Working Steadily

Pushing through chores for eight or nine hours a day, I’ve been slowly whittling down my “Vacation To-Do List.” I am getting things done. The storage unit is now empty. Three-quarters of the deep bedding in the sheep stall has been pried up and carried out. The horse trailer is under cover for the winter, as are the lawn tractors. The summer water troughs and temporary fencing are neatly stored.

The problem is that most of the work is invisible. You don’t drive into the farm and tell yourself, “Great job getting the lawnmowers put away!” Or, “Fabulous twenty hours sorting moldy books!”

Every job also takes a long time. Yesterday I spent ninety minutes rolling and tying all my sheep nets. Years ago I had invented a rack for my old truck so I could drive around the fields and roll the fences as I picked them up. That truck finally went for scrap metal. This year I’d dug the fences out of the snow and they’d landed in a spiky snarl inside the barn doorway. Yesterday I took apart the fence rack, screwed it into the barn door, and painstakingly untangled each fence. To do so, I hooked one end of each net on the rack and then laid out it for its 154-foot length, walking it all the way into the pasture. Then I walked its length again, straightening and untangling. Then back again, carefully picking up each post. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I was reminded of the Boston rope walk in 1770. Imagine doing such tedious work all day long, every day. I’d be ready to provoke the Boston Massacre, too.

Students return to school tomorrow.  Vacation is nearly over. Today I’m going to spend two hours finishing the deep bedding. Then two hours cleaning and organizing the house. Then an hour driving to the dump with a last heavy load of ruined items, and grocery shopping.

After that I’m going to try to start paneling the mudroom. All the work I’ve done has been necessary and I’m happy to have it finished, but I’m yearning to make some visible progress.

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