For the past few days the weather has been cool and dismal, smacking somewhat of Seattle except that thunderstorms punctuated every day, ranging from light commas and semi-colons to apostrophes and occasional exclamation points. Thor, the Norse god of thunder, concluded the span of fecklessness with triple bangs yesterday and now sweet sunshine once again filters through the forest.

It is sometimes said that the sound of thunder occurs because Thor is bowling and we hear his ball rolling down the lane, ending with a crash as it slams into the pins.

I submit to you now Exhibit A followed by Exhibit B. Exhibit A was a photo taken in May; Exhibit B was a photo taken right after the storm ended yesterday.

Hmm– something (besides Brian) seems to be missing in Exhibit B; namely a very large tree.

Thor gave us three things when he made his big score yesterday: the elimination of the need to hire a tree service to remove the old and ailing tree; a much improved view and a good supply of firewood!

He also was kind enough to lay the tree down parallel to the back of the house and far enough away so as not to damage anything.

This tree has confused me for quite some time. Using a tree identification guide on the internet, I had ascertained that it was a Chestnut. Yet I saw acorns on it rather than chestnuts. How could this be? The mystery was solved by contractor Billy, who explained to the North Carolinian newbies that it was a Chestnut Oak— an oxymoron of a tree, but indeed a species.

It is interesting to note that, according to Wikipedia, Thor is known as the god of thunder, lightening, storms, oak trees, strength and protection of mankind. Perhaps he felt it was time for this particular oak sentry to go to live at Valhalla.

While the thunder roared and the lightning cracked, Brian was busy with the house. He created strong pillars to support the I-beams at either end of the balcony and secured them with something something (those metal things) LDL brackets?

Then he was persuaded to begin putting kitchen cabinets together. He started with the wine cabinets which will be on the dining-room side of the island and show the true color of the cabinets once they are done.

Then the outside wall cabinets were constructed and hung on the wall and the peninsula cabinets put in place. He is now working on plumbing the sink, but I am told I will not actually get to use the sink until the countertops are in, because the faucet must go on top of the countertop.

In other news, little Gisela grows, and tries very hard to reach Beowulf’s food bowl, set out of reach at the back of the hearth.

Speaking of the hearth, we have a tale of woe.

Once upon a time there sat upon this hearth a beautiful ceramic crane vase by the artists Dave and Boni Deal.

I decided to replace the branches that I had never been happy with and put a nice arrangement of curly willow and dried grasses into it (which you see on the mantel now) and it was good.

However, the rogue knight known as Stonewall the Grey wished to display his prowess in the high jump in order to impress all and sundry with his skill, and also to eat the grass.

Jump went the cat.

Crash went the vase.

The castle of Bebbanburg became very sad, for the vase was sentimental and, like poor Mr. Dumpty, cannot be put together again. Stonewall the Sorry may be forgiven in time.