Thursday, July 31, 2008

I hate waiting.

Call it Christmas in July one week late. (Orthodox Christmas in July?)

I got jealous of looking at the great photos of birds being posted by Richard of At The Water and Shellmo at Birding in Michigan . (Although, Shellmo has gone through a bit of a Looney period lately! You’ll have to visit to see what I mean.) My buddy Gary takes some mean photo’s too. (Go take a look at the Gallery on the Tiadaghton Audubon Society website —which Gary maintains—to see some of his pictures.

I’ve gotten a little bored with the same old birds and haven’t been hauling my digiscoping gear out to the field when we go because I find it somewhat cumbersome. I’ve two 35mm Canon cameras and lenses but instant gratification is the wave of the present and future. My small point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot S40 has been a workhorse for several years but it just can’t reach out and touch that distant (more than 10 feet away) bird. So I read back on Richard’s blog and checked a few other sources to see what equipment they were using. Then I did some homework and researched comparable models of Nikon, Canon, and Sony. These were the “preferred” camera models for some folks online and in Tiadaghton Audubon Society, the group to which I belong. (Besides the Canon PowerShot, I’ve a Nikon CoolPix P1 attached to my Nikon Fieldscope ED III-A for digiscoping.)

Turns out that the Sony Alpha 350 with a pair of Tamron lenses, some filters, an extra battery and a memory card were the best buy and had far better features (thanks Richard!). I didn’t order right away. I sat on the information and pondered the economics (NOT cheap!) and finally broke down and ordered everything through Amazon.

There were five separate orders and three arrived in today’s mail. The post office had the camera, battery, and memory card. UPS is supposed to deliver the lenses this afternoon and the filters should be arriving via the post office either Saturday or Monday.

While I’m waiting for the lenses to arrive, I’m charging up the battery and reading the manual.

My daughter would tell you that last is a lie—I never read the manual! But that was when she was living in the house. New car? Jess what’s the manual say? New computer? Jess, how does this thing work; what can it do? And she would know because she would have read and memorized he darn thing on the way home from the seller! Come to think about it, the Tundra is nearly a year old and I still haven’t read its owner’s manual. Jess, when you coming to visit?

Have I mentioned I HATE WAITING! (That's why DSLR was the only option!)

Mets/Pelfry fall to Marlins, 7-5

Mike Pelfrey hadn’t lost in his previous 11 outing (the Mets were 10-1 in those games), so you’d feel comfortable sending him to the mound against the Marlins. Unfortunately Pelfrey had one bad inning last night. He surrendered two triples, two doubles and a single in the fourth when the Marlins scored 5 runs to take a 5-1 lead.

Pinch-hitter Damion Easley would bring the Mets to within a run with a three-run shot in the seventh inning to make it 5-4 but Dan Uggla increase the Marlins’ margin with a two-run dinger of his own in the bottom of the 8th off Joe Smith. The Mets would lose 7-5 and fall out of first place in the NL East ½ game back of the Phillies who topped the Nationals 8-5.

Pedro Martinez (3-2) will take the mound for the Mets in Houston on Friday night. He will be on a tight—and low—pitch count to protect his arm and groin strains and will be leaving the game early. Let’s hope the bullpen is up to the task.

Right-hander Brandon Backe (6-10) will start for the Astros.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Aerie Chores

The weather quack's forecast this morning called for overcast skies and a chance of some heavy thunder boomers late in the afternoon and on through the night. As a rsult, I figured I had better get out there and get some things done this morning and right after lunch.

First I went up the power line and onto the upper portion of our property to haul out some flatties, i.e. large flat rocks for use in making some stone walls and walkways. We actually have two parcels of land on the hillside. The one upon which the house sits is pretty rectangular and contains 10.4 acres. The other is shaped like a key with a long narrow section from the road and parallel to the 10.4 acre parcel and then a wide back end. It measures 6.9 acres and abuts the 10.4 acres on the south and slightly up hill. It has it's own driveway so I took the Explorer up there to haul the rocks back to the Aerie.

I pissed off a lot of ants of many varieties by picking up the rocks that formed the roof to their nests. There were little brown ants with little white eggs. There were little golden ants with little cream colored eggs. There were medium sized black ants with opal like eggs. And, when I kicked up a decaying log or two, there were large red and black ants whom I knew to be biters so I left them alone. They aren't as bad a s fire ants but they can really put a damper on your day.

Between 9 AM and noon I made four trips back and forth with about two dozen rocks at a time. I figure it came to a little over a ton of stone. Now I just have to make the same number of trips to have enough for the raised beds I will want for vegetables and perennials next year.

After an hour break for lunch (and some recuperation) I went out a angered a bunch of honey bees and bumble bees that were feeding on the flowers of the clover we have in the yard. It takes about a week for the clover flowers to really mature and the bees were hard at work gathering all the nectar they could until I came along with the lawn mower and put an end to their activities. There were the bumble bees with their black bodies and bright yellow vests, regular honey bees that must have become feral as I know of no one in the area with any working hives, and a bee that looks like the honey bee but with a rust colored vest. There were dozens of them at work and with every pass of the lawn mower, their working area got smaller and smaller until it disappeared completely. Now they will have to settle for the bergamont, Queen Ann's lace and goldenrod until the clover sprouts new flowers.

I finished up at three in the afternoon and the rains didn't appear until after five. Even then they were considerably less than anticipated. At noon there was a line of pretty violent thunderstorms stretching from Buffalo to Pittsburgh and they were heading our way. By four they had broken up and when the front reached here there was a little drizzle but not much else. At least with the sun staying hidden behind the clouds the temperature never got much above 75 degrees and the little rain we did get held off until I was done with the grass.

Mets 4, Marlins 1

The Mets defeated the Marlins 4-1 in a game that allowed them to remain a 1/2 game ahead of the Phillies (2-1 winners over Washington) in 1st place of the NL East.

Oliver Perez (now 7-6) pitched okay (6 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 3 walk) as did Aaron Heilman (2 innings, no runs, 1 hit, 2 walks). Billy Wagner was...well, Billy Wagner (1 inning, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 Ks, for save # 27).

Nick Evans was 2 for 4 and scored twice early and then Carlos Delgado smacked a two-run homer to ice the deal. Although Jose Reyes neither scored nor had an RBI, he was 3 for 5 with two doubles (one where he got thrown out at third attempting to stretch it).

Delgado may want July to never end. When play started on July 1 he was batting a mere .228. His average is now up to .263. After the four game series against the Yankees that ended June 29, in which he hit three homers, Delgado had a total of 14 dingers and 45 RBI. He now has 23 and 69, respectively. The man is in The Zone.

Tonight, Mike Pelfrey (9-6) faces Josh Johnson (0-0) in the rubber game of the series.

Meanwhile, John Maine's shoulder problem has been diagnosed as a mild rotator cuff strain. He'll be rejoining the team in Houston and is listed as day to day.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mets fall to Fish, 7-3

The Mets bullpen cost them another game last night. When John Maine left the game in the fifth inning (after pitching just 4 1/3) due to shoulder stiffness, the Mets were winning 2-1. The bullpen would chisel away at that first allowing it to become 2-2 and then 3-3 after the Mets regained the lead, but finally they right down to it and just poured gasoline on the fire. Joe Smith (blown save and the loss) and Scott Schoenweiss were the main culprits. Between them they allowed five runs on six hits—all in the eighth inning—as the Mets lost 7-3.

New York’s loss allowed the Phils (idle) to move to within ½ a game of first with the Marlins now 1 game back.

Tonight the Mets and Marlins go at it again with Oliver Perez (6-6) going against Scott Olsen (6-5).

Maine is on his way back to NYC to have an MRI on the shoulder to determine the severity of his injury. Meanwhile, Pedro Martinez will pitch in the bullpen today after rejoining the team in Florida after the loss of his father. The plan is for him to come off the bereavement list and start on Friday in Houston but be limited to just 80 pitches-which means the bull pen will be expected to carry a load that night, too.

Monday, July 28, 2008



Go read them all.

America better wake the hell up. This guy is bad news.

More Zucchini Bread

Terry turned some of those zukes we had on the counter into zucchini bread today. Three (3) of the thirteen (13) that were stacked there last night got shredded to make six (6) loaves of bread. She would have made more but despite having gotten more sugar, flour and vanilla she forgot the eggs!

Well, we'll be going down tomorrow morning to get some more eggs and then there will be even more zucchini breads in the freezer. At least we'll also be able to dispose of gift one of tonight's loaves to a gall at the insurance agency when we stop by to pay a bill.

We also had two of the smaller zukes grilled alongside our venison steaks tonight. Brushed with a bit of spicy Italian salad dressing they were excellent.

Aerie Game Cam Report

So, I go out before lunch this morning to rebait the game camera, switch out the memory card and pick some raspberries on my way back.

I get to the camera and the LCD screen that indicates its status is blank--not a good sign. I crack open the case and reach to pull the memory card when I realize I don't have a replacement in my pocket--DOH!

I change the 6V battery and return the used memory card to it's place knowing I will have to return later to replace it. I dump the bait in the target area (all the bai from two days ago is gone) and then turn the camera on. It seems to be working fine.

