Dale the Lumberjack

September 9 – OK, so Labor Day was not our usual busy day, and we didn’t have a lot to show for the hours as we usually do. However, it was good to be able to spend more time in reading, baking the brownies I promised to Dale, and spending awhile at our neighbor’s home helping her to celebrate her 84th birthday. It’s always good to talk with her as she is upbeat, knowledgeable, and interested in so many ideas. Her son, using the zero turn lawn mower, ran into no problems because of the rains that came down this morning and soaked the grass enough that we couldn’t mow.

Dale the Lumberjack

Dale the Lumberjack

After we finished getting rid of the water primrose piles the other day, we took time off for breakfast, before going back to the “hammock tree” to which our hammock used to be attached. Now that the tree was dead, Dale thought he had better cut it down before it fell on someone. Since his saw had finally been repaired, he was sure he could get rid of the tree. First a big cut in one side, then one on the other side, another in between, and he threw a rope up in some of the higher limbs, ready for me to grab and make the tree fall over into the pasture when he had made some final cuts. Surely, he didn’t want it to drop down into the hay field on the opposite side! Another cut, we heard a little crackling noise, and Dale yelled, “Get out of the way!”

But instead of falling backwards, it fell right across from that position, and into the field. Talk about being scared! When that tree gave up, its fall made such a loud noise as it crashed, that I shook just a bit—or more—as all of the dead branches settled down on the ground. That was 52 feet of dead wood, not much according to the sequoias or those huge evergreens trucked into New York City for Christmas, but big enough for me! I had no desire to be smashed flat!

The woodcutting continues

The woodcutting continues

Dale moved around cut off small limbs and branches that were still attached to the trunk, but I couldn’t drag them away because they were covered in spots by other branches. While he continued to saw off the branches, I picked up the smaller ones that broke off when the tree fell. Back to the burning pile they went. Later, things began to open up, and I could drag back the bigger limbs one by one with maybe a couple of the smaller ones together.

But things just didn’t move as fast as I wanted, so I went off to weed under the front fence. I couldn’t do that either, because the ground was so hard that I couldn’t even get the weeds out with a digging tool! How well I remembered the months of rain during the spring, keeping the grass and weeds so wet that we couldn’t yank them out!

A nice pair of bruises

A nice pair of bruises

Back to the fallen tree I went, only to find that Dale had cut off pieces of wood just the right size to use in our fireplace this winter. They had fallen down among the branches when they were cut, so I had to pull off the branches, if I could, and get the wood out to put in piles. All went well until I pulled hard on a bigger limb, and fell flat back into the pile, before I rolled off to the side to get up. The proof of that story lies on my arms above the wrists where two big purple spots are a new kind of decoration. No pain but nicely painted!

The next day, while Dale was still cutting up the tree, I spent time mowing the lawn with the hand mower. After a couple hours, I was ready to quit, but just as I was putting the mower away in the barn, I heard Dale calling, “Could you please come and help me a bit?” When I got near enough to see him, I noticed good red blood dripping from his hand on to his pants and shirt! “Now what’s happened?” I shouted. “What did you do? Are you all right?” After assuring me that he had only cut his finger, and it would be OK when the blood stopped, he told me how I could help.

The tree trunk with big pieces of limbs was sitting on the ground, but he needed to raise them before he could use the saw. “Now when I raise the trunk with this bar, please slip that support under the first foot or so of it, so I can cut it off.” OK, up went the trunk, and under went the support. This process continued until a number of big limbs were cut and lying on the ground ready to be transported across the field to the picnic area where church folks like to come for campfires. The shorter ones, cut into good fireplace wood, were stacked in a corner of the wood pile all ready to go. Then the last cleaning of the area, where I raked up the smaller branches and sticks into piles, and Dale dragged them back to the burning pile in the garden cart. Guess we will have to set that huge pile on fire one day when people want to come out for another campfire.

Yellow tomatoes

Yellow tomatoes

Just before we went into the house to get cleaned up and have supper, we decided to pick the tomatoes before the promised rain came the next day. The plants are so tall and tangled together that it’s hard to find the way down to the end of the row. Some of those tomato vines are so tall that I can’t even reach them when I stand on tip toe! And it seems as if I am always entangled no matter which rows I choose to pick.

150910_TomatoWormWe picked over a bushel of various kinds, some huge, and some small ones like Pearly Pink and Sun Gold. I was surprised to find nine big and beautiful yellow ones all on one plant! Fortunately, we have not found even one tomato worm this year, so nothing but birds are eating this crop. Oh, yes, the turtle and the rabbit. I forgot about them, but Dale found the turtle in the area as we picked, and I saw the rabbit out there just the other day. Guess they figure they live on our land, so they should share in the harvest! – CHRIS

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