Pick-Up Sticks

For whatever reason, spring clean-up has not been too bad this year.  I think it’s because we had fewer wind storms to blow branches down. There is one big exception to this, but more on that later.

Last week, I went around the yard and collected all the sticks and small branches that came down over the winter. I filled the wheelbarrow twice, and the sticks, which will be used in the fire pit, have been tucked into a big garbage can.

As the picture above indicates, the patio is no longer empty and lonely. Clif brought up the blue chairs, and we are ready for warmish weather when we can sit on the patio and enjoy the backyard.

The raised beds, where I plant a few herbs and vegetables, need a bit of tidying. But to my winter-weary eyes, they are a sign of good things to come.

Clif straightened the clothesline, but the ground is still too soft for me to hang my laundry on it. Soon, soon. Like my mother, I am dedicated to hanging laundry on the line. Good for the planet, and good for the budget. Plus, you can’t beat the smell of laundry hung outside.

Now, here is the exception to our easy spring clean-up.

During a high wind a week or so ago, we heard a  mighty roar, and when we looked at out the kitchen window we saw what had caused it—a tree had blown over in the backyard. Fortunately, absolutely nothing was damaged. Next week, Clif will be getting a new chain for his chainsaw and begin cutting up the tree. The wood will probably be used for the fire pit on some chilly spring night when with mugs of tea, we sit around the fire. Always so cozy and relaxing to look at the night sky and hear the night noises in the woods.


Writing update for my novel Of Time and Magic: For various reasons, I fell short of my 6,000 word goal for the week. Instead, I clocked in at 4,140. Onward I press, hoping for 6,000 next week. My plan is for the book to be about 99,000 words, the same length as Library Lost.  74,000 is my current word count.

25,000 more words to go!



70 thoughts on “Pick-Up Sticks”

  1. My son, who now resides in Norway, was a dab hand with his chain saw and often cleared the neighbourhood of trees and branches that came down in high winds. It is lovely to see your patio all ready and waiting for some ‘down time’.

  2. It appears you’re ready for Spring! Great job! I’m so glad no one was hurt in the storm that took the tree! Congratulations on your words, too! You’re an inspiration!

  3. Within the last couple of weeks we have also woken the washing line from its hibernation. As you say, there are plenty of good reasons to use one, and the only frustration is the questionable accuracy of our weather forecasts causing us to question “should we? / shouldn’t we?” whenever we have some washing to dry!

  4. I love the blue accents in your backyard: chairs, clothes line, boxes. So cheerful! And I love the idea of winter winds contributing to your tea-and-fire evenings this spring.

    Go, go, go with your word goals. We’re with you!

  5. Lovely to see your garden emerging from winter and snow! Like you I love drying laundry outside and we have just had a couple of weeks of lovely sunny weather with a breeze which let me do loads and loads of laundry whci had been waiting for a chance to dry it on the line! Enjoy your fires and time outside.

    1. Thank you, thank you! It always feels like a bit of a celebration when I hang the first laundry of the season on the line. (Not enough sun in the backyard in the winter.)

  6. Your property sounds like a bit of paradise, Laurie and Clif. As for the fallen tree, I am glad there was no damage, and you will have some nice firewood.

    It’s hard to keep on any schedule during spring clean up and planting season. 🙂

  7. It’s nice to see signs of spring in your yard, Laurie. I must be lovely to sit amongst those trees listening to nature on summer evenings. I’m glad no-one was hurt when the tree toppled. You two are so self-sufficient with plows and saws and clotheslines at the ready. Though you missed your writing goal be a few words, I’m still incredibly impressed.

    1. The backyard is one of our favorite places to be. And thanks for the kind words. For the most part, we are DYI kind of family. However, that does mean that not everything gets done as quickly as it should. Always a long list of projects waiting to be done. 😉

  8. Laurie, I’m right there with you on hanging clothes outdoors to dry! That really does extend the life of clothing, too, as putting it in the dryer tends to make many fabrics shrink. And what a lovely imaginary thought: sitting outside in the dark with a cup of tea and watching the stars!

