Friday, December 31, 2010


Happy New Year to all.

May you enjoy a healthy, happy and prosperous 2011.

Aerie Report, December 31, 2010

Not much to write about the last few days.

Terry successfully returned to the Aerie from snowbound northern New Jersey.

I believe Rick and Sandy were able to get out of New York this morning, however we haven't heard from them yet. We've a got a call in but we've got no return call yet.


Weather has been unseasonably warm the last two days. The Aerie got up to 48 degrees yesterday and again today. The only difference was in the winds. Yesterday we had no wind but after nightfall that all changed. Today they blew steadily from the southwest at 20+ mph. Those winds will bring us some rain tomorrow and that should remove the little snow that is still on the ground. After that we will have winter again. Temperatures will return to normal levels or lower--around 30 degrees for the high--but there will be little precipitation for a week or more until around the 11th. Then, according to Accu-Hunch, we get snow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mmmm! Gingerbread!


funny food photos - Gingerbread Tardis
see more My Food Looks Funny

Although, you must remember that it is bigger on the inside!

These not so much...

funny food photos - Ring of Terror
see more My Food Looks Funny

Although, I have a strange urge to "Exterminate!"

Make God Laugh. Tell Him Your Plans.

Well, Rick and Sandy are still stuck in New Jersey. Their rescheduled flight (from Monday to Tuesday) was re-rescheduled. They can't get out until Friday now. They checked all the nearby airports (La Guardia, JFK, Newark, Philly) and nothing was available to carry them to Portland, OR. The earliest was in Pittsburgh and even that was going to be on Thursday.

Terry offered to drive them out there, but Sandy figured she'd lose more work time in the car than it was worth. As a young associate in perhaps Portland's most prestigious divorce law firm, she's got to get those billable hours! Luckily, she can do some work online. Unluckily that doesn't include meeting with clients. She's in a high pressure situation and this storm has really put her against the wall.

Rick? He's an arborist with Asplundh. They do a lot of clearing of trees in power line right of permitting. It's raining a lot in Portland area. I don't know how this affects the company's demand on his services, but it ain't divorce law.


The Mall at Short Hills was going to have a delayed opening on Monday but swiftly changed their mind and remained closed. Something about a "State of Emergency" they didn't understand? As a result, Jess had the day off and, with her regular day off today, she's getting a longer than expected visit with her brother, sister-in-law, and mother.


Terry will be returning to the Aerie tonight. She says the streets in and around the New York metro area are passable...not great but passable. I think she'll be pleasantly surprised when she crosses the Delaware River this afternoon.


Here at the Aerie, the winds have slackened and the sun is shining brightly. Although the radio keeps saying it's supposed to be "mostly cloudy with a chance of snow flurries" there's nary a cloud in the sky. The temperatures slowly rose all day Monday from 9 degrees at 7 AM to 19 at 11 PM when I went to bed. It was still 19 this morning but has since climbed into the upper 20s despite the winds still coming out of the north-northwest. The forecast calls for increasing sunshine and rising temperatures through Thursday. It will even get into the mid-30s, or so they say.

Roads around here are snow free. The dirt roads are better than ever now that the snow plows have smoothed them out and the grit trucks have laid down a layer of the black stuff. The paved roads are dry for the most part and just a little wet where wind blown snow has drifted on to the sun warmed surfaces. We only had a couple of inches down in the valley and most of that can be attributed to the lake effect rather than the monster that hit the Mid Atlantic and New England coast.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Why a Blizzard?

Commenter Ray B over at Watts Up With That (December 27, 2010 at 7:09 am at this post) has an explanation for the recent blizzard that swept up the eastern seaboard.

He says:

"The squirrel did it."

As sound a meteorlogical theory as I've heard in a long time! (AND it explains the winds, too!)

Monday Morning

Terry called this morning to tell me that they had close to two (2) feet of snow on the ground and, while it has stopped falling, it's blowing sideways in the strong winds (gusts to 40-50 mph). ;UPDATE: It has been officially reported that Elizabeth, NJ had 31.8 inches of snow on the ground. That's the town next door to Linden.] New Jersey's acting Governor (Christie was going to Florida on a planned Disney World vacation--he's probably still sitting in an airport somewhere) declared a state of emergency which should mean that Jess doesn't have to go to work at The Mall. (She couldn't see the street when she got up this morning so called to say she wasn't going to make it. Can't see Bob--the name of her little Yaris--making the trip anywho.)

Here at the Aerie, the winds are also howling and the temperature dropped to 9.6 degrees this morning at 7 AM. I've got around 4 inches of snow on the ground but it has drifted in spots to nearly nothing or over 6 inches. There's not enough to use the blower--and I'd get it blown back in my face if I tried--so it will be shovel work for an hour or two. I've already done the deck so I could get to the bird feeder and there was no problem at all. Very cold, light, powdery snow on a very cold plastic surface of the shovel and very cold freshly stained/oiled deck makes for easy pushing. The stones in the drive might make it a different story since this is the first shoveling of the year and those stones that are protruding above the ground will create snags. At least the shovel won't toss the loose stones about the way the snow thrower would.

I can't imagine the problems being created by the blowing about of two (2) FEET of light, powdery snow. I imagine sections of roadway will have to be plowed again and again and again...even if the snow is no longer falling.


What a horrible year for the Minnesota Vikings!

First Brett Favre forgets how to play football. Then the story comes out that Favre may/may not have a bit of a perv in him. next the roof on your home stadium collapses under the weight of snow forcing a swift relocation of your "home" game to Detroit of all places. And Favre's consecutive start streak comes to an end. Then you get to play in the U of Minnesota's outdoor stadium a couple of days after a huge blizzard--at night--in single digit temperatures. And Favre suffers a concussion in the first quarter. Next, your Sunday night game in Philadelphia gets postponed because of another blizzard that dumps two feet of snow on the City of Brotherly Love.

