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Oct 12, 2009


It's that time of year again. The days are rapidly getting colder. There is frost in the morning on the grass, the sun is mild, and the colors of the trees and plants are quickly changing. Around this time every year, my husband plans a trip up to a nearby mountain, called Sugar Loaf. What a pretty name! He goes there every year to dig up some trees, then he brings them home and plants them in the garden. You need a permit to do that. So he drives to the nearby town of Leavenworth which is close to the place where he gets the trees. There is a ranger station in Leavenworth where you can get all sorts of information about the wilderness area, camping, hiking, fishing, and the available trees. You must pay ten dollars per tree, and follow a map to a specific place where trees are going to be cleared. The mountain mainly has pine trees, Alpine Fir to be specific. Because the area where the trees are is quite high up, there is already snow up there, even though there is no snow in any towns yet. You must get wrapped up well, take good gloves, and maybe some hot chocolate in a thermos. Then, you park the truck, find the trees you want, and start the hard work of digging. I must say that it is always my husband who does the digging. Digging through snow, ice, earth, and roots is too much for me. But I help by wrapping up the root ball of the tree in burlap, a rough, degradable material. And then it is off to plant them at home.

Grammar notes.

 Related vocabulary: to wrap, degradable, a thermos (flask).


About a week before Christmas, I try to get the presents wrapped.

We put our degradable kitchen waste in a pile in the garden.

We take hot coffee in a thermos flask when we go fishing in the mornings.


 Two years ago, my husband dug up about twenty trees from Sugar Loaf Mountain. It took him the whole day to get there, dig the trees, load them up, and drive home. It really is a tremendous amount of work. He had gone with two friends, a couple who works in his office. It's important to have company when you do something like that, for safety mainly. If your truck were to break down, you would be in trouble. You don't necessarily get any cell phone reception up in that mountain, so you would have to walk a long, cold way back to civilization. It is also a bit of a scary ride up there. The road is narrow and very windy. When it is covered in snow and ice, it becomes dangerous and slippery. So, if you go with someone else, you are definitely safer, and you will have a much more pleasant time. The man who went with my husband is strong and really helped him dig. By the time they came home, they were tired but happy. There was no way that they could plant all of the new trees the same day because it was getting dark and they were exhausted. So, they did that the next day. So far, the trees have survived. Often when you transplant trees, about twenty percent of them die from shock, but we have been lucky and have not lost any of them. Because the growing season is much longer down here than up in the cold mountain, the Alpine Fir get tall quickly. We have put several near our fire pit, and plan on making the rest of our back garden into forest-like retreat.

Grammar notes.

 Practice of the subjunctive with 'if'.


If you talked more clearly, the Japanese students would understand you.

If I could just spend more time studying, my French would be so much better.

If they had read the instructions properly, they wouldn't have broken the new carpet shampooer.