Posted by: David | January 24, 2010

Productivity Sunday

Not to brag or anything, but today has been a pretty productive Sunday! Almost everything I dreamed about accomplishing as I lay in bed this morning has actually come to pass. If only there were photographs to prove it.

Living the lifestyle commonly referred to as BORRRRing, I’d gone to bed just past 9:30 Saturday night. Consequently there was the 1:45 a.m. awakening with the need to pee. The toilet was being treated with anti-rusting thiosulfates, so I was forced to venture out into the cold and dark and stand barefoot on an icy patch in the backyard to make wee-wee. And to mark my territory. The deer have been having nightly square dances in the back yard. Can’t have that now can we?

Once back in bed, with my cold feet warming back up, there was a lot of tossing, turning, and thinking, until sometime after 3:00 a.m. when I commenced to remake the ZZZs. Sleep came when I finished  thinking about all the stuff I should get done the next day …

  1. Cut down nasty and large dead tree that people have been complaining about for the last couple of years, using the word “eyesore”. This would mean getting the chainsaw running, which it has not done for the last couple of years. 50% chance of success on that. It also means doing something about removing the remains of sheep fencing buried deeply in the tree’s trunk so as not to abuse the saw. Finally, the tree needs to be felled onto the nearby brushpile which is patiently waiting to be burned, where all the smaller and not-so-useful-as-firewood branches at the top should make perfect kindling to get the brushpile going really well. Getting trees to fall where I want them to is something I achieve about 60-75% of the time.
  2. Ignite and burn aforementioned brushpile. This would require getting the little propane bottle refilled and hooking it to the Weed Dragon, a nifty little blowtorchcontraption that is the perfect thing for lighting brushpiles.
  3. Take the trash to the dump and pick up the extra NY and Boston Sunday papers that my wife likes me to get so she can have the extra crossword puzzles and be all informed on what’s going on in the world. She’s kinda old fashioned that way. But then, she asks me for help with nerdy crossword clues like Asimov titles or astronaut names and it makes me feel smart.
  4. Make rice pudding from the leftover rice in the fridge. My wife bought this wild rice mixture at the co-op store and we had some the other night. It took like an hour to cook. It was good, but filling. There were a few cups leftover and we’ve got plenty of eggs.
  5. Make fish chowder for dinner. My brain conducted a survey of the various leftovers in the fridge and determined that a chowder would be quite possible. I could even incorporate the not so great shrimp scampi I’d made for dinner Saturday.
  6. It could be a busy day …

Finally ... ZZZZ and then it’s 7:30 a.m. Rise and shine. Make the coffee and the breakfast. Check the email and Facebook. Get the trash and recyclables loaded into the car.

And the dump run was successful. Oliver came along as usual. He loves going to the dump. He was not happy about the empty propane bottle on the floor. It rocked about menacingly as we took corners. But the nice guy at the dump gave him a little dog biscuit.  The lady at the store where I buy the Sunday papers and my lotto ticket for the week said I’d have to come back to get the propane bottle refilled since the guy who does that doesn’t come in until 11:30 or noon.

So I came home and grabbed a hammer, a hatchet, a crowbar, wirecutters, and commenced to work the remains of fencing wire out from the base of the tree as best I could. We’d used that tree as a corner of our sheep pasture some years back. That may be what killed the tree. Then I dragged the dusty chainsaw from its spot in the garage and checked to see if it had gas and oil, which it did. It’s a big saw and the starter rope was really hard to pull. But I pulled and pulled and the old bugger actually sputtered to life. I took it over to the tree, cut out the felling notch and aimed it for the brushpile some 50 feet away. The tree was standing pretty straight, and as I cut the back cut to drop it I wondered whether it would fall the way I wanted it to or the opposite way. The tree was pretty big at the base so I had to work the back cut from both sides since my chainsaw’s bar is only 16 inches. It had been quite a few years since my last tree fiasco where I’d nearly destroyed the little shed which eventually became our greenhouse. What a relief as this big hardwood started falling exactly where intended. Right onto the brushpile! Yes!  The chainsaw was heavy and I was etting quite winded and sweaty as I cut up the upper branches into firewood size pieces. Refilled the saw with mix once and it kept stalling out.  It was a bitch to get started again. Lots of swearing.

