Friday, October 3, 2014


I awakened a bit past 2:00 a.m. this morning. Shoulders and forearms ached, my back throbbed, and my hands were swollen and stiff. All attributable to having spent part of yesterday in the self-abusing joy of maneuvering several ash logs around in order to saw them into 18-inch lengths so they can then be split into proper firewood. Some of these logs are 5 or 6 feet long, better than 20-inches in diameter, and hundreds of pounds in weight; heavy and recalcitrant.

The good news is my snazzy new chainsaw and cant hook both worked like champs, making the task easier—which is not to say easy. The bad news is I barely made a dent in the five truckloads of similar logs the tree-cutter has so far dumped in the parking area—with a sixth load yet to be delivered.

The conclusion I reached amid the pain and darkness was that while I may not survive to see the winter—if I do, I'll be toasty warm all the way to next spring.

After mulling this mixed thought awhile, I got up and shuffled into the front room, figuring to spend the remainder of the night in the recliner. Possibly a less horizontal repositioning would allow sleep. At least I wouldn't disturb Myladylove by tossing and turning. 

First, though, Moon-the-Dog, awakened by the room change and having followed my wandering, let me know she needed to have a few minutes outdoors. I went along.

The sky was overcast, intensifying the darkness. It was surprisingly warm—almost cloying. For a quarter hour I stood quite while Moon snuffled about the yard, stirring through the day's augmentation of new-fallen leaves. Off to my right the river purled softly along. And from all sides, a loud chorus of crickets and katydids, chirruped and whirred, buzzed and clicked. The seldom seen night fiddlers, those singing insects who so audibly define our summer evenings.

Alas, their days are numbered. Local weather forecasts are currently warning that tonight may drop as low as 37˚F. Not quite a killing frost night, but probably cold enough to thin the ranks of these nocturnal musicians. 

I'll miss them. And I can't help but wonder when the end will come for the fine little green meadow katydid I found sitting atop the handle of my mitre-box saw this weekend, and whose portrait heads this post.  

The katydid shot is one of only a few photos I've managed these past several weeks. And I've done even worse writing blog posts. Yet I kept meaning to do both.

Instead, I ("we" really, since the same holds true for Myladylove) have concentrated on trying to get as many "To Do" list tasks completed as possible before foul weather sets in—to the point that every spare minute has been commandeered. And now, of course, there's all that wood!

I may turn green myself…


John said...

You have Ash logs? Here in southern Michigan there are all cut down int he last few years to head off the Emerald Ash borer. Most of the timber haulers have gone out of business too.


George said...

Nice to hear from you again, Grizz, and the shot of the katydid is terrific! Hope your summer renovation has proceeded well and that you will have time this winter to sit before the fire and enjoy it all, hopefully with less back strain.

Penny said...

I was only thinking of you early this morning as I went out to my chair after a bad bout of cramps and aches and thinking you hadnt posted much lately. While you are struggling to get ready for winter we are getting ready for what looks like a nasty summer, so far not a lot of rain since early August and a lot of wind and a lot of pollen, I have to think twice about going outside as hay fever has been
particularly bad although the blossom in the garden has been lovely but short lived and the nectar eating birds have been very happy as there is a big flowering of pink gums.
Hope you manage to finally. slowly whittle that pile of wood down to manageable lengths.

Grizz………… said...


We have ash aplenty to cut, buy and burn, courtesy of the Emerald Ash Borer. I have seven ash trees in my yard—medium to small—I'll probably have to take down next year. The fellow I bought my logs from is working himself and his crew nearly seven days every week, sunup to sundown, and he says they will still be cutting ash for another two or three years.

Some of these old ashes are huge trees—way bigger than I could ever think about handling, often exceeding 4 feet in diameter! I'm too decrepit for such he-man timber; I'd prefer under 20 inches…easier to cut, handle and split. But that's not always possible when he's building a load, so I end up with a few larger logs.

Ash makes some of the very best firewood…but it's a real tragedy to see all these fine old trees coming down.

Grizz………… said...


Good to hear from you, too. And than you re. katydid photo; it was just one of "grab shots" I couldn't pass up. Which are about all I've managed lately.

The remodel work is coming along, though way slower than I'd hoped and planned. Probably no chance of getting everything finished this year, though some tasks ahead we can work on right through the winter.

As to the back…I've pretty much reconciled all the various medical mumblings and accepted that I'll have daily (and nightly) pain of one degree or another from here on out. Things could be worse.

Still, I plan to whine about it, given half a chance. :-)

Grizz………… said...


I'm astonished that someone on the opposite side and opposite hemisphere of the world might give me the slightest thought…but ever so humbled and pleased! Thank you! You have made my day already!

Sounds like you're having sleep/health problems, too. I hope you improve and have better days—and nights!—ahead.

