Anywhere the wind blows

I’m taking my last vacation in 2020.  Since there’s a pandemic going on, and I live with someone who is in the ‘high-risk’ category for catching COVID, I’m not traveling anywhere.   Fortunately, there’s plenty that needs to be done here, seeing as we live in a house that’s 180+ years old.  We may live on a little scrap of land, but that land has trees around it.  Being fall/autumn, the leaves fall to the ground, need to be gathered up and deposited on the curb for the village to pick up and dispose of at the town compost site.  As they do every year.

Of course, my neighbor to the east has large oak trees, and they don’t typically drop their leaves until late in the season, so I have to wait for that to occur before they can be gathered.  Typically, property owners gather their own leaves, and ‘do their duty‘ but in their case, they don’t.  And since the wind doesn’t discriminate, the leaves inevitably end up in my yard and blown against my house, which is a natural wind-break.  Lucky me. (Yes, I’ve tried reasoning with them, but to no avail.)

Consequently, every fall, I’m out there with my small Hitachi leaf blower, my rakes, and my tarp, gathering up the leaves and plopping them on the curb.  Now, the village doesn’t always show up johnny on the spot to collect, they have a large area with many streets to cover, so it may very well be a week or more before they get to, (or get back to) mine.  And just coincidentally, they collected on Friday here, while I was at work.  Yes, to add insult to injury.  Thank you fate.  Fortunately, while I was out running errands, I noticed that several houses up the street have put their leaves out again for collection, so in theory, I still have time to do mine.

As long as the wind and weather cooperate.

Things that go bump in the night

Last night we had a really bad storm in the area.  Bad enough that even in a brick house I could hear the wind blowing outside.  Coupled with a torrential rain (we live on high ground so flooding isn’t really an issue) that had lasted most of the day there were parts of town that were inundated with the wet stuff but not too terrible.

This past winter we’d had a fairly significant heavy snowfall that had weakened several trees near the property.  One in particular while belonging to the village also encroaches upon our front yard slightly, meaning one of the larger branches hangs over the property line.  The tree’s base has a rather old but unsightly gash in it, and it’s probably on it’s way towards dying in the next 10 years or so.

Last night around 10:45 I heard what sounded like a significant crash from the front of the house.  One of the cameras in the front of the house showed some accelerated activity in the form of leaves blowing around the steps, but nothing that suggested there was anything major amiss.  Looking out the front door, my wife informed me that there was something in the darkness that didn’t look quite right, that her view toward the street seemed to be blocked.  Turning on the porch lights I could see why.

windstorm1Granted this is the next morning, but going right off from our porch (off to camera right) I could tell that a significant portion of the tree I had been concerned about since this past winter was now residing in the front yard.  I put on my shoes and a jacket, went outside (it had stopped raining at this point but was still pretty windy, probably 20-25 mph gusts) with a flashlight and my phone.  Couldn’t really take any pictures at that point as there wouldn’t be any depth of field.  With my flashlight I could tell the positioning of the tree and the piece that had broken off.  It wasn’t impeding traffic so it seemed pointless to call anyone to take care of it.

About an hour later, the whole thing became moot anyway as the power went off.  Not just for us, but apparently for pretty much our whole town and quite a few towns around us.  The local electrical co-op posted on Facebook that NYSEG had for some reason shut off the electrical connection between them, so they were without power to distribute.  Until that was turned back on, their hands were effectively tied.  Certainly it had something to do with the windstorm, as the NYSEG website’s outage page was lit up like a Christmas tree with outages all over the state.  So it wasn’t just my area, it was all over the place.  One can surmise what probably happened.  One grid goes down, and like dominoes, as each grid is overloaded by others failing, someone needs to pull the plug before they all go down.  So, in my opinion, that’s what someone decided to do.

Regardless, the power was off for a little under five hours.  Came back on around 4:30 and in the morning, I took a few pictures before calling the village street department and informing them about the tree.  About an hour later a crew arrived and disposed of the debris.  I chatted with the foreman about the final disposition of what was left of the tree, and he agreed it will probably have to all come down, it’s pretty rickety the way it is.  Even so, it’s still standing as I’m typing this out.  We’ll see if they bother to remove it.

I wonder if Noah has an Ark I can borrow?

The weather report for the next week or so is rain.  Not just rain, but rain, rain and even more rain.  Did I mention it’s supposed to rain a lot this week?  Ok, just checking.  Rain is what makes the flowers grow, but it’s also what makes the grass get out of hand if there’s not time to cut it in between bouts of rain.  So it’s going to be interesting to see how long the lawn gets by the time I’m able to cut it next.

Fortunately, my mower is still relatively new.  When I moved to this area in 1993, I purchased a Craftsman push mower from Sears and it moved with us to every house and property where we lived.  About three years ago I gave it to one of the neighbors up the street, they didn’t have a mower of their own, and their lawn every year needed to be mowed and almost never did, unless someone nearby came along and helped them out.  Seeing as I was interested in upgrading, my wife suggested giving them my old mower and getting a new one.  So I did.  Of course a year later they lost the house due to back taxes and I think the old mower was either sold or thrown away with the remains of the house when it was torn down.  C’est la vie, right?

For the most part, I keep lawn and other equipment for a long time.  It’s a habit I picked up from my parents, specifically my father.  I still have all of his tools in storage, some of which he inherited from his father, so a lot of them are actually pretty old.  I’ve upgraded some things like drills and socket sets over the years, though they generally never stay in the containers they originally came in, that’s one of my major faults.  I have several tool boxes in the basement that are a jumble of various tools, one of these days I need to go there and sort everything out.  I keep saying that, but inevitably, never do.  Shades of procrastination.

Even so, with all the rain, if I can get a little time and no pain in my various joints, perhaps I can do some sorting in the house.  I certainly can’t mow the lawn until it dries sufficiently.  Now that I have the roto-tiller fixed, perhaps I can clean out the garage so it has a place to stay when the next seasons arrive and its no longer needed until Spring 2020.  We’ll see how all that susses out.  Stay tuned!