Thursday, June 30, 2016

Prepping the Vibe for Road Trip

We opened up the travel trailer this afternoon to begin preping for our three week trip to the Maine coast and on up to Nova Scotia.

We've had problems with mice before and tried to use lavender to deter them as per some suggestions I had read on line. It doesn't work. The mice chewed the lavender packets and shredded some paper towels to build a nest in one of the kitchen drawers. We swept/vacuumed up the pieces of paper and mouse droppings--something we did earlier this year--then hauled all the utensils into the house to run them through the dishwasher. We'll pull everything off the pantry shelves and give everything a good washing with a little Lysol and soap.

Meanwhile, we're perplexed as to the point of entry. The might find a way around some of the plumbing and I'll do a little patching with some wire screen and foam insulation. Then we'll try some peppermint oil as well. (At least that will smell pretty.) I've some essential oils (includes peppermint) and some granules for when we put the Vibe to bed for the winter. I'll also put some wire screening in the AC/heating vents in case that's where they are entering. Same for the vent to the hot water heater.

At least they haven't gotten into the wardrobe in the bathroom or the two closets next to the bed and we haven't seen signs that they've been in the pantry (no food stuffs there!) so there are some safe storage areas.

I'll also have to run a hose out to the trailer the next day or two to flush the winterizing fluids from the pipes.

Our departure is set for July 8th--one week from tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Went Fishing

I spent last week up in Quebec on a smallish lake next to Goin Reservoir fishing with my buddy Joe M. for walleye and northern pike. The pike didn't get the message but we did catch over 200 walleye including one that tipped the scales at 6.5 pounds.

This was our 22nd or 23rd trip to the area with Oliver Broussard of Caesar's North Camps. We left the Aerie Friday afternoon at 3 and crossed the 1000 Islands bridge at the northern end of I-81. Moved east to Ottowa and then north through Mount Laurier before jumping on a dirt road (127 miles of dust) to head to Parent and finally Clova. The toatal distance was 620 miles by car. We then flew north for 20 minutes--at 100 mph--and were at our lake and our cabin by 9 AM.

We unpacked, rigged up our gear and were fishing in half an hour.

Needless to say, we had a fun week with only one afternoon of horrible weather. (Thunderstorms and hail swept in twice with just a brief two hours in between--and we even managed to get out and fish during that spell. We managed to get off the water and under shelter of the cabin both times.)

Our home for the week.

Joe in his position on the bow.

First night at the cabin we had a full moon.

Calm evening.

One of the many walleye that measured 20-25 inches.

Rainbow marks the location of one of the walleye spots we fished the first half of the week.

This walleye weighed in at 6.5 pounds.

The land north of the Laurentions is relatively flat and the sky is endless.

Clouds are numerous.

Montana has nothing on this "Big Sky" country.

A couple of days after the stroms, we spotted this huge plume of smoke rising from somewhere to the east of us--right where we had seen some lightening strikes. We watched two big, yellow tanker planes flying around ensuring that the fire didn't spread too far and wide. The smoke stopped before sun finally set around 9 PM.

We learned later that this fire wasn't likely to spread much. It was on an island on the Goin Reservoir.


Still, knowing how quickly a fire can spread when there's a bit of wind behind it, we spent Friday afternoon wondering if we might get evacuated a little early. (We were due to--and did--fly out Saturday morning at 8 AM.)

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Finished Raised Bed

Before we left The Aerie for Long Grove, IL, I finished up the raised bed putting in a pair of gates and then installing rabbit fencing all around. Then I put in the tomatoes and peppers and herbs Terry had bought/saved from the old bed.

I think it turned out pretty good. Virtually everything was recycled except the cedar used for the gates. The hinges came from cabinets from our home in Dover (many, many years ago), the rabbit fence was left over from a separate project, and the wood was redwood decking from Morristown. At least things are getting used that I've saved--and moved--from house to house.

Since we left last Sunday, there's been plenty of rain so my only concern is that things may be too damp.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016


Been visiting the last couple of days. At Cindy and John's house in Long Grove, Illinois where these folks are in for a week:
Rick, Chelsea and Sandy
Chelsea Rose

Why are they here? Sandy was down in Grinell, Iowa for her 10th reunion. They are taking the opportunity to visit friends as well as family before heading back to Portland.