On my way back to the house, I stop and pick a cup of mixed raspberries and blackberries to be made into sauce for ice cream.

Back at the house I have lunch and then put a memory card in my pocket and head back up the hill to retrieve the one in the camera.

I'm about 50 yards from the camera on our second driveway when I hear a deer bound away down the hill on the other side of the camera. I figure that someone else was enjoying lunch at the same time I was.

With the card back at the house and in the computer I learn that 1) the camera did not function between Saturday and today (I'm not surprised--remember the blank screen?) and 2) it worked fine between the time I switched the battery and the time I got there to switch the card and, yes, there was a deer there for lunch.


This doe had arrived not long after I left and stayed around for half an hour. It was she that spooked when I came back for the memory card. In this shot she is looking up the hill toward the driveway I was on. Notice the upright ears also focused in my direction. A few minutes later and she was gone.

I never did see her but she made lots of noise goinog down the hill.

Not a "Fail" in my eyes

Nor for those like my buddy Bill who believe youth soccer to be the ruination of American sport, I don't think this is a "Fail" but rather an opportunity.

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Ma Nature's Garden

Gardening is a chore--and a joy when it works. But sometimes Ole Ma Nature does all the hard work for you. Last year we had tons of white daisies growing around the yard. They were back again this year. We also had a lovely patch of milkweed that had such sweet, sweet smelling flowers about this time of year and which attracted scads of butterflies. Unfortunately, I think the dang groundhogs got the milkweed. There are only one or two plants far from where they were last year.

We do get a few plants from the sunflower seeds the birds dropand that the chipmunks and mice miss.

Feral sunflower

This one got itself chomped on by the bear when the bear couldn't find the feeders. The flower head was just starting to swell at the time and looked like a big lollipop. It must not have tasted too good, however, because the bear only took one bite and then left it alone. I think it looks pretty cool like this. Sort of like one of those singing flowers you used to see in the old time musical cartoons of the thirties and forties. A young damsel with a bonnet just waiting to burst into song.

As if to make up for the milkweed, this year we have lots of wild bergamot.

Blue bee balm

And I mean LOTS!

Blue bee balm

It's not as sweet smelling to me, but then my sense of smell isn't the greatest. The butterflies like it as well as the bees and other insects.

The white Queen Anne's Lace is also abundant.

Queen Anne's Lace flower head

Even the prickly thistle plant produces a pleasant looking little purple flower and when that matures, a fuzzy little brownish-white tuft.

Fuzzy Thistle seed heads

The goldenrod are just now starting to produce their flower heads and soon the edges of the yard will be a bright yellow.

All these are "weeds" and yet they are quite pretty to look at and food sources for insects and birds alike. It's the reason I try not to cut back many of them. It's all part of nature's landscaping plan.

Zucchini plants and Herbs

I took the camera out when we went to inspect the zucchini this morning. (Can't let the little devils get to advanced!)

Male zuke flower

This is one of the male flowers. The "star" is about 5-6 inches across. The females flowers are tucked beneath the leaves.

Terry and the zukes

Terry has made me promise not to plant so many next year. I tried to tell her that the four pack was the smallest Agway had to offer. She said to either only plant four plants. I doubt you can get just four seeds. Next year we will try to put in some bush beans but there's a healthy rabbit population in the area. Might have to do some fencing or target shooting.

Plants and Herbs

We did put in some herbs as well as a few perennials. The Marigolds are to deter deer. There's dill (from seed), basil, parsley, chives and more. All are doing quite well.

Zucchini Invasion

Yesterday was a beautiful day with clear sunny skies and humidity down around 50%. The temperature itself never got much above 75 degrees and the breeze blowing up the hill from 9 AM until around 7 PM made things incredibly comfortable. As a result we did damn little around the Aerie yesterday.

Terry cooked up a nice zucchini and yellow squash casserole to go with some boneless chicken breast. While it was delicious, it was also an act of self defense. She had picked up the yellow squash at the "free" corner I mentioned a couple days ago but the zucchini are all coming from the eight plants I put out this spring.

Please understand that when we lived in New Jersey, I would put out eight or ten zucchini VINES and the VINE borers would attack them and we would get all of five or six zucchini squash if we were lucky. The plants I purchased at Agway were BUSH zucchini--a variety I had no experience with. Apparently BUSH zucchini are impervious to the VINE borer. Heck one has even survived having a bear sit upon it.

Anyway, I bought this little four pack of baby zucchini. Each cell contained two tiny little plants having just their paired seed leaves. They looked so cute and fragile. So fragile in fact, that I did not even separate the plants from the first two cells and simply placed each cell 18 inches from the other in the soil of the raised bed in front of the cabin where they would get lots and lots of sunlight. The other two cells I did manage to separate the plants and put them in the raised bed near the bird feeders where they don't get quite as much sunlight but there's more organic material in the soil.

Well, let me tell you! Those cute little plants have grown and grown and grown! They have produced one huge orange-yellow flower after another. Now some of those flowers are males and stand upright and proud on a thin little stalk. After a day or so, they wilt and fall off. The other flowers, not quite so large and deeper down beneath the huge plant leaves are the female flowers. They are to be found on the ends of short, thick stalks that will become zucchini squash if all goes according to plan.

Hooo-weee! Something went according to plan. Not long after I brought home those four zucchini from the neighbors to be made into a dozen zucchini breads, OUR plants started to produce. We have had zucchini oiled and spiced up on the grill, zucchini slaw, and now zucchini casserole. And still they are stacked up on the counter llike cord wood.

13 zucchini

Or perhaps it's more like bombs on the flight deck of a WWII aircraft carrier. This could be an invasion!

13 zucchini

There are currently 13 squash in the stack right now and that is after using 3 yesterday in the casserole. Terry says there will be 4 or 5 ready to harvest this afternoon. She has purchased more vanilla, sugar and flour. There's still some room in the freezer. I can see zucchini bread becoming a regular at the Audubon Society meetings and the Embroidery Arts Guild meetings (6 meetings a month). After all, I'll need room in the freezer when I get my deer---or two.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Santana super as Mets down Cards, 9-1

Jerry Manuel allowed Johan Santana to come out for the ninth inning today. And why not? The left-hander was pitching lights out and had a 9-1 lead. Besides, after last night’s 14-inning affair the bullpen needed the rest.

Santana, who was pulled in his last outing and who had to watch the pen squander a three run lead in the ninth, had said he would have been willing to go the distance if asked. Today he was asked and he won his 10th game of the season giving up just one run on an Albert Pujols home run in the seventh. It was one of just six hits he allowed along with one walk and five strikeouts.

The Mets continued their hot hitting with a total of 17 hits (one more than last night) including three homeruns. Fernando Tatis (3-4 on the day) stroked his seventh dinger with one on in the sixth, Ramon Castro (1-2 with 2 walks) hit his sixth of the season also in the sixth inning, and David Wright belted his 20th of the year, a solo shot, in the fifth. Everyone in the lineup got at least one hit including Santana who had two singles including one that knocked in a run, his first RBI of the year.

Meanwhile, the Phils are beating up on the Braves 11-5 in the sixth, while the Marlins were defeated 9-6 by the Cubbies out in Chi-town.

The Mets are heading to Miami to face the Marlins tomorrow night in the start of a three game set. The Mets send John Maine (9-7) to the mound against Rickey Nolasco (10-6).

Mets fall to Cards, 10-8 in 14

Tough game last night for the Mets. Brandon Knight, making his first ever major league start (he had pitched in relief very briefly for the Yankees several years ago) must have had a ton of butterflies in his stomach. He gave up four runs in the first inning before settling down and throwing four more innings of decent shutout ball. When he left the Mets had battled back and held a 5-4 lead.

The relievers (predominantly Muniz and Smith) would yield 4 runs in the sixth inning to see the Mets fall behind 8-5. Yet the Mets managed to come back once again and tied the game on a Fernando Tatis home run in the bottom of the ninth. The teams traded goose eggs until Albert Pujols hit a two-out, two-run homer in the 14th off Aaron Heilman who was working his third inning.

And so the Mets fell to the Cards 10-8 in 14 innings.

Carlos Delgado continues to be zoned in. He hit two homers last night. Jose Reyes was 4 for 8 including two doubles and a home run. Fernando Tatis was 3 for 5.

The Cardinals rapped out 21hits In 60 plate appearances as Skip Schumaker went 6 for 7, all singles, Pujols went 5 for 8, and Rick Ankiel went 3 for 7.

The Mets still hold on to a one game lead in the NL East. The Phils downed the Braves 10-9 in regulation and the Marlins topped the Cubs 3-2 in 12 innings.

This afternoon it will be Johan Santana (8-7) for the Mets against Kyle Lohse (12-2) for the Cards.

Bear warning

I got this via email from my buddy Mark who is taking occasional peeks at black bear life in the Adirondacks. I thought it might be appropriate for Rev. Paul Way Up North there in Anchorage area where bears have been making themselves known. Here’s a thought, Rex., maybe they, like you , are getting fed up with all the cool, rainy overcast weather you’ve been getting.

