the way out here

The certainty of sweat

By HUNTER HILL
Posted 4/28/20

Something you’ve likely heard a few hundred times in the past few weeks is the phrase “in these uncertain times.” If you’re like me, you are “certain” that you are …

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the way out here

The certainty of sweat

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Something you’ve likely heard a few hundred times in the past few weeks is the phrase “in these uncertain times.” If you’re like me, you are “certain” that you are sick of hearing it. Sure, most public places are closed. Many businesses are closed. And much to the detriment of those of us with healthy hair growth, barbershops and salons are closed as well. As the days tick by, more of us are reconsidering that particular trade an essential business, for sure. In my household, it’s gotten to the where I’ve hidden the trimming shears from my wife who seems spontaneously convinced that this is the perfect time for her to attempt to cut my hair.

Pray for me in these threatening times, my friends.

I jest, but in all reality, there is so much more that is certain than is uncertain these days. Out here in the countryside, we are blessed with limited exposure to the ways this situation has affected urban areas. We have a greater ability to go outside, tend to our animals if we have them and go on enjoying the clean air and open spaces. Many, like myself, are taking this time to build onto our homesteads and take on or complete projects that have been on our minds.

I spoke of things to be certain of. One thing is for certain, the way out here means there is always a bounty of work to be done. Whether we are able to work at our jobs as many would like, or simply use the time afforded to pick up work at home, work is always available for those who look hard enough.

Being a passionate steward of the land and having a bit more time on my hands these days, I’ve begun to take a good look at the homestead. My wife, of course, is quick to come up with projects for me as well, like finishing off the garden boxes and fencing in the garden. Being a typical male, though, more complicated endeavors must be sought. For those of you worried about my safety, yes, I am currently invested in completing those items for her. But as I shovel freshly turned compost, my mind is stuck on the 25 new pets my in-laws just dropped off for my son for his birthday. Yes, that’s right: 25 peeping chicks. We have had a chicken hut for a few years now that I constructed back when we wanted to have a consistent supply of eggs. At only eight-by-eight feet and shared by some rather persnickety old hens, the current living quarters for these new arrivals are not going to last.

If you recall, I mentioned work is always available if you look hard enough. Well, to be honest, I could just partition off the current chicken hut to separate the different groups of chickens. But the overzealous amateur craftsman in me is much better at finding that work I mentioned. That is why in the coming weeks and months, I will be building three new chicken huts. What can I say, I like chickens too, and if I’m going to build one new hut, why not three?

The way out here is certain: It is full of work. Sometimes, it’s just a little unnecessarily ambitious. For all my fellow homesteaders, neighbors and friends, I challenge you to focus on the certainties and, just maybe, find a little work to keep you busy.

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