PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's Old Timey Fun, All The Time!

So I married a man with a wide skill set. A veritable homesteader, worthy of competing in Ye Olde Pioneer Dayz. Yesterday evening was pretty atypical, even for us.

Let me back up. Sunday? We bought a chain saw. As we are each prone to do, the Wo gravitated towards the smaller, lower-priced saws first. Me? I look at the price range and determine what I think we should spend to get a "good one". If life has taught either of us something, spending a bit extra at the git-go is usually worth it in the long run.

Let me back up some more. About a month ago, we discovered a greenhouse on craigslist. And while it wasn't cheap, it was still a steal. Buying the same model today would have cost three times as much. And, have you met my husband? Each year brings us more home-grown plants, started from seed, and it's fair to say he's a little bit into gardening. So we took the plunge & bought the thing, and then we had to figure out where to put it. (The woman selling it had bought it, put the panels together, then they moved, she started to put it up & her new homeowner association told her she couldn't do that. We don't have any of those fetters, fortunately!)

So we finally determined that the patio space between JWo's shop & the garage, at the back of the house, was the best place for it. It's a 9 x 12 redwood/glass greenhouse, and it will be gorgeous, and we wanted it in a spot we'd be able to see from the dining room. And two trees needed to come out, because they would greatly affect the sunshine levels, and the one tree was already leaning a lot, so blah-de-blah, his grandfather didn't want to lend him a chainsaw and so we found ourselves at Home Depot, in a post-Thai-food stupor, comparing models. Brought home what he'd later declare was "GREAT".

On Monday, James took down the "easy" tree. The non-leaning tree. Then last night, he went to backgammon, I got takeout (after being sucked in by this game, the biggest time waster yet entertaining game in my life right now), and then suddenly, the Wo was back home. And as soon as I was done eating, we went outside to tackle the problematic tree.

Ropes were employed. A winch (my favorite!) was installed. (This took at least half an hour, as we both poured sweat in the humidity. I was doing nothing but dousing myself in bug spray and walking around, "supervisin'") Then we went through the plan. He would cut a wedge, and then when he started cutting on the other side of the tree, I would start winching like a madwoman. (Oh, and don't think I don't have a history with a winch. I do. That's another day.) I LOVE me the winches and the ratchet straps. Can't explain it. Anyway, I reminded my husband that despite my deep dislike of cutting wood every winter, I did grow up spending my winters outside, watching my father cut down trees, hauling brush, loading firewood, and I understood which direction to RUN, especially because our mechanical setup was going to hopefully pull the tree straight in my direction. I pondered my ability to run, once or twice, but remained confident that even a fat girl can pull out the stops when adrenaline's involved.

So we began. And this tree? This tree was REALLY leaning towards the house/garage/shop. Winch, winch, winch. He cut a notch on the other side of the tree, instead of cutting it through, just to help get us going on re-directing that tree. He took some turns at the winch. (I should point out that through all of this, I am being swarmed by mosquitoes. JWo? Didn't even come near him.) Then, we were suddenly out of cable. We could winch no more.

Much more puzzling & solving took place. James got out a ratchet strap. Then a knife. I was told to clear out. (I didn't argue) Re-attached the winch, and we were back in business. Then, it seemed, in the gathering dusk, we were finally at the moment. I was winching with all my might, and James yelled, "THERE it goes, now it's moving" and then in an instant, KERPLOOEY, the rope broke, the taughtness released, um, in that microsecond, I though I was going to have a cable whipping into my face, and I was pleased (much, much later, upon reflection) to discover my basic instincts when a sharp clang and things go flying is, indeed, to cover my face. It shook me, I'll admit. I took the long walk around to regain my composure, and then the reality of the tree took over. We were going to have to drop it towards the house.

I moved the pot of rosemary, took all my decorative garden things out of the way, and then got the hell out of the path. James began sawing. Then stopping, then sawing some more. Then stepped back and said, "That's as slow as I can drop it."

I've never seen a tree fall more slowly. Ever. A true blogger would have videotaped this, except my hands would have been a bit shaky, and once again, I wanted to cover my face. It could not have landed better. There was a chance some windows might get broken, the gutters could be torn off - nothing. None of it happened. And the Wo has his work cut out for him today, because we have tree outside the back door, and while Polly thinks maybe it would be a great squirrel dispenser for her right at the back steps, it has to go.


Oh, and how did James spend his day yesterday? Canning all those tomatoes. Seven more jars of confit, and a bunch of chopped tomatoes and sauce.

He would have survived in the wagon trail era, quite handily. Me? I'd have been killed by some mosquito-borne illness.


posted by PlazaJen, 6:45 AM