Sunday, my friends, was a glorious day. Blue skies, sunshine, no humidity and a brisk north breeze to keep things lively. And best of all, I was able to soak it in for four hours straight.
D and I occasionally team up to do what I like to call "property management" and what he likes to call "a lot of damn stuff around this place." With our adorably feral children biting our ankles most weekends, it's rare that we get to engage in outdoor chores together (with the exception of the ever-popular dump date). When we do get an opportunity to hang out and do some sweaty, grumbly, my-back-is-gonna-kill-me-tomorrow type of stuff, I like to make the most of it. I'm not normally a gung-ho "Hey, let's dig a trench!" kind of girl, so when these occasions do occur, I really give 'er. Then even D grimly admits that I'm actually DOING SOMETHING on the weekend. (He does not consider parenting or sleeping in or drinking coffee and playing online scrabble to be DOING SOMETHING, which is one of his few tragic flaws.)
Anyway, Sunday's SOMETHINGS consisted of:
- distributing the four foot pile of wood chips that's been sitting in the driveway since April into the gardens
- starting my hay bale garden (more on that in another post, cause it's freaking crazy and deserves its own blog, let alone entry)
- scouring the side road for really big rocks to line the bottom of my new office garden
- attacking the scary grass around my arbour that comes up to my knees every single spring, no matter how many times I attempt to kill it
- raking our lawn, which resembles a freshly cut hayfield and elicited less-than-polite comments from an older neighbour
The tricky part was that we only had a few hours in which to do all this stuff, since Grandma, who was looking after the kids, had to be somewhere else in the afternoon. We dropped them off around 11 a.m. and I visited with my mother-in-law for a few minutes while the kids gleefully chased the cats around the swing set.
"Let's get doing this if we're doing it," commanded D, striding purposefully toward his parents' shop.
"Guess that's my cue," I muttered to Shirley and headed for the car. "Where are you going?" I yelled at D.
"I'm taking another ride home," he hollered over his shoulder. "Get going!"
I got going. At home, I poured myself a cup of coffee, took it outside and began to pitchfork wood chips into the rusty old wheelbarrow we'd recovered from one of the barns after our gorgeous new wheelbarrow got stolen (Note to any nouveau-country folks: don't leave anything near the side of the road unless you want a stranger to come and take it. Yes, that includes wheelbarrows full of recycling). My plan was to create a garden behind my office, which is on a steep slope of unmowable grass. I figured lots of wood chips, some ground cover plants and rocks would make it look like an actual garden instead of an errant weedy mess. D was not convinced. He hates anything to do with gardens, but he hated the pile of wood chips on the driveway even more. Sure enough, I heard a heavy rumbling as I dumped my second load of chips onto the slope. There was my man, chugging up the driveway in his dad's skid-steer. He started loading up chips into the bucket at a rate of five wheelbarrows. I cheered.
He went back and forth a few times and I raked the chips as he dumped them, all the while thinking that there was something kind of hot about a man driving heavy machinery in order to fulfill one's whims. I got as close to the skid-steer as I dared.
"Can I have a ride?" I yelled.
D shrugged, which I took for assent.
I surveyed the giant bucket and the ridiculously tiny cab that my six foot husband was crammed into. "How do I get in?"
D rolled his eyes. "Climb the bucket, woman. And hurry up."
I clambered up the bucket and plopped myself onto his lap. Kind of cosy. Could sexy-time in a skid-steer become a thing? That's when the first waft of stink hit me.
"Ugh...it smells like POOP! Why does it smell like poop in here?" I wriggled, trying to come to terms with the smell.
"Because Carm uses the loader tractor to clean pens. Geez, you've got a bony butt, woman. Now sit still and hang on."
Riding double in a skid-steer is an unsafe but awesomely fun thing to do. We finished the garden and I directed him to the arbour where I wanted to kill the evil grass growing around it once and for all by smothering it with wood chips. I hopped out and did my thing while D brought load after load of chips.
When I heard the motor cut, I wiped the sweat off my face and leaned in to the cab of the skid steer, waggling my eyebrows. "Wanna go inside and have some lunch?"
D stared at me. "No Kimmy, I do not want to have lunch. I want to get this done. Let's go get you some stones." I cheered again and we abandoned the skid-steer for the truck.
Once we were on the road, my husband leaned across the bench seat and touched my hand. I gazed at him. He was so handsome in his lumber jacket and brown hoodie, a tuft of curly hair peeking out over his forehead. He was getting me rocks and helping build my garden. He really loved me.
"I just want you to know," he began, and I squeezed his fingers affectionately, thinking back to the days when we used to sneak down side roads for different reasons than rock picking.
"I just want you to know that I have NEVER gone back down a side road to pick up stones that someone has taken out of a field so I could dump them on my lawn. Never. Ever. In a million years."
There was a silence as we turned left off the concession road and onto the bumpy gravel.
"Well," I said, "isn't it great how I open lots of new horizons for you?"
"Not in this regard, no," he answered, removing his hand from mine and staring straight ahead. A sudden vision of his brother and father's reactions to the situation flashed across my brain and I realized that D was risking deep ridicule to get me my stones. I sensed I was going to have to reward him richly to make up for this farming sacrilege. This became even more apparent after D smushed his finger between two of the rocks I'd chosen while unloading them. He jumped up and down wordlessly while I wrung my hands and made sympathetic noises. Then he jumped in the truck.
"Where are you going?" I said. "Are you okay?"
"I am NOT okay," he said through clenched teeth. "I am going somewhere where I can swear really loudly." And he drove off, with the windows rolled up. I didn't see him again until he came to bed after doing chores and helping his uncle plant an acre of our sweet corn.
I patted him timidly on the shoulder as he rolled into bed. "Um...thanks for all your help today," I whispered.
"You are a pain in the neck," was my darling spouse's response as he took me in his arms and kissed my neck. Ah, true love.
I have a feeling a giant rhubarb cake and a lot of shoulder rubbing is in his future tonight when my crusty but loving man gets home from work. And I think I'll keep quiet about the idea I have for building a new rustic fence in the corner of the back yard. At least until next spring.