Monday, August 11, 2008

No Sense at all

My dad's latest Farm Folly has taken shape. It's a tall, narrow outbuilding complete with a cupola that I have nicknamed Francis Ford. The walls are up and the roof is enclosed. Eventually he'll shingle the roof with recycled slate from an old project on Beacon Hill. The kids are looking forward to sleeping in the little house. The entire horseshoe driveway is now dotted with renovated little buildings. We have a HUGE barn that my dad has straightened out with winches over the last 20 years and serves as a general storage-space-for-junk-my-parents-will-never-use-but-can't-bear -to-stick-in-a-dumpster. We have the "Turkey Shed" an artist studio which has a solid wall of windows and artwork on every scrap of non-windowed wall space. It has a large desk for writing or drawing and a full sized futon couch for sleeping. There is also the ice house, which can function as an 'outdoor shower' which means you connect the hose to it and let the water heat up in the sun, so it burns you and then it's freezing 50 degree well water. But nobody has actually taken a shower there since 1992. (We adapted our tub in the house with a real shower, and for some reason everybody seems to prefer hot running water at an adjustable temperature -- go figure!). Then there are two tiny sheds, one is a garden shed that always has some snakes hanging out in it. The other is the old outhouse (both with slate roofs, mind you) which is used primarily for kite storage at the moment. And there is a tractor storage shed that my dad keeps his 1953 pick up in that he's decided isn't worth restoring (see above about junk-my-parents-will-never-use). And finally there is a Japanese tea house with a giant circular window that looks out onto the fields. Think of a birdhouse, but on a human scale.

I'm looking forward to the new building which will theoretically have insulation and running water, making it much more useful for year round habitation. The tea house has a woodstove, but no insulation whatsoever, making it a difficult place to stay much past Thanksgiving. Charm only goes so far when you're freezing your butt off.

We just spent a nice weekend there. Eric and Rich hiked from the entrance to the High Ledges bird sanctuary into Shelburne Falls, about 4 or 5 miles over rough terrain. I swear, God does not give men more sense than your average turnip. It's like He thinks, "You can have a penis, and rule most of the world, but you can't make intelligent basic decisions without your women." And they don't. I left my dad, Rich and Eric to go on a nice hike up to the Fire Tower in Shelburne and my dad decides to send them down a path that HE'S never hiked based on his recollection of my uncle's walk down it about 10 years ago... The boy isn't even 5 and they're tramping out into the woods on unknown paths with no food or water. "Well there were about 12 shirtless gay hikers on the path with us!" he protested when I asked what he would have done if he had gotten injured on such a treacherous hike. "But the hikers passed you right?" I demanded. "What good could they do?" "Well, yeah. But nothing happened." My eyes have rolled into the back of my head and stuck there over this incident.

But part of me is SO proud of my little dude for hiking all that way without stopping. Kaylee won't even go across the yard without howling "UPEE UPEE!!" But Eric was probably like that it her age. It's just amazing how much you don't remember.


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