Twas the Night before Christmas

meanwhile on Zen Mountain

Twas the night before Christmas and all cross the hill every blessed dang creature was being a pill.

Ma knitting stockings with her own flair , I fought with the wood stove, the flame wouldn’t take , it was being a bear.

Hummie was nestled , all snug in his bed while visions of Spring time danced through his wee head.  And Ma at her knitting whilst I sat fighting that dang Evil Sleepy-Time chair, the TV droning on yet another Christmas time movie bout a citiot without Christmas cheer.

When out in the yard there arose such a clatter,  now what the heck was the matter? Ma leaped to the window , I got tangled in stray yarn. I could hear her giggle I fussed and grumble with words  a bit worse than a “G” rated “Darn!”

Pulling out of my slippers that the yarn held tight, I headed to Ma to stare into the night. Out in the snow what to my wondering eye should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

I remember this Dude from last year with his good natured fun, I squinted again at Good Ole Saint Nick.  More rapid than eagles his courses they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

Quicker than snot the team they did fly, the buggers slip cross the hood of my truck and I just almost started to cry
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, now in a mood, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in a breath to start pitching a fit round,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
He looked at me glaring and became somewhat wary,
“you could have just used the door you silly old faery.”

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He looked at me with a squint as I grinned at his belly,

“sooo you’re a fan of the help yer self deli?”

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a swing of his cane,
I knew in a moment that ” here we go again ”

He glanced at me, and in gaelic he cursed,
then he stepped in the tangle of yarn and I laughed till I thought I would burst. The wee little elf and I wait all the year long to get in our licks as Ma stood there watching staying out of the mix.

He strangled a cry as the fiber it did cling bout his boots, I just jestered to my slippers with the yarn bound tightly like ancient old roots. The jolly old elf threw up his hands as he stood in his stockings we settled in with a cease to our mockings.

I offered him a seat in the Evil Sleepy-Time chair, he grinned at us as he sit down with an oof and some care. We sat reminiscing about last year’s battle as he unbraided the yarn from his footwear the people on TV continuing to prattle.

Santa sat looking over Ma’s knitting with glee as she heated water for a quick cup of tea. I stood by the fire watching the jolly old elf while the chair did its magic , Santa’s eyes glazing sleepy-time hitting even St. Nick himself

A hot mug of green tea in his fist , Santa’s sedation was beginning to lift. Ma now at her wheel spinning ever more yarn , Santa and I looked to the creeping fibers with greater alarm, my slippers long gone and his boots looked like cozies with a grannies old charm.

I swear the stockings were getting ever closer to jolly old St. Nick, he too watched them carefully lifting his legs while he sit.  Without so much as a word Ma grasp them up to place them just so , I KNOW I heard one growling from out of the toe.

Looking to me Santa rose to his feet ,slipping on his new cozies they were kinda sweet. The evening getting shorter our visit cut short Santa walked to the door winking at me and I let out a snort.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Yule celebration on Zen

Mother’s Night

I had mentioned last week that we would actually be an evening behind on the start of Yule simply because of work schedules but as we have no need or want to dance nekid around some bonfire or such with multitudes of deities or others or animals of any kind.. It’s all gud.

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice was a relaxing day for us , which was awesome though we both felt guilty for not working on any of our chores…ok.. I slipped and ran the vac just because I couldn’t stand it any longer, not doing at least something.  Ma made her lasagna which is pretty much my favorite meal that she whips up.. I figured with the time she had to put in for that , a quick vac through the house seem a fair trade….Yes yes making excuses to work, no, I am not , in fact, lost on that.

The day though brisk with that chill wind coming through the mountains and gorge made the walk to “mother tree” not too warm /not too cold… ” Mother tree” as normal , had a couple babies for us to bring home to try to get started at the homestead along with a perfect bough for its spot on the wall. We talked with her a bit as we worked to bring free the young bitty trees and again as she lowered a branch for us. ” Mother tree” is finally getting to the point that boughs are so far up that we may have to switch to one of her daughters in the next few years walking away with only her blessings and possibly new young trees to make a new home for them here at the ranch.

Some, not all years we are able to bring home the babies and some , not all, make it. They definitely would not make it in the small nursery  as they start so dang close to her trunk. They have at least a chance here , if the kids don’t munch them or someone doesn’t park on them…we lost several to both. Then there is the too hot. too dry summers every so often and who knows what the heck kills them during what seems to be an “average” winter…..  So we have two more chances to add to our bitty grove . This winter they will nestle in pots in our bedroom window to see if that will make them happy. They will be warmer than outside though they can sit and watch the snow.

