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.
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.
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.”