Good news though, after they play Tuesday night, their Sunday game is in Detroit where it can't get snowed out...unless they get stuck in Minneapolis or there's another blizzard in Detroit that shuts down the city or the dome on that stadium fails or.... Well it'll be their final game of the season and, allegedly, Favre's final game in uniform.


Despite losing to Chicago yesterday, the Jets are in the playoffs thanks to a Jacksonville loss. The Giant's lost in a big way to Chicago and now have to hope for a miracle to get into the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the NFC West teams might have trouble if they played the PAC-10. (Forget about the SEC, that would be an over match!) The Rams will play Seattle next Sunday night to determine the winner of the conference and which will be playoff bound. The Rams are currently 7-8 while the Seahawks are 6-9. Should Seattle win, both teams will be 7-9 but the Seahawks would hold the tiebreaker based on conference record. But you're supposed to love parity. Right?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Evening Update: December 26, 2010

I got out of Linden, NJ at 12:30 this afternoon. It had been snowing lightly since 10 AM and the roads immediately around Mom's house were already dusted. The roads more heavily traveled were melted but with temperatures only in the mid to lower 20s there were pockets of black ice on the Parkway, I-78, Rt 24, I-287 and I-80. I slid a few times when breaking and fish-tailed a couple of times when accelerating before I flipped the switch to put the Tundra into 4 Wheel High. (Just to keep the front ...well, in front, mind you. I had no idea to increase my speed even with the 4-wheel option.) I totally lost track of the number of vehicles off to one side of the road or the other, the number of flashing lights from police cars responding to fender benders and ambulances responding to worse. There were even two places where fire trucks had been called out; presumably to handle fuel spills. And that was all in New Jersey. Once in PA the number was just one and that was just across the border. The amount of snow on the ground (or falling) decreased quickly. As I climbed up onto the Pocono Plateau there was virtually nothing happening. And, as I moved west of the I-81 intersection, the snow stopped completely...until I got within 30 miles of home.

I made the turn west on I-80 then north on Rt 15 with no more snow on the ground or in the air until I reached Fry's Turkey Farm. Then both the snow and wind started to increase. There were three inches of snow on the driveway with several inches more forecast for tonight and tomorrow.

Calling Terry--who is staying in Linden until Tuesday, I learned 1) there were already 3-4 inches on the ground in Linden and the worst of the storm was just arriving (10-15 forecast) and 2) Rick and Sandy's flight for Monday was canceled but they managed to get seats for Tuesday morning...out of La Guardia instead of JFK. I just hope for their sake that it gets off on time.

Oh crud!

The storm that had three possible paths up the coast--far out to sea (fairly likely and producing little accumulation), a little closer (more likely with a couple of inches of snow possible) and smack dab up the sand (least likely but most threatening)--has chosen the latter.

Instead of a small to moderate snow event, we're looking at a blizzard warning in NYC that may bring 10 to 15 inches of snow and strong winds. Since Mom's home is east of the NJ Parkway and close to the city, it will be a real bitch. Snow may also spread west through the Poconos and beyond. There's some thought there may be 4 plus inches at the Aerie.

Terry and I will be bugging out of Linden soon. Jessica left for work at The Mall but expects that there may be an early closing as weather deteriorates. Rick and Sandy have an early Monday morning flight out of JFK airport back to Portland.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

So. What did you get for Christmas...

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas


Oh Holy Night by The Celtic Women

Santa Claus Boogie by The Tractors

Santa's Got a Brand New Bag by SheDaisy

Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer by Gene Autry

Rusty Chevrolet by Da Yoopers

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

I'll be heading east to New Jersey in a short while for Christmas at the MIL house as well as a stop at my sister's.

These small gatherings are a far cry from the old days when all of my Mom's side of the family would gather for Christmas Eve. As the Aunts grew older and began to pass away, and the family grew larger and larger--and more scattered, we called a halt to it all. Only one of the five sisters and one brother is still alive and family is now scattered from Connecticut to Carolina to Florida. (I don't think anyone's gone west of the Appalachians...yet.) I do miss those huge reunions though.

The weather seems to be cooperating this year and there are no ice storms or major snowfalls predicted. In past years, I ended up staying at the Aerie due to those winter afflictions. Terry made it into NJ last year and again this because she goes early to meet with her stitching friends. Of course, last year she ended up having to shovel 18 inches of snow off her Mom's driveway and sidewalk while I had a mere 2-3 inches here. This time, the snow that's forecast will be primarily off the Jersey coast on Christmas Day and again on Monday. That gives me time to sneak in today and out Sunday night.


Here's wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Time for a Smile (or two)

This has been around for a few months and could clearly use an update with a new verse covering the November 2nd results and things since. Still, as a fan of The Pirates of Penzance, I get a giggle out of this video:


And here's the original from G&S

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Speaking of Lunatics...

So. I hear there was a total eclipse of the moon last night. Unfortunately, it was completely overcast here at the Aerie and not one bit of it was visible. Terry got up at 3 AM to confirm that the clouds we had at 11 PM were still obscuring the view.

Lots of pictures online today from folks who were luckier than we were. Here's a bunch of nice ones: The total lunar eclipse in pictures

Then Shadow cat started her infernal yowling at 4:00 AM and forced me to get out of bed to feed her and her partners in crime. (Clouds still obscured the view of the moon.) Then, when I put the tuna and egg down for the three of them to eat, Shadow turned her nose up at it and stalked away. She's not a fan of Wegmans' brand of cat food. Ah well, more for Chester who just loves tuna in any form. Julie was lucky enough to finish hers before Chester had finished both his and Shadow's helpings.

