Posted tagged ‘branches’

“In a dark and tumultuous place, know the storm will soon pass.”

March 3, 2018

The mighty storm continues with wind gusts strong enough to bend trees almost to the ground. Last night the storm was tremendous with winds blowing as high as 80 MPH. The rain came in sheets from the north. The roar of the wind sounded threatening, almost violent. My house was surrounded by it. I heard something fall on the deck but it was too dark to see. The yard lights were triggered. My house lights went out once but for only a few minutes. The cable kept going off then rebooting. That lasted close to an hour. I went to bed around one, and the storm was as strong as it had been all night. I could hear the rain beating the roof. I could hear the wind. It was the last sound I heard before I fell asleep, and the first sound I heard when I woke up this morning.

When I got the papers, I saw my Peace Corps flag on the lawn. The flag was fine, but the holder had snapped. It was on the grass. A tree was broken and lying in the front yard. It was a small, thin scrub pine. Luckily it missed my little library. When I got the papers, they were far too heavy. I knew they had to be wet. Because they were protected by only a single plastic bag, both were soaked, unreadable. That spoiled my morning routine. I know the papers are on line, but that doesn’t do it for me. I like the feel of the paper and the rustling of the pages.

My backyard has large branches torn from trees lying on the ground. All of the branches are from pine trees. I know a few of the trees are dead so I wasn’t surprised to see their branches. Every year I seem to lose a pine tree or two.

My little library had two more woodpecker holes. I covered both with tape until more permanent covers are ready. I need to find the wood and then measure for the right length screws. At least this time there wasn’t a dead bird.

The sky is light and the rain has stopped, at least for now. It is in the low 40’s but will go below freezing tonight. I’m staying home. I have finished the last Flavia de Luce book I have, but I have two books I got for Christmas. Peapod came yesterday so my larder is full with real food and some snacks. I’m thinking wearing my cozies, lounging on the couch, reading a new book and eating chips and cheese dip. Life is good!

“Sometimes broken shoes and tattered clothes can tell us beautiful stories!”

February 16, 2018

Last night it rained. I was still watching television so it was early. The rain was intermittent. It was the last thing I heard before I fell asleep.

I have had a few false starts this morning. First I wrote about obituaries. The one of the woman described as loving to shop had caught my eye. I wondered if she’d approve of that legacy. I wrote about the man who bowled, his favorite pastime, and wondered about my own obituary, but then I got stuck so I stopped, thought a bit then went on to another subject. Yearbooks were next. I always felt bad for the kids with nothing under their pictures. They spent four years of high school being phantoms. From there I jumped to still waters run deep, the classic description of the shy kid no one knew well. At that point I stopped and deleted what I’d written. I began again.

Today is still. Not a branch is moving. Even the dead leaves on the oak trees are still. The sky is white cloudy. The bare pine branches stand stark against the light sky and look almost like fingers grasping for something. It will be a warm day, the last warm day before the cold comes back tomorrow. Snow is possible at the beginning of the new week.

My broken bone has been the perfect excuse to do nothing. I still can’t lift anything if it has any weight. The downside, though, is trying to read a hardcover book in bed. I rest it on the bed and hold it with my left hand but then I have trouble turning the pages. I gave up after a short while.

I thought I was at the stage of my life where I didn’t really need anything new. Old clothes are comfortable and old shoes fit my feet best of all. I wear a sweatshirt during the day to stay cozy and most of them are so old they’ve lost their shape. I do save a few good ones to wear in the world at large mostly because I don’t want to be the eccentric old lady wearing tattered, misshapen clothes who mumbles to herself in the grocery store. Now I can add a new shirt to my ensemble. I bought two flannel shirts on sale. Both have  patterns in muted colors. They are warm enough for days like today, in the 40’s; however, they don’t help with the mumbling.

“It’s just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn’t it? It makes our relationships with people seem as boring as a bowl of oatmeal.”

