Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I can scarcely believe the mess that is our front yard. I have posted photos at the bottom, but they don't show the overwhelming mess that is a result of removal of about 8 black locust trees. The trees are essentially scrub-- they have been here the 30 years we have owned the place, and, like poor Yorick*, the years have not been kind to them. One of the problems is where they are, which is adjacent to the power lines as they bend around our corner. We asked the power company to drop them, but since they weren't completely dead, they said no (although they are perfectly willing to take down three maple trees that are maybe twice as far away from the lines, and beautiful, too), so we paid two of their moonlighting crew to take them down. To save money, we agreed that all they needed to do was drop them -- not clean up the branches, trunks, and so forth. It seemed like a good idea then.

But when the branches are 80 feet or so in the air, just the tip top part, it doesn't look like much of a job. But once on the ground, the pile of branches, which still must be cut off at the trunk, and then into manageable pieces, is very daunting. We three worked on it Sunday and got, maybe, a third of it done. All we are doing is piling the branches up; on Friday we rent a chipper and devour the branches, gulp. Meanwhile our neighbor is taking the tree trunks, which he cuts for firewood, needing a lot for his wood-burning furnace. That is an enormous help, and of course he is glad to get locust, a very hard wood that is slow burning. But we have been having a run of poor luck this week, when we planned on getting as a lot done in the evening. First N had an earache, which the doctor diagnoses as a sinus infection. Then C comes down with a virus which keeps him close to the bathroom. Yesterday I chipped a tooth, leaving me with a jagged spike that I constantly probe with my tongue, you know, the way everyone does, (like picking at a scab), so it's me to the dentist today. We now plan to keep the chipper over the weekend so we can chop and chip at the same time, hopefully. The last time we did this kind of heavy physical stuff was 20 years ago, putting in fence, and we can definitely feel the difference. If we had realized how much effort we would have to do, we would have paid anything to get it done for us. The very thought of it all makes me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. I guess like poor Yorick* the years have not been kind to us either.

Meanwhile, the Newf, Maggie, is still semi-paralyzed in the rear end, to the puzzlement of the vet and us. We are assuming she damaged nerves in her right rear leg, or spine, in her fall, and pinched a nerve which is slow to heal. We keep her on a maintenance dose of pain killers, which seems to help a lot. We see her running around now, with a strange little crow hop in her hind legs, and then she will abruptly sit down and pull herself along with her front paws for a few feet, or just sit there, then get back up. Weird, and disturbing. It's hard to see progress one day at a time. Does this sound familiar to any dog lovers out there? Please don't suggest a trolley for her - as I said before, she weighs around 130 ponds. She would chew it to pieces in moments, too. After all, she eats garden hoses left outside like they were tasty -- like licorice, maybe.

So off to start another day.

Today's bumper sticker: "Caution: I swerve to hit cars at random"

* Yorick -- Shakespeare? Hamlet? Never mind.

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