Sunday, May 31, 2009

WORK

Today has been spent working outside, stacking about a cord of maple I picked up at a fellow’s house late yesterday. Before I could begin building my firewood stack, I had to clean and level a corner near the parking area. It’s amazing how much time and effort such minor tasks can take. I’d figured a half day, then head off to the building supply store for some plants and seed for last week’s completed bed; maybe mow the yard afterwards. Ha! A dozen hours later—minus breaks for lunch, the occasional rest, twenty minutes of fishing off my stone steps (time enough to catch one decent smallmouth bass), and about half an hour to hose out the debris in the back of the pickup from hauling the firewood—I’m beat, hungry, and in desperate need of a shower. But that’s okay. It’s been a good day, bright sun, blue sky, not too hot—with something of real value to show for the effort. I like such work days. There’s something quite rewarding to doing a job which goes directly to the fundamentals of your life. Next winter—or more likely the winter after, if I give the maple extra seasoning time—I’ll reap the benefit of today’s labor. Wood, fire, heat, comfort…a straight-line connection which would have been familiar to a settler living along this river a couple of centuries ago, or a Shawnee five hundred years before that; heat has always been a key need for winter survival hereabouts, along with food, water, and shelter. Still, today hasn’t been all work. For one thing there was the Carolina wren which serenaded me practically from start to finish, along with the cardinals whistling from the evergreen tangles and the goldfinches working the feeders. Then there’s the “found” rose, a rich salmon-orange, which appeared beside the chimney the summer after I moved in, and today sported a dozen huge blooms. If you can't find pleasure in the occasional glance at such beauty, you need to reexamine your criteria. So that’s my Sunday report from the riverbank. Nothing exciting, nothing out of the ordinary…but a day of ample reward.

36 comments:

Deb said...

My weekend days tend to be work days around here too...no rest for the weary!

giggles said...

Life is good.........

Jenn Jilks said...

You actually accomplished something today. Well done! I've been playing on the computer...we had snow this morning in My Muskoka.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

A busy day and a lovely photo.
Really lovely.

Wanda said...

Chores do take longer to finish as we get older...maybe it's just because we're wise enough to allow distractions!

The birds this year are very generous with their songs...I have Wood Thrushes that sing more than I remember...I think one follows me while I work in the yard or walk in the woods...just seems to always be there.

Your found rose is a lovely color...the dark wagon wheel a good contrast...delicate and rustic...goes together well!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Deb…

I'm so behind with my work that, I'm…well, I'm working my behind off. If May just lasted another month, though, I'd get it all done!

Anyway, I'll sure sleep well tonight.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

It is, indeed. So is dark chocolate.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jenn…

Stacked wood, caught a smallmouth…yup, I can work right up there with the best of 'em.

Didn't snow here today, thank God! Wouldn't have been a problem with the wood stacking…but might have put a hex on the fishin'.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Lynne…

A long day, for sure. Re. the photo, I think the rose is actually a little more salmon than it appears. Don't know its name. But it sure is pretty.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

Between inertia, an aging back, and all the river/bird/flower distraction, I'm lucky anything ever gets finished.

My back yard thrush has a hard time oversinging the wren. The wren knows I love it and love to hear it, so it sings its heart out all day long. And I'm not kidding.

Glad you liked the rose photo. I think I'm going to have to take the wagon wheel inside and hang it on my wall; the weather and decades are about to do it in.

Bernie said...

Beautiful picture of rose and wagon wheel, shame to move it anywhere my friend. It's like they belong there together. Sound like you had a productive day...I love those kind of days.....:-) Bernie

Jayne said...

Sounds like a good day. It was rather sultry here... almost 90 in the shade. But, with the occasional breeze, it was lovely to sit outside and listen to the bird symphony. :c)

giggles said...

Wow.......what a memory you have!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

It was a good day—but I'm feeling its effects this morning!

I do hate to move the old wagon wheel. However, I don't think it will hold together much longer. Wood just can't take exposure to weather forever, and this one is at or approaching the century mark. Several of the spokes are loose, and fragile. I can hang it on a wall in my great room, or work room, or sit it on a mantle, and it will last as long as I do.

But they—rose and wheel—sure do look pretty together, which is why I made the photo.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

Yesterday was the perfect temperature here, for my personal tastes—mid-70s, hot in the sun, cool in the shade, low humidity. Couldn't have asked for a better day!