Your garden and its flowers and birds sounds lovely and wonderful. I do hope you get some rain. Luckily, I've never suffered with hay fever issues. Blooms and pollen, dust, molds, etc. don't affect me, though I had severe asthma as a kid.

My real issues are that I've beat and battered myself so much through the years—from playing football, riding horses and motorcycles, fooling around on the rodeo circuit with bulls, saddle and bareback broncs, and decades of wading creeks, canoeing, climbing hills, slogging around the backcountry, and living in tents and out of the back of a pickup as an outdoor-adventure writer.

Not that I'd have done much differently. If given the chance, I'd probably try and cram three times as much of the same in! Still, there's no free ride…you reap what you sow.

Nowadays, it's the exception when I manage to sleep in the bed, straight through, all night. Most nights I get up between 2 and 4 a.m., and adjourn—at least for an hour or so—to the front-room recliner. Being a bit more upright helps ease my various aches and pains. Sometime I spend the rest of the night in the chair, some nights I go back to bed, though often not for very long. In summer, I normally rise at about first light. Come winter, I beat the sun up by a couple of hours.

Anyway, thank you again for thinking of me, and for writing. I hope you feel and sleep better, and get to enjoy your garden.

Gail said...

Hi Grizz- it's been a while my friend and I have missed your words and photos and you. I am impressed by the wood challenge you are taking on despite the physical demands, and consequence - wow!! You will be toasty warm, for sure - good thing because it is better to rest your aching body while warm and snugly :-)
Lots happening here, Skipp has a medical scare - landed him in the hospital - he is ok. thank God. I am wearing a wrist/han brace on my dominant hand (left) and a finger splint. Lots of medical jargon as to why - looking at a 4 to 6 week healing - and then PT or hand surgery, depending. I have hurt my hand over time due to the walker and cane. Now I am quite limited only having my right hand/arm for support, balance, strength an daily tasks. God bless Skipp - he is amazing. I feel quite broken. We are managing, adjusting to our new rhythm - quite out of tune for now but it is our tune.
Keep chopping stay warm stay close.
Love, Gail

Grizz………… said...


Wow. Sounds like you guys have had quite a time of things—but I'm also encouraged that you appear to be on the mend. Positive beats negative every day you can manage.

Most of my friends think I've dropped off the planet. I think that myself, much of the time. But we've just been working every spare moment—or until exhausted. Right now, I'm running a load of wash, cooking pulled pork and sweet potato soup for lunch, and waiting for Myladylove to get here from her half-day work (next few minutes) so we can quick eat then start putting down carpet. Which, given the cutting and fitting and our inexperience, will likely take most of the rest of today. I may run out and cut some wood if I'm not needed inside.

But—and I think you'd agree—it beats the alternatives. We gotta do what we gotta do. Like you said…maybe a bit out of tune, but our tune.

Take care, both of you. Keep in touch. Best, always.

Gail said...

Hi again - thanks for taking the time to reply. We got a lot done yesterday, even washed a few windows and sheer curtains before putting on new bed spread, sheets and matching valance. It looks nice. We also fried up chicken cutlet, froze some and have some set aside to make chicken parmesan today. We are going to Walgreens for our flu shots and a drive around town and the water. Te side of my wrist is still pretty sore as is the finger still hard to move. The doctor did a cortizone shot in to my wrist and it hurt a lot! I yelled out loud - I think I scared the other patients! Oh well.... :-) I love pulled pork and sweet potato soup - yesterday was a good day for it mmmmmmmm I hope your Sunday is good. It is cool and dry here today.
Love Gail

Grizz………… said...


Sorry to be a bit slow…we worked on carpeting and wiring in a new heater in the bedroom yesterday, plus storing fans and such summer items in attic, moving furniture and stuff around, etc. Didn't finish up until 8:30-9:00 p.m. Which was pretty much the end of the day for both of us. Your chicken parmesan sounded nice. I did a stir-fry of spicy pork and brown rice, with my garlic/sesame/ginger sauce. Good and easy.

Haven't had our flu shots yet, but will try and get them sometime this month. If it doesn't rain, I'm going to try and work on firewood this afternoon. Have to run to Sam's this morning.

Mind your docs, take care of yourself… and I know I'm the last one to be giving such advice, but don't overdo things.

KGMom said...

Scribe--I completely understand the vagaries of aging and how it may cause us to slow down.
But when I see you have not posted for a while, I suspect another reason--a sweet granddaughter. A wonderful reason to set the pace of days a touch slower.

Grizz………… said...


I wish it were granddaughter time…but it has been mostly sawing and splitting and stacking our winter firewood. Plus some remodeling. But I see the granddaughter every chance I have—was there yesterday, in fact. There's also some blogging lethargy at work, and laziness, too, I guess.