Headed Home at Dusk

Folks ask how I decide what’s going to be on the page the next day. I sure wish I could tell you the formula..

I was dipping into my old office email the other day looking for something when I ran across a post I had made to a forum for telecommunications managers. This is an update to a post I had put up on a Friday worrying about a tropical storm headed our way. It mentioned a backyard trim-trimming adventure.

That story came to mind when I saw this photo of trees and a white fence whipping by my car at dusk. One plus one equals a blog post. (You can make the photos larger by clicking on them.)

Here’s the tree trimming story:

When I left you all on Friday, I was complaining that Tropical Storm Gamma was projected to follow Wilma’s path (right over the top of my house). Fortunately, despite the huge headline in our paper Saturday morning that said, “Here We Go Again,” it not only didn’t hit us, it turned into a fishspinner in the Gulf.

Unfortunately, Wife Lila decided that since we were in a hurricane mindset, we (meaning me) should get rid of a 40-foot non-native tree in the backyard “before the next storm blows it down.”

This tree is 15 feet from our storage shed, one foot from our fence, seven feet from our neighbor’s house and brushes the power lines.

Shouldn’t be problem, right?

I swamped off the two lowest branches and attached a rope about 20 feet up the trunk to help guide the tree’s fall. Then, I made a notch in the tree in the direction it was supposed to go and started to make the final cut, just like I learned in Boy Scouts 45 years ago.

When I heard the first crack, I decided to take up a little more tension on the rope. That was a good idea and a bad idea. Good, because the tree appeared to be leaning a bit in the wrong direction. Bad, because it was and I returned to find my saw blade trapped.

Kid, bring your chain saw

Wife Lila calls Kid Matt to bring his chain saw and to practices dialing 9-1-1.

The neighbors are looking out their second story window. They don’t wave back.

Kid comes with saw and second rope. When I pull on the rope, I can make the tree sway enough to free my saw blade. More cracking noises happen, but not enough to satisfy me, so I attack the tree with the saw again and prove that the law of gravity has not been repealed.

Tree falls to ground with satisfying THUD! missing the shed, the fence, the neighbors and the power line.

The neighbors still didn’t wave back.

I feel safe in crossing off lumberjack as a career option.

And, for the record, alcoholic beverages were not involved in this project.

 DZ has bright idea

Several managers shared their treetrimming experiences, but a virtual buddy, DZ, had a revenue-generating idea. (That’s why he’s a manager, I suppose.)

Lumber jack may not be in the cards for you. But rule number one when undertaking such a task is to set up the video camera. If it went really bad (like hit the shed or neighbors house) you may have been able to make some money on America’s Funniest Home Videos (or COPS)….

Some things are better left unrecorded

I explained to DZ that might not be a good ideal:

After Hurricane Wilma, gas stations couldn’t pump gas because the power was out and our carriers were close to not being able to deliver the paper because their tanks were dry. We managed to acquire 1,000+ gallons of unleaded from a variety of local sources and set up a pumping station in the back parking lot for carriers and essential employees.

I started to take some pictures for our in-house publications, but decided that we were probably bending, if not breaking, about 42 zillion OSHA and zoning regulations and that a permanent record of that might not be a good idea.

Ditto my lumberjacking.

Tree? What Tree? Must have been termites

“Tree? What tree? Must have been some weird strain of termites the storm blew in that ate right through that sucker. Waving at you? No, I was waving to warn you to get back from the windows because the troop of trunk-eating termites were causing the tree to sway. Good thing I had time to get a rope around it. Chainsaw? I was swatting the termites with it.”

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Speaking of heading home

Speaking of heading home, things may be a bit light for a few days. I’m headed back to Cape this week, Lord willin’ and creeks don’t rise. I’ll have to tear down all my computer gear Tuesday so I can be on the road Wednesday.

Anyone have anything they’d like me to shoot or research while I’m in Cape? No promises, but your chances of success are improved if your press the DONATE button at the top left of the page. It takes a lot of gas to get to Cape and back.

By the way, Wife Lila has taken over Son Matt’s gardening blog and is doing a super job with it. She’s probably going to tell you that my story and pictures don’t match. She’s right. (Which is ALWAYS the safe answer.)

4 Replies to “Headed Home at Dusk”

  1. Dear Ken,
    Nearly 100 members of the Vandivort Family will be congregating in Cape again this year for our 55th annual reunion. Among the activites planned for the family are a Sunday morning visit to 630 North Street. This Cape historic house was in the family from 1906 until the late 70’s. The present homeowners have graciously opened it to all of us who haven’t been in it since our Aunt Rita sold it to a local fraternity. The present owners have restored it to the antique grandeur we remember when our beloved grandparents lived there. It is a neat house….one your readers might like to see on July 1st. Alternatively, meet us at The Holiday Inn and caravan to one of our farms Saturday morning, June 31 st. We will be giving the younger generation a lesson in farming…..and have lots of fun in the process. (After they learn how to grow cotton we are taking them to a paintball melee near Blodget.). There will be thirty or forty little kids with eager faces, dressed in red white and blue who are coming from all over the USA to renew their heritage, hear stories, and eat good southern food!

    1. Maybe I’ll print up a nametag that says “Ken Vandivort” and melt into the group. What time is the Sunday tour? What time do you plan to leave for the farm, and where is it? You can reply via email to keep from being flooded with other non-Vandivorts. I think I’ll pass on the paintball melee, though.

    2. Oh, I loved Clyde and Walter’s house (Rita Beth and Martha too)…So glad it is back to its glory. Rita gave my bridesmaid’s luncheon at her home and it was so elegant.
      Have a wonderful time at the reunion. I remember that Rita planned for it year round. Best to all.

  2. Ken, you would be royally welcomed……as we HAVE a KEN Vandivort (from Texas). However, we would love to have you under any nom de plume!

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