Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wood and Weeds
Two days ago we were out there doing wood. Kurt was splitting it and Kelly and I were loading it into two canvas bags we keep for wood carrying and hauling it up onto the deck near the sliding glass doors where it will be easy to get when we run out. We carried the bags to a red wheelbarrow at the top of the stairs and then rolled it the rest of the way. The hard wheel on the wheelbarrow went bum, bum, bum, bum, over the wooden 2 X 6 floor. The wheel on this wheelbarrow doesn’t have air so it never goes flat. This is the wheelbarrow that we normally use for things like mixing cement or potting soil. It’s got a shallow metal basin pitted with rust and low metal handles with rubber grips like bike handles. It’s not the most comfortable thing to push because of the hard wheel and how low it is. You wouldn’t want to be using it long term.
The one I use on a daily basis has a nice, air-filled tire and two long hardwood handles smooth and shiny from me using it so much. If I keep the tire filled, it bounces easily over all kinds of terrain. I fill this wheelbarrow with manure three times every morning. Sometimes I use it to transport weeds or bags of grain. I keep an empty supplement bucket hanging on one of the handles that I fill with junk I may find out in the gully—I was tired of sticking shards of glass and muddy plastic fragments in my pockets and then forgetting about it and washing them in the washing machine. So I thought of the bucket. It is even good for putting your hat in if you get too hot while you’re picking up manure. When I was sneaking cigarettes out behind the tobacco shed, I hid the pack in the bucket. It’s good for all kinds of things.
But my favorite wheelbarrow is the dually. I got that one for Christmas one year. It came with a big red ribbon. It is big enough to put a pony inside. It is yellow plastic and has two tires, hence the name dually, and two massive wooden handles you can barely get your hands around. It is the big mama of wheelbarrows. You don’t have to bend at all and it rolls like it’s on shocks. The only bad thing about it is it’s hard to dump because of the two wheels. You can’t just flip it over and shake it back and forth like I do with my regular manure wheelbarrow. I use the big mama for hay. Hay takes up a lot of space. Once a week I fork up all the loose hay in the shed where I break open the bales and bring it outside for the horses. If I didn’t have the dually, I’d have to make many more trips. But I can fit a lot in there. I have also used it to bring Kelly places. She hangs her legs and arms over the sides like she’s in an old fashioned bathtub and cries, “Go faster!” We tried to get the Big Stupid in it one time but he got all giddy and excited like he was caught on the couch and jumped right out and ran around the yard in circles with his tongue flapping and his tail clamped onto his butt.
I also have a miniature wheelbarrow. I bought it for Kelly back when I was trying to break her in right, when she was three and still believed me when I said picking up horse poop was a lot of fun. It is an exact replica of my red metal wheelbarrow but about the only thing you can use it for is decorative purposes. I have it half buried in the mulch in the flowerbed in front of the house and I plant petunias in it because they spread and it looks like someone was pushing it and then it tipped over and all the flowers spilled out.
Today I pushed the regular manure wheelbarrow up front and filled it with weeds. Even though we were stacking wood just two days ago and burning it like there was no tomorrow, it’s seventy degrees now and there is something crawling around the foundation that looks like chickweed but I don’t know what it is. I know it’s not lawn, that I can tell you.
You never get a break on the farm. One minute you’re doing wood and the next minute you’re pulling weeds. Sometimes it even overlaps. Tomorrow we’re supposed to get an ice storm. They’re already announcing the school closings on the TV. Eldon is out there right now pushing the spreader, weeding and feeding the lawn. I don’t know how I’m going to break the news to Kurt. I could try telling him getting wood and pulling up weeds is a lot of fun but he’s not three-years-old anymore. He won’t believe me.