Last week was deceptively laborious. We went down to Casa South...again. This time to meet with a new realtor and an appraiser.
We had other jobs to do there too. Greg had to replace a gas pipe. That was simple enough until his foot caught on a water pipe and busted it. More work.
Meanwhile I was dragging brush and starting fires. Only the brush pile wouldn't light. Didn't light the week before either. The 29th time was the charm though. I managed to do a good clean up on the half acre behind the house. Now I have to work on the other five acres.
The house, I'm happy to say is immaculate. The woods on the other hand are almost impenetrable in some spots. I wouldn't have bothered with it except for the fact that we have three very dead and humongous trees that HAVE to come down. Two are over power lines and one was over a neighbor's house.
I've had my share of homestead related adventures, but I have to admit that cutting down 100 foot pine trees is one of my least favorite jobs. It scares the bejeezus out of me.
When a tree that big comes down the earth actually shakes underneath your feet and the ground feels like it's going to swallow you whole. It's not the BOOM that scares me though, it's the trip down.
Greg is magnificent at felling trees where they need to drop, but all the engineering in the world can backfire if cables fail or Mother Nature strikes up a wind at the wrong time. Not knowing which way the tree is going to fall is the scariest few seconds of all.
This tree was in the middle of our woods but thirty feet from the fence line over our neighbor's house. It had to go, but it was going to be tricky. It took all morning to prep for this job.
Ordinarily we'd use a tractor to pull cable attached to the tree, but most of our equipment is at Casa North so we were left using a power puller, an unimpressive little device that does a big job with a bit of muscle. I was the muscle.
Greg did all his cuts. When he was on his final cut he told me to start ratcheting in the cable as fast as I could. I can't tell you what went wrong, but the cable slipped off the ratchet and went slack over the tree at the most critical moment of all. We watched from different spots as the giant tree teetered on the cut base.
God must've took pity on us because no wind came up and the tree reseated itself. We reattached the cable to the machine. This time when I ratcheted on the power puller it took the tree all the way down--right where Greg had elected.
It was awesome, and scary, and a huge relief. I made my way over to the downed tree to take a picture of Greg with his conquest when I started to hear buzzing.
That wasn't good.
I scanned the area but couldn't see anything. The buzzing got louder.
Now, I have been stung by all manner of things, and I knew enough to walk away, but it was too late. The more I walked, the more I heard buzzing. They had locked on to me and one was in my hair.
Greg came after me and got the one in my hair, but it had already stung me. Fortunately, it was a honey bee. Of all the bee or wasp stings you can get, honey bees are the least dangerous. Six days later, I still have the lump on my head, but the pain is gone.
It turned out there was a hive in the dead tree about thirty feet up. When it came down, it destroyed their hive (honey splattered everywhere) and they were all kinds of mad. I can't blame them, but it was either their home or my neighbor's home.
That wasn't the end of my trauma. After the bee incident, I was dragging brush and somehow disturbed a fire ant hill. My left leg looks like a topographical map of India. It was pretty painful for a couple of days, but that too has subsided.
All in all, a trying week.
I've got design work piling up so I'm glad to be home for a while. It's much safer designing covers than it is cutting down trees, evading bees, or smashing killer fire ants.
Have you ever been stung by anything? Yellow jackets and scorpions are the most painful, but the brown recluse bite I got once was probably the most dangerous. That one sent me to the doctor.
I must've chosen the wrong kind of retirement. I'm pretty sure I didn't sign up for precarious and spine-tingling.
Oh, for the quiet life.