Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Bucket Brigade

Sometimes being Dad is tough. It wouldn't have been such a big deal if it weren't late and if it weren't raining like a Cambodian monsoon. When I announced that the water tubs were going to have to be filled by bucket tonight, those crocodile tears and agonizing sobs nearly melted my heart. I SO wanted to rescue my girls and do it myself--I LOVE the way rain-soaked creosote smells against the background of wet corrals. Filling your lungs with it will add years to your life; and doing chores in a downpour is one of life's simpler pleasures. But my progeny has yet to see the light.

A while back, I spent $350 on a fire hose for fast, easy filling of the 75 gallon water tubs that sit in each of the corrals. The garden hose thing always took forever, so I replaced the garden hose hookup in the irrigation system with two inches of "hold-on-Nellie!" The girls loved it, and it made their chores take less than one third of the time. Problem was, they got careless with the hose and I would often find it inside the corrals where the mules were using it for a stomp n'chew toy. At first, the warnings to the girls were gentle, then more forceful--I will not replace that expensive hose. Remember what it was like without it? Put it somewhere safe when you are done with it so the mules don't ruin it!

Nothing seemed to persuade them--sheer juvenile lack of concern and forgetfulness on full display. Time to lay down the law, (pause here for effect...) pater familia's law. So here's the deal, I say a couple of weeks ago. Next time I find the hose inside the corrals, we'll put it away for a week and remember how nice it is to have it. I PROMISE that I'll do it! I add for emphasis. Well I'll be hanged...tonight I go out to do my chores in the pouring rain, and see the mules playing games with my swank hose again!

Bracing myself against their wails with a smile, I started working on a batch of hot chocolate for them for afterward. Then I grabbed the camera for a couple of shots and went out to carry a couple of buckets myself. We don't have a garden hose that will reach across our acre, so it has to be hand carried for the coming week, starting tonight. Bucket by bucket, one step at a time--a real piece of work. If you must know, I'm not feeling the love. They never met a worse Dad, they ASSure me. Whatever life I added by breathing that sweet, rain-scrubbed desert air tonight was certainly cancelled out by the daggers I caught for dishing out this little lesson.


Amanda said...

I bet you never find the hose left out again. Being a parent can be a tough job but somebody has to do it and sometimes you have to make believers out of the little munchkins. I like the fact that they had a nice cup of hot chocolate afterward. Good job Dad!


Paul, you have my vote for "The BEST Dad of The Century!" What a great lesson for them to learn and to learn it with love! I so enjoy reading your posts and I can't tell you how jealous I am of the farm life. I've always wanted to live on a farm. These experiences they are having are priceless and "your" added touches make them a real treasure. Keep up the good work! You are amazing!

Cowboy mom said...

So many similar experiences!!!!I LOVE the lessons that can be learned(taught) through agriculture. My Husband commented one time, when I asked what in the heck was wrong with the world lately. He said "They're to far removed from agriculture." Think about that!! You know, I think he's right! I'm sooo glad I get to be a part of it! So will your girls be.......someday.(I'm sure you know that)

Splendor said...

I love it! I am bringing my kids to your house the next time they need a lesson. By the way, my mom said that she spent many nights with buckets and water in hand. She said it is NOT cool!