Fake Teeth and Dirty Hands

On Sunday evening Russ and I headed to Carievale to pick up Jill from a friends’ place, enroute we dealt with a cow/calf issue at a pasture near there and dropped off a dozen buns for the Broken Bread Bakery. In preparation for the drop-off some texts went back and forth, in one of those I said, “Russ and I have been fixing rake teeth since 8am. I look terrible.” An hour later, standing in the doorway with buns in hand I was told that my message first read that we had been fixing fake teeth. For my bun customer this was quite confusing and required some thinking and then a re-read before getting this weird thing figured out. I enjoyed hearing this anecdote and the little part of me that needs comic relief enjoyed briefly letting my mind settle on what that would look like to be hovered over fake teeth all day with Russell, working on a fix, in the middle of haying season. Its absurd and it makes me smile.

The truth is it was a big day. The hydraulic problem we had with our rake earlier on the weekend resulted in a multitude of rake teeth getting broken due to incorrect pressures exerted on them. The normal process is that after Ron has cut the hay with the discbine and that hay is cured the kids pull this rake over the field and gather it into swaths that Russ then picks up with the baler.

Jill raking earlier last week.

On Sunday we replaced just under a hundred rake teeth, one by one, in painsticking picky work that requires two sets of hands. I believe the official tally, although Russ did not keep count on purpose, is that I had three small hissy fits and this included two episodes of being near tears. But….we survived. Once I got the hang of it I really didn’t mind it. The fact that it was not a dangerous job took a big amount of stress out of it. I got to be beside Russell all day and we easily could chit chat our way through the job (once the more hissy fit type moments had passed.)

My thumbs are still stiff from counter pressuring all these bolts as they were loosened and tightened.
Ever the faithful dog, loyal to Russell especially, Bingo hung near all day and got a really good nap in. Her relaxed and trusting position cracks us up.

Russ was able to park the rake mostly in the shade so we were quite well protected from the 34 degree heat. So that is how we passed our Sunday. Fixing fake teeth, er, I mean, rake teeth. Three things about this day……….all kind’ve random.

Gina left for work at the ice cream shop a bit early and then swung back into the yard shortly after. What was up? Well, Jean was home from holidays a little earlier than expected and Gina didn’t have to work. Jean didn’t want to call Gina too early, but what she didn’t know is that Gina is so affected by her mother always being on the verge of being late, that she is always extremely early. Anyways it was fantastic to have Gina back. She put lunch on the smoker and with Morgan tackled part one of the Carievale cow problem. Somehow in the back and forth of lunch prep Coffee dog got out and on the loose and she went for a swim in the dugout. Morgan and I nearly lost our minds. Coffee’s splint was soaked, she would need a repeat visit to the vet. Morgan loves that dog so much his reaction was worry about complications, I was upset about bugging the vets and the cost. I took her in yesterday (Monday) and they got her all dry and treated and resplinted with lots of kindness.

That splint is not bothering Coffee much. If she rested like this a little more I would feel better.

I don’t do alot of manual labor around here and I am never far from warm running water when I do. My day at the rake meant hours to accumulate dirt on my hands and I was a bit obsessed by the sight of it. It was mostly because I found it rather fascinating. My hands were the key tool I had in the job at hand, I was pushing, twisting, and wiggling alot. Russ and I coined a new phrase actually, “less thinking, more wiggling.” It worked in many cases, getting new teeth into tight spaces. Anyways, looking at my hands I marvelled that these are the same hands that have baptized alot of babies and presided over communion and formed alot of buns. How can one person swing from such “holiness” to such dirt and have it all be acceptable? My brain is a bit tired right now, I thought I was ready to probe that, but I am a bit muddled. I can’t help but think that it might make a good sermon though. What makes any of us ready to serve? Do the marks of our living make us better able to serve? Maybe thats enough for now.

Dirty hands at the rake teeth.

One last thing, in the afternoon Gina and Morgan went to Carievale to get that cow penned up, she had been found visiting the neighbors without her calf. (This is the cow Russ and I would pick up later and deliver back to its herd.) After a hot jog to chase it into the neighbors holding pen the kids stopped in Carnduff for snacks and they brought Russ and I each a cold drink. As they stood at the rake visiting with us while we took some sips, Morgan looked at me and he said, “Mom, you have such a diverse skill set, you are really bad-ass.” As a mother I should be outraged by his language but I was tickled pink by his comment. I think partly because it accomplished exactly what my blog web address reflects “I see you.” For me it feels so good to be seen. I also think his word choice represented some story balance for me. You see, I spent my whole childhood as a good kid, what we called in the 70s and 80s a “goody goody.” I didn’t date til I was 19 and I never had a drink until I was in university. I am kind’ve happy at the thought that maybe I am safely turning my middle years into some bad-ass days of living large and my boy sees me.

What bad-ass looks like in 2021.

Its Tuesday morning now and I am happy to report that yesterday I managed to get both my fridges cleaned. I open the doors and just look at how pretty they are. That friends is what you call middle aged, bad-ass living large!

Day 8 – Postcards from the Heart

Dear Mom,

-There are many things I like about this picture, the enjoyment of Russ that I see in my face, the rustic home-y-ness of the cottage, the presence of our favourite wine and food – chips + dip! There is a glowing light in the midst.

-I have enjoyed very much the time that you and I have spent at the table. Our conversations have been both deep and light, our prayers have been important, but I can’t really put more words to that then just those.

-What is the glowing light in our midst that casts such a sense of safety + charm? I believe it is your ever present sense of gratitude + blessedness. It has shed light on the Kyle family table for as long as I can remember. I want to always remember this.

Liz Griffin took this picture on June 20, 2020 at the tail end of a day of working cows, kayaking and wife carrying (as seen in previous postcards).

This postcard is the 8th in a series of 22 blogs called “Postcards from the Heart”, this series arrises from circumstances detailed in the post called “Postcards from the Heart – Day 1”.