Merry Christmas! Last year, I used some of my Christmas-gift money and bought a snow blower for my tractor. I don’t have a cab on the tractor so I usually get a face-full. This year I got smart and now wear ski goggles and a face mask. I still get covered with snow but at least my eyes and face stay dry.
With all of the snow removal required by this old-fashioned winter we have been “enjoying,” I have been kept from some of my other duties: baking Christmas cookies, trimming the Christmas tree and addressing Christmas cards. I had to have Rhonda do those this year.
But I have found time to prepare the barn for some guests. It’s not that I don’t have room in our house and expect expectant mothers to find comfort in the barn and lay their newborn babies in a feed trough; no, nothing like that. Jennifer, our daughter, is getting married next spring and we are having the reception and dance in the 80-year old barn loft. So with that on the horizon the loft must be made ready to welcome friends and family.
Lest you think clearing an old loft out sounds easy, allow me to set you straight: It isn’t. The loft of a barn can accumulate many things over time. Some stuff came with the place when we bought it almost 20-years ago (dirt, dust, cobwebs, straw stubble, hay seeds, scraps of wood and old farm tools), some items were donated (grand-parents’ and parents’ furniture), and some things we just put up there because there was room (a VW Bug with assorted parts I had disassembled before I got distracted, ladders, ping-pong table, sleds, bikes, etc., etc., and etc.).
The furniture was divided into three groups, one collection for each of our children who promised to take it with them when they got their own place, and one bunch we gave to the thrift store. The nice thing about the thrift lot is that I was fairly confident that once it was unloaded I would not have to touch it again. For the other stuff, I knew we would meet again.
Amazingly, we were able to find space for everything in another building. Once it was empty it became obvious that parts of the loft floor needed repair. Fortunately, I keep a supply of lumber in the lower part of the barn for “just in case.” The problem with doing that is that it can get out of control. This is due to the possibility that you may actually use a hoarded piece, even if that’s only as often as when a census is decreed. This only leads to saving more pieces for a future unknown use. I once read about a man who was cleaning his deceased grandfather’s garage attic. The grandson came across a box marked “too small to save.” In the box were pieces of wood that were apparently too small to save for anything but to fill the box.
Once the loft was empty we started sweeping, dusting, and coughing. Even with both 44-foot doors open (I may be a exaggerating a little on the size) visibility was reduced to zero at times. In between dust storms I glanced towards my daughter as she swept the wood floor with her broom. It was a little hard to focus as I had something in my eye. Next spring, as she moves among her guests, the bottom of her white dress will brush against the clean loft floor. I don’t know if goggles will help keep my eyes and face dry.