So Much For Posting Every Day In September

September 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm (Birds, Day to Day, Driving To Work, For Jeff the BF, Heat, Maxima, Motorcycle News, Summer, Tree Trouble, Wasting Time In General, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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This is my hummingbird friend that hung out with me all day yesterday. We have 4! This particular one kept sitting on the wire right over my head. It would even fly up to me when I would go in the house and then come back out. It looks like he/she is trying to wave or give me a hug. I have more and better shots. I took about 100+ pictures. I have no life. Well, I have a life, but no car. It’s being worked on, yet again. Nissan is NOT kidding when they say, “If your brake and battery lights come on at the same time, get it to a shop asap.” Lights came on; next day, no start. It’s the alternator. Thank you internet. We kind of already knew before the mechanic told us, so, it’s good and bad. Sometimes it’s beneficial to have that whole world of info at your fingertips. It doesn’t help us fix it or pay for it, but we were armed with knowledge! Knowledge is power! Anyway, I have to go to work now. The BF drove his motorcycle so I could take his car. The Maxima is supposed to be done today, but I am out of time. I will have to get it in the AM. And it’s hot hot hot. An attempt at record breaking heat is supposed to occur today, for September, in our area. It’s windy too. A smallish branch has already fallen from one of our last two trees standing. Let this be the end of trouble for this week. Everyone be careful out there.

Watch for motorcycles!!

Thank you!

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Quick Switch Mushroom Pic With Tree Trunk On The Side

June 28, 2013 at 12:19 am (Day to Day, Heat, Mushrooms, Nature, Posts In Pictures, Summer, Summer Break, The Grass, Tree Trouble, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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I got down and dirty to get this pic for you. And now I have about 100 more all sprouting up in various parts of the grass. I guess it’s the new, fresh sod, baking under the extreme, sudden heat, showered by bursts of sporadic, torrential downpours and then steaming in the resulting, sweltering humidity, every few hours. The last few days have been severe weather alert central over here in the Midwest/Chicago area. In fact we have another one tonight. I actually have 4 weather advisories on my phone at this moment. More thunderstorms and flash flooding on the way with damaging winds and hail until 3 am now, according to the last alert that I just received twenty seconds ago. Free rain is good. More tree limbs down is bad. However, I was spared these last few times. Well, that’s not true. I did have another branch break off and fall into the yard about one minute after the storm showed up. No. That’s not exactly true either. What actually happened was, that we got the alert at 5:55 pm for 6 pm. At 6 pm the wind started blowing, fast and sudden just like the alert said. Gusts to 70mph is what the alert said. Damaging to trees and roofs. Find shelter in low lying buildings. Blah blah. The sky darkened. The trees swayed ominously. Another fierce wind, a loud crack, BOOM. We were standing in the backyard and watched the tree bend, heard the break, and observed a substantial limb slowly slip from the tree, cartwheel onto the neighbors power line, hang there for one, treacherous, breathless, millisecond, then topple over and onto the neighbors garage roof, where it slid very sloppily off the front, catching the gutter on the way down to the ground, where it landed on the neighbor’s driveway, intact and with a loud thud. The gutter was bent but not broken. As soon as the rain let up enough so that we could see to move, I sent my son out to hoist that limb into our yard and bend the gutter back up straight. And that’s how it ended up where it still currently sits. I am tired, tired, I say, of moving tree limbs all around our backyard. It can sit. This is the limb:

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So naturally, I was complaining, and all geared up to bemoan fate and nature and all that, until I took a little drive out into the world to go get dinner. This is what happened to our neighbors down the street:

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Need a better angle?

