12 October 2008

Cutting up the cut-down tree

I had a really bad allergy attack yesterday. There is a big high-pressure system sitting over Eastern Europe, bringing France a southeasterly airflow. That means a lot of pollen from Provence, Italy, and Greece, I guess. Cypress pollen is what I'm most allergic to, unless there's some kind of pollen here that we didn't have in California and that I haven't been tested for. Whatever it was on Saturday, it made me miserable all day long.

On Thursday, we tackled the job of cutting up the top of the birch tree that we had chopped off a couple of days earlier. In this first picture, we hadn't yet started. It was early in the morning and kind of cloudy, so there were no shadows.

Walt cut up the two large pieces of tree-trunk with the chain saw while I worked on smaller branches with the secatur. I ended up with this wheelbarrow load of twigs and sticks, which will make good kindling.

By the time we had finished, the sun was out and there were distinct shadows. Walt had finished cutting up the main trunks. You can see what is still left to do — smaller branches and twigs.

And this is all we got for a couple of hours of labor. Oh well. It will make a nice fire or two next winter or the winter after, after the wood has had time to dry out.

P.S. The sneezing and crying and nose-blowing seem to be finished now, for the time being. I think these 24-hour allergy attacks are so strange. When I lived in California, the attacks would last for days or weeks at a time, but usually in the spring. Here, I have 24-hour bouts several times a year — fall, winter, and spring. The main thing is, I feel better today. I'll be able to do some more work outdoors.


  1. My daughter has allergies and has had a few attacks this fall, similar to what you're talking about -- 24 hours or so. It's strange because generally she hasn't been subject to them at this time of year.

  2. I find that, odd though it sounds, it can help to flush out the nasal passages with some warm salt water. It's a bit messy, and you wouldn't want to be seen doing it, but it can soothe the inflammation and maybe help neutralise whatever's causing it.

  3. Deodar Cedars flower in late autumn, and the cedars in France are absolutely covered in flowering bodies this year I noticed (some years they don't flower enough to really notice). Maybe you are allergic to them?

  4. Susan, I'm fine today. So I don't think the pollen source is local. It is wind-borne, I believe. Luckily, the attacks don't last long here.

    Autolycus, thanks for that. I may have to try it if another attack comes on.

    Betty, isn't it strange that these attacks last only 24 to 36 hours? It has to be weather-related.

  5. it is amazingly interesting to see the transformation of tree to stack.
    what industrious grasshoppers (or was it ants?) you are, laying by for the winter.
    of winter in france, i always think of the troglodytic dwellings amy h. wrote about, which i also read about in graham robb's wonderful book, The Discovery of France. people just went to ground during the winter, and slept and tried to keep warm. there was so little to eat it was better if they didn't move. for like 15,000 years. wow.

  6. It's a pure mercy that your allergy attacks don't last as long now as they did in California! I've tried the salt water irrigation that Autolycus suggests and have found that for me at least, it leads to nasty sinus infections. Perhaps your sinuses behave better than mine when it comes to draining. If you're interested in pursuing it, you might check with your local pharmacy for a mini-watering can device that's made for sinus irrigation. As A notes, it looks strange, but works for many people.



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