Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pre Week 15 Polls and Opponents

The next to the last polls are out. There are still some conferences that have games to play. Most are playoffs, but some are regular season games. The ACC, SEC, MAC and Big 12 have playoff games this weekend to determine the conference champions. Even so, the BCS ranks are all the talk this week as they determine who will be playing in some of those championship games. Let's look at the Top 10 BCS teams:

BCS Standings

TeamBCS Ave
Southern California0.808
Texas Tech0.781
Penn State0.737
Boise State0.703
Ohio State0.634

As a result of the above, it will be Oklahoma vs Missouri in the Big 12 championship.

The following ranks are from the AP, Coaches and CBSSports polls.
(Poll numbers are those of the teams entering Week 15. The numbers on parentheses after the teams’ names are their rankings after Week 14. Rankings are from the AP Writers’ Poll/the Coaches Poll/ in that order. NR= Not Ranked You will note that when I refer to a team by its rank, I use the Writers’ Poll position.)

1/1/1 Alabama (1/1/1) The Crimson Tide will face the #2 Florida Gators for the SEC championship.

2/4/2 Florida (2/3/2) The Gators take on #1 Alabama for the SEC championship.

3/3/4 Texas (4/4/4) Finish the season at 11-1.

4/2/3 Oklahoma (3/2/3) The Sooners face the Missouri Tigers for the Big 12 championship.

5/5/5 Southern California (5/5/5) The Trojans are on the road against rival UCLA in their season finale. Win and they go to the Rose Bowl.

6/6/7 Penn State (6/6/7) Finish the season at 11-1.

7/7/8 Utah (8/7/8) Finish the season at 12-0.

8/8/6 Texas Tech (7/8/6) Finish the season at 11-1.

9/9/9 Boise State (9/9/9) Finish the season at 12-0.

10/10/10 Ohio State (10/10/11) Finish the season at 10-2.

11/11/11 TCU (14/14/15) Finish the season at 10-2.

12/13/12 Ball State (15/15/14) The Cardinals square off against Buffalo for the MAC championship. They also put their 12-0 record on the line one more time.

13/12/13 Cincinnati (19/20/18) The 10-2 Big East Champion Bearcats will head to Hawaii to end the regular season.

14/15/15 Oklahoma State (11/12/10) Finish the season at 9-3.

15/16/14 Georgia Tech (18/23/20) Finish the season at 9-3.

16/14/17 Oregon (19/18/19) Finish the season at 9-3.

17/19/19 Georgia (13/13/13) Finish the season at 9-3.

18/20/16 Boston College (20T/22/21) The Eagles will face Virginia Tech for the ACC Championship.

19/17/21 Missouri (12/11/12) The Tigers will face the #4 Oklahoma Sooners for the Big 12 Championship.

20/18/18 Brigham Young (20T/19/23) Finish the season at 10-2.

21/21/23 Michigan State (22/21/24) Finish the season at 9-3.

22/25/24 Mississippi (25/NR/NR) Finish the season at 8-4.

23/23/20 Pittsburgh (NR/NR/NR) The Panthers take their 8-3 record to UConn to close their season.

24/22/22 Northwestern (24/20/18) Finish the season at 9-3.

25/24/NR Oregon State (17/17/17) Finish the season at 8-4.

NR/NR/25 Iowa (NR/NR/25) Finish the season at 8-4.


Rain, sleet, freezing rain and perhaps snow later this evening as the temperatures hover around the 32 degree mark are the weather conditions here at the Aerie this Sunday afternoon.

Tomorrow morning is supposed to be snowy and then rain/freezing rain. It's also the opening day of the rifle deer season here in PA. If these old bones don't ache too much, I'll go up the hill to the back end of the property and sit myself down in the hopes that a legal buck and/or doe comes wandering through.

Week 14 Results

Wow! What a week of college football! Most of the games were evidence of the superiority of offense in today’s college game. Scoring sixty points was not uncommon. Still there were a few close games. Sure they were 45-42 or 40-37, but they were thrillers. (So was the 19-15 Pitt/WVA.)

(Poll numbers are those of the teams entering Week 14. The numbers on parentheses after the teams’ names are their rankings after Week 13. Rankings are from the AP Writers’ Poll/the Coaches Poll/ in that order. NR= Not Ranked You will note that when I refer to a team by its rank, I use the Writers’ Poll position.)

1/1/1 Alabama (1/1/2) The Crimson Tide was more of a tsunami as they swept over Auburn, 36-0.

2/3/2 Florida (3/3/3) The Gators brought the rain to #23 Florida State and seemed quite at home as they won 45-15.

3/2/3 Oklahoma (5/5/5) The Sooners demolished #11 Oklahoma State 61-41.

4/4/4 Texas (4/4/4) The Longhorns feasted upon Texas A&M 49-9 on Thanksgiving night.

5/5/5 Southern California (6/6/6) The Trojans had their way with hapless Notre Dame38-3. Win over UCLA next week and they are Rose Bowl bound.

6/6/7 Penn State (7/8/7) The Nittany Lions’ season is over at 11-1 is prepping for the Rose Bowl.

7/8/6 Texas Tech (2/2/1) The Red Raiders struggled in the first three quarters against Baylor but scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth to win 35-28.

8/7/8 Utah (8/7/8) The Utes finished the season with a 12-0 record and atop the Mountain West.

9/9/9 Boise State (9/9/9) The Broncos were right at home on the blue rug as they dismantled Fresno State on Friday evening by a score of 61-10.

10/10/11 Ohio State (10/10/11) The Buckeye’s season is finished at 10-2. The question will be where they will go bowling.

11/12/10 Oklahoma State (11/12/10) The Cowboys kept pace early with the #3 Oklahoma Sooners, but they eventually were unable to keep up as they lost 61-41.

12/11/12 Missouri (12/11/12) The Tigers were upset 40-37 by Kansas in one of the closes—and most exciting— games of the weekend.

13/13/13 Georgia (13/13/13) The Bulldogs got stung 45-42 by the #18 Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech in yet another edge-of-the-seat thriller.

14/14/15 TCU (15/17/16) The Horned Frogs finished the year 10-2 and in second place in the Mountain West with a 7-1 conference record.

15/15/14 Ball State (14/16/15) The Cardinals got to showcase their game nationally against Western Michigan Tuesday evening. They didn’t disappoint with a 45-22 victory to close the regular season 12-0. Next up will be Buffalo for the MAC championship.

16/16/16 Cincinnati (19/20/18) The Bearcats (having already clinched a share of the Big East title) struggled early but prevailed over Syracuse, 30-10. They have one more game at Hawaii next week but are the Big East Champs.

17/17/17 Oregon State (21/21/21) The Ducks may have blown their chances for the Rose Bowl by dropping 65-38 contest to the #19 Beavers of Oregon.

18/23/20 Georgia Tech (NR/NR/NR) The Yellow Jackets upset #13 Georgia, 45-42.

19/18/19 Oregon (14/22/23) The Beavers outscored the #17 Oregon State Ducks 65-38.

20T/22/21 Boston College (NR/25/NR) The Eagles managed to defeat Terps of Maryland 28-21 to advance to the ACC Championship.

20T/19/23 Brigham Young (16/14/14) The Cougars season ended with a 10-2 record and a third place standing in the Mountain West (6-2).

22/21/24 Michigan State (17/15/17) The Spartans finished the year with a 9-3 record and in possession of third place in the Big Ten with a 6-2 conference record.

23/24/22 Florida State (NR/NR/NR) It rained…hard…and the field was a swamp so the Seminoles lost to #2 Florida Gators 45-15.

24/20/18 Northwestern (NR/24/24) The Wildcats finished the year with a 9-3 record (5-3 in the Big Ten).

25/NR/NR Mississippi (NR/NR/NR) Ole Miss ran all over Mississippi State 45-0.

NR/25/NR West Virginia (NR/NR/NR) The Mountaineers lost a close one to the Pittsburgh Panthers on Friday night 19-15.

NR/NR/25 Iowa (NR/NR/NR) The Hawkeyes finished the season with an 8-4 record (5-3 in the Big Ten).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weigh in Saturday...again.

Not too bad this morning considering the Thanksgiving feast (and pre-Thanksgiving feast) that we had this past week. I mean, really, we hardly fasted! Turkey, buffalo, venison, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, asparagus.... And desert: pecan pie, pumpkin pie....mmmm!

I was up a mere one (1) pound over last week which means 218. Considering that I started this challenge at 217 back on September 7th, I've neither lost nor gained any appreciable weight since. Going back a bit further, however, to June 1st when I was at 232 pounds, I've lost ... 14 pounds.

Friday, November 28, 2008

How many...?

Now this meme has been making the rounds the past few days. I find it interesting to go through each blogger's posting to learn a little more about him or her.

What have you done?

1. Started your own blog.
What are you reading?

2. Slept under the stars.
Several times, but I prefer a tent. Dew on the sleeping bag (or the body) can be a real chill in the wee morning hours.

3. Played in a band.
Music is a mystery to me. No ear or talent to play anything more complicated than a CD player. Yet both my kids are quite good. Go figure.

4. Visited Hawaii…no.

5. Watched a meteor shower.
Several. The most memorable would be one August night in a campground outside Yosemite National Park when the kids, wife and I lay on the picnic table and looked up through the sugar pines.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.

7. Been to Disneyland.
Disney World counts?

8. Climbed a mountain.
Mount Washington and the Presidential Range several times.

9. Held a praying mantis.
Both the adults and as they came out of the egg case as little miniature machines of death. Kept them as pets in the classroom.

10. Sang a solo.
As a Cub Scout (age 9-10, Weblos) I sang “Tom Dooley” on amateur night at a Pack meeting.

11. Bungee jumped.
No. And you’d have to hold a gun on me to get me to even think about it. I don’t even do roller coasters.

12. Visited Paris.
Paris, New York? Never have I left North America. Never intend to.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
Not quite at sea. I was on Great Bay just north of Atlantic City in a 16-foot outboard when the storm swept up from the south. Got scary when the wind kicked up and we hauled ass for the marina.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
Photography, beading, drawing, fly tying…

15. Adopted a child…no.

16. Had food poisoning.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
Long time ago when they still let you go up to the torch.

