Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wood Work, and Widow-in-Training Again

A snowy Sunday morning, and once again Bryan is on the road north to the Peace Country. He was hoping to be here until after Christmas, but urgent phone calls drew him back. Figures only two weeks at most this time.

Was good while he was here. We got many jobs done, visited family members and indulged ourselves through the first two seasons worth of 'Deadwood' DVDs . Thanks to his baby sister for getting us hooked!

The wind through this region throughout the entire week was intense and unrelenting. Gusts of unbelievable ferocity tore through the valley, wrecking havoc on a daily basis. It finally blew itself out Friday night and we woke to rain-soaked ground and lingering fog in the calm air.

Two trees, a fir and a pine, blew down on the firehall property just off the southwest corner of our lot. As well, one the firs beside the west side of the house was lifting at the roots and giving signs of succumbing to the gustatory onslaught.

Bryan's old chainsaw finally gave up the ghost after over 20 years of felling, trimming and bucking our firewood. It surely doesn't owe us a thing. We do, however, have need of a saw. Canadian Tire conveniently had a sale on Poulan saws this week past, so Bryan bought himself a nice little unit with a 16 inch bar.

He had a glorious time felling our fir, catching a gust of wind just right to drop our tree onto the wooded lot next door, and bucking up all three trees.

Fallen trees bucked and the big blocks left for neighbour Dean's woodstove.

Saturday was a trip back in time, loading freshly-sawn wood into the little green wagon, toting it up the hill and field stacking it between a set of live trees. How many Saturdays in years past did we toil at that task. The sharp bite of running sap was delicious, but I had no illusions that I'd want to return to the job on a regular basis - although it would probably be good for my general physical condition.

While we were in the mode, so to speak, Bryan also sawed up an older fallen fir on Kelly's lot, alongside the driveway to the east. Becca was so kind as to limb most of it and clear up the general debris in the area when she was here in September. It's not our property but we do have to look at it (there's a small grove of young fir hiding it from the owner's direct view), deal with the weeds that thrive there, but most importantly, would be most immediately affected by any fire fed by that fuel. Given the fire season we just came through, it's only good sense to be a good steward and clean up potential fire fuel within 100m of the house.

That wood also piled, we proceeded to enjoy a small fire in the backyard with the bits of detrious gathered from about the yard, broken from nearby trees and strewn about by the wind. Bryan brought two lawn chairs out from the garage and set them by the fire ring. I found two ciders in the fridge. We rested from our labours, enjoying the flames and the warmth, prodding the fuel with the Official Pokey Fire Stick of the moment.

Close to the time the sun moved behind Estekwalan, the wind picked up for the first time all day, dropping the temperature considerably and taking the fun out of the cozy fire.

First thing in the morning, before we started hauling wood, we took the opportunity of a warm sunny morning to hang the outdoor Christmas lights. I haven't taken a photo yet. Perhaps tonight, and then I can post the pictures here.

The bikes have once again been moved to the basement for the winter. The garage cleaned up and summer gear stored high so my car can spend winter nights inside. New feeders have been added to the birdfeeding station, the bins of seeds in the garage filled anew, hopefully so see us through to the end of December. Conditions have been mild so the bird population dining here is still sporadic. I miss seeing the quail, as they arrive sometime after I leave for work, and it's dark when I get home. They are definitely making our yard a part of their daily routine, and in large numbers, if the feeder use is any indication.

Fresh snow in the gypsum quarry behind the house this morning.

I've heard news from friends recently whom have been silent or otherwise occupied in past weeks or months.I sometimes despair of their interest in my postings and letters, and then out of the blue comes a delightful piece of correspondence.

Friend Susanne, for instance, wrote for a specific reason, said that nothing much had happened in their life and oh, by the way, she was now working at the library.


Last time I knew, she was working at one of the banks in town. Don't let that shoe fall and keep the other hanging! Details!! Names!!

And so with gentle prodding and a light hand ("What the hell happened?!") I learn of unrest at one place, fortuitous changes of circumstances in another and a subsequent adventure undertaken.

Don't tell me 'nothing has happened.' Something is always happening, and the little stuff is just as interesting, if not more, than those grand events that warrant a notation on the calendar or diary.

Barb and Nathan have a new son born to them, the 'bookend' to their eldest son and multitude of sisters in between.

Maggie May is looking better after a bad spell last spring with recurrent kidney failure. We've been through much together over the past 25 years, and distance has no bearing on the care and concern we have for each other. Here's to a wonderful final year at Red Deer, Mags.

Fay is just celebrating another birthday, and again with much history behind us, that is always a reason to celebrate. As a witty old-timer once told me, getting older sure as hell beats the alternative!

Marc of the Hinglish accent is soon to retire (who'd a thunk he'd live that long? not him!) and planning long and extended bike trips with Bryan in his semi-retirement while his wife and Bryan's continue to toil away as wage slaves.

Marc is a French-Canadian Manitoban. Last time he was here, he asked me what kind of accent he had.

A French one, I replied.

He and Gail had recently been on holiday to France, and he said that while there, they said he had a "Hinglish" accent. I know Fay and Roland will laugh at that, both because they know Marc and because Roland can also pull off a pretty good Hinglish rendition of English.

It's always a quiet empty day when Bryan leaves. I've filled an hour or two writing here and to others of you in my life, but it's time to let you get on with other things and for me to also move on with my day.

Have a good week, dear people.

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