I’ve had difficulty keeping up the blog the past two weeks. Since I write about what’s on my mind, if I’m thinking about things that must be kept secret, I have to come up with something less pressing to write about for the blog.

But, now the secret’s out, and the story can be told.

Some years ago, I “gave” Michelle a birthday gift she requested: a garden swing. I committed to make it, but never actually built it, until now.

Rainpants and paper required, for the moment. Michelle tries out her brand new garden swing (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

Rainpants and paper required, for the moment. Michelle tries out her brand new garden swing (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

When Michelle went south to help with family issues, I knew I’d have an opportunity for a gift project. I cast about for a Christmas gift to make her, at first. Then I realized that this would be the perfect time to finally build that garden swing.

Any other late April/early May would have been an ideal time for this project. Usually, we have warm, sunny days, often calm. I could have built it outside over several days, leaving my work in the yard each evening.

This year, however, our spring has been severe, making the construction far more challenging.

Early in the project, I had a dry day to set up the table saw outside, fire up the gas generator, and cut some lathes for the seat. Soon after, rain and snow returned, so I moved the job inside. I built it in time to hang it between two trees at the edge of the garden on the next sunny day.

Unfortunately, the weather turned very sour after that. I had to leave the project alone so long, I decided that I’d just have to leave it as it was, and finish it when (if?) the weather improved, after Michelle got home.

The next day almost no rain fell. I rounded the swing’s edges and sanded it. I finished it with linseed oil, which soaked in pretty well before the rain increased.

Hiking home with Michelle the day she returned, I hoped she wouldn’t see the swing from the trail above the cabin. She missed it, focusing more on her footing than the view. When we got to the cabin and dropped our packs, I asked her to put on a pair of rain pants, and grabbed some sheets of newsprint. I took her by the hand and led her out to where the swing waited.

She was surprised! And very pleased. She didn’t care that before she sat down, I had to wipe it all down with a rag, then lay out the newsprint to keep the not-quite-dry linseed oil off her clothes.

The weather has not moderated yet. It may be days or weeks before we can sit together in comfort, but she’s waited this long for her garden swing, she’s willing to wait a bit longer.

The view from the swing. It'll improve as the garden grows (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

The view from the swing. It’ll improve as the garden grows (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

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2 Responses to Swingin’!

  1. Judy says:

    Oh my goodness! Such a wonderful surprise for your wife and such a wonderful view from the swing. Just wondering how you got those long rope pulleys up to the high support beam all by yourself? Maybe… a very tall ladder and/or just your Mr. Atlas skills at throwing and looping the rope up and over? Maybe you should submit your DIY project to some garden magazine contest! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Judy, I used an extension ladder, and lugged the 2X4 cross beam up by one end at a time, balancing each on a nearby branch until I could secure it with line. It turned out to be surprisingly easy, luckily for me. I’d been prepared to ask a friend to come out and help, but it all came together as a solo act. Then I tied one of the eyebolts to the end of each line and flung it over the bar. I had to use the ladder to position the hose chafing gear, though, that was hard to keep in place.

    I’ve gotten some good responses to the swing, and have considered making up a set of plans, like I did for the garden soil sifter. Maybe after I clear some other projects off my plate?

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