Finding life's a woodpile

"X" marks the spot


There has been a whole lot of thinking and talking going on in the woods around Tahilla Farm. Mr. H has been joining me lately, in fact Mr. H has developed an infinite appreciation for the woods these days. So much so, that much of it is taking up space inside our garage. As the snow melts, firewood is presenting itself in all shapes and sizes. I pray for a snowstorm!

I applaud his efforts and try not to throw a critical eye at what he has dragged in there "to dry". I overheard him at a dinner party the other night, talking with the "guys" about where to buy a chainsaw. I get the jitters at the mere mention of a chainsaw for even in the most experienced hands they can be life threatening. He told me not to worry, he said he is only considering an electric one....last I checked, gas or electric, they both do the same thing!

I came across this comic in a recent issue of The New Yorker magazine. I sent it off to our kids and Mr. H. He crossed out "the lawn" and returned it with "micromanaging the woodpile".

 The New Yorker

New normal...
Needless to say we are still finding our "new normal' with this "new path" in life. Many of you have sent messages and comments regarding "The Retirement Project" (Mr. H) which I truly appreciate. It appears we are not alone in this journey. Many of you are well seasoned with this chapter in life and many are contemplating it. I love that we continue to find connections in our lives.

Two lovely readers, Tricia and Webb wrote the following on my recent post. I thought you might enjoy their words of wisdom...

Tricia writes...
I speak from experience of the last few years. My husband retired two and a half years ago, and I retired from work a year and a half ago. He would have continued for ever if he could have, and it took a good year for him to agree that he was happier without the stresses of corporate life. The habits of years are not overturned in a moment. I had worked right the way through, even while raising the children and often living an expat life in Europe and in Asia, and was very unsure what my life would be like without the major project of work to shape things round.

Now, I can report that it's still something of a job in progress. As I write this I can see my husband out of the corner of my eye, swinging an axe around, demolishing some fencing. Hmm, scary...! But a garden project is a healthy project, so good.

I have lots of interests and have been able to pursue these (especially painting) which has been great. But I have discovered that I must be lazy at heart. Without an external deadline - I'm great at meeting those - I sometimes find it hard to actually DO the stuff I'm dreaming about. And the chores multiply. Who was it who wondered how many books were never written by women because they were busy with the ironing? I need to achieve something concrete every day to be happy and I think that's a hangover from work. It's very hard to just BE. 

Although you will have different interests you will have the advantage of already having established a pattern to your days and an understanding of what you need to keep you content. So, you will be able to keep calm when the frustrated storms of change are raging nearby. It will all be good, but no, it won't be instantly good. Wishing you both all luck and happiness. 

Webb writes...
Retirement is wonderful! Welcome to it, Mr. H! There is so much to do. You may want to teach- "real" college or adult learning. A friend of ours taught until he was 94 and loved every minute of the prep and the presentation. I took classes in Horticulture at the local community college and then launched myself into art classes- taking, not teaching. Now, my previous employer has asked my to work for a few hours a week for the next couple of months, and I am looking forward to it. 

My husband has taken a different path. He worked a series of part time jobs that simply interested him. Now he is the unofficial greeter at our neighborhood Starbucks, i.e., he resides in a chair every morning reading the Post, drinking his coffee and talking with whomever has a few minutes to sit and chat. Lunches are "on your own" at home or out. We are both adults. We do spend much more time together than during the past 40 years (movies on Tuesday afternoons are particularly nice). All you have to do is choose what you want to do, and do it. Most of all, enjoy this new journey. It can be wonderful.

I am deeply appreciative, thank you Tricia and Webb!

Mr. H has a task...
Last time I wrote I mentioned that a 40' container filled with our belongings from our Hong Kong apartment was en route to Boston. Well, it arrived and Mr. H told me he has a brilliant idea. The original plan was to put it all in storage until the snow melted and the ground was more stable for carrying heavy furniture around our yard into a storage area. Mr. H has deduced that with the snow melted and the ground still frozen we should be able to get it all sorted next week. He has plans for 186 boxes in our basement, the furniture in another area and the rest...where else? Our garage! My first inclination was to say NO...but then I thought about the woodpile and the chainsaw and the opportunity for him to keep up with his managerial skills. So...I am going to pass the box cutter and let him go for it. I figure I will see him sometime in April. Unless we get another snow storm...which we will. ;)

In the woman's view

Mrs. H has a task....
Wit and wisdom aside, we are having fun and taking our time with the whole process. I am in the midst of a new website design for Collage of Life with an emphasis on Tahilla Gatherings. It's been ten years coming and requires far more brain power than I could have imagined but it has been a great process for me. Mr. H has been adding his thoughts as most devout reader!

Your thoughts?
If you are still reading this post, I consider you a very kind reader. You may be new to Collage of Life or you may have been with me for many journeys over the years. As I look forward, I would love to know if there is anything you would like to see more of, less of, or if you like it just the way it is. I would love to know either way! My goal, as always, is to keep it simple! I love simple...

"Remember this, that very little is needed
to make a happy life. It's all within yourself."

Marcus Aurelius 

Happy! Happy!

Jeanne xx


  1. I love the way you write your posts, they way you make things flow, from one topic to another, while keeping the attention of your readers. I also enjoy the fact that you don't have a fixed theme. Most blogs i follow don't - there are only so many fashion posts or recipes that I can tolerate in one week. So i love the fact that you shake things up and that every post is different.

  2. " the garage." Makes me laugh aloud. There is something about the woods that brings the heart to want to gather. For me it was kindling. I broke the habit by telling myself the forest and wildlife need the wood for good soil, bug homes and such. Still, it is difficult for me to pass a twig and not pick it up. So far I've made 3 twig word signs.

    Maybe the wood can be used to make a teepee, a sweat lodge, sauna, furniture?
    Maybe an addition for a woodworking shop is in the future.
    Your writing is so lovely to read, I'm blank to think of something to see more or less of.

  3. Jeanne I am so enjoying this. We have about three more years before we are faced with the same. Our task is to get rid of much of the "stuff" we have accumulated because we do not plan to stay here. My husband loves to work outside, garden and tackle projects, but it will still be different. Retiring in the winter in New Hampshire has to be tough, espeicially when you two have lived so independently. I am watching, listening and learning. What about the gardens? Might he be interested in taking on those tasks? Order those garden books!!

  4. Happy - and a bit embarrassed - to contribute to the conversation. It's nice to have an online group that includes "ladies of a certain age". It's an interesting transition, but just the next step in life. And, we are lucky that our next step will last years longer than our mothers' or our grandmothers' did.

  5. YOU do it all SO perfect nothing needs to change!I appreciate the LACK OF ADS!!!!!
    I may have missed a few posts as I did not know Mr. H was HOME for GOOD!I know you have been chatting about it BUT I MISSED THE HOMECOMING!
    Let's PRAY for another BIG SNOWSTORM maybe he will paint MANGO in a ROOM!!!!!!!
    I adore him for THAT CHOICE of COLOR!


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