Monday, August 06, 2007

A Trip to Mom and Dad's

Sunday we had worship at St. Petri, Nazareth, and Oak Park. After worship I usually get home between 12:30 and 1pm. And I'm tired. But this Sunday I had planned to go to my parent's home and help remove some trees from their grove.

Louisa came with me for the trip. Any excuse to stay at Grandpa and Grandma's is a great reason for the kids to go. And Louisa was a good driving companion.

We got to mom and dad's at 8:30pm and talked quite a bit.

Early Monday morning, Louisa, Dad, and I went out and removed the brush from a wind-fall ash tree. There is a considerable amount of debris from this tree. It's 60 years old or more. Louisa is standing on some of the wind-fall next to the stump. The stump is what I hoped would give me several pieces of wood for bow staves.

Dad used the lawn mower first to haul out brush, but as the debris became heavier he got out the tractor.

I had cut up some of the parts with a chain-saw. We used several chains to pull out the main stump, which I had cut off close to the ground.

Unfortunately the stump was infected with carpenter ants.

Dave, I'm sorry. There was not a good piece for a guitar sound board in this tree. The heartwood was riddled with holes from the ant's nest. There were other critters living in it as well. I had to swat a couple of wood-wasps before splitting out staves.

I am in pathetic shape. The tools at my disposal were three different wedges, a 2 pound sledge hammer, and a 4 pound long handled sledge hammer with a 3.5 foot iron handle. Yeah, the long handle sledge was heavy.

And splitting staves was a learning process. I split out 4 sections before I was able to understand how to split a straight stave.

In a good way the heavy long handled sledge forced me to exert myself in ways I hadn't since my brother and I had cut a channel in my folk's basement floor, the year before my brother died. In a bad way, I knew that these unused muscles that found themselves called upon for hard labor would be screaming for attention in the next couple of days.

Nonetheless, I did learn, however slowly and tiringly, how to split a stave of wood from an ash tree.

I finally settled on three staves. I had hoped for so much more. But the carpenter ants had done their damage. The heartwood was riddled with their nest. If I could go fishing I would have saved all those grubs. Dad did all the tractor work. I cut and tied up the wood for hauling with chains. Mom and Louisa did some trimming on the staves which I saved.

I am so amazed and thankful that my family is so willing to contribute such effort to my hobbies. Of course it meant cleaning some of the debris from their grove, but Mom and Dad did more than just help with the cleaning. They were encouraging. Louisa seemed to be excited to learn some new skill with the sledge and hatchet.

Monday morning I went into Echo Charter School to talk with the administrators about the possibility of my son, Jeremy, attending there this fall. Louisa came along to see where I went to school for the first eight years of my education. She asked the head administrator if there were any embarrassing photos of me. Larry Schueller said there were, but they had to put them away during their construction before school starts. I wonder which photos he's thinking about.

Larry's wife, Barb, was my art teacher in High School. I enjoyed that class quite a bit. And I received an art scholarship which paid a significant part of my first two years in college. I owe her thanks for her instruction and encouragement. Perhaps Jeremy will find out which photos Larry meant. It will be fun to see.

Tuesday morning Louisa and I said good bye to my folks and went home. We went up to Alexandria through Maynard to Swift Falls. From Alex we took 94 to Detroit Lakes, then 59 to Plummer--and then home. We ate at Detroit Lakes.

My back an neck were a bit tight from the wood work, but not anything to worry about. I did some sermon work and worked on Sunday School and Wed. School curricula that evening.

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