I was able to get most of the top of the tree cut up before getting fed up with the saw. Which was a good time to run back to the store to get the propane bottle filled. The guy was there, but he was dubious as to whether or not he’d be able to sell me the gas. The little padlock on the filler cage was all frozen up. He said I should go up to Newbury and exchange my empty for a full bottle at their other store. Only a couple extra bucks. These are some enterprising Indian folks who run these two gas station convenience stores. Nice people. Always calling me “boss” or “my friend” and wishing me good luck when I buy lotto tickets. I love that. I wish them good luck too. Plus they sell some not bad Indian food (chicken curry and rice) on Friday nights. So I go the other store and get the propane and head back home.

I do some more cutting and swearing at the chainsaw. My wife comes out and tells me that it’s too windy to light brushpile. I disagree about the wind speed being excessive but the brushpile will keep and it’s not worth arguing about. I’m covered with sawdust and reek of two-cycle exhaust anyway, so I wrap up this activity and throw all these smelly clothes into the washer. Add a small load of darks to the productivity list above.

The rice pudding came out well, as did the fish chowder. All the dishes are washed and now I’ve written over a thousand words about it. But no pictures. Sorry about that. Just too busy to snap any photos today. And now it’s getting close to bed time again. Yawn.


  1. My first thought when you mentioned felling that tree was “I hope it’s not close to the house.”

    And when it fell right where you wanted it, I had this mental image of you leaping atop the fallen trunk, beating your chest, and letting out triumphant man-yells!

    Well done!

    As usual, reality was a bit of a let down here … my arms were tired from holding the heavy chainsaw, so no leaping atop anything. Just a silent, internal “YES!” as treetop hit brushpile, then post-holing through the crusty snow to work at the tree’s top. 🙂

  2. Well done. Quite productive. I feel like such a slouch!

    Thanks! I don’t expect this much productivity this weekend. Too friggin cold out there!

    Despite your feelings, I can state this fact: you’re no slouch!

    • Thanks, but I must say that I planned very carefully for this Saturday and executed the plan very nicely. The plan was to stay inside for the whole day surrounded by pillows and blankets on the sofa. Okay, so I did write a program that finally did what it was supposed to, but I still managed to never leave the house, and barely leave the sofa. What a perfect Saturday when it is so friggin cold outside!!!

      Pillows or not, I think you just proved my point LakeCrazy. I would ask what the program was supposed to do, but imagine it would take too many polysyllabic math terms to describe.

  3. No pictures! And how I am supposed to read this if there are no pictures? I only read things where there are either pictures or verse.

    That’s a very good question cantueso! But apparently you read this anyway. I considered asking my wife to come out and take some pictures of me felling the great hickory (if that’s what it was) tree, but that kind of request usually just aggravates her and leads to excessive commentary on my vanity and other foolish traits. But I apologize for the lack of pictures.

  4. I see, you had a lot of things to do. However, you could have put in a picture or two anyway.

    On my weather chart here I can see your weather there, and it shows -8 and – 10 ºC for places like Chicago and New York for many days in a row. This explains many things. I could imagine that one’s brain becomes very slow at temperatures so much below zero. The molecules would move very slowly and even stop moving in New York and in Moscow.

    Yes it did get very cold here. We had a low temperature last week of -20ºC but only for a few days. It does have a potent effect on brain power. Molecules don’t stop moving until they reach absolute zero (−273.15°C), and I guess nobody’s ever seen that yet. However, I think it’s safe to say that brain molecules in New York and Moscow stopped moving some time in the 1950s. Or earlier. Who knows?

  5. As for the pictures, there would have been some in that drawer or in the other drawer. E.g. flowers. Caption = soon it will be spring.

    Or just any picture and tell readers this is a caption contest where readers have to invent the caption and all winners get certificate of participation. Participation is free for the first 20 entries.

    OK OK! There WAS a picture. But it was taken days after the Sunday of Achievement. A ruffed grouse committed suicide by flying into one of our basement (!!) windows. My wife told me about it after I came home from work. I placed the bird corpse in the garage. They are such beautiful birds and I knew I wanted to photograph it. It was frozen solid a couple of days later when I finally took it outside into the sun. After a few photos I placed it on the pyre.

  6. You see! There was even an almost contemporary picture, but these are mostly unnecessary. Last year’s picture will do just as fine (as will last year’s post, but that’s another matter).

    I guess I feel that I must keep generating new “content”. Though it may be ultimately meaningless, it will mean something unique to me if and when I return to it in the future, when I’m old and senile and trying to remember what I used to think about …

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