From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Closing out 2009

Clean start for a new year



 Burning branches from the 2009 ice storm

Dennis has spent a couple of days burning piles of branches around the yard. Conditions had to be right -- the ground wet, the air still, and Dennis off work for the day. Those conditions were met a few days ago, and again today.

These branch piles were remainders of the major ice storm we had last winter. Most people who live along a highway got rid of their storm debris last spring. They piled it at the edge of the road, and workers, hired by the county, loaded the piles onto trucks and hauled them away.

We don't live along the highway, so we would have had to load and haul our branches in order to pile them for pickup -- an impossible task for us. We thought it was a major achievement when our Mennonite neighbors helped us get the broken limbs gathered and piled, just in our yard!

The pile of limbs in the photo was the biggest of half a dozen piles. Some willow branches and chunks of willow trunk that were in contact with the ground sent down roots and grew new branches up through the pile last summer. Dennis had to chop off the roots to throw the branches on the fire. It was quite a mess.

The only reason that I'm sorry to have the piles of branches gone is that a lot of little wild creatures were probably finding shelter in them. We do still have a big brush pile on the corner of our small property, over the hill where we've pitched branches for years. I imagine that it's pretty crowded this cold night. Dennis is not going to burn it.

While Dennis was burning branches, I took down most of the Christmas decorations. One small Christmas tree will stay in place until sometime in late January, but I packed up the big tree, the Christmas village, and a lot of other doo-dads and knickknacks. I feel a little sad that Christmas is nearly over, but I'm glad to have the bulk of the un-decorating done.

Now the Christmas boxes need to be taken to the shed. I also need to decide what to do with the decorations that I'm not keeping. Should I store them away for the spring garage sale, or should I make a clean sweep and donate them to Goodwill now?


This box is ready to go to the shed.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.