Not satisfied with having dragged me out of bed, Shadow did her usual thing of going back to the closed bedroom door and yowling until Terry also came down stairs. At 5:15 AM.

The most annoying thing of all is that Shadow is the most antisocial of the three cats. Once she's gotten you out of bed and has been fed, she goes off to sleep in her bed--or any conveniently empty chair or box--and ignores you the rest of the day. In contrast Chester and Julie are all over Terry like white on rice all day long.

Anybody want a mostly black, pussy cat. Slightly used.

Naturally, around noon the skies cleared and the temperature rose to a whopping 30 degrees F in the afternoon. Currently (around 8 PM) the temperatures have dropped back to the low 20s and the skies remain clear. Should get to the low teens tonight. As for the remainder of the week there will be similar temperatures through Sunday. With a slight chance of some snow flurry activity on Thursday and Sunday.

Terry's heading into New Jersey for Christmas tomorrow. She'll has a couple of dates with her lady friends from SAGA and EGA lined up. I'll head in on Friday to meet her at my sister's house for Christmas Eve. Then we'll both go to Mom's house to await the arrival of my son Rick and his wife Sandy, who are flying in from Portland, Oregon, very, very early Christmas Day. They can't stay long as Sandy must be back to work on Monday morning.

I'll head back to the Aerie early Sunday morning while Terry stays with her Mom and Jessica through Monday. Terry's cousin Joe and his wife Pat will be dropping over on Monday. Terry will be coming back to the Aerie either late Monday or early Tuesday. Depends upon the weather and when Joe and Pat show up.

Monday, December 20, 2010

How Cool Is That!

The Rutgers Fight Song (The Bells Must Ring) in sync with flashing Xmas lights. Somewhere in Spring Lake, NJ.

The music can only be heard if you tune your radio to 103.9 so as to keep the annoyance level to a minimum for the neighbors' sake.

Terry and I are both RU grads (CAES or College of Agriculture and Environmental Science, now Cook College) class of '71. Terry also got her MS there in '73.

(Got it from Jimbo over at Parkway Rest Stop who is also an RU grad.)

Merry Christmas!

Time for some Christmas Carols

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Bird Count

Well, we went out his morning to do our share int he Christmas Bird Count and all I can say is it was boring--very boring. Terry and I were asked to cover a couple of stretches of the Hike and Bike (or is it "Bike & Hike"?) Trail that starts behind the CVS on old Route 15 in Mansfield and runs on up through the Lambs Creek Recreation Area.

The weather was great--beautifully clear and almost no wind, temperatures were in the 20s. Still, the birds didn't cooperate. We saw only nine species at on each of the two stretches of trail we covered. Seven of the nine were common to both, so we only saw a TOTAL of 11 species--in about three hours and four miles of walking.

Here's Terry's and my lists:

Location: Mansfield Bike Path (8-9:30 AM; 2 miles walked)
Observation date: 12/18/10
Notes: Just 23 degrees F but little or no wind. Clear blue skies.
Number of species: 10

Rock Pigeon 1
Mourning Dove 1
Blue Jay 3
American Crow 9
Black-capped Chickadee 14
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
White-throated Sparrow 13
Dark-eyed Junco 10
Northern Cardinal 2
American Goldfinch 10

Location: Lambs Crk Rec Area (9:45-11:15 AM; about 2 miles walked)
We started at the gate on the boat launch road. Then walked the edge of the first hayfield (part of a cross-country track?) before returning to our car.
Observation date: 12/18/10
Notes: Clear skies. Very little breeze. Temp 25-30 degrees.
Number of species: 9

Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 8
American Crow 7
Black-capped Chickadee 4
American Tree Sparrow 2
White-throated Sparrow 8
Dark-eyed Junco 4
Northern Cardinal 2
American Goldfinch 6

After completing our walks, we gathered with others from the Tiadaghton Audubon Society to compare our mornings and to enjoy a nice, warm lunch.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Teddy Bear Toss

Here's a story about a wonderful tradition practiced in the realm of minor league hockey: The Teddy Bear Toss.

While tossing hats onto the ice when a player scores three goals might be hockey's most famous tossing tradition, it simply doesn't compare to the Technicolor grandeur of 23,096 teddy bears and other stuffed animals blanketing the rink as they did at the Calgary Hitmen game on Sunday

There's more in the article about this act of glorious mayhem. There are a couple of videos, too. Go on and look. It will make you smile.

The Calgary Hitmen are not the only team to practice this rite. The collected stuffed critters typically benefit the children; going to hospitals, care facilities, child services, etc.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

eMail of the Day, December 15, 2010

This just came in from my sister. It's been circulating around a bit but it's still good for a smile:

Subject: : Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays everyone!

As we are about to move on from the year 2010, I want to thank all of you for your educational e-mails over the past year. I am totally screwed up now and have little chance of recovery.

I no longer open a bathroom door without using a paper towel, or have the waitress put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on the lemon peel.

I can't use the remote in a hotel room because I don't know what the last person was doing while flipping through the adult movie channels.

I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking one's nose.

I can't touch any woman's purse for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public bathroom.

I MUST SEND MY SPECIAL THANKS to whoever sent me the one about rat excrement in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing. ALSO, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl named Penny Brown who is about to die for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's Novena has granted my every wish.

I can't have a drink in a bar because I'll wake up in a bathtub full of ice with my kidneys gone.

I can't eat at KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes, feet or feathers.

