Photo: Two little boys “helping” daddy put together the picnic tables yesterday.


It’s Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts, Dear Reader. In the city, they are running the Marathon, there is a mid-day game at Fenway, and there is a festive energy in the air. Out here in the countryside, the motto is:

If you have a musket, shoot it! If you have a cannon, fire it! If you have a bell, ring it!

Today is about the loud clanging, jubilant celebration of Revolution, hard fought and proudly won.

My history teacher’s mind happily considers our collective luck and good fortune, but I cannot neglect the terror that so many of these small farmers must have felt on those April nights. I’ve had the opportunity to walk some of the lonely wooded Minute Man trails, knowing friend and foe alike marched and lurked along them. Can you imagine the darkness of night? The uncertainty of heart? The worry over the outcome? The potential for doom, not just for the individual, but for the many communities around here? I try not to forget, as I drive these county roads and sigh over these ancient fences and homesteads, that real people lived here and the real Revolution had really severe consequences for all involved.

We make it so romantic now. We’ve turned reality into myth and fantasy with our many costumes, our recreated firearms, our ale and olde taverns… but I’m not quite sure we always understand how lucky we are. Revolution can so easily become calamity. It’s cute for the tourists in the city, for sure, and I enjoy seeing the ladies in the big dresses and the men in their tights and wigs as much as the next person. But out here, I wonder if the ghosts quake a little when the annual musket fire comes rattling through the trees.

Maybe I’m feeling so forlorn because Patriot’s Day is the start of April Vacation Week. It’s me and little boys. All week. No school. No plans. Oh, the humanity! At least the weather is going to be pleasant, unlike that horrible February vacation week where we are trapped inside, hating everything and each other. I spent a good amount of time in the warm sun today, which is always a plus.

As you can see, we purchased two picnic tables. We’ve been desperate for outdoor furniture and, though I would have much preferred a different sort of style, this will do for now. $200 total for two picnic tables, just enough seating for the folk we are having over next weekend for Minor’s big cookout. They will also be enough for the spontaneous playdates and gatherings we have during the summer. Hopefully, my parents and other relatives will come up too, and at least they will have a place to sit now. It ain’t the pergola and outdoor kitchen I dream about, but it’s a start.

Unfortunately, it was an all day project. First, we purchased the tables at a local Lowes and when we opened up the boxes yesterday morning, we found that they were covered in mouse feces. It was, as you can imagine, absolutely disgusting. We called Lowes and they will be here to pick them up (because there was no way in hell they were going into my car!) and give us a refund. We’ll see if it actually happens. Luckily, Home Depot had the same exact tables for the exact same price. Lesson learned. We also found out that the ground on this part of the yard (next to the barn, by the stone fence) is not even. The Husband had to put down some stone pavers to level it out. It’s perfect now, but it took all day. So…. no bunk beds. I know, I know! We hope to get those done Wednesday! The Husband is giving me a “day off” by staying home and keeping the boys. We’ll see if I actually get anything done!


You’ll notice that the tables are, essentially, raw wood. Unstained and unpainted. Well, that’s presenting a fun and unexpected opportunity. What should we paint the tables, Dear Reader? Traditionally, they would be red, right? But they don’t have to be! I don’t want them to be white. I’d prefer to avoid yellow and blue. They can’t be too outrageous, as the yard is a person’s first impression when coming to the house. It’s gotta be interesting, but not outlandishtasteful, but maybe not necessarily conservative. If you have any ideas, let me know!

I cleaned up my grill and we’re just about ready for business. I need my husband to get into that under-cabinet to clean out the spiders and set right the propane tank. Don’t laugh at me. Spiders and snakes are the devil. Nobody disputes that.


Anyway, the boys have taken to the tables already, demanding to have lunch there this afternoon. We may have dinner there, too, if I can get my act together. I must say, I’m excited to enjoy that space in a cool new way this year. Hopefully, it will evolve as we grow and change, resulting in more comfortable seating and even more outdoor cooking equipment for me. I’d love to get a smoker. I’m tempted to buy a rotisserie for the grill this year. Can you even imagine? Not just rotisserie chicken, but real gyros with real gyro meat! You can do fish and ribs that way, too, if you have a basket! And yes, veggies for Meatless Monday… haha. Oh, the possibilities!

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful Monday, Dear Reader. I hope that you have had a taste of sunshine. Send me productive, patient energy this week as I try to keep my children entertained while also maybe doing the things that I’m supposed to be doing. Lordy. It’s going to be a long week.

Until Wednesday, take care.


10 thoughts on “Change of Landscape

  1. I’m a fan of earthy greens, sage greens, a handsome brown, putty grey, etc.
    Things that are close to the natural world enough that it won’t stick out like safety orange, but still be sophisticated & lovely.
    Of course, a contrasting color (contrasting the grass) like a deep wine red/burgundy-ish color might be nice…

    • So we decided to split the difference and go with a stain that has a strong red hue to it. Hopefully, that will contrast well with the grey stone and even the greyish color of the bark while still looking lively against the green grass. I’ll post pictures when we are done! Thank you for the suggestions.

      I am thinking about the virtues of sage green. I really love that color. I’m wondering if that would look nice in our office?

  2. Is it traditional to have red picnic benches? Mostly they’re just wood here, sometimes green but usually just stained. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a red one, except in the company of numerous other colours for whatever reason. 🙂

    (I feel like I haven’t commented here in ages. I’m very, very behind on blog subscriptions — they’ve been building up in my inbox and it’s kind of scary…)

    • While I have certainly missed you and your comments, I cannot complain! I’m notoriously awful at keeping up with other blogs! I admire you for taking the time to read the backlog. You’re amazing!

      Also, I guess we’re going the British way! We decided on a stain instead of a paint! Of course, my husband is a huge Anglophile so I’m wondering if there is a conspiracy afoot!

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