Oh, and it was Rick's birthday today:

Could it be 33?

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Birds galore.

Went out on a group bird walk this morning on the Railroad Grade Trail starting at Ive's Run. Beautiful morning with the temps starting at 57 degrees, partly cloudy skies and no wind. There were five of us and we were entertained by a couple of deer watching us, a snapping turtle laying her eggs, a painted turtle crossing the road--although it was imitating a rock when we spotted it in the middle of the road--and a plethora of birds. American Redstarts and Baltimore Orioles were everywhere along the trail as were the Veery, Vireos, and a number of other warblers. I recorded some 44 species:
Canada Goose
Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo 
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
American Redstart
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Working on the garden.

Spent today recycling more of the redwood from the Morristown deck. Turned it into a 42" high wall around the rebuilt raised bed garden. Well, the redwood formed the frame. Tomorrow I'll install the gate and tack up some chicken wire for a stop gap.

Then I can plant the tomatoes and peppers Terry picked up today along with the peppermint and chives we saved from the old garden.

Should be all done tomorrow afternoon. 

Today's weather was fantastic...except for that one hour when the heavens opened up. Temperatures were in the 60s most of the day and barely got above 70. Of course the humidity was in the same range! 

Spotted a fat ground hog out on the lawn today. It ran into the weeds as soon as it saw me. 

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Rebuilding a raised bed garden (Part 3)

I was able to get out at 8 AM sharp and go to Lowes for the extra soil and pebbles that I needed. When I got home, I immediately went to work dumping the soil in the bed and then pouring the stone atop the weed guard along the edges of the bed. The latter will keep the weeds at bay (I hope!) and provide an open area to walk around the bed to work on the soil.

Finished bed being inspected by a chipmunk.

Nice and smooth. I like the concrete edging so much I may use it in several other projects.

River pebble and flat stone path along the back.

River pebbles line the front to keep the grass back. Yeah, the "lawn" needs some repair from the use of the backhoe.

River pebbles along the east side and weed guard at teh base of the lilac. I'm going to have to get some more river pebbles.
I also put some landscaper's cloth (the weed guard) around the two lilac bushes to control weeds under them. Those were held down with some of the flat stones I got out of the garden bed. I'll add some river pebbles one of these days to help smother the heck out of the weeds.

Finally, I took the rototiller to the soil in the bed, broke it up really fine and mixed it with the peat moss and preexisting soil to a depth of about eight inches. Then I raked it all nice and smooth and as level as I could.

Now it's all set for some plants! Terry will be picking up some tomato and pepper plants tomorrow while I contemplate how to put some fencing up to keep the critters at bay. They've never eaten the tomatoes but the peppers have had their struggle with ground hogs before.

Speaking of ground hogs, the family that was living under the shed (at least six little ones with a big momma) have apparently vacated the premises. I haven't seen them since I was talking about the merits of a .22 or 9 mm hollow point. Of course my constantly going up to the garage to sit in the shade every hour or so and going into the shed to get tools and such may have discouraged them. It was an easy live while we were away for two plus weeks, but I guess they don't like the company.


Then Terry and I made a run over to the dump. We had five bags of trash--a lot of it plastic bags from the garden soil and river pebbles, some recycling stuff, an old suitcase, an old toilet seat, and some other stuff that was just laying around we wanted to get rid of. At $3.00 a bag, it would have cost us a bundle to get rid of it all. As it was, because the clerk at the dump said our "load" was under 50 pound it would only cost us, well, $3.00. A bargain!


I mixed together a sprayer full of Round-Up and sprayed the plants that were growing in the other vegetable garden bed. Some of those "weeds" were gorgeous and I hated to do it to the daisies but the growth was too luxuriant to let stand. I hope to reclaim at least two of the beds before long. I may just cover them with weed barrier rather than plant anything there.

The other large bed needs to be completely replaced as it too was constructed of landscape timbers and they have rotted away. Currently it is one large 8' x 16' bed with a very steep drop--approximately 24"--on the downhill side. I'm thinking of making it into two beds 3' x 14' with a path between them. Sort of a terraced garden, if you will. This one may have to wait for August, however. There are trips to Chicago (1 week), Quebec (1 week), and Nova Scotia (3 weeks) between now and then. Besides, I need the time to get over my aches and muscle cramps.