Last Friday I had to go to the DMV to get my photo taken for my drivers license renewal. I dred going to the DMS as most sane people do. Normally it's a place of nightmares...or at least it was in New Jersey. Long waits, confusing signage, unhelpful, snide clerks who believe they are doing you a favor by just showing up...that sort of thing was the norm in NJ.
Our little DMV office in Wellsboro is open just three days a week (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) and I thought it would be pretty crowded so I went over at 8:30 AM when they open the doors. Turns out I was very, very wrong.
Wednesday is the day they have set aside for tests. Saturday is a catch-all for everything else. Friday...ah, Friday. That's the day they do nothing but photos. I was third on line behind two older women. The only delay was waiting for the laminating machine to warm up. In and out in a flash (no pun intended).
Monday, Terry and I went over to Murphy's Blue Berry Farm and picked a tad over 14 pounds of blue berries...in about an hour. (Terry beat me by about half a pound.) We like to go on Mondays because Murphy's is closed on Sunday so the bushes have an extra heavy crop of ripe berries when you get there bright and early (8 AM) on Monday morning. Although we rolled into the parking area at 8:10, there were already a dozen or so folks, whom I'll call professionals, hard at it on the eastern end of the berry patch. Murphy's pays these folks 80 cents a pound for their effort. We paid $2 a pound for the berries we took home. (Is "blue berries" two or one ("blueberries") word?)
At home we put two cups of berries in a quart freezer bag ending up with 16 bags for our larder and about three cups left over for immediate consumption. (Ice cream, cereal, vanilla yogurt, bakes in muffins, added to or on pancakes...blue berries go with lots of things.) Since we still have lots of jars of blue berry jam, strawberry jam, and, thanks to our friends, grape jelly, we're probably not going to be making any from these berries. Come August when the blackberries on the hillside start to ripen I'm likely to try some blackberry jam, however.
After berry picking, I took the title to my ATV over to the notary to (finally) get it registered. I've had the Yamaha Pro Hauler since 1991 but never got it registered because I was just using it on my own property in New York and Pennsylvania. New York regs say it doesn't have to be registered if being used for "agricultural purposes or not for hire snow removal on your own property." Well, the 34 acres in New York is not listed as agricultural and any CO or State Troops with a bee in his butt could make a case that hauling firewood out of the forest in July and August or a deer in October or November--even on my own land--does not meet the letter of the law.
Of course, I also had to pay the sales tax which I did not do back in 1991. At least this time it went to PA and not NY or NJ which is where I lived when I purchased the thing. (The dealer--in New York--told me I didn't have to pay him the sales tax but could be liable for it when/if I registered the ATV. He also told me that, at that time, using it on my own property would not warrant registration.)
I also had to stop at the local Allstate office and get the dang thing insured. Hellow! I'll not be taking it on any joy rides with souped up teens and twenty-somethings guys. Heck, it's only 250cc and was meant to haul stuff through forest and glade. The 1989 Yamaha Pro Hauler was one of the first if not THE first ATV that could be classified a UTV. Seats one but it has a three foot by three foot deck behind the driver to haul just about anything from hay to firewood.
By getting the ATV registered and insured, I can now take it up the hill in Pennsylvania and legally ride through the state forest. Not that I have any intentions of doing so--too damn dusty!, but if I wanted to, I'm now legal.
So today, Tuesday, I loaded the ATV on the utility trailer and drove up to the Bolt Hole to 1) see what needs repairing. (Not "if anything needs repairing" but "what needs repairing." There's always something.) and 2) do some more work cleaning up the mess the logger left behind. Other than a quick one day up-and-back I did in early April, I haven't spent any time at the Bolt Hole since the end of the first week of July, 2013. Little thing called "bilateral knee surgery" has kept me away.
Fifteen minutes into the trip north, I suddenly remembered that I had left the gas can for the chainsaw back in the Aerie's garage. *sigh* I decided to soldier on and scavenge a can from the supply in the Bolt Hole's garage. I'd also take a larger can to get real gas (no ethanol!) to use in the lawn mower and other small engine beasts.
One thing I noticed upon arriving at the Bolt Hole was that Mark has been doing a great job cutting grass with the wreck of a riding mower he purchased last summer. The second thing I noticed upon opening the door was all the cob webs. Would have made Indiana Jones feel right at home. With all the bewebbed tombs, catacombs and caves he travels--many sealed for eons--one has to wonder what all those spiders who spin those cobwebs eat?
The first thing I did was fire up the well pump and check the system for leaks. One year three pipes (PVC) had cracked and the basement was a shower until I got the pump turned off and did all the cutting and splicing. This year...nothing! Not one leak. I turned the cold water faucets off in the sinks and shower and waited for the hot water faucets to flow freely before shutting them off, too. Time to turn the hot water heater on. You do NOT want to turn it on before you fill the tank. Fifty-five degree water hitting a hot heating element inside the tank produces a very ominous "PING" telling you it's time to turn off the pump, drain the system and replace the heating element.
I needed to get some tools from the fist floor utility room/closet so I could open the basement window for ventilation purposes but the damn latch (old fashioned thing that drops a bar into a notch) would not open. I finally had enough jiggling and lifting on the handle to see that this was not going to work so I picked up the splitting maul that stands by the front door and gave the thing a shot. Popped open like nothing. I then removed the latch from the door and the catch from the slightly worse for wear door frame. THEN I could go back to the basement to open the screwed shut window and install a screen.
Now I could unload the ATV and put it in the garage, park the trailer in the barn, scrounge around in the garage for (and clean out residue from inside of) a couple of gas cans, and then head back down to get some premium, no ethanol fuel from the Citgo (Nice and Easy) station.
I had stopped there on the way up to pick up some groceries (OJ, eggs, bacon, butter, English muffins) and noticed they had the right stuff (non-ethanol gas). This time I also picked up some bug repellant (left it in my fishing bag), ant killer, and a few other odds and ends. But, damn it! I forgot to pick up coffee! I've got plenty of tea and one or two coffee bags (like tea bags) but that won't last me long.
Back at the Bolt Hole (and kicking myself for the forgotten coffee) I proceeded to vacuum up as many of the cob webs as possible. All the dead bugs' wings (bodies must have been eaten by shrews and/or mice) also got sucked up.
So here I sit at the Bolt Hole with (few) cobwebs thinking of the work I've ahead of me tomorrow out in the woods. If the predicted T-storms arrive first, I've plenty to do inside in the form of cleaning with sponge and mop. (I wonder what it was that died under the tarp folded in the living room? No bones remain but a nice six-inch diameter smear of dried goo decorates the floor.)
In the meantime, the pitter patter of tiny feet on the tin cans on the shelf reminds me I've got to go bait some mouse traps. I'll try some zucchini bread tonight but should have some bacon fat soaked paper towel for tomorrow.