Plugging Away at Spring Projects

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A rooster investigates.
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A rooster’s crow and hens scratching and pecking at fresh grass is extremely gratifying.

As the seasons change in the early part of the year, I can’t help but feel behind with the projects around home. And it sounds odd to say it, but that’s one of the many things I love about living in the country.

While I don’t particularly enjoy the feeling of being behind, I love the necessary seasonal projects that require a little bit of skill and know-how, even more grit and determination. The fulfillment that comes when you can sit back and have it more or less in order, there’s nothing else like it.

By the time this sees the printed page, my hope is that the fence enclosing our chicken run is fully reconstructed and secure, and I hope to have a dozen or so chicks in the brooder here in the office to replenish what was once a flock of 15 or so laying hens and one watchful, keen rooster.

Another project that comes to mind is making sure the riding lawn mower is repaired and ready for the season – I’ve got to either weld the seat secure to the frame or replace a couple of brackets that have held it secure in years past, as well as replace the throttle cable that broke right as the mowing season ended last year. And there’s also the routine seasonal stuff like restoring the edges on the blades, regular engine maintenance, and so forth.

Just like most who read this magazine, our garden is yet another ongoing effort, and although we have seedlings looking healthy under grow lights in our kitchen, it won’t be long before we’re planting potatoes, hardening off and transplanting those seedlings, and fighting the bugs as we try and stay on top of the weeds.

And cutting, splitting and stacking firewood is, of course, an ongoing chore.

I love it.

In addition, I have plans for a few projects more recreational in nature: build a duck blind for one of the ponds, train up a new pup (knock on wood, he’s yet to be born), hunt for our yearly supply of morel mushrooms, and move around deer stands and ground blinds for fall. Speaking of the outdoors, the crappie spawn ought to be about a month away or less in my part of Kansas.

Some of those projects will go quickly. Others won’t. But I know while I’m working at them, I’ll take a look around, maybe watch a bead of sweat drop into the soil, and revel in a feeling that no amount of convenience can provide.

There are few things I enjoy more than sipping a cold drink during summer after the lawn is mowed, trimmed and looking sharp, standing beside Gwen and admiring the chickens scratching and pecking the freshly mown ground. Hopefully, too, admiring my fence, and not wondering what went wrong and who let Moe, Larry and Curly tackle the job.

When the work’s done, what makes you most proud? I’d love to see the spaces and countrysides that make our readers beam with joy. Some day, if you think of it, snap a photograph or two and send it my way (, and we might just put a few of them into a future issue of the magazine.

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