Welcome to a little series on things that make me happy. While not traditionally beautiful, their necessity makes them quite beautiful to me. On Monday’s in November, you can read about the things that are instrumental in living my life.
It was the fall of 2010. Out of work for most of the year, Michael just started with a great company and was working from home. We were struggling to recover emotionally and financially. The last thing on my mind was decorating our very small home. Well. Almost the last thing on my mind.
Feathering our nest always was done on a shoestring budget or no budget at all. Free is always better than cheap; recycled or re-purposed better than new. So when the neighbor decided to remove a large tree from her yard, I was quite excited!
Our home was so small that there just wasn’t room for superfluous pieces of furniture. Coffee table? I don’t think so! The living room had to work overtime as a space for adults and children. Wild rumpus and quiet(ish) solitude. But there was never space for my darn coffee!
Then, this particular chilly and wet November day, I heard the distinct sound of a chainsaw in the direction of the neighbor’s backyard. And there they were: piles and piles of sections from the tree that were going to be given as firewood to the first person who wanted them. I raced over to rescue two of the most level ones I could find– there weren’t many of them.
Once they were rolled over to our garage, they had to sit, slightly propped up on some 2×4’s for the winter and through the spring to dry out. I didn’t want sticky sap to get all over the floors! Finally, in the early summer, I rolled the pair out to the driveway to begin to remove the bark. Now, having never done this before, I suppose I should have removed the bark first? The dark discoloration on the stump was left behind by bark that hadn’t quite dried out. Chiseling off the bark was a fairly easy task. Then I sanded and sanded some more. Finally, I wiped off the sanding dust, and covered it in a coat of polyurethane.
Our tree stumps have become such a huge part of our day-to-day. They are utilized as a spot for my coffee (a mug is resting on one while I type), they are pillars for blanket forts, they get a pillow tossed upon them and are an extra resting spot for a derriere in need of a chair– in our living room or pulled up to the dining room table. They protect our children from the hot lava that frequently overtakes the living room, act as a prop or backdrop in photos I take, prop up ramps built for Matchbox cars, act as a handy and very sturdy step-stool, and are (currently) the perfect height for our Ballplayer to sit on while practicing his drums.
The best things in life may not be things, but this thing is certainly one of the best things that we didn’t buy.