When Things Come Together

You know, I measure most days (and weeks, and months) in lists of shit that I did not get done. In projects that take longer than I thought, or days when my time and energy need to be spent elsewhere. I keep lists on my phone, and lists on my computer, and lists on my bigass chalkboard. And for every item I check off those lists, I immediately add three more.

That used to create an epic amount of anxiety for me because people are always talking about “balance” as if there’s some version of reality where you can do ALL OF THE THINGS and still, you know… sleep. For a lot of years I figured that I was just personally incapable of finding this magical state of being… until I realized that it is such bullshit. It is. And, you know what? So is whining about having too much awesome in your life. So let me just say this:  I’m not struggling for some perfect mix of work and life and farm and friends and power tools and gym and website and bearded guys. I feel pretty damn lucky that my life is full of all of those things, and a lot of the time that means that shit will not get done.

I’m cool with that.

But sometimes— on very rare occasions–things come together. This weekend, for example…

Like, I am doing a lot of happy dances inside my body right now that my garage, which a month ago looked like this:


Now looks like this:


Ohthankgod. And my dad. And whatever other deities are in charge of barn siding, because holy shit, has this garage been stressing me out for the last three years.

It stressed me out even more when we were within three sheets of siding to finish the damn thing off, and we mis-cut one sheet of siding with no spares on hand, which then required some quick re-configuration (my idea) and execution of said idea using the palm router…


I’m all, “Oh, just turn the router on its side like this!” Heh.


Best practical joke I never meant to play on someone. Also probably the last time my dad lets me tell him what to do with the power tools… but, IT WORKED.

So, anyway, we got the rest of the siding up, and now I just need to paint everything and hang the trim and soffit boards. And I know, there’s a whole discussion that should happen about what it’s going to look like when its done, and why that octagon window is gone, but, ugh, can I just tell you about another awesome thing instead?



Okay, guys, another thing that has been making my eye silently twitch for the last three years? THIS PILE OF WEEDS.

Uh. I guess I don’t have a picture of it… (It’s almost like I haven’t been blogging for a decade and don’t know how to take appropriate before pictures….)

Basically, my bonfire pit has always basically been a pile of weeds, with two other piles of weeds (aka “wood piles”) right next to it. And I love bonfires, but it just looked like a total mess. So. It was actually my mom who pointed this out to me at tractor supply, but apparently they sell big metal fire pit rings…


Which (if you’re a Facebook follower) you might have noticed me try to make some headway on last weekend (after maybe a bottle of wine)…


Note to self: Don’t start outdoor projects at dusk after a bottle of wine on one of the most mosquito-laden summers to ever make an appearance in Michigan. Holy shit.


Just trying to take a damn in-progress selfie here…






Got it. Little effer.

I also got approximately 30 mosquito bites on my back that night.

But, in the end it was a small price to pay for my new bonfire area. To make the circle I pounded a stake into the middle of the “pit” then tied a string to it, and used marking paint to spray the borders of the circle.


Then I sprayed the grass with weed-killer (and I’m not sorry about it), and put down a very large circle’s worth of week blocking fabric…


Then I got a massive core workout in raking gravel out to cover the weed fabric…


Someday I’d like to have some nice wood Adirondack chairs out here, and maybe some curved benches, and I plan to put stone around the fire pit eventually.  But for now, my plastic Target chairs, the benches from my picnic table, and a few wood stump did just fine. And made the perfect launching spot for our paper lanterns this year.


We sent up more than one wish on the 4th…



And normally a finished barn, new bonfire pit, and party with friends would be a hell of a lot accomplished in one weekend, but that’s only half of it.

While I was working on those projects, my mom decided that enough was enough inside my “garage”…


Can you call it a garage still if you can’t fit any cars in it? Pretty sure it’s just a really big workshop at this point…

At least until my mom got her hands on it.


I swear she just disappeared in to the garage for like four hours, and when I went out there to check on her, it was like a whole different place.

Which was super handy for tackling the assembly of some new bee equipment (like power tools, you can never have enough, apparently…)


And THEN, because I couldn’t be shown up by my mom and her four hours of sweeping, I started my twice-yearly thorough cleaning of the barn, which started with four hours of shoveling…


I’m not even half done yet… I need to tackle the chicken coop and hay storage next, but the donkeys are loving it.


And that, you guys, is what a rare and epic weekend when everything comes together looks like on the farm. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasted, because it’s almost never that easy…

20 Responses

  1. Wow! I tip my glass to you!

    So, it appears that you used some kind of stake in your landscaping fabric. True? If so, what’d you use?

  2. The garage looks fantastic, and your new firepit is awesome. I’m envious of your ability to walk into a store and buy weed killer – it’s sort of banned here in Ontario.

    1. weed killer recipe

      2 cups table salt
      1 Gallon white vinegar (make sure 5% acidity)
      8 drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid

      -mix in a large bowl, put into spray bottle, spray offending weeds or vegetation it should die in a few days.

      store you homemade “round-up” safely.

  3. The rarity of weekends like yours is not lost on me. It’s harrrd redoing a whole house/garden/place. So many projects in the halfsies stage. I love your firepit. I love your mom. I love those core workouts involving a lot of gravel. Personally, I have moved close to 10 tons of gravel by myself in the past 10 years at our place. [In addition to the dozen or so tons moved by the kids and husband. I heart gravel.] Kudos you.

  4. Very awesome productive quality family time spent enjoying the outdoors, Black Feather Farm,setting off glow lanterns and good wood-shaving practical jokes. Y’all did a really fine job with the garage and it looks good/clean w/o the window too. Actually, y’all rocked one heck of well balanced Independence Day Holiday Celebration!

  5. We did the paper lanterns for the first time this year! I think I liked them better than our fireworks!

  6. Love the new bonfire abode! All of you made amazing things happen. Special hat off to your Mom and her decluttering and organizational skills!

  7. Love the fire pit, your mom and dad both rock with all the work they do for you around your place and yup, sometimes you just have to buy the weed/grass killer..

  8. I think another definition of balance is being OK with how things are and enjoying the life you’re living in its current state.

  9. The garage is beautiful and your mom is a Rock Star. I am about to build a screened in room on my deck. I will think of how much you get done there when I get tired or frustrated.

  10. This weekend I watered my garden on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday. AND I did 2 loads of laundry. Try and keep up with me. 😛 ha! But really.. I’m super impressed with what you can get done in a weekend! The garage looks awesome! And I’m totally jealous of that fire pit!!

  11. 1. I have never chuckled so many times reading a post you have written as I did tonight. 2. Your mom is pretty much the best thing ever. And 3. How are the donkeys doing? I think of them often (if that’s not weird to say haha).

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