The theme of this week is manpower–as in Matt-power.

Matt is the type of person who when there’s a big job to be done or extreme physical effort required, he will just gut it out. It causes me concern frequently because he pushes himself so hard, but I also have confidence that when it comes to big jobs–such as reshingling the roof–he’ll get it done.

Last week, in preparation for the arrival of the garbage box that we ordered to handle the old roof shingles, Matt cleaned out the basement of the barn. By himself.

The inventory by the time I came home from work on Friday evening included everything and the kitchen sink.

Garbage pile by the barn

Can you spot the sink?

The centrepiece of the garbage pile is a leather couch whose disposal has been very high on my list since the very first time we saw the farm. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize it was a sleeper couch–complete with a very heavy metal frame inside–until Matt began to move it out of the barn. By himself.

Garbage pile by the barn

Can you spot the couch?

Our expectation that it was a popular mouse house was borne out. Who puts a couch in a barn? Fortunately, Matt did not have to handle the task of the extermination by himself. While Easter didn’t know what to do with the one she caught and did end up needing Matt’s help, Ralph dealt with the rest of them in one bite apiece.

Mouse hole in a couch cushion

The front door of casa de mouse

The edible portion of the clean out was limited to cat treats. The rest was sorted into garbage, recycling (including Habitat donations, beer store returns and scrap metal), burn and potentially useable items, which does in fact include the sink. Unfortunately, the useable items pile was by far the smallest.

Chains on the ground

The broom might be useful in the rest of the cleanout if we can find a handle

In the category of unuseable items, here are some of the highlights:

  • Several hundred plastic nursery pots–not even close to an exaggeration
  • Nearly a hundred cardboard egg cartons and vegetable baskets
  • A dozen plastic pails–mostly five gallons
  • A couple hundred feet of garden hoses
  • About ten tarps
  • Filters, hoses, pumps and other miscellaneous equipment for a half a dozen pools or hot tubs–I took apart one pool filter in the hopes of using the tank for a rain barrel, so this may not be completely unuseable

We ordered a 40 yard box–the biggest we could get–and it arrived on Saturday morning.

40 yard garbage bin

Our new lawn ornament–that’s almost as big as the house

Sunday afternoon, we combined Matt’s manpower with my woman power and started loading up the box. In addition to the basement of the barn, we cleaned out the loft in the driveshed, a long row of junk along the tree line in the field behind the driveshed and multiple junk piles we’d set aside in the upper level of the barn.

As happy as I am to finally clean up the property, by the end of the day I was just irritated. I know large properties and outbuildings can entice people to keep things just in case they might need them someday. However, this just seemed like littering.

Matt’s comment at one point summed up our attitudes: “I’m taking apart my jacuzzi, so I’ll just dump the pieces here in this field. No need to actually get rid of them properly.” In case you can’t hear it, the tone was very sarcastic.

So, in addition to strength, endurance and extreme stubbornness, my manpower comes with a biting sense of humour. It makes the tough jobs a little more palatable.

Anyone out there have their own manpower or womanpower partner? What do you do when they push themselves too hard?

11 thoughts on “Manpower

  1. I dread the day we clean out the loft in the driveshed – it contains stuff from two long gone relative’s estates that no one ever bothered to sort out. Yikes. Out of sight, out of mind. Huge job for you – it must feel great to get it done.

  2. I hate other people’s junk. I’m just really not a fan of filth in general but I’m always convinced other people’s filth carries the plague. We’ve dealt with some of this on a smaller scale at our new place. The seller left (with the hub’s permission) a ton of junk, scrap, tools, paint, wood, etc. My husband (who, I’m convinced, is a superhero) has been picking away a little bit at a time. Our scrap metal pile is enormous. And I think we have about a dozen very large burn piles that need to be dealt with this winter. We’re talking bonfire piles. It’s a pyromaniacs fantasy!

  3. Wow, that is a lot of stuff. I have tons of plastic pots in my garage; I wish they would make them all compostable. Also the egg crates and veggie boxes make great fire starters.

    • The egg cartons and baskets went into the burn pile. There’s one nursery near us that has a bin out front for the plastic pots. I don’t know what they do with them when people return them, but it’s a nice service. I don’t understand why the pots are not recyclable in our regular blue bins (or at least they’re not in our area).

  4. Wow, that is a lot of stuff! The egg cartons and plastic pots didn’t surprise me because it is a farm, but the couch?

    My hisband and I spent a good amount of time cleaning out our property when we bought it. We’re still cleaning. People just get lazy and leave a lot of stuff!

  5. Wow, great job! It’s exhausting, isn’t it. But it really is a good feeling when you haul all that stuff away.
    If you ever encounter another stash of egg cartons, you can probably offload them in the free section of the paper. People with chickens seem to always need them!

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