Island industry

There’s so much I can’t blog about. There’s the endless legal dispute over Jerry’s brother’s will. I am prohibited by our lawyers from writing about it. Suddenly my children’s problems absorb my attention. I can’t write about the personal lives of my children. There is the inevitable and inexorable physical deterioration of aging that I would rather not think about or write about. And then there’s trivia. Car problems, things like that, not worthy of the blog.

A piece of trivia that just about rates blog mention: we bought a new riding lawn mower. Jerry bought it from Amazon — you can get anything from Amazon — they promised free delivery. We figured that wasn’t going to happen on the island, and it didn’t. After a couple of weeks there was a message on our phone to call a number regarding arrangements to pick up “an order”. I assumed it was the lawn mower, I called and reached someone who had no idea what “the order” was. He transferred me to another person, said to be in “customer service.” After speaking at cross purposes for a few minutes, I asked her where she was located. Answer: Portland, Oregon.  She gave me the phone number of the Bellingham office which I reached the next day. That turned out to be in Auburn, some miles south of Seattle (Bellingham is 100 miles north). I discovered that the lawn mower was in an unmanned depot in Bellingham, but we arranged to meet a trucker there who borrowed a fork lift and put it on our truck. Back on the island Jerry put forks on his backhoe and got the mower on the ground. The next day someone from the trucking company called to ask if I had received my motorcycle.

We are thinking about an addition to our house that Jerry says is already too big. It isn’t really big. It’s only about 1600 sq ft. I would like to add about 200 sq ft sitting area that would get southern sun. But it isn’t happening, so there’s nothing to say about it.

We have been lumberjacking. Two big trees had to come down; they were too close to the house and these days the winds can be high. I was fond of those trees. There’s tragedy in a fallen giant of a tree.

Jerry cutting branches from giant fir

But now that they are down more light comes into the house and I will become accustomed to their absence. Perhaps I’ll plant something smaller and ornamental in their place.  Mike Moye downed the trees using his truck with a bucket lift to hoist him up high in the tree. From there he can tie a rope to direct the tree’s fall.

The fir was thick and tall; One end of the rope was attached high in the tree, the other to Mike’s truck, a good way past Jerry’s shop. While Mike was hitching the rope to the truck his wife, Joan, called. She said the telephone man was on the island and his lift had run out of fuel; he was stuck in the air working on a telephone pole. He wanted Mike to come and get him down. Mike said he had the tree all hooked up and would drop it before he went for the telephone man. The great tree came thundering down as Joan and I exchanged news on the elevation of the telephone man. Just as the fir was felled somehow the telephone man extricated himself from his bucket and was again on the ground. “Good,” said Mike, “so I can go home.”

He came back the next day with his big chain saw to cut the thick trunk of the fir into rounds short enough to fit under the splitter. The other tree, an alder, was not too big for Jerry’s chainsaw to cut into rounds. We worked on the big fir rounds. They were so heavy that it was difficult for Jerry to move them from where they lay to the splitter, so I helped, and between the two of us 81 year olds we rolled, prised, lifted and then split. I stacked them in the truck. When it was full Jerry drove it up to the woodshed and together we have filled the woodshed with just a few of the the fir trunk segments. What to do with the rest of this giant? We made a stack near where the tree was felled. Jerry put the scrap from the crate of the new lawn mower on top of the stack, and then a tarp to keep it dry in the winter rain. We have a lifetime supply of firewood.

I helped drag away some of the upper branches that are not useful to burn in the fireplace. Charlie Nielson came over with his excavator and pushed the rest of the debris back into the woods to return to nature. The deer come sniffing around because they love the tender top leaves.

Deer follow Mike around looking for the tender top leaves

The big fir, as it came down, knocked over a couple of alders in the woods beside Jerry’s shop. One good sized alder’s splintered trunk was driven between a wheel and the body of Jerry’s ancient backhoe. We spent a morning messing around prying it out. In the end the only damage was that some of the hydraulic hoses needed to be replaced.

In Bellingham we went to Industrial Supplies to get new hydraulic hoses made for the backhoe. I sat in the pickup and worked a crossword while Jerry went in to arrange for new hoses. He came out looking satisfied, a little private smile on his face. As he started up the pickup he said, “I like that place. Lots of interesting stuff there.”

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22 Responses to Island industry

  1. Dale Favier says:

    🙂 Wish you could talk about what you do have to talk about, because even what you don’t have to talk about is, as usual, entrancing!