November 3, 2017

Today is cloudy but still quite warm. It is 64˚ without the sun and will get warmer by the afternoon. I have given up on fall despite the wonderful weather. Skip, my factotum, is readying the deck for winter. He is putting the decorations and candles in boxes, taking up the rug and covering the furniture and umbrellas. He has done it for so many years he just moseys along from one task to another. He’s already cleared the backyard of branches including a couple big enough to be called limbs. He has removed the fallen post from my front fence which had been broken this winter when the huge pine limb fell on the lawn. He’ll replace it. He has some inside stuff as well. Yesterday my house cleaners came and today I have Skip. Life is good.

Gracie and I will be going to the vet’s today. She has a one o’clock appointment. My friend reminded me to ask if acupuncture will help. Last night was not a good night for either of us. Gracie started panting and woke me up several times. At 3, I took her outside hoping that’s what she wanted. It wasn’t though she did take the opportunity to squat. At 4, I fed her some treats. That didn’t work so I helped her off the couch to the bathroom where the water dish is kept. She ignored it and wanted back on the couch where she continued to pant. I finally got up and brought the water dish to her. She drank and drank then settled down to sleep. We were both exhausted. I’m beginning to think she has decided our roles need to be reversed. She will be pampered. I will respond to wishes and commands. She’ll find I am good with Sit!

When I woke up last night, I thought I’d left outside lights lit. Through the back window, I could see so much light the trees had shadows. It was the moon, big and bright and gorgeous on its way to being a full moon tomorrow night. This full moon is called the beaver moon by some as at this time of year beavers are building their winter dams in preparation for the cold season. Because beavers are mainly nocturnal, they will keep working under the light of the full moon. I suppose busy as a beaver would work here but would be just cause for groans.

I lament the closing of my deck.

“A great wind is blowing, and that gives you either imagination or a headache.”

October 30, 2017

Last night was amazing and scary. When the wind blew, I could hear furniture on the deck being tossed about. I could hear the rustling of the leaves on the trees and the creak of branches as the wind swept through them. The gusts got as high as 55 MPH. The rain came heavily at times and smashed against the windows. The deck and the front lawn are covered in pine needles blown from the scrub pines. Small branches and one bigger branch litter the backyard. Today is still windy with gusts strong enough to sway the tallest and strongest branches on the trees in the yard. More rain is predicted.

Gracie was heavily panting last night usually a sign she needs out or is hungry. I fed her a small can, and she ate all of it. I changed the water three or four times, and she drank each time slobbering drops of water on the tile floor. I opened the front door so she could see the rain. She backed away. Gracie wanted on the couch and off the couch. I helped her up and down as she has bad back legs. I was getting testy. By this time it was 3:30, and I had been trying to go to sleep since 1:30, but I was attuned to Gracie and her panting and couldn’t fall asleep. Finally I figured she might be frightened by the wind. I moved beside her and started patting her head and ears and talking gently to her. Gradually her breathing slowed down. She settled and went to sleep knowing I was beside her. That meant I was squashed on half a couch with my legs bent at the knees and was beside a dog with wind problems of her own, unpleasant wind problems, but I was so tired I fell asleep anyway around four.

Gracie woke me up at 7. She was moving around, and I heard her. I keep an eye and an ear on Gracie’s movements on the couch we share as it is too soft for her back legs to establish a hold. I pleaded with her to go back to sleep, and she did. I moved and got comfortable as Gracie didn’t need my reassurances any more. Outside was quiet in comparison to last night. We both woke up at 10. I turned on the coffee, got dressed quickly and drove to Agway. I was out of dog food, an emergency in this house. When we got home, I fed Gracie before getting my coffee and toast. She is now happy and sleeping soundly. I’m exhausted.

Today I have a dentist appointment but only a cleaning.

“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.”