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Yep. They win. I won’t complain any more about my backyard being the resting place for dying and destitute, wayward branches. At least I can pick them up. This was at 8pm. By 11pm, it was gone. All of it. Every stick, every branch, every limb. Right down to the base of the trunk. Gone. The earth was back in place and the ground was flat. No damage to the house either as far as I can tell. All hail the master of tree removal. I don’t know who did it for them but I am beyond impressed. Three hours, and you can’t even tell anything happened that night. And speaking of night, it’s getting late. Again. I need to end this. Despite the title, this was not quick. Or even a switch. Some bad weather, a picture of something that grows out of the ground, eh, whataya gonna do? One day something really post worthy is going to happen, and, I don’t know. I guess I’ll post it. Maybe I’ll write a story. Or a poem. I have them scattered around this site, ya know, very unorganized like. It’s a search thing. But until then, you get this. And this needs to find a way to end this. Like a band-aid. Quick and painless. Later.

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Breaking News! ANOTHER Tree Branch Falls In My Yard On A Windy Day!

May 30, 2013 at 11:40 am (Day to Day, Tree Trouble, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , )

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Shocking, right?! Imagine that. Another tree branch cluttering up my yard.  Not to insult nature or anything, but this limb was already dangling. It’s been hanging on, by the skin of its splintery teeth, figuratively speaking, for about 2 weeks now. So it’s not like we needed hurricane winds to knock it down. Just a nice, steady, flow of air, blowing every few minutes through the high up branches, with the occasional bursty gust. We’ve been on fall watch every day. You know: Look up when you go out. Check the wind. Check the rip. Don’t stand under it. Blah blah blah. The way you do when branches are a constant and real threat in your daily life. You would think, by now, no more branches could fall. But, same as me, you would be wrong. Apparently there is always one more branch that needs to make a home on my lawn. It was my own fault, anyway, yet again. I dared to move, and remove, some of the previous limbs and branches from the grass on my day off, Tuesday. I had the nerve to try and “clean” the yard so that the neighbors don’t call the debris police and complain. Those trees were probably standing there thinking, “Psshh. Look at this stupid girl. Dum Dum. She likes to move sticks? Watch this little trick.” And here it is. One more for my collection. Nice try universe. I am not impressed. Only one? Really? Please, tree. I am a professional, serious collector. This limb didn’t even make a loud noise when it hit the ground. I mean, I heard it, but it’s not like I ran to go see what happened. It’s not even worth my time to go out there and move it. So there. Now that I have sufficiently pissed off, and smited, the powers-that-be, and probably just jinxed the rest of my day, I guess, maybe, I will go outside, and move my present from the gods. I mean, I have children to think about; I will offer thanks, and wait for the lightning to strike.

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Smokin’ In The Boys Room

May 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm (Day to Day, Employed Posts!, Family, Food News, For Jeff the BF, For Mason, For Stevie, Giant Food, Holiday, Homemade, Thank You, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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And by “boys room”,  I mean the outside. While I work this weekend, my BF has decided to do many manly things, like, work on his motorcycle, cut large tree limbs with a chainsaw, and smoke much meat. It sounds like so much fun I just wish I could have had these days off to be here for all of it. Ahem. No, really. (Not really). I like to spend my holiday weekends working and taking care of sick people and listening to their families tell me what a crap job I’m doing. It’s what I got into this profession for. That rewarding feeling of spending more hours with other people’s families instead of my own. Without sarcasm, I really do like my job. It’s just some families make it very difficult to keep calm. The patients are fine. It’s just the families sometimes. Still, I think it will be better than the manual labor that needs to be done here. Sweaty, with heavy lifting. Oh wait, that’s my job too. Ha. OK. Enough. That’s my work rant.  Back to the meat!

