Spring Done Sprung…

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last sunset...

that last sunset…

Perhaps, I should say, spring sprunged.  My youngest returns back to his boarding school later today, and in Savannah my oldest returns back to the college grind today, which all means that today at Totem Hall we return to life as empty nesters today, not a bad life mind you, but a life nevertheless…

Due to Technical Difficulties…

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new boss meets the old boss...

new boss meets the old boss…

In case you were wondering where I might have been all these days, well, did you know that on older MacBooks the video card attaches to the motherboard and that when the video card goes bad, the motherboard though still good is now worthless? Yep, I did not know that either, though I have since found out about this and much other arcane trivia regarding both my now old and now new computers.

meet the new boss...

meet the new boss…

same as the old boss...

same as the old boss…

To be honest, the Gentleman Farmer does few things well and computers are not one of them. Slowly, but surely, while my face basks in the glow of computer light, I am making friends with the newest addition and expense to Totem Hall.

Somewhere, someone promises improved productivity and instant enlightenment, right?

I just noticed the blurry image of my old and now very defunct computer, which is somewhat apropos, no?

just because it's spring and I love apple blossoms...

just because it’s spring and I love apple blossoms…

Gosh…

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Not long ago, I looked up from whatever little task I had at hand and realized there were no flowers blooming here at Totem Hall, anywhere, anyhow.

christmas camellia...

christmas camellia…

That is so unusual, since we have an abundant blessing of blooms year round, which of course I absolutely love, since it gives me a reason to go outside, and make my picks of the day.  I blame November.  There was a brutish cold snap followed immediately by a deluge of biblical proportions and then another bit of nasty cold weather.

fried egg flower...

fried egg flower…

Those absurdly sweet harbingers of winter flowers, the Romneya, Tree Poppies, or Matilija Poppy, and the Camellia Sasanqua, the Christmas Camellia, the Yuletide Camellia, said “see ya, outta here, done”.

or yuletide camellia..

or yuletide camellia..

or matilija poppy...

or matilija poppy…

And so we were, that is until Christmas Day, when miracle of miracles the Camellia Japonicas, which had been promising, burst forth in all their single, semi-double, irregular semi-double, formal double, elegans, and informal double glory. Spectacular stuff, kid you not, simply one of the best Christmas presents ever.

camellia japonica #7

camellia japonica…

camellia japonica #4

more camellia japonica…

camellia japonica #8

camellia japonica once again…

camellia japonica #5

penultimate camellia japonica…

camellia japonica #1

the final camellia japonica

Now as I type this out, Winter Storm Gorgon has come and is now slowly leaving the scene.  Before I go any further, can I ask when we started naming winter weather patterns, honestly, what is up with that?  Is this a Weather Channel conspiracy, a new way for marketers and t-shirt makers to sell “I survived Gorgon” kitsch?

Anyway, the damage to my precious winter blooms was extensive, all the flowers freezer burned, and, as for the buds, time will tell.  Thankfully, the camellia is a hearty plant and our winters mild, so I fully expect to enjoy bringing flowers into the home sometime later this winter.

Firewood…

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So, besides the feeling of power and glory, compensation issues really, the main reason that I chainsaw is for firewood.

laurel oak...

laurel oak…

On the ground is a Laurel Oak (Quercus hemisphaerica) that we took down because it was growing too close to a Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana).  Don’t you just love the Quercus rolls off the tongue?  Go ahead say it really fast three times over.

rounds...

rounds…

After the initial felling, the main trunk is broken down into smaller sections known as rounds, using the Stihl Farm Boss, which I referenced in an earlier post.

loaded...

loaded…

I tractor up and use my front end loader to move the rounds from the tree site to the well house shed where I can split the wood.

setting up shop...

setting up shop with my nephew…

Now, I used to split wood using wedges, hatchets, axes, and mallets, but that was before my enlightenment.  At the shed, out comes one of my favorite boy toys, the Troy-Bilt 27-ton hydraulic log splitter, and a complete exercise in brute power,strength, and dominance.

my nephew experiencing the joy of pure hydraulic power...

my nephew experiencing the joy of pure hydraulic power…

From there it is just what you would expect.  Stack the wood.

stacked and ready to go...

stacked and ready to go…

Burn the wood. Enjoy the life…

the end result...

the end result…

From the Old English writha…

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harvest wreath...

harvest wreath…

I came back from the Woodberry Parents Weekend to find the front door of Totem Hall all decked out with a brand new wreath, courtesy of my mother in law, celebrating the best of fall.

