So after our monumental brush-hauling weekend, we had a work week, and then it was the weekend again. What do you do on the weekend? Why, clean up storm debris, of course!
Bob broke out the chain saw, I pulled out the garden cart, and we headed back into the woods. My theory was that we should start as far from the stacking point as we could, and then the drag distance would be shorter as we got more tired. We started by clearing the path to our resident brushpile, and while I was waiting for Bob to get a ways into cutting that particular large branch, I spent some quality time moving our original brush pile. See, years ago Bob misunderstood where I wanted him to put it, and he put it in such a place that I couldn’t see our property line marker – which is no good when you’re trying to do a line of sight! I got a lot of that pile relocated, and I can see that corner marker now. There’s still more to move, but that wasn’t the point, so I stopped once there was enough wood to start moving to the pile. There’s really not much to tell – all day Bob cut up the tangle on the range into woodstove length pieces, and I loaded the cart, dragged it to the edge of the woods, and stacked it between the trees. I know that I probably should have put a base of pressure treated underneath, but I just couldn’t face it. Besides, I’m fairly certain that pile will fall down over the winter, and I just can’t bring myself to care. I am going to notice that I found every solid obstruction under the leaves with either my toes or the cart wheels – on pretty much every trip. It took all day on Saturday to clear the pile on the range – those were some mighty big branches. We were both completely exhausted, but I’d been bright enough to put some chicken in the crock pot before we headed out, I made some dumplings, and we had a really nice dinner.
On Sunday we moved on to the rest of the back forty. Cut, haul, stack, repeat. In between I also raked some of the leaves – the storm recovery completely derailed all the usual autumn chores. Charlotte was delighted – a big pile of dry leaves to jump in – what’s more fun? When she got the pile all spread out, I’d rake it back up nice and deep.
At that point we were working in the back yard – Bob was cutting up the branches that had been heaped by the new terrace, and I was now pulling the wood out of the yard and back into the woods. The last trip I took, Bob helped by pushing the cart while I pulled, and despite that my arms and quads still burned terribly when we got to the pile, and I announced that I was done. Unfortunately, I decided that two or three loads too late. Once I slowed down, my arms hurt badly enough that I felt a little sick. Luckily I had lots of nice leftovers, so no one had to cook.
On Tuesday, I was reading the Valley Press, and found an article about the storm cleanup in the various towns in the Farmington Valley. Farmington and Avon each spent well over a million dollars on debris removal, but the part of the article that caught my attention was the note that Burlington wasn’t hiring any of the debris removal out – they’re doing it all with the Public Works department. It said that they hope to be done by January 1, and they’re hoping it won’t snow! Given that I’m pretty sure that our public works department is a guy named Scott, two employees, and a pickup truck, this worried me. A lot. But what could I do? On the bright side, instead of $1.3 million, my town has apparently spent $6,000 in overtime and equipment rental.
The article also mentioned that brush should be no longer than 8’ to 12’ long, placed two feet from the curb, butts towards the street. Uh, guys? This is information I needed two weeks ago. Oh well.
This past Saturday we got a late start. I had a noon vet appointment, and I’m sure Bob was just as sick of storm debris as I was. So at 11:30 I headed off to the vet, and Bob and Charlotte went out to work on the mess some more. When I got back with two newly shot kitties, Camma had come over to help. So Bob cut up wood, Camma and Charlotte hauled brush down to the street, and I hauled wood back to the pile. When we ran out of brush, Camma helped me get the wood back to the pile. We went until dusk. I fell apart, Camma went off to do some Christmas shopping, and Bob got Chinese for dinner.
Honest to God, I have no idea what we did on Sunday. Oh wait! Bob went out to clean the gutters, and I decorated the Christmas tree.
We have a few more piles of wood at various spots all over the property that need to be moved back to the pile, and there are two big tangles that still need to be cut up/cut down (one of them is bloody huge,) but they’re on a part of the property we don’t use, so they can wait until spring.
This afternoon I came home from work and discovered that Public Works Scott and his friends had come to my street and taken away all the brush! It’s gone, and now I don’t have to worry about a plow dragging them down the street, or the whole shebang freezing to the ground.
So there you have it. How an unseasonable snowstorm ate my life for close to a month. But we made it. We’re still married, all the family members are still speaking, and neither of us screwed up anything major at work. Life goes on, and I’m honestly fairly proud of how well we took care of ourselves, and even managed to help some other people a little.
So many people were so good to us – it’s the only thing that kept me going. Adversity really does bring out the best in people – at least the ones worth knowing.
And in an entirely typical incident, last night my father called to tell me that he’d decided to get a new generator, that he’d fixed the muffler on the old one – we can have it if we want it.
You know what I’m going to do THIS weekend? Go to an SCA event and hang Christmas lights.
Now – I have a boar’s head pie to transfer from baking sheet to platter, and a bunch of emails to send. Over the next few days, I’ll show you pictures of this year’s boar’s head (he came out really, really well,) the calligraphy piece I finished on Monday, and I’ll get one of the storm woodpile once I’ve got it finished. With Bob. For scale. :-)