Dad did come over the following Saturday. We worked in the garden, placing poles and spreading fertilizer. “Tomorrow, I’ll bring over the tiller, and we can work this fertilizer into the ground.”
I spent the week preparing for my classes. School would start in a little over a month, and I needed to make a course outline. I did rent a car, they delivered it, but I had to drive the driver back to the agency. While there, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few items. I wanted to get the barn back in shape. My idea was to get four horses to pull the carriage. I would use it in parades. So I placed a note on the store’s bulletin board about hiring someone with barn building knowledge.
Arriving home, I began to work on my course outline, a syllabus. This I would give to each of my students. I would complement this with lectures and reading assignments. While building the outline, I pretty much determined how I would present the lectures. I had four of these to do to cover the four sessions at the University. An academic year was broken into four. Two sessions before summer break and two sessions before the end of the year holiday break.
When I finished that, I had something to eat, then went into the garden. Using a shovel, I started to blend the fertilizer into the soil. I didn’t get too far along when I gave up. The soil was hard from not being tilled for the last three years. I decided to wait for Dad.
I took a walk to the barn. I remembered playing here as a boy. From a cursory look, the roof looked okay until I went inside. You could see holes in the roof with the sun shining through. The inside was a mess and would need some work. I also noted that the hay that was left there was molded and rotting. I wonder if I could use that in the garden, a question for Dad. There were six stalls, which look reasonably large. I didn’t know if that was normal for a horse barn or not.
Walking back to the house, I decided to check out the apartment. Walking into the apartment, you could tell it needed a good airing. I opened the window and started to check out the rooms. The bedroom was relatively large, there was a dresser, with claw feet, which must have been brought from Italy, it was quite large. Three drawers were the length of the dresser and six drawers, three across, two high. On top of the dresser, there was a mirror that needed cleaning. Checking the bed, I knew it would need a new mattress. The mattress on the bed was old and had a smell. Instead of trying to save that one, a new one would be easier. The living room had a sofa covered in horsehair. That was quite the style in the 1800s. There was a wooden rocking chair, I sat in it, and it was comfortable. Beside the sofa, there was a chair and three side tables.
The kitchen needed to be redone. The stove was a wood stove, and the refrigerator was an old fashion icebox. Thinking I can use that icebox in the basement. The stove, I would need to replace it, something to finish for the future.
Dad came over, and Mom came along as well. Dad just smiled, I’m guiding the tiller, and every once in a while, I’d stop and pick a tomato. With the tilling all done, “Tony, you’ll need to go to a garden place this spring to buy some starter plants. You could start from seed, but with plants, you’ll be able to have vegetables sooner.”
“I was thinking of getting the barn repaired and buying horses. I’d like to be able to take the carriage out for the holidays. I think that would be fun. I have a job you can help me with. I want to remove the icebox from the apartment and place it in the basement.”
“Let’s eat first, and then I’ll help you. "
After dinner, dad helped me to bring the ice box to the basement. "What are you going to do with the wine in those barrels?”
“The small end barrel is empty. Uncle Angelo said to fill it with water, allowing the wood to absorb the moisture and prevent any leaks when I add the grape juice. I did that, there was some water dripping, but that has stopped.”
“So you are going to make wine from your grapes?”
“Yes, I’ve been reading, and I need to get a wine testing kit. You can measure the sugar content of the grape juice with this equipment. Then I can add sugar if needed. Pa just added the same amount of sugar, regardless of the sugar content of the grapes.”
“And what about the wine in the other barrels?”
“The wine isn’t that good. I think it has begun to turn to vinegar.”