18. Grown your own vegetables.
Beans, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and more. Some from seed.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France…no.

20. Slept on an overnight train…no.

21. Had a pillow fight.
Long, long time ago when sleeping over at the cousins’ house.

22. Hitchhiked.
Once, when my car broke down. I’ve picked up several thumbsmen and women and carried them for as much as four hours and a couple hundred miles.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
Why waste it when you’re really sick? They are “mental health” days. Keeps you from going postal.

24. Built a snow fort.
Oh, yeah! Piled the snow sprinkled it with water and then tunneled from one redoubt to another. Also built igloos. (Of course this was in the days before cable TV, computers or video games.

25. Held a lamb.
Petting zoos were made for this.

26. Gone skinny dipping.
Yeah, but it was on a fishing trip to the wilds of Quebec and all the guys needed a bath.

27. Run a marathon.
You’re kidding, right? Ever see a jogger with a smile on his face? Why subject yourself to such pain?

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice…no.

29. Seen a total eclipse.
Freshman year at Rutgers. Easter break (?) and I stayed on campus with one or two other guys on my dorm floor. We had front row seats to the total eclipse of the moon. Did watch a partial eclipse of the sun once while teaching several classes of high school Earth Science using a telescope and solar filter. Nine times out of ten, it’s cloudy when either solar or lunar eclipses roll around.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
Nothing like watching the sun rise—or set—while sitting quietly in a tree stand in the woods, or from the porch of a fishing cabin in the wilds of Quebec.

31. Hit a home run.
Little League. I was a seldom hit decent catcher who happened to get lucky one evening and knocked the stuffing out of the ball. Went 50 feet past the fence in right-center. Won the game. Mom made a strawberry shortcake with real whip cream and fresh strawberries to celebrate.

32. Been on a cruise…no.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
From above on the American and Canadian sides and from the Maid of the Mists at the bottom of the falls.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors…no.

35. Seen an Amish community.
Several tours of Amish farms in PA. Several Amish farms are located in the vicinity of the Bolt Hole in NY. Got to keep your eyes open for the horse and buggy on the roads.

36. Taught yourself a new language.
Still working on English….

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
There are months at a time I feel no need for further $$$.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person…no.

39. Gone rock climbing.
No. Anything steeper than a step ladder troubles me. Even a step ladder troubles me if it’s 12 feet or more. I prefer to have gravity hold me to the earth’s surface rather than trying to peel me away from terra firma.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David…no.

41. Sung karaoke…no.

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
On one of the Family Tours. We ate at the Yellowstone Lodge and then parked outside to watch the eruption. It’s spectacular but not the biggest of the geysers in the Park.

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant…no.

44. Visited Africa…no.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
Long Beach Island, NJ. Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Bar Harbor, Maine.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.
Once. After I had torn the tendons in my ankle while practicing basketball with the faculty of the high school where I taught. We were to play an All-Star team of Mets, Jets and Giants in a week. I was on crutches.

47. Had your portrait painted.
Does a caricature count? Fund raiser at Rutgers.

48. Gone deep sea fishing.
Besides fishing for fluke, weakfish, and snapper blues in Raritan Bay, Great Bay and Barnegat Bay, I’ve been out on several party boats and charters. The charters were with Boy Scouts. Ten or so boys with their parents going after blue fish.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person…no.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris…no.

51. Gone SCUBA diving or snorkeling.
I lived in the water for three summers between seventh and eighth grade. Flippers and snorkel were used to explore the bottom of the river in which we swam…when the water was clear enough. Then there was the time I went diving for scallops off the fork of Long Island. Damn things are fast!

52. Kissed in the rain.
I’m not telling.

53. Played in the mud.
I’m male. There was a stream behind our house. ‘Nuff said. Still do from time to time as I try to change the drainage behind the Bolt Hole.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
Several times in the late ‘60s and early ’70s which turned out to be the waning days of their operation.

55. Been in a movie…no.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China…no.

57. Started a business…no.

58. Taken a martial arts class…no.

59. Visited Russia…no.

60. Served at a soup kitchen.
Once with a church group when I was in my teens.

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
I’ve got a daughter who was in the GSA. Of course I’ve sold Girl Scout Cookies... (And my son was in the BSA so I sold lots of popcorn too.)

62. Gone whale watching.
Sat on the beach south of San Francisco looking for whales (or watching submarine races). Never saw any whales or submarines but it was fun anyway.

63. Got flowers for no reason.
Yeah, and then the Mrs. usually tells me where she wants them planted.

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
I gave over a gallon and suddenly I got notified that I had Hepatitis-C. Turned out to be a false reading but even with a doctor’s note they won’t let me donate any more.

65. Gone sky diving.
You’re going to jump out of a perfectly good plane? No effing way!

66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp…no.

67. Bounced a check.
Several when either my wife or I would forget to enter a check or ATM withdrawal into the checkbook. Luckily, we had overdrawal protection and the money was automatically transferred from savings to cover the tab.

68. Flown in a helicopter…no.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
Nope. Wore them all out.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
My eighth grade class trip in 1967 was to Washington, D.C. I think the Lincoln Memorial was finished by then.

71. Eaten caviar.
Never could get a taste for it. However, take the egg sacs from a mess of sunfish and fry them up and it’s sweet!

72. Pieced a quilt.
I had enough patches on a pair of jeans once that made them look like a quilt. Never spill even weak nitric acid near cotton denim. An hour later the denim is going to disintegrate.

73. Stood in Times Square.
Oh, yeah! But having done so in the early ‘70s, I’ve no interest in doing so on New Year’s Eve or at any other time.

74. Toured the Everglades.
Never went far inside. Some day when I decide to head to the Keys or Miami I’ll do it right.

75. Been fired from a job.
Quit one or two but never got fired.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London…no.

77. Broken a bone.
Only one. My collar bone during wrestling practice in my senior year of high school. And we didn’t even have a team.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle…no.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
Only from the south rim. That’s the touristy side. I want to go back to see it from the north. Don’t think I’ll ever get to the bottom at age 59.

80. Published a book.
Does a middle school yearbook count? Four years as editor-in-chief.

81. Visited the Vatican…no.

82. Bought a brand new car.
Cars, trucks, vans. Almost every vehicle I’ve ever purchased was new.

83. Walked in Jerusalem…no.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
Yeah, a couple of times, but nothing really important…or notorious.

85. Read the entire Bible…no.

86. Visited the White House.
Eighth grade class trip was to Washington, D.C.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
Deer many, many times. Squirrels, rabbits, and lots of fish, too.

88. Had chickenpox.
Yeah and Aveno baths were THE thing for the itch.

89. Saved someone’s life.
Not that I am aware of.

90. Sat on a jury.
Several times. Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! (Don’t get pulled over with the loot of your burglary in the trunk of your car. Idiot!) I also got excused several times. Once because it involved someone with whom I felt I would sympathize and once, I assume, because the defense attorney felt I was too intelligent.

91. Met someone famous.
Couple of sports figures (see # 77) including Ed Kranepool.

92. Joined a book club.
Yeah. And a record club. Ditched them both as soon as I could.

93. Lost a loved one.
Mom and Dad are both gone. One slow and painfully with cancer, the other suddenly from heart failure. I’ll take suddenly when it’s my time, please.

94. Had a baby.
Not personally…but I was there for the two that the Mrs. whelped.

95. Seen the Alamo in person…no.

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
No, but I’ve driven by it several times and visited the Wildlife Refuge along its western shores.

97. Been involved in a law suit…no.

98. Owned a cell phone.
Well, yeah!

99. Been stung by a bee.
Many, many times. Found out early that I was severely allergic to the little buggers. The second sting (and the third) came t…h...i...s close to doing me in. Got desensitized after the third sting and have since been stung by as many as 20 at one time with no effects. (Well, no serious effects. It hurt like hell for half an hour.)

100. Read an entire book in one day.
Many times. Some books are like cashews, popcorn or potato chips. Start on the bowl and you just have to finish.

How many of these have you done..?

You will note that most of the "no" responses dealt with things outside the continental US. I've never left North America and have no plans to do so. There is just so much to see and do in the US and Canada. Terry and I tried to book a trip to Hawaii two years ago but it fell through when we realized the company making the arrangements just didn't seem to care one way or the other. Europe holds no interest. The British Isles, while intriguing, are not high upon my "to do" list. I'd rather go back to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, visit Alaska and the Yukon,and tool around the Gulf states and Texas, than get on a plane to fly over seas.

'Horns hooked 'em

The Texas Longhorns escaped the Thursday Night Jinx (i.e. never play a lower ranked team on Thursday night). Colt McCoy went 23 of 28 for 311 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He also rushed for two scores as he led the #4 Texas Longhorns over Texas A&M 49-9 on Thursday night. Cody Johnson rushed for 108 yards scoring two more Longhorn TDs on just 8 carries.

The win sets up the possibility of a three way tie in the Big 12 South if Oklahoma defeats Oklahoma State and Texas Tech wins out over Baylor. That alone would set heads reeling. Forget about the BCS implications. But, hey, coaches and writers are impartial judges of prowess, right?

Someone is going to get screwed.

Who were those guys?

Pardon me for asking, but were these the same Philadelphia Eagles playing with the Arizona Cardinals last night that tied (yes, tied—I know it’s an archaic form of completion to a pro game, Donovan, but it does happen) the Cincinnati Bengals 13 all on November 16th? The same Eagles that looked so pitiful in losing to the Baltimore Ravens 36-7 just last Sunday?

You’ll understand my confusion if you note that the Eagles drubbed the Cardinals 48-20 and that Donovan McNabb—benched in the second half on Sunday—threw for 260 yards and four TDs and Brian Westbrook—Sunday’s invisible man—ran for 110 yards and two TDs on the ground while also score twice on McNabb passes. Also note that the defense actually thrived when they didn’t have to be on the field as often as they were on Sunday.

