Sunday, October 13, 2013

In Case You Didn't Know

For many years before City Girl decided that hanging around your parents was equivalent to death, the three of us would go to Fort Desoto beach.  We avoided the paved parking lots and crowds in favor of parking on the grass along the road and walking a short distance to a mostly deserted beach.

One day when City Girl was around three, as we were driving in I saw a sign that said 'Naturalist Society' with an arrow pointing to the path we always took to get to the beach.  How cool, I thought, nature lovers have discovered our beautiful spot.  Maybe they'll tell us the name of some of the birds we always see.

We put our blanket down at our usual spot.  I noticed a group of people off in the distance and figured that was the Society.  We headed towards them, picking up the pretty shells that were littered around the beach.  As we got closer, City Girl was intently filling her bag as I looked up and saw about 15 people sitting buck naked in their beach chairs.  

People we aren't talking about looking up and seeing Shemar Moore or Matthew McConaughey.

With wry grins on their faces obviously enjoying the predicament I was in, they quietly waited to find out what I was going to do now.  With a slight panicked feeling I said gently, Sweetheart let's turn around and go back so we can empty our bags and get some more shells.

And bless her, City Girl said ok Mom and happily turned around without looking up.

Back to the future, City Girl now thinks hanging around your parents is only a little like death, and we have a lot of fun together.  Last night she suggested that we go to the beach to watch the sunset and we headed to our favorite spot.

We didn't let this log get in our way as we made our way to the beach.

As usual it was deserted, except for a man sitting next to his bicycle off in the distance.

We watched the beautiful sunset.

Turning to head back, I sadly observed that sign pollution and ropes have now infested our favorite beach.

In case you didn't know. 

As I recounted the buck naked beach story to City Girl, bicycle man hurriedly put on his swim trunks as we approached.  I am not kidding.  

I say all signs should be banned in favor of periodic public announcements in all languages recounting all of the things that we're not supposed to do, because there are people arriving all day long and many of them are blind or can't read signs written in English. Are you with me?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Thinking about the Barn

On the schedule for this winter is to clear cut the back 10 acres of Tree Ring and thin the front 13.  The clear cut will extend from our neighbor's 40 acre pasture to the clearing where the shelter is.

Once the clear is complete, we will begin the site plan for a barn and cabin.  We will build the barn first.

The barn we would like to build is reminiscent of Majorie Kinnan Rawlings' barn.  One of my favorite books is Rawlings' Cross Creek which tells the story of her move to Florida in the 20s and what life was like back then.  Her homestead is now a Florida State Park and we went to see it a few years ago.  We both fell in love with her barn.  Though it was reconstructed in the 90s due to the original barn burning down, we loved the look and design.  

Since we really aren't farmers, it's all about the look right?

Here is a photo of the barn taken in 1965:

Here is a photo of the reconstructed barn from the Florida State Parks web site:

We switched the sides and our barn will be smaller:

The door will open to a workshop that will have a bathroom at the back.  

Since Retro Man will be constructing it by himself, he wanted to build a model first to plan how all of the pieces will go together:

The model is constructed 1 inch = 12 inches, or 1:12 scale.  We purchased a doll that is also 1:12 so we could understand the scale better.

We call him Little Man.

Unfortunately I gave away City Girl's Bulldozer, which might have given us an idea about how much space a tractor would take up, so now I'm on the lookout for a 1:12 scale tractor.

I would like to have the site plan complete and water/electric put in by the time summer sets in.  That way, we can come to Tree Ring in the summer and be able to shower if we want and even use the air conditioner in the popup.  We would build the barn next winter.

Speaking of the popup, even Retro Man is admitting it is getting a little long in the tooth.  We think it is nearly 40 years old.  Once the barn is in, we may replace it with something a little more substantial for a few years while we plan the cabin construction.

Monday, August 5, 2013

First Morning's Light

One of my favorite things to do at Tree Ring is get up before sun rise and walk to the dry pond.

Sometimes you can see a thick blanket of clouds hovering.  Just as the sun peeks over the trees, the rays of sun slice through minute by minute until you can't see the blanket any more.  It's incredible. 

I love the angle of the sun in February and the casts of the tree shadows.

I try to be quiet, but I never catch any wildlife in the clearing.

Even the lichen is beautiful at that time of day.

Then I check the gate,

Grab some breakfast,

And think about how fortunate I am.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Oh Yes, We Really Did That

This year I decided to get legit and put some initials after my name.  A 50 year old woman in Defense IT better look damn good on paper now that the inevitable layoffs have begun. The first credential I am going for is Project Management Professional, also known as PMP. 

I haven't posted in nearly a year, but for some reason I have to post this story much more desperately than I need to read a 500 page book in preparation for a 4.5 hour PMP test. This is very typical. I almost flunked out of college because I worked at the library.  I brought home so many books I was supposed to shelve that I never studied for my boring classes and barely got a degree. 

But I digress.

There weren’t many blogs last year because of all my surgeries. However, we did get to Tree Ring a few times. I will start with a trip we made in February. 

What stupid thing is going on here? 

Oh yes he is.

This is why men don’t live as long as women. 

Here’s how the conversation went: 

RetroMan:  I’m afraid this tree is going to fall on the shelter, so I’m going to have to cut it down. 
Me:  It's awfully close to the shelter.  It might fall on it anyway.
RetroMan:  That's not going to happen because I'm strapping it up first. 
Me:   What?  Isn’t that dangerous? 
RetroMan:  Not for me. 
Me:  Shouldn’t we get a professional to do that? 
RetroMan:  We’re tree farmers. We are the professionals.

After making some cuts and pulling for quite some time without budging the tree, we decided to try the Polaris.

Here is the play-by-play in video.  It's funnier if you turn on your speakers.  Each one is about 45 seconds.

The tree just missed crushing the Polaris.

Good project managers learn from experience if they are still alive after the project.

I am a good project manager.

I will make sure we have longer straps next time.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Well Hello There!

It's been a while.

Lots of good things have happened since the last blog post:
  • Got two new knees
  • Got a new job
  • City Girl is happily living in Roanoke, Virginia
  • RetroMan and I are planning to build a barn at TRC.  Or rather RetroMan is going to build it and I will try to help.
  • I turned 50
Some sad things: 
  • Sammie passed away
  • Georgia Farm Woman took down her blog 
RetroMan is doing great.

Me too.

Please don't blow that one up.

TRC is awesome, though we didn't visit much in '12 due to all my surgeries.

The neighbor cows still check us out when we are there.

The butterflies are amazing.

I will make a better effort to update the blog - especially since we're going to build a barn and I can only imagine the calamitous possibilities that will present.