It’s a sign posted, I assume from the fine print, at Fort Steele Campground in BC, Canada.

Bear warning

I’m afraid it is most accurate except it skips the Brown/Kodiak bear. Their shit is the same as the Grizzly except it also contains grizzly fur.

(The email was one of those that’s been forwarded and forwarded. I’ve no idea who took the photo or when. )

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday at the Aerie

It was a slow day here at the Aerie. I spent most of it around the Aerie waiting for the forecast rain that never fell here. It fell to the north in Elmira and a little fell to the south but none fell on the hill here. And the rain has been scrubbed from the forecast tomorrow as well.

Terry and I were going to go birding this morning but neither of us got to sleep easily last night so we opted to sleep in instead. Fat chance we had of that with Chester (the cat with the alarm clock for a tummy) howling for us to wake up and feed the three of them at 6 AM.

I putzed around a bit this morning trying to get my feet under me and then went out to check the one working game camera and pull the other. There were just 8 pictures of a doe on the memory card when I got back in the house. All were taken yesterday afternoon and early evening. None were outstanding photos so No pictures tonight. The second camera is acting up, as I mentioned yesterday, and, while it allowed me to make changes in all the settings, it still will not run a diagnostic test on itself nor will it turn to "Auto" so it can take pictures of anything moving. Sounds like it has gone to the great darkroom in the sky.

Terry had another sewing club picnic today (she had one yesterday too) and was gone for about three hours. During that time, I had a lovely lunch of a half dozen blueclaw crabs she brought home from Bilo yesterday. They were a manager's special at $6.99 a dozen already cooked and she couldn't pass them by. (Actually she brought home a dozen but we ate half of them for dinner.) Picking through those crabs to get the small morsels of meat reminded me of the times I used to go crabbing on Barnegat Bay. I will say, you are far more likely to enjoy the crab meat when you've spent all day catching the buggers under a hot summer sun. I would bring home a couple of dozen on a Saturday evening, steam them up with some Old Bay seasoning and then sit before the TV to watch the late college football game (crabbing was always best in the early fall when the crabs were big and full of meat prior to their burrowing into the mud for winter) and pick crabs for a couple of hours. Nearly all of the meat would go into a bowl and then get frozen or made into crab cakes. I would, of course eat one or two of the crabs but I would also have to feed the two hungry kids who hung around with their mouths open like baby birds begging for a meal.

Anyway, it took me almost two hours to eat that half dozen crabs today. I must be out of practice. And when I was done, all I wanted to do was exactly what the three cats were doing after finishing their lunch; namely curl up on the couch and nap. That's when Terry returned. And all she want to do was curl up on her couch and nap. They had a pretty good picnic I guess.

Neither of us wanted much dinner.

Back on May 29 I started to track my weight with the goal of shedding a few pounds. When at the Aerie I step on the scales every morning before getting dressed and then record my weight. Back then, I weighed in at just shy of 233. What followed were two months of roller coaster rides. With a retirement dinner in NJ, two weeks at the Bolt Hole, a trip out to San Francisco area for a wedding.... My weight would yo-yo up and down. Thinking I must e losing lots while working hard at the Bolt Hole, I would get back to the Aerie to find I had lost just half a pound. It was pretty frustrating.

Well, since returning from the Bolt Hole about two weeks ago things are looking much better. Terry's been using the Weight Watchers' cook books more and we've both been pushing away from the table after one helping. I've been doing a little more walking around the property and trying to increase my activity level. This morning I weighed just 221.5 and have lost a little more than 11 pounds. If I can continue to shed about 5 pounds a month while increasing my daily activity level, I'll feel pretty good going into the hunting season the end of September. (Of course all my hunting clothes will be too large....)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mets beat Cards, 7-2

The Mets' Mike Pelfry did a marvelous job tonight pitching 7 excellent innings and allowing just one run. The bullpen managed to hold fast despite Duaner Sanchez having another poor outing and the Mets beat the Cardinals 7-2 in the first of a three game series. (It's peculiar how, just when Jerry Manuel expresses his support of Sanchez, saying he's comfortable he can handle the closers role in Wagner's absence early this week, Sanchez has all kinds of problems.)

The Phils lost to Atlanta, 8-2, and the Marlins defeated Chicago 3-2. That gives both the Phils and Marlins identical 54-49 records while the Mets move 2 games ahead at 56-47.

Pedro Martinez was originally scheduled to start on Saturday, but with his father's passing he has been back in the Dominican Republic. Instead Brandon Knight, 32, has been called up from New Orleans to be the spot starter.

Knight is 5-1 with a 1.60 ERA and has struckout 49 batters while walking only 10 in 39 1/3 innings for the Zyphers. Knight's appearance in a Mets uniform--in fact ANY major league uniform is something of a surprise. He was contimplating retirement from baseball during the winter.

Only months after considering retirement, Knight has enjoyed something of a renaissance in the Minor Leagues, even earning a roster spot on Team USA for the Beijing Olympics. He began this season with the Somerset (N.J.) Patriots of the Atlantic League, before the Mets took notice and offered him a Minor League contract in May.
(from the Mets web site)

So it looks like no matter what he does tomorrow, he's heading fro China once the game is over. Wish him luck.

Berry pickin'

After dinner this evening, I went out to pick some blueberries. Not on the Aerie's slopes but up the hill in the state forest. There's a section that was logged a couple of years ago and where the wildlife folks erected a fence to keep the deer out while the saplings got a foothold. The fence also keeps the bears out.

The fence has two gravity operated, trap door style gates that permit access to the fenced enclosure. You're allowed to go inside to hunt or whatever. I went there earlier in the week to do a little birding and found several patches of blueberries. I only had a plastic bag in my pocket (just in case)and found that inconvenient as the twigs and blackberry canes easily ripped the bag. Still I came back to the house with two cups of very large, juicy blueberries.

Today, I went back with a 2 quart TupperWare container and in about 45 minutes of picking managed to harvest a quart of blueberries. Most came from a patch I did not pick the last time and these were pretty decent sized berries. They may not have been as large as the ones you can buy in the store but they were among the largest I've picked in the wild...well except for those I found in Wharton State Forest in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. But those hardly count. They were high bush berries as opposed to the low bush I was picking here. Furthermore, those in the Pines were probably from an abandoned blueberry farm. (Side note: Nearly all the blueberries sold on the east coast and on up through Canada come from Hammonton, NJ in Burlington County which is on the west side of the Jersey Pines.)

Like the berries I picked the other day, they got placed into Zip-Loc bags and placed in the freezer. They will one day end up in pancakes, muffins, or buckle.

Deer in the woods.

So, last evening, before we had a bruin visitation, I set two game cameras out in the woods behind the Aerie. These are older 1.3 megapixal models from Moultrie. I also have two 2.1 megapixal and one 3l1 megapixal models but they are up at the Bolt Hole right now where Mark is using them to photograph bears. All the cameras have taken a lot of pictures over the last few years and some of them are starting to show their wear and tear. The flash doesn’t always go off when it’s supposed to and sometimes the camera sensors don’t work properly. Occasionally one will go crazy and shoot pictures every two minutes no matter whether there is something to photograph or not. Then, once in a while one will simply seize up and not shoot at all.

The two that I put out last evening had been working okay. But today I discovered one of them is suffering from old age. The other did quite well, however.

After the bear showed up in the yard last night, I fully expected the cameras to have bear pictures. That would have annoyed me. I wanted some pictures of the deer that were in the yard on Wednesday. When I went out today, one camera had 35 pictures and the horse food I had put out was nearly gone. The other said it had taken 75 pictures and the battery needed changing but the food pile was pretty much untouched.

I switched the memory cards and changed the battery in the second camera only to have it seize up on me and not go into auto shooting mode. It also would not test the laser aiming device nor would it do a self diagnostic test. *sigh* I left it in the woods but will bring it inside tomorrow and see if it will mysteriously recover in a dark closet.

Getting back to the Aerie, I found the 75 pictures it had taken were of absolutely nothing. I couldn’t even see a mouse or chipmunk in any of the frames which were shot 2 to 4 minutes apart. But the other camera….aaah, the other camera did quite well. All 35 pictures were from this morning from around 9 AM to 11:30 AM and each contained pictures of deer.

There were two doe travelling together.
DGC_0005 2 Doe

(Hey, the place is called “The Aerie” for a reason. The only flat areas have no trees on which to hang the cameras.)

Then there was a single 6-point buck; quite possibly the one that was in the yard Wednesday with a doe.

DGC_0001 6-pt Buck
DGC_0018 6-pt Buck
DGC_0020 6-pt Buck

And then the stars of the show appeared: A doe and her twin fawns.

DGC_0025 Doe & 2 fawns
This is the only picture in which you can see all three together. The several others of this group only show Mom and one of the fawns at a time.

DGC_0028 Doe & 1 twin

What’s particularly interesting to me is that I was at this camera less than an hour after the last picture of the doe and her twins was recorded.
I’m happy to see the deer here.

