Saturday, April 30, 2005

Rainy Days and Mondays

It may be a Saturday but the song “Rainy Days and Mondays” still applies. It spoke about the way the weather can get you down. The lyrics are especially meaningful on a day like today when it is constantly drizzling and/or overcast and the air is just plain raw. There is a feeling of malaise that settles over everyone. Rick commented about how it instills a guilt-free laziness upon you. “You don’t feel bad about just laying around on a day like this.” I suppose he’s right. I know there are things I could be doing that are far more productive than sitting here and surfing the web, but….

On the positive side, this is perfect weather for the new lawn I put in and the grass seed that sprouted last Thursday has really taken off. I'm supposed to let it grow to three inches in height before I cut it but it looks like that might be sometime next week.

I did find the energy yesterday to measure out and construct a model of the log home we are planning. I also searched for some ideas for floorplans of kitchens and bathrooms. Those are the two rooms that have me stymied a little. The kitchen is not as large as I would have liked (at least in my mind) and the master bath needs to incorporate both a soaking tub and a shower. We have clipped a few plans but we need to see if they fit in the overall plan of the home. That is where the designing session on Wednesday will be important.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


The Navigator took off on her own last Sunday to attend a SAGA gathering in Cape May, NJ. She packed her sewing machine and several projects to work on, her laptop (although she called to say the hotel has no internet hook up :-() and the checkbook (to pay for new projects).

I'm sure she is having a ball shmoozing with the ladies of the Smocking Arts Guild of America and I'm happy for her that her classes and meeting are indoors. While it hasn't rained down there as much as it has here in northern NJ, it has been just as windy and chilly. The shore (never "the beach" in NJ--it's the shore) doesn't warm up as quickly as the inland areas in the spring and the Cape gets the winds from the water in three directions.

Once her classes finish on Friday, she heads to Delaware for another one day event. As I've said before, now that she is "retired" she seems to be busier than ever!

Tne Navigator & joated

Friday, April 22, 2005

Maps on line

MapQuest is one of the easiest to use sources of street maps and directions on the Internet. The only problem I have ever had with them is that they often get lost in the details. Their directions will usually get you where you want to go, but they may take the "scenic" route. I have had a set of directions tell me to travel three miles north to get onto a highway that will carry me south past the starting point--which was less than a quarter mile from an entrance to that same highway--if I had gone south on a local road.

I will, on occasion, use them to get a general idea of how far it is from point A to point B. I will even use them if I have a street address as my destination or if I want maps of a town or city without buying a larger atlas. I do like the Rand McNally road atlases for longer trips where The Navigator needs to see the broader picture. On a state only basis, the old Esso maps were the best. Unfortunately, they aren't available any more. In fact, few gas companies continue to produce road maps. If I want just one state in a book, the DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer series not only give you the roads but the topography as well. You can tell if your supposed to be going up that hill or down. Even tiny dirt roads are mapped as is the vegetative cover. They are super.

The Navigator

My wife of 32+ years thought it was kind of cute that I designated her as The Navigator for the purpose of this blog. I thought it was truthful. When we go on road trips, she is the one in the passenger seat with the maps in hand. I may have spent hours pouring over the itinerary, but the fine details of where to turn and when are in her hands once we hit the road, I'm too busy watching out for the other guy and trying to keep us on the road. Besides, I make a lousy passenger. I like to say that driving is a control thing and I hate to give up control, but the truth is The Navigator controls the driver. Then again, she has been telling me where to go for 32+ years ;-)

Occasionally (make that more and more frequently) The Navigator goes off on her own. It used to be for business but now it's for one or another of her sewing groups. Since retiring last fall she has already been to Atlanta, Minneapolis and New Orleans. She would have traveled more but a recent gathering took place right in our backyard so she commuted from home. Sunday she heads out to Cape May, NJ for classes and socializing for a week on the Jersey Shore.

While she is out gallivanting around with needle in hand, I will be at home (most of the time) doing yard work, graphing out floor plans for our future home and waiting for my new backyard lawn to appear. Today is day 8 after putting down the seed so it should start germinating any time now. At least there is no sign of the thick carpet of moss that was in the backyard. I might make the trip out to Cabela's in PA or out to the PA property to do some cleanup there--or not. It depends upon the weather. And how the Mets are doing. And how lazy I feel.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Posting Pics

Okay, so I got three pictures to upload but the time stamp was at the blogspot settings and I forgot to change it. This resulted in the pics ending up showing at the bottom of the Wednesday posts instead of the top. This will take some getting used to. Why the date stamp does not follow the computer's clock is a mystery. Plus, the spell check button on blogspot does not seem to work. This would leave some nasty looking writing if I couldn't recognize most of my mistyped and misspelled words.(I said"most", didn't I?)

