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…

It’s A Sporting Life (1st of a Series)

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Have I ever mentioned that my plan is to live 120 years, just like Moses and twice as corny?

coming after you, big guy...

coming after you, big guy…

Well, in my mind, to do that I got to keep in shape.  No, really, I do.  Heck, for that matter, you do too.  I mean, wouldn’t it be fun if we all lived to be 120, together, rocking through the ages, still with our teeth, our senses, and, of course, our continence?

just like these guys, only different...

just like these beloveds, only different…

Okay, so, this is my plan.  Each day, in fact each and every day, at the least, I do a set of calisthenics.  This year, to date, I have done 30,590 pushups and 30,590 sit-ups.

bracing for the pushup...

bracing for the pushup…

bracing for the situp...

bracing for the situp…

How did I get there you ask.  Well, I started out on January 1, by doing 10 of each.  Over the next two days following, I did 20 apiece.  From January 4 through January 6, I completed sets of 30, and, well, I’m guessing you can see the pattern.

view from a pushup...

view from a pushup…

view from a situp...

view from a situp…

Of course, the deeper question is why.  For that I have no answer, other than there is great joy to be found in rhythm, routine, number counting, and living to be 120.

Stuff of Dreams, Stuff of Boys…

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Do you ever think that life shows you, gives you, just what need, when you need it, as you need it?

stuff of boys, stuff of dreams...

stuff of boys, stuff of dreams…

Case in point, entering every day into the world of gentleman farming at Totem Hall, I pass a little corner in my home.  Until yesterday, I never paid it any mind.  It was just stuff.  But for some reason, for some reason, yesterday was different; I sat down and, as if for the first time, I saw the stuff of dreams, stuff of boys…

gotcha...

gotcha…

Blessed, our family has always lived surrounded by nature.  Nature has all sorts of bugs, butterflies, tadpoles, and baitfish that need catching by young boys.

boys and bows and arrows...

boys and bows and arrows…

My two sons and I like to hunt and fish.  After summer camp one year, one of the little rascals, maybe both got the idea of bow hunting and fishing.  So we bought an archery set.  Now the only thing left is the bow, the arrows are long gone.

walking and talking...

walking and talking…

I take long walks on our land.  Because of the possibility of running across a rattlesnake or water moccasin, just about all the time I’ll carry a stick with me.  For me, it’s better than a machete, which is too close quarter.

get up and fly, dagnabbit...

get up and fly, dagnabbit…

My part of the world has quail.  Sometimes even if your dog sets and holds, the bird might be a bit reluctant to get up and fly.  The boys use this strap to beat the bushes in hopes of getting the bird to move along.

full count...

spring sports…

Both the lacrosse stick and baseball bat are relics of the past.  My oldest son earned a varsity letter playing lacrosse at Avon Old Farms School.  My youngest tried baseball when he was much younger, maybe not even ten, in the end deciding the sport was too slow for him.

I did not even talk about golf, or tennis, or squash, whose tools of the trade you can see in several of the pictures.  And there is no way I can possibly describe how much fun I had teaching and then getting bested by my two, just a great way for me to grow up and stay young at the same time.

all gone now...

all gone now…

Okay, I staged this scene, but still, why not a bit of poetical license, after all we are all adults here.  The oldest is off to college in Savannah by the end of the weekend, moving into a home with four other roommates.  God help the poor landlord.  Then our youngest son leaves for Virginia and the start of his boarding school career next week.

Time moves along downstream like a river, always present, always changing, always there, never there…

Three Weeks Is Enough!

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Time to shave.

enough...

touch of grey…

I don’t care whether you’re a boy or a girl, whether it’s a face or a pair of legs, shaving is a chore.

Of course, there are the tools of the trade.

I only break out the Braun when the beard gets thick.

charged and waiting...

charged and waiting…

I have no idea who gave me the brush and no one at Totem Hall is complaining about a missing soufflé dish.

just add soap...

just add soap…

We shop at a local organic co-op and though this stuff by Everyman Jack isn’t organic, it’s sold there, which should count for something.  Right?

politically correct...

politically correct…

I found this vintage Merkur safety razor with its handy dandy vintage case and just had to have it.  I use this bad boy first; you got to love and respect the old school.

men only...

men only…

The first razor I ever bought with my own money from my own job, the Gillette Atra; it is the finisher.  Enough said!

my first...

my first…

Now, beard done, and it’s time to move on to eyebrow, ear, nose, and back hair, no pictures, oh, the joy of aging…

 

Stalled…

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blissfully unaware...

blissfully unaware…

I had big plans for the day, which really were no plans, perhaps do some fishing, get my sailboat out, chase a golf ball, float in the pool. Instead, as the heat index reached 100 (that’s about 38 degrees for my Celsius friends), I found myself shoveling dirt in a horse stall.

the problem...

the problem…

With our farrier making his monthly, bimonthly, six-weekly, visit tomorrow, I found myself under the gun to get the main run-in stall back in decent enough repair that I could hold reins and not be terribly embarrassed by the condition of the barn.

You see, the flies this time of year bother my boys terribly. Hell, wouldn’t you be? The damn flies bother me terribly too, but I least I can scoot into blessed air conditioning when the going gets too tough. No such luck for the horses, so what they do is paw up dust to keep the bugs away. Paw enough when you’re big enough and soon enough there’s a mighty fine hole in the ground and a mighty fine weekend of plans of doing nothing much goes bye-bye.

on the mower...

on the mower…

through the woods...

through the woods…

barn dirt...

future barn dirt…

loaded up...

loaded up…

dropped off...

dropped off…

shoveled out...

shoveled out…

the end result, one stall, one side...

the end result, one stall, one side…

collateral damage...

collateral damage…

Bear with me, just a few more comments.  The whole job would have been easier with a backhoe, instead of the front-end loader, but I am too cheap to buy one, and have no place to store it if I did own one. It is amazing how tight a barn stall can get, especially when you’re on top of a tractor. Things might have been easier if I had taken off the mower deck, too lazy, too hot, too bothered…

 

 

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