Poor Thing


Ah, the end of the holidays, Always a bit of a letdown. Always a bit sad. The lights come down. The decorations get boxed. The colorful paper gets recycled. And the tree gets tossed out onto the lawn.

Usually we cut our own tree. The tradition, several years old now, has been to cut a tree from a nearby tree farm the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We have found a tree at more than one local tree farm and it has always been a memorable experience. A couple of years ago, for example, it was warm enough that my son wore shorts. To cut a Christmas tree. No one-horse open sleigh hauling the tree out of the woods for us. Memorable.

This year we went away right after Thanksgiving. To Florida of all places. Because we were spending several days in the Sunshine State we would be spending fewer days in front of the Christmas tree at home. My wife insisted that this meant we had fewer days to celebrate. So we got a tree before Thanksgiving. The tree farms were not ready for us that early, but they had them at the hardware store. We all hopped in the van and picked one out together. We did not need to bring a saw. The tree came from a local tree farm. We stuffed it into the back of the van and drove it home. Memorable.

Today the tree lies, still in its stand, on the frozen lawn. Now, typically it would find a home in the brush pile over in the strip of woods to the north of the house. And it will find a home there. Eventually. Needles were falling off it so readily, however, that my wife carried it as carefully as she could to the porch before giving it a heave. More needles fell off when it hit the frozen lawn. We have never had a tree shed needles like that. We filled a paper grocery bag with those needles. Dry summer I guess.

I know I should move the poor thing. There isn’t much dignity in bringing so much light and joy to a household and then lying naked in the cold, waiting for some decent soul to give you a purpose again, say, maybe, as a home for mice or chickadees. I will get to it. Honestly, I just don’t think of it. I go out to look at the moon and I think “I really need to haul that puppy off to the brush pile.” But it is cold and I need some gloves and then I go inside to drink tea and I forget about it again. Not very grateful, I know.

We have a long weekend coming up. Maybe I will get to it then. Unless I forget. Again. Maybe I just need to make a point to go out and look at the moon more often. That would do it. Win win as they say. Win win.

Trimming the Trees

Yesterday my wife mowed the lawn.  That was a bit of a messy task, given how wet the lawn has been.  She left tire tracks all over the place.  But it had to be done.  It is raining again as I write this.  The amusing bit, however, was when she tried to mow under the silver maple tree.  We have this beautiful tree, maybe 25 years old, and it grows, like all silver maples, faster than most trees.  The branches have been hanging lower and lower, some of them almost reaching the ground.  The mower has taken a wider and wider path around the tree.  It just gets too scratchy trying to blast through the low branches.  So I took some action.

I started yesterday, clipping the lowest branches.  I had a good pile of branches going before I quit.  Today I busted out a ladder and finished the job.  Well, I finished the trimming part.  I had a big honking pile of brush by the time I was done, and my son was having a blast playing in it.  He has the peddle ride on tractor and he started by hauling the branches into the woods.  He got tired of that after, I don’t know, one load, and then just romped in the leaves and sticks.  He sat neck deep next to his “crashed” tractor.  He wanted to have a picnic in the pile.  I got him a cup of pretzels.

Later, once the sun had dried things a little, I started in on the endless house painting project.  One corner of the house has some lovely lilac and pine trees surrounding it.  It looks nice but it was a bear trying to move around them.  So I busted out the saw.  I have been meaning to prune these anyway.  Last winter we would be kept awake by the pines scraping the side of the house whenever it got windy enough.  Those wily branches needed to go.  I lopped and sawed and now I’ve got some room to work.

I had one other issue, however.   We had two bushes on the south side of the house, the same one I am trying to get painted first.  One of them succumbed to what we think was some kind of fungus.  I cut that puppy down in the spring.  The other one is now kicking the bucket and I need to cut it down before it gets too far gone.  It right in front of a window I need to get at.  The problem is that is it an evergreen with needles.  When the needles are green, they are smooth and soft.  When they get dry and brown, each tiny needle is just that–a needle.  Those babies are so sharp and so persistent they make me just about cry.  Getting one of those in a shoe is painful I tell you.

I started in on this bush but I had to be careful.  I was wearing shorts and Crocs, of all things.  This was fine for scraping and sanding, but not so fine for cutting back the needle bush.  I did manage to cut enough that I can now maneuver at the window.  Of course, the thing looks truly wretched now–a hacked and mangled, jagged, green and brown protrusion.  Now I really need to get that thing out of there.

Since it is raining again, I won’t be able to sand first thing tomorrow.  Looks like I’ll need to slide into some pants, put on my heavy jacket, don the gloves and goggles, and have at that bush.  It’s tough, but I’ll show it the what for.  I’ll make sure to wear some better shoes.

Three Things

1. We just got back from Connecticut this afternoon.  We headed down Friday for a family visit.  We celebrated Mother’s Day with my mother.  My mom is pretty awesome.  Not everyone can say that so I am lucky.  I didn’t give my spouse much of a Mother’s Day.  She misses her own mother in this day.  As do I.

2. We finally mowed the lawn this afternoon, when we got back.  It was too long and too wet but it had to be done.  Mowing the lawn.  What a drag.  It is nice to have a lawn but I keep having dreams of beautiful walking gardens with flowers and herbs.  One of these days I will get on that.  Shady bowers and scintillating scents and reading spots and peaceful corners.  That is what I’m talking about.

3. It was almost hot a couple of days ago.  When we stepped out of the car down the road to get gas (we were afraid we might not make it the two more miles to home, that is how low we were) we shrieked with chilliness.  It was in the 40’s.  Tonight it will get close to freezing.  Two of the three peppers I planted finally sprouted.  They won’t go in the ground for a couple of weeks.  If we are lucky we will get no more frost.