After dinner , we let last year’s bough start the Yule Log which kept the fire going until the next morning. Did we make it through the night enjoying the flames?….Suuuuuuureeee….. All night until about 9:30pm Ma headed to bed and I ended up playing ” Mama guitar” until an hour later at which point I slithered out of my chair and rolled into bed myself.

Being up during the night as much as sleeping, the both of us, makes even a seven hour night actually about half that. I was up again at 1 am digging into  the Excedrin Extra to try to knock the edge off enough to get back to sleep for a bit. When one of us wakes up  so does the other . Between Ma’s hip and my eye , we pretty much run the carousel of wakey wakey throughout the nights….Woot! Welcome to getting older!

Funny thing happened on the way to the wood shed

I believe once or twice ( a post ) I have mentioned that doing a job on Zen is never simply go out , take care of the task and head back in….There is ALWAYS something broken down that wasn’t the day before… Nature of the beast.

Winter Storm warnings had me scrambling to do the last minute jobs outside. ON paper it all looked pretty quick and easy….. However, lil red had to make a point of being a pest..again…..

The day was suppose to read; 

Restock the wood in the wood room.

Filler lil red with gas.

Check Sami and jeep, get them started warmed up and back to bed.

Harvest Brussel Sprouts , Golden Beets and Parsley.

Anything left in the house to go into Innie taken out.

That is not quite how the day went.

Tractor started right up . Having her at the shop , closer to power seems to be working so far.

Jeep started right up as did the Sami. With all three rigs running I was pretty happy so far. I shut down the Sami and jeep then went back to lil red to get to work. Pulling off the tarp unplugging the heater, we were ready to go….. I lifted the bucket…It then hit the ground. The new mount/spline shaft/coupler/pump shaft had another problem….Keeping in mind that the tractor had only run a handful of times since everything was replaced.

I had moved wood three times and a couple small loads of rock…It was fine Yesterday and a snow storm coming Tomorrow.

Let the swearing begin! I looked at the motor….Mount turning…yeah.. I looked at the spline shaft….Not Turning, CRAP! This is where it all started…. I stared at it for a bit trying to figure out how brand new parts went south so fast. Engine off, I turned the shaft by hand. ON the bright side at least it wasn’t seized up. I took things apart then…. Now to work in the tiny space , especially with the bucket down and in the way, I had to NOT wear glasses, it’s hard enough to see in the with the one eye,  Every pair of glasses I have is flawed to some extent which would make me completely blind in a spot I had to look into a gap the size of a standard medium screwdriver blade between the engine and the next mount.

The thing is, it took me a while to figure things out though it was right in front of my face.. Right side Right side…. I was suddenly an inch short on the shaft. Both the pump mount and the shaft mount had slipped. The weight of the bucket alone is crazy. I figured the only way this was going to hold at all was to make spacers…..

I had cut tighteners for the chains a while back so I had several pieces of cut links. I saw that if I pressed them I could make something of a teardrop that would get me half of the preferred gap space take up… The first link went great, fitted into the shaft mount, it was almost exactly where I had it in the first place. The next one….not a great time.

The first link I pressed shot across the shop and was lost, as happened to the second . The third wouldn’t seat in the vice. Third time is a charm and I got my first bend. One to go. I placed it in the vice anew , put my hand over the top as it kept jumping then pressed. The link shot past my hand catching me just off center between my eyes scaring the hell out of me. I once again almost took out my right eye as I had forgotten to put on the glasses after getting up from the tractor. Forehead bleeding, I went in to show Ma what a dink I was.

Eventually I found the tools I needed to set the spacer into the second mount , as it is set up differently from the first and got lil red working again…A couple hours to figure and fix the tractor and around fifteen minutes to move wood.

Fortunately the rest of the jobs went well. I had gotten hit hard enough that it threw my sight off enough for the remainder of the day…but the jobs did get done.

 

Stupid snow Stupid snow Stupid snow

The snow started that night continuing until after the sun finally came up giving us a blanket of around 6″ , more in areas from the light drift out of the East.

It was time to try out the new blade as well as seeing how the new tighteners hold up. Once again , lil red started right up. Once again , she threw a fit. This time it was the hydraulics for the blade. This is the second time it wouldn’t lift this winter and I am still not sure what the problem is.

