Chapter 24

July 16th, 2010

Trees For The Property

With the 4-5 days of 100°F, I decided to visit The Cabin and relax on Thursday, my day off, as well as on Sunday, our normal day off in the Summer July & August months.

The skies were "severe clear"; a pilot's term for 10+ mile visibility, and it was a mere 82°F with 45% humidity. I pulled into the circle turnaround driveway, unloaded my overnight bag, .50 cal Beowulf and Remy 11-87 Auto-Loader 12ga, unarmed the Choice One Alarm system and went inside. Jenny was all over me like a cheap suit, and her dishes needed refilling, so I did that.

I laid-out my gear on the Kitchen Table, and went out back to check my stock of firewood, in the BackyardFirewood Storage Shed. I have about a ½ cord of wood left, so I called Randy, Roy's son at the Shell Garage & Service Station, to see if he'd split more firewood. He had and would deliver 4 cords at $125 each to me next week, and stack & tarp it for me, to allow it to "season" over the Summer months. Because of the size of my stone fireplace, Randy cut the splits and logs into 2ft sections, instead of the usual 18" splits most people get. He said he'd invoice me. He also asked how Jenny was doing, and how was my "critter-ridding expedition" going. I hadn't done much critter-ridding over the past few months, because of all the changes to my business back in the real world, but that as soon as things fell into place with the new personnel, I'd be back to resume the hunt.

I checked the well-stocked Pantry, changed the furnace/AC filter and turned-on the AC to 65°F. I put Jenny on her leash and took the Remy 11-87 AutoLoader 12ga shells and my always-with-me sidearm, Kimber 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45 ACP along, and went for a walk to the several outbuildings. I still had plans to take most of them down, since they weren't in very good shape, but wanted to inventory their contents and check for any animals nesting over the Winter, in there.

The massive beams and the wood were in good shape and could be sold for reclaimed wood, possibly to Jeff, a friend of mine. I'd have to get him up here for a few hours for a walk around and appraisal before any demolition took place. I'm an expert on marketing, plant material and firearms, but Jeff knows his woods and his wines (I used to know wines). I'd arrange that visit in a week of so.

I heard Jenny growl and snarl, and sure enough, around the west corner of the stable lumbered a 400+lb black bear, who stood-up on his hind legs almost immediately. I tied her to a hitching post, took the safety off the Remy, took aim at its head and waited for the bear to make the first move. It did: back down on all fours and high-tailed it back into the woods. That confrontation thankfully-averted, I untied Jenny and we continued to the equipment storage barn.

Nothing of any value in this building except possibly the massive wooden beams and thick sideboarding; Jeff would have to be the judge of that. The equipment was sold-off when the previous owner(s) auctioned the 43-acre farm, and the few rusting pieces of scrap iron plows and hitches weren't worth messing with. It would need to come down, as well. The tobacco-drying building was in complete disrepair and need razing; nothing salvageable there. Though it did "smell good" inside from all those years of drying high-grade tobacco, and nicely-seasoned the wood. Too bad it was in such shoddy shape, that not much, except the beams, were salvageable. Again, Jeff would have to be the judge of that.

I just kept thinking back to when crazy Dewey Holtzapple threatened to kill me if I didn't let him set-up a meth lab in one of the two solid buildings, and I had to shoot and kill him, in self-defense after he pulled first. Meth labs blow-up for a number of reasons, and these two outbuildings were only 100-150 yds from my Cabin, which would have done some real damage to The Cabin's windows. The woodshed was only 25ft away, slatted and open on the south side. It would have absorbed some of the blast, possibly. Meth is poison, and there was no amount of money in the world that would "coax" me into any such "arrangement" with the Holtzapples. I despise drugs and crime.

I took Jenny up on to the front deck, tied her leash to the railing, and sat down at the extra-large picnic table, to survey my property. I thought that I'd like to bring-in some more "Princeton"® American Elms, as well as species "American" Elms (Ulmus Americana) to plant on the property, since many of the indigenous trees were dying at their tops and would have to come down soon. The Elms grow 4-6ft/ year and would replace many of these old, worn-out, shallow-rooted, poor-quality, diseased and insect-infected trees within 10-15 years. After getting Jeff to appraise the wood in my outbuildings, that's what I'd do next: plant more trees, and take the bad ones down.

I called Karl & Allen at ACE Hardware to ask if they had any recommendations for quality tree-cutters; they did and would put him in touch with me on my cellphone. I flagged about 25-30 trees that could damage The Cabin, if they fell on it, during a blizzard or ice storm. That new direction was going to cost me plenty, unless I could get a logger to come in a take them down for free and pay me a pittance for the wood, but at least the cutting would be free. I'd check both angles before making any final decisions.

Time to get back to York, so I refilled Jenny's dishes, packed the Jeep, armed The Cabin, and headed out to reality, once more.

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