It’s legal to feed deer but not bears in PA. Just across the border in NYS the opposite is true. You can feed bears to get them to come to the cameras but you’re not supposed to feed deer. (Of course, the deer eat much the same bait as the bears so you do get some pictures of deer as well.) In both states, the feeding must stop several weeks before the hunting season begins. You can keep the cameras going, you just cannot put any bait out to attract the animals.

Wonderful! Snarklicious!

He ventured forth to bring light to the world
The anointed one's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a miracle in action - and a blessing to all his faithful followers

Go read the whole thing.

A little more to whet your appetite:
And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth - for the first time - to bring the light unto all the world.

He travelled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media.

via Hot Air


Moments after posting that last item and signing off, there was a muffled crash outside. When I looked I saw that Mr. Bruin had decided to visit. In the past he has not bothered the thistle feeder so I’ve taken to leaving that one outside. Last night he decided to eat the thistle seed. After watching for a bit I began to wonder if this were not a different bear. His head seemed larger and ears smaller. When laying down he seemed to stretch further and when standing on his two legs against the telephone pole, he seemed taller—much taller. This looked like a 400-pound bruin and not the 250 or so that was here last week. This is going to make my walks in the woods and my berry picking a little more interesting.

Then this morning I saw this news article:
Russian bears attack!
Huge brown bears have trapped a geologic survey party in northeast. These bears grow to ¾ of a ton—1500 pounds.
At least 30 hungry bears have trapped a group of geologists at their remote survey site in the far east of Russian after killing two of their colleagues last week

The remaining scientists are held up in their camp awaiting rescue.
Officials said a helicopter ferrying officials and hunters could not fly in bad weather, but an all-terrain vehicle was on its way to the camp, where its crew would await government approval to shoot the bears.

“…government approval” EFF that! If a bear approaches the camp and can’t take a hint (a well placed shot or two) then finish it off. From the story it seems obvious that the folks in this region have indulged the bears’ appetite to the tune of an average of three people per year. There’s no mention of whether the bears are hunted down or not. If the answer is “Not” then it’s understandable that the bears have taken to hunting and killing humans.

Related: Stephen Colbert on bears:

Bears are soulless, godless, rampaging killing machines. They are Satan's minions and the TRUE symbol of evil. Once believed to be the work of dragons, Bears (like purple donkeys) enjoy running around the woods molesting and raping innocent people and squids. For years now, ravenous bears have had free reign to use our woods as their personal latrine, protected by their "endangered" status. Now the government is wisely considering ending the grizzlies' special treatment in order to protect our honey jars and Paddington Station. Bears' strong vitality and resilience makes them one of mother nature's nearly unkillable animals. A bear has never been downed by any less than five gunshots. Combinations of high explosives, assault weapons, and trebuchets have been known to only piss the bear off. Why can man-kind put a man on the moon, but not invent a weapon that can take down Big-Yogi

Read the whole thing and get the TRUE story on bears.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rain and raspberries.

We had 0.15 inches of rain this morning in a two hour shower. Then it was cloudy and cool for most of the day. The temperature never got above 70 until the sun came out for an hour or so around 6 PM. The average high for this date is supposed to be around 82 degrees. We haven't seen that since last Sunday. There is a chance we will see 80 degrees tomorrow as there is no rain forecast and the sun is supposed to be out all day.

I went out to see how the raspberries were doing and came back with about a pint of red berries. Terry added some sugar to them and cooked them into a sauce for spooning on some vanilla ice cream.

I also got about dozen blackberries from one cane that was ripe. This cane sits over some flat rocks so perhaps the heat of the rocks pushed this bunch of big, luscious berries to ripen before the rest. When the rest absorb some of the recent rain and tomorrows sun we should be up to our tuchises in blackberries--provided Mr. Bruin doesn't beat me to them. I've already got plans for some blackberry jam and they always taste great with vanilla ice cream (doesn't everything?)or over breakfast cereal.

I forgot to mention that yesterday evening as I was getting ready to bring the bird feeders in for the night, I glanced out on the new patch of grass I planted and saw a doe and a buck (four points in velvet) standing there munching on the grass. They were quite calm about my being on the deck as I was around the corner of the house and the wind was blowing from them to me ad a pretty good clip. I was even able to walk over to Terry's window and let her know we had company. She went to the front window and watched. But the wind must have shifted or something because they suddenly spooked and went bounding off down the hill. Made be get off my butt and put out the two game cameras I have kept for around the Aerie. (Mark has three of mine up at the Bolt Hole where they are taking all kinds of pictures of bears--when they work.) If I get pictures of the deer or Mr. Bruin I'll post some of them here.

Mets down Phils 3-1 to takeover 1st place.

In an early afternoon contest, the Mets took the field behind Oliver Perez and defeated the Phillies 3-1.

Perez pitched masterfully for 7 innings getting 12 strikeouts and giving up just one run on a Jayson Werth solo shot leading off the seventh. With the score 1-1, Perez pitched into trouble in the eighth, however. A one-out double by Eric Bruntlett, an intentional walk to Pat Burrell and a hit batsman (Ryan Howard) forced Jerry Manuel to pull Perez for Aaron Heilman. Heilman got Jayson Werth to fly out to Carlos Beltran in deep center for the final out of the inning.

Robinson Cancel pinch hit for Aaron Heilman leading off the bottom half of the eighth and stroked a single to left field. Jose Reyes then sacrificed him to second. Endy Chavez lined out to the pitcher, J. Romero for the second out. Romero then intentionally walked David Wright putting men on first and second. That strategy backfired when Carlos Delgado doubled home both Cancel and Wright. Delgado was out at third trying to advance on the throw to the plate. The Mets had a 3-1 lead going into the top of the ninth.

Of course, Billy Wagner got the call. And he got the first two batters with ease. Shane Victorino popped out to Delgado at first and Pedro Feliz flied out to Beltran in center. But then Chris Coste singled to left and was replaced by pinch runner Carlos Ruiz. That brought the tying run to the plate in the form of pinch hitter Jimmy Rollins. Rollins hit the first pitch on the ground to third baseman David Wright who threw to second baseman Damion Easley to force Ruiz and end the game.

Aaron Heilman (1-3) gets the victory and Wagner registers his 26th save of the season. The Mets are now in first place alone; one game ahead of the Phils who head home to face Atlanta, and 1.5 games ahead of the Marlins who play the Cubs in Wrigley tonight.

The Mets take the field again at 7:10 PM on Friday night at Shea against the St. Louis Cardinals.

(I always wanted to be a sportscaster or writer.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Mets: A Dickens of a team
It was the worst of nights and it was the best of nights.

Last Sunday, Billy Wagner came into the game against Cincinnati in the ninth inning and the Mets winning by two runs. He felt some soreness in his shoulder which produced some concern on the part of Jerry Manuel and the Mets staff. Despite that soreness, Wagner struck out the side in a 1-2-3 inning and the Mets won the game.

Sunday night/Monday he was examined by the physicians and no damage to the shoulder cold be found. The soreness was diagnosed as stiffness or as Wagner put it, “I’m old. I’m supposed to hurt.”

Still, the doctors and trainers felt an extra day of rest was in order and it was decreed that Wagner would sit out Tuesday night’s game versus Philadelphia regardless of the situation. Wagner agreed and prophetically stated it “won’t make a difference if we’re winning by more than three runs.”

Tuesday night, Johan Santana pitched 8 great innings and the Mets led the Phils 5-2 going into the ninth. Santana, who had thrown 105 pitches was told to step aside and hand the ball over to the bullpen.

Remember the score? It was 5-2. The Mets were winning by exactly 3 runs.

The bullpen could not hold the lead. Six runs were to cross the plate for the Phils in the top of the ninth. After the first three batters hit singles, Duaner Sanchez, reliever, #1 was told to go take a shower. Joe Smith, reliever #2 gave up nothing more than a little dribbler to short, but that could not be converted into an out allowing the first of the Phils’ runs in the ninth to score. Smith was replaced by Pedro Feliciano (reliever #3). The next two Phils hit doubles and the go ahead runs were on the board (Smith would take the loss while Feliciano would get a blown save.) Feliciano would give up one more run—the final one—before giving way to Aaron Heilman who recorded the final out of the inning.

The Mets were now behind 8-5. They would get one run back in the bottom of the ninth but the damage had been too severe. They lost the game 8-6 and fell out of first place and one game back of the Phils.

All because Billy Wagner couldn’t pitch and Sanchez and Feliciano couldn't close the deal.

Tonight the Mets looked to even the series behind John Maine. Maine gave up six hits and three runs in seven innings before handing the ball over to the bullpen. On offense, the Mets Jose Reyes hit a three-run homerun in the bottom of the sixth to give the Mets a 6-3 lead.
Three run lead.

Scot Schoeneweiss got two outs in the eighth while giving up a walk. Joe Smith came in and got the third out of the eighth. Then, with the score still 6-3, it was time for Billy Wagner in the top of the ninth. Wagner pitched another 1-2-3 inning to seal the victory and record his 25th save of the season. John Maine is now 9-7 and the Mets and Phils are once more tied at 54-47 with the Florida Marlins one game back at 53-48.

