Most grandparents know it's a fact of life that once grandchildren get a driver's license, you don't see them often. It's rather boring hanging around old folks who are always offering free (unwanted) advice, and let's face it... there are young folks of the opposite sex out there that one needs to be chasing after. So Cliff and I aren't surprised that our oldest grandson, Arick, doesn't come around much... and we're really not offended that, when he does show up, he wants something: usually the use of Cliff's shop and tools.
Now, you must realize that Cliff's shop is a dream come true for him. He and I are both from poor families, and the first few years of our marriage, we barely scraped by. Buying the simplest tool for his collection was a huge accomplishment, back then. We still talk about the time we needed an extension cord, and it took every penny we had to buy it at "Wild Woody's". Another thing you need to know is that Cliff, unlike me, likes things neat: each tool has its place, and the floor of his shop is always swept. It's his haven. He spends most of his waking hours there, when he isn't at work or outside. He has a heater that he uses in the coldest times, and there's always a project under way.
This week, Arick has been coming out each evening, doing body work on his girl friend's car. Today, Cliff left me a message on the answering machine: I was to tell Arick not to do any more work until Cliff is here to supervise. Why? "He left me a mess out there it took half a day to clean up," Cliff said.
Gee, I hate to be the one to lay down the law. So I did what any self-respecting grandmother would do: I e-mailed Arick's mom and told her to relay the message to him. Now, on to the animals:
In winter, it's difficult to keep water to all the animals. We have a tank heater for the horse, and also for the cows. But any time we've had chickens or hogs through the years, we've watered them well, twice a day, and that seems to suffice. If their water is frozen, we take buckets of hot water from the house and pour it in until they have all they can drink.
I'm the person who gives the pigs their evening drink. We had a handy concrete waterer, very heavy, that they couldn't tip over... but the recent bitter cold weather caused it to freeze and crack. So we're reduced to giving them their water in a round, flat rubber pan about two feet across. So what's the problem with that? Well, when they've had all they want to drink, one or the other will tip it over, dumping out any excess water. So there's a big mud-hole in the spot where I climb into their pen; yuck. That's not the only problem, though. After I'm gone, they pick up the empty water pan and take it inside their house. This means I have to crouch down, crawl in a pig-house, and retrieve the container, next time I'm out there. At age sixty, I do not "crouch" gracefully. And as I exit their house all bent over, they're both waiting with snoots in my face, grunting and acting like I'm nuts, and refusing to get out of the way. There's never a dull minute with hogs around!