Sunday, March 08, 2009

There's something strangely empowering about heating your house and cooking your dinner with wood that you've collected yourself. It's efficient, simple, free, and you can literally FEEL the results of your labor.

As you may recall from the little run in I had with the neighbor last week, one of his gripes was that our property is a mess...a fire hazard, to be specific. We are certainly far (I'd like to think) from the white-trashiness of some of our other neighbors. We don't, for example have any discarded appliances on our property. Nor do we have a collection of kitchen and bathroom sinks lying about waiting for ... I don't know exactly what those sinks are waiting for. No, this sort of mess we don't have. Oddly enough, that would be ok with this neighbor since HE had all of those things on the property when we first bought the house from him. What ISN'T ok with the neighbor is the natural trash we have around.

Remember the olive harvest disaster? Yeah, well all those branches that David cut down in an effort to be efficient in our picking of the olives kind of, sort of, might have ended up on the stretch of nomad land that happens to be between our house and the neighbor's. As has some branches David's cut down in the never ending search for the perfect clothes dryer (aka: clothes LINE). Given that we are ABOVE him on the mountain, some of these might have, may have, sort of, kind of, landed ON his "house", um, "structure" is probably a more suitable term.

Here's a photo of said land...

Ok, you can't really tell from that photo what I'm talking about....try this one...

Ok, that photo sucks, too. You'll just have to trust me - we've got some cleaning to do.

Neighbor has a point. The aesthetics of it don't bother him, it's dangerous. He's right. Luckily we've had monsoon-like weather since about October so the likelihood of a wild fire is small but once summer comes and things start drying out, well...

So, in an effort to be neighborly (and SAFE), I've begun cleaning our land. It's actually been a rather lovely experience. I put on my work boots, overalls, and gloves (the right outfit is essential) and hit the land. Ruffino has been a great help as I drag these poor oliveless olive branches up the side of the hill. I pass them to him and he drags them to the patio. Q doesn't like working so much.

Having understood long ago that power tools, like the kind that could cut though my leg like butter, are not really for me, I've been using powerLESS tools. It seems even more obvious that I should avoid sharp objects moving with the aide of a motor when I'm on the mountain alone. Ruff is a big help but he hasn't yet learned to apply pressure to a spirting, open vein nor has he learned to drive to the emergency room if necessary. So I've been using hand trimmers to break these big branches into stove-size bites. Yes, Yes, I know. I said earlier that this whole thing was efficient. Actually what I do is far from efficient given that I spent several hours collecting and hand trimming bits of wood that burned in about 2 seconds.

HOWEVER...I've also been combing the mountain side looking for slightly larger bits of wood and have managed to maintain a fire for the whole of today ONLY with wood I've collected (and cut) myself. Just because it completes the photo, completes this blog and completes my day...I tossed some water, onions, lentils, zucchinis, peppers, garlic in a pot along with some rosemary, mint, and oregano from "the land" and ... warm house and dinner.

Seriously satisfying.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the gas on my stove is about to run out...


  1. Mike in Boulder8:54 PM

    You know, Lynn, on this side of the pond we would call your life in Maberga "roughing it."

    Mike in Boulder

  2. Anonymous3:48 PM


    You only had to wait 52 days for
    the Americans to come and clean up that mess - with POWER TOOLS!