Urban Farming

Tikkun chair

The Urban Farmer does chair repair.

The Urban Farmer does chair repair.

Many problems can’t be solved, but busted chair? The Urban Farmer can repair.  Chair is part of an outdoor furniture set bought new a few summers ago at the Big K on Aurora Avenue. The Urban Farmer and Co-habitator considered resin chairs and all metal chairs, but ultimately they went with the sturdy, yet light-weight, aluminum framed, canvas-covered set in handsome beige.  The six piece ensemble—four chairs, plus glass-topped table and umbrella—landed them in the exclusive club of “lawn furniture owner.”  Add a George Forman and several tiki torches, cue up a string quartet or babbling brook soundtrack, and they are ready for the photo shoot with Sunset Magazine of Western Living or Martha S.

It was a champagne moment when they brought the lawn furniture set home.  Happy couples and families adorned the oblong box’s sides.  The Urban Farmer couldn’t help but notice the couples’ and families’ chicken-pineapple-mushroom skewers grilling to golden succulency and the kids frolicking happily with spirited Jarts games.  The Urban Farmer looked forward to many such iced-tea sipping moments.

Lawn furniture contentment lasted for a season or two.  Then the stitches began to falter and pop; the fabric sagged from the aluminum frame.  The chairs became booby traps.  Co-hab’s daughter was the first victim.  Eventually Co-hab, the Urban Farmer, and the Urban Farmer’s sister P experienced the rip and tear, followed by the ignominious plunk.  Fortunately all the falls were short: just to the soft grass.  Minus the embarrassment factor, they were pain-free.

Was it wishful to think a responsible homeowner should be rewarded with lawn furniture that held up for more than two seasons? Had Co-hab and the Urban Farmer been duped? What if word got out amongst the neighbors that they were harboring broken down lawn furniture? What if they became the neighborhood’s laughingstocks? What if the neighbors simply began looking the other way or detouring around the Urban Farmer and Co-hab’s place?

It might get so bad that the Urban Farmer would cease setting foot in the yard altogether.  Then who would pick the strawberries and pluck the peas? Who would hallo the flickers and birds that hum, the squirrels and raccoons and the next door neighbors’ cat?

Lawn furniture fabric was procured.  The Urban Farmer cut pieces for seat and back.  She hemmed edges.  But sewing seat and back to aluminum frame proved too much for the Urban Farmer’s Kenmore.  In the end, she went old world.  She stitched seat and back to frame by hand, cross-legged on the floor.

Assorted bugs paraded the weathered chair.  A white spider ran a line down to the floor.  A potato bug rolled along the weather-worn canvas.  She quashed a cockroach-like bug, but let the others be.

Tikkuning the chair—making it whole again, making it useful—satisfied her.

It is an item checked off her list.  Order regained.

Left on her to-do list: securing some loose buttons on Co-hab’s pants and patching the elbows of her blue cardigan.

Eventually the cardigan was repaired.

Eventually the cardigan was repaired.


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