So I can only conclude that, while the names may have been the same, these were NOT the same Eagles.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Must be something in the water

The state of Washington has not been a hot bed of either college or pro football this fall. Washington is the only major college team (out of 120 teams) to not have a single win. Washington State has managed just two in a 2-10 season. (The victories came over Portland State, 48-9, and Washington, 16-13.) And now the Seattle Seahawks are also 2-10 after losing to the Cowboys 34-9.

The Cowboys embarrassed the Squawks of Seattle. This is a terrible season for Mike Holmgren's squad. He's been a class coach through his tenure at Green Bay and Seattle and here he is with a 2-10 team that looked extremely over-classed today.

The Lions are pussycatskitties

I caught the second half of the Lions/Titans game and all I can say is that Detroit does, in deed, need a bail out.

The Lions looked absolutely horrible. It's amazing that some of the defensive players are drawing a paycheck. I would swear I saw a couple of d-backs that would have been right at home in a bull ring--"Ole!"

47-10 Ouch! The Titans bounced back from Sunday's loss to the Jets in pretty decent shape. (But, then again, they couldn't have had a better team to play on a short week.)

The Turkey wasn't the only thing stuffed

The brined turkey was excellent. Nice and moist, this plump 20 pound bird easily served five. (Six if you count the package put together for daughter Jessica.) There will be plenty of leftovers.

The table also contained venison, mashed white and candied sweet potatoes, asparagus, corn, cranberry sauce and, of course, gravy.

Once again, we have Brian and Vicky, Terry and Mom K.

We fielded phone calls from:

Son Rick in Eugene, Oregon as he attended a brunch given by his employer before he went back to the apartment to prepare the rest of T-day dinner for his fiancee Sandy, her sister and his future parents-in-law. (Yeah, he's the cook.)

Daughter Jessica who was on her way to a T-day dinner on Long Beach Island, NJ. She was bringing the candied sweet potatoes, a sweet potato pie and chocolate fudge. (Yeah, she's a pretty darn good cook, too.)

And last night Brian's Mom--Terry's sister--called from California.

Brian, Vicky and MomK took off for NJ around 2 PM so they will be able to do most of their driving in the daylight. Jessica may beat them to the Linden home or get their shortly after. Tomorrow Brian, Vicky and Mom will be heading to Atlantic City to do a little bit of gambling. Jessica will be heading out early to go to work at the Apple store at The Mall At Short Hills. Then late Saturday, Brian and Vicky start heading back to Chicago.

Terry and I will just sit here and veg for a couple of days. And digest our dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The turkey has been brined and is currently in the oven and should be ready for noon. The venison fillet is defrosting. The sweet potatoes are cooked and await further preparation. The Idaho spuds are ready to be cooked and mashed. The kernel corn and asparagus are ready to be cooked. The cranberry sauce is ready to be served. And all else is right with the world.

(At least it is now that I've made a 6 AM run to Wally World to get a new Mr. Coffee machine. Never fails that a critical piece of equipment should break down just as it is needed most!)

The snow has stopped and there may even be some sunshine this afternoon.

There's also some football to be watched: Detroit (hosts the Titans at noon), Dallas (hosts the Seahawks at 4 PM), and Philadelphia (hosts the Cardinals at 8 PM), and will be playing. And in the NCAA, #4 Texas will host Texas A&M this evening.

May you all enjoy a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Doing my part for the economy

I mentioned that Terry, the M-i-L and I went to Wally World the other day to pick up a few odds and ends. Besides foodstuffs, I wanted to look at the flat screen TVs. Terry had a 13" (diagonal) set that must have been over 10 years old. It was dying. Turn it on and it would be fifteen minutes before the picture was clear enough to see what they were making noise about. You would hear the sound the entire time but the picture was horrible. Even when it cleared up, you would get eyestrain trying to read any subtitles or information that might crawl across the screen.

As luck would have it (actually I did some online homework) our WalMart had several 19" models in stock. After looking over the details, I settled on this one from Phillips because of its price and resolution.

It took Terry and I just five minutes to hook up and most of that was untangling wires from behind the old set. The color is great and the sound is marvelous. It's just the right size to fit on her shelf. An early Xmas present being enjoyed by everyone...but me.

Thanksgiving Guests

That's Terry. Vicky, Brian and Mom in the photo above.

Nephew Brian and his girlfriend, Vicky, arrived this afternoon from Chicago for Thanksgiving. Grandma (Terry's Mom) has been here since Sunday afternoon. Brian and Vicky will be taking Grandma home to New Jersey on Friday and then will spend a day down at Atlantic City before heading back to Chicago.

Tonight we enjoyed a nice pot roast from a hunk of buffalo we had been keeping in the freezer for a few months. Along with salad, mashed potatoes, gravy and string beans (not to mention a nice bottle of wine) the buffalo roast made a very excellent meal.

We also dipped into the pies for desert. Terry had made a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie. Grandma made the apple pie.

Having eaten their fill, they plopped down in front of the TV for the news and then Jeopardy and Wheel Of Fortune.

Now that we are all stuffed, it's time to start brining the turkey for tomorrow.

Still more snow

The Accuweather folks say it won't amount to much (less than an inch) but they are talking about the valley. The Aerie, being 6-700 feet above the valley floor often is 4-5 degrees cooler and when there's rain/sleet down below there is snow up here.

Actually, the real culprit in this continued death-by-inches (or fractions thereof) is a pretty well established but stationary low pressure system sitting over the eastern edge of Lake Huron. It's been in the same position for several days and continues to pinwheel bands of snow around its center.

It doesn't look to be moving any time soon. We'll get breaks from precipitation but the small accumulation of snow each day seems likely for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I mentioned that we had 17 wild turkeys in the yard on Saturday, 12 on Sunday and then 17 in the yard again Monday morning. Saturday was the final day of the fall turkey season but I didn't put one in the freezer. (Truth be told, I thought the season had ended weeks ago while I was up north.)

Anyway, these guys and gals will be safe for another winter. They are free to come pick up seed from around the feeders any time. Their golden-bronze colors are really quite pretty.

2nd Day of Bear season

After we finished shoveling the driveway, we packed the M-i-L in the truck and headed to Wally World. Terry had discovered she was short a few things for Thanksgiving dinner, there were a few things I wanted to check out, and we needed more cat food (again!).

On the way down the hill, we passed a hunting camp that abuts our property. There were several trucks parked there but what really caught my attention was what they had on their meat pole.

Hey, it is the second day of the PA Bear season.

Our bruin visitor from last evening came back during the night to empty the other feeders. It bent the pole, took the stick feeder off to the side, dumped the plastic house feeder, and generally made a mess. Of course, it hasn't come back during the day.

And before some one says something about "shooting a cub" this bear would go about 200-225 pounds. It's on its own and not with a momma bear. After seeing pictures of Dufus up at the Bolt Hole (475 pounds give or take 25) every bear will seem like a cub unless it's a Kodiak, Alaskan Brown, grizzly or polar bear. Doesn't mean I wouldn't shoot it.

Snow...then sun...but more snow on the way.

We got about 5 inches of wet snow over night. That's one of those 'tween snow falls. I could use the blower but it's not that deep and it will throw just as many stones from the driveway as snow. So I grabbed the shovel and went to work. Terry came out to help and we managed to get the whole driveway done in about two and a half hours. It was a case of working harder and not smarter that will wither kill my back or strengthen me and my heart so I don't end up being the guy laying on the trail next fall.

(If you are new here, there have been three deaths in three years during the deer season at the Bolt Hole in the southwestern Adirondacks. All three were heart failure and all three guys were between 55 and 60 years of age.)

The sun has come out after a brief flurry just as we finished and there has been some melting. Unfortunately, the sun is also going to be sinking behind the ridge in about an hour so the melting will be short lived. There's also supposed to be a chance of an inch of snow tonight and another tomorrow. We might...just might...get lucky on Thanksgiving and have a mostly sunny day.

Guess what this is:

I came across this while hunting in the woods northeast of the Bolt Hole about two weeks ago. The morning was a chilly one with the temperatures in the low to mid teens when I started out at 6:30 AM. It had warmed up a bit by the time I came across this at 10 AM but it was starting to snow a bit. See if you can figure out what has been happening here and what the white stuff is.

I'll leave the answer in the comments.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Aaaarrrgghh! (Part deux!)

Sooo, today was the opening of the PA three-day bear season. There were a few shots off in the distance and while I could have gone out, having gotten my tag and all, but I opted to stay in the house today.

It started snowing around 2 PM and was still snowing pretty hard as darkness fell. I left the bird feeders hanging outside despite wondering why the large one was empty this morning after I had half-filled it yesterday. As we finished eating dinner, I turned the outside light on to see if it was still snowing and thus I discovered the mystery of the missing sunflower seeds. A young bear stood with one paw against the telephone pole and the other steering the bird feeder to a position where it could lick the seeds into its maw. This is not Mr. Bruin of early in the year. Standing upright, it was clear it was not as tall as Mr. Bruin. Of course it was dark and well past shooting hours but as the bear stood there feeding for ten or fifteen minutes...I was sorely tempted. Too much noise, however. Besides, it was still snowing hard as evidenced by the white coating on the bear's fur. Eventually it went trotting off looking about the size of a St. Bernard dog.


I was sitting here doing some online research for a Christmas present or two when I glanced out the window. All morning the sun has been trying to sneak out from behind the clouds (and failing) as the temperature rose to just above freezing. I should have paid more attention to the activity at the bird feeders. My 17 turkeys and dozens of juncos, chickadees and goldfinches knew that snow was in the air. And now it's falling out of the air.

Accuweather uses the word "snow" in all fifteen days in their fifteen day forecast. has posted a "Winter Weather Advisory" for anywhere from 2-5 inches of snow between now and Tuesday afternoon.

I think back to two years ago when we were building the Aerie and can not remember any snow falling during November and December. Even Terry, up at the Bolt Hole had very little snow that year.

Anybody find any sunspots lately? I haven't seen the sun long enough to go looking.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Week 14 Polls and Opponents

With the Oklahoma victory over Texas Tech, the top of the polls have shifted. And with the LSU loss to Ole Miss and Pitt's loss to Cincinnati, the bottom third of the Top 25 also has been shuffled around. Several teams (notably those from the Big Ten and Mountain West) have ended their season.

