Just a Quick Ten Minute Job

There are small jobs.

There are large jobs.

And, in my family, there are the infamous “ten minute” jobs.

“Ten minute” jobs always – always –  morph into something much larger, more time consuming and gigantic than anyone was expecting. A “Ten Minute” job is the one that ends up taking two trips to a hardware store, and finds problems inside of problems. In my family the words “I just need help on a quick ten minute job” have been met with dread and fear.  I’m not sure why any of us even think it’s possible to do a job in ten minutes. I certainly should have known better…

My dad came to my house with a Kaboda equipped with a winch, a rusty cable, a three-hundred pound lead weight and a plan and told me it would just take ten minutes to get the unwanted willow branch onto the ground.

So deceptively small looking. So very heavy.

…I should have known…

We enacted the plan.

And then there was the part where the 300 pound weight went up in the tree and stayed there instead of coming back down so the old rusty cable could start to cut the branch. More weight was added, different angles were tried…

Hours later the plan was working. We might not have been “sawing” the branch off, but we were certainly “sanding” our way through it.

Look at that sawdust fly!

My dad and I are long on stubborn. The branch was going to come down and with a bit of extra rope and planning…

It did.

Down it comes, nice and slow and just in the right spot!

Five and half hours after we started it was all sawed up  and hauled off.

Around here, as I should have known, that’s just your typical “ten minute” job.

The Oak

There are sights I try to capture with my camera, knowing I will end up with nothing more than a scrap of the experience.

Merely a taste of a memory that must be recalled and revisited.

I have not the skills to truly capture the way this old oak rises into view through a break in the trees, towering over everything.
Truly immense in size, it is a tree that demands to be admired.
A tree that stops you in your tracks, forcing you to look up past the animal runways scratched into it’s thickly crevassed bark, up to the branches that twist and turn far, far above.

Then once you tear yourself away to continue on, it is merely to stop, turn back and look upon it from a fresh angle as if you have doubted your senses and need to confirm that it is still standing, still real.DSCN8972-(3sm)

I am happy with my pictures, but they’ll never reproduce that feeling of awe inspired insignificance that standing under this old oak tree can.

A fact that gives me faith that the world is just as it should be.


The Tour – Part 2

The virtual tour continues… (See the The Tour – Part 1 if you missed the beginning.)

If you’ll remember you had just followed Clara through the arch of wisteria (and, crossing my fingers it will take, my clematis) and past the garage.

As you step out from behind the garage you’ll finally see our house.front of houseCute as it is don’t get distracted and keep your wits about you. Clara’s favorite tree is just along the sidewalk and I’m sure by now she’s in position to show you her tricks.Clara in treeMany unsuspecting people (myself included) have gotten bonked in the head by the end of the branch as she jumps off the one she is crouched on and leaps to her right to grab the next branch!  (Yes, the contusions on her face are from her tree climbing adventures how did you guess?!)

If you can manage to avoid any concussions you may get lucky and see one of the few redeeming factors of the plethora of hostas that surround the house.

hummingbird moth

The hummingbird moths love my hostas even if I do not.

I know now that you are finally standing in front of the door you really want to check out the inside but look at Trip-

Trip behind gate

The yard is narrow! See the gate leading out to the woods directly behind Trip?

He is waiting very patiently to meet you!

I’ll even promise to keep him from jumping on you if you promise to keep a secret. Please don’t let him know that a dog who climbs on top of cars and jumps on top of round bales would have no trouble leaping this cute little fence!

Speaking of dogs… what do you think about this spot?

between garage and house

You have now gone through to Trips side of the gate and are looking back at Clara’s favorite tree. It is the mostly leafless one right in the middle on the far side of the sidewalks.

The overhang on the back of the garage is set up as a potting bench and looks to be a perfect area to harden off plants coming out of the greenhouse. On the other hand, it would also make a perfect spot to turn into a dog kennel with a small covered outdoor run and access to the garage. It’s a big decision. If you’ve got any brilliant thoughts let me know!

You’ll have to talk and walk though. Past a few flower beds and across the very small lawn Jane is waiting to show you her new chair and the goldfish in the tiny pond behind her…Jane by fountain

Well, as usual, I don’t have any idea what she said, but she sure had a lot to say!

Now that she’s busy throwing wood chips in the water lets go check out my shady vegetable garden.

vegetable garden

You just chatted with Jane beyond the willow you see on the left side of this photo directly behind the house.

Yeah- I know- tomatoes don’t really ripen so great when they are in shade half the day. I’m thinking of planting grass seed and a much needed clothes line here next year and finding a new spot for the garden.

What do you think?

Clara sitting on bench.

Clara’s bench is right under the large willow that can be seen in the garden picture.

Can I convince you to join Clara and I in the backyard for some planning and dreaming before we move on?back of house with apples

Don’t worry we won’t stay too long, there’s still lots to show you!

(Continued in The Tour – Part 3)

The Tale of the Perfect Little Chicken Coop

Once upon a time a wonderful family built a girl the Perfect Little Chicken Coop for her birthday.