Here’s hoping that Billy Wagner stays healthy for the remainder of the season.

About that rain...

It rained hard for about an hour and a half this morning and then there were light showers for another two hours or so. This evening (5:00 PM) when I went outside to pick a couple of 6-7 inch zucchini, the rain gauge held 1.41 inches of rain. I had emptied 0.3 inches from it yesterday afternoon so all of that rain fell this morning and early afternoon.

The folks say the average precip for the month of July is 3.30 inches. From my totals during the month to date I would say we will have that beat by a safe margin. (We've had two other days of more than 1 inch and several where we recorded 0.3-0.6 inches.) Also, several times storms with very heavy rains have skirted us and moved just to our north or to our south. Yesterday, for instance, while we did get 0.3 inches here, they had torrential rains just across Route 6 and the New York border.

At least I won't have to worry about the well running low.


It got very, very dark here a few minutes ago and there was a rumble of thunder in the distance. Then, quite suddenly the sky just opened up and it is pouring! A real gully-washer.

The weather quacks are calling for upwards to an inch of rain here today but if this continues, we're going to get that in an hour or less.

Seeing how it's coming down makes me even more understanding of just what the folks in Texas Rio Grande area must be facing with Dolly on their doorstep. THEY are supposed to get 24 inches of rain in the next 24 hours.

At least we aren't getting a lot of lightening or wind with this storm. There were a few minutes of gusty conditions but the rain is coming straight down now.

And Terry just left to go to a stitch-in up on Keuka Lake. I hope her little yellow Aveo floats!

Questions for Obama

This, too, came over the email transom this morning and I find the questions interesting.

Subject: Fwd: George Will's Questions for Barrack Obama
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2008 18:20:22 +0000

George Will's Questions for Barrack Obama

~ Senator, concerning the criteria by which you will nominate judges, you said: "We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old." Such sensitivities might serve an admirable legislator, but what have they to do with judging? Should a judge side with whichever party in a controversy stirs his or her empathy? Is such personalization of the judicial function inimical to the rule of law?

~ Voting against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts, you said: "Deciding 'truly difficult cases' should involve 'one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one's empathy." Is that not essentially how Chief Justice Roger Taney decided the Dred Scott case? Should other factors - say, the language of the constitutional or statutory provision at issue - matter?

~ You say, "The insurance companies, the drug companies, they're not going to give up their profits easily when it comes to health care." Why should they? Who will profit from making those industries unprofitable? When pharmaceutical companies have given up their profits, who will fund pharmaceutical innovations, without which there will be much preventable suffering and death? What other industries should 'give up their profits'?

~ Exxon Mobil's 2007 profit of $40.6 billion annoys you. Do you know that its profit, relative to its revenue, was smaller than Microsoft's and many other corporations'? And that reducing Exxon Mobil's profits will injure people who participate in mutual funds, index funds and pension funds that own 52 percent of the company?

~ You say John McCain is content to "watch Americans' home prices decline." So, government should prop up housing prices generally? How? Why? Were prices ideal before the bubble popped? How does a senator know ideal prices? Have you explained to young couples straining to buy their first house that declining prices are a misfortune?

~ Telling young people "don't go into corporate America," your wife, Michelle, urged them to become social workers or others in "the helping industry," not "the moneymaking industry." Given that the moneymakers pay for 100 percent of American jobs, in both public and private sectors, is it not helpful?

~ Michelle, who was born in 1964, says that most Americans' lives have "gotten progressively worse since I was a little girl." Since 1960, real per capita income has increased 143 percent, life expectancy has increased by seven years, infant mortality has declined 74 percent, deaths from heart disease have been halved, childhood leukemia has stopped being a death sentence, depression has become a treatable disease, air and water pollution have been drastically reduced, the number of women earning a bachelor's degree has more than doubled, the rate of homeownership has increased 10.2 percent, the size of the average American home has doubled, the percentage of homes with air conditioning has risen from 12 to 77, the portion of Americans who own shares of stock has quintupled ... Has your wife perhaps missed some pertinent developments in this country that she calls "just downright mean"?

~ You favor raising the capital gains tax rate to "20 percent or 25 percent." You say this will not "distort" economic decision making. Your tax returns on your 2007 income of $4.2 million show that you and Michelle own few stocks. Are you sure you understand how investors make decisions?

~ During the ABC debate, you acknowledged that when the capital gains rate was dropped first to 20 percent, then to 15 percent, government revenues from the tax increased and they declined in the 1980s when it was increased to 28 percent. Nevertheless, you said you would consider raising the rate "for purposes of fairness." How does decreasing the government's financial resources and punishing investors promote fairness? Are you aware that 20 percent of taxpayers reporting capital gains in 2006 had incomes of less than $50,000?

~ You favor eliminating the cap on earnings subject to the 12.4 percent Social Security tax, which now covers only the first $102,000. A Chicago police officer married to a Chicago public-school teacher, each with 20 years on the job, have a household income of $147,501, so yo u would take another $5,642 from them. Are they under taxed? Are they rich?

~ This November, electorates in four states will vote on essentially this language: "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting." Three states- California, Washington and Michigan-have enacted such language. You made a radio ad opposing the Michigan initiative. Why? Are those states' voters racists?

~ You denounce President Bush for arrogance toward other nations. Yet you vow to use a metaphorical "hammer" to force revisions of trade agreements unless certain weaker nations adjust their labor, environmental and other domestic policies to suit you. Can you define cognitive dissonance?

~ You want "to reduce money in politics." In February and March you raised $95 million. See prior question.


I do not believe any of these will actually be posed to the Anointed One, but it would be interesting to hear him respond to even one. Of course, his handlers and those in the MSM will see to it that he is never asked substantive questions without a 24 hour period in which to answer them. With out a telepropmtor ad a script from which to read Obama is nothing.

Interestingly enough, I googled the title (George Wills’ Questions for Barack Obama) and got only one hit—from a poster on a community blog on Obama’s campaign web site.
Hi, All! I'm new to this blog. Somebody recently sent me this email and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions how to reply to it.
She signs herself “Mary of San Diego” so I have to believe she is legitimately wondering how to respond. Although, if she is part of the military family based in San Diego…. Can you say, “Devil’s advocate?”

I also attempted to check the veracity of this using Snopes but came up blank.

What's a "Billion" mean?

Over the transom: From an email:

How many zeros in a billion?

The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of it's releases.

A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

A billion hours ago our ancestors were
Living in the Stone Age.

A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain...
let's take a look at New Orleans.
It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.

Former Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D) asked Congress for 250 BILLION DOLLARS to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number...
What does it mean?

Well... If you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, and child) each get $516,528.

Or... If you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans, your home gets $1,329,787.

Or... If you are a family of four... Your family gets $2,066,012.

Washington, D. C Are all your calculators broken??
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago...
And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt...
We had the largest middle class in the world...
And Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?
Can you spell 'politicians!'

And I still have to
Press "1"
For English.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ceiling Cat at the Aerie

We have our own Ceiling Cat at the Aerie.

Shadow's Spot

Shadow has taken to lurking and napping atop the pantry cupboard. There she can avoid Chester's inquisitive nature and often roguish behavior.

And sometimes she gets up on the main support beam for the second floor and peers down upon us mere mortals.

(Okay, she’s not really a Ceiling Cat. That’s the floor for the second floor that’s above her head, although it also serves as the ceiling for the first floor. And she has the color more suitable to a Basement Cat. Neither of the other cats go up there anymore. Chester may not be able to jump high enough—the tub of lard! And Julie has not sought the heights since spring time. )

Zucchini Bread

Remember these guys from the other day?

Zucchini 02

The Zucchini Brothers.

Today Terry did a job on them; they got shredded in preparation of being made into Zucchini Bread.

Shredded Zukes

Four zukes produced 12 cups of shredded material. Enough for 12 loaves of zucchini bread.

We only have four loaf pans (which is good since the oven only has room for four at a time!) so that means three cycles through the process of baking. Luckily a cold front came through yesterday evening and it’s a bit cooler today. (Only got up to 81° F today as opposed to 86 ° F yesterday. And there are more thunderstorms/showers as a second weak cold front moves through this afternoon.)

Here’s the product of the first round:

Zucchini Bread

Fresh out of the oven. Fantastic aroma. Smell it? No? Too bad.

Zucchini Bread

After a few minutes they get put on a raised rack for further cooling. When they reach air temperature, the will be wrapped in Saran Wrap and then aluminum foil and popped into the freezer.

All but one that is. It will be tomorrow’s breakfast. (And the rest will probably be gone by lunch time!)

If we kept more than one out, we’d go through them like they were potato chips. With a loaf of this on the counter you can’t help but take a slice every time you walk past. And if your sniffer is working, you’ll find a reason to walk past much too frequently!

Being frozen we can forget about them…sorta. Being frozen, they make a great gift to bring when visiting someone or a quick dessert to have with coffee and tea if a guest pops in unexpectedly.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Berry Buckle Recipe

For shellmo and Rev. Paul in Michigan and Alaska, respectively, two places that should have plenty of wild berries to offer. And, shellmo, I’m sure the 9 year-old nephew and his friends could learn to pick ‘em! (Of course, if you sent them out with an empty bucket it might still be empty when they return even if their tummies aren’t!)

