Most of the time I’m not a procrastinator and abide by the old saying “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” But there are exceptions to my self-made rules and one of mine is that it is OK to delay painting projects.
Painting vies with cleaning gutters as one of my least-liked farm chores. The job doesn’t intimidate me because it’s physical labor. Actually, the opposite is true. When I’m doing projects, I want to be moving more than my right arm and wrist. While painting might involve climbing up and down a ladder, it doesn’t require as much physical effort as other projects, like, say, cleaning the barn.
Yes, it’s true, I would rather clean the horse barn than paint.
But like it or not this is one of the years painting needed to be done. Fortunately, it was the horse’s fence, not the farm buildings, that needed some work.
I intentionally use the word “fortunately” for a few reasons, the most important one being that I don’t have to worry about detail. I can just slap the paint on the boards and posts and if a few -- or a lot of -- spatters hit the grass it’s OK. The grass will grow, and my mistakes will be mowed into mulch.
After putting off painting all spring and summer, I decided on a recent Sunday, it was time to get the job done so I could quit thinking about how it needed to be done. Keeping the boards and posts painted not only makes the fence more aesthetically pleasing, it helps preserve the wood. With winter’s winds and snow a reality in the not-to-distant future, I figured I should do whatever I could to protect the fence from the elements.
Painting in September usually guarantees, that, at least, the weather will be cool. But last month was anything but typical, and the morning I painted was pushing the temperature maximum advised for painting.
Drips of water mingled with drops of paint as I swished my brush back and forth on the fence. Knowing that I am not a neat painter, I wore old clothes for the job. I am used to getting paint on my clothes, but not having riviulets of water run down my forehead into my eyes. I didn’t have a cloth to wipe off my sweaty eyes and brow, so I had to try and find a clean spot on my shirt. My success rate with that was about 50 percent. By the time I had finished giving the fence the first coat of white, my face was splotched with white. My hair also had white highlights from pushing it back from my face with my white-splotched hands.
At the end of the project, though, I was glad to see that the majority of the paint had ended up where it was supposed to be -- on the fence -- and it looked much better than it did when I started.
The next day, which, thankfully, was much cooler, I gave the fence a second coat. That took about half the time as the first one because coat two didn’t soak into the wood as much as the first coat, requiring fewer brush strokes.
Despite my painting ineptitude, I feel a sense of accomplishment when I finished the job. The fence looks good, and visitors to the farm won’t know what I looked like when I was painting.
Some good scrubbing with soap and water removed all of the evidence from my hands, and within a couple of shampooings there were no white streaks in my hair except for the ones that come with age. The only other evidence of my painting project were the spatters on the grass beneath the fence, and the rain washed those away. Thank goodness for latex paint.