September 24, 2017

We have sun and a blue sky, both among the missing for the last five days. I was surprised by how warm it is when I went out to get the papers. My lawn and deck are a mess. Leaves and branches cover both. The leaves are so wet they are pasted to the lawn and driveway. The deck is slick. I had to take mincing steps to keep my balance. I hope the leaves are quick drying in the sun.

Breakfast is my favorite go out to eat meal. I like my bacon crisp and my eggs over easy. My toast is usually rye. I love to use it to sop up the yoke. Sometimes I get French toast. I slop on maple syrup, the real stuff. I also get crisp bacon with my French toast. Some places offer home fries, but I only like them seasoned so most times I just pass.

In Ghana, my breakfast was the same every day. I had two eggs fried in peanut oil, toast and coffee. Butter was expensive so I used margarine from a tin. The coffee was instant with tinned milk. The eggs and the bread were fresh. Sometimes the eggs came from my own chickens. The rest of the time I bought them in the market. The bread was fresh and sweet. Cooking the eggs in peanut oil added a wonderful taste. I always had two giant cups of coffee, one with breakfast and the other sitting out on the steps in the front of my house. I’d watch the little kids walk to schools close to my school fences.

Every place I’ve stayed on return trips to Ghana serves a complimentary breakfast. It is generally two eggs, toast and coffee, and yes, the milk is still tinned.

I don’t often cook breakfast for myself. Usually I just have coffee and, of late, toast or an English muffin. I don’t ever use margarine, and I use light cream in my coffee. I like to indulge myself. My favorite coffee is called African blend, but I like to try different coffees. I just bought some Ugandan coffee. It was expensive partly because it came in a red striped cloth bag with beadwork. I admit I was drawn by the bag.

Peapod has come and gone. The driver was nice enough to leave freezer and refrigerator items in bags near the fridge so I’ve already put them away. When I finish here, I’ll put the rest of the groceries away. I had to be inventive to fit everything in the freezer, and my fridge is hardly ever this filled. My kitchen has become a land of plenty.

“You can’t get too much winter in the winter.”

February 11, 2017

The tree is gone, reduced to its smaller pieces and stacked on the side of my yard. The lawn is covered in snow, sawdust, small sticks and pine needles. The only victim of that tree is one section of my front fence. It is standing only because it is propped by a pine branch. Come spring, it will be replaced.

Last night it snowed another inch or so. This morning, the car was covered as was the path from the house, around the tree to the car. The walkway got shoveled after the tree was gone so I can now use it to get to the car. As I have to go out today, that’s a good thing.

The day is in the high 30’s so some melting is happening. The roof line of my house has icicles hanging from it. They look pretty, almost like a postcard: Welcome to Winter in New England. Speaking of ice, I’ll have to remember to spread the meltaway on the front steps. It will get below freezing tonight.

The sky is gray and looks to be threatening rain. The snow always gets ugly when it rains. It becomes pock-marked then disappears from all but the huge piles left by the plows. The best day is the day after the snowstorm when the snow is still beautiful and clean and sparkles in the sun. That was yesterday.

My Christmas lights still come on every night. The centerpiece is the star with trails of lights. It shines from the top of my driveway fence. Last night my neighbor called to thank me for leaving the lights. She was surprised to see they had made it through the storm, but, if she had looked, she’d have seen them covered with snow but still shining through on the night of the storm. I love the lights. I just can’t take them down. They are my defense. They keep the darkness of the winter’s nights at bay.

“Genius is an African who dreams up snow.”

February 10, 2017

It is 1:30. The wind is still raging, but the snow has stopped. Most of the snow was wet and heavy, and in the late afternoon a downed wire cut off my electricity. I sat for a while reading, but because the house was getting a bit cooler, Gracie and I headed upstairs to take a nap. I was thinking warm down comforter. I don’t know what Gracie was thinking. I could hear the branches brushing against the house, against the wall in my bedroom. Then I heard a crash. I ran downstairs, opened the front door and saw nothing but branches. They extended from a giant branch, half of a pine tree, now lying across my front yard. It was torn off the tree by the wind. Its branches are near the front door and have cut me off from the outside world. Poor Gracie had to go out among the branches. It took three times before she decided it was branches or nothing.