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Apparently this is stuff you need. Along with a starter tube thing that gets the coals going, a temp gauge, (actually two temp gauges, one for the cooker and one for the meat), water for steam, spices, herbs, liquids, “rubs”, side dishes, buns, etc…and of course: The Meat. This will all cost you approx. 90 dollars or so. If you had to buy your own smoker, that could be an extra 100-500 dollars, depending on quality and advanced smoking technology. Or something. This smoker in the picture was the gift the BF got for working so hard at his job for this many,  past 15 years. It seems like it’s nice smoker machine. I have just been informed that the meat is at 162 degrees. The number we are looking for is 190 I believe. We are doing pulled pork as the maiden smoking. I keep typing “we”, but I literally have done NOTHING except take the pictures and type this. Soon, I will get dressed and leave, so I won’t even be here for the big finish. But, of course I have a preview. Please feast your eyes below on three hunks of pure animal flesh, cooking and smoking, slowly, and at a certain temperature, for maximum tenderness and pullability. It really smells good too:

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Two on top, one below. That sounds like a good name for a band or a book title. The key to cooking this right, I am told, is slow and low. Also, coincidentally a good band name or book title. At any rate, what we want is to put it in our mouths and not even have to chew. The meat should literally pull apart and melt like butter on our palates and slide juicily and effortlessly down our throats to our waiting tummies without any pesky chewing involved. But usually it’s on a  bun with sauce, so please, family, while I am gone, chew a little, please. Bread mostly needs to be chewed, somewhat, to break it down. Then swallow.  No need to ruin a good weekend with “Heimlich’s” or “ambulances” or “hospitals” or “morgues”. Thank you.

Thus ends the meat post for today. I hear and smell lots of manly things going on in the neighborhood today, so I need to get the hell out of here! The outside temp is up to 75 degrees. Sunny and beautiful for the Midwest. The meat temp is at a cool 165. The BF is cutting sticks with the chainsaw. The boy/son is playing XBox in his room enjoying none of the outside weather. The daughter is still at my sissy’s house and will prob go from there to her cousins house to spend the night, after she stops here first to eat meat. She loves meat. Yes, I see what I typed there, but I’m leaving it. It’s too early (for me) to try and fix the innuendo. She’s 14 for cry-yi. Some girls are salads and try a vegetarian phase, not mine. She is steak all the way.

Let them eat meat! And don’t forget it’s Memorial Weekend. Hug a vet! Thank a soldier while you are grilling those hot dogs and drinking that beer! Even if you just send up a big toast and a cheer into the great unknown. It’s all good karma to the universe. Later.

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I Call It: Green; With Branches. 24 Hour Rainfall.

April 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm (Day to Day, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , )

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I could also call it: We Pay For Spring In This City. 24 hours of rainfall. Really. I drove home last night through many flooded areas. Standing water up past the bottom of my car. It’s the deepest water I have ever driven through in a car. I was scared. But if you just keep going and don’t stop you have a fighting chance. Besides I could see ahead from 2 other cars that attempted it, how deep it really was. They gave up and turned out of it. Not me. Now I know why people get stuck. I did the same damn thing, and thought the same damn thing, “Pshh. I can make it.” I luckily did. There was even a police officer sitting off to the side in a parking lot watching all of us idiots trying to go through, probably just waiting for someone to get stuck and then he could shut the intersection down. Anyway, it’s still raining, and I hear worse weather is on the way. My daughters school just called to say they’ve canceled all after-school activities due to the impending weather predicted. I think I heard tornadoes and what not. I guess we are going to find out.

Which brings me to my other working title for this piece: Hurry Up Because You Have To Go To Work. Dummy. I really do. This was going to be quick. Ever the dreamer I am. Be careful and stay on the ground today. Later

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4 hours on a Friday afternoon

August 17, 2010 at 5:06 pm (Day to Day, News, Pictures, Tree Trouble) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

(To take down a tree. Four hours on a Tuesday just to write about it. Sheesh.)

Programming note: Sorry it took so long to get this up. I am sure all 15 of you have been waiting and wondering, “where the hell is her tree story??” Well, I’ve kind of been busy with extra things I decided to pile on right at the end of my summer. Like motorcycling, school obsessing, and complete body overhauling. I can sum all that up later. But here’s the gripping tale, in it’s entirety and original text with fabulous pictures. Ready, set, go:

Who needs Yoga X when you can stand outside and sweat from heat and stress. I didn’t do jack shit except be nervous about the tree man, he’s awesome! His name is Ken and me and the neighbors all agree that he’s our hero! He makes it look waaaay too easy.  That’s him in the tree.