(Poll numbers are those of the teams entering Week 14. The numbers on parentheses after the teams’ names are their rankings after Week 13. Rankings are from the AP Writers’ Poll/the Coaches Poll/ in that order. NR= Not Ranked You will note that when I refer to a team by its rank, I use the Writers’ Poll position.)

1/1/1 Alabama (1/1/2) The Crimson Tide return to action when they host Auburn.

2/3/2 Florida (3/3/3) The Gators will be playing at #23 Florida State.

3/2/3 Oklahoma (5/5/5) The Sooners travel across state to face #11 Oklahoma State.

4/4/4 Texas (4/4/4) The Longhorns host Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night.

5/5/5 Southern California (6/6/6) The Trojans will host Notre Dame.

6/6/7 Penn State (7/8/7) The Nittany Lions’ season is over at 11-1, Joe Pa is headed to the hospital for hip replacement. And the team is prepping for the Rose Bowl.

7/8/6 Texas Tech (2/2/1) The Red Raiders will be looking to get back on track as they host Baylor

8/7/8 Utah (8/7/8) The Utes finished the season with a 12-0 record and atop the Mountain West.

9/9/9 Boise State (9/9/9) The Broncos will host Fresno State on Friday evening.

10/10/11 Ohio State (10/10/11) The Buckeye’s season is finished at 10-2. The question will be where they will go bowling.

11/12/10 Oklahoma State (11/12/10) The Cowboys play host to, and try to slow down, the #3 Oklahoma Sooners.

12/11/12 Missouri (12/11/12) The Tigers will host Kansas.

13/13/13 Georgia (13/13/13) The Bulldogs will host the #18 Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech.

14/14/15 TCU (15/17/16) The Horned Frogs finished the year 10-2 and in second place in the Mountain West with a 7-1 conference record.

15/15/14 Ball State (14/16/15) The Cardinals will host Western Michigan Tuesday evening.

16/16/16 Cincinnati (19/20/18) The Bearcats will host Syracuse.

17/17/17 Oregon State (21/21/21) The Beavers will host the #19 Ducks of Oregon.

18/23/20 Georgia Tech (NR/NR/NR) The Yellow Jackets will play at #13 Georgia.

19/18/19 Oregon (14/22/23) The Ducks travel to the home of #17 Oregon State Beavers.

20T/22/21 Boston College (NR/25/NR) The Eagles host the Terps of Maryland.

20T/19/23 Brigham Young (16/14/14) The Cougars season ended with a 10-2 record and a third place standing in the Mountain West (6-2).

22/21/24 Michigan State (17/15/17) The Spartans finished the year with a 9-3 record and in possession of third place in the Big Ten with a 6-2 conference record.

23/24/22 Florida State (NR/NR/NR) The Seminoles host #2 Florida.

24/20/18 Northwestern (NR/24/24) The Wildcats finished the year with a 9-3 record (5-3 in the Big Ten).

25/NR/NR Mississippi (NR/NR/NR) Ole Miss hosts Mississippi State.

NR/25/NR West Virginia (NR/NR/NR) The Mountaineers will play at Pittsburgh on Friday night.

NR/NR/25 Iowa (NR/NR/NR) The Hawkeyes finished the season with an 8-4 record (5-3 in the Big Ten).

College Football Week 13 Results

Wow! Oklahoma is invincible in Norman. The Sooners destroyed Texas Tech, 65-21. That has created one heck of a log jam in the Big 12 South and in the BCS ranks.

(Poll numbers are those of the teams entering Week 13. Rankings are from the AP Writers’ Poll/the Coaches Poll/ in that order. NR= Not Ranked You will note that when I refer to a team by its rank, I use the Writers’ Poll position.)

1/1/2 Alabama The Crimson Tide was IDLE this week.

2/2/1 Texas Tech The Red Raiders took their perfect record to Norman, OK to play the #5 Sooners and got their head handed to them. The Sooners scored soonest and oftenest in winning 65-21.

3/3/3 Florida The Gators hosted and toasted The Citadel. No comment. No mercy either as the 70-19 final shows.

4/4/4 Texas The Longhorns were IDLE.

5/5/5 Oklahoma The Sooners hosted the undefeated Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are no longer undefeated having been pummeled by the Sooners, 65-21.

6/6/6 Southern California The Trojans were IDLE this week.

7/8/7 Penn State The Nittany Lions clinched the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl with a convincing 49-18 win over the #17 Michigan State Spartans.

8/7/8 Utah The Utes put their undefeated season on the line as they hosted #16 Brigham Young. The Utes are looking to bust into a BCS bowl after taming the Cougars 48-24.

9/9/9 Boise State The Broncos were able to hold off the Wolfpack of Nevada this week by 41-34.

10/10/11 Ohio State The Buckeyes just demolished the hapless Michigan Wolverines, 42-7.

11/12/10 Oklahoma State The Cowboys were IDLE this week.

12/11/12 Missouri The Tigers also were IDLE this week.

13/13/13 Georgia The Bulldogs were yet another team that was IDLE in week 13.

14/16/15 Ball State The Cardinals extended their undefeated season on Wednesday night by defeating Central Michigan, 31-24.

15/17/16 TCU The Horned Frogs hopped all over Air Force, 44-10.

16/14/14 Brigham Young The Cougars fell to the #8 Utes at Utah by a 48-24 score.

17/15/17 Michigan State The Spartans showed up at Happy Valley to play #7 Penn State—but that’s about all they did as PSU won 49-18.

18/18/22 LSU The Tigers had to come from way behind last week to defeat Troy. This week they couldn’t do so against Mississippi. Ole Miss pulled off the upset 31-13.

19/20/18 Cincinnati The Bearcats edged #20 Pittsburgh 28-21.

20/19/19 Pittsburgh The Panthers traveled to Cincinnati. Hope they enjoyed the chili cause they came away the losers in a 28-21 match.

21/21/21 Oregon State The Ducks traveled to Arizona. They managed to eke out a 19-17 victory.

22/23/20 Maryland The Terps’ stay in the Top 25 will be short lived. The Florida State Seminoles took them apart 37-3.

23/NR/NR Miami (Fla) “The Hurricanes have been absent from the Top 25 for a long time. They play Thursday night at Georgia Tech. Mmm, Thursday night. Could be bad news for Miami.” That’s what I said last week. Time to wave bye-bye to the Hurricanes. It was 41-23, Yellow Jackets. It was 41-0 at the end of 3 quarters as Georgia Tech rushed for 472 yards.

24/22/23 Oregon The Beavers having reentered the Top 25 this week were IDLE.

25/NR/25 North Carolina The Tar Heels will continue their fall—right out of the Top 25—after losing to intra-state rival North Carolina State 41-10.

NR/24/24 Northwestern I said, “The Wildcats have been up and down all year. Their up this week.” Northwestern over Illinois, by 27-10.

NR/25/NR Boston College By virtue of their victory over Florida State, the Eagles have gotten some coach’s love this week. They will be playing at Wake Forest on Saturday.

Quiet Sunday

We had a little snow flurry activity at the Aerie this morning but Terry still managed to take her little yellow Aveo to NJ to pick up her Mom. They got back here to the Aerie by around 5 PM.

Shortly after Terry left this morning, I looked out side and saw a dozen turkeys under the bird feeders again. I'm telling you, they know the laws better than I do. (If I had known yesterday was the last day of the turkey season when those 17 birds gathered in the yard....) They know the season is over and even if it wasn't, there's no Sunday turkey hunting in PA.

Other visitors to the feeders were Downy Woodpeckers, Dark-eyed Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, Blue Jays, American Goldfinch, Mourning Doves, and Tufted Titmouse. Over head we had a Red-tailed Hawk, Common Ravens and American Crows. I may have heard an American Robin off in the distance while I was pushing snow around. And there was a hammering on a soft dead tree in the distance and the peculiar call of a Piliated Woodpecker.

The temperatures rose most of the afternoon as the sky cleared and the sun actually came out for a few hours. It got up to around 31 degrees. That, mixed with the sun and aided my some rock salt, was sufficient to melt much of the snow on the driveway. The forecast is for warmer temperatures tomorrow morning but clouds return with some rain and, perhaps, snow showers Monday night.

I spent a few hours moving the little snow that we had off the driveway using a shovel and then spreading salt on the steeper slopes at the end of the driveway and in front of the garage. It paid off when the sun broke out later in the day.

After lunch, I tuned in the football games. Unfortunately, being located where I am, the regional coverage brought me the Bills/Kansas City game instead of the Jets/Titans one. Still, I followed the Jets' success on the computer. I also got to watch the Eagles get drubbed by the Ravens. And then the Giants did their thing against the Cardinals.

Now I'm switching channels to watch South Florida vs. UConn and Indianapolis vs San Diego.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weigh in Saturday...Bah!

Another week and another disappointment. back at the Aerie and the "honest" Weight Watchers' scale. I was muttering when I stepped on the scale and saw that it read 217 again. *sigh*

This and that.

Terry and I slept in a little this morning. That means she got up at 7 and I followed a few minutes later. The cats didn't get the message that we had canceled our plans to rise early and head to Rutgers for the game. One (I think it was Julie) started howling at 1:30 AM and another (I think it was Chester) started at 3 AM. Chester took over the alarm duties at 6:30 and insisted we get up to feed the ravening horde. So we obeyed our overlords.

A peek out the window as I was getting dressed revealed 1) there was some snow flurry activity and 2) there were 17 wild turkeys in the yard scratching at the spilled bird seed. They were all fluffed up against the cold (it was 12 degrees) and looked like large medicine balls. I discovered later that if I had my shotgun ready, I could have put one of them in the freezer. Today is the last day of turkey season in our management area. They probably got confused by Leap Year and thought they were safe. They weren't in any particular hurry to leave the yard, either. When I opened the sliding glass door to the porch to put the bird feeders back out, they merely did a quick step off into the woods with no sign of panic.