I can't use cancer-causing deodorants anymore, even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

BECAUSE OF YOUR CONCERN, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer buy gas without taking someone along to watch the car so a serial killer doesn't crawl in my back seat when I'm filling up.

I no longer use Cling Wrap in the microwave because it causes seven different types of cancer.

AND THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW I can't boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face, disfiguring me for life.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

And I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

AND THANKS TO YOUR GREAT ADVICE I can't even pick up a coin dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting to grab me as I bend over.

I no longer drive my car because buying gas from some companies supports Al Qaeda, and buying gas from all the others supports South American dictators.

I can't do any gardening because I'm afraid I'll get bitten by the Violin Spider and my hand will fall off.

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, and the fleas from 120 camels will invest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's best friend's beautician....

Oh, by the way.....

A German scientist from Argentina, after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read their e-mail with their hand on the mouse.

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S, E V E R Y B O D Y ! ! ! ! !

There. Now don't you feel better?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Aerie Report, December 14, 2010

Not much to report this evening. The morning started at 5.5 degrees at 7:30 AM and rose all the way to 15.8 degrees at around 2 PM when the sun very briefly broke through the cloud cover that had been producing off-and-on snow showers much of the morning.


I sat home nursing something of a stomach bug and feeding the fireplace while Terry went down to a funeral mass this afternoon for a friend of hers from Curves and the church. A 73-year-old woman in apparent good health, she woke up with back pains last Thursday night and went to sit in her recliner. When her husband got up and went to see how she was doing, she suffered a massive heart attack and died holding his hand. Poor woman never knew what hit her.

This evening, the Ladies Guild from the Holy Child had their annual Christmas dinner in Mansfield at the Wren's Nest.

The Photography Club had its meeting tonight, but I stayed home in front of the fireplace (and near the bathroom) unsure of how my stomach was going to behave. So far, so good.


I was disappointed that I couldn't watch the Giants-Vikings game last night. If it had been played on Sunday when it was scheduled, it would have been on Fox here in north-central PA. Apparently only around 4 or 5 percent of the nation was able to tune it in. Guess that's what happens when dealing with last minute switches. They probably didn't figure there were Giants fans out here in the sticks.

Sorry to see Brett Farvre's streak come to an end at 297 consecutive starts, but let's be realistic. As great as his season was last year, this year he really was stinking up the field and showing his age. He may have been a Man of Iron, but there was an awful lot of rust on that throwing arm this year. His retirement should start immediately. And be irreversible.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Look out! Here it comes!

It was 35.8 degrees just after midnight here on the Aerie's porch. Now it's 15.6 degrees and falling at 4 PM. The sky remains overcast and there have been snow flurries throughout the day. So much for our December thaw!

Accuhunch shows a large loop in the jet stream has made its way down the Mississippi to the southern tip of Florida. That promises to carry the frigid air far, far into Dixie so it may be time for you snowbirds to get your coats and sweaters out of mothballs--assuming you brought them south with you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Aerie Report, December 12, 2010

A lazy couple of days here at the Aerie.

The sun made an appearance on Saturday and the winds died to next to nothing and things warmed up nicely. Then late in the afternoon the winds picked up and started blowing out of the south. Early Sunday the rains came and the temperatures rose to a spring-like 49 degrees. All the snow on the ground has melted with the exception of a few spots where it drifted just a wee bit more than elsewhere.

Terry was out doing a couple of Christmas parties on Saturday but couldn't make it down the hill today. Black ice formed from the packed snow coated the road at the end of the driveway and she skidded as soon as she got on it this morning. She was afraid she'd never make the curve a few hundred yards down the way so she tried to turn around and come back to the Aerie. That proved to be a no-go proposition. She ended up parking her little yellow Aveo at the hunting camp adjacent to our property. Two guys were just getting ready to go back to Lancaster and she spoke with them about her predicament. (She also learned that the entire club--10 or so guys--had managed just one buck on opening day, so I don't feel too bad about not getting one.) By one o'clock in the afternoon, with the rain and warm temperatures, we walked down and I drove it back up the hill with little difficulty.

As soon as the front moves through, the winds are supposed to swing around and come from the north again. Cold air will funnel down from Canada and we will have a high in the mid-teens on Tuesday. Accu-hunch also says there's a 50-60% chance of snow showers through Thursday.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Offal Eating

We've been eating just offal the last few days.

Yesterday it was beef liver pan fried with onions and peppers, and served alongside a heap of mashed potatoes, creamed corn, and apple sauce.

Today we had Lengua. And it was good!

Actually, we only used half of the tongue.

The other half will become either this or this.

We were given the tongue (along with a bag of oxtail bones) when we purchased a quarter of a steer from a guy north of Fonda, NY. Guess the folks who purchased the rest of the critter either didn't know what to do with those parts or just didn't want 'em. Their loss.



Obama can't stay for the duration of his own press conference because Michelle is waiting. Instead he leaves the podium to President Clinton--who proceeds to make a better case for the administration than Obama has.

Obama Ditches Tax Cut Presser After Bill Clinton Takes Control

Help Me Bubba-Wan, You’re My Only Hope

Odd that this story from the AP doesn't bother to mention Obama's departure.

With Obama, Clinton urges Dems to back tax deal

Very weird. Is Obama over his head, or is he over his head?

Then again, he did promise to be a uniter. Now everyone is appalled by his behavior.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Polish Divorce

A little humor that comes via email from my cousin in Florida.

A Polish man moved to the USA and married an American girl.

Although his English was far from perfect, they got along very well.

One day he rushed into a lawyer's office and asked him if he could arrange a divorce for him.

The lawyer said that getting a divorce would depend on the circumstances, and asked him the following questions:

Have you any grounds?

