Thursday, July 6, 2017

"Laboring on the 4th"

Broken Hackberry

            While most people spent Independence Day surrounded by friends frolicking in water and then feasting on foot-longs while “ooohhh-ing and aaahhh-ing” at fireworks, we labored in our back yard. A couple of weeks ago, our neighbor’s large Hackberry tree, which dominated the back corner of both our yards, cracked and split under the weight of its own leaves. The branches of this substantial tree arched over a redwood patio cover we’d moved to that portion of the yard when the Hackberry stood a slender twig on the other side of our fence. Over the years this junction of tree limbs, pittosporum, and patio cover became a squirrel playground. And during the lazily hot months of summer, those squirrels loved to lounge across those redwood beams and chop away their afternoons. This damage, partially hidden by the Hackberry’s boughs, became too obvious to ignore once the tree was gone.
            We toyed with the idea of repairing the patio cover since it is original to our fifty-year-old house. But between squirrel munching and wood rot, it became quickly clear that taking it down would be a better way to spend our long weekend. Pushing it down took only a matter of minutes, but dismantling took hours. We decided to neatly pile the pieces of wood that can be repurposed for some later yard project. The rotted portions received an axe treatment and turned into kindling for our outdoor fire pit.
David with downed patio cover
            Simultaneous to the patio cover demolishing we decided to refurbish a statue of a fairy. Over the years, her dramatic two-tone coloring had faded so much that she blended into the bushes. After I cleaned her thoroughly, my husband brought her inside and hand-painted her back to glory. 


        As he worked on her, I refurbished another statue that I purchased years ago. Once she regained her serenity, I repainted our Bistro set as well as several dollar store plant stands. The final chore found both of us draining out the hot tub, which we then scrubbed clean. We rewarded ourselves with a dip in the ice-cold water. What a relief to sit and soak after so much work!

The statue I worked on
By the time evening fell on the Fourth, we couldn’t muster the energy to view fireworks. Our traditional viewing of Independence Day never happened, and I don’t ever remember fixing anything for dinner. All of the laboring on the fourth has left us with a little nook for our hammock and some wind chimes. Not bad at all.

Copyright 2017 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman



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