one view up close...

one view up close…

Later on my tractor, working a field, I started thinking about wreaths, the whole who, what, when, and where.

another view up close...

another view up close…

So I turned to Wikipedia; I mean, after all, who doesn’t? Did you know that wreaths appeared during the Etruscan era, worn as crowns? After that, the Greeks and Romans appropriated the wreath concept, wearing them to celebrate, for instance, Olympic achievement, or to designate wealth and power.

wise old owl up close...

wise old owl up close…

Of course, wreaths on the head are all good and wonderful, but how does one get from the dome to the door? Well, by way of Wikipedia, one again turns to the ancient Greeks. It turns out the Greeks enjoyed hanging a harvest wreath by their door, just like mine.

one more look...

one more look…

before you come on in...

before you come on in…

And there you go…

Totem This & Totem That…

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farm boss...

farm boss…

I like my chainsaws.

I like the power.

I like the danger.

I like the dirt.

I like the sawdust.

I use them.

I use them a lot.

I chop trees down.

chop down...

chop down…

I chop trees up.

chop up...

chop up…

But

I cannot make art.

white-tailed deer totem helping to support totem hall...

white-tailed deer totem helping to support totem hall…

gopher tortoise totem helping to support totem hall...

gopher tortoise totem helping to support totem hall…

florida panther totem helping to support totem hall...

florida panther totem helping to support totem hall…

eastern diamondback rattlesnake helping to support totem hall...

eastern diamondback rattlesnake totem helping to support totem hall…

At least not with my chainsaw…

Football

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For me, the high holy season of college football begins this Saturday when my school, my team takes to the field.

started young...

me and uga one…

It is an acquired taste, not for everyone, though very important in my part of the world.

We start young, us southern boys, playing and dreaming as long and as far as our playing and dreaming will take us.

Throw in the generations of family men who played and dreamed before and will play and dream to come.

Mix in the atmosphere, the pageantry, the tastes, smells, drinks, sights and sounds.

Add the excitement, the energy, the contact, controlled violence.

Then you can see why it is in the blood.  Then you can see why it is who we are.

Flat

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As in, flat on my back, as in back pain, as in immobile, as in how the heck does this happen when making a bed, for God’s sake…

view from a bed, flat on my back...

view from a bed, flat on my back…

another view from my bed, flat on my back...

another view from a bed, flat on my back…

a final view from a bed, flat on my back...

a final view from a bed, flat on my back…

Oh well, at least I have an iPhone and a good book, or two, or three.

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Moving On…

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Our oldest made his return to college Saturday. This was not our first fond farewell, having over the years sent him off to summer camps, boarding school, and the first year of college, but somehow yesterday was different, he was moving into his own home, well, own home with four other roommates.

folding sheets for the first and last time...

folding sheets for the first and last time…

boxed up and ready to go...

boxed up and ready to go…

The whole process was most entertaining and it brought back a flood of memories.

i'll just stuff this...

i’ll just stuff this in…

it doesn't take me long to pack...

it doesn’t take me long to pack…

To begin with, all our carefully thought out plans fell by the wayside. The big Dodge 2500 is still in the shop. She was going to be the workhorse of the move. So, you say, no problem, I am sure you have a Plan B. Well good old Plan B did not work out either. Since my son’s Pathfinder did not have wiring for the trailer lights, there was no U-Haul for us, not rentable. Surely, we can use one of the open-air trailers here at Totem Hall, right? Ooh, too bad, the Lexus, choice three, with tow package and harness, is no good, faulty wiring.

The end result: ah, stuff it in the back of the Nissan.

packed in the back...

packed in the back…

packed on the side...

packed on the side…

packed on the other side...

packed on the other side…

and packed in the front...

and packed in the front…

He is definitely my son.

How crazy time is, really. We move through it, try our best to hold on to it, swimming upstream, you know.

bye moms, bye poodle...

bye moms, bye poodle…

Was it just the other day that I was making my own moves, possessions stuffed into a trash bag, or two? Or how about renting the first moving truck, enlisting a couple of friends with offers of beer and lunch, forgetting to tie down everything in back.

bye totem hall...

bye totem hall…

Then came children, just the births alone seem long ago, though, in the grandness of time, not too far away, remembered, just not able to be captured again, the first words, the first walk, off to school, off to university.

bye son, fare thee well...

bye son, fare thee well…

Life is such a funny game…

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