Update: I think I got the pics positioned at the top of the Wednesday posts. I figured out how to edit the posts and change the date stamp. Hope it worked.

Update2: Well, one out of three is pretty good, isn't it? The North and Northwest views are still in the wrong place but that's because they don't show up when I go to edit posts so I can't fix their time stamps. Very frustrating but a learning experience none the less.

Update3: Got it! I managed to group all three photos together at the top of the Wednesday posts. Now I just have to remember how for the next time!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

View to the Northeast from home site.

View to the North from home site.

View to the Northwest from home site.

Log Home Shopping Part 1a

The second half of the weekend was spent with the folks at Beaver Mountain Log Homes in Hancock, NY. We had signed up for a tour of the mill up in Deposit and then a seminar on the process for living the dream.

At the mill we saw how they turn a raw, green log into a home. This is not a company that uses whole, round logs. They produce a milled log from the center of the logs they purchase and these come in a variety of cross-sections and sizes. We have decided to go withthe most popular model, an 8x8 log with a D-profile. This will give my wife plenty of flat surfaces on the interior wall to hang her many needlework pieces (no, I will not hang any deer heads--unless I get real lucky and get a real bigun' sometime soon) and remove some of the many surfaces on the round log that would collect dust.
The afternoon seminar was educational and really sold us on what we want and when we want it.

Next month we again meet with the Beaver Mountain folks to start the process of drawing up plans.

Log Home Shopping Part 1

This past weekend, we traveled out to PA to meet with the gentleman (Don K.) who will be the General Contractor on our log home construction. We met at his home and then drove over to our lot so he could look it over.
Don and his wife have a great deal in common with me and mine. His wife quilts but has taken some smocking lessons; mine is involved in all the needle arts except quilting. They both drink tea, collect spoons and read romance novels. My wife's ancestors (two generations back) came from eastern Europe-Poland and Slavic, our GC's came from the same area. He drinks his coffee black, was a scout leader, used to hunt and goes to Canada to fish for northern pike. I drink my coffee black, was a cubmaster and leader in Troop 112, hunt, and go to Canada to fish for northern pike. There were bird feeders in his yard set in such a way that they could watch the birds from the porch or from the living room. I think we will get along just fine!

This was the first time I had been on the hill in PA when there were no clouds in the sky since we first looked at the property back in November. The views were spectacular! Don pointed out a notch in the ridge off to the north and said that it may be on the NY border--some 15 miles away. At an elevation of 2100 feet I expected we would get some pretty good views and I was right. From the East, to North and around to the West you could see for ever. I took some pictures which I will post soon. (As soon as I figure out how!)

The Start of Something New

After several weeks of telling myself that it was time to start blogging the Adventures of Me and My Navigator, I have finally sat down to put things in motion. I will be blogging about the trips that we take and the changes that are happening in our lives--and there will be many of both in the near future!

Who am I? joated

joated is:

JOAT= Jack Of All Trades and that describes me. Sort of a Renaissance man. Fisherman, bow hunter, rifle hunter, woodworker (I can build anything from a birdhouse to a barn and have), gardener (nothing tastes like a vine ripened tomato fresh from the garden-nothing). Would like to be as independent as possible. Believe in personal responsibility.

How do people pick just one? I enjoy historical novels set in the periods of ancient Rome (Lindsey Davis’ Didius Falco), the Middle Ages or American Frontier (Allan Eckert, John Jakes, etc.). Also like SF and Fantasy. The Disc World novels of Terry Prachett are lots of fun but the puns of Xanth are real groaners. The Swords and Sorcery classics along the Fritz Leiber line are also a hoot. And I gobble up anything written by J.A. Jance, Carl Hiaasen, and Nevada Barr. The latter's novels are set in our National Parks, many of which I have visited.

I would much rather drive than fly ‘cause you get to see so much more of your surroundings. I love my truck and trailer. Have flown when it was necessary and liked the time saved but just felt like I missed out on what was happening below. Maybe it is a control thing since I make a terrible passenger while on the road. Been all over continental USA and Canada except 3 Gulf States (LA, MS & AL) and Alaska & plan to see them and lots more.