Terry is feeling much better today and will be heading to NJ to get her Mom tomorrow. Sunday is the best weather day of the week with temps forecast for the low 30s and even--gasp!--sunshine! That ends on Monday when rain becomes snow with some light accumulation forecast for the Aerie.

Mark emails that he visited the Bolt Hole yesterday for a short time. The temperatures were in the single digits and falling. He found the apple orchard full of deer tracks and two beds including one right next to the cabin's wall and propane tanks. He didn't see the deer that made the tracks or slept in the yard but says there was a single set that seemed to be a big buck dragging his toes and splaying his feet. Sounds like the old fishing line of, "You should have been here yesterday!" That's one problem of having snow on the ground. You get to see just what you missed yesterday and/or over night.

[UPDATE: It's a good thing we didn't take that 4 1/2 hour drive to attend the RU game. Terry has become a regular visitor to the Porcelain Goddess and would have felt terrible to be separated from ole 'Merican Standard for any length of time. Besides, I discovered that the ABC affiliate in our area is airing the RU vs Army game.]

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rule One in scheduling:
Never go against a lower ranked team on Thursday night

I see that the Thursday Night Monster has claimed another victim.

Miami of Florida finally clawed its way into the Top 25 for the first time in a long time. In the #23 slot, they made a mistake in playing an unranked opponent (Georgia Tech) on Thursday night.

The Yellow Jackets rushed--that's rushed as in ran--for 472 yards and rolled up 41 points in routing the Hurricane 41-23. (It was 41-10 at the end of the 3rd quarter.) The loss puts Miami at 7-4 and pretty much ends their chance for an ACC title.

I guess the Hurricane just were not ready for prime time play. I might expect the Georgia Tech squad, now 8-3, to reappear in the Top 25 on Monday.

Oh well.

The best laid plans aft gen ostray. Or something like that.

One of the reasons for coming back to the Aerie was to pick Terry up and head to Rutgers for the Army game tomorrow. We would leave here around 4 AM and drive to Piscataway for the noon kickoff. We'd stay overnight at her mother's house and haul Mom back to the Aerie for Thanksgiving. We had purchased tickets on line several weeks ago when it was announced that they were available from the visitor's allotment.

Well, Terry has been a busy beaver with her Embroidery Guild club meetings and here Smocking Arts Guild meetings and even the occasional Audubon Society meetings. (Me? Not so much. I meet with Mark...occasionally.) All that meeting with people exposed Terry to some sort of bug and she came down with a fever yesterday that has swiftly departed in favor of stomach "discomfort", shall we say. As a result we are pulling out of our planned trip so she can recover a little more. I could go on my own but it wouldn't be as much fun. (Especially the drive back to the Aerie with the MIL!) It means eating the $80 we paid out for the tickets but we will save $20 parking plus food and such at the stadium. Also, when Terry does go in to pick up her Mom, it will probably be in her Aveo which gets a bit better millage than my Tundra.

This is not a case of the flu. Much to swift in its arrival and departure and minus many of the flu symptoms. Just your average 24-hour bug. It's the stomach discomfort that makes her think a five hour truck ride followed by four hours sitting in the stadium and eating stadium food might not be the wisest decision. And I tend to agree. (On a side note, Terry hasn't gotten her flu shot this year despite my mentioning several clinics to her. I haven't gotten mine either, but then again, 32 years of teaching high school and middle school students has pretty much exposed me to all infectious diseases known to man...and a few yet to be discovered. (Except for those which are sexual in nature, I hasten to add. Never had, never exposed, never will be exposed.)

Anyway, if RU can beat Army (and they should as almost everyone else has) and then can beat Louisville (another team that has fallen on hard times) in their final game, the Scarlet Knights will be 7-5 and possibly on their way to another bowl game. Maybe we can get tickets to that where ever it might be.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back at the Aerie

The drive back to the Aerie went smoothly enough yesterday. By the time I had gotten down to Utica and the NYS Thruway there was no snow on the ground. That changed a bit as I traveled toward Syracuse where winds out of the north were still blowing and lake effect snow from Lake Ontario were still falling. Most of the heavy snows were to the west of I-81 and only a few squalls made it as far south as the Cortland/Ithaca corridor on Route 13. And none of the snows were accumulating on the roadway. Traffic was moving and I made the 200 miles in just about 4 hours.

There was as much snow on the ground around the Aerie as there was at the Bolt Hole. Terry had cleared the driveway but the constant flurries had ensured that it would be white for my arrival.

Last night we continued to have snow flurries and the temperature went down to a chilly 12 degrees. Today it was more of the same with flurries persisting through the day and the temperature reaching a high of just 28 degrees. Tomorrow and Saturday look to be carbon copies.

The Aerie is actually cooler inside than the Bolt Hole. Up north I rely on the wood burning stoves and have no thermostats to turn the furnace on or off at a set point. Instead, I build up the fires, get them going god and then close the air vents that feed the flames. From then on it's like burning coal in the fire box. The box and the stove pipe may be hot but the amount of heat is controlled by the lack of O2 to fan the flames. The warm air will accumulate and accumulate with some of the warmth being stored in the walls, floor and ceiling and some being lost through the doors and windows. Usually, there's more than enough to push the room temperature well into the 70s and occasionally (like when I forget to regulate the air flow properly or add too much fuel) into the 80s.

Here at the Aerie, I set the thermostats to 65 degrees and let the "brain" of the system add fuel (propane) and pump the hot waster around the radiant heating floor pipes as needed. Unfortunately, the thermostat is not located near the glass windows or the open air space of the cathedral ceiling and that produces a slight false warmth reading. The wall mounted thermostat may say it is 65 degrees while the counter thermometer will say it's only 61 degrees. But the 65 is the ruling "brain" of the outfit and that is the temperature at which it thinks everything is just hunky-dory so it stops trying to heat the house.

Now I've got an option or two as to how I can deal with this: 1) I can turn the thermostat up to 68 or even 70 degrees. This would get the "brain" to say it has to work a bit harder and the room may warm up to 65 degrees. 2) I can build a fire int eh fireplace and allow the air circulating around the firebox to heat the living area. This works wonderfully well but would rapidly deplete my supply of firewood--which I'm saving for those really cold days yet to come and/or those days when the power goes out. Or 3) I can put a sweater on.

We got our first propane delivery of the fall today. The last delivery was way back in April. The tank took around 250 gallons at $2.19999 @ for a $550 bill. I think I'll be digging out those sweaters and union suits in a few days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hunting Report from the Bolt Hole
That's All Folks!

Good news and bad news.

The clear night, winds out of the north, and snow covered ground produced the coldest temperature yet for this season at the Bolt Hole with the thermometer recording a mere 8 degrees this morning at 5:30 AM. I wished for some colder temperatures and got them in spades.

There was a new face at the game camera in the apple orchard overnight. A big buck with either 9 or 11 points. (The pictures are grainy and he kept getting snow on his head to make it difficult to see if he had any brow tines.) I was unaware of his presence when I set out this morning but back tracked his trail into the woods behind the cabin thinking it might be one of the smaller bucks. He dragged his feet in the snow and his dew claws were very clear in his tracks. Both are signs, I am told, that he is in the rut and is actively looking for a doe. I spent several hours at a spot where I could look out over a small valley and saw nothing moving. I returned to the cabin preparing to pack it in for the season.

I found Mark at his cabin drying the memory card out to put into his lap top. Seems that this morning's low temperature produced a lot of condensation/frost inside the camera. Once Mark downloaded the memory card and we got a chance to look at the pictures and see what we had missed, we followed the buck's trail forward and discovered he had bedded down after a 3 AM visit to the camera in the fir trees that are less than 30 yards from my front door. It's quite possible that my activity in the kitchen between 5:30 and 6:00 woke him up and sent him on his way. When he awoke, he passed less than a hundred feet to the east of Mark's cabin. That's the one side he has no windows on. After a quick lunch Mark and I followed his tracks south and east but never got to see him in person. Mark did kick up two bucks and a small pack of coyotes but didn't get to ID either of the deer. They passed a few hundred yards from where I was stationed in the woods but stayed well on the other side of some hemlocks and out of my sight.

We headed back to the cabins and loaded my pickup with some firewood for the Aerie. Mark has to go to work tomorrow and I've got to close up the Bolt Hole (drain the water, pack up foodstuffs, etc.) and head back to PA so our hunting season has essentially ended with no venison on the meat pole but with the knowledge that there are still several bucks roaming these northern zone woods.

We did a great deal of camera scouting in the spring and summer only to see things go topsy-turvy when lots of other hunters took to the field. Many times, Mark had people he didn't know walking the lands behind his place within easy view of his cabin. It's private but unposted land. From the radio chatter we were able to intercept, there were some guys on my property too. The state land is behind me and to the east of the property surrounding Mark's cabin. Many of these guys were staging drives that pushed the deer into nocturnal habits or into other areas. We would wager that many of these guys were from down state (southern zone) because they were not here this weekend when the southern zone season opened.

Anyway, I'm back to the Aerie tomorrow. Terry says she has shoveled the snow that fell last night (2-3 inches) so I've a place to park. Maybe I'll get lucky when the PA season starts in a week and a half. Until then I'll be walking the woods looking for deer tracks in the snow and hoping that there will be one buck (or a doe for I've got a tag this year) that will be out and about during the day. Luckily, we still have one package of fillet from last year to go along with our Thanksgiving Turkey.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hunting Report from the Bolt Hole

There's a saying out there something to the effect of, "Be careful what you wish for."

Yesterday morning there was a tiny amount of snow on the ground at daybreak when I went to sit in the woods. There was more on the hemlock and fir trees than there was on the ground, to be more precise. I chose a spot where there was an open vista for several hundred yards and parked on my stool for four hours. Nothing moved except for one small flock of chickadees and nuthatches that were curious about my presence and a couple of ravens that beat the air overhead. (They are very noisy fliers.)

Later in the day, the lake effect snows moved into position and hit us with a couple of inches. I went out again and found another spot but my view was hampered by all the snow clinging to the branches of all the trees. The temperature was just below the freezing mark and that means wet, clinging snow. If it had been cooler, the snow might have sifted down through the branches to the ground. Again, I saw nothing.

