As a kid they were filled with hours of unabashed fun and adventure, especially in the summer. My folks had only two rules for us, "Don't make us have to come look for you" and "Be in the house before the street lights come on." That was the greatest sense of freedom I would ever have.
As a young adult I spent years indulging my athletic desires, swimming, biking and running for hours along the Southern California coast. I had ambitions of being a competitive triathlete so I would convince myself that all those hours and miles were really "hard work" but in all honesty it was another form of freedom. A bit tortured but I was free to do whatever I wanted. Unfortunately genetics dealt me a harsh hand and running down the Kona coast as part of an Ironman race never came to be.
Today, on the B side of my life, most of my Saturdays are anything but freedom. Living on a small ranch I find myself a slave to the demands of a ranch life that for every one thing I fix, I find three more things that just broke. And with a handful of equines, there's no rest for the weary. Sure, I could be like those trailer trash folks that are so lazy they just let their properties disintegrate around them, but when you have animals one does not have the luxury of putting off responsibilities such as feeding, watering and "mucking".
So this Saturday was no different. Up before the sun for a little "me" time consisting of coffee, some scripture reading and a couple of quick video games. "Brain games". Trying to stay ahead of dimentia but it's a close race. So after all that, it was feeding time for the horses and then off to pick up about a half tun of wood slabs to finish our fence. Yep, a long section of fence line that I've been installing these tall pieces of wood. I call them "tree crust". They take the tree and cut off the edges, like how kids have mommy cut off the crust of their sandwiches (I never got that). They're about 8 feet long and can be kinda heavy. So I take these bad boys and cut them down to about 6 to 7 feet and then wire them to our existing fence. Seems straight forward but keep in mind we're talking sharp objects here, circular saw, wire cutters, pocket knives and the curse of my father that any manual labor begets blood.
So in between putting up the fence I stopped to help my wife with mucking the stalls. Now for you suburbanites and city folk, that means cleaning up HUGE piles of horse manure. It's like a giant kitty litter box but on EPIC proportions. But let me tell ya, nothing says "love" like his and hers muck rakes and wheelbarrows. A couple that mucks together, ..... Nah, I better not finish that. Oh, by the way. It wasn't until I became a rancher that I learned it was "wheelbarrow", not "wheelbarrel". Yep, learning something new all the time, like septic tank, leech field or well water.
So back to the fence. By this time the wind started to kick up. Keep in mind we have very sandy soil so it was definitely kicking up a storm. I could hear the scarecrow guy saying "It's a twister!!" Believe it or not I actually turned to see if Dorothy and her dog were running down the road. A small chuckle to myself and it was back to work in Dust Bowl. Eventually I finished the job. I'm not sure if it was stiff muscles or the layer of dirt that mixed with the sweat of my body that made every movement a task unto itself. The thought of a hot shower sounded nice but the most effective thing I could've done to clean myself was to soak in a bath of CLR and polish off a bottle of ibuprofen. I opted for the hot shower and the glorious thing about them is they have an amazing way of reminding you where ALL the cuts you levied on your body are. That lovely stinging sensation as the dirt and scabs are washing away by soap and water is something to be treasured. Well, that shower was the last of my suffering. Now it's wine and Netflix.
So, sure, maybe life has a lot more demands on me then it had in the past but I will say the tasks that consume my Saturdays are far more gratifying. Don't get me wrong I do