Monthly Archives: June 2022


A tall pine on our property died . It brushed against the back deck and stood , perhaps ominously , about 100 feet above our little A-frame cabin . If it were to come down in a wind or a winter snow-storm it could easily have crushed our little cabin or hit the neighbor’s place .

I called Edison , the power company , to see if they might take it down for me . The tree wasn’t very near power lines and it would have had to come through our cabin first ; nevertheless , the power company agreed to check it out. My guess is that after all of our California wildfires and some hefty lawsuits against power companies for negligence and culpability in some of those events , they want to avoid culpability in the future and show good faith in preventing catastrophes involving power lines , etc. , and so they are more willing to remove potential problems such as my 100 tall dead pine tree .

The company sent out people to look at the tree and to consider it all and decided that they would remove it at their expense . I could keep the wood unless it was infested with bark beetles . I signed a paper to that effect . The bark beetle has been murdering trees in the forests around here for the last few years . Maybe bark beetles killed my tree and maybe not .

When they cut the tree down they took the wood . Bark beetles ? I still think maybe and maybe not . At any rate the contractor for Edison said that he would give me some wood and that he had dumped the wood without knowing that I had wanted to keep it . He promised me wood .

For a few weeks and a few phone calls it seemed to be a ” jars of jam tomorrow but never jam today ” situation . I was beginning to doubt that any wood would ever show up . The tree cutter , Carlos , asked me what kind of wood I wanted . ” Eucalyptus ? ” he asked , ” oak ? , pine ? ” I said , sure , bring it all . Well, eucalyptus and oak are much better fire woods than pine , so I thought that Carlos was probably just buying time and at some point he would just vanish ; but every week or so I continued to call him about the wood . ” Oh , I still have you in mind ,” he would say . Loads of wood tomorrow but never wood today .

And then the day came when instead of Dan calling Carlos , Carlos called Dan . ” We delivered the wood ,” he said . ” I sent a picture.”

I never got the picture from Carlos , but my across-the-road neighbor , Dave , sent a photo . There was a pile of wood alright . Carlos and I had discussed three pickup trucks full , but this was a lot more .

Carlos had delivered several huge trunks , mostly eucalyptus and piled them high . The stack of intertwined stumps reminded me of an anti-tank obstacle . Another neighbor told me that they had used a crane to unload and stack the trunks . Dave suggested that Carlos had intended it as ” an f -you message “. Maybe . ” But he doesn’t know us ,” Dave said . Dave’s eyes lit up with anticipation . ” We’ll get the chain saws out and go to work ,” he said .

Dave brought his Jeep with the winch down first and we hooked the cable to the top logs and pulled them down . No one needs to risk one of those monsters falling on someone , we had decided . Then we went to work chopping some of the smaller logs , mainly to get them out of the way before we attempted to deal with the larger ones . We worked all weekend like lumberjacks . Dave loves that kind of work , and I went along with the plan .

Now it will be my job to split the ” biscuits , ” , as Dave calls these heavy slices of wet eucalyptus wood . I’ve done two hours or so of that work so far . Another weekend is coming around and I plan to get most of it split by afternoon Sunday , but who knows . I’ll have plenty of good firewood .

Oh , did I mention that the splitter is Dave’s , too ? The chain saws are Dave’s . Dave’s Jeep and winch were a necessity in the project . Without Dave and his equipment that pile of timber would still be sitting there behind the cabin , ominous and intimidating . I tell Dave from time to time that I want to be just like him when I grow up . All he says in reply are statements like ” I need a bigger saw ” or ” I’ve got my eye on this heavy truck for sale .”


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GILB museum 034 I was thinking about my days up at Uni-Camp in the San Bernardino mountains back when I was eighteen . I was recruited by Anna Horne, my orientation counselor , during the UCLA orientation session . The university ran the camp for underprivileged inner city kids , and diabetic kids, and blind kids . I hadn’t even started my freshman classes yet , but the camp idea sounded good , and so I signed up as a volunteer counselor .

The camp ran two-week sessions , one after another , all summer long . At the beginning of the summer all the counselors who could , all volunteers , showed up for a week of camp cleaning called Opening . We would all rake fire breaks , open the A-frames and chase out the spiders and mice , wash tables and count cots , etc. Sure . It’ll be fun…

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Filed under humor