Prepping the picnic table

If all goes to plan, by the time this post is published, I should be in the city with one of my daughters, doing half of our monthly shop. While going over our list, we realized we will have to split it into two trips.

Of the various outdoor projects we need to work on, I decided to start on the picnic table. It meant working in the shade, and with water, so being out shortly after the hottest part of the day would be less of an issue.

I had company.

Creamsicle tired himself out, rolling in the dirt where the picnic table has been for the past couple of summers. 🙂

We will be painting the picnic table a ridiculously bright blue that I found, but first, it needed to be scrubbed.

I started with the underside, since that required the most time. Here is how it looked before I started.

I had kinda hoped those white patches were old paint but, alas, they were not.

They were old, dry mold.

I spent the next while methodically scrubbing away everything but the underside of the table top.

Which revealed a fair bit, such as the state of these two legs.

There were rotten pieces that just sloughed off as I scrubbed.

I intend to paint the underside of the table, and especially the bottoms of the legs.

This old picnic table has a lot of rot on it, but it is still strong enough to sit at. The goal is to make it more pleasant to sit at, until such time as we can replace it. The paint may even add some years to it, but I don’t expect it to.

You can actually see the colour of the wood, now! 😀

At this point, I’ve scrubbed everything except the underside of the tabletop and only managed a cursory scrub of the few inches above it. Here, it became an issue of mobility. I don’t bend and reach very well anymore, which meant I needed to find a way to raise the whole thing higher.

The area I was working in is near the old garden shed, which is an area I was able to clean up of a lot of stuff, our first summer here. Among those things was a stack of what I eventually learned are chimney liners. They and the chimney blocks we are now using as a retaining wall/planters (with more in the basement) were intended to replace the crumbling chimney for the wood burning furnace.

They were acquired shortly after my parents bought the property. The chimney had needed replacing even then (about 50 years or so ago), but it just never happened!

So now I have the inserts stacked by the back of the house, waiting until I can figure out what to do with them.

So I grabbed three of them and set them up.

… after hosing off all the spiderwebs, first…

They were perfect. I wish I’d thought of using them earlier. It made things SO much easier on my back!

Here is the underside of the table top, with years of dirt and mold scrubbed away.

I can also see where some attempts had been made to strengthen and stabilize it. We had lived in a building my parents bought as an investment property in the “downtown” of our little hamlet, years ago. After many years of problem tenants costing them thousands in damages, they didn’t want to rent the house out anymore, so we lived there for a couple of years before moving out of province. While there, we got this picnic table for a whole $5. The municipality was replacing the picnic tables in public parks and selling off the old ones for next to nothing. So it was already old when we got it, but still in great shape. It just needed a paint job. Which we never got to do, before we left the province. So my late brother brought it to the farm. He is likely the one to add the angled braces supporting the middle board. That bar across the middle was an addition, too. It looks like a hole had been drilled though to support a shade umbrella, which is probably why the braces and support bar were added. Then there’s the other piece, with a lager hole drilled through it, to support an umbrella with a larger post. I’m pretty sure we have the umbrella that was used in there, stored in the sun room now. When we’re done painting, I plan to see if it fits.

Then it was time to flip it over.

I know my mother did make efforts to protect this from the elements. She’s the last person so have painted it, and she told me how she would cover it with a plastic table cloth over the winter, to protect the wood (she used thumbtacks to secure it, and some of them are still stuck in the wood!).

It has been a long time since anyone has done anything to protect it, since. She has been living where she is now for about six years, so it’s definitely been longer than that.

Long enough for lichen to start growing on it!

The top was a lot easier to scrub. 🙂

There was red paint at one corner of the table top, as well as the seat below. I suspect someone used the table to do something else, and made a mess on the table. Whatever kind of paint it was, parts of it actually dissolved and washed away with the water!

I had to use the hose almost constantly as I scrubbed. Otherwise, it all just sort of smeared. !! There was also debris packed into the spaces between some of the boards that not even the jet on the hose nozzle could blast out. Among the nearby junk around the old garden shed, I found some wire sturdy enough that I was able to get the debris loose and clear.

When we first got this table, it was a sort of reddish brown colour. I think the provincial parks department got some sort of deal on the paint because, for a while, all park benches and picnic tables were painted that same colour! There’s no sign of it now, though I can see that someone did paint it a different grey some time before my mother’s final coat of blue-grey.

So the table is now prepped for painting!

When they had a chance, the girls came out to see how it looked, then we flipped it upside down over the chimney inserts again. Since we’ve got at least 1 city shopping day to do first, it won’t be right away but, hopefully, it can be done before we go back to get the rest of what we need for the month.

Hhmm. I should probably pick up another paint brush or two. You never know. We might have more than one person available to work on it at the same time! 😀

Once it’s painted and ready, we’re thinking of setting it up near the fire pit. We will be making sure to pick up things we can cook over the fire, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to use the fire pit quite a few times this year. The picnic table will get some good use, once it’s no longer nasty to sit at! 😀

I’m really looking forward to it!

The Re-Farmer

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