Yes, an acre and half and nice little home.

No, I mean what is the foundation of this case?

It made of concrete.

I don't think you understand. Does either of you have a real grudge?

No, we have carport, and not need one.

I mean what are your relations like?

All my relations still in Poland.

Is there any infidelity in your marriage?

We have hi-fidelity stereo and good DVD player.

Does your wife beat you up?

No, I always up before her.

Is your wife a nagger?

No, she white.

Why do you want this divorce?

She going to kill me.

What makes you think that?

I got proof.

What kind of proof?

She going to poison me. She buy a bottle at drugstore and put on shelf in bathroom.
I can read, and it say:

~~~Polish Remover~~~

Danger! Will Robinson. Danger!

Wherein I present a bit of PSA relating to electronic pickpocketing.


After viewing this I'm sure you'll be checking all your credit cards for that symbol that tells you if it is vulnerable. I did.

Winter is definitely here.

First the good news: The wind stopped slowed. It no longer howls through the trees around the Aerie. Nor does it make the whole house creak and groan as the logs put up a valiant fight against the forces of the north.

Now the bad:

When we went to bed last night the temperature was already down to 20 degrees. It had never gotten above 25 all day, however, so that was no real surprise. This morning's low at 7:30 AM was just 10.4 degrees.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

When we went to sleep last night there was a forecast for flurries but nothing was showing on the radar over at This morning we had another 2 inches of snow on the deck. That's close to six inches since Monday.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Worse news:

There's a coastal storm on its way Sunday that could bring snow, sleet, or freezing rain to our neck of the woods. The forecasted track will put us in warmer temperatures but right on the edge of the rain/snow line. Could be worse. Syracuse has four (4) FEET of snow on the ground since Monday.

Even worser news:

Once the storm passes, we'll be thrust back into the deep freeze with temperatures dropping down into the single digits and winds in the 20-30 mph range.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Hawk Howls

The Hawk (aka the Wind) has been howling around the Aerie the last few days. Officially it's been around 15-20 mph with gusts reaching the 35-40 mph range. Add the low temperatures (Monday's HIGH was just 30 degrees while Tuesday's was a mere 26) and it's been pretty damn cold outside.

All that wind coming out of the north-northwest off lakes Erie and Ontario have been producing considerable lake effect snow. Some areas near Buffalo, NY and Erie,PA have had over a foot of the white stuff. We here at the Aerie have had some snow squalls and flurries but not to the extend that others residing within the path of the bands have had. [UPDATE: It is reported that Randolph, NY has set a new record for snow: FOUR (4) FEET.]

Terry had to go east-northeast to Sayre, PA today for a doctors appointment and spoke with some folks from east of there who reported plows out on I-86 (the old Route 17) east of Tioga Downs to Binghamton, NY near the I-81 corridor. Several inches in an hour coupled with the wind were producing whiteout conditions.

The wind is supposed to die down in a day or so and things should get calmer. Still, the cold temperatures will remain. It should be 10 to 15 degrees below average through the weekend.

Not sure if a White Christmas is a dream or a nightmare at this point.


Got an email from one of our caraventure friends today. Don't think she's much interested in flying either.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Another Wine Tasting

We hit the sauce again today.

Terry and I joined Gary and Anya at another wine tasting. This one was to a single winery on the shores of Keuka Lake just outside of Penn Yan. It included both an educational session delving into the way wine is made and the way its flavor changes as it matures from vat to barrel to bottle and an excellent selection of hors d’oeuvres and desserts. It was the Keuka Spring Vineyards' "Holiday Barrel Tasting".

Excellent wines and a fun time. We came home with a case of Chardonnay's, Merlots and whites at a sizable discount.

College Football: Week 14 Results

There was a limited schedule this week with many of the Top 25 teams having already completed their seasons. Of those who played, there were some excellent games but few shockers. (That is, few shockers unless you count some of the routs.)
Both Oregon (12-0) and Auburn (13-0) maintained their undefeated status and will most likely be 1-2 in the BCS standings. Expect them to be facing one another in Arizona for the National Championship.
Next week promises to be an even shorter schedule. In fact, only one game is on the schedule: THE GAME between Army (6-5) and Navy (8-3). With Air Force being 8-4, all three military academies qualify for post-season bowl action for the first time in a long time.
[The three numbers for the rankings are from the AP Top 25, The Harris Coaches’ Poll, and An “NR” means that that particular poll did Not Rank the team.]

1/1/1 Oregon (12-0) The Ducks proved too much for Oregon State (5-7) as they ran wild on their way to a 37-20 victory.

2/2/2 Auburn (13-0) The Tigers continue to roll as they routed #18 South Carolina (9-4) 56-17 for the SEC Championship.

3/3/3 TCU (12-0) The Horned Frogs’ regular season is over.

4/4/4 Wisconsin (11-1) The Badgers’ regular season is finished.

5/5/5 Stanford (11-1) The Cardinal’s regular season is over.

6/6/6 Ohio State (11-1) The Buckeyes’ regular season is over.

