Sunday, December 18, 2011


Life here on the homestead is pretty peaceful in general. One thing that is very apparent though is that it is rarely quiet, and there is always something happening around here that would definitely disqualify the Homestead for the "Tranquility" prize.
Perhaps the casual discovery of a headless rabbit in the path to the barn. Or the sudden onslaught of migrating hawks taking down our chicks.  Or maybe that the teenage neighbor has a new dirt bike.
Whatever it is from day to day, it will just be something you learn to take in stride. It's always changing around here. It's usually not worth worrying about it.
This attitude is something I came by naturally from growing up in this place. Buck on the other hand did not. He still worries, for instance, about silly little things like the screaming wind storms we get here in the fall and spring.
After moving back to the Homestead, sleeping in a travel trailer under the trees, it all came back to me in one single sleepless night of 60 mile an hour winds and things flying by the windows like the tornado scene in Wizard of Oz.
After thinking to myself "Oh yeah, the wind really blows here." I settled down for the winter.
It will be fine. No trees have killed anyone yet.
Buck on the other hand had a tougher time sleeping through the "Howlers", as my dad calls them. Buck had the unfortunate burden of a sensible and fact based reality and in this world of gravity and chaos it was only a matter of time before we would be crushed by a tree.

Both of our attitudes are valid. Neither of us really knows what will come next, so we have a right to our own way of looking at it.

What entertains me about these disparate attitudes is how they played out in the face of an event that happened last winter. An event which we have dubbed "The Trailer Stabbing".  We have not mentioned this event because we had to slowly tell our family in the least alarming way we could, so they would not immediately demand we move back to the city. We had to calm everyone with time before we could blab this story to everyone else. But now a year has gone by and it has turned into a favorite funny story to tell at parties.
This story begins with a real Howler one fall evening. We have done the chores, fed ourselves and the dogs and we are ensconced in the fluffy warm world of bed, I am drifting to sleep, Buck is, I am guessing, reciting a circular mantra which goes something like this "Please, Please be over soon. Please, Please don't fall on us."
I on the other hand am in my small world of safety, protected by childhood imaginings of trees that care about me and would therefor, never fall on me.
The fact that we are sleeping in a travel trailer under a mangy tree full of Widow Makers, protected by the trailer world equivalent of basswood sticks and tissue paper does, I admit, disquiet me. I am reciting my own mantra as the trailer jolts and rocks "Please, Please be over soon. Please, Please don't fall on the newly rebuilt barn."
Our ability to remain awake is over powered by exhaustion. We drift off to sleep. We awake to a "GATHUNK" that cannot be good. While Buck lays stock still, no doubt taking an inventory of critical body parts, I jump up to see what we will need to fix tomorrow.
No sign of anything. But the sound was just too close to believe there was no damage, so I put on my boots and coat, pull out the xenon flashlight and brace myself for the wind.
It only took a minute to see what the gathunk was. A 15 foot, 5 inch diameter limb was sticking straight out of the trailer roof.
This is where I have the moment I suspect I am still asleep and dreaming. I go back inside the trailer and look all around, no sign of the limb.
Buck gets up now and asks what it was. But I am speechless. How do you say "There is a huge dead limb buried to the hilt in our roof, but there is no sign of it in here" to a guy whose worst fear is being speared by a tree limb on just such a night as this?
Instead I say "I can't tell and there is nothing we can do about it until morning anyway." and we go back to our bed and our perspective mantras. Oddly, my mantra changes a little.
The next day it turns out we were both right. The tree speared our trailer but it didn't spear us.
But from my way of thinking, the tree sent a message. Move the trailer. And Buck was listening. So we did.
Here is a little film of what we found that morning.


  1. Wow! You had an angel watching over you!

  2. wowie! falling trees and limbs are not joke! The wind kicks up here too and it is crazy how windy it can get with not much tree cover at the top of a hill.

  3. Eeks, that is scary. It really is a good story to tell after it happens and you are still alive.lol Every windstorm that comes through here always has me scared a tree will fall on our house with me in it.


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