Halfmoon's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
saving-10-years
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:06 pm

What a lovely gift (you know your man). Thanks for sharing and hopeful that thing settle down soon for your DH's infection now they know what it is.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:35 pm

Jason wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:07 am
Well that's the bee's knees right there.
Jason, 'the bee's knees' was one of my favorite expressions even before I could actually see their knees up close for myself. :)
saving-10-years wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:06 pm
What a lovely gift (you know your man).
Years ago, I read this quote attributed to the Talmud:

Every blade of grass, every flower has its angel that bends over it and whispers, 'Grow, grow.'

I immediately thought of DH, who nurtures insects, plants and animals alike. I never used to have feelings for plants or bugs, but he's infected me to the point that I help him re-home volunteer trees and rescue spiders (former phobia) from the house to release them outside. In the winter, DH often urges me to leave them inside because 'it's COLD out!' Sometimes a wife has to draw the line. :roll:

Jason
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Jason » Fri Aug 25, 2017 5:10 am

I don't know about your guy, but if I came out of a life threatening situation like that, there's no point giving me all those bees if they are not followed up with some jays.

Jason
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Jason » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:25 am

I'm one of these internet assholes who, when everything is understood correctly, uses the "b" word as a term of affection towards women I dig. It's a passive aggressive thing I guess. So I'm just wondering where this "b" is at.

DutchGirl
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:20 pm

I'm wondering, too. Hopefully everyone's okay and life just has been busy.

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FBeyer
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by FBeyer » Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:02 am

Jason wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:25 am
... the "b" word...
Bee? As in Bee's knees?

Jason
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Jason » Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:10 am

Yes, but with yotch at the end.

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FBeyer
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by FBeyer » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:19 am

Jason wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:10 am
Yes, but with yotch at the end.
I find you surprisingly "Ghetto" for a Christian in his early fifties. 'time to revisit my prejudices.

Jason
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Jason » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:08 am

And for the record, although I admit to being one of those typical middle aged white guys who thinks he can get away with it because he thinks "The Wire" is the greatest television show in history and/or he compliments his wife's cooking by saying "um, girl, you can burn" and/or that he spent last summer dedicating himself to the study of African American History and/or he would throw all three persons of the trinity out his fuckin window if Serena Williams walked backwards into his room right now, my hood pass was earned and is still honored where accepted.

And Halfmoon, I apologize for jacking your thread. I often forget where I am.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:51 pm

So life goes on. I've wanted to update here for awhile, but I haven't even been lurking because I'm sort of frozen. What a delight to see that some of my favorite people posted on my journal!

Quick current events: DH isn't really getting better, and scary things are on the horizon. There's been a death in my family that threw family members' finances in chaos, and they've turned to me to sort it out. A problematic tenant moved out of our rental property, and we invested a lot of $$/energy in fixing it up and renting it back out (all good now).

Stock market is absolutely scary.

Back to the past, where things are certain. ;)

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:41 pm

THE RETIREMENT YEARS

HIGH TIMES:

**Prepare for some (imho) pretty cool photo subjects marred by epically bad photo quality. Still working through the 90’s point-and-shoot-in-a-hurry film camera stuff. Taking good photos is a little like planting trees. There’s no going back; only forward.

We never cut trees lightly, and especially not massive old ones. This was a ponderosa pine whose trunk had grown in a curve ominously leaning toward our tower, and it was also showing signs of rot. Every time the wind howled down through our narrow mountain valley, the pine would sway and creak. We hated to cut it, but this one was right on the edge.

I love this image, even though it’s taped together (literally) from two photos that strangely have different exposures. Disregard that and look at the scale of the tree as compared to the shop. This was taken after DH had removed the top maybe 15% of the tree. Because I fail, I never took a photo of the entire tree before he started cutting.

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After mentally absorbing the height of the tree, look at the chopped-off top. That dark little blob is DH! Here’s how it worked:

First, DH strapped tree climbing spurs to his ankles. These were on loan from friends who worked as phone company contractors. They’re effective but extremely sharp and dangerous (the spurs, not the friends); a misstep can open your artery. DH shrugged that off, of course.

