Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hard Work & Christmas

Since we have been so sad & preoccupied with memories the past couple of weeks, Justin thought it would do us good to do some hard physical labor & just plain hard work. Okay?

Justin closes his business the week between Christmas & New Years Day. Normally, he would leave for the Country after celebrating Christmas at my sister's & I would head back to the City to work a few more days then head up to the Country to ring in the New Year. We've been doing that for 30+ years. This year my sister asked that we not celebrate, just yet & they wanted to be alone. Understandable.

So, we decided to go to the Country & spend Christmas there. We left a couple of days after the funeral, stopping by my sister's for a few minutes, on the way. They are better but still very reserved. Time will heal, it's just having to live through the time itself.

Justin usually has projects lined up for the last week of the year but didn't really have anything specific planned this year, except .... the garden. This thing is going to kill me one way or the other.

The first day, we got the rest of the large bed covered in the requisite, newspaper, leaves, poo & straw, yeah! We don't normally exchange Christmas gifts as we save & buy what we need during the year. But not this year ... after we finished the bed, Justin decided to go buy me a present, he went to Lowe's ....

Yep, I got blocks for a Christmas present, 256 of them! No surprise. One year we were clearing our property for our City House & since I had a hard time swinging a full size axe, I got a boy's axe for a Christmas present. Practical people are we.

The blocks were less than we had originally priced because they were "light block". My foot. I would have hated to see what 'heavy block' did to my back.

The next day we got the block unloaded & 'placed' around the existing beds. In order for everything to be somewhat uniform we needed a starting spot. I wanted the first 2 long beds to be our asparagus beds & want to plant those next spring (in order to have asparagus in 3 years). So, the next day we decided to go ahead & place those beds, as a starting point.  One bed went down fine, the 2nd one is on the curve of the terraced land we own & didn't level out as well. We had to dig out in order to get them somewhat level, remember this is clay soil. I was sitting down, in the wet ground, scooting along as I was digging and the seat & legs of my sweat pants were absolutely filthy. Sorry, no picture, didn't want to put you through that. But they came out fine in the wash.

After about an hour on the 2nd bed it started to mist. We worked feverishly & finally got the 2nd bed down. It's a bit lopsided but we will be able to make minor adjustments in the future. It then started to pour so we stopped for the day.

After the rain, the temperature dropped & the wind started to blow (I swear that is the windiest place on earth). The wind & rain continued the next day & we lounged around, actually had a lazy day, very unusual for us.

I had started The Hunger Games series a week or so ago & was able finish the 2nd book & started on the 3rd. I plan on finishing it before the New Year is out, if Justin will let me be still another day. Since the weather didn't look like it was going to cooperate we decided to head back to the city.

B-T-W ... By the time we were packed & ready to go, the wind died down, it was 65 degrees & a beautiful day to garden!. We left anyway.

In the meantime I got another Christmas present!

Broad Fork... blurry pic.

It's a broad fork from one of my cousins who has a connection to the maker of these fine American Made products - They mainly sell manual push plows & seeders but have dabbled in other tools. The owner of the company had sent me one of these earlier this year.

It's a small shovel & it works great here at the City House with our plethora of trees & tree roots. These are great products & very well made! If you are in need of any manual tools for the garden, this is the company to go to!

More manual labor for me ... yeah!

The first day back in the City, we decided to do nothing except go see a movie & go out to eat (I think we are changing our lifestyles). Going to see a movie is a stretch for us. We've been married over 30 years & have only been to the movies a few times (Hunt for Red October, Pulp Fiction, Jurassic Park are 3 that come to mind). 2-3 hours of just sitting & watching a movie always seems like a waste when we could be doing something else. Besides, we could wait until they come on HBO or on video & watch in segments.

Anyway, we went to the matinee to see 'Lincoln'. It was just what we needed, not too much drama, good acting & an excellent story. I even learned a couple of things.We then went to what we were told was a good Mexican restaurant. It was ok, we've had better, much better. We don't like Americanized(sp?) Mexican. Give us the real thing or nothing. If they put orange cheese or lettuce on it, it ain't true Mexican, got to have Queso & cabbage. But, it was palatable.

Anyway, on to hard work (no pics) ....

With 2 houses to keep up & so many projects, our homes get wiped but not really bathed. We decided the City House could use a good cleaning. So we cleaned room by room. I mean really cleaned, moved furniture away from walls, scrubbed baseboards, swept, vacuumed, mopped, dusted. We got the foyer (our take to Country staging area), den, dining room, & living room done yesterday. And, today we got the master bedroom, guest bedroom, master bath, hallways, 1/2 bath & finally the kitchen.

I knew it was serious because Justin got out the Murphy's Oil Soap to wash the cabinets. Everything was cleared off the counters, upper cabinets washed, lower cabinets washed, appliances shined, etc.

It feels so good to walk through a mostly thoroughly clean house! I swear our bedroom is bigger!

Still have my office (where many things got stowed), the garage, spare room (aka canning staging area) & back porches, but we don't live in those so we will tackle as we go. Plus, we still have 2 more days of vacation! Whoopee more work!

Seriously though, I don't mind hard work. It is kind of mindless & let's me reflect my inner thoughts without drowning myself in sorrow. So good for  my soul. And it feels good to get so much accomplished.

I'll write about my niece another time. Just to know that she is in my heart & thoughts daily gives me comfort.


  1. DFW,

    Please accept my apologies, I just came back into town after helping my Dad in the hospital, and just read your post about Brooke. My family extends deep and heart-felt sympathy to you and your family. Even though I live distance away, if I can do anything, please don't hesitate to let me know.


    1. No apologies needed, you've had your hands full. I can feel that hug all the way east. Thank you my friend.

  2. Yes, you said it very well, and you have described what I am doing right now! Can't let myself drown in sorrow either, and as you said it feels good to have things completed.
    Thought about you all evening, my heart aches for you and your family! Big hugs to you and yours!!!

    1. Thank you Melanie. Simple thoughts, sometimes silent tears & late at night a few sobs. But the sobs are decreasing each night.

  3. Good to see a post from you, DFW! You've been in my thoughts and prayers. Yes, hard work is good:)) Sounds like you got a lot accomplished!

    1. Thank you my sweet friend. Now it's off to tackle the back porch(es). Weather is perfect for it - doggonit.

  4. What kid at heart doesn't love blocks! LOL. I have to confess to serious envy over that broadfork. I would love one of those! Instead, Dan got me some sort of brush cutting machete with a long handle for Christmas. I'm not sure if it's really for me or him!

    1. Hey Leigh,

      LOL. I had only mentioned the broadfork once to my cousin but I don't think HOSSTOOLS is selling them anymore & he thought about me when he heard that. Since he knows Greg, the owner, I'm sure he got it for less than originally sold. Regardless, I am happy to have it. Machetes scare me but sometimes it's the only tool for the job.

  5. Work is always good for the soul. Rest is good too! Glad your able to focus your energy in positive ways. Been thinking of you and your family!

  6. That was some really hard work, it made me ache just reading about it! I have been working on a dog pen and I feel the burn at the end of the day, but it does feel good to get things done.

    1. It sure does Swamp Dog. We try to take 1 day a month to rest, & even that feels wasteful, but we force ourselves, or the weather forces us.