I can do a lot of stuff on my own. A lot. I didn’t get to where I am today by depending upon others for help. All through school, I would beg and cajole my teachers until they would let me work alone and skip all those “group projects” where I would end up doing all the work anyway while everybody else goofed off and then would be happy to share my A grade at the end. I know independence can be considered an admirable quality, but it becomes a detriment when you genuinely need help to complete a project.
I’m learning, and Silver Spring Farm is my teacher. The first time I had friends help me with work was the construction of the bee yard last year and it turned out great. This year I have tried more collaboration and it is starting to grow on me — I no longer feel like an annoying imposition on other people’s lives. My cousin, Maureen, helped me clean the house attic with such gusto that I looked forward to her company on projects! It doesn’t help that she is a totally awesome, also independent, woman. (This is a trait that runs in the family for good or bad.)
She really likes digging through garbage for treasures. So much so, that she begged to be included when it came time to clean the various haylofts in the barns. As did my friends, Lisa and Harry, who look for any excuse possible to hang out with us at the farm. Lisa is a great pitcher-inner, a Girl Scout leader class-mom-type and probably the tidiest person I have ever met. Something I’m surely not.
We cleaned out the main hayloft of the old, post-and-beam barn. Best guess puts its construction at the same time as the big house next door: 1795-1805. I regard the barn as being much “newer” than the house (1730), but to put this into perspective, 1805 would be 8 years before Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice. 1805 is 7 years before the War of 1812. In 1805, Thomas Jefferson was sworn in to his second term as President, Lewis and Clark began their expedition to discover the wilds of the American mid-west, while Napoleon Bonaparte was tearing up Europe. And the Congletons had built themselves a barn.<