The band of snow settled in just to our north. One town just a few miles north of here, Speculator, reported 20 inches overnight. We got about three.

When I went out this morning I thought I had a perfect spot looking out over a lovely valley until I realized I was looking at the tops of the small beech trees, each of which held lots of snow on their branches. I searched for another area where I could actually see the ground. Such spots were few and far between. I located one and parked myself down for a couple of hours but nothing was moving. I walked up the jeep trail and saw just one set of tracks made sometime during the early morning hours. The snow band shifted southward about then and dumped (an appropriate term considering how quickly the snow accumulated) another 2-3 inches of white stuff on the ground. Thoroughly covered in white flakes, I headed back to the cabin to warm up and dry out.

By 1 PM the snow had stopped and the TV weatherman was declaring the current bout of snow over. There would be some lingering snow showers, he said, but the heavy stuff was through until this weekend.

I wanted some snow to be able to track. Instead, I got snow that has blocked my distance vision and has left an untouched and unmarked expanse of white on the ground; an untouched tablet upon which is written, "We aren't here, sucker!"

Oh, well, tomorrow is another day, as Annie would say. But tomorrow is also my last full day at the Bolt Hole for this season. I'll be packing up and heading back to the Aerie on Wednesday and it looks more and more like the cooler will be empty.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Week 13 Polls and Opponents

The new polls are out and there’s very little (as in virtually none) movement in the top 16. After that, due to the Maryland upset of North Carolina and Boston College’s take down of Florida State, there are several adjustments.

(Poll numbers are those of the teams entering Week 13. The numbers on parentheses after the teams’ names are their rankings after Week 12. Rankings are from the AP Writers’ Poll/the Coaches Poll/ in that order. NR= Not Ranked You will note that when I refer to a team by its rank, I use the Writers’ Poll position.)

1/1/2 Alabama (1/1/2) The Crimson Tide will be IDLE this week.

2/2/1 Texas Tech (2/2/1) The Red Raiders will pack their perfect record and travel to Norman to play #5 Oklahoma.

3/3/3 Florida (3/3/3) The Gators will host The Citadel. No comment.

4/4/4 Texas (4/5/4) The Longhorns will be IDLE. I’m sure they will sit back to watch the Texas Tech/Oklahoma game.

5/5/5 Oklahoma (5/4/5) The Sooners will host the undefeated Texas Tech. The Over/under line must be astronomic.

6/6/6 Southern California (6/6/6) The Trojans will be IDLE this week.

7/8/7 Penn State (7/8/7) The Nittany Lions can clinch the Big Ten title with a win in Happy Valley over the #17 Michigan State Spartans.

8/7/8 Utah (8/7/8) The Utes put their undefeated season on the line as they host #16 Brigham Young.

9/9/9 Boise State (9/9/9) The Broncos will travel to Nevada this week.

10/10/11 Ohio State (10/10/11) The Buckeyes host the hapless Michigan Wolverines.

11/12/10 Oklahoma State (11/13/10) The Cowboys are IDLE this week.

12/11/12 Missouri (12/11/12) The Tigers are IDLE this week.

13/13/13 Georgia (13/12/13) The Bulldogs are another team that’s IDLE in week 13.

14/16/15 Ball State (14/16/15) The Cardinals will put their undefeated season on the line Wednesday night at Central Michigan.

15/17/16 TCU (15/18/16) The Horned Frogs host Air Force.

16/14/14 Brigham Young (16/14/14) The Cougars will attempt to derail the #8 Utes at Utah.

17/15/17 Michigan State (18/15/18) The Spartans will be at #7 Penn State.

18/18/22 LSU (19/20/19) The Tigers will host Mississippi.

19/20/18 Cincinnati (22/22/22) The Bearcats will host #20 Pittsburgh.

20/19/19 Pittsburgh (21/21/21) The Panthers travel to Cincinnati.

21/21/21 Oregon State (23/25/23) The Ducks travel to Arizona.

22/23/20 Maryland (NR/NR/NR) The Terps reenter the Top 25 and will look to firm up their standing as they host Florida State.

23/NR/NR Miami (Fla) (NR/NR/NR) The Hurricanes have been absent from the Top 25 for a long time. They play Thursday night at Georgia Tech. Mmm, Thursday night. Could be bad news for Miami.

24/22/23 Oregon (NR/NR/NR) The Beavers have reentered the Top 25 and are IDLE this week.

25/NR/25 North Carolina (17/17/17) The Tar Heels are at home where they square off against intra-state rival North Carolina State.

NR/24/24 Northwestern (NR/NR/NR) They’re baaaack. (Well, mostly back.)The Wildcats have been up and down all year. Their up this week. They’ll be hosting Illinois.

NR/25/NR Boston College (NR/NR/NR) By virtue of their victory over Florida State, the Eagles have gotten some coach’s love this week. They will be playing at Wake Forest on Saturday.

College Football Week 12 Results

Nothing earth shattering in the results this week. We have to go all the way down to #17 North Carolina vs. Maryland to find an upset. (Maryland edged the Tar Heels 17-15.) For a time it looked like Troy, of all teams, would beat the snot out of the Tigers of LSU but 30 (!) fourth quarter points by the Tigers but an end to that as LSU pulled it out of the fire 40-31.

(Poll numbers are those of the teams entering Week 12. Rankings are from the AP Writers’ Poll/the Coaches Poll/ in that order. NR= Not Ranked You will note that when I refer to a team by its rank, I use the Writers’ Poll position.)
1/1/2 Alabama The Crimson Tide beat Mississippi State 32-7 to remain undefeated and now 11-0.

2/2/1 Texas Tech The Red Raiders were IDLE this week. They will take their 10-0 record to Norman, OK on November 22 to face Oklahoma in a contest that has everyone buzzing with talk of the BCS implications—not to mention the Big 12.

3/3/3 Florida The Gators jumped all over #24 South Carolina 56-6.

4/5/4 Texas The Longhorns easily handled Kansas by a score of 35-7.

5/4/5 Oklahoma The Sooners were IDLE this week. They too will be trying to figure out how to stop the #2 Texas Tech Red Raiders on November 22.

6/6/6 Southern California The Trojans topped Stanford 45-23.

7/8/7 Penn State The Nittany Lions beat Indiana 34-7 and can clinch the Big 10 title with one more victory over Michigan State next weekend.

8/7/8 Utah The Utes remain undefeated with a 63-14 rout of San Diego State. Utah is now 11-0.

9/9/9 Boise State The Broncos spotted the Vandals of Idaho 7 points and then beat up on them 45-10 to keep their undefeated season alive at 10-0.

10/10/11 Ohio State The Buckeyes defeated Illinois 30-20.

11/13/10 Oklahoma State The Cowboys beat Colorado 30-17.

12/11/12 Missouri The Tigers beat Iowa State 52-21.

13/12/13 Georgia The Bulldogs eked out a 17-13 win over Auburn.

14/16/15 Ball State The Cardinals had little trouble protecting their perfect season with a 31-16 victory over Miami (OH) on Tuesday night. Ball State is now 10-0.

15/18/16 TCU The Horned Frogs were IDLE this week.

16/14/14 Brigham Young The Cougars grounded Air Force 38-24.

17/17/17 North Carolina The Tar Heels were edged 17-15 by the Maryland Terps.

18/15/18 Michigan State The Spartans were IDLE.

19/20/19 LSU The Tigers hosted Troy this week. I was going to make a comment about a powder puff game but Troy turned into the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man from Ghost Busters. Troy held a 31-10 lead going into the fourth quarter and it looked like the Tigers of LSU were nothing but a bunch of pussy cats. LSU came roaring back in that fourth quarter, however, as they shut down Troy and scored 30 points of their own to win 40-31.

20/19/20 Florida State The Seminoles lost to Boston College 27-17 after a turbulent week that saw five receivers suspended from the squad.

21/21/21 Pittsburgh The Panthers were IDLE this week.

22/22/22 Cincinnati The Bearcats beat the Louisville Cardinals 28-20 on Friday night.

23/25/23 Oregon State The Beavers beat the Golden Bears of California 34-21.

24/23/25 South Carolina The Gamecocks’ time in the Top 25 was short lived as they were demolished 56-6 by the #3 Florida Gators in the Swamp.

25/24/24 Tulsa The Golden Hurricane blew into Houston and learned that the Cougars have seen Hurricanes before and know how to deal with them. Tulsa scored 30 points but that wasn’t even half of what the Cougars put on the board. The final score was 70-30…and only 7 points were scored in the fourth quarter (by the Cougars). The 70 points is the most scored by any team this week. Bye-bye Tulsa.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bolt Hole Weather

It was raining when I woke up this morning and it continued to rain off and on all day. The "off" part was never terribly long. Every time I would start to think about donning my hunting clothes and taking the .270 for a walk, I'd go to the john and then look out of the window to see it was raining again. And the "on" part of the day was sometimes so "on" that I couldn't hear the announcers of the football games for the pounding the metal roof was taking. (I really believe they skimped on the insulation up there.)

The wind blew out of the south all day and, as a result, the temperatures remained warm. The afternoon high was around 61 degrees on Mark's outdoor thermometer. (It's mounted on his outhouse though so it may get a little warming effect--if you know what I mean.) The site said it reached 58 degrees where ever their station is located. Not to worry, however, the front is moving through as I type and tomorrow's high is forecast for the mid 30s. If the wind is out of the northwest that could mean we'll be a few degrees cooler than that here and we may have some snow showers.

Weigh in Time

It's Saturday morning so that means it's time to deal with Mr. Digital Scale.

I stepped on the scale this morning and was a bit surprised to see that it recorded a loss of three or four pounds. It's the Bolt Hole scale so the accuracy is questionable. That brings me back down to 213 or 214. (Right now I don't care if it's lying like a politician seeking office, I like what it

I'll give credit to the daily slow walks in the woods. I may not cover much ground on those walks, they average around a mile and a quarter, but the careful lifting and placement of every footfall and the slow transfer of my weight from one position to the next while constantly straining my ears and eyes outward, the deliberate choice of my path to avoid obvious as well as hidden obstacles, the climbing over and skirting around dead falls, all bring a toll on the muscles of the legs and back. And let's not forget that I'm lugging a rifle in the crook of my arm and a pack on my back while I'm doing this. It's almost like doing some form of martial art exercise in which you pit one group of muscles against another.

