Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Men in the trees

There are men outside, pruning our cottonwood trees today. Climbers with belts and chainsaws, plus ground guys who haul the big limbs off to the chipper, which belongs to the tree-trimming company and is currently sitting in our driveway.  Every few years when we have this done, I debate the wisdom of having such big trees in our small-ish yard.  The roots get into everything, and the leaves fall in massive amounts.  Yet there is something wonderful about them, too.  Our backyard is a good 12 degrees cooler in summer than those of our neighbors (except those whose yards are positioned such that they benefit from the shade along with us), and listening to the rustling of the leaves in the wind during the evening hours of spring, summer and fall is delightful.  This will be the last time we prune them before moving, so it's a bittersweet experience.  I hope the new owners want to keep these trees and care for them as we have, but for all I know whoever eventually buys this place will want to put concrete everywhere and a swimming pool smack dab in the center of it all.  Luckily, I am taking three small branches off the trees and planting them in some plastic planters.  They will be the children of these trees, and they will go with us to our new home (one hopefully with a bit more space for big, tall cottonwoods).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A season of lights

At this time of year, we in the Central Valley generally live under a blanket of fog.  The fog makes everything outside a little bit cold and quiet, which gives us all the more reason to hang up some festive lights and put on some music.  It may be gray outside, but it's warm and welcoming within.  Although our family makes a major effort to use as little electricity as possible, on days like this I find myself keeping the lights on the tree on all day and shutting other appliances and what-not off instead.  It just makes the day seem a little bit brighter.