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2008 anecdotes

This is the biggest clump of trees that fell during our tenure at home. There were single trees pretty much every year, and a couple of clumps.

This page includes a few anecdotes and photos that don’t fit in other 2008 Journal pages. That’s all!

We live in a forest in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains a few miles from the Pacific coast. Idyllic, but there’s a lot of nature going on. Of particular significance to us is the number of trees that fall in the forest. Ultimately, it’s the same number as grow in the forest, but you don’t really think about that until you live in the forest for a few years

This clump of Bay trees fell on a neighbor’s property after a storm. The trunks all landed along the border between the two properties. The creek, which only really flows after rain, had undermined the trunks, and down they all came at once, perhaps a dozen of them, and blocked the side road which crosses our land until the local firemen cut the trunks back to let the cars through.

One of the longest power cuts we experienced was in 2008, over 36 hours. Alex and Charlie moved their things into the parents’ bedroom during that long power cut, and played and read by camping lights and flashlights.

Except for a few lengths of trunk sawn off since by enterprising neighbors taking firewood home, they are pretty much all still there in January 2009!

Falling trees also impact power transmission. We experience regular power cuts, once or more almost every year, in storms or even in a strong wind. Trees or branches bring down the power lines, and the electric company crews rush around to fix them. It can be a thankless job, especially when the number of trees down increases, as it does in a bad storm. Most times the power is back on within an hour or two, but we’ve had 24 or 36 hours without power a couple of times.

Snip continued to demonstrate a certain skill at locating warmth in the man-made world where she resides. Her most recent discovery is my laptop.

Snip continued to demonstrate a certain skill at locating warmth in the man-made world where she resides. Her most recent discovery is my laptop.

* * *

Passing on our usual summer trip to Europe, in favor of finally installing hardwood floors downstairs, not to speak of a handsome Hollywood fireplace, we took Alex and Charlie down to the Disney Resort in Anaheim. It’s still Disneyland to us! Why do they insist on changing the names of their parks on a regular basis?!

We stopped at Hearst Castle on the way down, for the first time. It’s a classically Californian attraction, lots of drama, a short history with much made of it, real characters in the roles of owner and architect, and ultimately it is more of a movie production back lot than an ancestral home. You can see why it was called Hearst’s Folly! At the same time, that is, as people gasped at its majesty!

Grand-père, aged around 85 here and still fooling around!

Grand-père, aged around 85 here and still fooling around!

Grand-père perhaps missed our annual visit to his place in the Breton countryside, and sent us the photo of himself in the stocks. For him, it may not have been a play on words, because they are called carcan in French. But the coincidence seems to me to be striking, and my guess is that he first found out that these are called “stocks” in English, as are most of us here!

The Presidential elections happened, and Barack Obama was elected. “Yes we can!” We’re one family who is ready, and in this case at least, unified. It was a great way to end the year, with all of us who were old enough to vote excited to vote for the same candidate. We’re not always on the same track, and seem to spend a lot of time focusing on the differences, but it sure felt good to share that election.

Here are the 2008 photo journal pages: Tom living in Paris, Alban out and about in Santa Cruz, Ian on a short visit to family in England, Maman, Papa, Charlie and Alex taking a long weekend down the California coast, birthdays and other special days in 2008, soccer in 2008 and portraits in 2008.