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Next, DH attached a rope, cable, chain and pulley to his belt. The rope was for pulling up supplies, including a small chainsaw. The cable with chain and pulley was for attaching to the tree-top so I could pull each section down as he cut it. The idea (hope) was that I could pull the sections away from his perch as he cut so they wouldn’t knock him out of the tree. I’ll just remove all the drama and say that the idea worked. That doesn’t make it sensible. :evil:

With the help of the climbing spikes, DH slowly ascended the tree. When he reached the top (my freakin’ KINGDOM for a photo of the top), he tied himself off and then lowered the rope. I attached the chainsaw. The saw was a small Homelite we’d bought for log notching and treetop work; every other saw we owned was a Stihl brand (because German and good). DH pulled that Homelite up the whole length of the tree, cranked it up, and…nothing. It wouldn’t start. After a bit of colorful language, he dropped it back down and demanded his smallest Stihl. He subsequently gave away the Homelite. There’s really no substitute for a tool that performs when you need it.

DH took the tree down in sections about 4 feet at a time, until a 20-foot trunk remained for woodpecker habitat. When he was done, he pretty much collapsed at the foot of the tree. He’d spent 6 hours climbing and cutting it.

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I love the part here where he's cutting below the trunk he's leaning on. I think I saw this on YouTube. :lol:

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In an unrelated escapade, DH is cutting diseased branches from a larch tree an an attempt to save it. He did this with so many trees and saved maybe 50% of them.

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Just so no one thinks I’m a complete wimp, here are a couple of photos of me staining the tower while suspended from a rope attached to a pulley. DH stood on the ground and pulled me up and down as needed. I didn’t quite finish the job because DH developed a hernia and had to have surgery! Seriously.

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saving-10-years
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:20 am

Gosh. First welcome back. You have been missed. Glad you have the rental stuff sorted and thank you - will all other things going on - for dropping by to make our jaws drop once more. No problem (for me) with the 'epically bad photo quality' or missed photo opportunities. I too date from an era when it was pretty exceptional to photograph anything at the relevant moment and if we did then we might lose the film or forget it was in the camera and open said camera, etc. Nothing as exciting as this though. Wouldn't it be grand to have a video of this six hour stint? With you shouting instructions, encouragement or other stuff from the ground? Perhaps a close up of your bitten down nails, or chewed through lips at the close?

Best wishes to your DH, what willpower and determination. Saviour of bees and trees and the hero who saved you from a boring life in the city.

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FBeyer
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by FBeyer » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:30 am

I'm a fan of your husband. Tremendously so!
Well, both of you actually.

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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Jason » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:43 am

I remember my parents had a tree that needed to be taken down so they hired a tree guy. He was exactly what you would expect a tree guy to look like: pick up truck arriving, flannel shirt wearing, Grizzly Adams bearding, sunglass hiding, John Deere hat wearing, beer belly jiggling mofo. A guy that looked like he would get winded opening up his local liquor store beer fridge. But I swear, once he put on his tree climbing shoes, he turned into the vertical version of Usain Fuckin Bolt. I never saw anything like it. I'm craning my neck thinking this pudgy redneck fuck is going so fast he's going to run out of tree and end up in the Heavens with his head directly lodged up Moses' fuckin asshole. If I had a child, I would say "Son, if you ever find yourself running from a redneck after getting caught fucking his daughter, or insulting his musical selection in some shithole bar, whatever the case may be, make sure you keep it on the ground because the second you go up, he's going to catch you."

Thanks for the update HM.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:47 pm

saving-10-years wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:20 am
Saviour of bees and trees and the hero who saved you from a boring life in the city.
This is absolutely perfect. If DH wanted to be buried, I would put this on his (far future, I hope) headstone. We've both contributed our bodies to science, though. :D

Yes, we should have had GoPro headsets for pretty much our whole life together. What a thought! Maybe I would have to edit out the parts where we were screaming at each other....

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:50 pm

FBeyer wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:30 am
I'm a fan of your husband. Tremendously so!
Well, both of you actually.
Wow! Thank you, FBeyer. I've been a fan of yours for awhile. So there.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:56 pm

Jason, I can't quote your whole hilarious story, so go back and read what you wrote. :lol: Your description of 'tree guy' reminds me of bears. They look like fat guys in sweatpants, and the ones who frequent our orchard are so lazy they lie on the ground and languidly paw apples close enough to be shoveled into their mouths. I would never try to outrun one, though. As Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman: 'Big mistake. Very big. HUGE.'

