Sunday 16 October 2011

rus in urbe

rus in urbe, originally uploaded by Dru Marland.

Mal put the shout out. "They're cutting down this HUGE cedar," she said, "just up the hill. And they're happy for you to take the wood."

How could we turn down an opportunity like that? I was over that way anyhow, picking up Katie from the school where she's doing a BTEC course. I'd parked down the hill; she sidled up to the car and slipped quickly into the passenger seat. We headed over to Montpelier. "O god, I know them," she muttered, slipping out of sight below the window as we passed a group of schoolchildren. It is a terrible trial for a teenager, being driven around in a Moggy, let me tell you.

No such probs in boho Montpelier, though. We meandered around the narrow streets, chugged up a couple of precipitous hills, and saw Pig tied to a railing, branches everywhere, and Mal chatting animatedly to a chap in tree-cutting rig. The air was fragrant with cedarness and chainsawingdom.

It was quite a happening place. A huge Monterey cedar had become a bit dangerous, dropping a big limb onto the road, and it had been decided to fell it. "It must have been sucking up about 200 gallons of water a day", said Trevor the tree man. "It was drying up the ground under it."

The big side branches had already been lopped; we watched as Tristan the tree man, high above, worked the chainsaw through the topmost section of the tree, and it creaked over and fell, to be arrested by the restraining ropes. And I cursed at having not brought out the camera.

We chugged slowly home up the hill, the Moggy's suspension bottoming out under the load.

I like splitting logs. There's something pleasing about a well-swung axe, cleaving its way cleanly through a very large section of trunk.


  1. Embarassed in a Minor? She should count herself lucky not to be driven around in a Peugeot 404 pickup with a home-made silencer, as I was at times when her age.

    That's a quality score there, cedar-wood. Are you going to use it as firewood (Are you even allowed to, clean air act and all) or are you going to make stuff with it?

  2. Excited to see what you do with all the wood Dru! Are you planning anything?

  3. Tell Katie that the height of embarrassment would be if you stalled outside the school gates. Did it once and only just lived to be telling the tale today.

    Poor tree, locked in concrete, no wonder it started throwing branches around

  4. Oooh cedar wood, and free - fantastic! Not envious at all...

  5. Sometimes, you just can't cedar wood for the trees :-)

    My dad drove me to school occasionally in his NSU Prinz ('champagne' beige, crimson plastic bucket seats, chrome horn rim). If I was lucky, my dropping off would not coincide with that of a classmate being delivered in the top of the range NSU RO80. I think (and I can't be totally sure in the fog of revision) that I didn't voice or let show my sensibilities - but probably not so much as to spare dad's pride as to conceal my own pathetic snobbishness.

  6. Chuck some in your wardrobe and the clothes will have a nice pong and the bugs will stay away.

    Only ever got an occasional ride from school on fridays when my father would turn up in one of his series of Lagondas, kids with newer cars were envious!

    Could you not keep a pair of dark glasses in the moggy for Katie?

  7. Seeing caroline's comment; and a false beard.

  8. I'm keeping some aside to carve things, as part of my ongoing installing-wooden-birds-in-trees project (score so far, one little owl). The rest will be for campfires, alas but also hooray.

    Good idea, Caroline! We are rather bothered by clothes moths. I'll do that.

    Katie's New Cool Friend made enthusiastic noises about the Moggy the other day; maybe she'll come round to acceptance soon.... still, the false beard is a good plan!