  9. Lovely to see Spring is here Laurie and you have some new kindling and wood for the firepit too! Wishing you happy times on the patio and happy writing! 💚✍️

  10. Your patio looks amazing with the blue chairs. I hope you can use it soon. Finally the rain arrived this morning and it will rain on and off the whole week. So you are writing a book then !! Is it your first ?

    1. Thanks so much! No, this is book number four, the ending book in a series I’ve written about a girl named Maya who finds a mysterious Book of Everything. But there will be spin-off books plus another book set in Maine in the 1970s. Thanks for asking!

  11. Congrats on the words you have written which is a big accomplishment. Thank you for showing your patio with furniture because now I can relax and know that spring is really coming to New England. 🙂 I’ve picked up a lot of sticks but failed to count the loads. We had a tree come down too, but it’s off the property line in the woods so there it will stay.

  12. Like you, I am delighted that Spring has Sprung.
    I’m glad to read that the fallen tree did not cause you or your property any damage.
    Congratulaitons on your progress with Of Time and Magic. 😀

  13. That’s a lot of windfall! A great source of kindling for the fire. We collect hardwood sticks, mostly oak and maple, for starting our wood stove. Tomorrow we get 4 cords delivered for next season. It feels good to know we’ll be warm next fall and winter!
    Your title made me smile, bringing back memories of playing that game with my sister. 🙂
    Good luck with the ongoing word count!

  14. So wonderful to see you’re ready for patio season!!🙂 It was so nice last year to not have many sticks all over the yard, but with our weekly wind storms lately they just keep falling. Good luck with the writing and hope it’s tea time on the patio very soon!!🙂

  15. Yes, as everyone has said, it is lovely to think of sitting around a fire with a cup of tea, looking at the night sky. I hope you can get back to your writing and stay inspired, so many distractions with writing, but nothing like a deadline! (I used to write a monthly parenting column) Best wishes with it all.

    1. You are not the only one! You now know you have a friend in Maine who hangs her laundry outside from spring through fall. In the winter, there is too much shade in the backyard for hanging laundry. Then, out come the drying racks for most things.

  16. You’re so lucky to be able to have a clothesline. There isn’t an HOA that allows them around here; they’re not aesthetically pleasing, don’t you know. It cracks me up that many of the most ecologically minded people here refuse to use solar and wind to dry their clothes!

  17. These images are quite promising. Wishing you a great season. We have a lot of fresh snow which started yesterday and the forecast doesn’t look promising either. Buhuuuuu 😢

  18. Wow! You are well on your way with your book! Good for you! That tree looks like a big one and RIGHT by the fence! So good nothing was damaged. Even a hint of spring gives so much energy, doesn’t it? And I’ll add one more reason for hanging out the laundry – it makes me happy.

  19. The blue chairs looks awfully sweet waiting for good weather to arrive. We’ve had snow back home on high ground, so I wonder if you’re 100% safe from a bit more this year, although you sound confident. I’m in Mississippi and have just pegged a little washing on the line, or rather would have pegged it if my sweetheart’s pegs had not seen better days. Instead it is swinging from coat hangers.

  20. Spring is just around the corner. What a relief that the downed tree didn’t cause any additional damage. I hope you will be happy with your writing progress, even if you don’t necessarily meet your word count goal.

  21. Hurrah for the patio chairs and the the raised beds. My lettuce is doing well under the grow lights, and I’m hoping to transfer it to the cold frame in a bit. Good thing, too, as the covid numbers are rising again here. How lucky we are to have wonderful and safe yards to lounge and work in!

  22. We haven’t played pick-up-sticks yet, Laurie. But we’ll also end up with a great supply of wood for the fire pit when we’re done. Your patio looks ready and before you know it, the raised beds will be turning green. Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

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