Saturday, May 1, 2010

Favorite Form of Friendship

We had a lovely day of outdoor play with Richard repairing the tree house. Well, not necessarily repairing it, but beginning the process. The floor supports had started to collapse, as they were made of sapling trees. This was not Richard’s design, but it falls to him to repair the various projects I encourage others to build on our “Granny Camp” land. The Huck Finn comes out in most who spend any time here. This tree house looks very much like the raft on which Huck and Jim traveled downriver, except it’s up in a tree.

As is usual with Richard’s repair projects, a great deal of interesting engineering went into this effort. The ground beneath the tree house is on quite a slope, and his task was to shore up the collapsed end of the platform. With a very elaborate system of stacked cinder blocks, boards, and the jack from his Bronco II, he was laboriously lifting the deck, a few inches at a time. As he got enough clearance to insert a pillar, he needed a second set of hands to hold the new support while he lowered the platform and repositioned the jack. I was to be that second set of hands.

I puttered on the porch, transplanting the various vegetable plants that Mary and I had scored at the Future Farmers of America sale. Every so often, I’d hear Richard calling me, and I’d mosey on over to help him. It’s really fun to observe his ingenuity. He once jacked up a huge deck at our house on the lake, all by himself using a similar system – only two days after having a stent put into an artery.

Why I’m the one needing a nap after this effort is anyone’s guess, but I did. (I really have to get my hammock out of storage and hang it between its trees.) As I snoozed in preparation for going to scoop poop on Mary’s mountaintop, Richard played with his new belt sander making “chick sticks.” These are simple sticks, a set of several hundred of which is the most marvelous toy we ever owned. I’ve been mourning their loss ever since Katrina, and Richard is now well on the way to completing a new set for our house in the holler.

Upon awaking, it was off to Mary’s to man the muck rakes. It can actually be fun to scoop horse poop as long as I’m with people I enjoy. Mary, Richard, and I made short work of it while Mary gave us an education on various items of interest to horse people. As Richard and I unloaded the barnyard booty onto our garden at Mamie’s house, I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of the rich black “garden gold” that will soon feed our tomatoes, beans, and corn cobs.

Not only did we get organic fertilizer, we were able to further bond with Mary over shared labor -- my favorite form of friendship.

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