Mountain Women Do It Better

Free Stuff ain’t free any more folks. The world it is a changin’. Point of fact out here in my Forest there is an abundance of pine and oak trees.

I have nothing against the Oak per se, but I’m allergic to them. Once fall is upon us again this year their leaves will turn a lovely shade mingled with various other tree specimens of hardwoods and put on a magnificent display. Whereupon their leaves will begin tumbling to the ground creating all sorts of havoc in their wake.

My husband will go into a frenzy trying to clear the two acres of oak leaves from our property. Every year it is getting harder to get him motivated and deal with the mess. So much so, I’ve begun to wonder should I just buy him a snow blower like the one I saw used in the movie “Grumpy Old Men” if it might calm his nerves a bit plus save me from listening to his belly aching and having to rub his old bones with the liniments. I’d very much like to save him from his chore but young folks are allergic to work these days and have no clue what a rake might look like.

No one wants allergies but when it comes to the Oak, they do have their advantages when it comes to shade on a hot summer’s day; I’ll give them that at least. The dark side is when they shed their leaves to a depth of two feet or more, adding to that, wind which blows them into drifts higher than a South Dakota snow blizzard on our property blocking the light from coming in my front windows.

I’m not cleaning up the buggers. I told my husband so when we moved out here. Husband, I said, “the day will come when you won’t want to fool with getting up all those leaves that will be falling.” Oh no he says, “it’ll keep me young and vernal.” Don’t ask about the youth thing, it’s a don’t ask don’t tell policy our here in the Forest.

Now as to my thoughts, the Oak is messing with my Pines. I love the whispering pines. They are green all year round and all those pinecones make for lovely craft items for those crafty sorts of folks. Sorry to say, I’m not one, however; I do know how to draw a crowd giving them away to all my neighbors and friends that don’t have the lovely cone making pines trees of their own.

Whatever time of year a pine will sway in the midst of a storm or a soft summer breeze. The Pine it seems to me always has something inspirational to say that’s why it’s up 24/7, three hundred sixty-five days a year all green smelling way past wonderful.

The Oak reminds me of my husband. I’m thinking here! I’m thinking okay sometimes he gives good advice, but he does need his rest sort of like a bear he hibernates. It seems to me every Fall as he has grown older he wants to hibernate just about the time the oak leaves begin falling.

Women are problem solvers. I took matters into my own hands to retain my Pines making life better for them.

A very nice fellow cleans our chimneys every year. It ain’t free, I can tell you that much. He has a sideline of selling good oak firewood. It’s expensive and he sells it by what he calls a cord. You can get all the cords you want if you have big bucks to put out. I’ve seen his cord of wood after one purchase of it. Hummmmmm, I don’t know, it just looks like a small pile to me. We mountain women know a cord of wood when we see one just in case you’re wondering.

Stay with me here, I’m going around the barn to tell you why I feel like I may need a straight jacket so as not to whack someone up aside the head.

The total count on the oaks crowding out my struggling pines is sixty-two tall mature trees. They would be great for a furniture maker but we are a little short of those in this part of the country.

I’m of a giving nature and thought of our chimney sweep. Perhaps he would like them if I had a tree person to come and fell them to the ground for him. It seemed like a fair trade to me. The chimney sweep would have enough wood to sell for let’s say, crappers years at no cost to him at all except for hauling them off my property and onto his, for turning into cords of firewood. Oh and he sells mulch on the menu of things to earn a living also.

There would be plenty of that at no cost to him as well from the limbs and branches to grind up for mulch to sell. After all, he’s the one that owns the big ass chipper, not me.

I placed a call and his office manager who seemed very excited and thought he might just want them. I waited with baited breath, told the whispering pines help was on the way for them and soon the gates of heaven would open so they could see more of the sky.

Never count your chickens before they hatch. I got a call back from him this morning. Yuppers he says, I would love that wood been looking for just the sort of trees you’ve got. Go ahead and fell them, have the trunks cut into eighteen-inch lengths and hauled to my property. Never mind about the branches for mulching you can have them hauled here also as long as they are not over say ….. inches round. Oh, and if you would like to schedule your chimney for cleaning again this year while I’ve got you on the phone, I’m so sorry to say, I’ve had to raise my price again this year. Inflation you understand.

Hell’s freezing over out here in my Forest and I’m buying an ax. I’m a mountain woman and don’t think I don’t know how to use an ax to fell a tree and split wood and I told him so. Thank you but no thank you, I won’t need my chimney swept this year. Deflation you know!

I’ll be hotter than a pepper sprout swinging my ax felling oak trees so my Pines can whisper more stories for me to tell you.

As for my husband he can hibernate if he wants too whilst I go vernal.

Pass the Knowledge On!


Arlene Switzer Flynn
Arlene Switzer Flynn
ARLENE retired from a long and extraordinary career in real estate, both residential and commercial, followed by ownership of her own mortgage broker company. She is a member of Who’s Who for Executives and Professionals in America. She returned to her ‘”forest” with thoughts of retirement, and a new love entered her life – writing. Her first novel “Buzzard’s Glory” hit the market running, and the sequel is hot on its trail. She also writes short stories of humor, old sage advice and inspiration.

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    • Thank you Larry, I had a lot of fun writing it. Soooo happy to hear it made you laugh.

    • I like your comment about wandering around in the wrong century. I often feel that way when I write poetry. The English language use to be a thing of beauty. Sometimes in the flea market I will find some old books and the way they are written just inspires me and makes me stroll down deserted streets of London, Paris and Rome.

    • How true! I find myself doing the same thing. You might want to read my novel “Buzzard’s Glory”. It’s a visual read. I only have a few of the book form left and need to get more printed but it’s on Amazon as an ereader.

  1. Good for you Arlene, and thanks for this great story on the “Oak”. I often thought of what it would be like to live life in a Forest, but have to say, I may never experience it. I love the out doors, and often think I was born in the wrong century and feel pretty sure I could have done well in the ole “West”. Im impressed.

    • Yes Lynn, I can relate. I was not only born in the wrong century but I wander around in several others as well. Thanks for enjoying my story.

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