Archive for January, 2011

Basketball

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

bball.jpgWe did something last night we haven’t done in a long while. We went to a high school basketball game. And it was fun. Our good friend’s daughter is a star player for the Houghton High School Woman’s team. Unfortunately she was nursing an injury last night, so she didn’t play all that much. We sat right next to the high school band during the game, and I enjoyed listening to them play. Last night sure did bring back some memories I can tell you.

We had fluffy snowflakes drifting down most of the day today, but there is still a very hard layer of ice/snow underneath everything. I think it will take a lot more snow to get a decent cover over the ice we have left from our December thaw/rain. I think I may have to get the scoop out tomorrow to get ready for going to work on Monday.

Empty Nest

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Steve left for Chicago this afternoon about 4:30. The driveway now has a couple of sad looking rectangles of bare ground where their cars were parked for the past couple of weeks. It was a very nice visit. Their energy left with them, and it is like the house executed a large exhalation. We’ll get back to normal soon, but for now we’re enjoying the evidence of their stay with a sock here and a kleenex box there.

We went into Houghton around the time Steve left to have dinner with some dear friends. It was a great time. As I get older I’m enjoying these social connections more and more.

I was thinking the other day that the deadline passed on January 1 for a permit application for a hike in the canyon in May. So if I do one next year, it will have to be September or October. And if that starts getting planned, I’ll need to begin getting in shape again. I was interested to read in “The Complete Walker IV” the guys’ approach to conditioning for a backpacking trip. They suggest taking a couple of walks with your pack a week or two before the trip. That sure isn’t my approach!

Dying Spruce

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

The experts tell me there is a bark beetle that is doing in a bunch of our spruce trees on the farm. And they are the biggest nicest trees to boot. The kind you walk by and say, “wouldn’t that make a nice mast for a ship!” In the past year or so they’ve been turning brown and dying. So I’m trying to get some of them cut down and dragged to the sawmill so I can get some lumber out of them before they rot. I’ve managed to get out for about an hour the past two days. Tonight’s tree was kind of goofy. I notched it and cut it from the other side, and for some reason it didn’t fall. Then I noticed it seemed to want to fall 180 degrees from the notch, so I notched it on the other side and sawed all the way through to the new notch. It still wouldn’t fall. So I walked all the way back home to get a come-along and nylon strap, walked back and hooked one end to the tree and another to another tree about 20′ away. I was just getting organized to start cranking on the come-along when I heard a branch snap. The weight of the come-along and the strap pulled the tree past its balance point, and it was falling. I quickly moved out of the way and watched it fall. I then spent the next half hour or so sawing off branches and bucking it into one 16′ log and 2 10’logs. Hopefully in the next few days I can get out there again and get several more trees down and bucked up.

Working the little bit I do part time in the woods really makes me respect the difficult and dangerous work professional loggers do. We may not always agree with what they leave behind, but those people work hard.

Dead Computer

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Until today there were 3 functional computers in the house for 2 people — a reasonably up-to-date Dell desktop, an 8 year old desktop, and an older mac powerbook laptop. The 8 year old had some issues, so I took it in to Houghton to the people I bought it from. They kept it for 2 weeks, and determined the motherboard was bad, and no replacement was available. It was sad to see such a reliable old friend move on, but as we got talking about it, we realized we can do everything on the laptop that we need to do, and that it takes up a lot less space. So we’re downsizing to 2 computers for 2 people. We’ll see if we can manage.

The Zoo That Never Was

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

There are all sorts of projects backed up on the list, but during these short days, I don’t seem to be able to muster the energy to get out there and do them. The spanish phrase manana keeps creeping into my head uninvited.

One thing I did accomplish was I finished reading “The Zoo That Never Was” by RD Lawrence. It was a gift from my neighbor that is the most literate person I know. Once this fellow gets to know you, just ask him for a list of books he thinks you’ll enjoy, and he often nails it. I wanted to share a quote from this book that struck me:

Why, I often wonder, do so many men feel that they must go out once a year and destroy some lovely, living thing? Where is the pleasure, or the sense of prowess, in watching a pair of keen, velvet eyes become dull and unseeing, while blood spouts out of a horrible wound, and the rictus of death moves the bowels and the bladder? In the face of need, I can justify hunting; I have done so myself. One must eat. But in a society where food is abundant and so readily available, hunting for so-called sport is a barbaric and murderous activity. It used to be that a few unprincipled men earned for all hunters a reputation that most of them did not deserve. In more recent times the opposite is taking place; there are so many ignorant, brutal, lawless men stalking the forests in the hunting season that the good, careful hunters, those men who take pride in the stalk and in effecting a clean and instant kill, are so greatly outnumbered that many of the ones that I know personally have put their guns away, disgusted with the annual carnage and feeling that it is no longer safe to enter the wilderness at this time of madness.” “The Zoo That Never Was” RD Lawrence, 1981, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston

I’ve written in the past about the last two weeks of November being one of our least favorite of the year for precisely this reason. I guess I didn’t articulate it as well as RD Lawrence.