Diane Becker, "Country Life"

It’s machine shed clean up time. We didn’t have our shed built when our firstborn graduated in 2005. The next four had their graduation celebrations in the machine shed. The sixth will have hers in what may be the cleanest shed we have for the next 20 years.

It’s not like it has a dirt floor or anything, but we do need to wash off the concrete floor. It may be a machine shed, but our visitors don’t need to walk around grease spots. The visitors will know it’s a work shed as the tools will still be hanging on the wall, and we aren’t moving or covering up the containers of bolts and stacks of filters and hose fittings.

In past years, we’ve pulled a hay rack wagon into the shed and placed weed sprayers, barrels and other miscellaneous items on it. We need space, and we don’t want little kids dipping their fingers in oil pans. We then park the wagon in an out-of-the-way place on the farm until after graduation. It’s a little bit of work, but luckily we have all this help that will be home the day before the party.

They’ll also drive the lawn mowers to a temporary location on the farm and help us clear off the work bench of saws and drills, so we can use it as a gift table. We have this shed celebration down pat.

Once everything’s cleared out, we set up tables and chairs, string lights, and bring in the food.

At one time the sixth child said she would like an outdoor graduation party, and we assured her that in May in Nebraska there is absolutely no guarantee for good weather.

Of her five siblings, I think only once was it not cold and rainy the day of their graduation party. The way the weather has been lately, I think she even agrees that the machine shed, which can be heated if necessary, is the best.

We had s’mores at one daughter’s party, soccer-themed cakes for two parties and flower bouquets on the tables for two other parties. It’s a fun time. We’re so glad that Maddie even gets to have a graduation ceremony and party. We’re hoping to see friends and relatives we haven’t seen since before COVID started a year ago.

Before all that happens, though, we’ve got to get the machine shed cleaned, and with planting starting this week, it’s not really the best time to work on it. Once it’s done though, we’d better enjoy it, as it may be a while before the shed gets another makeover.

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