Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dick the Tree

My dear fellow bloggers, I give you —Dick, the tree.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
Dick is a grand old aspen. He stands proudly deep in the forest at the cabin. Like an old cowboy who’s been riding the range on his horse too long, his legs are bent in a permanent bow. His stance is a jaunty one with one leg slightly more forward and more bent than the other. You can almost hear him greeting you with a howdy pardner!

Dick is so named because of a strategically placed twig, which over the almost 20 years that we have known him, is not quite as obvious as it was back when we first met him. It happens to the best of us. Age has a way of wearing us down over time.

Dick is a strange one. We can’t quite figure out how he came to be. There are two separate trunks coming up from the ground which turn into one. It doesn’t happen at the ground like there was one tree that got split somehow. So, another tree falling on Dick and him growing around the fallen tree doesn’t make sense either, because how could two parts of a tree join back up together so perfectly? But the only other scenario would be two independent trees joining up together, and could that really happen?
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Yet in this close-up shot, it look like there is a definite seam, doesn’t it? Go ahead, don’t be shy; take a closer look, Dick won’t mind you staring at his private parts.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Here is Dick, from ...ahem, ehr… behind.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

No matter which direction you view Dick from, he’s a strange fellow. We have great affection for Dick and visit him every time we go to the cabin just to be sure he’s still standing. Dick’s stomping grounds are in an area of the forest we call “the blow-down” because there are so many downed trees from the wind. So far, so good. We figure his two-trunked hold on the ground is pretty darn stable. At least we hope so. If Dick ever gets back on his horse and rides off into the sunset, the forest will never be the same.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cabin Vistas

I still can’t get the cabin out of my mind, so I’m going to share some photos that I took while on our short visit.

Our cabin sits in a meadow surrounded by pine and aspen so we don’t really have a “view” from the cabin. But, all that is needed is to walk around. Down our short driveway, the view of Bull Mountain is waiting for us. [this photo also appears as my header this week.]
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

A road bisects our two parcels of land. Every year it drifts over and is usually impassable until mid-May or early June. This year we are predicting no one will be able to get through until July 4th. Here is this year’s drift seen from both sides. You can see the poor tree on the left has had a hard winter. The snow just stripped it of its branches. It was quite a winter up there this year, as our friends and year-round pioneer residents Donna and Larry will attest to!
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Pasque flowers are the first to bloom as soon as the snow recedes. You can be sure that wherever there are pasque flowers, the snow has not been gone long.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Old aspens tower above our heads in the forest.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

At the old beaver pond, majestic dead trees stand as sentinels. On this calm morning reflections abounded.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

We stood on top of the meadow on our land adjacent to the cabin and used my little Canon with its stitch assist program to take a 360 degree view. Below is the result. A circular cursor will appear when you run your mouse over the photo. Click and hold down the mouse button and drag it from left to right to view it.

Ed Note: Movie temporarily removed. Sorry!

The cabin is nestled in a group of trees seen early on. Here is what the entrance to our cabin looks like. See if you can find it!
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fire Woman’s Domain

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
That’s me: Fire Woman. I don’t know exactly why, but I have a thing for fire. It’s not the destructive let’s torch the place kind of thing, more like a part of who I am. It must be a throwback from a more primal time of my life. I can see myself as a good Cave-Woman-Wife keeping the cave fires burning, or something like that anyway. Come to think of it, things haven’t changed too much over the eons, but I still can top Rick regarding making fires. I have to be careful what I say though since lately he’s been catching up to me in his fire-making abilities.

Above is our wood cookstove at the cabin. She’s not old if that’s what you’re thinking. She was brand-spanking new in 2001 when we bought her. A Heartland range. Not a cheap investment, about $5,000 back then, but worth every penny. I opened the door to the wood box so you could see the nice fire burning merrily within. This baby can heat the whole cabin; all 1,000 square feet of it. We usually start a fire first thing in the morning to take the chill off, even in summer. The cabin is at nearly 9,000 feet above sea level, so the nights can get downright chilly.

It also can roast a mean turkey. It takes a while to get a good bed of coals to get the oven up to 375 or 400 degrees, and once there you have to keep stoking it up in order to keep the temperature even. We’ve done a couple of turkeys and baked muffins mostly. As you can imagine, the whole time you are using the oven you are also heating up the cabin—a lot. So, not a good summertime activity unless you open all the doors and windows! And we typically only use the cook top for heating water. There’s a reason for the old saying of “slaving over a hot stove.” I don’t know how they did it year-round.

