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The Ashes Follow the Willow

If you live long enough in one home you eventually outlast the trees you planted.  I’ve written before how barren of trees our property was when we first moved in to the neighborhood.  We could look out our back window in to the farm field across the two lane state route 41.  We spent the first few years hauling small saplings in the trunk of the my father-in-law’s LTD out to the house.  Our property has a healthy four inches of top soil covering (at least) two feet of clay (I’ve never been able to dig a hole deep enough to judge the depth of the clay).  Digging holes for each of those trees was not something I enjoyed.

But now those trees are dying off.  In the spring the Corkscrew Willow came crashing down across our back yard.   The Ash trees we purchased as a set twenty years ago were our most recent departures.  Both trees have spent the past two years slowly eaten away by the Emerald Ash Borer.  It was obvious they were struggling.  Entire limbs were suddenly devoid of leaves and in the fall the leaves fell earlier then they had in any previous year.  This year, in a desperate attempt to stay alive, each tree had started sending out new shoots from the base of the tree.

Dead Ash Tree

What used to be the featured tree in our front yard has finally succumbed to the Ash Borer.

Little Ash Tree

The second Ash tree in our yard has also had enough. This one isn’t even sending up sprouts at the bottom – so it’s really done.

We’ve been talking about having the tree removed almost a year now (we are at times a little deliberate in our decision-making).  We had a few companies in mind and planned on having a few out to give us quotes.  The plan was to be deliberate and get quotes from a variety of contractors and select the one with whom we were most comfortable.  So like many of our plans, the opposite happened.  The very first contractor showed up, gave us a great quote and said he’d have the trees out that same day.  Like any spontaneous couple (that’s sarcasm folks), we accepted his offer. Continue Reading →

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The Fall of the Corkscrew Willow

Except for the pines that used to separate our house from the farm field across the two lane county road behind our house, we’ve planted every tree in our yard over the past 20+ years. We lost a Birch, a Willow and an Oak in that time.  For some reason, the Maple trees in the yard are the only healthy trees we have.

When we got home this evening we discovered the long suffering Corkscrew Willow had fallen. It’s been shucking brittle branches in to our backyard for the past four years so it’s no surprise. But man, it fell so well – not in our neighbors yard, not on the boat, not on the house, not on the fence. Perfect.

Fallen Corkscrew Willow

Fallen Corkscrew Willow

I’m set on firewood. The next question is how many months it will take me to get this thing in to burnable pieces.  More pictures are here.

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In one day it’s gone from this:

Before the Polar Vortex


to this (below).  If you include the wind chill, that’s a 73 degree swing in temperature!



I’m looking forward to getting above zero.

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New York Sprint

Michelle’s co-op role in New York ended this past week.  We deeply regretted our decision to have Michelle travel to New York on a regional bus line back in August and decided the best, cheapest and safest approach to get her back in Troy was to go pick her up.  While it’s not something I would want to do on a regular basis, the 9.5 hour drive time is tolerable.

Route(s) to New York City

It seemed a shame to travel all that distance and not sample the city so I booked us on a tour of the city through OnBoard (which I do recommend – hence the explicit reference).  The tour was sold as a 7.5 hour tour, but the time passed much faster than that.  I’ve included some pictures below as well as a map with place markers noting most of the places visited.  Additional photos are available on both the Google+ and Facebook pages. Continue Reading →

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Spotify Music Embedding

I’m really enjoying Spotify.  A few days back I asked the Internet for their music streaming service recommendation.

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Gentlemen of the Road

I posted a few pictures yesterday of the festival site before the crowd showed up.  Today – the crowd is on site.  Probably not as many as will appear tomorrow for Mumford and Sons – but it’s a good crowd. Continue Reading →

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