In a Sow’s Ear 3-8-10 |

In a Sow’s Ear 3-8-10

Sunday, as you know, is the day of rest, the day of socializing after church, the day for a tasty brunch at the hotel dining room. Sunday is also the day you feed the horses a bit later than usual. It’s the day you treat yourself to a sleep-in and a homemade Danish (country style – that would be an English muffin, toasted to a pleasant rusty brown and slathered with cream cheese topped with orange marmalade). Some people prefer apricot or strawberry jam. Feel free to make your own combination. For more decadence, drizzle chocolate fudge on top.

Sunday is also the day when you do the odd small chores around the place, such as fixing the gate on the carport entrance. It’s got to be done. The mini horses have taken to slipping in when your back is turned or you’re off the place or it’s the middle of the night. They crowd up to the porch steps, eat the dogs’ leftover kibble, slurp up every drop of water in the canines’ water bowl, tip over any loose buckets and – to show their appreciation – drop piles of horse-dumplings.

The gate needs fixing due to pilot error. That would be yours truly. Due to a condition called wussy old widder woman, I had a friend build a ramp up the three steps to the back door. It’s narrow and constructed at the edge leaving most of the steps available for use by normal folk. However, when installing the ramp, the carport gate, which swings inward, was flat against the inside wall. Nothing wrong with that you’d think. Except that the ramp extended a couple of feet beyond the lowest step. When I tried to pull the gate forward … woops! It did not clear the ramp. I didn’t discover this till after my builder friend had departed – for Arizona.

Not a real problem, I thought. I can just remove screws from hinges and reinstall the gate high enough to clear the ramp.

Problem: I Can’t swing the gate forward enough to allow access to hinge the screws because a four-wheeler is housed in the carport and is blocking the gate. Wheeler has lingered there all winter because the shifter is stuck. Which means the wheeler needs to be hauled to town to the fix-it man.

Problem: Wheeler must be loaded onto trailer.

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Problem: Can’t load as I can’t get wheeler started and am incapable of pushing it onto the trailer because of upper-body muscle deficiency.

I determined not to be deterred. I backed my pickup to line up with the rear end of the four-wheeler, attached one end of a strap to the pickup’s ball joint and the other end to the four-wheeler. Remarkably, this worked. Like a good rope horse, the pickup tightened the pull-strap and eased the wheeler backwards a foot. I could now swing the gate forward until it caught on the ramp, but the added gap allowed me a smidge more working space.

I attacked the hinge screws by pretzeling my arm around the gate frame and using a weensy wrench, managed to unscrew the screws.

All during this operation, I had help from my canine consultants, Mollie and Bailout. To get at the lower hinge, I upended a bucket to allow me to sit while wrenching. This position was taken as an invitation by the dogs to a) lick my face, b) steal my gloves from my pocket and c) invent new methods of getting in the way.

At long last, the hinges came loose.

I could now figure out the proper height for


Problem: How do you hold up a large wooden frame with one hand and mark the location spot with the other? With the dogs’ help, I rounded up three bricks and a flat rock, positioned the gate and made holes with a nail to start the screws.

This pitiful story goes on and on. Suffice to say, the gate is in place, held there by half driven-in screws – half-driven due to widder woman muscle-deficiency condition and a dying battery on the electric screwdriver.

Wanted: Handy man, handy woman, handy child or handy chimpanzee. Know anybody?