After a small tantrum , she finally lifted and we got to work. The new blade worked great once I got some final adjustments done . I still need to see about having someone close by to tow me if I run into trouble so I did Not run down the steep slope, I just don’t trust her though the small improvements we did just this Fall may make her ok on a good day going back up. The seven foot blade angled as far as it could still cut a nice 6′ path so we are good. Clearing our drive took a lot more time but it also went quicker than before.

Now for that 2-3′ of snow on the roof. I got to use one of my new tools I made up this Fall. Basically taking a floor squeegee  flipping the frame and mounting it to a heavy extension pole. I can’t quite get to the crown but pretty close.

Come to find out, working on the roof clearing is enough pressure to my system that by the time I was done with the worst of a fairly small section; a couple rooms, my eye was bugging out of my head. Once again it felt like it was going to simply burst…good times..So I have that to look forward to for the next couple months..Snow shoveling? Yes same deal.

Christmas Eve day

We are looking at another storm coming in today..Oh goodie. So more fun with lil red , the roof and shoveling… what’s not to love there?

It is still dark as I write, the storm is suppose to hit early this morning and go through until early Christmas day. We are suppose to get between 1-6″..thanks for narrowing that down for us…Oh and we were suppose to have gotten 3″ on Saturday ……. Excellent.

Ma has to work today, figures, though she gets Christmas off this year which is not normal.

We will just have to see how the day progresses though for the most part it is Ma working and my day will depend on the storm.

Final Thoughts

I am a little concerned about lil red as she has decided to be a pain every time I start her with one thing or another. Fighting weather is one thing , fighting the weather and her while being on the early shift for the next month as I say meaning any storms will either have me up after a few hours sleep or stuck at work to keep things cleared down there. Then worry about what will happen when I try to get things together to clear our own road before it is too deep and doing so in the dark with no headlights. Then there is the new, eye pressure thing to top it off…

With all of that said….. I am right there with everyone else in that snow is pretty. If we could just have ” Hallmark Channel” snow I would love it. Notice how all of their roads and sidewalks are not only clear but dry and roofs are white but it is only enough to make them white? Yup I would be fine with that.

If you ignore the 16F out there, the chill breeze and winter storms , it is gorgeous up here.

The sun was out while I worked on the road so once I had things adjusted , it was close to enjoyable.

We have had a lot of winters where we had a snow storm around Christmas , another just after the New Year and then only the lighter snows until one last one at Valentines . March would lay down one more blanket of around 4-6″ but as it is a Spring snow it is still more of a ” Just for looking at snow” with the sun coming out shortly after the fall, cleaning things up, packing snow down and slowly melting over a week or so.

I am going to hope that we have a winter more closer to that than last year’s . We just have too many things to worry about to get hammered again especially with me not being around to keep up.

Tomorrow is Christmas. For Ma and I , of course, the fun stuff has already come and gone. We will get some texts and that will be our social events of the day. We both have it off however so hopefully if I do have to move snow, it wont be much and lil red will be nice , do her job and be able to get covered back up.

The kids have already headed lower, including Hummie. I imagine after last year they are all about as twitchy as I am. Our hawk is hanging at the ” Fly-N-Go” every day now  sending the little birds off in a panic every time he comes in but other than hearing the coyote kids in the distance, it is pretty quite up here. Bunnie , of course, had to do some snowshoeing but that was before I got out there. The eagles about during the day and the owls at night keep the cottontails pretty wary.

Merry Christmas to all…

Most folks will be with family tomorrow ( Christmas) as well as many tonight for that.

To each of you from Ma and I:  Merry Christmas!

Spread the cheer and joy as you go.  Even those of us staying home can enjoy the day. Let’s hope for somewhat less than another 6″ of snow coming through, and definitely hoping the main roads are safe and dry for everyone. Be safe, leave a couple minutes early to keep your own rush time down. There are going to be a lot of folks on the road and plenty enough will forget the whole good will thing, pushing people along, and make people nervous and miserable …Let’s try not to be one of those at least for the one day.

For us, we will see what the morning brings as to how the day goes.  Depending on where you look , it could be clear cloudy or snowing, 33-36F… I love when they really tack down an idea

No matter what though , Ma and I will be together in our Winter Wonderland making it

Just another day on Zen Mountain

 

 

 

 

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