I’ve been spending time on the back of a tractor, contemplating all the mysteries…
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…
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.
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?
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
27-ton, chainsaw, chopping wood, family, farm boss, farm chores, farm equipment, farm tools, fireplace, firewood, front-end loader, hydraulic, kubota, laurel oak, log-splitter, nephew, Quercus hemisphaerica, Quercus virginiana, southern live oak, splitting wood, stihl, troy-bilt, winter fire
So, besides the feeling of power and glory, compensation issues really, the main reason that I chainsaw is for firewood.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From there it is just what you would expect. Stack the wood.
Burn the wood. Enjoy the life…
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.
Later on my tractor, working a field, I started thinking about wreaths, the whole who, what, when, and where.
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.
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.
And there you go…
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.
I chop trees up.
I cannot make art.
At least not with my chainsaw…
For me, the high holy season of college football begins this Saturday when my school, my team takes to the field.
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.
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…
Oh well, at least I have an iPhone and a good book, or two, or three.