Let me re-cap our situation: Tree tipped onto the house.

Cut cut cut, with a handsaw. It’s all we could do last Sunday.

It was about 6 inches off the roof and then resting back on it by Monday morning. We bought a chainsaw and tried to do it ourselves. HA. HA. HA.

The roof is steeper and the branch is higher off the roof than I anticipated so…I was no help. We needed a professional.

That’s from the front. Just thought I’d throw it in there for perspective. The tree is still mostly intact. And here’s just one more picture of the crack that cost me all my money. Damn trees.

And this is Friday. It was about 3 o’clock when he started. About 95° with little breeze and the sun was beating down and the branches were getting thinner and thinner. We were hot on the ground. I was standing, obviously, taking pictures, and Ken was in the tree and his 2 friends were providing the muscle and assistance  to get each piece from the sky to the ground. I really have to say thanks to them too, because without them it would not have been possible to do anything. So this pic is already after he took off the one over the house. He basically hopped onto the roof and chainsawed off a couple of feet that he could reach by hand, then climbed the tree, hung out over the roof, tied it off and chopped it down in bite size chunks. There is NO WAY we would have EVER been able to do even that. The heat must have gotten to us because we were crazy for thinking it. Trees are big and scary tall! After he scaled back up the main trunk he chopped chopped off the bothersome “smaller” limbs. You can see some of them jutting off the one limb he is LAYING on.

That’s my second favorite picture. Yeah. Look close. Do you see a blue line? No? Well it’s there, and it’s the only thing holding him to the tree besides his feet on the branch with the spikey hold in his boots. But you can only reach so far over before you have to basically lay across the limb, stretch it out, grab the chainsaw that hanging off a loop on your pants and start, wield and cut with ONE hand. Zip and done. That’s what it looks like from my perspective. He was like a squirrel just moving from branch to branch and making cuts like he was painting a big picture. I took so many pictures with the camera so I hope he doesn’t mind, but it was pretty exciting. Once you get comfortable with the man in the trees and everyone is kind of gelled and working together, it was really moving along. Ken also brought his truck and chipper rig that was parked in front of the house. I got pics of that too. It’s a scary, dangerous, machine. And like my neighbor said, this tree process draws people to the site like a car accident. But they mostly slow down and keep moving.

Well that’s the top. And this is from the side. Every time he cut one branch going up it looked like 2 more were right behind. One over the driveway, one over the house, one hanging over the yard…OH! there’s another one straight up. They’re all loose looking and flappy. But he just keeps climbing. Climbing and cutting. Dropping them, every single one, perfectly in between our houses. Precision targeting. Not one of the limbs touched the house or the wires or the fence or even the gutters. It’s an art form.

That’s from the front because you can see how high he really is. I thought it was an interesting view that you would like too. The tree is, was, tall. Tapered. Flimsy to me. I’m not crawling up there. Ken is in the middle of the picture. In the tree. Directly above the peak of the house. Here’s another look.

Look at all that blue sky! This is the pan out on my fav shot of the day. The one below these words. Ken finished with all the dangling limbs, all the ones that were kind of sticking out in all directions. Then he’s getting ready to drop the final top piece and prepare to work his way down. He’s just standing up there in the tree. Looking so casual. Literally on one leg, one boot spike technically, with the other one crossed over like he’s just chilling at the bar. You can’t beat this kind of cool. He was actually tying ropes and sweating like crazy, but you would never know it from his relaxed posture. (And, just from an arty viewpoint, I think that the colors of the sky and his clothes and safety gear, boots, not to mention the chainsaw, really bring the whole picture together).

