Thursday, July 3, 2014

Home, Sweet, Sweaty Home

We spent last week with our son Joel at his little farm in southeastern Ohio, near Athens.  We're always delighted to see him, of course, and his place is the closest thing we have to a fixed location "home."

Our first item of business was getting acquainted with our new "grandpuppy" Dingus.

He is a fourteen week old Blue Heeler, so ugly he's cute!  The Blue Heeler breed is a mix of an Australian cattle herding dog and a dingo, an Australian wild dog.  He is typical puppy, running and bouncing with boundless energy, and chewing on everything in sight, especially feet and shoes.  The word "Dingus" seems such an appropriate name for him since it roughly translates as "thing-a-ma-bob" or "what-cha-ma-call-it."

Big dog-brother Clyde, a golden Retriever and Shepherd mix, is slowly accepting this new arrival and usually tolerates his wrestling with good humor.

Our second item of business, as always, is weeding and mowing.  Despite our son's earnest pleas, "Dad, Mom, you really don't have to do anything around the place this week.  I don't want you wearing yourselves out,"  we do!  We love him dearly and have a financial interest in his place, so we ignore his advice and weed and mow until we are hot, sweaty and worn out!  There are always tall grass and weeds to keep us busy, it seems. Bruce mowed four yards around the house and three meadows, some of them twice; MarySue pulled five wheelbarrow loads of weeds.  But creeping old age and the humid Ohio summer weather does take its toll on us.  

However, the exciting part of our week is that we promoted ourselves to some new, more demanding tasks.

This hedgerow of forsythia was wildly overgrown five years ago when Joel moved in.  By this summer, it was at least ten feet high and had swallowed up a dead tree, an old rusty wire fence and yards and yards of wild grapevines!  It was long past time to show it who was boss, so Bruce, with Joel's help, began pruning, trimming and chopping the trees down to size, about two or three feet from the ground.  As he chopped and cleared, MarySue cleaned up the open bank below.  Our energy ran out before our task was done, so we have job security for our next visit!

MarySue spent a day painting a new wooden, Joel-constructed cover for the side-yard cistern.  We finished it just before the old one collapsed, a threat that potentially could have hauled Joel into liability court!

But our biggest job involved, not physical labor, but making a long-delayed decision. What shall we do with the barn?

His insurance company had made it abundantly clear five years ago that they would not insure this structure.  It has been deteriorating for many years and we keep praying that a strong wind storm will bring it down but our prayers have gone unanswered.  It totters and creaks but refuses to fall!

The side view makes it even more obvious how dangerous it is.  It is so porous and unstable that it can no longer even be used for storage.  In fact, Joel never enters this "accident ready to happen" at all anymore.

We consulted with a company that does such demolitions.  It will cost twice as much as we had planned, but it must be done before it falls on somebody!  The company's schedule is quite busy for the summer so the job may not get done until we're back in Texas.  I hope Joel can take some "after" pictures so we can compare with these "before" views!

Spending a week at a time at our "Home, Sweaty Home" is enough.  So this week we've moved on to Columbus, Ohio for our church conference; more sitting and less sweating!