What started out as a typical Monday became much better than typical. I always feel like a caged animal at work, especially Mondays, but yesterday (Sunday) was beyond splendid. Today, I’ve been on a high (happy?) all day. It’s like living in an entirely different world.
In sort of an impromptu decision, I took off on vacation this afternoon and left work two hours early. Someone left work early too because he has a holiday tomorrow for some reason. His boss always lets everyone leave early the day before a holiday. It was sunny and 80 degrees today; how could I possibly waste the whole day at work? Someone and I met up at the golf course which miraculously was practically deserted. We pretty much played the entire 18 holes with nobody in front and nobody behind. It was divine!! I played well for me too which always makes golf more fun.
Yesterday, I drove to Flemingsburg to visit Sarah. The trees on the hillsides are becoming peak color now – the hills were blazing with drifts of red, orange, and yellow. On a clear, sunny day like yesterday when the leaves are so colorful and the sky so brilliantly blue, it just gets no prettier than that in Kentucky.
Sarah, her friend, and I drove over to Maysville for some lunch and a bit of shopping. On a whim, we stopped at a house that has been for sale for awhile. Sarah and her friend had seen it before and told me it was just spectacular up close (it sets far back off the road). It’s a very old house, built in the 1800s in a very grand style. Coincidentally, some people pulled into the driveway right behind us; people who Sarah and her friend knew; people who are archeological experts who had also come to tour the house and had access to the inside. What fantastic luck!!! They let us walk through the house with them.
|gingerbread trim and lovely attic window|
The house became larger and larger as we drove up the winding driveway. There are two gigantic trees in front of the house, even taller than the house. The one on the right is the most fantastic, gigantic ginko tree that I’ve ever seen in my life. It is wider than my arms stretched out from fingertip to fingertip. Its leaves had only barely started to turn yellow. We decided it must be a male tree because it didn’t have any of those stinky balls (technically, those things are called fruit) hanging on it or on the ground around it. If you have no idea about the odor of those ginko fruit ball-things, they reek. Imagine a women’s restroom where the trash is in dire need of emptying. Multiply that level of gross by 10,000 and you’ll get an idea of what a small ginko tree smells like when its fruit starts to rot. This ginko is like 100 times bigger (at least) than any ginko tree I’ve ever seen.
|Larch on the left, ginko on the right|
To the left of the house is a tree I’d never seen before. One of the experts told me it is a larch. Oh splendid!! I love something new, and this is definitely something new for me. This tree is an Eastern Larch, Larix Laricina, also known as a Tamarack. One source said they are small to medium sized trees, but another source said they can become very tall (120 feet). This one is very tall. They look like evergreen trees because they have needle-like leaves. They are, in fact, deciduous. They have small pink blooms that transform into cones. The bark is thin and light brown tinged with pink. The wood is very hard, waterproof, and knot-free according to one source. It is prized for use in construction. That fact should appeal to Sarah's friend who is very-skilled in all areas of construction.
How did it happen that this rare larch tree has come to be and survived so long in Mason County, Kentucky? They prefer cold climates farther north, but apparently they are found in wetlands in the mountains of West Virginia and western Maryland. One source said that they are fairly common around Lake Erie. Perhaps long ago, somebody brought a sapling as a gift down the Erie Canal. It was a popular transportation route between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River at Portsmouth starting around the time of the 1820s. Maybe somebody brought it from West Virginia, or perhaps a bird innocently dropped a seed and there it grew.
One source I read said that in Europe, the larch is a symbol of fertility. Childless women sleep under it at night in hopes that its magic will help them conceive. I believe trees have magical powers. I think it can only be by magic that the ginko and larch in front of that house have survived for 200 years.
The house itself has beautiful hardwood floors and lots of stairs with curved banisters. Indeed, lots of stairs are needed to connect the floors because the ceilings are 16 feet tall. The doors and windows are proportionately tall. It’s funny that I walked around the outside of the house for 15 minutes, but it wasn’t until one of the men opened the door and stepped out onto the porch that I realized just how big those doors and windows really are. It truly is a marvelous, beautiful place.
|The man in the doorway is not short!|
|Look where the doorknob is on this door. That's a very tall door!|
|The attic is unfinished, but the view is spectacular through arched windows|
|Beautiful maple trees in the back yard overlooking acres of cornfields. This is Paradise.|