  2. Tabor says:

    Your lives are very active for being in your 8th decade of life, but that is what is probably keeping you so healthy. We also brought down some big trees as I wrote on my blog and several readers added that they also had to bring down some big trees in their yards. With these nasty storms we all have to give up the lovely shade of the ancient beauties so that we stay healthy and alive.

  3. Marja-Leena says:

    For being in your early 80’s, you two are pretty active, puts us somewhat younger folks to shame. We have some big trees here too that we keep pruning. Some had to be removed in the past because of wind damage. Our neighbour has some giants that worry me.

    Lovely deer there. This year we’ve started to have a problem with them in our garden, eating hostas, impatiens, strawberries….

    Anyway, glad to read that you are fairly well in spite of worries.

  4. Mage B says:

    Talk about how the coffee tastes, where you are buying your paint, or other mundane things that aren’t to us. 🙂

  5. I am so pleased to see you back. I have missed you and worried about you.
    I sympathise about the loss of your trees. However necessary, it is always sad. (Or I find it so.)
    And loved the deer.

  6. Annie says:

    Must be frustrating to not write about what’s going on but can’t be written about.

    I totally relate to the tragedy of the big trees coming down. Last year I had a bunch of not very big trees taken down and it felt tragic. Eventually I got used to them not being there and grateful for the additional sun, although I am now about to put a roof on my deck for shade, now that the trees are gone. Go figure.

    In my travels on the west coast this summer I visited a couple of people in the process of taking down big trees on their properties. It seemed such a shame to me, when we have nothing comparable in size where I live. But I guess when you live in a rainforest, surrounded by nothing but big trees, taking out a few doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

    Thanks for finding something to write about!

  7. Betty Bishop says:

    Even your morsels are delicious!

  8. Hattie says:

    Yes, mum’s the word for me, too, when it comes to my family.
    What makes your writing special is how you delineate character with a few well-chosen words. I can just see Jerry with that look on his face, as you describe it.
    Wish we could have come by on our recent trip to Vancouver. But maybe I will have more control over events next time we’re over there and will be able to plan better.
    Health and happiness to you!

  9. Suzanne says:

    I love the deer!
    Have you been painting much lately?

  10. Duchess says:

    Oh, boo! I was looking forward to the new sun room!

  11. Funny, isn’t it, what makes a blog and what doesn’t? I still maintain that the most interesting stories can never be written.

  12. ernestine says:

    Have missed you.
    Understand about what cannot be written about.
    With 4 children and 5 grandchildren
    I am in the same situation.
    they came down on my place also
    did not want them to fall on my cottage 🙂
    Take care…

  13. wisewebwoman says:

    I so understand the not writing about stuff. But you always write such interesting vignettes. Our stories are writ in the small, never the large.

  14. pauline says:

    You’ve just proved that anything is blog worthy when well told. Had to chuckle over the motorcycle comment. What did you tell the fellow?

    It is hard to see trees come down; they are living, breathing things after all. I wept for the ones we cut that made logs for our VT cabin and was eternally grateful for the shelter they gave.

  15. PattyM says:

    Black tailed deer! We have white tailed deer here in Pennsylvania. An antlered one ran into my car in Monday while I was stopped at a red light! No damage to my car and I think he was ok too.

  16. Dick says:

    I’ve been a very spasmodic blogger for a long time now, but I’m trying to get back into some kind of a rhythm again. If only to keep in touch with my most valued blogging peers! How are things with you both, Anne? Maybe a swift email at some point – Happy memories of our meeting on the windswept Oxford Canal!

  17. annie says:

    Missing your posts, hope you are well.

  18. Betty Bishop says:

    I miss your words Anne – hope all is well. I wish you and Jerry a healthy happy 2014.

  19. Brighid says:

    Missing your posts, and praying that all is right with you & Jerry.

  20. marja-leena says:

    Anne, I keep dropping by to see if you have written anything. Hope you and Jerry are okay and just busy as usual. All good wishes!

  21. I sure wish you would write about something, anything – the weather. I live in dry West Texas and we have been in a terrible drought that has killed about five peach trees, three pear trees, two apple trees, grape vines, and a 30 yr. old cotton wood tree, one mesquite tree and a big mimosa tree. My yard landscaping looks terrible with three big stumps. One in the front yard, one in the east side yard and the cotton wood was huge in the center of the back yard. We have not had normal rainfall for several years. Our main source of water is a lake that is 20% capacity and some wells for our town of 11,000. Right now we would love to have rain or snow. We desperately need moisture. Last week our humidity was 11% reported by the weather man. PLEASE WRITE AGAIN.

  22. I hope you are ok. I have been thinking about you.

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