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Sunday, February 23, 2014

The importance of motivation

My lovely and gracious wife has been helping out around the farm. This is not a bad thing. I usually call on her when we need serious motivation.
We had quite a wind and rain storm a couple days ago. One of the door blew off my uncles's shop which is located on the farm. My uncle is 85 or so, perhaps a little older. Hmmm, I should ask.
The building is used for storing oxygen and acetylene and other gasses in metal cylinders which are used in welding. There is also a tank of helium which he loans to the local school to blow up balloons.
Uncle enlisted me to help patch the door back together with drywall screws and pieces of scrap lumber we found laying around.
I suggested that we purchase new materials. These suggestions are often met with some resistance. The building was built in 1942 out of materials salvaged from the family's former farm. The old folks think if it has lasted 40 years it will last another ten and everyone figured they would be dead in 10 years but 9 years later they are all still plugging along...
I started to get just a wee bit frustrated. I'd rather build a whole new door than spend two days patching rotting plywood and T-11 siding together with drywall screws.
Then I thought of my wife. She knows how to build things and the Uncle likes her. This is because she periodically bakes pies for coffee time. And she is a almost always happy.
So I brought her out to the shop and showed her the door. She went into action immediately. The door had been pieced together using a frame of overlapping 1"x6" boards. These were probably really cheap in postwar US when there was a timber industry and lumberyards and sawmills were in every town.
In the modern world 2x4's are cheap and 1x6's are expensive.
I tried to explain this to the uncle but was met with stiff resistance.
But my wife just does it...
First thing the next morning we bought supplies and by noon we had the door framed. It is 15ft by 7ft and mounts on rollers.
Now you do understand that there is a reason the blog is titled "the lazy farmer." This is an "old school" business where things traditionally stopped at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for a coffee break (my Grandma and Aunt took tea at that time) and everything stops at 12 for noon.
I went into the store where a couple farmers were looking at brochures and talking about buying a new fertilizer spreader. The Uncle was busy calling on the phone to see how soon he could get one and what options were available.
So I stopped to talk. We were in the midst of a discussion of something I can't remember but which I'm sure was quite important when my wife came looking for me. "Get to work she exclaimed," and then she called me "Gabby Smurf," the room erupted in laughter.
I went to work.
The new door looks great. My wife is very good at measuring and cutting. I am pretty good at some of the design stages and figuring out what will for and what is too heavy or too light. Unfortunately I ofter forget to use my words and have complete communication failures so I mostly stick to using the screw gun or heavy lifting.
I tell you now that if my wife had not have got me going I would still be staring at that door and making plans and discussing the cheapest place to buy plywood and debating the virtues of overlapping 1x6 joints vs just buying those clever new steel plates and brackets that let you butt 2x4s up to each other and fasten them without toe-nailing or overlapping anything.
I suppose I will be know forevermore as Mr. Gabbysmurf...


  1. For all of their shortcomings, wives DO come in handy at times. ;-)

  2. I was yelled at by my father for buying four or five new 2x4s when building the new pump house. I was suposed to use all salvaged (very warped) wood from the 100 year old shed that had been torn down 30 years ago. Then I found out he had complained to someone that I had taken the joy of building it from him. And here I thought I had been doing him a favor. :-) He was 95 or 96 at the time and could hardly walk.
    I know this isn't the reason most people swap wives temporarily, but I could use some help shoring up the barn. :-)

  3. It all starts with an initiative! We all have these inclinations and end goals drifting into our minds, but we must streamline them into an identifiable platform. That's how we forge our paths to the future; that's how we've always build our houses for our loved ones and our young. We can electronically do this now, of course, and unfold this very process right in front of our eyes. Perfect for strategies and decision-making.



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