7/7/7 Michigan State (11-1) The Spartans’ regular season is finished.

8/8/8 Arkansas (10-2) The Razorbacks’ regular season is over.

9/10/10 Boise State (11-1) The Broncos bounced back against Utah State (4-8) with a 50-14 laugher.

10/9/14 Oklahoma (11-2) The Sooners came from behind to defeat #13 Nebraska (10-3) 23-20 for the Big 12 Championship.

11/12/9 LSU (10-2) The Tigers’ regular season is finished.

12/11/11 Virginia Tech (11-2) The Hokies beat #20 Florida State (9-4) 44-33 to earn the ACC Championship.

13/13/12 Nebraska (10-3) The Cornhuskers couldn’t hold on as #10 Oklahoma (11-2) came from behind to win the Big 12 Championship Game 23-20.

14/17/15 Nevada (12-1) The Wolfpack’s earned a portion of the WAC title with a 35-17 win over Louisiana Tech (5-7). [I erroneously reported the Wolfpack’s season was over after last week.]

15/14/13 Missouri (10-2) The Tigers’ regular season is over.

16/15/16 Oklahoma State (10-2) The Cowboys’ regular season is over.

17/19/18 Alabama (9-3) The Crimson Tide’s regular season is over.

18/16/19 South Carolina (9-4) The Gamecocks were trounced by #2 Auburn (13-0) 56-17 in the SEC Championship Game.

19/18/17 Texas A&M (9-3) The Aggies regular season is over.

20/20/20 Florida State (9-4) The Seminoles were defeated 44-33 by #12 Virginia Tech (11-2) in the ACC Championship Game.

21/21/21 Utah (10-2) The Utes’ regular season is finished.

22/22/23 Mississippi State (8-4) The Bulldogs’ regular season is over.

23/24/24 West Virginia (9-3) The Mountaineers drubbed the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers (4-8) 35-14. Even so, UConn’s 19-16 win at South Florida propelled the Huskies to the BCS automatic bid.

24/23/22 Northern Illinois (10-3) The Huskies fell to Miami of Ohio (9-4) 26-21 in the MAC Championship Game on Friday night.

25/NR/NR Hawaii (10-3) The Warriors ended the season with a bang as they routed UNLV (2-11) 59-21.

NR/25/NR UCF (10-3) The Knights defeated SMU (7-6) 17-7 for the Conference USA Championship.

NR/NR/25 North Carolina State (8-4) The Wolfpack’s regular season is over.

Road Trip 2010 Compilation

Below is a list of all the posts that had to do with the road trip Terry and I took to Alaska and points west this year. They may seem to be out of order at times, but that's only because there were times when the lack of internet connection meant that pictures and posts didn't happen until later. Each link is in order of the posts original appearance and will open in a new window.

Some of you followed along while we were on the road. Others may be coming to this for the first time. Welcome (back) to our experience.

Trailer Report, June 4, 2010

Aerie/Trailer Report, June 5, 2010

Another Leaky Faucet...and More!

Road Trip 2010: Day 1, June 9: We’re Off!

Road Trip 2010: Day 2, June 10: Across Ohio and 1/2 Indiana

Thanks for the warning! (Late though it may be.)

The City of Cleveland

Road Trip 2010: Day 3-5, June 11-13: Chicago and Through Wisconsin

Road Trip 2010: Day 6, June 14: Clearwater-St. Cloud, MN to Minot, ND

Road Trip 2010: Day 7: Minot, ND to Regina, SK

Road Trip 2010: Day 7: part 2: Critters from Minot, ND to Regina, SK

Road Trip 2010: Days 8 & 9: Regina to Edmonton, AB

Road Trip 2010: Day 10: Edmonton, AB

The Ukrainian Cultural Historical Pictures (part 1)

The Ukrainian Cultural Historical Pictures (part 2)

Fort Edmonton Park in Photos (part 1)

Fort Edmonton Park in Photos (part 2)

Fort Edmonton Park in Photos (part 3)

Fort Edmonton Parkin Photos (part 4)

Road Trip 2010: Day 11: Edmonton, AB to Dawson Creek, BC

Road Trip 2010: Days 12 & 13: Dawson Creek, BC

Road Trip 2010: Day 13: Dawson Creek, BC


Road Trip 2010: Days 14 & 15: Dawson Creek, BC

More of Dawson Creek, BC

Road Trip 2010: Days 17 & 18: Ft. Nelson to Liard Hot Springs to Watson Lake

Road Trip 2010: Days 16 Dawson Creek to Ft. Nelson

Road Trip 2010: Days 17: Ft. Nelson to Liard Hot Springs

Catching up is hard to do.

Road Trip 2010: Days 17: Ft. Nelson to Liard Hot Springs to Watson Lake

Road Trip 2010: Days 18: Watson Lake to Teslin

Road Trip 2010: Days 19: Teslin to Skagway, AK

Patience, Grasshopper. All will be revealed.

Road Trip 2010: Day 19: Skagway Monday night

Road Trip 2010: Day 20: Skagway: On the White Pass & Yukon Railroad

Road Trip 2010: Day 21: Skagway: To Juneau by Sea

Road Trip 2010: Day 22: Skagway "Free Day"

Doggone It!

Road Trip 2010: Day 24 Skagway to Whitehorse

A Night at the Follies

Road Trip 2010: Day 25 Whitehorse to Destruction Bay

Road Trip 2010: Day 26 Destruction Bay to Tok, AK

Road Trip 2010: Day 27 Tok to Valdez: UPDATE

Photo changes

POST UPDATE: Train Ride Photos Posted

POST UPDATE: Ferry Ride Photos Posted

Road Trip 2010: Day 28: "Free" Day in Valdez

Road Trip 2010: Day 29: Glacier Cruise out of Valdez

Road Trip 2010: Day 30: Valdez to Mendeltna

Road Trip 2010: Day 31: Mendeltna to Anchorage

Road Trip 2010: Day 32: Anchorage

Post UPDATEs from Anchorage.

Road Trip 2010: Day 33: "Free" Day in Anchorage

Road Trip 2010: Day 33: "Free" Day in Anchorage (pt 2)

Road Trip 2010: Day 34: Anchorage to Homer

Road Trip 2010: Day 35: Halibut Fishing in Homer

Road Trip 2010: Day 36 Homer to Seward

Road Trip 2010: Day 37 (Part 1): Seward, AK

Road Trip 2010: Day 37 (Part 2): Evening Cruise

Road Trip 2010: Day 38: Seward to Houston, AK

Road Trip 2010: Day 39: Houston to Denali

Travelogue UPDATES

Road Trip 2010: Day 41: Denali to Fairbanks & North Pole

Road Trip 2010: Day 40 (Part 1): Denali National Park

Road Trip 2010: Day 40 (Part 2) Denali Park

Road Trip 2010: Day 41: Denali to Fairbanks (redoux) (Part 1)

Road Trip 2010: Day 41: Denali to Fairbanks (redoux) (Part 2)

Road Trip 2010: Day 42 Fairbanks (Part 1)