SandyKaryOke
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by SandyKaryOke » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:59 pm

Jason wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:43 am
I remember my parents had a tree that needed to be taken down so they hired a tree guy. He was exactly what you would expect a tree guy to look like: pick up truck arriving, flannel shirt wearing, Grizzly Adams bearding, sunglass hiding, John Deere hat wearing, beer belly jiggling mofo. A guy that looked like he would get winded opening up his local liquor store beer fridge. But I swear, once he put on his tree climbing shoes, he turned into the vertical version of Usain Fuckin Bolt. I never saw anything like it. I'm craning my neck thinking this pudgy redneck fuck is going so fast he's going to run out of tree and end up in the Heavens with his head directly lodged up Moses' fuckin asshole. If I had a child, I would say "Son, if you ever find yourself running from a redneck after getting caught fucking his daughter, or insulting his musical selection in some shithole bar, whatever the case may be, make sure you keep it on the ground because the second you go up, he's going to catch you."

Thanks for the update HM.
Hahaha! I may have to remember this. :lol: A very good advice to give my son. :)

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theanimal
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by theanimal » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:42 pm

I know what you mean regarding the chainsaws. Up here, people are pretty religious about the use of Stihls. Using a husqavarna or god forbid anything else will get you laughed out of a room. But they do work well. In the intense cold, nothing else will work. Although, I dare say my trusty crosscut saw outperforms them all... :D

Those climbing spurs are sweet! I love the stories of you guys doing work up high.

Best wishes to you and DH.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:16 pm

Thanks for the good wishes, animal! Agreed about the crosscut saw for reliability, though I think DH would have dropped out of that tree before he finished cutting it with a hand saw. We did learn to keep our chainsaws inside in winter, because even a Stihl gets harder to start in subzero weather. I tend to be the same way. ;)

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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Farm_or » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:09 am

Best wishes for these difficult times.

Great story! As usual...

I'm another Stihl guy. When I lived in suburbia, I had to drive two hours to find a little firewood.

I started out with a mccolluch that would only run long enough to get half a load. Lost my temper on the second trip and threw the saw off a cliff. It was sobering reality as I painstakingly climbed down the cliff to retrieve the POS. Stihl ever since!

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:50 am

Thanks, Farm_or! It's good to hear from you. I was thinking that you'd been absent from the forum, and then I remembered that I was the absent one.

Yes, it's Stihl only for DH. He has 4 Stihl chainsaws and 2 brushcutters. He keeps buying smaller saws because his old ones are too hard to start and lift now. Then he uses the little ones as workhorses and complains when they break down. :roll: He maintains his equipment well, but he's not easy on it at all.

Notice that all the power equipment belongs to DH in my mind (and his). I've mentioned that I'm too accident-prone to be trusted with things that can take off a finger or a leg in the blink of an eye. That's aside from the fact that DH has removed the safety features from most of our power equipment because they annoy him. He's modified the riding mower, for example, so it will still run AND CUT even if he's not in the seat so he can get off and push when it's stuck on a steep hill. Kind of like a man-eating Roomba with no boundaries (the mower, not DH...though there are similarities). :lol:

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:54 am

I thought I'd take a moment away from the past to share some of what makes me happy right now, when there's a lot that's not so bright. Fall has always been my favorite time of year, even though it's tinged with that primal fear of cold, dark months to come. There's something about fall that energizes my blood: the crisp, cool tinge in the air; the explosion of leaf color; firing up the woodstove; wearing a warm flannel shirt; canning and collecting and preparing for winter.

So, without further ado, we enter THE PRESENT DAY. Bragging will ensue, along with a ridiculous number of tree photos.

FOR THE LOVE OF TREES:

DH loves to plant and grow and nurture things, but his favorites are trees. Over the course of 37 years, we've planted thousands of trees encompassing maybe 60 different varieties on our Western Washington property. There was a fairly high attrition rate from underbush competition, deer, mountain beavers and moles, but a lot of them thrived. We take huge joy in walking through the forest we brought to life.

