Archive of Past News of the Farm:
Of Window Fingers and Candy Toes October 19, 2010
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Of Window Fingers and Candy Toes
October 19, 2010
Greetings Friends of the Farm,
A long time ago, when I was a painter, I spent my days either sitting in front of an easel or standing in front of it. My style of painting focused on detail. The oil pigments were laid upon the canvas with tiny brushes gripped securely in my fingers. It was a focused inactivity which required the correction of maniacally active weekends in the garden --digging holes usually -- or working on our 1920’s house.....Following such physical exertion, my back was often in torment. This was a sporadic condition that earned a simple name: “The Back.”
(Above: "The Powder Puff Lady")
Larry would tell the kids, your mom can’t do such and such because “she’s got The Back.” This didn’t mean that I was protecting everyone, as in “she’s got your back,” but it did mean that I was protecting me, so they shouldn’t expect much in maternal services. (He would have to pitch in.) I was a responsible sufferer, however, and I continued to run the house and to paint, even while tolerating The Back, as those were My Jobs.
(Above: "Autumn Grays")
(Above, while hoeing, you can save your back if you keep the upper hand thumbs-up!)
At the time I thought that she meant that they would not be “pretty” anymore, that maybe I’d have to wear white gloves in polite society or at least keep the gnarliness out of sight, in my pockets.
I didn’t realize she was predicting the day the heavy upper sash of our bedroom window slid down like a freight train (broken counterweights) and pinned my right hand fingers between the two sashes. Larry saved me from losing my fingers which were trapped in a tiny space not suited for bones and flesh.
(Above: I charitably warn future generations not to open this lock.
The silverfish apparently find fault with the message....)
I also didn’t know Little Dove meant that my hands would grow weak from the constant pulling of weeds or the gripping of 50 lb bags of chicken feed. I didn’t realize my hands and fingers would be constantly poked by wires, bitten by fire ants, pecked by roosters, or one day be trapped in a tightly rolled up tomato trellis. I didn’t think a farmer’s wrist could be affected by too much hoeing, causing an affliction much like the office plague, carpal tunnel syndrome....
(Hint: Don't haul tightly wound trellis wire at home.)
But, since I have a tiny bit of common sense, I’ve long refused to participate in changing implements on the tractors, as even I am convinced that changing out tillers and hillers is “manly work,” and there are already enough manly farmers in the world with nubs for fingers. (And our favorite little hen, Toesy, who loves working the compost with Lillian T. Tractor, stays out of her huge way, as Toesy, in her chick youth, gained a nub from her toe being caught between two wires.)
(Do you want your fingers in all of this?)
I didn’t know what had hit me, but it doubled me over in pain. Larry and Claire, having reached the curb, turned around, thinking I’d been run over. Gasping, I said that something had hit me square on the toenail and it hurt like I’d been shot. They laughed, partly in relief, partly in rebuke.
And they laugh over that still, their mirth accompanied by implied accusations of my faked pain. Recently, however, Larry read (on the internet of course) that the toenail is an extremely sensitive spot, for many people. That he now has this knowledge helps, but after twenty years, he and Claire still chuckle, as they say, “Remember the Candy Toe? Ha ha ha.”
Yeah, I do.
So I reckon my weak spots now are my digits. Strange. Everything between those extremities seems healthy, so if some pings and pains hit now and then, it’s alright. A lot of folks are worse off. I’ll just keep my gloves and boots on, and farm.