And getting out of the cabin in the morning calls for a very light breakfast and lunch. Typically a bowl of instant oatmeal that can be prepared while I have my cup of coffee with a glass of orange juice in the morning and a sandwich of turkey and cheese on rye with an apple and a couple of bite-sized Snickers bars similar to those given out as Halloween treats. Dinner is usually simple too. Baked potato and a small eye round steak or boneless, skinless chicken breast. When I have the time I might do up some spaghetti with marinara sauce out of a jar. Then, of course, there's a serving of ice cream as an evening snack. It's not Terry's cooking.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hunting Report from the Bolt Hole
same old, same old

My rifle and I went for another walk today. It's been a nice quiet partner. hasn't said much since I fired a few practice rounds a few weeks ago. But it could sure do with a little weight loss. My left arm and hand get numb from lugging that .270 around in the crook of my arm. I'd sling it over my shoulder but that would be inviting a herd of bucks to come running by.

Actually, I went out and walked only a short distance onto a flat area where I could see pretty well and put out some scent bombs (Doe in Rut; Tink's #69). Then I sat and waited. And waited some more. But nothing was answering the call. So after several hours of sitting on the ground during which I ate my picnic lunch, watched a few birds (nuthatches, blue jay, raven, chickadee, hairy and downy woodpeckers), one chipmunk and one shrew as they raced along a few logs, and day dreamed, I packed it in and headed back to the cabin.

Once there, I checked the weather. It got up to 60 degrees today despite a pretty heavy cloud cover. The winds blew out of the south and are carrying more rain this way. (Yesterday we had a real gully washer that encouraged me to stay indoors and read. Now I'm out of library books so tomorrow it will be rummaging through the boxes that are still here and crossword puzzles until it's time for college football.) And if it rains tomorrow morning, I'm sleeping in. But once the front passes through, it won't be so hot or rainy any more. No sirree! It will be cold and snowy instead. Come Monday, the high temperatures will be in the low 30s upper 20s and the Lake Effect snow making machine will be all cranked up and ready for duty. Bands of snow will be stretching out from Lake Ontario to points south and east but exactly where and how far is the 64 million dollar question. The Utica TV weatherman says it will be here to stay, too. So it looks like winter is coming to the North Lands. The only thing that can turn off the snow machine is if the lake freezes over and that hasn't happened in a long time.

I ran down to the store fro some supplies a few days ago and saw that gas prices had dropped to $2.57 a gallon so I filled the Tundra's tank. I should have waited. I had to go back down today to get some items I forgot and saw gas was down to $2.37. That's about 50 cents less than gas was in PA a year ago when I bought the Tundra and would be the cheapest gas the truck has ever been fed...if I needed it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hunting Report from the Bolt Hole

Yesterday morning's snow was a bust. Instead of the 1-2 inches predicted we got about a quarter of an inch. Unlike the day before when the snow was wet and clung to the tree branches, this time it was a cold dry snow that managed to fall all the way to the ground and, while insufficient for tracking, it at least provided a white background against which the brown deer could be seen. And I did see a couple.

The first I spotted was crossing the jeep trail about a hundred yards ahead of me as I walked quietly up the road. I just caught a glimpse of the south end of a north bound deer but it was enough to put me on alert. I crept up to where I though it had crossed and was barely able to make out the tracks in the snow as they headed north into the woods. Of course, I followed. A few hundred yards later there was a snort off to my left and over the crest of a slight rise. I froze and peered in that direction for several minutes before I could just make out the head of a deer staring (and still snorting and blowing) at me through the veil of the small branches of a blow down just 30 yards away. I lifted the rifle and looked through the scope to see that it was a doe. She kept looking at me and I said a silent prayer that, perhaps I was wrong and that this deer did have horns after all, but that prayer failed to produce results. No horns were visible while she looked right at me and none were visible the several times she glanced off to the north. Finally, I got curious as to what she might have been looking at so snuck a peak to the north too. I was just in time to see another deer disappear into the hemlocks about a hundred yards away. And that was the end of my deer watching for the day.

Except for the one that went bounding through the Bolt Hole's yard just minutes after legal shooting time. Again it was just a glimpse of a white flag on a leaping deer through a tangle of branches. Absolutely no idea if it had horns or not.

I spent five hours in the woods on Tuesday and by the time I returned to the cabin all the snow had melted.

This morning we had no snow and the frost made the leaves as crunchy as corn flakes. I started out up the jeep trail anyway with the idea of turning south to see where yesterday's deer had come from. I haven't spent a lot of time in the state lands on that side of the road and ran into a couple of small, marshy vlys. They afford excellent viewing but damn poor footing. Miss a grass hummock and your in over the top of your boots. I did--once. I wandered around these marshes trying to cross so I could circle back to the cabin. besides the water hazards, I had to navigate around many, many blow downs. I had one deer snort at me from the hemlocks ringing the vlys and later had one go bounding away to the south as I slipped on a slick tree branch hidden beneath the leaves. Again, no idea if either had horns.

I think I spent the late afternoon hours on the edge of the woods in the backyard today. Who knows..the last two years I've managed to kill small bucks within a two hundred yards of the cabin. And every one was late in the afternoon.

Tonight and tomorrow we are supposed to have freezing rain and rain (70% chance tomorrow). If the temperature drops a bit further than anticipated (and the Bolt Hole is 500-800 feet higher than the area I believe the weather station is located) we could have some real snow.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bolt Hole Hunting Report

Not much to report today. The lake effect snow stayed just to the north of us and brought only about a quarter of an inch of white stuff that collected in the fields and on the tree branches. Even that disappeared by 9 AM as the temperature got slightly above the freezing mark.

I did go out for a short walk and followed some fresh track across the old pasture but lost it as it entered the woods. I saw neither hide nor tail of what made the prints.

There's a report that we might get a couple of inches in the area tonight and the temperature has fallen into the upper 20s as the wind has shifted to the northwest. (It was out of the west for much of the day and that kept the band of snow off Lake Ontario to the north.)

We lost electric power for about 15 minutes this morning right after the last of the snow flurries stopped and before the wind picked up. The timing was such that it had me scratching my head trying to figure out why. There certainly didn't seem to be any reason in the immediate area. It's possible that winds to our west might have already kicked in or that this was a maintenance outage.

Week 12 Polls and Opponents

Week 12 starts early with a Tuesday night game between Ball State and Miami of Ohio so it's time to look at the polls and this week's opponents again.

With Penn State’s loss to Iowa, there is a new pecking order at the top of the charts. And with Texas Tech’s dominating victory, there’s even a bit of a question as to who is Number One. As usual there is some shake up at the bottom of the Top 25 rankings as well. West Virginia (20/23/24) disappears—for this week—as do California (21/22/22), Georgia Tech (22/20/20), Maryland (23/21/21), and Northwestern (NR/25/NR) while Cincinnati and South Carolina (re)appear.

(Poll numbers are those of the teams entering Week 12. The numbers on parentheses after the teams’ names are their rankings after Week 11. Rankings are from the AP Writers’ Poll/the Coaches Poll/ in that order. NR= Not Ranked You will note that when I refer to a team by its rank, I use the Writers’ Poll position.)
1/1/2 Alabama (1/1/1) The Crimson Tide head to Mississippi State.

2/2/1 Texas Tech (2/3/2) The Red Raiders are IDLE this week. They will be preparing to travel to Norman, OK on November 22 to face Oklahoma.

3/3/3 Florida (4/5/4) The Gators will be hosting the #24 South Carolina.

4/5/4 Texas (5/7/5) The Longhorns go north to Kansas.

5/4/5 Oklahoma (6/4/6) The Sooners are IDLE this week. They too will be trying to figure out how to stop the #2 Texas Tech Red Raiders on November 22.

6/6/6 Southern California (7/6/7) The Trojans host Stanford.

7/8/7 Penn State(3/2/3) The Nittany Lions travel to Indiana.

8/7/8 Utah The Utes (10/9/9) are on the road to face San Diego State.

9/9/9 Boise State (9/10/10) The Broncos travel upstate to face the Vandals of Idaho in Moscow, ID.

10/10/11 Ohio State(12/12/12) The Buckeyes travel to Illinois.

11/13/10 Oklahoma State (8/8/8) The Cowboys are at Colorado this week.

12/11/12 Missouri (13/13/14) The Tigers travel to Ames, IA to face Iowa State.

13/12/13 Georgia (14/14/13) The Bulldogs go to Auburn this week.

14/16/15 Ball State (16/18/17) The Cardinals take their perfect record to Miami (OH) on Tuesday night.

15/18/16 TCU (11/11/11) The Horned Frogs are IDLE this week.

16/14/14 Brigham Young (17/16/15) The Cougars go to Colorado Springs to face Air Force.

17/17/17 North Carolina (19/19/18) The Tar Heels play at the home of the Maryland Terps.

18/15/18 Michigan State (18/17/19) The Spartans are IDLE.

19/20/19 LSU (15/15/16) The Tigers host Troy this week.

20/19/20 Florida State (24/24/23) The Seminoles host Boston College.

21/21/21 Pittsburgh (25/NR/NR) The Panthers are IDLE this week.

22/22/22 Cincinnati (NR/NR/NR) The Bearcats got to Louisville to play the Cardinals.

23/25/23 Oregon State (NR/NR/NR) The Beavers travel south to face the Golden Bears of California.

24/23/25 South Carolina (NR/NR/NR) travel south to face the #3 Florida Gators in the Swamp.

25/24/24 Tulsa (NR/NR/25) The Golden Hurricane goes to Houston.

Then There Were Four Five

Heading into Week 12 action, only four five unbeaten teams remain in the college football FBS ranks.

Alabama at 10-0 tops the list. Texas Tech, also 10-0, is right on their heels. Boise State is 9-0. Ball State is also 9-0. [I forgot Utah!]

