Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Border Squirmish!

You all should remember the epic barn cleaning debacle, which resulted in a burn pile in our upper pasture. It was quite large.

Well, one Sunday morning before I even had a chance to troop down the driveway for my Times, a Department of Environmental Conservation officer, complete with reflective, wraparound sunglasses, stopped by our house. Seems that our next door neighbor (who is only actually next door one weekend every two months or so, as he lives in Albany full time) was around for a rare weekend, and upon walking into the yard behind his house, found our gigantic pile, still awaiting the approval of the Lisle Fire Department to be burned. It also turned out that this neighbor was damn certain that our pile was on his land. This slight misunderstanding was rendered infinitely more horrid by the DEC officer's proclamation that burning regulations had changed the week (the week!) before we had piled up our burnable pile, and that none of it was now burnable. Nick had a sit down with the Angry Neighbor and the DEC Sunglasses, looked at some tax maps, and while still relatively sure 90% of the pile was on our land, he agreed to move the pile to the dump. And the DEC officer agreed to not fine us thousands of dollars.

This resulted in a very grumpy Tuesday, when Big Man and I got both our truck and our trailer stuck in the mud trying to get it up the pasture hill to load up the garbage. And, after we borrowed a real champ of a truck to haul them both out, we had a very grumpy Wednesday in which we had to load the 1.8 tons of paper trash into the trailer. I also had a cold and was certain it was the swine flu.

So. Apparently this was not quite good enough. Just this last Sunday the Angry Neighbor called out a surveyor. I thought this was endlessly odd, since he doesn't do anything with his yard, and we don't do anything with our pasture...it's all just overgrown grass. But people REALLY care about where their weeds end and yours begin. I'm not used to that yet. Anyway, the poor Angry Neighbor ended up learning that the property line was about 35 feet over from where he thought -- meaning out trash pile had been entirely on our land. And the Angry Neighbor's fire pit was also on our land. And we had more land than we thought (including some lovely little spruce trees).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Some Local Stories About Roads

Well, it pretty much feels like winter now. I am baking for the holidays, and as the Big Man said, we've shoveled the drive and celebrated that success with hot cocoa. Large-scale outdoor projects are closed for the season, and we think we're in pretty good shape for hunkering down this winter.

Joel Salatin, farmer extraordinaire, described his annual cycle as a summer blitz of dawn to dusk work, and a slow winter, with time for reading, writing, and planning the next season. Winter is story time, so here's a couple local stories, about roads.

Well, the first one isn't so much a story as a picture and some conjectures. I'm sure it's an awfully good story, but we don't know it. Many of you know that we live right next to Squedunk Road, and have expressed appreciation for its name. Well, perhaps there is a local dispute about how to spell it, because its street sign, which was the standard green found everywhere, has been doctored.

I can't for the life of me remember what the sign said before, but I thought this fix was pretty nifty.

The other story is about a street in Whitney Point. Whitney Point is the larger small town in the area...it's where we go for Chinese food, the liquor store, and other emergency groceries. It has a Main Street, a Park Street, and 114th Street. We found this mildly amusing on one of our first cruises through. Some time later, we found ourselves in the back room of the Whitney Point library, talking with the town historian. She told us that in the 1920s some kids from W.P. went to New York City (she impressed upon us that this was a big deal), and as part of their wild time there they stole a street sign from 114th street. They brought it back and stuck it up at the end of their street in Whitney Point. This was extra-amusing, the historian said, because no other streets in Whitney Point had street signs, or official names. The stolen sign stayed, and the street was officially named 114th street.

So, take that NYC.

We just shoveled the driveway

And boy are my arms tired! I haven't lived anywhere with a snowy driveway in 10 years. Isn't that crazy? We had to shovel the driveway to the barn as well, although we elected to only shovel one of them. Anybody got a spare snowblower?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I was, somehow, unprepared for this.

Gunshots heard when living in Humboldt Park, Chicago: 5-7

Gunshots heard when living in Lisle, NY, first weekend of deer hunting season: Infinite.

It's taking me a while to get used to the idea that these shots are trying to shoot NOT people. And it's still incredibly weird to run into dudes with huge guns wandering around like it's no big thing. Because, apparently, it isn't.

I am planning to spend the next two weeks being very visible, flaunting this season's hip orange accessories.