Of all the seasons, spring was once my least favorite of all. Growing up on the farm, the season after the winter snow melt brought muddy yards, mud-caked boots, and hours upon hours of spring cleaning.
Only the spring cleaning I refer to was done with a pitchfork in hand and a manure wagon parked along the side of the barn. A long winter of adding fresh bedding in the goat pens created a mound of work, literally — hard labor that caused my arms and back to ache, the callouses to form, my patience to wear thin.
I can still picture myself as a teen, leaning on the pitchfork as I surveyed the work ahead of me, dreaming I could be anywhere but there — standing there in the dung-laden straw and saturated grass hay.
I would have been happy to be just outside the barn door, sitting on a log in the goat yard and watching the kids get their first taste of freedom. I could spend a good hour giggling as I watched them prance around, stand on their hind legs and test out their place in the world.
They had all of the fun and I had a job to do — a job Dad said I had to do until it was done. The more I dawdled, the longer it would take, he warned.
He was right, of course, but what teen would ever admit that?
There was a life lesson in that farm work, probably a few of them.
Finish what you start — and sooner or later you have to start … and finish.
Do it right the first time — if a project is worth doing, give it your best effort.
There’s time for fun, when the work is done.
I haven’t lived on that farm for 25 years, but those lessons are ingrained in me. It’s a good thing, I suppose, considering my line of work. No one wants to read half a story or one littered with errors and typos.
Those goat chores were replaced with free time for needlework, a hobby bound by farm life lessons as well. I learned early on that it was better to rip out a mistake and start again, rather than try to hide it in my work. Perhaps no one else would notice, but I would. Do it right the first time.
Now, I just need to apply that “finish what you start” concept to the UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects) hidden away in my stitching stash. I’ll get to them … some day.