I went to bed around 2:30. Gracie woke me up around 4. She was shaking. She was also panting: signs that Gracie needed to go outside. She wouldn’t get off the bed so I had to help her. We got down the stairs to the door and she went outside and did her business just this side of the branches.

I’m hoping my landscape guy comes today to free me. I know Skip will be here to plow and shovel as soon as he can. Right now the day is beautiful to look at, all sunny and bright, but that’s deceiving. It is only 20˚. I guess I’m okay for now with being stuck in the house, the warm house.

This was a terrific snow storm. It even had thunder. We probably got near a foot of snow. It covers everything. I couldn’t see out the back windows until a little while ago, but the sun is still the sun so the windows are clear again.

Looks like we have to postpone dump day.

“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. “

April 7, 2014

It must be spring. I can hear blowers cleaning yards, and I saw my landscaper with his green spreader fertilizing a neighbor’s lawn. Good luck to him with mine. It is covered with small branches felled by that last storm with all the wind. My backyard too has fallen branches but large ones from the pine trees.

Color is returning to the world. The male goldfinches have their bright yellow chests and are beautiful against the backdrop of the brown, bare branches. In my garden are yellows and purples and stark whites. I am back to my stop and look at the garden routine when I get the papers. I don’t want to miss a single new spring flower.

Yesterday I treated myself to my favorite sandwich: an avocado, bacon, cheddar cheese and spicy mayo panini. I also bought a whoopie pie. They were my reward for doing errands.

For me, this is a full week. I have something on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. It always seems to work that way. I have weeks with nothing scheduled then my dance card fills. I actually resent my time being taken. I moan and groan at having to set an alarm, get up early and be out at some ungodly hour. I’m talking nine here. Everything is relative.

My first bike was clunky. All of them were back then. The brakes were back pedal, and there were no gears. The chain sometimes fell off, but we were all skilled at getting it back on the silver cogs. It was one of the first bike maintenance things we learned out of necessity. Once in a while, my pant leg got caught in the chain, and it would all be greasy and sometimes torn before I could free it. I had a wire basket on the front and a bell on the handlebars. When I’d hit a big bump, the stuff in the basket would bounce and sometimes even fall out. We’d attach playing cards or baseball cards to the spokes with clothespins, the snap kind, and we weren’t riding bikes anymore. We were riding motorcycles.

“In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.”

December 30, 2013

Monday means breakfast at the diner. My diner is a small place with only 12 or so booths and some stools at the counter. A few regulars were there and the owners are always at the front of the house doing whatever needs to be done. They greet all the regulars and stop at the booths to chat a bit. It wasn’t too busy when I first arrived but all the booths were taken by the time I left.

The morning is cold. Yesterday throughout the day and night we had torrential rain and late last night the wind began to roar. I imagined the pine trees bending and swaying with loud creaks of protest, and when I let Gracie out this morning, I noticed a few branches, smaller ones, had fallen in the backyard. My outside Christmas lights died around 8, and the back dog lights blinked on and off for a long while. For my neighbors’ sake, I kept hoping the lights would stop blinking. They did and the yard went dark. This morning I turned on the timer for the outside lights, and nothing tripped so I guess all is well.

When I was a kid, I didn’t know anyone who traveled during Christmas vacation, and I didn’t know anyone who skied. Both of those would have been far too expensive for our family and for my neighbors. We had sleds and ice skates, and they provided winter amusement. My friends and I would skate at the swamp or on the rink at the park. That rink was put up every winter and taken down in the spring. The small building at the rink had wooden planks for seats, and we’d put our shoes, tied together, underneath the planks. The building was always warmed by a pot-bellied stove. One man worked there, and he was in charge of keeping the stove going. The skating was free, provided for by the town. I’d skate until my feet hurt.