I too love sitting around listening to the birds—maybe with a glass of iced tea and a good book to dip into now and then. But sometimes, alas, one must work…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

I'm afraid to ask, but I'll give into curiosity…

Huh?

Jain said...

The color, form, and texture contrast of the photo are just exquisite!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

Anything looks good against the light neutral of a stone cottage—especially roses and wagon wheels. :-)

Hey, didn't you ask me to photograph the cottage a while back (which I've forgotten to do)? The stone you see here is what the whole place is built with—Indiana limestone. Not just as a façade, but a 17-inch thick wall of solid rock. (And I will do a shot one of these days so you can see when I say I'm right on the river that I'm indeed RIGHT ON THE RIVER!)

The Weaver of Grass said...

The very best kind of day Scribe.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: You do have a lot fo show for your work. I know I worked, but I'm not sure what I have to show for it. I actually had to block out a few hours for a walk, for I could easily have worked the entire weekend. I seem to remember lots of weekend laziness in years past. I don't know what's happened to those.

Carolyn H.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

As much as I hate to admit it—you're right. Work is necessary, but also good, often even fun. Stacking that firewood yesterday, I thought how much I really do enjoy the manual labor of these house and yard tasks. There's a real satisfaction in honest work, especially work which connects in one way or another to land and nature and the basics of human need. That's why almost everything I eat is cooked from scratch—because of the pleasure of chopping and measuring, of stirring and seasoning—of changing raw ingredients into a meal. In that moment—as yesterday—I hold and shape my future in my own hands.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Carolyn…

Do you think we were just lazier back then? More oblivious to what needed doing, less critical of the undone? Are we now just suffering from selective, heavily-edited memory? Or could it possibly be there was truly less work and/or we somehow managed more free time?

When you figure this one out, let me know!

(Personally, I think it's Daylight Savings Time and the Federal Government. Don't know how, but I'm bettin' they're both at the bottom of this mess! :-) I say we secede and form a new Utopia.)

Jain said...

Yes, the stone house pic was my request and this photo granted my wish! How do heating and cooling work out? Cool all the time or is the stone a great insulator?

giggles said...

I do believe we had a discussion here awhile back about food, diet and what not to leave out of the diet....chocolate being one of them.... And DO take credit for remembering, even if ya didn't.... ;-D

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

I will one of these days do a pix showing the cottage in relationship to the river…

Re. heating and cooling, I'd say the solid stone walls both moderates and slows heat loss/gain. I have electric heat in all rooms, those strip-type wall units that mount close to the floor. A fireplace in the living/dining room, which is the same room I sometimes call the great room—a 20x30 cathedral-ceilinged space that makes up the riverside end (and more than a third) of the cottage. (I'm intending to install a spaostone woodburing stove in the living room one of these days.) There's also a fireplace in my work room, which is the next largest room in the building.

In the winter, all rooms can be heated easily and fairly cost effectively with the electric heaters. The place is insulated well enough that snow on the roof doesn't melt. I can burn a few logs—free courtesy of the river or acquaintances who cut down a tree and call me to come pick up the wood—and the big room gets toasty warm and stays that way for hours.

Come summer, I have a fan in the attic portion of the house expelling the heated air; screened windows opened; ceiling fans on in great room when needed. I don't like air conditioning, and don't even own a window unit. On 90–100 degree days here, my stone cottage never gets hotter inside than maybe 80 degrees, what with all the air movement. On a lot of days, it will drop overnight into the low-70s (or cooler) if I keep the full circulation going. More than once in late-July I've had to eat breakfast on the deck to stay warm without donning a sweatshirt! Not a bad thing.

It was 60 degrees here this morning when I got up. I've been outside most of the time, working. When I came in a few minutes ago for lunch, I was surprised at how cool the place felt. I checked the temperature: 60 degrees! As the length of the living room runs parallel with the river, and the wall is facing west and is at least half glass, I can simply open the blinds this afternoon and quickly warm the room if it still needs it.

In case you're wondering, there's no feeling of dampness inside this stone home whatsoever. There is, however, a silence that takes some getting used to. It's almost impossible, for example, to carry on a conversation between rooms. Thick stone walls are not only good temperature regulators, but excellent noise mufflers. I'm always surprised when I step outside in the winter, when all windows have been closed tightly, and hear the roar of the river.

