Geez, where do I begin?
I think I forgot to post a photo of the dying cherry tree I cut down. It seems like ages ago already. It was about a week.
In addition to being a source of firewood (and possibly, furniture making lumber), it was located at a threatening proximity to our rickity salt-box wagon shed. I had nightmares of the tree falling and crushing our only source of wood storage. So I decided to cut it down, which, I hoped would not hasten the falling-down of the tree on said shed. I was some combination of skilled and fortunate and managed to fell the tree precisely where I wanted to. Slightly shocking. But now, here’s the exciting part. After the tree was down, I was cutting the length of it – the dead branches towards what had been the top. And I noticed what looked like an old apple tree under years, maybe even decades, worth of other downed trees, debris, covered with thorns, looking generally sorry. Of course I dug in and cleared it out. As I was doing that, I realized that this tree was generally in line with the 2 apple trees that we already knew we had. When I looked over my left shoulder, I noticed what looked like a 4th tree, and
realized I’d stumbled on what had been some kind of orchard, or at least a nice row of apple trees. I’m not entirely sure why I found that discovery so exciting, but it made me positively giddy. Maybe it’s an indicator of how isolated and nerdy we are that discovering this downtrodden orchard made my day to the degree it did, but I was just elated. I imagined our land, at some future point, with a nice, simple row of heirloom apple trees, somewhat cleaned out, stretching limbs covered with fruit over the foot of the upper pasture. It was a feeling of deep satisfaction and contentment. Maybe I just have a really overactive imagination.
Whilst blithering along on the topic of trees, I made what seems like another discovery, on the east end of the property, sort of below the lower pasture, where the old barn was (this is the building that was torn down long before we got there, and, at least allegedly, converted to a clay tennis court). I was there snooping for deadfall tree limbs that would be nominally dry and burnable. I was walking along a row of Catalpa trees, which I’d seen but not looked at up close. I’ve got this thought, that since there’s a row of the trees, and a stone wall there, that maybe there was a lane there at one point. Looking at google maps, it
seems that there was a house or some structure out that way, so I’m thinking I’ve stumbled on yet another vestigial feature of Owl’s Hoot. Not to mention the fact that these massive trees are pure living sculpture. A Loch Ness tree, I thought, as I stood under a long limb, on a sea of huge fallen leaves. A tree like this one was a favorite climber of mine when I was a boy playing in the yard at my grandparents’ house. White waxy flowers in spring, long bean pods hanging, massive limbs. It turns out the dry, dead wood, also burns very well, and looks shockingly like the rare, ill-fated Chestnut that I love.
That’s enough of wood nerding for today. But I’ve got one other thing I’ve gotta say. Casey covered snowmageddon pretty well, but I’d also like to describe our return home from dinner out the night 12″ of snow fell on our house. You’ve
probably heard about, or experienced the total blanket of snow that knocked out power throughout the notheast and snarled travel, and also made it real beautiful! Anyway, we’re cruising home in the 4WD pickup along Hollow Rd. It’s probably 10.30 pm. Snow’s falling fast and thick, and as we come up the hill to the south of the ‘Hoot, the sky lights
up, bright as day, but with a blue tint, for a full three count. It’s eerie, and shocking. We’re quiet for a split second taking in what’s happening, and another light fills the air. What is it? We’re both talking at once now, confused, and nervous. It’s lightning, I’m saying, A lightning storm, and Casey, at the same time, It’s armageddon!
As we pull up the driveway the lights flicker wildly, and go out. We realize we’ve been seeing huge electrical arcs as high tension wires go down somewhere nearby, and blackness and quiet drop like a blanket over us. Uncanny. Scary. Like a tree falling in the woods that we’ve borne witness to. We’re still here, still kickin’, and sometimes you get to see remarkable things.