Sometimes my mother would give us bus fare and entrance money for the MDC rink over the line in Medford, the next town. We had to walk up-town to catch the bus as it was really to far to walk. On Saturdays and school vacations, the bus was filled with skaters. The MDC rink had two fenced-in skating circles and a building with lots of seating and a refreshment stand. We’d skate a while then take a break in the warmth of the building then go back outside for more skating. We’d be there most of the day. I remember taking off my skates and how strange my feet felt. It was as if they had forgotten how to walk. We’d buy a hot chocolate then go outside and wait for the bus. I remember standing on the sidewalk and looking down the street hoping to see it coming our way. We were cold and tired and more than ready to go home.

“Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?”

December 10, 2012

Last night it started raining and it has yet to stop. I find rain a bit dismal this time of year as I always think of Christmas as snow time. Maybe it’s the carols that have me hoping for an inch or two or Santa’s sleigh or how pretty the snow looks. I remember looking out the window and seeing snow falling and yelling in excitement for everyone to come and see.

Today I’m bringing you the story of my Christmas tree. I bought it yesterday, and it is beautiful, shorter than usual but just as full. I went to Hart Farm, and that wasn’t easy. You can no longer get there from here. The bridge right before Hart’s is closed for repair so that means going all the way around on Route 28, my least favorite road, but Gracie and I made the trek anyway. Walking among the Christmas trees made it all worthwhile. The smell was wonderful, and I found 2 trees, either of which could grace my living room. The man who works there is a former student, and I asked which of the trees he’d choose. One, he said, would shed its needles quickly but the other would keep them. It was an easy choice; of course, the price was hefty on the second one, but I bought it anyway, and I also bought a centerpiece of boxwood. The tree was put in my trunk and all the way home I had to hear the beep, beep, beep, the incessant beep of my car telling me the trunk was open. Did you notice it was all the way home, the long way.

I got home and tried to get the tree out of the trunk. It was stuck, but I yanked and pulled and got it out, leaned it against the car then decided to attach the new tree stand before bringing the tree inside the house. I bought the new tree stand anticipating a smaller tree. The stand fit but wouldn’t go up the trunk far enough so the tree could have water. Two nubs of branches were in the way. I cursed as I took the stand off and then went down the cellar to get the other tree stand, the stand easy enough for one person to use. I attached the bottom of the stand to the trunk then carried the tree into the house. No, carry is wrong. I lifted and stopped, lifted and stopped because of the weight of the tree. A few times the tree wouldn’t move; I couldn’t lift it. I finally figured out that’s what happens when you step on lower branches. At last the tree made it to the living room. Three low branches were broken, stepped on too many times. I lifted the tree, put in into the stand then moved it around until it was straight. I pushed in the pedal which secures the tree in place then got the funnel with the long tube. That’s new this year. It for watering the tree so I don’t have to crawl on my stomach to give it water. I hid the tube in the branches then sat on the couch to fill the funnel with water when all of a sudden the tree started to lean. I thought it would fall so I grabbed it. The funnel filled with water angled when the tree leaned and spilled water all over the floor and all over me. I cursed, cleaned up the mess and was about ready to turn this tree into a yule log but decided to try again. I went down the cellar to get a dry sweatshirt and the directions for the tree stand. Ah, the directions, why didn’t she get them in the first place. She didn’t get them because she thought she remembered how to use the stand. Wrong!

I lifted the tree out of the stand, pulled out the pedal as directed, held my foot on it, a step I hadn’t done the first time, and then placed the tree back into the stand and moved it until it was straight then I pushed in the pedal. The tree stayed straight and tall. I stopped cursing.

The tree is sitting in the middle of my living room as I have to move a few small pieces of furniture before it can sit in its rightful place then the decorating will begin. I’m betting the finished tree will make everything worthwhile.