Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Working out of Town

Quick pictures of what has been going on. The 1st picture is a cold day cutting hangers out of trees that could fall into the road. The second picture is my new employee. I have been on the crews so I needed help, but where do you find someone who knows my organization system and can work for my husband? Sam is now in charge! I was thinking of making him President and I might be able to get some kind of grant or government funding. hmmmmm

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Love Lifted

I have lifted this blog idea from my FAVORITE blog; Here is the link; BUT WAIT! DONT GO YET BECAUSE IT WILL SUCK YOU IN.
Because I woke up this morning not ready to get out of bed and straighten up messes and deal with the DMV and go run a stump grinder instead of going to the craft show in Westport. Yep, one of the guys is leaving today so I need to go take his place to keep the trucks running. Tree Service has to come before Crafts, but I haven't ever had to make a choice like this before and I'm bummed out. So I read the Pioneer Woman's blog about what she loves and it was a good positive spin on the morning. Here goes, I'm lifting her love list and making my own.
Things I Love:
Strong Black Coffee
Kisses from my Kids
John's Girls
Sam the Cat Chasing my feet when I move them under the covers
Finishing Something
Merle Haggard
My MacBook
A Good Business Card
A Clean Car
My Grandma always being sweet and happy
Ice Skating
Still Being My Dad's Girl
My Mom (things I love about mom and dad and grandma and kids could be a whole post)
To See my Husband Climb Trees
My Mother In Law and Her Strong Spirit
My Father in Law's big smile and love of the Fox News Channel
Gourd Farms
Pink Sharpie's
Four Wheel Drive
Antique Furniture
Holly the Dog lying under the table when I sit at it
Get together's at the Goode's house
Cowboy boots with soles that slide
Gators (the kind you wear over your boots and pants)
My Husky 346 Chainsaw with a sharp chain
Diamond Stud Earrings
Thick Textured Paper
My cousin Kelly's Sense of Humor
My cousin Kim's Pep Talks
My cousin Brian's ability to help me with junk trucks
My brother Matt as my best friend
Journey; Super Super Super mom and wife to my best friend, Matt.
My adventurous, sweet and well mannered nieces
A Wood Burning Stove
My uncles Pottery
My husbands perfect body
My daughters love of books and good grades
Nikon Camera's
the color Green
camping in a hammock
boat rides
our small town
The smell of fresh cut Cedar
The Farm
pictures of my Grandad
knitting with the grandma's at Silvercrest on Wednesday
Wearing a Dress
My cousin's wife CiCi
Red Bud Trees
Growing Herbs
Merino Wool Socks
The way my Mom puts the perfect finishing touches on my Gourds
Sprouts Yarn Shop
Aunt Joyce's Hair Do's
Aunt Mary Saying "By God"
Fort Collins
The Rocky Mountains
Santa Fe New Mexico
Developing pictures in a Dark Room
My mini jigsaw
My Gorgeous Sister in Laws Support; Debbie, Suzanne, Mary Margret
Reedy's Green Chili Sauce and taco night at their house
All my new nieces and nephew's I get from marrying John
my Blackberry
Down Comforters
All day lipstick "Beer Drinkin Lipstick" was my term in the old days
Walnut Furniture
Shopping with my Husband
Uncle Matt and David just around the corner with chainsaw gas
Eureka Springs
Table Rock Lake
Live Music
a freezer full of Beef
Road trips without planning ahead
my pink fishing pole
Wearing my Husbands down Coat
Grandma Bradin's magic craft drawers
Charlie and Vern at Vermeer
Having a Plan
Gordon Ramsey on BBC
Riding a good horse
Fall at the Rigney's Pumpkin Patch
Live Oaks

Ok, I think I can brave the DMV and go to Oklahoma and grind 150+ stumps. Happy Valentines Day! What do you love?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

After the Storm

I have been home a few days from the ice storm in Purcell, OK. It is making me crazy. There is still work to be done there and I need to be in the middle of it. My husband assures me that the phone calls, paperwork, and sorting fuel receipts is just as important. Whatever! So while I enter another piece of paper that makes me want to gauge my eyeballs out, let me relive a little of it for you.

On January 30th I arrived with two crews and two bucket trucks. We had driven most of the night and pulled into this frozen, disaster at 3am. It was bleak. We took the first exit when we should have taken the 3rd, but it gave a very real view of what was going on. What looked like a main street through town was deserted but the row of Bradford pairs that were split and hanging. They looked more like my houseplants after I've been gone for a week than this communities landscape to welcome visitors. The whole town was dark on the north side and the task ahead was coming into view as I held tight to the steering wheel because even the four wheel drive on my truck couldn't prevent the sliding on these ice and snow covered, gray streets.