Road Trip 2010: Day 42 Fairbanks (Part 2)

Road Trip 2010: Day 43 (Still) Fairbanks

Road Trip 2010: Day 44 STILL Fairbanks (sorta)

Road Trip 2010: Day 45: Final Day in Fairbanks

Road Trip 2010: Day 46: Fairbanks to Tok

Road Trip 2010: Day 47 Tok to Destruction Bay

Road Trip 2010: Day 48: Destruction Bay to Whitehorse

Road Trip 2010: Day 49: Whitehorse

Road Trip 2010: Day 50: Whitehorse

Road Trip 2010: Days 51-54

Road Trip 2010: Day 54 (con't)

Road Trip 2010: Day 55: Dawson Creek to Prince George.

Road Trip 2010: Day 56: Prince George

Road Trip 2010: Day 56 (pt. 2): The Fraser Fort George Regional Museum

Road Trip 2010: Day 56 (pt. 3): The Museum of Railroads and Forestry

Road Trip 2010: Day 57: Prince George to Cache Creek

Road Trip 2010: Day 58: Cache Creek to Seattle (almost), WA

Road Trip 2010: Day 59: Bothel, WA to Fairview, OR

Road Trip 2010: Day 59: Portland, OR: The Evening Edition

Road Trip 2010: Day 60: Portland, OR

Road Trip 2010: Day 61: Portland, OR

Highway 37 (The Cassiar Highway) update

Road Trip 2010: Day 61: Portland, OR: The Pictures (part 1)

Road Trip 2010: Day 61: Portland, OR: The Pictures (part 2)

Road Trip 2010: Day 61: Portland, OR: The Pictures (part 3)

Road Trip 2010: Day 62: Portland, OR to Fruitland, Idaho

Road Trip 2010: Day 63: Fruitland, ID to Brigham City, UT

Road Trip 2010: Day 64: Brigham City, UT

Road Trip 2010: Day 65: Brigham City to Rawlins, WY


Road Trip 2010: Day 65: Brigham City to Rawlins, WY: The Photos

Road Trip 2010: Day 66: From Rawlins, WY to Colorado Springs, CO

Road Trip 2010: Day 67: Saturday in Colorado Springs (Part 1)

Road Trip 2010: Day 67: Saturday in Colorado Springs (Part 2)

Road Trip 2010: Day 67: Saturday in Colorado Springs (Part 3)

Road Trip 2010: Day 68: Hot Air Ballooning

Road Trip 2010: Day 69: A Day of Rest!

Road Trip 2010: Day 70: Colorado Springs to Russell, Kansas

Road Trip 2010: Day 71: Russell, KS to Columbia, MO

Road Trip 2010: Day 73: Columbia, MO to Terre Haute, IN

Road Trip 2010: Days 74-76: HOME!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Aerie Report, December 04, 2010

Nada. Zip. Zilch.

That's how many deer I saw this morning while sitting out in the woods. I did see where those deer that visited the yard yesterday walked within a few feet of where I've got my seat. They seemed downright curious about that little board...or maybe they were looking for the remnants of the apple core from Thursday's snack/lunch.

What I did see was a flock of turkeys. Eight or so of the huge birds flew off the lawn of hunting cabin atop the hill and wheeled over my head before heading into the trees on the other side of the glen. Two others walked down the hill and then back up, talking to one another the entire time. The turkeys and a group of three ravens doing aerial maneuvers overhead were the excitement for the morning.

At least until the snow squall hit. At 1030, when I couldn't see more than forty to fifty yards and there was no sign of the snow ever stopping, I decided to make my way back to the Aerie for a hot cup of coffee.

There were a few shots fired within my hearing, but they were mostly more than a half mile away and all were just about sunrise. The hunting camp at the top of the hill (Jersey guys) is empty and so is the one just below the Aerie (Lancaster guys).

What the heck. Just think of all the money I'm saving on ammunition.


The temperature was just 25 degrees when I left the house at 0615. It rose all the way up to 30 degrees by 1300. Big whoop!

The winds blowing south-southeast over Lake Ontario produced streams of snow all along the southern shores and extending as far south as us. We were in one of those streams from around 1000 through around 1300.

When Terry went down to Mass at 1600, she found that there was virtually no snow down the bottom of the mountain. Looks like we're back to our usual winter weather. We'll get a couple of inches of snow up here, but a few hundred feet down the hill there will be nothing.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Aerie Report, December 03, 2010

Okay, yesterday, Thursday, I got up early to go out into the woods. As I prepared a cup of coffee, I peeked out the kitchen window to see if the bird feeders were still in place. They were. I sat, ate breakfast with Terry, whom the cats had gone and awakened, and made my way out the other side of the house and on up the trail.

As I got to the upper driveway (I've got two because it's two separate, subdivided parcels) I spotted a bear track in the inch of snow we had received Wednesday afternoon. I didn't think anything of it since black bears are 1) loud creatures and I heard nothing; 2) shy creatures who would sooner run than fight; 3) I had my Remington .270 in my hands.

I got to my seat just as official shooting hours began (around 6:45 AM), brushed off as much snow as I could and sat down on my plastic covered heat-in-a-seat cushion and started to wait. It was just 23 degrees and there was a slight breeze blowing in my face from the west, but I was dressed warmly and was comfortable. My butt was warmed by the magical action of the plastic seat and all was well with the world.

I listened to the trickle of water from the heavy rains on Tuesday and Tuesday night as it ran down the hillside in little rills. I listened to the chickadees and crows and blue jays. I listened to the rustle of the beech leaves on the trees. And all the time I scanned the hillside for some brown movement that wasn't leaves.

