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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Farmer starts a new project

The Farmer and I are alike in that we like to keep busy. We don’t bore easily, and we appreciate quiet time, but we seem to enjoy always having at least two jobs going at once. Now that he is retired from teaching he is quite busy as a real estate agent, and then of course we do have a beef cattle farm. But apparently that isn’t enough. He likes having somewhere to go every morning, so now he has a new project. He is going to build a log cabin.
It all started when I invited some friends over for dinner. The discussion came around to a surplus of cedar logs that our friend had on his property. I could see the wheels in my husband’s head beginning to turn. This man loves to build things. We have four-foot tall dollhouses in our basement that he built with his own hands. They were big enough for Sarah and Amy to sit inside when they were younger. They have proper wooden shingles and one of them is covered in artificial stone.
We also have a miniature playhouse outside that is quickly becoming an art installation, as it disintegrates into the earth. I have pointed out that a more urgent project might be repairing the floor on that structure so that our grandchild doesn’t injure herself in it. His reply was, “She’s small. I have a few years before I need to worry about that.” (So if you bring small children over to visit, beware the broken-down playhouse. I don’t think the staircase inside is safe either.)
My husband has built four houses, restored an old farmhouse and he has also built a couple of birch-bark canoes by hand. He is happiest when he is covered in sawdust, breathing in the smell of fresh-cut wood. He has a bunch of wood-working equipment but I just saw the Lee Valley tools catalogue arrive so I suspect he will be getting more. That makes Father’s Day and his birthday easy this year: gift certificates so the carpenter can go shopping.
The Farmer went out to survey the log collection. A deal was struck, and plans were made to trailer the wood to our house. Now he spends his evening studying a book on how to build a log cabin. I may pull up YouTube on the big screen and find him some DIY videos but I’m pretty sure he prefers to learn the old-fashioned way, by trial and error. He never follows the recipe when he cooks, either, and his meals always taste amazing.
I asked him where he was going to install his new cabin. I imagined he might want to use it as a cabin in the woods. A getaway man-cave for when I’ve got the house over-run with children and grandchildren.
“I can’t put it in the field with the cattle,” he explained. “They will poop all over it.”
I laughed, and then I remembered the year we had the cattle stuck in the log barn beside the chicken coop. They loved it in there. It was small enough that if they wedged themselves inside, it was cool and the bugs actually left them alone. We couldn’t keep them out of there and they kept pushing on the walls, threatening to heave the heritage building off its foundation. Eventually we had to nail a door on the outside to keep the out. They were most disappointed when they discovered it. Much mooing ensued.
No, the Farmer says he is going to build a log cabin on the front lawn. Well that sounds nice. Our grandchildren can use it as a play house. Or maybe I can put a bar and stereo and lounge in there and call it a party shack. I haven’t told him my plans yet. I will let him happily build it before I give him my suggestions. I’m sure they will be well received.
As we say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016, take a moment to reflect on how much has changed in the past twelve months, and brace yourself for the next. We can’t choose our future but we can choose how we are going to react to it. Enjoy every moment and try to slow life down a bit. All the best, from me and the Farmer.

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