Walking past the pine trees on the way to the goat barn, I snapped off some dead twigs - and was transported to Canada when I was a kid. We spent the summers on a little jewel-like lake in northern Ontario in a log cabin, hand built decades earlier by my maternal great-grandfather. It was my job to take a basket into the woods and gather up the kindling for the wood stove fire first thing in the morning. I loved the smell of the pine forest and can still take myself right back there, even all these years later. It was a magical time. I would go out with our dachshund, Inger, who was a great hunter of squirrels (and capture of none). She made sure the coast was clear by barking her head off. I was very leery of bears. I'd take my basket full of dry pine twigs back to the cabin, where my mother would bank up a fire. Once that old stove was good and hot, she'd get out the cast iron frying pan and make eggs and bacon. We would take thick slices of her homemade bread and put them in the toaster basket and toast them over an open burner. It's amazing how clear some memories are - and how much in between is blurred and unrecognizable. My god. I'm becoming my father. He can clearly remember his grade school teachers, but not what he did in the morning!
Most of my life was spent avoiding conflict. I hated conflict - and I still do. But, as I have gotten older, I have realized that it is possible to get things done and make your point without having to be toe-to-toe. It's the subtle approach. Although I have been accused of being as subtle as a sumo wrestler on a catwalk -- wait! I'm not sure I like that analogy -- let's say, as subtle as a 2x4 upside the head -- I have become more purposeful in getting my point across. Case in point: I am unfortunate enough to live on a road with two gravel pits. One was permitted before I moved in, so it's a moot point. The second was slunk through the back alley by an oily character working in cahoots with another oily character and the deed was done before anyone had the chance to raise a holler. This particular 'pit' is much closer to me. My feelings about both are not secret. And, while I couldn't stop them, I can limit them - I believe. So, when the neighbor/pit started firing up the heavy equipment at 7AM on Saturdays, I fired off some letters to the town board/supervisor. Not surprisingly, I got no reply. The town supervisor happens to be a retired corporate executive cum real estate agent cum bus driver. He downplays the first two and plays up the last with battered hat in hand. A humble man. A bus driver. He and his wife have the listing on the house situated right across the road from Gravel Pit #2 (which is unseen behind a cornfield, and unmarked by any sign other than a large new gate.)
Long story short - the house was owned one of the oily characters who sold the gravel pit property in order to finance a new house at the other (quieter) end of the road. I am sure that neither he nor the real estate agent (town super) are mentioning the unseen gravel pit to any prospective buyers. What to do? I ordered a nice bright sign that reads (on both sides): NO GRAVEL TRUCKS (no sign) ON WEEKENDS. I will carefully measure off 26' from the center of the road (town easement) and pound it into my front yard. Fully in view of any prospective house buyer. Subtle, no?