OK, let me speed things up. He’s on the way down now. Shimmy, rope, tie off, ready, cut, hang, drop, untie, repeat.

So, as far as I can tell: Go up. Cut everything in your path. Then once you are at the tippy top, start cutting above you and go back down. Makes sense when you see a professional do it. This might be kind of boring to see I guess, but if you’ve had something like a giant, 50 year old tree taken down piece by heavy piece, it’s overly interesting and strangely satisfying. The worry is pretty much gone for his safety because he obviously knows what he’s doing (been doing it for over 20 years) and he makes tree “walking” look like he’s walking around the yard. Then you forget (not really) that he’s up there and then he’s done. Back on the ground and cutting the last huge piece.

Oooh! You can see some chips flying! That final piece was the size of a love-seat.

This is another picture of the last piece with real chainsaw action, just because. If I could carve wood I would have made it into a sofa seat.  We wouldn’t have been able to move it but that’s besides the point. We could have rolled it. How nice it would be to sit in our tree chair on a warm summer night and look up at our tree trunk. No that’s ok. Cut it up please! Thank you. Our chainsaw cannot handle the diameter, which I measured just for you.  33 inches at it’s widest point. Here’s the pic:

Looks good and smells good too. It has a weird open-guts-tree smell. Fresh like in the rain but woodsy and sandy and barky all at the same time. That description doesn’t exactly sound enticing but it’s not bad. We’re all out there smelling the tree. Intervention!

So now we can really move fast with the cleanup process. This is the pile of logs that were laying around.

These are all the branches. I tried to get a good view with lots of debris so you could get a feel for what four hours of tree cutting can really get you.

I am so grateful that the guys cleaned up almost everything. What we had left was alot. Plus, Ken wanted to use the new chipper. And in my need to help and start moving the big backyard pieces to the tree holding area we have now, I sustained my first real working injury. Crap. I was scared too. Right after I picked up one of the bigger pieces, which I lift stuff all the time so I didn’t even think about it, my right middle finger felt immediately numb and fat. It was black and blue and looked seriously pinched and just injured. It was hot and painful, and looked really bad. I’ll admit I got a bit worried. And of course the BF, who is always warning me not to do stupid shit because I don’t have the best insurance, walks up at that moment. I iced it and hoped for the best. And I stopped doing anything. The nurse next door took a look and said it will prob turn a nice black and blue color, but since my circulation was fine, I should just ice and rest it. Man, this forty year old body is killing me! It’s been some days now and it is ok. KNOCK ON WOOD. It never turned real nasty and it seems to have gone back to mostly normal. It’s a weird browny color but I can use it so I’m not complaining. I was even able to finish my motorcycle class using my bum hand. Right hand throttle ya know! FUN! No hand pictures though…they would have been good right after but I never even thought of it! Anyway, this is the chipper below.

Notice the chips flying out the chute end. Nasty going in. Shreds coming out. Makes that movie Fargo seem extra creepy when you have a wood chipper sitting right in front of your house and you see what it can do to tree limbs that are as big as a human leg. Here’s a few more pics from a different angle.

I like that picture because it kind of shows the effort it takes to heave those branches in. Throw and let go. You do not want to be holding onto the branch when the blades grab it. It sucks it in so fast that even standing there watching it over and over you can’t believe it’s so quick. One more for good luck.

I like this one because you can see inside the truck. It was empty when we started. And it’s not nearly full when we were done. Well, when they were done. I was pretty far away actually. Walking around taking pictures. This was before my finger got a boo boo.

And finally, the finished product! Now I have two trees with one trunk, going straight up, looking like they are doing a booty bump. I was joking around that with my luck there will be a terrible lightning storm that night that will hit the first one and take out the second one in a domino effect. Money well spent.

This is post cleanup. The BF and the boy chainsawed what we had left and stacked it all in the holding pile. I cleaned up the small stuff.