There is nothing quite like the heat from a wood stove. It’s cozy, and warms you right down to your bones. When the stove is going the propane heat never comes on. It’s just a shame that we don’t have hardwoods to burn. We have to make due with pine and aspen which burn quickly and are not nearly as dense. We go through a lot of wood! But, the more I have to add wood, the more I get to play the role of Fire Woman. Not a bad thing at all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cabin, Sweet Cabin

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
Ah, the cabin. It’s a special place. It’s a place where you can go and get away from everything. It weaves a spell of relaxation on you. People ask us, what do you do up there without a phone, TV or internet? But we do have TV, I tell them: Cabin TV, and it has various channels.
Such as the Bird Channel:
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
the Front Porch Channel:
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
and the Fireplace Channel.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

All the channels keep us entertained. There is no pre-programming, nor is there a viewing guide. They all come in HD with full surround sound.

Take the Bird Channel for instance. It’s colorful and the programs change constantly. Bright blue stellar jays let everyone in the forest know that the food has been put out with their raucous cawing. Chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, ruby crowned kinglets, and my personal favorite, the hermit thrush**[see side story below], all add to the symphony. And let’s not forget the whirring of hummingbird wings and the chittering arguments over who’s flower it is. The Bird Channel also features squirrels, ground squirrels, and chipmunks.

The Front Porch Channel is a bit more varied. Although it includes the Bird Channel, it can also feature moose, deer, elk or a coyote. We didn’t see any of those this time around, and since the salt lick is no longer there they have less of a reason to visit us. This channel comes with the additional sound of Bart Creek, splashing and tumbling over mini waterfalls as it flows through the bottom of the forest, engorged with spring run-off. Side Note: [Bart Creek was named for our dog Bart, that we recently lost. He was our water dog. He loved to wade in the creek. He would get right out in the middle of it, water up to his stomach, and just meander along.]

The Fireplace Channel is a mesmerizing one. Flames leap and dance in an ever-changing pattern. Logs shift and fall as they burn. Snap. Crackle. Pop. Time to add more wood ... Sometimes the Fireplace Channel comes with the added bonus of a poetry reading, usually Robert Service or cowboy poetry, by Rick.

I think you get the idea. It’s a hard place to leave.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
**Side Story: It took me years to figure out what kind of bird we were hearing early in the morning and at dusk. It’s crystal clear flute-like notes would pierce the air. Ethereal, haunting. My “Birding by Ear” CD did not help with the identification. For years we called it “Flea-by-the-sea-bird” because Rick had made up a little ditty to remember how its song went. Four ascending notes: flea-by-the-sea; then four descending notes: don’t-bite-at-me. I know, it’s silly ditty but it helped us remember how it sounded. Finally I realized it was in the thrush family because of when it sang, and went through all thrushes on my larger bird CD until I found one that matched. Hence, the hermit thrush. They come back every year.**

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Colorado Cabin Bound

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
I won’t be blogging this week as we are off on a vacation of sorts to Colorado. As I type from our motel room in Ft. Collins, CO, we’ve had a hectic day at our house. I spent most of the day pulling weeds—oh, excuse me you poor Dandelions!—dealing with plumbers, heating and air-conditioning guys, turning on our watering system, and interviewing new realtors. Whew. I am due for a good night’s sleep. Right now it doesn’t seem much like a “vacation.” But, we need to make some changes in order to get our house SOLD. Anyone want to buy a high-end house in Ft. Collins with lots of European touches, price recently reduced? It’s all very wearying.

We are off for what we hope is some true relaxation at our mountain cabin tomorrow. After we arrive at the cabin on Thursday we will be out of touch with the rest of the world. No telephone. No television. No internet. Nothing but the sound of the wind through the trees and the hooting of our Great Horned owl.

We do have a radio though, which was a necessary addition to keep in touch with the world. Back in 2001, we were staying at the cabin for the week when the 9-11 disaster happened and we didn’t even know. That’s how much the world used to pass us by up there. Since then we added a television with VCR and DVD capability, a phone with a booster antenna, and finally in the year before our move to New Jersey we added satellite internet and television. On our move we traded in our phone for a different service, took the TV with us, and disconnected our satellite dish. Now the cabin is back to being what it was years ago. A retreat from the outside world.

So, with my best wishes for a great end of the week, I hereby retreat from the world for a few short days. Have a great one. Please check back in with me once I’ve returned to the real world. Until Monday ...


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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