After a couple hours of sleep it was time to start. We were working for the city to clear the alleyways that the main power lines traveled through. From our first meeting with the Power and Light crews it went smoothly. They had sectioned their city and put people in charge. We went to work. I wanted my alley's to be safe and clear for the trucks working on lines and setting poles to come after me and to set a pace that keeps everyone moving and power restored. It was going well and we were getting on a course until the city official in charge of my sector asked us to come to another alley after that was finished. It was a mess. Then after that he took me to another alley that was even worse. I began to see a trend. My trucks weren't moving in the orderly up and down that others were. So with a smile on my face I asked; "I must be your favorite because you seem to be giving me the extremely messy ones." He confirmed my suspicion and later said; "You can drive TWO Cadillac's down the Goode Alley's without scratching the paint." The compliments and communication by the city officials of Purcell was amazing and made the day of the only pink hard hat in town.

I think there are some advantages to having a woman running crews in an emergency situation. I think my natural instincts of organizing, multi-tasking, caretaking, homemaking, talking on the phone and mothering lend well to it. I can talk on the phone, start a chainsaw and look ahead for challenges while making sure my jobsite is nice and tidy. I bet tidy wasn't a word used by the other crews. I also bring with me compassion and I've seen the ice storm from all angles in its different phases. I am compassionate to what the homeowners are going through and an easy person to approach when they have worries. I also have the sixth sense of when the guys might need a snickers bar from raising kids and knowing when to pull out the bag of Cherrios.

I have to brag about John helping a resident. We get a lot of homeowners asking when the power will be back on, but as the tree trimmers we do not know. The man had just bought half a beef before the storm and was worried about when the power would come back on. John had brought a generator but hadn't needed it so he took it to the man's house and plugged in his freezer till his power came back on. It was one of those moments that you see how we are all having struggles and you can't forget to look at the worries on someones mind because of the ones in front of you. My struggle was making sure the crew safely removed limbs over a power line of a Huge Pecan tree next to a house, but I know if I had just spent hundreds of dollars on a beef to feed my family in a time when none of us have that money to just throw away that would have been my struggle also. My favorite part of storm recovery is becoming part of the community. My second favorite part is the satisfaction of working so hard and being recognized for it.

My least favorite part is the time after the storm. Roofers, tree trimmers, and electricians start to fill the parking lots and then the jaw dropping scenes unfold. If you are having your trees trimmed after a storm. Please do NOT top your trees. You may see a lot of drastic cuts in the right of ways under power lines, but do not top the trees in your yard. It will only make them weak and fail worse in the next storm. If a tree trimmer advertises that they do Topping or Top Trees, this is a sign that they are not 1. a Certified Arborist or 2. educated in the best tree trimming procedures or follow ANSI Standards. Once you cut big chunks off the top of your trees it will then force growth to that spot to try to repair it and you will see little branches shooting from that cut over the next years. These branches are small and weak and will fail if put under stress. If you want to top your tree, please consider removing it completely. I realize everyone is mad at the trees after a storm but by topping them will only compound the problem in the future. I am not saying this to bad mouth companies, we are contracted with the city and they are not our competition. Topping is UGLY and does more harm than good. The Arbor Day Foundation has a great website for more information. This link will take you to the #1 thing to know about trees; DO NOT TOP TREES. Oh, and if your Tree Trimming company hooks his guy up to a crane with a metal hook and raises him up kicking into a tree while holding a chainsaw, that might be a sign too. I really saw it just the other day. I wish I'd had more time to take pictures, but I was busy making alley's you could drive a Mac Truck through. Check out this article and pictures from the Purcell Register for more on the Oklahoma ice storm. By John D. Montgomery - The Purcell Register

Quick Hello

I have been absent, but only from my artsy fartsy side. I have been working in Oklahoma doing ice storm recovery and helping the city of Purcell restore their electricity and get rid of dangerous hangers in the trees over streets. I will fill you in in upcoming posts. It was thrilling working with such a purpose in a dangerous situation in a group of people that are always running on adrenaline and coffee to get the job done and people taken care of. My pictures (when I had time to take them) are on the camera in Oklahoma. When the power was restored things settled down and I got to come home and be a mom. However, I have still been up at 5am starting the phone calls and paperwork to keep it going down there. I made this box out of a sewing machine drawer before I left and now it is organizing fuel receipts. Yuck, I'd rather be gassing, oiling and warming up chainsaws. So, this post is more of a teaser than anything else. So stay tuned because I will be posting more on the ice storm, my daughters high school formal, a revue on gear we used that kept us working 14 hours at a time in frozen conditions and furniture I'm painting to take to this weekends art fair. Check out the Gypsy post below for more info on the art show.