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AMY KIRK: Un-holey tasks

Nobody gets more excited about wearing a new pair of jeans than a ranch woman. Every time I pick out a pair of jeans to wear from a stack of freshly patched blue jeans, it feels like I have a whole new wardrobe of favorite work jeans to pick from -- without the buyer's remorse.

Once my preferred jeans for dressy occasions get worn and faded, they become new favorite work jeans, and when they get so shoddy that threads fray at the knees and develop holes, I put patches on them to wear some more. The first thing to go to pot on my jeans is the denim in the knee area. Eventually, squatting down on my knees will put enough pressure on the weakened fabric that they'll rip, creating a hole across the knee.

Barbwire fence is another source of holes, rips and tears in my jeans. I end up bypassing all pants with holes when I pick out work jeans in my dresser drawer to wear for doing ranch work, so they end up getting stockpiled for patching later.

I'll wear jeans with holes in a pinch, but it bugs me having my knee poking out of a gaping hole in my jeans, so I usually end up wearing the same few pairs of intact work jeans until they develop holes also, or I get all my holey jeans patched.

My knees are not fond of winter cold and wind, so I don't wear jeans with any holes when it's cold out. I don't like wearing holey jeans in the summer, either, because I don't want to end up with the kind of tan marks like my husband got one summer.

When he snagged his Wranglers on barbwire, a good-sized chunk of his pants ripped above the knee, so he cut the flap of denim off with a pocket knife and went about haying in the field. As a result, he got a 4-inch, odd-shaped sunburn on his thigh that was evident all winter. Therefore, I avoid raking or windrowing hay in blue jeans that expose my legs in odd places. It's also annoying when I put on a pair of pants and my foot exits through the knee instead of out the bottom of my pants, which sometimes causes the hole in the knee to rip even more.

Patching up holes located in the middle of my pant legs is not a quick task. The side seam has to be opened up in order for my sewing machine to sew a patch over any rips, so any pants needing patched get stockpiled until I have time to open up the side seams -- an ideal project to work on when my husband wants to put on some man-flick movie I find unappealing.

Newly patched jeans renew my enthusiasm for getting dressed to do any dirty work outside. With freshly patched jeans, I no longer have to agonize over which is the best or most comfortable of the remaining work jeans I have to wear.

A stack of patched jeans is like adding new clothes to my wardrobe, and as every woman would agree, there's nothing better than putting on a new pair of pants that feels like its already broken in.

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