This is our biggest planted tree. It's a Sequoia, planted as a little tyke about 35 years ago. The hat is for scale. The rocks piled around it are waiting to be a wall when we get around to it. Meanwhile, they protect it from stray vehicles because our driveway winds around it. DH says that someday we'll have to move the driveway.

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Across the driveway is another Sequoia, planted at the same time. This one grew higher but not as wide. In the background is what we call the Arboretum, because we're pretentious that way. ;)

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Here's another view of the Arboretum. This used to be a big field with 2 fir trees in it. We planted every tree in this photo...and the photos above. And the photos below. :D

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Walking further into the photo, you come to the back of the arboretum and a path into the woods. There are a lot of younger trees planted here admidst the original alder.

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This is looking across the pond toward the arboretum from a different side. The tall conifer in the middle is another Sequoia, and the gold one is a sugar maple. The dead-looking bushes in front are honeysuckle already in bed for the winter. Bees and flycatchers love them.

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Here's a closeup of the above Sequoia with another hat for scale. I can't get over how quickly these trees grow under the right conditions.

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Leaves of the sugar maple on the ground. Growing up in the east, I developed a love for brightly-colored fall leaves. We planted a lot of maples so I could have that color here. Alder just don't shine so much in the fall.

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This is a huge English walnut tree trying to swallow a juniper. We planted them both, so the juniper's distress is all on us; we just somehow didn't anticipate how big the walnut would become. We've planted hundreds of English and black walnuts, so we'll never lack for protein in the zombie apocalypse (after we eat the squirrels, of course). :P The black walnut trees are prettier and the nuts taste fantastic, but they're a real chore to process. The English walnuts provide much more food for the effort. We've also planted hazelnuts, heartnuts, chesnuts and butternuts. The juniper berries are good in sauerkraut.

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Here's a butternut we planted. We call it the Squirrel Tree (in reality, they're all squirrel trees) because we built a house and feeder to install in it. A friend had 3 baby squirrels she'd rescued and bottle fed, and she released them into this tree this past summer.

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Our mini Aussie spends a lot of time looking up into the Squirrel Tree and others, waiting for a squirrel to fall in his mouth. It actually happened once (in another tree) when 2 squirrels were fighting in the branches far above, and it made a lasting impression.

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Here are grapevines with a hazelnut thicket in the background. The concrete "wall" used to be the spillway across our pond. When we replaced it with pipes through the dam, the Cat driver who did the work just dropped it off to the side. It was too heavy for our tractor to lift, so there it lay for a few years. Finally, we dug a deep trench the length of the concrete, dragged it next the trench and tipped it in so it buried itself by about half the width and stood more or less upright. Then we built an open-topped greenhouse around the other 3 sides with some old windows we had and planted grapes. I love weird, repurposed stuff like this, especially if it involves beautiful green vines. Add in the production of something edible (drinkable), and that's my idea of perfect. :D

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Finally, we have The Island. Here's a (partial) photo of the pond in winter. The little messy hump at the head of it is The Island, which is surrounded by water (hence the name). We planted a dogwood and a rhodendron on it years ago and then allowed the salmonberries and canary grass to take over. The tree and bush both died, and we were sad. :cry: DH came up with the idea this summer of cleaning it all off and planting bamboo. He's always wanted timber bamboo (the huge, invasive kind), but I resisted because...invasive. DH pointed out that the island being flooded for 9 months of the year would inhibit its colonization, and so we planted bamboo. Then we needed Pandas but settled for a Buddha. Then we needed a stone wall to raise the island level a bit so Buddha and bamboo wouldn't get their feet wet. Then we needed some ornamental grasses. I really like how it turned out, and it'll look even better when the pond rises again. That should happen very soon, and of course I'll post an updated photo.

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I'm not sure what the ducks will think of it, because they like to swim around the island and hide behind it with their babies.

EMJ
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by EMJ » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:05 pm

Great trees! It must be so satisfying to see them grow.
There's a lot to be said for long-term commitment to a project.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:09 pm

It is very satisfying, EMJ! Trees are sort of the icons of our nature-worship. :D

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