If I had several million bucks to build a home, I build with solid stone. Huge cut blocks two or three feet thick. Overkill? Absolutely! But I'd love to live in such a structure.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

Oh ho! We did and you're right—not that I'd forget the dark chocolate, just the discussion. Chocolate is like water, one of life's necessities.

And seeing as how you've so kindly reminded me of it…

Nutty Gnome said...

Wood warms you several times - once when you cut it, once when you stack it, once when you burn it and once when you clear out the ashes!
Great work though - please can you come and stack my wood pile? It's staring at me in an accusatory manner at the moment, waiting for me to shift it!

I'm glad my computer's back working properly again - I've missed your blog, but I've really enjoyed catching up on it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Just popped back Scribe - you ask if the birds in the silage photograph are egrets. We do now have egrets in the UK - we have had them for several years but mainly in the South of England. Up here at 700 to 1000 feet asl it is not their kind of country really. The birds are seagulls - we have plenty of them and they breed locally too. When I was a child we only saw seagullsat the seaside but it is not like that now.

giggles said...

Hey! SHARE!!!!!!!!!!

Your rose picture and the first canoe picture are inspiring in a watercolor painting kinda way... Can I ask you permission to give it a go?

Also: ROLL CALL! Exciting one for me: Great Crested Flycatcher! Heard a short, loud unfamiliar call a coupla weeks ago and followed the call until the source was revealed.... Nothing I'd ever seen before!! Studied and noted and consulted my trusty Peterson's Guide (wow! do I love that book!) and Voila! New bird for me....and I found and ID'ed it all by myself!

I went out yesterday with a group....posted about some of the more exciting sightings, including a yellow warblers nest (with a cowbird chick)...should you care to take a peek.... (Yes, a brazen request for you to come visit...have you seen the red tailed hawk chicks, from a coupla weeks ago? They are getting ready to fledge....)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Nutty Gnome…

Yup, it does at that—and in my case, seeing as how I keep shifting woodpiles around, often two or three more times. Plus most of it also warms me again when, in the winter, I go out every so often, load a wheelbarrow of logs and sticks, wheel them around to the riverside deck (which is only about five feet from the great room fireplace) and stack a smaller pile there for handy access out the patio door.

I'll put your wood on my chores list…right after about eleven months worth of things I need to get done in two or three months. Which includes more wood stacking of my own. Don't hold your breath…

Glad to hear the computer is back up and running.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

Thanks for setting me straight. I did think gulls at first, then I kept enlarging the shot, which of course made it fuzzier. I thought I could maybe see long legs trailing below some of the birds, so switched my guess to egrets. Should have gone with my initial response…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

Paint away to your heart's content. (I would really like to see what you come up with.)

I see a couple of flycatchers here along the river. I think the Great Crested is a neat bird. And it's always one of those self-satisfying moments when you can locate and identify something from a field guide—bird, wildflower, butterfly—on your own.

You know what, I will read your blog forthwith…And no, I've been shamefully remiss in my blog reading since I came back from the Florida gig. So I will read of the red-tailed hawk chicks, as well.

giggles said...

Thank you, kind sir, for visiting and commenting!! And permission.... Do not get excited.... I am a wanna-be watercolor painter of NO skill...just setting up possible avocations for the 20 odd years down the road when work is finally optional!! There is such a time, I've heard stories...yes?

But your pictures, their color and composition are really, to my amateur eye, quite pleasing!!!! Anyways, don't hold your breath!!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

Personally, I'm looking to become a sage when I retire…grow a beard, learn to sit in the lotus position—no scratch that, I'd have to break bones; I'll go with rocking chair—maybe get me some oracle stones, a handful of goose bones, and an asfidity bag. Be a certified geezer-guru, with all pay and benefits commensurate thereto.

Or possibly I'll be a greeter at Wal-Mart.

So many post-career choices…so little time.

I won't hold my breath on the painting—but if you ever try it, remember to give me a look. I stick with cameras precisely because I can't draw worth diddly. But I love the visual arts, especially good painting.

Wanda said...

Hope you don't mind but, I'm stealing a line from the comment you left me this morning...and adding Fowl! Thanks for the inspiration!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

Steal away! With my compliments!