Idea Girl and Action Girl

One of the joys of my partnership with Melissa is when we work as a team and make things happen. Building the farm was a series of small moments in which we made things happen.

I love to come up with ideas. I like to sit in the warm house on a comfortable sofa and think. Or I like to walk in the sun and think, or sit in the sun and think. I am Idea Girl.

Melissa likes to build things and fix things and make things. She is Action Girl.

She installed an auger that would bring corn from the grain bin into our feed room. Once in the feed room, the corn could drop from the auger into a pail. But when she finished installing the auger, the end of the tube delivering the corn was five feet off the ground. Corn spitting out from this tube would scatter all over the room instead of down into the bucket.

We stood there contemplating the problem, and I said, “Wouldn’t that be great if we had a pair of old jeans? We could cut the legs off and make a chute.”

The next day she dragged me up to the barn and showed me two jean legs that she had duct-taped together and used to extend the chute straight into the bucket on the floor. Turns out she had kept a pair of my old jeans, which were perfectly fine except that the inside thighs had worn themselves to threads. (I know…how that could happen is a mystery to me as well….)

Here’s our new friend Tanya from Canada filling the bucket with corn. Notice the jeans legs as chute extender!

We have a water hydrant on the east side of the barn, and use it to fill the 50 gallon water trough for the sheep. After a few years we ended up with more pens, and eventually needed another waterer on the west side of the barn. But the only way to get water to that trough was to lug full, heavy buckets of sloshing water, not very much fun in the middle of winter—think cold wind, heavy snow, and slippery ice.

So one fall Melissa and I stood at the orange water hydrant, contemplating the problem. Finally I said, “Wouldn’t that be great if we had a hose that ran from the east hydrant high up into the barn rafters, then came down next to the west water trough? We could hook the hose up to the hydrant, water would run into the west trough, and as long as we let the water completely drain from the hose when we’re done, it won’t freeze up.”

The next day Melissa dragged me up to the barn and showed me she’d done that very thing.

Here’s the orange hydrant, and you can see the hose heading up into the rafters:

Here’s the hose coming down into the west water trough.


Melissa is perfectly capable of coming up with ideas, and I’ve been known to get off my butt and do something physical, so it’s not as if we can’t function without each other. But I, for one, am incredibly grateful that Melissa is willing to listen to and consider my ideas, and I believe she’s grateful when I provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem.

Idea Girl and Action Girl action figures will soon appear on the market. Action Girl will be wiry and full of energy, while Idea Girl will be basking in the sun with a book in her hands, waiting for her next idea.

It’s a difficult job, but someone’s gotta do it.

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