The Berry Buckle recipe that Terry used came from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book (© 1996 by Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa), page 124. They call it Blueberry Buckle but just about any fruit would work.

Blueberry Buckle

Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 50 minutes
Oven: 350° F
Serves: 9

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
½ cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

For the crumb topping:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup butter or margarine

1. Grease the bottom and ½ inch up the sides of a 9x9x2 inch or 8x8x2 inch baking pan; set aside.
2. In one mixing bowl combine the 2 cups flour, baking powder , and salt
3. In a separate mixing bowl beat the shortening with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the ¾ cup sugar. Beat on medium to high speed till light and fluffy. Add the egg; beat well.
4. Add the dry mixture and the milk alternately to the beaten egg mixture, beat till smooth after each addition.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the berries on top.
6. Combine the ½ cup flour, ½ cup sugar, and cinnamon.
7. Cut in the butter till the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the berries.
8. Bake in a 350° F oven for 50 to 60 minutes or till golden.
9. Serve warm.

Ice cold milk or vanilla ice cream on the side makes a welcome addition.

Terry made some alterations, as all good cooks do:

1. She used unsalted butter and thinks she might use it in place of the shortening next time.
2. She allowed the butter to soften considerably and then squeezed the flour, sugar and butter mix between her fingers to get the correct “crumb” consistency.
3. She used an 8x8 pan and had to boost the cooking time 10-15 minutes due to the extra thickness and our 2100-foot altitude. Ours is an electric oven. Depending upon your fuel source and altitude, you may have to adjust the cooking time. (She recommends using the 9x9 pan—the cake will last a little longer!)
4. She also used non-fat skim milk. Whole milk might result in an even richer flavor—if possible!)
5. She used a mix of fresh, wild red and black raspberries and blueberries. And we talked about how blackberries, peaches, and nectarines could be used. They would soften during the cooking process much as the raspberries and blueberries did. We didn’t think fresh strawberries would work too well but frozen ones might.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Good eats!

Tonight’s dinner consisted of grilled zucchini (basted with a little EVOO and herbs from the garden), grilled salmon (also basted with the same oil and herb mix), and some rice pilaf.

And for dessert:

Berry Buckle

Some berry buckle, still warm from the oven.


Some cold milk…. Mmmmmmm! Serious good eats!

(and somehow, despite using two cups of mixed berries, there's still a cup plus in the fridge. I guess the TupperWare container was larger than I thought. So tomorrow they'll get turned into some berry sauce and dribbled over vanilla ice cream.)

Berry, berry good

About 10:30 this morning I was sitting on the deck watching the birds come and go at the feeders when I noticed there were quite a few ripe raspberries on the bushes behind the feeders. I figured the rain the other day must have helped some of the younger berries along in their maturation so I grabbed a one quart TupperWare container that has a handle and a lid and set out to see if I could fill that thing up.
Raspberries & Blueberries 03

The answer would be, “No.” But I did get more than two cups of raspberries and blueberries from the power line right of way and our second driveway. To harvest that much required a little bank climbing and some stooping (the blueberries are wild low bush huckleberries) and some fighting with the tougher blackberry canes. Still, it will be worth it. Terry will use them as the topping for a buckle. (That’s coffee cake with fruit on top.)

In a week or two I should be able to go back to the blackberries and harvest enough for some jam or jelly. I’ll need to bring a bigger bucket for that, however. The canes are loaded with berries. Come to think of it, I might have to bring my .44 Mag Redhawk, too, that pesky bruin might want to contest the ownership of those black berries.

Manna from heaven

That alien life form that threatens to take over the world every summer has begun to make its presence known once again. Yes, I am speaking of that insidious, easy to grow, zucchini. Well, we have met the enemy and it is edible!

Last year we discovered one of the neighbors down the hill would occasionally put out on the corner a cardboard box with fresh produce from their garden and a hand lettered sign saying, “FREE.” Last week the box was there once more but we were too late to see what they were offering. Today, when I went to get the mail, I was early enough to find the box piled high with zucchini. Seven or eight of the small zucchini sat perched atop the box. I stopped and took four that ranged in size from seven to nine in length. Small enough that the seeds inside would still be tinny, soft and edible. (When they get to be the size of a baseball bat, the seeds are tough and hard to chew.)

Zucchini 03

These little guys will be converted into a couple of loaves of zucchini bread. One will be on the table for breakfast later this week and the others will be wrapped in saran and aluminum and stashed in the freezer for some time in the future.

We have our own zucchini growing in the yard but ours seem to be a bit behind in their development in comparison to the neighbors’. It could be the difference in altitude or the amount of sun their garden gets. Or it could simply be that the soil they are working has a lot more organic material than ours. The latter will be corrected next year when I work a couple more bags of cow manure into the soil before planting.

Now, some will say there is such a thing as too much zucchini. To them I say, “Balderdash!” Small zukes in the five to seven inch range can be sliced and boiled/steamed for a nice side dish. To add some color use small yellow squash as well…or peas, carrots, whole kernel corn….the list is endless. Those that sneak up on you and grow to nine to twelve inches can be shredded and used for zucchini bread or served as a side dish raw or steamed.

And if you should go away for a week and return home to find a baseball bat sized zuke beneath those large leaves, hold on to it. You could always use it to club the black bears when they raid your bird feeders.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I had a miserable night sleeping. Tossed and turned for a good portion of it and woke off and on from 4 AM until 6 when I gave up trying to get back to sleep and got up to feed the cats. Now my spine aches from my neck to my tailbone and my knees are forgetting they can bend. I'm moving around like Lurch. *sigh* Guess that's what happens when you don't really do anything all day but sit and surf the internet.

And that's all I did yesterday. Around noon the thunderstorms started to roll in from the northwest and they continued right up to sunset. Watching their progress on the radar was fascinating. There would be nothing on the screen until about 20 miles from here and suddenly, as the air would approach the Northern Tier of PA, the clouds would blossom up and out. Fortunately the strongest of the storms passed just tour east and west or didn't develop their full potential until they had moved over the hill to the south of us. We were never in the direct fire of the lightening that seemed to stay one to two miles away. Still, the rain came down quite heavily at times and the lights flickered off and on occasionally. I haven't gone out to check the gauge yet but I'm sure we had over half an inch. (UPDATE: I was close. We had 0.43 inches of rain yesterday.)

I went out to bring the bird feeders in around 8:30 PM. The two feeders with sunflower seed were not a problem but I had to wait for the hummingbirds to finish before they would let me bring in their sugar water. I guess the rains took a lot of energy form the little guys and they needed to stock up. Anyway, they finished around 8:45 and allowed me to remove the feeder from the deck as things were starting to get really dark.

At 9 PM Mr. Bruin showed up looking for some sunflower seeds. I had forgotten to empty the tray feeder and he promptly spilled that but he knocked the tray right on top of the seed and could not figure out where it went. He then checked the pole where the other feeders usually hang and was disappointed to find it was empty. So he took a nosh out of the one sunflower that was growing next to the pole. It had a nicely formed head and would have been a pretty flower in a couple of days. Now, half of it is gone. Once again, this bear knows no fear. Shining the light on him, yelling at him proved fruitless. He was not going until he was ready to leave. (And it is a "him", he stood on his hind legs to check for the hanging feeder and gave us proof that at least one black male still has his nuts.) This is a young male but he still goes in the range of 250-300 pounds and I'm not about to go out and rassle; ala Davy Crockett. Of course, if he continues to show up through the hunting season....Nah, just like the turkeys, when the calendar says it will be okay to shoot him, he will have found himself a safe hidey-hole somewhere and he won't be back in the yard until late April or early May.

And then there's the Mets. They didn't do it the easy way (Santana gave up 5 runs in 4 innings ad Heilman gave up 3 in 1/3 of an inning) but they got the job done behind Wright, Delgado and Tatis. They dropped the Reds 10-8 by scoring 4 runs in the ninth inning. The Mets have now won 10 straight and are tied for first place with the Phillies. There's still a lot of baseball to play, however, and the collapse they suffered last September should keep them aware of the need to play hard to the end.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer doldrums

Jimbo (Parkway Rest Stop) is complaining that his muse has left him and he can think of nothing about which to write. I’ve been feeling the same way the last few days. Call it the summer time blues (or blahs). When all the news in the papers and on air seems to be recycled bull flop (i.e. recession? I do not think it means what you think it means; global warming cooling change?; the public thinks Congress stinks....well, that's not bull flop, it's truth) and the biggest imbroglio is about who's got OB's nuts in a jar (Jesse or Michelle?) or whether some New Yorker editor is a complete know-nothing ass (isn't that part of the job description?) then it's real easy to draw blanks.

At least we learned he cancount to 100. Not bad for a lawyer.

A couple of chocolate vodka shots on ice will bring the muse running--or so I have heard.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

And another one bites the dust

A groundhog showed up on the lawn this afternoon about 1 o'clock. he won't be coming back if you catch my drift.

