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By Staff | Oct 30, 2015

There has probably been no greater “No Man’s Land” than a farm wife walking into her husband’s machine shed or shop-especially if he’s been working on a big project.

Now and then I’ll find my husband out in the shop working on the next big project of the week.

I know he’s out there from the pounding of metal against iron that goes on and the language I hear muttered following something that did not go well.

Luckily, sometimes that language is overruled by the starting of the air compressor that kicks on. That air compressor could rescue him from embarrassment if our local pastor were to drop in unexpectedly someday while he’s working on our International1086.

Impatiently, my husband might ask me to get him the 7/16 end wrench.

“Where is it?” I ask, looking around, wondering how he ever finds anything out there.

“It should be hanging on the wall,” he answers.

When it isn’t there (of course) I may ask again where it could be.

“It’s probably somewhere on the bench then, I hope,” he says, along with some words that will give him reason to go to confession on Sunday.

The bench is often knee-deep in the previous project the guys worked on, and in the rush of the season, things may or may not have been returned to their proper place.

We may need to look on the floor or out in the yard where the dog may have dragged something that was recently used, holding it ransom in exchange for a little attention and affection.

The female of the human species should take note of that ingenious thought process.

But it’s no different for a guy walking into a woman’s kitchen, too.

A couple of summers ago as we were freezing sweet corn, I was cooking some on the stove and baking some of it in the oven, and had two different timers going to keep me on schedule for which corn was ready to come out of the boiling water and which was ready to be stirred or come out of the oven.

My husband was in the house once as the timers were going off when it came time to stir the oven corn and rotate the blanched corn.

One timer went off, and then another, and he began to wonder if there was some kind of psychological government testing going on under the disguise of cooking sweet corn.

“It sounds like Mission Control in here,” he said, sounding a little concerned.

Luckily, I knew exactly what was going on, and carried on.

The machine shed and the farm kitchen have much in common.

Both places can get pretty greasy sometimes, amazing ceations are made, large tasks are undertaken, appetites are fed, serious decision-making conversations happen, and both are places where people meet to catch up, have a beverage and compare notes on all kinds of things from child rearing to calf scours to cornering and capturing the wild beast – be it animal or human.

Pickup trucks are often seen gathered around the machine shed as family members come together to work and neighbors come over to borrow things or ask opinions about crops or livestock, and share what’s happening with their families.

Those same friends and neighbors can be found sitting at the kitchen table, catching up on life or stopping by around the holidays or following a family crisis or hardship.

Some of the most meaningful times on the farm are shared in the machine shed and in the kitchen.

And it doesn’t even matter whose domain it is.

Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at kschwaller@evertek.net and at www.karenschwaller.com.

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