I started to slide on the snow/ice covered particle board seat. I started to feel sleepy and actually would have dozed off a couple of times but for the threat of sliding right off my seat. Around 10 AM, having seen nothing of Odocoileus virginianus and having already snacked on apples and Snickers bites, I decided to walk around a little. A half hour later I returned to my seat having covered several likely paths and spotting no deer tracks. I ate my sandwich. And then, when the clouds plotted to obscure the sun, I decided to call it a day and returned to the Aerie.

Back at the cabin, I discovered that the bird feeders were down, the tray feeder on its side and the shepherds crooks bent down nearly 45 degrees from vertical. I found the two plastic and metal stick feeders--and all their parts--and set the tray feeder back upright. Those bear tracks I had seen were from the bruin that had wrecked the feeders. It must have done so while Terry and I were eating breakfast at the table just a few yards away. Brazen bruin!


This morning I opted to sleep in. I was tired, I hadn't seen a deer track. It wasn't bear season any longer. It was 19 degrees overnight and we had some light snow flurries throughout the morning. I can make up more excuses if you'd like.

I lit a fire in the fireplace to warm the house up and conserve some of the propane we had delivered Tuesday morning. (At $2.20 a gallon and having just over 250 gallons delivered.... Well that's why I was cutting wood last spring.) I set up the humidifier to take care of the 36% relative humidity inside the house. Not good for the wood or the nasal passages.

I composed the annual Christmas Letter to be included with our cards Terry was addressing in the other room. I surfed the web. I watched the clouds clear and the sun warm the porch side of the cabin to all of 31 degrees.

Just before dark this evening, I got up to look out the side door to where the bird feeders used to hang. And there were two deer. A doe and a yearling--also a female-- were licking up the sunflower seeds the bear had spilled the other day. Terry and I stood watching them and talking in our normal tones as they deer occasionally would look in the window and cock their ears in our direction. They KNEW I didn't have a doe tag. They KNEW! Five minutes went by and finally, I opened the sliding door to step onto the porch. The WALKED away and stopped on the other side of the power line right of way. They stood and looked at me--just 30 yards away. Then they started to walk into the woods and lop around. That's when I saw the third deer. Thankfully it too was a doe or I would have truly freaked--my loaded rifle was on the other side of the house.

So, yesterday a bear while eating breakfast. Today three does at dinner time. What's in store for tomorrow? Lions? This is Pennsylvania and although the mountain lion is no longer present in our woods (wink, wink) that's still a possibility. Or maybe something a little tamer. Say a pack of coyotes. Haven't heard any of those for a while.


I'll be going back out tomorrow morning at 0630 in the hopes that the weekend will bring a few more hunters out. It's been lonely the last two days. The camp down the hill is empty of the eight or so guys who were up from Lancaster area. And there have been very few shots fired within hearing range. Certainly nothing close enough that I would stop and stand looking in that direction for any deer that might have been missed/spooked as I would do in New Jersey.

Sleigh Bells Ring....

From this report at Watts Up With That? it would seem that Great Britain is in for a Dickens of a Christmas season.

Happened last year, too.

Oh. And a hearty, "Bah! Humbug!" to the AGW crowd.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010



Not long after I posted about the warm, rainy weather, the wind shifted (at least I think it did--the clouds preclude my seeing the windmills across the way) and the temperature started to fall. By 10:30 it was under 40 degrees and the rain was mixing with first sleet then snow. By noon it was 36 and all snow. The Elmira station weather dude is saying we may get a couple of inches before it ends late this afternoon/early this evening. The front deck is already covered.

December is making one heck of an entrance!

At least I'm not in Spokane, Washington where they got 5 inches of snow over night---on top of the 25 inches that were already on the ground. Too much, too soon.

Even a Broken Clock....

The weather guessers got it right!

It started raining here around 8:30 AM Tuesday. It's been falling ever since and promises to continue much of today. I had pulled the rain gauge when the temperatures fell below freezing a few weeks ago so I've no idea how much rain has fallen at the Aerie but suffice to say it's been a lot!

While the rain has been falling, the temperatures have been rising. We watched the thermometer go up slowly but steadily during the entire day despite the howling winds (20-plus mph with gusts much higher) we experienced. The highest readings (54 degrees) occurred as we went to bed at 10 PM. It continued to rise over night and was 58 degrees this morning at 7 AM. The temperature won't stay that high for long, however. The forecast is for 26 degree lows tonight with some of this rain turning to snow. It's already snowing int he western portions of the state with the dividing line somewhere around State College and west of the Allegheny National Forest.

I feel a little sorry for those guys who took the week off to spend it at their hunting camps. It's not been fit weather for man or beast out there. However, it didn't stop Mister (or perhaps Mrs.) Bruin from making a visit and tearing down the three bird feeders I had hanging from the shepherds crooks. The two sunflower seed holders just needed to be put back together but the thistle feeder needs a new hanger. The cheap plastic hook was snapped in two.