Category Archives: La Casa

Tree v. 2017

This is our 2017 Christmas tree.

Oh, Christmas tree…

It fell over while we were decorating it: the first time that’s ever happened to us. Smashed bulbs and spilled water. Scared dog cowering in the corner. It almost fell over a second time, too, but by then we had grown wiser to its ways and managed to catch it.

It was a fitting end to our Thanksgiving weekend: two sick-as-hell people struggling to decorate their house for Christmas, to salvage some holiday cheer after their family celebration in the mountains was ruined by the flu, the tree absolutely refusing to cooperate. Both of us still up at 9:00 PM, delirious, insisting we could do it; we could have some happy holidays in 2017. We could end a terrible year on a high note. There were still things to look forward to…

And there are. I guess. Siiiggghhh.

The tree is up. The halls are decked. Christmas will come. We’ve both already had the flu this season, so maybe we won’t get it again, right? (??? Knock on wood…).

This too shall pass.

So, here we go, full steam ahead into Christmas 2017, and then into a new year which, we hope, has good things in store not just for us, but for the whole world.

We both kinda feel like flopping over at this point, but we’re holding each other up like invisible fishing wire behind the scenes. We can do this. 

The world can do this. 

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A Tree Tale: The End

Our long, dramatic encounter with the bark beetle has come to an end. At last.

It’s been well over a year now since the beetles came, conquered, and left destruction in their wake in our Sierra Nevada mountain home. We’re lucky, of course; compared to communities farther south, we barely suffered. Still, we’ve spent the last 18 months on a torturous homeowner odyssey: learning the telltale signs of a beetle strike, working with multiple forestry agencies to fell over a dozen 100-foot+ ponderosa pines, spending late nights online reading up on logging regulations and permit processes, dealing with the gargantuan mess left behind (through the record-setting winter of 2016-17, no less), facing off with shitty neighbors, growing closer to good ones…

And really learning a lot about trees in the process.

Now that it’s over (knock on wood), it’s kind of amazing to look back on it all, so I’m going to do that (some day when I’m feeling particularly ineffective, this is gonna be a great confidence booster)… Continue reading

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5 – Another One

This past weekend, while Trent and I were in the middle of…

  • Cleaning and touching up our 100-year-old redwood patio furniture
  • Refinishing our enormous custom-built cedar deck box
  • RE-refinishing our enormous custom-built cedar deck box, after we woke up to find the finish had gelatinzed (is that a word?) overnight
  • Repairing our broken sprinkler heads (our gardening team is great, but they nevertheless murder the sprinkler heads, every season)
  • Repainting all the pressure-treated lumber in our landscaping, and…
  • Repairing and rerouting our gutters, now that it’s actually RAINED IN CALIFORNIA and we understand where the water from our roof goes (in short: not where it should)

…all to get 3675 ready for a summer of TOTAL RELAXATION and ZERO HOME IMPROVEMENT…

…it occurred to me:

We’ve lived in our house for exactly five years.  Continue reading

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When It Rains, It Pours

One day, we’re going to look back and laugh at these days.

The fact that our two short years in the mountains have already been punctuated by (in this order) the final chapter of an epic drought, a catastrophic wildfire, an unprecedented tree mortality epidemic, and now…

A flood of biblical proportions?

Remember when we went camping at this spot?

Remember when we went camping at this spot?

Seriously, I want to laugh about this. I look damn forward to the day.  Continue reading

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Christmas Miracle

Hallelujah, we cannot believe how lucky we are.

After just a couple weeks, the forestry crews are here on our road in Arnold, hauling all our downed trees away.

Just a few days ago, we were told “months” before they got to us – maybe spring, if we were lucky. And instead, just like that – it will all be gone.

This guy is across the road, picking up wood on our neighbor's land as I type.

This guy is across the road, picking up wood on our neighbor’s land as I type.

It cost us not a single penny – for any of it.

It’s a good reminder, as we head into our 2.5-week Christmas vacation and 2017, how unbelievably lucky we are in so many ways in life. Lucky to have this second home and so, so much more to be thankful for (not the least of which is the money and time and energy to care so passionately about and for it, and for these beautiful mountains).

Lucky to have each other. Lucky to have just pine needles and not bombs raining down on our heads. Lucky to have a new year to look forward to.

We have to work a lot harder at practicing gratitude in 2017.

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