Saturday, January 20, 2018


On January 11th, the day of Terry's knee surgery, the temps around here were in the high 50s. The next day they reached 60+ with lots of rain. That changed quickly as the temps dropped with the rain on the night of the 12th. We ended with about 1/4 inch of ice covered by about six inches of snow that fell from Friday night through the day Saturday. Luckily, Terry was home already so there was no need to go rushing up to Corning Hospital for visiting. Instead, I spent three hours Sunday using the snowblower to clear the driveway. The ice stayed. And the temperatures remained below freezing for nearly a week.

During that week, we also had another snowfall broken into two three inch episodes--with a visiting therapists sandwiched in between. Of course, I had to shovel the first three inches to clear the drive for the PT. Three hours done by hand left my hobbling almost as badly as Terry! The next day, I went out and shoveled the second three inches--also by hand. So, all in all, I spent nine hours over four days in single to barely double digit temps shoveling snow that was, thankfully, light and fluffy.

Yesterday, Friday, the sun came out and started to melt some of the snow on the roof and deck. Today, it's also sunny with temps into the mid 40s. The driveway still has a thick layer of ice that even a little salt and a lot of ashes haven't helped melt but the predicted warm temps (more 40s) and rain may eventually make a dent in that ice.

Terry has been hobbling around the house with the help of a walker and is progressing nicely after having had a partial replacement of her left knee. She's taken over the first floor bedroom (our normally "cat free zone") with easy access to her sewing room and the bathroom. Julie cat won't let her go anywhere without her--including the "cat free" bedroom. She (Julie wants to cuddle and cleave to her mommy to the point that she will miss a meal if need be.

Terry has 24 staples along the main incision into her left knee and another four each at holes above and below that; holes that must have been made for the assisting robot to hold her leg in position. All 32 staples will be removed on Tuesday over in Wellsboro. The visiting PT has given her exercises to do and has monitored her activity around the house twice now and she also is impressed with Terry's progress. Still, Terry is complaining that the staples are limiting her motion as they pull when she bends her leg doing exercises.

I'm trying to remember what my own progress was like back in 2013, but our situations aren't very similar. I had both knees totally replaced and then spent four days in the old Corning Hospital before being moved over to St. Joe's in Elmira for rehab and introductory PT. Terry was in on Thursday and sent home on Friday having had only two sessions with a therapist to give her an idea of the exercises she should do at home.

Meanwhile, on top of my snow shoveling duties, I'm doing all the cooking and cleaning with plenty of verbal assistance either from the sewing room, bedroom or directly over my shoulder. (Cooking has been relatively easy. Terry roasted a turkey on Wednesday before her surgery so we had two-three days of left overs before I froze the rest of the bird. Spaghetti, venison steak, salmon fillet, scallops...nothing super fancy and most of it done easily enough in a frying pan on the stove top.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

January 10th. Winter. BAH! Humbug!


Almost a month since my last post. Christmas has come and gone. New Year's, too. We've had one--count it, ONE--snowfall that required shoveling. But we have had many, many days where the high temperature was under 20 degrees F and the low was below 0 degrees.

I continue to feed three outdoor cats as well as the six indoor kitties. I've built two insulated shelters for the outdoor girls and on the real cold nights at least two of them make use of those shelters. Where the third goes, I have only have a few ideas--under the shed, under the hunting camp 150 yards down hill, or, perhaps, there's a hidden den on the hill somewhere among the branches and grape vines I've piled up.

I've also been feeding the fireplace during the cold weather. I may actually burn all the firewood I've had stacked behind the garage--some of which has been there for three years. That's a good thing as some of it is starting to get a little punky. Mostly the softer poplar. It's also okay because I've some wood left from the crew that cleaned the powerline right of way to harvest as well as several birch, ash and maple trees I want to fell. As soon as the wind drops and the weather warms a bit.

We didn't go into New Jersey on Christmas Eve because of weather forecasts of several inches of snow that we would have had to drive through on the way home. (That "storm" turned into a dud producing only an inch of snow at the Aerie.) We DID manage to get into NJ on January 7th for my grandniece's first birthday. NJ, of course, had a heck of a lot more snow than we did having just suffered the snowmagedon of the year.

Tiadaghton Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count took place on January 1st. While the temperature was hovering between 5 and 6 degrees most of the morning, we did have very little wind and mostly sunny skies. We also got to see quite a few more birds than last year. Las year we may have spotted 15 BIRDS. This year we spotted 15 species and 270 birds. We did our birding from the car and covered 78 miles of back roads in central Tioga County--the southern edge of our club's circle. The club had a total of 52 species and 3670 birds within our circle.

Terry and I have decided upon--and booked--a cruise of the lower Mississippi for May. We'll be on the Mississippi Queen, a paddlewheeler of the American Cruise Lines. The boat leaves New Orleans on April 28 sailing up the Mississippi to Vicksburg and then returns to New Orleans on May 5th so we'll be on the water for Terry's birthday (May 3rd). We've also decided to drive down and back so as to add a possible side trip to either Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri (to see Doug and Lucille) or to Columbia, SC (to see Jim and Pat). At almost $900 per person round trip for a flight out of Philly to New Orleans, we may actually save money driving!

Terry will be getting a partial knee replacement tomorrow at the Corning Hospital. She's bone on bone and in significant pain that shots have not helped alleviate. She has the same doctor doing her knee as I had replace both my knees. This time, however, he'll be supervising a robot that will do the surgery. Maybe she'll have less leg bruising than I did. Both my legs were balck and blue after surgery.

