Christmas morning 2014

christmas 2014
We spent a quiet day on Christmas. Leah is still watching her food to try to prevent further digestive problems, so we didn’t have a big Christmas dinner. We didn’t see relatives or friends until my brother, his wife, and his older son came down on Friday. We expect New Year’s Eve to be about the same.

Leah thinks this sounds depressing, but it really wasn’t.


Friday Felines

For some reason Chloe and Zeke have both started going down into our basement and lying on an old sofa Mark brought with him from Alabama, but they don’t do it together very often.

zeke and chloeZeke does it more than Chloe. Chloe usually sleeps upstairs on our bed all day, goes outside for a while in the evening, and then comes back inside to sleep on our bed all night.



‘Twas the night before Christmas

and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a …

Hey, Zeke, come on, you know Santa will never come if you stay up looking for him.

Zeke, get away from the door

Go on, Zeke, go to bed and go to sleep.

zeke in bedGood dog. Hey, Chloe, you heard what I told Zeke!

chloe looking outEveryone go to bed, right now!

That’s right, Lucy, good dog.

lucy in bedYou, too, Sylvester, good kitty.

sly kind of asleep

Come on, now, Smokey, you  aren’t fooling anyone.

smokey faking it

There, Smokey, that’s better.

smokey asleep

Look, even Chloe is finally asleep.

chloe asleepOK, I think everyone is in bed.

And soon, we’ll be visited by that right jolly old elf …

st dogolas

St. Dogolas!

And so, from Leah, Mark, Zeke, Chloe, Sylvester and Smokey,

happy christmas

and to all a good night!


This is a repost from last Christmas, but, unfortunately, one of the star players in that post, Zoe, is no longer with us. Goodbye, kitty.

goodbye zoe

Day 1

The long process of constructing our new home began Monday. We didn’t start construction. We didn’t even actually break ground. What we did, or what the first contractor did, was begin clearing the driveway and the immediate area around the house site.

I hired our new neighbor, John, who just moved into his new house at the bottom of Wildlife Trail. He runs an earth-moving company, so he seemed a good bet for this first work.

Here his bulldozer sits at the entrance to the driveway, before any work was done. His employee ran the dozer and John ran a skid-steer loader to pick up the brush and debris and load it into his dump truck.



The trees along the path of the drive were no trouble for the dozer. Here he goes up the drive.


Here I’m looking back down the drive from roughly where the house will be. You can see the green ribbon I wrapped around the odd tree we are trying to save.


A few weeks ago when I was measuring and marking the lot, trying to find the best location for the house, I wound a candy stripe of bright tape around a tree that is in the rough center of the property. The tree came up pretty quickly.


I watched most of this work from a safe distance. Sometimes both machines were hidden by trees and brush, but I could occasionally see the top of medium-sized pine tree shaking and then dropping towards the ground. It looked like a scene from a King Kong movie, where the only sign of Kong thrashing through the forest is tree tops shaking and being pushed down.


It’s easy to take for granted the power that machines give us. These two machines and their operators did work in a couple of hours that would have taken a crew with chainsaws and shovels a week. I had a skid-steer loader when I was working on our present house. I always told people that running the loader was like taking a vacation compared to pure manual labor.

It was midafternoon when the work started. It was cloudy and a little dark from the start, and then it started raining. It’s supposed to rain for Tuesday and Wednesday, so I doubt that much more work will be done until after Christmas. The dozer and loader were both having problems with traction on Monday. After the rain we’re supposed to get, the red dirt they uncovered today is going to make work even harder.