As we continue the weekslong process of taming our yard, we rediscover a true love for what we do. The opportunity for my husband and I to work side-by-side on a mutual project and see it take shape is a blessing, indeed. (At least, most days. There are certainly days one of us wants the other one to find a job off the farm!)
It was necessary to mow the grass a couple times already, and I recently trimmed a large bush that will bloom white blossoms midsummer. It reached about 10 feet high and was entwined with the lowest branches of a large pine tree in our front yard. The bush was actually pulling those branches down and strangling them.
Other projects included working on the never-ending job of removing multiflora rosebushes from the fencerows and fields and cutting firewood. Knowing that soon hay season will be upon us and will place a monumental drain on the amount of time we spend doing anything else, we are working to ensure our wood supply is ready for fall. Cutting, splitting, stacking – all of those jobs that didn’t happen until late last year have been under way for a couple of weeks in small increments of time.
The other night, I was in the house cooking dinner when my husband came up the driveway in the old farm truck. Its bed was piled high with a load of firewood ready for stacking in the covered lean-to on the front of the chicken coop. I sent the kids out to help him unload.
When I looked out the window again a few minutes later, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Two of the kids were in the bed of the truck passing wood back to my oldest daughter and my husband, who were doing the stacking. That didn’t surprise me; they usually find a rhythm and complete projects like that.
The part that had me scratching my head was how they could be working together in sync with what was happening around them. We have two free-range chickens – aggressive ladies who can’t live in harmony with the others in the coop – that our son named Mr. and Mrs. Cuddles.
They apparently hopped onto the side of the truck bed shortly before being noticed by our dog. On a daily basis, our dog tries to get them to run from him so he can chase them, but they refuse to be baited. Typically, when he approaches, they hunch down and try to tolerate the licking they know is coming.
But on this day, Mr. and Mrs. Cuddles tried to escape. They half-hopped, half-flapped their way around and around the bed of the truck. The dog, who also jumped into the truck bed, half-ran and half-stumbled around after them. And in the midst of it all was my family, slowly and steadily passing firewood along to be stacked.
I watched for a few minutes before going back to my job. After all, if they could complete their task in the midst of that distraction, I knew I would have absolutely no excuse for an empty dinner table when they were done.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.