Yesterday morning, Mrs. Fetched asks me oh-so-innocently: “Would you like to come with me? I just have to give the cows one bale of hay and talk to one of the guys.” As long as I’ve been married, I fall for this line every time. We’re not even out of the driveway before her phone rings… it’s Jimmy down at the chicken houses.
In the high-tech world, this is so common they have a phrase for it: scope creep. A project is humming along, on time and on budget, when someone goes, “Hey, can you make it do X?” and a manager says, “I was talking to a customer, and they’ll commit to 100,000 units if it will do Y.” Next thing you know, just like with anything that starts with “all we have to do is” at FAR Manor, you’ve added A and E and working on B, C and W, and R and B, and me and the chimpanzee agree… but I digress. This one was unique in that we actually dropped one of the original parts; it was warm enough that the cows didn’t need more hay.
So the next three hours were spent tightening down louver vents, fixing a broken roof corner, incidentally finding (by smell) and tightening a leaky gas regulator. We broke for lunch and Mrs. Fetched unloaded me, seeming to recognize that there were things I wanted to get done today (as well as things she wanted me to do and couldn’t have me do them otherwise). Besides, somewhere in the morning festoovities, I came up with some lower back pain. I’m not sure where it came from — I wasn’t doing any heavy lifting except to haul the occasional armload of wood into the living room — but it (or more likely, the other chore which I will mention shortly) was enough to release me.
The primary thing I wanted to get done this weekend was to have a look at the garden spot out back and decide how I wanted to set it up. The only compass in the house that I could find was one on the end of a survival knife, and it’s a Tates compass (as in, “he who has a Tates is lost”), but I got it to mostly behave and used the afternoon sun to get a rough confirmation of directions. By 4 p.m., I had a pretty good idea of where afternoon shade would fall and thus a fair idea of what should go where. The spot is like twice as large as I want to deal with, which is good because I can use half of it at a time and swap sides every couple of years. I need to run pipe from the kitchen drain down to it for irrigation (it’s all downhill, which is helpful) and bang up some kind of tool shed. After that, it’s one part water, two parts sunshine, three parts prayer.
Having a good visual on what ground is to be broken next month, I went on to the task at hand: re-attaching a fallen duct under the old place. The renters probably figured it out the way we did when we lived there… felt cold air coming out of the vent. Mrs. Fetched, ever helpful in these matters, made sure there was a roll of Gorilla Tape out where I could find it. I gathered up a trouble light and two extension cords. The fun part is that there’s 2–3 feet of clearance under there, and breathing through your mouth is a fine way to invite fiberglass and whatever else to come visit. I only lost the light once, when the cord tangled up, but got that fixed and managed to crawl over pipes and wires and under support trusses to get to the problem spot. Judging from the packaging tape still stuck to the duct, I’d been here before. 10 minutes to prepare, 10 to crawl in, 10 to fix it, 10 to crawl out (chasing out the renters’ stupidog that wanted to see what was going on), 10 to make sure the cover was on good & tight. Then 20 minutes for a shower.
Last Sunday of the month means potluck day at church. Mrs. Fetched fixed lasagna, presumably using up the rest of the kotijuusto. She and DoubleRed want me to make another batch so they can tackle a cheesecake. OK…