Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Aleve is my friend.

My legs are covered with bruises. I counted at least 40 on each leg. At least I face my assailant: they are all on my ventral side except for one large one on my derrière.

Chipping hundreds of trees and thousands of tree branches is hard but rewarding work. There is a lot more light at Meadowood now, and room for another - dare I say? - small orchard. I'm thinking of fruits AND nuts this time. I'm envisioning a large macadamia tree, and some rare fruits that will be a taste treat at a Farmer's Market someday.

And I have perhaps seven cords of wood that I could sell. First I need to stack it into the neat little piles, 4 x 4 x 8, and it needs to cure a while. But I'm not selling the madrone wood - it's wonderful for fires and cooking. We didn't take down many madrones, but there was one large one that had fallen, and several that had died. PERSONALLY, although they're lovely, I'm not that crazy about madrones because in a bad storm the large ones can go down VERY unpredictably, but everyone I know thinks they're just fabulous. One of the largest ones on the property went down one night after weeks of rain, it sits there still while I contemplate what I might be able to do with it (floor planks?), and I'll never forget the sound it made when it fell, taking out two redwoods in its path. Its roots are LAME for a tree that big, reminiscent of a palm tree, why is that?

My right wrist is damaged from two days of handling my chainsaw (which has a new chain - the man at the Aptos Tool Crib was kind enough to show me EXACTLY how to replace it - and cuts beautifully). So I'm on the injured reserve list now.

I put the roof on the shower (well, it's not perfect because by then my right wrist hurt), and started the new sweater. I avoided using either the chainsaw OR the chipper without another person present. Because if you scream in the middle of the forest and there's nobody to hear you.... you don't make a sound. No philosophizing required.

I slept on the dance floor every night, and there were always shooting stars - even one morning after dawn, I saw a very large, bright one flash across the eastern sky. It was breathtaking - I've never seen one in the morning before.

My husband and boys returned from their family reunion, dirty and rested. The kids act like small, unruly animals after being with their pack of cousins. But they are SAFE. I am relieved and grateful.

While I was gone I received the results of the soil tests. Sunnyvale soil contains too much salt (I already knew this - this house is too close to the baylands to be unscathed - but now I have it and the requisite amendments on paper) and needs iron; Meadowood, surprisingly, is lacking in some trace elements and iron. Perhaps today the Demolition Team and I will make it to the store to buy some amendments.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A week to myself

What would you do with a week all to yourself?

That is what I have once per year, when my husband takes the kids to his annual family reunion in Pend Oreille, Idaho. I think I attended this for about 7 years, but honestly I'd rather be working at Meadowood in August if I have one free week.

I drove them to the airport yesterday afternoon. I have until the 12th at 1:30pm.

So I spent a short time at Home Depot yesterday, where a very helpful woman loaded me up with the appropriate solvent and gloves to take about 30 years of adhesives off the beautiful tongue-in-groove oak in the foyer in the Sunnyvale house (I removed the 30+ year old tiles in December; the rest of the job has awaited me). I then spent 3-1/2 hours applying solvent, waiting, scraping, mopping, and ultimately using a 1/2" chisel to take off the layers of goo. My right hand was practically shaking when I was done (I tried switching hands, but alas I am surely right dominant, and tended to divot the oak when using my left), but the floor is ready for The Sander (which I will have to borrow from my neighbor in Aptos).

Last night I met a friend at a restaurant, which is the only way I can stop myself from becoming a perfectionist and removing every visible scrap of glue and trashing my wrist for the next week. She will come over and talk to Atticus, our beautiful, social white cat, while I'm gone.

This morning I did my breathing and a little yoga to help unstick my shoulders after last night's scraping orgy, made a huge batch of chai, watered the front yard and baby plants (I'm accumulating plants awaiting a place to live until I get my soil test results back from Timberleaf labs - which should be in another week or so - as I know I need amendments, but don't know which ones, both in Sunnyvale and at Meadowood). I now have a THREE-POUND LOAF of bread on the rise - one of those spiteful recipes that shows a beautiful, round, artisan loaf, and midway through the recipe has the statement, "resist the urge to add more flour". This means that it is a STICKY, GOOEY MESS all over my hands, implements and board, and I once would be near tears when faced with this. But since yoga and since knowing and baking bread with Peter Beckman, I now simply ask, "What would Peter do?" Which drove me to dumping the whole sticky mess into the KitchenAid mixer and adding as much flour as needed to get it to start showing signs of stringy bonds. I will not be undone by a lump of bread dough.

I have promised to read fairy stories to three little neighbor girls while I'm there, so must pack all my fairy gear. I will include a photo of my fairyness when I get the chance to download.

Now I need to figure out how to get my black lab (Sadie), clothes for a week, food for a week, knitting projects, books on homeschooling, fairy wings (four feet long), and fairy dress into my little blue Mazda Protege hatchback (it's small - my cars get 25mpg or I don't buy them). Something will have to stay. Since I can't leave Sadie here (she would be so sad and so hot) and she takes up the entire hatchback, it will be an exercise in stuffing. I suspect it will be the food (they DO sell food in Aptos, after all). Of course, I'll bring my chai and bread :-).

Oh, my plans, yes, I nearly forgot: tree work. A friend who is a professional tree man will be walking the property with me on Monday to show me which trees I'll need to thin; I'll be hiring a handyman for three days to help me buck up fallen trees on the property (I think there were seven at last count); one day a friend and I will be installing gates for the citrus garden, stone fruit garden, and vineyard; I will fertilize all of my baby citrus trees; and clear fairy circles. If I get half the chance, I'll finish the new roof on the outdoor shower (I just need to cut all the roof braces and nail up the currogated, transparent sheeting). I will do yoga every day to help my shoulders out. I will begin a beautiful new shawl design, which I now have the beads for. I might start on a man's sweater. I'll read fairy stories to little girls. I'll load up the bookshelves with paper and homeschool books. I will borrow showers from friends, and sleep every night on the dance floor.

And I promise to SIP my wine :-).