Night time visitor at the Aerie

No, it wasn't the bear. I've been taking the sunflower seed feeders inside at night to discourage that particular visitor.

Late yesterday afternoon I refilled the hummingbird feeder that hangs from the front deck. This morning it was empty and a set of very sugary paw prints could be seen both on the railing near the feeder (along with lots of little brown ants) and on the steps leading up to the deck. Raccoon paw prints to be more precise. The little bugger climbs up on the railing and licks all the sugar water out of the feeder but he spills quite a bit of it too.

It's annoying on two counts. First, I have to mix up more sugar water when the masked marauder hits; and two, the potted tomato and pepper plants are sitting on the deck and could easily become the food of choice for the 'coon. I can bring the hummingbird feeder in at night, but the seven pots of tomatoes and peppers? That's getting to be a little too much. And there is no way to keep the critter off the deck. Even if I were to put a gate at the bottom of the stairs, he'd simply climb the posts to get around/over it.

Let me make a short list of the mammals we have seen in the yard at the Aerie:
White-tail deer
Black Bear
Gray Squirrel
Red Squirrel

Everyone of them, with the possible exception of the porky, would gladly dine on many of the vegetables we could plant in the raised beds. (Although--so far--they have left the herbs and zucchini pretty much alone.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ho-hum, back at the Aerie

Since getting back to the Aerie on Sunday I have seen a groundhog in the yard briefly on Sunday evening. (As soon as it saw me step onto the deck with the air rifle, it disappeared into the weeds and hasn't returned.)

Also Sunday evening at around 9:30 PM the local black bear came into take apart the bird feeders--again. I shone my flashlight at him and yelled but he just sat down and looked into the light. Probably would have started worshiping me if the charge on that million candle power light hadn't started to fade. As the light faded, I stepped back onto the deck and into the house. THe bear absconded with one of the feeders. (I found the feeder today up the hill about 20 yards--empty.)

It rained quite hard on Sunday. Over an inch of water was in the rain gauge. All that water has been good for the grass and the wild berries along the powerline right of way. Terry and I picked a cup of ripe red raspberries yesterday and I got a mixed two cups of red and a few black raspberries (one little bush) plus some blueberries this afternoon. Yesterday's berries ended up as last night's dessert on top of some shortcake with whip cream. Today's will end up over some pancakes for breakfast tomorrow.

I cut the grass today and the new section is growing very, very well. I realize I made two mistakes, however. The first was asking for hay and not straw to cover the seed. The hay sprouted right alongside the grass seed. It looks marvelous! (Straw is a pretty dead product and will not sprout. Even better is "salt hay" which comes from plants that need a little salt water tickling their roots. But that stuff has become pretty rare and expensive.) My second mistake was in not scratching up a few more of the bare spots and spreading seed and hay over them! If I had, the lawn would now look like a fairway at the local country club.

The next couple of days are supposed to be scorchers so I'm planning on spending a good part of the day in the basement where it will be 15-20 degrees cooler than the 85-90 they are predicting. I've got to rebuild at least one bird feeder and may put together another one or two while I'm at it. I will NOT be putting these outside again until later in the fall when Mr. Bruin may be deeper in the woods. I've also got to burn some CDs of pictures before I forget. My sister-in-law wants to see what I have from the wedding in San Francisco. And I still haven't created the back-up discs of my photos from either the PowerBook G4 or the Toshiba.

On a side note, I was sorely disappointed when I stepped on the scale on Monday morning. All that hard work and a fairly limited diet (no snacks, only a little carb in the form of sandwich bread and French fries, lots of protein but in reasonable servings) and I still I weighed a half pound more than before I left. *sigh* At least I felt like I converted some fat into muscle.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Back at the Aerie

Got back to the Aerie this afternoon after driving through a monsoon between Ithaca and Elmira on Route 13. It let up just as I pulled into the driveway but that didn't last long. A half hour latter it was raining again but much more gently.

A groundhog has shown up again. So has a black bear. The first was browsing on the clover in the yard this afternoon. The bear was at the bird feeders again. I guess I'll be pulling them in for the summer.

Sitting here watching the Mets on ESPN and I have to say I am very disappointed in Mike Pelfrey's performance. He's gone 8 innings and allowed 6 hits: no runs, but six hits. Smith came in and gave up another hit: no runs but a hit. The Rockies managed to get 7 hits tonight. That's as many as the Mets have given up in the last three games.

Oh yeah, the Mets won 7-0 for their 9th consecutive game.

Unfortunately, the Phillies won today too so the Mets are still 1/2 game out of first. Also unfortunate is that the All Star break has begun and the Mets do not play again until Thursday.

Right now I'm ....
see more dog pictures

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Chore Report from the Bolt Hole

I spent seven hours out in the woods today and didn't fire up the chainsaw once. There are 8 to 10 fairly large red maples that cot blown over in the storm last August but every one of them pulled up enough soil and maintained contact with the ground enough that they all sprouted leaves this year. As I said earlier, with the amount of split, seasoned firewood stacked in the yard there is no sense to cutting up living trees at the moment. They can wait until next year.

Instead, I worked with the loppers--a long handled pair with a cam that makes cutting something as thick as 2 inches possible. I sought out all the dead branches that were sticking up as well as those leaning against or hanging from trees and brought them all to the ground where they will be out of sight during the hunting season and where they can rot peacefully back into the duff. I didn't do ALL of the woods but picked three areas with lots of dead branches/trees and did areas ranging from 50 to 100 yards square (that's a square 50 to 100 yards on a side). It's not exactly lifting weights but my arm, chest and back muscles got quite a workout.

I started at 8 AM and took a half hour break for lunch before going back out to do more. I quit at 4 PM so I could sit and watch the Mets game on Fox. And thought about doing more when the game was over but fatigue settled in as I sat through the game and I called it fini for the day.

Speaking of the Mets. Holy Cow! as Phil Rizzuto would say. Although Pedro Martinez only threw 4 innings before succumbing to a strained groin/shoulder/whatever, the Bullpen came through again. Pedro gave up one hit, Carlos Muniz, Aron Heilman and Billy Wagner gave up none. Muniz got the win after pitching 2 hitless, scoreless innings in the 3-0 Mets victory. He is the third reliever in a row to earn the victory. In the last five games the Mets have allowed just 13 hits and 4 runs and the Bullpen has given up none of the runs in 18 1/3 innings of relief. Now that's worth a ton of Rolaids right there.

The Mets, by virtue of having an 8 game win streak, are now just 1/2 game behind the Phillies and have one more game against the Rockies tomorrow before the All Star break.

Looking at the weather forecasts for tomorrow, I believe I'll be packing up early and heading back to the Arie. There's a 60% chance of rain during the day and then 80% at night according to

Right now, I'm in need of a cool shower and then to bed, so adios, amigos. Vaya con Dios.

Bolt Hole Chores

Another glorious night here in the Adirondacks. The skies cleared shortly after dark and the temperature dropped even further so it was a mere 50 degrees when I got out of bed at 6 AM. (Freakin' birds!)

Looks like there won't be anything in the way of clouds today so working in the shade of the woods will be my choice. Especially since the temperatures will climb to around 80 degrees. (The quacks say 86 but I believe their closest station is over at the old Griffiss AFB in Rome, NY and that's both horizontally and vertically distant from the Bolt Hole.)

One more cup of coffee then it's time to play lumberjack for the day. I'l report in this evening.

Hasta luego.

Let's go Mets!

Well, the Mets pulled it off last night defeating the Rockies 2-1. The bull pen was magnificent again allowing just 1 hit, 3 BB and 0 runs while recording 4 Ks in the final three innings. And for the second day in a row, one of their members (Pedro Feliciano) was awarded the victory. The Mets have now won 7 in a row and 9 of their last 11.

Oh, they're dinged up like most teams with Moises Alou (OF) probably done for the year (again) and his career may be over. Ryan Church (OF) is still reeling from the two concussions he's suffered (the first in spring training). Luis Castillo (2B) is on the DL as is Trot Nixon (OF), Tony Armas (RHP), Angel Pagan (OF) and Matt Wise (RHP). Orlando Hernandez (RHP) is still rehabing down in Florida.

But they're getting some great production from the guys who are filling in. For example, Damion Easley got the game winner last night with a solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth. And the pitching is suddenly unhittable--literally. The pitching staff has allowed just 3 hits in each of the last four games.

With this current streak, the Mets have improved to 49-44 and are just 1 1/2 games back of the Phillies tied for second with the Florida Marlins. With lots of baseball yet to be played, this is still anyone's division to win.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A little rain delay...

...on the yard work today. First I put off going out because of the threat of showers (which didn't arrive when predicted). Then I went for a walk about with Mark as we looked for deer sign and scouted out a few blow downs. Of course, while we were out in the woods, the showers DID arrive. They were light at first and that gave us enough time to retreat to the Bolt Hole and Mark went to make some business phone calls while I had a sandwich for lunch. We planned to go fish behind his place in a half hour but that's when the sky opened for real.

