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Ponder Points

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A rhyming look at working without power

The best laid plans of mice and men were those set in motion by an experienced grin.

The confidence of knowin’ yer plan will succeed beats prayin’ it does and not make you bleed.

Take, for instance, all this amazing ol’ snow and the sudden constraints on where it should go.

You’d think by now, after all these years, I’d be curtailin’ the shovelin’ in favor of gears.

A snow blower, a backhoe, a tractor and plow, a four wheelin’ go-getter would do me and how!

But then the hook grabs me, a reality check; if I buy all that stuff I’ll be in over my neck.

I once bought a tiller in a bout with stupidity for just behind my ears was a heap of humidity.

The soil conditions I’d picked for cultivation were good only for drainage and lots of aggravation.

I should’ve boughta four ‘wheeler’ a long time ago, I could plow in an hour what takes all day to throw.

But shovelin’s only one thing I do to stay in shape. It keeps my navel from caving, arms from going to crepe.

Out garden’s in raised beds, requirin’ little tillin’. The hard part was just comin’ up with the fillin’.

So that big red tiller’s been sittin’ for years. The income I spent still brings me to tears.

I wasted good money on a thing I couldn’t use. It looks brand new, not missing any screws.

I put my faith in ten pages of glossy ruse that convinced me succinctly I had nothing to lose.

It promised ‘one handed farming’ in my garden of Eden. Liars like that should all be kept from breedin.’

I’m here to tell ya, that ain’t how it goes. Dropping tines in this dirt will make ya have woes.

Eight years and twenty I’ve been workin’ my plan, makin’ it much tougher to get done all that I can.

The chores can be daunting. It’s harder to keep up. So what will I do when I’m no longer a pup?

Later this month, I’ll turn 57, makin’ me ponder how much longer I can maintain this piece of heaven.

I hate to give up, there’s so much that ain’t done, but I’ll confess right now it hasn’t always been fun.

When I started out here I had the same brains as money, the fact that I had neither made it even less funny.

But we made do and kept at it, one board at a time. No bankers, no mortgage; it was probably a crime.

That’s how we did it, my honey and two boys. Without power or plan we ran amok in the joys

of life in the northwoods where the tough ones get goin’ and it doesn’t really matter if it’s rainin’ or snowing.

If life was like a chalkboard, though, you could erase the stupid things

done along the way you’ve come, causing very lucid dreams.

Like ignoring the snow load on yer roof, busy strainin’ all those rafters

‘til gravity wins and erases yer grins and screws with yer forever-afters.

Life would be groovy if we’d just listen to reason ‘bout pitfalls that arrive from season to season,

but it’s hard to consider the many things we need to, as we lay out our homesteads with just a lean-to.

It’s always drought with the dust and rain with the muds, common sense tells ya not to live where it floods.

High winds and fires, both domestic and wild and mosquitoes intent on gettin’ ya riled.

Not enough parking or way too much snow

no room for expansion or near enough dough.

Solar gains, storm drains, water and fodder

and makin’ solicitors stay away like they oughter.

Not to mention nesting birds, hungry bears and uninvited turds

wet behind the ears derisionaries and travelin’ visionaries

snow banks and gas tanks and hungry deer herds,

wild turkey doodles, losin’ yer noodles and a wide assortment of missionaries.

Knapweed, hawkweed, thistles and more will drive you off to a liquor store,

to seek solace for discoverin’ the stink bugs’re back.

Yer firewood’s infested, the kid’s been arrested.

Yer knees aren’t recoverin’, shoulders ain’t either and you can’t seem to find any slack!

And if for good reason you skip out on a season to clear your head of troubles,

you might just find you didn’t cover yer hind and everything’s been converted to rubbles.

There ain’t much to it, you can’t always say “screw it... no need to sweat the details.”

Lest you hire someone you can trust when you run, that can handle whatever derails.

On January 11 our water went down. Several hundred dollars showed two ‘faults to a ground’

in a trench line circuit, so how we gonna work it? Get a backhoe or dig like a hound?

It’s only 48 deep, and I ain’t gonna weep ‘cause it could’ve been under the road.

There’s TEETH marks around the faults, from an underground waltz by a gopher in search of a load.

And that’s how it goes, we reap what we sows, that line should’ve been laid in conduit.

So now we ponder if it’ll be much longer ‘til we have to completely re-do it!


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Scott Clawson Scott Clawson No, he's not the electrician, he's the OTHER Scott Clawson, who's a quality builder when he's not busy busting a gut while writing his humor column for the first issue of each month, or drawing his Acres n' Pains cartoons.

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