Well, I guess that pretty much sums up the last month or so.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Had a busy day today.

First I had to shovel the driveway after our 2-3 inch snowfall. (The rule is less than an inch and it can fend for itself. Two to four inches get hand shoveled. Five to seven inches get the snow thrower treatment. Eight or more and I bring Mr. Kubota-san into the act.)

Actually had to do the drive in two stages as Terry and I had to take Shadow to the vet's around 10 AM. She's been acting strange for about two weeks: lethargic, not cleaning herself, diarrhea, and a few other things out of the ordinary. The doc checked her out, took some blood samples, and then held her overnight to check urine, stool and other things.

Once the driveway was done, I hooked up the utility trailer and we headed off to retrieve the Pro-hauler from the Yamaha dealer. Turns out it needed to have the carburetor rebuilt (damn 10% ethanol!) and a new battery. I'll have to make sure to use it more frequently so as to keep that gas burned and battery charged!

Back home, I got the ATV off the trailer, unhitched the trailer from the Tundra and then hitched the ATV to the trailer and moved the trailer off the driveway and into the yard. Then the ATV was garaged to be used later this weekend...maybe.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Hunting Season, Part 2-----Success!

As mentioned, I slept in on Wednesday with the intent of doing some work around the yard with the slash left by the crew cleaning the powerline right-of-way. I was going to use the ATV BUT those plans changed when the darn thing wouldn't start. All I got was a click, click, click--like a buzz from a bunch of angry bees--from the solenoid. The starter didn't even try to turn over. I went to call the Glider City Powersports in Elmira, NY that I've used for repairs on the Yamaha ProHauler before BUT they are closed on Wednesdays. I plugged the battery charger up to the ATV just in case it was just a low charge, BUT the charger gave me an error message saying there was a short in one of the cells and it couldn't be charged.

So, I spent a couple of hours using the chainsaw close to the house and cleaned up one pile of debris and produced a small stack of firewood. Then I got the tractor out to haul the utility trailer out from under the deck so I could load the ATV for delivery to the repair shop--when I could eventually call them. Then I had to reinflate one of the tractor's tires--one that has a history of a slow leak. AND run down to the store to get a new connector for the trailer's wiring which was frayed right near the connector.


Thursday I managed to contact Glider City and hauled the ATV over for them to do their thing. They will contact me when it's ready. This was the first opportunity to use the new Tundra to trailer anything. Like its predecessor, it did just fine. The trailer tracked perfectly and I had no difficulties.


Friday I slept in once again and went to work on a second slash pile near the house. And once again, I managed to clean that heap up and harvest a small amount of firewood.


Saturday--being the first day I could shoot does as well as bucks--I got up early and went out to the woods. I was just hoping to see something with fur as Monday and Tuesday were less than productive. I was at my stand by 6:30 and waited for daylight. Unlike Monday and Tuesday, there was no breeze so the dried leaves on the beech trees weren't rattling all that much. That allowed me to use my ears as well as my eyes.

Shortly after 7 AM I heard something to my right and spotted a deer stepping out from some hemlocks. A buck! BUT I could only see fork horns and to be legal a buck must have at least three on one side. So I watched as it walked down the hill. (And, no matter how hard I tried, I still couldn't make out a third tine on either side!) A the base of the hill, the buck spooked and jumped once or twice back then trotted across the cove to the spruce trees. Then I saw a second deer--sex unknown--follow. All I can figure is that the cooler air sinking down the hillside carried my scent(?) down to the small buck and that's what spooked him. Hey! At least I got to see some deer!

About an hour later, I heard a snap of a twig behind me on the powerline. A turned around and saw two doe, with tails up, bounding across the powerline into the woods on the far side--where they stopped and looked back at me. I raised my rifle and saw through the scope that I had a clear shot, albeit nearly head on, between two trees just a foot or two apart. Flick off the safety. Breath. Squeeze. And the fun part is over. She dropped where she stood. The second doe jumped twice and stopped. And I quickly calculated how much work I really want to do this morning--and let her go.

I collected my gear and walked toward the downed doe. The tail flicked once and I chambered another round--just in case. By the time I got to her, she was dead. The shot had entered and exited the base of her neck damaging the spine and taking out the arteries. As I started filling out the tag, the second doe stuck came back into view and stood for a few seconds--broadside--30 yards away. I still let her go.

Field dressed (messily) and then dragged her down the hill. Gravity is your friend! I hung the deer behind the house and then cleaned, sliced and packaged the heart and liver.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hunting Season

Pennsylvania's rifle deer season opened on Monday and like tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) I was up and out early Monday morning and sitting on the hill by 6:30 AM. It was a cool--not cold--morning with a bit of an overcast and a steady breezy out of the northwest.

I heard the first shot around 7 AM only about 500 yards away. The second shot was about three times further at about 7:20 AM. (Actually, that second shot was really two.) Those were the only shots fired all day within a mile of the spot where I was sitting. Things were quiet all through the middle of the day with only a few shots fired (a l-o-n-g way away) after 3:30 PM

Me? I didn't see any deer nor even a squirrel. I eventually left when the sun went behind the ridge and the shadows grew too deep to make out the trail at the bottom of the hill. You can't shoot what you can't see.

Tuesday was a near repeat. Two shots--neither by me--early in the morning and then nothing all day. I grew tired of seeing nothing from my seat so between 10:30 and 12 I chose to take a stroll through the woods. I didn't see any deer there either.

I'll be sleeping in on Wednesday. Then I'll be working around the yard and the section of powerline right of way. The crew left some usable wood there. Several pieces that can be used for firewood.