Burning The Candle


Ahh, tilling…

Call me crazy, but I love the deep, steady rumble of a rototiller. I love the smell of freshly-turned soil. I love the constant jarring battle of man vs. machine. It’s a workout. It’s a challenge. And when you’re done, what have you got to show for it?

Peace and quiet and good, tilled earth.

There’s just nothing else quite like it!

But I have to admit, I really wasn’t enjoying myself this last go-around. I was huffing and puffing and fighting my way through our heavy clay soil for the second evening in a row, with a rickety old rototiller trying its darnedest to yank my arms out of their sockets. And as I watched the sun sink below the western horizon (with 3/4 of our garden still in need of some serious tilling), I sighed — knowing that I was in for a late night.

For reasons that I won’t go into, I just HAD to finish getting the garden tilled.

Like, tonight.

And so, with a disgusted scowl, I shut off the motor, wiped some of the grime and sweat off my face, and then tramped my way into the house to take a quick 10 minute break before starting into the night shift (mostly to help Lindsey with our teeth-brushing/scripture-reading/prayer-saying/tucking-in/goodnight routine for the little monkey).

Fortunately, when we were finished with the routine, I stepped outside again feeling quite a bit more hopeful and refreshed than I had before (because, well, spending time with my girls just tends to do that to me). And then I turned on my secret weapon:

The Floodlights.


It ended up being a very dark night, with absolutely no moon to speak of — and although the stars were shimmering and shining all across the sky, they really didn’t shed much light on the task at hand.

But, thanks to the floodlights, I was able to keep plugging along, hour after hour in the cool nighttime air.

It was actually kinda hypnotic, trudging along in the artificial twilight, watching the tines of the tiller casting all sorts of weird shadows across the broken surface of our garden.

As the night slowly wore on, that little tiller kept a-rumbling, and my mind just kinda slipped into “stand by” mode. The next thing I knew, the job was finished (more or less) and I found myself stumbling into bed — just a little before 2 o’clock in the morning…

I tell ya, those floodlights were a real lifesaver!

Although, when I woke up just a few hours later (to milk Vin and get ready for work), I’ll admit I wasn’t exactly singing their praises…

In fact, deep down, there was a tiny part of me that wished I would never have to use those cotton-pickin’ floodlights ever again.

Fast forward a few days, however, and once more I was burning the midnight oil — but this time, I was butchering a half dozen “hand-me-down” chickens (given to me by my generous uncle).


As I sat there all by my lonesome, scalding carcasses and plucking feathers (so many stinkin’ feathers!) in the stark, washed-out glow of our floodlights, I couldn’t help but wonder:

How the heck do I get myself into these situations?!

Butchering chickens is no surprise. Y’all already know about my status as “The Chicken Guy.” But why does this sort of project always seem to take place at NIGHT?!

I mean, the hatchet didn’t even start swinging until nearly 10 o’clock.


But, when the killing, scalding, plucking, gutting, scorching, cleaning, and packing was all done… and the birds were in the freezer… and the kitchen counters were scrubbed off and sterilized… and my bloodstained clothes were wadded up in the hamper… I honestly didn’t CARE how I got into that situation.

As the glowing red numbers on my alarm clock changed from 3:59 AM to 4:00 AM, all I cared about was rolling into that delicious bed of mine — and for a couple brief, dreamless hours, I was completely dead to the world.

Those two hours were among the most relaxing of my entire life!

I did end up being a little late for my morning milking (about 45 minutes or so). And I wasn’t quite as alert as I should’ve been at work… (My computer monitor kept shifting in and out of focus). But hopefully Vin and my co-workers will forgive me.

I mean, what else can you do when there just aren’t enough hours in the day?

Sometimes, you just gotta burn the candle at both ends!


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