side of the north fence line.

This is a significant project for two reasons:

  1. Neighbor lady is widowed Old People. It’s just the right thing to do.
  2. Over-ripe grass on a hot summer day on an electric fence is a fire hazard.

It is hard work, this fence line. The ground is uneven and rutted. Normally I do this job with Willy the Weed Whacker (22hp push), but alas, ole Will wasn’t up to the task this year. So, Percival the Push Mower got a chance to get out of the shop.


First outing for Percy in over a year. Acquitted himself quite well. Don’t tell Willy, but Percy gets this contract going forward. Far fewer tangles and sputters.

Seven days on the big tractor, no problem. Three hours with the push mower, I’m stiff getting up from the chair tonight. Uffda.  But for all the sweat and manhandling of the mower, I must say it’s quite gratifying to look back at the finished work. And to not worry about grass on the fence line starting a fire.

#babybeast would like to report schwimming x2 today. She’s a very happy dog.

Adventures in Haying: day 7

 And on the seventh day, she rested. 

Well, it wasn’t technically a complete day of rest. The Baler didn’t finish yesterday, so I had an opportunity to flip a section I was concerned about one more time. 
After that, the pups and I had  a nice stroll around the field. 

I love the mid-morning. It’s brilliantly nice, but not too hot. 

Stonehenge level: you’re doing it wrong. 


One little, two little, three little hay bales, four little, five little, six little hay bales…

Being out in the field, all day, it’s tough work for a dog. And for the seventh day straight. All work and no play is not good for a #hairybeast. Schwimming?

Once the Baler arrived and got started for the day, it was on to cleaning up corners. Forgot to mention that yesterday–sometimes the corners are a little dicey and you have to pick a line. That often means some stuff gets missed. So, cleaned up corners. 



Baler’s done, 22 ton. Yay! Two more than last year. And happy customers. Or, more accurately, happy customer horses, goats, and mule. And everyone will come back next year. 

Yes, the pushy dogs got their way. Twice. 

Don’t mind admitting I trundled off and napped away the early evening. Now the pressure of getting it all done is off, I find I’m tired. It’s been a long week. A very long week. 
Tomorrow is a sleeping in day. Don’t think it will be too hard to convince the #hairybeasts. 

Adventures in Haying: day 6

It occurred to me, somewhere around 12:30, and lap 2,642 (who’m I kidding? I haven’t been counting), that haying is a good analogy for strategic planning /  life: 

There’s a map of major milestones. Goals. A picture of the desired end state. A set of ideal or best practices. And, of course metrics. Because it’s wise to know if / when you’re winning. 

But a good deal of what *actually* happens is that you make it up in the middle bit. Read the field. Figure it out.  The probability you stink at it, in the beginning, the first few laps around the field, as it were, is high. But you will, in fact, get better with practice. 

Sometimes you make a mess of it. We won’t discuss what my first few corners looked like. But, there’s nearly always a chance to look back over what you’ve done and clean it up. Sometimes cleanup is easy, with the tractor, and sometimes it requires a pitchfork. 

You should never pass up an opportunity to take a break and go schwimming. This ranks with always leaving room for dessert. 

The right tools are important. And you should have them handy before you start. When you’re in the middle of the work, when something’s busted, that’s the wrong time to figure out you need parts. Sunscreen is ALWAYS a good idea. Never run out of WD40. 

Sometimes you need help. It’s wise to know when to ask for it. And good business to know when you need to pay other people to do it for you. Pretty certain I will never own my own baler. I will always have a Baler. 


Sometimes the field is thick. Other times it’s thin. Make the best of it whatever. 


In short, make hay while the sun shines. 

Adventures in Haying: day 5

Today was a little cooler, and that was lovely. Isn’t it something when 80-whatever-it-was feels cool? 

The hot weather’s been such a blessing though. My field is drying out so nicely. And (SQWEE!) my baler comes tomorrow. 

So….raking. I’m getting better at it. The old side-deliver rake takes some getting used to. #trueconfessions I prettied up one or two corners by hand. 

It was a good day in the field today. I had some QT with the Old Man discussing the rules to raking. Yeah, there aren’t any. Read the field, it’s different every year, make it up as you go. 

I had a few share-worthy thoughts, out in the field. But it’s late, and I’m tired, and tomorrow is another full day. 

So. Gratuitous #hairybeasts pics.