"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lost in Translation

I've tried to tell the red squirrels that visit my bird feeder that it's called a "BIRD" feeder for a reason.

 Really, Squirrel, it's no wonder why the feeder is empty so often and you have to dive for sunflower seeds.

Yes, I'll refill it soon.

You're welcome.   (Sigh.)

That pretty Pine Grosbeak lady is waiting patiently for her turn.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Tossing Off the Winter Duvet

 Not long ago, I was lying in bed reading when I heard a loud roar.   That I heard something in this quite sound-proof house was amazing.  I figured it was one of the passenger jets flying over the mountains behind my house, on approach to the airport in Anchorage.

Or a bunch of Harleys.    Or a truck using its jake brake.   Or the beginning audio part of an earthquake.

Not once did I think of how the mountains throw off their winter snow mantles.   Not once.   So, when various neighbors asked me if I"d "HEARD THAT AVALANCHE!!! (delivered with the wide eyes of someone who'd experienced something awesome), it took me a while to put that loud noise together with their descriptions of how they were awakened by THAT AVALANCHE.

We're used to avalanches around here.   In the spring, especially, when warm temperatures and mountains touched by sunlight start shedding.  They are quite entertaining and leave amazing patterns in the discarded snow.

These three photos are of a mountain along the Hope Road.

Now that the mountains are greening-up with summer, the path of THAT AVALANCHE is even more impressive, because THAT AVALANCHE was not only snow.   It scraped vegetation off the rock body of the mountain, wrenched shrubs and trees out by their roots, and piled them all up at the mountain's base.  It essentially denuded the path it took.

No wonder it woke everyone up.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Jesus and the Firewood

Moose don’t eat spruce.   The only interaction between moose and a spruce is during hunting season when a moose with a 60-inch rack steps behind a spruce and disappears into a black hole, never to be seen again until hunting season is over and it strolls casually through your yard.

Nor do moose eat hemlock.   Or those things we call cottonwood but are really balsam poplar.

Moose do like birch.   And willow.   Also any ornamental trees or bushes you’ve planted, the flowers and the vegetables growing in your garden, as well as any Jack-o-Lanterns you’ve set outside.

But not spruce.  So, in its wisdom, the US Forest Service decided to welcome more moose into the area by clearing a large swath of land not far from where I live.   The spruce and hemlock and many of the cottonwoods were all but clear-cut.    A bunch of birch were cut, too, but many were left to propagate little birches which the moose really like, all in the interests of enhancing moose habitat.

Not many spruce were left.   Just a few, and those were skinny enough that no hunting season black holes could lurk behind them.

All this chopping down of trees resulted in gazillions of tree trunks, shorn of their branches, all laid side by side in nice decks where you can drive your truck right up to them and cut them into rounds with your handy Stihl 024 Wood Boss chainsaw. Which is what I was doing yesterday and today.

One of many decks.


But yesterday is what I want to tell you about.

In between rain showers, and sometimes during them, I cut round after round of spruce and birch and loaded them into the back of my mid-sized, short-bed pickup.  By the time I’d half-filled the bed of the truck, I was once again having one of those when-are-you-going-to-start-acting-your-age conversations with myself.  This was accompanied by heavy breathing of the exhausted kind, bottles of water, and leaning on the tailgate, all while surveying the pile of cut rounds that needed to be lifted into the truck, which by now seemed to me to be getting higher and higher off the ground as the rounds of wood lay on the ground gaining weight by the second.

A truck full of firewood passed me, and we exchanged waves.   It stopped about 50 feet away and two guys got out.

About what I'd accomplished before the miracle struck.

“Would you like us to help load your truck?” one of them asked.  I looked at all that heavy birch at my feet and said, “YES!   Really?”  I figured they’d pick up all the rounds I’d already cut, but NO!   One man went back to his truck and grabbed his chain saw.

Then, one man cutting, and the other loading my truck, they proceeded to make sure I had a full load.  I was really grateful.   So were my back, my hands, and my shoulders.

When Hill and Micah finished the job.

As we stood around shaking hands and introducing ourselves, the older of the two, Hill, said, “You know Jesus loves you, don’t you?”

Man, I figured if that’s what nudged these two Good Samaritans to stop and help out an  old woman, then by golly, He must.   “I saw you here and figured if I helped you out a bit, I could say that,” said Hill.

Hill and Micah, the younger guy, got in their truck and drove off.   I stood there thinking about what Hill had said, how expressions of belief and “Jesus loves you” and even "Merry Christmas" have become almost non-PC these days.  Myself, I figure religion is a personal subject and I choose not to discuss it.

Hill and Micah

But who am I to argue about Hill and Micah filling up my truck with firewood, and why they did so.? Far as I’m concerned, Jesus loves them.

And so do I.

Home and in the woodlot.

This is a truck that left before Jesus nudged Hill and Micah to help me.   It has nothing to do with my story.   I just thought it was funny.

Pretty sure he got into the truck once they got off this bumpy dirt road.