And here we are. Right back to where we started from at the beginning of summer. It’s like gaining weight. All plus more. It is obviously my destiny to be the keeper of the trees. Or at least their parts.

That’s everything nicely stacked. Here’s an individual pic of the big logs just cause I like the way they look. All that used to be in the air. Isn’t that amazing?!? I know. It’s been a long day and the kids want to go out and fish for a little while. They have been very understanding in my need to share with my fans.

If anyone needs any wood?? Camping? Fireplace? Carving? Just to have a piece of the story? It’s always here. And anytime I dare to try and get rid of it all, nature provides me with more! It’s the gift that keeps on giving. I was just thinking that even if I had no trees in the yard, cut to the ground, I bet branches from other areas would start showing up, like from the wind. Or tornados would bring them right to me. Well, that’s hopefully too crazy. Incidentally, it’s been dry as a bone around here all last week. Looked like rain. They said it might. Never did. About one hour after Ken was done and cleaned up and everything was in for the night, it stormed. There was thunder. There was lightning. The wind blew. The rain fell. The earth was clean. And it hasn’t rained again since. I’m not trying to say anything in particular. It just seems strange.

This is the last picture. My newly shorn tree posing for the camera. I should make it the first cause it’s so pretty. This is also the end of the story. Thanks for hanging all the way through. Later.

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No storms so…

August 13, 2010 at 1:44 pm (Day to Day, Pictures, Tree Trouble) (, , , , , )

I guess I’ll just go on ahead and clean up all the branches then. Once we got started, the kids and I, we were able to do all the sticks and clear the area. It was about 90+ degrees, humid, no wind. We were dripping sweat so I used it to replace our workout for the day. And now we are free and clear on tree debris until the rest comes down in a few days. And as a bonus there was no complaining and no bribery involved!

Look at all that nice, clear, open space!

Anyway, that was Tuesday and I’ve been hoping for a rainy day so I can sit on my ass and do nothing. But no. Sunny and 95 degrees. It’s actually pretty nice. It’s real summery that’s for sure. What’s really good is you can sit outside and do minimal moving and feel like you are burning boatloads of calories. It’s like steam-room-sauna-P90X. Update is coming up!

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May 9, 2009 at 4:50 pm (Pictures) (, , , , , , , )

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Happy Mother’s Day

May 9, 2009 at 4:41 pm (Day to Day) (, , , , , , , , )

Saturday version.

Wind was howlin’ a few hours ago and I was worried, as I always am on Mother’s Day Weekend.

The trees in my backyard tend to shed their limbs on this weekend EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Not exaggerating. It’s been going on for at least 8 years now. Sometimes the branches are relatively small and scatter across the grass. Sometimes they can be medium and fall on the neighbors garage or across her driveway onto her house. OR, they can be Large–like half a tree—and drop the entire length of my backyard taking the electric, phone and cable lines with them, as pictured above.

My “garden” is now a Zen Stick Retreat, where I go every summer to saw big branches into smaller pieces until they fit into the yard-waste bin and/or fire pit until they are all gone. The chance of new limbs falling is equally proportionate to the amount of sticks already on the pile. The greater the sticks already on the ground, the smaller the new ones will be. So I try to get rid of them s.l.o.w.l.y…

Eventually my three big trees will be three big trunks and I won’t have to worry anymore. Except for maybe lightening….take them down right at ground level. But that hardly ever happens…haha (nervous chuckle) Right?

Breakfast with the BF Mom is over and dinner is up next with my Mom. We are enjoying palate-cleansing Peanut M&M’s until my sister and mother arrive for the drive to the restaurant. The wind has died down and it’s still now…but there’s one more day to go.

I’ll update tomorrow and let you know if the tree-trend continues…  Gaze upon the picture below of my stick pile. Feel the tranquility  and enjoy the rest of your evening.

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May 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm (Pictures) (, , , , , )

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