October is always nice but, in November, the rains come (and the madness creeps in)

Usually it is that way. And this year, that recipe was being followed by Mother Nature but, well, she really spiced it up some. A couple days before Halloween, I was down on the dock in a T-shirt replacing a board or two. That day, I actually got a bit too much sun on my face.

Here it is barely a week later and the snow is on the ground, the decks are frozen and I am running the genset 24 hours straight to ensure the water lines do not freeze (they are wrapped in heat tape). We dropped easily 40 degrees Fahrenheit, 15 degrees C (maybe more) in a few days. The wind has been coming from the northern quadrant (1/3 from the NE) and it has also held a lot of moisture. That is not common. We never get snow in November from the north. Usually the rain comes from the SE and any NW winds are dry. And, of course, we are pounding through the wood already.

“Dave! That’s not news! That’s weather!”

You are right. Of course. I should be embarrassed. But, you see, it also FEELS DIFFERENT. It feels like yet another aberration linked to climate change. I know that is a weird thing to say but, honestly, it really FEELS different. It FEELS a little crazy.

Good ol’ Sal is, of course, in denial. She got up at dawn, packed her kit and left to go quilting on the other island this morning. There was a 15-20 knot wind blowing out of the NW. The seas were up a bit…pretty bouncy, not too ugly. The temperature was below 28 degrees F and everything was a sheet of ice. With the wind in her face, it was a horrible trip. She got over to the other side with her chainsaw and quilting stuff and hiked the hill to the car to make the meeting on time. Yesterday there had been reports of multiple trees downed on the old logging road and Sal anticipated having to chop through a few this morning.

I do not know what to say……………..? Sheer bloody lunacy? Frozen madness-on-a-stick? Intrepid quilter with a chainsaw? I like to think ol’ Sal is just more macho than Arnold Schwarzenegger and with a few more skills but mental illness cannot be completely ruled out. In fact, crazy is, in this case, the Occam’s razor conclusion.

Think not? Well, consider this: it takes an hour to get in and an hour to come back out. Those two hours do not allow for fallen tree removal, sliding into the ditch or any other common and frequent Murphyism. She had to be in the car and moving at 8:00 am. AND she has to be back here at 12:15 because she has a flu-shot scheduled 30 minutes later up at the school. So, all that intrepidness for a two-hour quilting meeting…..I dunno…what do you call it?

Anyway, winter is here. It came in like Freddy Krueger. But, if he has his chainsaw, he has met his match.

13 thoughts on “October is always nice but, in November, the rains come (and the madness creeps in)

  1. My cold dunk tank went from 52 to 40f in the last week
    I was breathing like I was birthing at first but it is great how one adjusts quite quickly.
    Helps that I interval with the hot tub and the steam room🤪


    • Sometimes urban life, swaddled in coddle and embraced in indulgence, doesn’t sound all bad. Aldo, I hope you get a rash from your massuece, a sore from your sauna and your chef screws the roux.


  2. I was wondering in the beginning of your article what the chainsaw had to do with quilting…untill I realised there is no easy trip when you are OTG. Just curious, did she have to use the chainsaw?


    • She HAS had to use it a couple of times. One tree each time. But, after a storm and a cold snap so many trees fall that guys give up after 12 or so (anticipating even more further down the road). The day before she quilted, some guy on the road took out 30 before getting to a clear path. He made it so that she was good-to-go yesterday. No chainsawing required. Plus the road crew graded so it was OK. She may be a lunatic but she is a lucky lunatic. And out she goes again this morning to pick up the doctor and give him a ride.


  3. The image of Sal and the chainsaw reminds me of 9 years of driving our kid to school on Read Island. The school was 10 miles of bad road to the north. Waking up to wind or snow meant leaving early, because, for sure, there would be trees across the road, sometimes a few feet in diameter, but mostly smaller stuff.

    But, I probably lack intrepid Sal’s skill with a chainsaw. If I left home with only one, then good chance I would get the blade pinched and trapped in the log. Saw #2 could sometimes be used to relieve the pressure and release saw #1. If not, then one had to resort to the steel wedges and sledgehammer that also had to be in the back of the truck, along with assorted ropes, chains, peavey and tool for adjusting the chain as it warmed up. Then, of course, shooting muffs for hearing protection and heavy work gloves. A spare gallon of gas and some bar oil was also not a bad idea.

    I recognize that to make her trip, Sal could not pack all that gear, so there would be much less room for error. If she had to clear a log of any size, it had to be done right. Not always as simple as it looks.

    At least having to be a lumberjack on the road up to the school meant that, on the more leisurely return trip, one could finish the job already started. Often the trees down were decent for firewood and could be bucked up, taken home and packed in the woodshed.


    • I would simply not allow Sal to use a real chainsaw. She’s too pretty. But I bought her a 16″ electric chainsaw and it is good for any tree 12″ or less (the ‘fallen trees’ are usually Alder and of smaller diameter). It’s light, too. I keep the blade sharp. I keep the oiler full and I taught her how to do it. She could likely do a dozen but we have an agreement: she only does ‘what she can’ and, if there is the threat of more, she comes home.


      • Still, again, respect to the both of you (and also Rjukan of course). A lot of people could learn a thing or two from you all! As our commute to work is hindered by traffic jams, your commute is hindered by log jams!


        • If I go down the road and see a fallen tree, I don’t stress (unless I am trying to make an appointment). I just get out, use the saw and push stuff out of the way. But, when I am in the city and a huge line-up of unmoving cars stretches out before me with no end in sight, I am practically hysterical. I wasted way, way, way too much of my life in traffic going nowhere. If there is an example of stupid, it is sitting in a car that cost a year or more of ‘life’ earnings while poisoning the air and not going anywhere while considering that ‘working’. I tense up now even when I drive into a small town. It’s crazy-making. The traffic, parking, the store line-ups, the shortages, the expense and all the time spent being…what? Modern? Having convenience? We are/were kidding ourselves. I admit that I sound a smidge extreme but that is the way I feel.


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