And the girl loved it.

Then the EVIL DOT swooped in leaving a trail of chaos and stress in it’s wake and the girl was forced to move away from her Perfect Little Chicken Coop.

Fortunately, the girl’s family was so wonderful and generous that they offered to move it to her new home for her.

So, they came and they blocked it up high enough to drive a trailer under it.

And the girl looked at it and thought it was a bit bigger than she remembered.

Then the wonderful, generous family put the coop on the trailer and drove it to her new home and there was no doubt about it.

It had grown.DSCN4244-(sm)

As they drove through the neighbors orchard it continued to grow…DSCN4245-(sm)

… and grow!DSCN4250-(sm)

The Little Chicken Coop grew so big that by the time they reached the pine trees a little trimming had to happen…DSCN4261-(sm)

… and then a bit more trimming.DSCN4246-(sm)

But the Quite Large Chicken Coop kept growing until the wonderful, generous, hardworking family was forced to hook it up to the tractor to navigate the tight turn through the trees.DSCN4257-(sm)

And  it was still a very…DSCN4262-(sm0

…tight squeeze!DSCN4263-(sm)

When they were through the pine trees the wonderful, generous, hardworking family rejoiced – but it was too soon.DSCN4264-(sm)

The Little Chicken Coop had become a Giant Enormous Chicken Coop and the wonderful, generous, hardworking and intelligent family had to come up with new ideas to squeeeze the Giant Enormous Chicken Coop down the trail to it’s new home.DSCN4268-(sm)

Finally the The Giant Enormous Chicken Coop reached it’s resting place and began to shrink back to it’s normal size.DSCN4274-(sm)

But it was still a Quite Large Chicken Coop!DSCN4282-(sm)

Inch by inch the wonderful, generous, hardworking, intelligent and patient family lowered the Quite Large Chicken Coop down to the ground.DSCN4283-(sm)

As the coop was slowly lowered to the ground the girl had to leave and take her children to swim lessons. When they returned home, and all ate dinner, and said goodbye and all the little ones were tucked in bed, the girl went out in the dark to look at her chicken coop.

And there at her new house, just where she wanted it was her Perfect Little Chicken Coop.

The End.

While you may be inclined to believe that the above was a fantastical fairy tell let me assure you that it was all true. Except that if you read this to Clara she would point out that it is actually the brooder house. And, while the ducks are going to be temporary tenants, true chickens rarely grace it’s hallowed walls, they have their own perfect coop.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

  The sign says “Start your climb here!”the coon tree

Can you see the path worn in the bark go up the tree, around the back and then come back around just before the first branch?

The burr oak that sports this impressive animals sign stands on my family’s farm and has always been called “the coon tree”.

The tree is awe inspiring on it’s own.  A giant that stands a bit apart from the rest of the trees with bark ridges so big I can cup my hand around them.

As impressive as the tree is, it always boggles my mind a bit when I stand at the bottom and look up the track worn in the side and think how many little clawed feet, whether they were from coons or other animals, have climbed this tree. The track almost always shows signs of fresh wear (you can see not only the browner spots of fresh scratches but the black dirt that runs up the middle) and the path is deep! You can get an idea of just how deep the path is worn if you compare the difference of the height of the bark on the bottom right corner to that of the path.

What sort of animal signs have you run across this week?

It Is Time

It’s that time again, in fact it’s probably past time. The drifts of needles falling to the floor get deeper every day. Half the string of colored lights inexplicably stopped working and the other half has fallen to the floor. The ornaments have made a slow migration to the top half of the tree as they are moved out of the reach of little hands.

Yes, it is time.

The Christmas tree needs to be taken down.DSCN0341-(sm)

But, I never want to take the tree down.

I love our Christmas tree.

It’s not the most beautiful tree. While it is of better shape then many we’ve had in the last few years it still wouldn’t be up to snuff in a Christmas tree lot.

But our tree is extra special.

We planted it ourselves not long after we moved into the house, then on the first snowy day this winter we cut it down and dragged it back through the field to the house.GEDC8035-(2sm)

And then there are the ornaments – oh, the ornaments.

They all tell a story, they all hold a memory.

The girls like to sit and pick out their favorite ornaments and then ask me to tell it’s story.

There are ornaments that were given to me by my Granny that used to hang on her tree. DSCN0305-(2sm)

Old ornaments that always remind me of helping decorating her tree when I was girl.DSCN0350-(sm)

There are ornaments from John and I’s first Christmas together.DSCN0318-(2sm)

Ornaments for first babies ( and second and third).DSCN0331-(2sm)

Ornaments from friends.DSCN0326-(2sm)

And oh so many more, all with their own little story to tell.DSCN0366-(2sm)

This year we added a new story to the tree.

This year was the 100th year that my family (on my Mom’s side to be exact) ate Christmas dinner at the same table together. Five generations of traditions and memories all summed up in one little ornament that will hang on our tree forever.DSCN0302-(2sm) How will I ever get the gumption to take the tree down now?