This fall I did something I haven’t done in at least five years, and I was quickly reminded of the reason why.

I painted a large corn crib on one of my grandparent’s farms. The building is pictured above.

Five or six years ago, I painted a fair number of buildings each year. It was my primary income when I was in high school and college.

I painted farm buildings like corn cribs, sheds and a few bank barns. I also painted a couple houses, finished a few decks, patios and did some interiors.

Each year, I got a little better and a little more efficient, but one thing that never went away were the variables. Things like rain and wind, how much paint it would take and how long it would take.

Planning and replanning

I always tried to make a plan, and I made a plan about how I would paint the corn crib this fall, but realizing full-well that plan B and plan C would likely be needed.

And were they ever! I power washed the building at least three weeks before I was ever able to apply the first coat. The rain and overcast skies kept me from getting anything done, and I refuse to apply paint during questionable weather.

Then, there was the challenge of finding time. I write for Farm and Dairy during the week, so I needed a good-weather weekend. And then there was the challenge of shorter days. Since the sun rises so much later and sets so much sooner, I had to start later and finish sooner, to avoid nighttime moisture issues.

Probably the biggest challenge was the fact that I’m not as physically conditioned to paint as I once was. I go for a walk most evenings here in town, but that’s no comparison to five years ago, when I scaled up and down a ladder day after day. And when I was used to lugging around those five-gallon buckets and holding onto a pressure washer gun all day at 2300 PSI.

Warming up

Before I even pulled the trigger on my paint sprayer, I did a few dry passes over a board, just to remind my arm and my brain of the mind-body coordination it takes to paint. I felt a little silly, but I needed to do it.

After a few boards, it started coming back to me. I even kind of enjoyed it, at least until the fatigue started to set in. A corn crib is kind of difficult to paint, because each of the narrow boards has at least a one inch gap between, and you have to constantly spray at just the right angle to get everything coated.

I then used a long, 16-foot roller poll to roll everything into the wood. It’s a lot of strain on the arms and back, but it helps spread the paint more evenly.

I was sure I had enough primer to get the job done, but as it turned out, those old, dry boards soaked up everything I had. So, I had to leave the jobsite midday to go get more. That’s never a good thing, especially when you end up driving to three different towns to find what you need.

I still got the job done, but it took every bit of daylight I had. And I still need another sunny day to apply the final coat, but that usually goes better than the first coat. Usually!

Painters?

What have your painting experiences been like? Do you enjoy it or is it a dreaded chore?

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties.
Chris Kick
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