Only Texas Tech is safe this week in that they are not playing. Ball State plays Tuesday night against Miami of Ohio. Alabama faces Mississippi State and Boise State will play Idaho on Saturday. And Utah goes against San Diego State out on the coast. None of the three four should lose, but that’s why they play the game.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hunting Report from the Bolt Hole

I spent several hours out in the woods this morning. Jumped one deer before I had walked more than 25 yards from the cabin but never saw anything but the tail. Spotted another deer about 150 yards behind the cabin that was feeding in the woods but could not make out any horns before it spooked and went off into the woods. The remaining three hours were uneventful. Still, two deer are two more than I've seen all week.

With yesterdays rains, it was quiet walking but there weren't even any red squirrels chattering at me.

The Sun came out for 15 minutes at 2 PM but the clouds have returned and some flurries are forecast for this evening into the morning hours.

Week 11 Results

Just as there was one big upset at the top last week, there was one near the top this week as Penn State can’t seem to escape its Iowa City jinx.

(Poll numbers are those of the teams entering Week 11. Rankings are from the AP Writers’ Poll/the Coaches Poll/ in that order. NR= Not Ranked You will note that when I refer to a team by its rank, I use the Writers’ Poll position.)

1/1/1 Alabama The Crimson Tide struggled at Baton Rouge against #15 LSU. A missed field goal by the Tide as time ran out lead to overtime with the teams tied at 21. LSU’s Lee was intercepted in the end zone and Alabama scored a TD on their shot. Alabama won 27-21.

2/3/2 Texas Tech The Red Raiders lost a fumble on their first possession against the #8 Oklahoma State Cowboys. They then went out and scored touchdowns on their next seven. And their defense held OK. St. to “just” 20 points. The final? 56-20. Pin point accuracy by—and time that could be measured with a calendar for--Graham Harrell was the key.

3/2/3 Penn State was back in action in Iowa City against Iowa and the game ended just as 5 out of their previous 6 visits. The Iowa Hawkeyes got a field goal with just six seconds left on the clock to win 24-23.

4/5/4 Florida The Gators went to Vanderbilt. Tim Tebow and the Gators are back in the Heisman and National Title hunt after a 42-14 drubbing of the Commodores.

5/7/5 Texas The Longhorns trounced Baylor 45-21.

6/4/6 Oklahoma The Sooners were on the road against Texas A&M and came away with a 66-28 victory over the Aggies. Both Oklahoma and #2 Texas Tech will be idle in week 12 but in two weeks they will square off in Norman, OK.

7/6/7 Southern California The Trojans hosted the #21 California Golden Bears and came away with a 17-3 victory.

8/8/8 Oklahoma State The Cowboys faced the #2 Texas Tech Red Raiders. At one point it looked like a neck-and-neck horse race. But for just one moment. Raiders 56, Cowboys 20.

9/10/10 Boise State The Broncos played Utah State on the blue carpet. Boise State came away with a 49-14 win.

10/9/9 Utah The Utes square off against #11 TCU on Thursday night (11/6). Utah escaped the Thursday Nite Jinx with a 13-10 victory. It required an 80-yard drive that ended with a TD with just 48 seconds left in the game to do it.

11/11/11 TCU The Horned Frogs played at #10 Utah Thursday night (11/6). They lost 13-10 in a close contest.

12/12/12 Ohio State The Buckeyes were on the road where they beat up on Northwestern 45-14.

13/13/14 Missouri The Tigers put a licking on Kansas State 41-24.

14/14/13 Georgia The Bulldogs headed over to Kentucky. Georgia came away with a 42-38 victory in a shootout.

15/15/16 LSU The Tigers hosted the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide. They forced the #1 team into overtime before losing 27-21.

16/18/17 Ball State The Cardinals kept their perfect season alive as they hosted Northern Illinois on Wednesday night (11/5) with a 45-14 win.

17/16/15 Brigham Young The Cougars mauled San Diego State 41-12.

18/17/19 Michigan State The Spartans beat the Boilermakers of Purdue 21-7.

19/19/18 North Carolina The Tar Heels beat the #22 Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech 28-7.

20/23/24 West Virginia The Mountaineers hosted the Bearcats of Cincinnati who jumped out in front and held on for a 26-232 upset.

21/22/22 California The Golden Bears lost to the #7 Trojans of USC 17-3.

22/20/20 Georgia Tech The Yellow Jackets lost to the #19 Tar Heels of North Carolina 28-7.

23/21/21 Maryland The Terps faced the Hokies of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Thursday night (11/6). They lost 23-13.

24/24/23 Florida State The Seminoles played with the Tigers of Clemson. They returned to Florida with a 41-7 win.

25/NR/NR Pittsburgh The Panthers hosted the Cardinals of Louisville. Pitt won 41-7.

NR/25/NR Northwestern The Wildcats got tamed 45-10 by the visiting #12 Ohio State Buckeyes.

NR/NR/25 Tulsa was IDLE

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another Hunting Report from the Bolt Hole


That's what I saw on my walk through the woods Friday morning. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Damp and overcast as it was, the ground was pretty quiet for a walk of just over three hours. Unfortunately, the temperature was still well above the norm and the deer, in their winter coats, were laying tight somewhere where I couldn't see them. Even if I walked past one, it could have easily gotten up and moved silently through the woods once I had passed.

A cold front moved through today and there was rain most of the day. While I have rain gear and could have gone out, the fact that I haven't even kicked a deer up over the last three days or even seen any sign that they might have entered the rut proved discouraging. Perhaps the change that's come today and the waxing gibbous moon will provide the incentive for them to get their sex drive into high gear.

Maybe Sunday morning.

The folks are saying there's a chance of some snow showers Monday. They aren't calling for any real accumulation but sometimes that means nothing at the Bolt Hole. We're often 5 to 10 degrees cooler and get a couple of inches while the Mohawk Valley gets next to nothing. Could be the stimulus the deer need. The cooler temps and snow would certainly make my walking in the woods more comfortable.

Weigh in Saturday (8)

Well, being back in the Bolt Hole means super slow dial-up connections and a questionable scale. This morning's reading was either 217 or 218 which means no loss at all from the beginning of this challenge.

Morning walks in the woods continue but they have had no affect upon the weight.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

They're Baaack.

A little over a year ago, I wrote this piece about the annual Cluster Fly invasion experienced at the Bolt Hole. Well, they're back in full force. The 10 inches of snow just over a week ago and the warm temperatures this week have brought them out in the hundreds.

These flies, whose larval form are parasites on earthworms, abound here. The large lawn and former pasture/apple orchard that we are trying to return to apple trees has a fairly thick coating of topsoil that the earthworms enjoy and that means lots and lots of Cluster Flies. The cabin is anything but air tight and that means they get inside when the frosts hit hard. They can squeeze through the smallest crack and crevice so they have no problem with the gaping holes around some of the old doors or with getting through the windows. The screens on the windows and sliding doors are for wasps and mosquitoes in the summer. They are no help whatsoever against the Cluster Flies.

Once inside they cluster in the corners and in the barn board siding that serves as paneling and wait. They wait for the first warm day so they can return to the outside but most of them are too stupid to find the cracks to get out so instead they gather on the windows while the sun shines and crawl all over them. Occasionally they go into fits of frenzy and rattle and buzz against the glass. When it gets to raucous, I pull out the vacuum cleaner and suck them up. One spring I hung the bag on a tree and cut a hole in it. It was fast food for the birds and the phoebes and chickadees feasted for a day or two before a heavy rain and wind blew the bag down.

The flies don't eat anything so they aren't a concern as far as leaving food out, but they do seem to like to get into anything wet so I check my coffee cup frequently. At night they also like to gather around the lights. They will rattle against the lamp shade for as long as the light is on and if you're sitting next to a lamp to read you're going to get buzzed.

During the winter, I know when the temperature from the wood stoves has reached the optimal level for that's when the flies come out to play. During the day they come out even if there is no fire because of the large windows facing south that collect the sun's warmth. Even if I'm not here, they must come out to rage against their captivity against that glass. I can tell because their little bodies lie upon the floor...or at least their wings do. While I'm away the deer mice and even shrews that get into the cabin have a ready source of protein in the form of fly carcasses.

At least this year there don't seem to be many lady bugs with them. They've taken up residence in the barn. In the fall there were hundreds climbing over the brown painted T-11 siding. I find groups of them among the lumber and old doors leaning against the wall of the barn or in amongst the firewood stacked there. It may not be as warm as the cabin, but at least the lady bugs will have an easier time than the Cluster Flies getting back to the fields come spring.

Still Another Hunting Report from the Bolt Hole

I set the alarm for 5:45 this morning and when it went off, I turned it off and rolled over for "just a minute" that turned into an hour. Then I got my sorry butt out of bed and dressed for another walk in the wods with my rifle.

Yesterday I made the mistake of donning long johns thinking I would need them to keep warm. Not today. I shed my outer jacket and put it in my back pack after an hour and switched to a lighter hat too. Even so, I was still quite warm as I slow walked for four hours. The day wasn't sunlit my any means yet the temperature still reached into the upper 50s and ow 60s by noon. Leaves that were damp and silent at the outset were crinkly and noisy at the end. The four hour walk covered just over a mile and a quarter.

There were plenty of deer scat and tracks in the beech woods I wandered but I saw neither hide nor hair of the animals that left them behind. Nor did I come across any sign to indicate the deer may have enter the rut--no scrapes or tree rubs to mark territory.

Returning to the cabin, I went to work on repairing the sliding screen door. It's an easy job when there are no kitties to climb all over the work and catch their claws in the screen. It took me less than an hour to pull the old, ripped screen out and put the new one in. I've done it before on window screens and I guess practice makes perfect. Having the right tools helps too. At one point I needed a small Philips head screw driver and found that was one of the tools not in my tool box. Luckily the screw driver on my Swiss Army Knife fit perfectly and I was able to use that. The one on my Leatherman probably would have done the job also.

I'll be heading out again tomorrow to try and cover a different section of the state land. If it's too noisy to walk, it could be a very short day. It's supposed to be even warmer tomorrow but there's a slight chance of some morning showers.