We canceled our planned outing and I relaxed for a while. The rain stopped and an hour or so later the brush was dry enough to get the hog out again for a two hour workout.

While I was working, Mark went to scout out the woods behind his place and wet a line in the creek. Shortly after I finished he showed up with stories of having caught a couple of native trout all in the 8-9 inch range. He also had the memory cards from two cameras on his side that showed Momma bear and the twins had visited both the camera on my side of the road AND the camera on his side. They started by me and within 5 minutes of leaving here were at his camera. Then they came back to my camera again. I'd swear Momma had a big grin on her face in one of the shots. She has better control over those two cubs than some ladies in Wally World have over their kids if they made the trip from my camera to Mark's in five minutes--they are about a quarter mile apart as the raven flies. And you KNOW those two little cubs are curiouser than a pair of kittens. But when Mom says move I guess they know better than to question "Why? and just do what she tells them to pronto. After all, who wants to get swatted upside the head by a 300 pound Momma! They don't have the bear equivalent of Family Services to complain to out in the woods.

Anyway, the work with the brush hog is essentially done for now. Tomorrow looks to be considerably warmer. (That means it might get up to a sunny 76 degrees as today never got much above 65 with no sun at all.) Under those conditions, I'll be heading into the woods with the chainsaw where I can work in the shade. If I can find any blow downs without leaves. The ones we saw today still had enough soil around the root balls that they were producing leaves. Five good sized maples that would be perfect firewood but will need a year to season. As we have plenty already in the yard for this winter, I'd rather let these go until next summer since they are alive.

Worse comes to worse, I search out some "widow makers" (trees that are dead but hung up on others) and do my best to drop them to the ground.

Meanwhile, I'll head over to Mets game on the computer. It's currently 1-1 in the seventh but Oliver Perez is in trouble. He's been good up 'til know giving up only the one run on a homer to Brad Hawpe (who also just singled--the only two hits the Rockies have tonight). And as I say that Perez is coming out of the game 7 K, 6 BB 1 Run (so far--there are two on and no outs) in six innings.


The sky was crystal clear last night as the sun set so you knew the night time temperature was going to drop like a stone and it did. This morning it was a mere 48 degrees on the thermometers attached to the side of the house when I rolled out of bed at 7 AM. These are the cheap spring type of thermometers and they do pick up some of the heat of the structure (not that here was much to pick up after yesterday's high of 65). If I were up here for a longer time, I might invest in the same sort of thermometer I've got at the Aerie: the digital remote sensor that can be mounted up to 100 feet from the house. Put in the shade somewhere so it picks up the real air temperature and I might never want to get out from under the covers.

Just checked the radar (showers to the west heading this way and then scattered T-storms this afternoon) and the nearest Weather underground station (a farm 5 miles or so to the west at 1200 feet elevation opposed to the Bolt Hole's 16-1700 feet). The WU guy's station is out under some big maples in his farmyard. His temperature reading is usually a few degrees warmer in the winter and his low over night was also 48 degrees so maybe the real temp at the Bolt Hole was a shade below that. (The only accurate thermometer I've got is the one in the Tundra and I'm not going to turn the key just to see what the temperature is.) Summer temps are tough to adjust for our different elevations. Cool air tends to sink and sometimes the valleys are colder over night than the hillsides. We see this happen at the Aerie often.

I'm going to have a second cup of coffee (for the warmth!) and wait a bit before breaking out the brush hog. The brush was soaking wet yesterday morning and, as a result, I got wet. Don't need to get caught in an actual shower while I'm working. If it rains too hard and the brush is too wet, I'll move into the woods and block up some of the blow downs into firewood lengths.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday chores at the Bolt Hole

I guess the brief rain we got at the Bolt Hole lasts evening was a cold front moving through. The temperature this morning when I got out of bed was around 55 degrees and it has managed to rise to only 65 at 4 PM this afternoon. It's sunny though and that sun is warm when your out and about chasing after the brush hog like I was.

I spent three and a half hours clearing much of the area west of the Park that I showed in yesterday's photos. Did I mention that when Mark cleared this area using a pair of brush loppers two to four feet of snow was on the ground? Even when he went slightly below the surface to cut the woody shrubs he still left stubs that were from 10 to 18 inches in length. And although the brush hog is supposed to cut saplings up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter when they are clustered together in groups of 8 to 10 it makes for some slow going.

I did manage to avoid cutting many of the blueberries and even found a few more patches that I had to work around. When I took a break and walked back to check the cameras I put out yesterday, I flushed five ruffed grouse from one of those blueberry patches. Looks like if I want any of the ripe berries I'm going to have to beat the birds off with a stick.

After I went to bed last evening, I heard a deer snort over where one of the cameras was and thought I would have some pictures from that this morning. There was just one on the camera of the south end of a north bound deer. The other camera had two dozen photos of Mama bear and her twins just lounging around. They didn't appear to have eaten any of the bait I put out. The whole family mist just like to be in pictures.

After lunch I went back outside with a pair of loppers to widen some of the ATV trails. Yesterday I got pretty wet from over hanging branches as I drove around to see if there were any blow downs that needed to be cut with the chainsaw. While I was out there, I also cut some of the woody shrubs and stubs around the apple trees that I had left with the brush hog. (Just didn't want to get too close to the apples and accidentally cut them down with the power machine.) I may go back out to do some more once the Mets game is over.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Great Apple Orchard Recovery Program

Mark and I are working on a project at the Bolt Hole to restore a little bit of an old apple orchard that used to exist here.

Once upon a time there was a huge apple orchard that covered much of a country section (660 acres) in this neck of what is now woods. When the orchard failed to make a profit the parcel was divided up and the place I have now was the home of the former orchardist. He turned it into a hunting camp and guided city folks in pursuit of white-tail deer and bear. My garage was once part of an animal barn where he kept his horses and tack. Remnants of the old buildings remain here and there. His lands were divided again and again until my 34 acres passed on to me.

Walking the fields and woods near the house and garage we came upon a few scraggly old apple trees still sprouting from the old root stock. One winter, Mark, being unemployed at the time, started to clear the brush, saplings and pines away from many of the apple trees behind the garage and to the west in what we called Phase One of The Great Apple Orchard Recovery Program.

The following summer he took the brush hog and cleared out the small sapling stumps that remained after the snow melted. Low and behold, the grass took over and a park-like area emerged from what was a waist high thicket of young firs, poplar saplings and a brush I think may be Labrador Tea. And a few of the apple trees started to produce small apples.

100_0001 Opened 2005-6
Phase One of The Great Apple Orchard Recovery Program.

100_0003 Brush pile
Several large brush piles were created from the slash of clearing the orchard. This is one of the larger ones. It stands almost six feet high and covers an area of about 15 feet by 15 feet. It provides cover for all kinds of small mammals from rodents to weasels as well as snakes and other critters. Burning is out of the question and hauling it all off to dump in a hollow area on the far side of the property is time consuming so here it will stay until time, snow and insects reduce it to so much humus.

Phase One went so well that Phase Two has begun. A chunk of the area behind the barn and cabin has had some pine trees removed and the honeysuckle thinned out. I’ve started brush hogging the remaining stumps and Labrador tea. With luck, in a year or two, the grass will be growing beneath the apple trees and the damp moss that spread disease that weakened them will be a thing of the past. (The pines really hold in the moisture as does the thick Labrador Tea. Air circulation about the base of the apple trees is vital to their health.)

100_0005 Mowed area
This swath about 6 feet wide was brush hogged out on Tuesday afternoon. There’s still a lot more to cut behind the brush pile on the left and even among the trees on the right. (There’s one of the apple trees in the right rear of this photo.) When it’s done, the grass will show up in a year or two. Then it will be mowed by mower not brush hog.

100_0007 Labrador Tea
This is what I'm calling Labrador Tea. It does have a nice spike of white flowers in the spring but it is tough to walk through. It's woody stems cris-cross and will trip you up. Plus the leaves hold lots of moisture even if it's just dew so walking through this waist high stuff will leave you soaked.

100_0010 Thursday's project
Here's a section I hope to get cleared on Thursday. It's to the west of the open, park-like area in the first photo. It’s mostly “tea”, poplar saplings and small fir trees. This is where I'll have to keep my eyes open for blueberries.

100_0012 Blueberry patch
While clearing some of the “tea” in the area of the photo above this one I came across this fairly large patch of blueberries. (Actually there is another a short distance away.) They aren't the big ones you find in commercial fields or even in the NJ Pine Barrens but they are sweet when ripe. There are a few ripe berries already but in a week’s time I’ll be fighting the birds for many of these. (Hopefully the bears will be elsewhere!)

So, I’ve got my work planned for the next few days at least. I’ll be walking behind the brush hog most of the time if the weather permits. Tomorrow is supposed to be cool and breezy which will make the job much more comfortable than the high temps and humidity of yesterday. I did get some work done with the brush loppers today and the chainsaw. The showers of around noon time didn’t reappear until just after 8 PM this evening and I can feel the temperature falling as I type this.

Well, that’s all for tonight. It’s time to check and see how the Mets are doing and then head off to sleep. (Those bloody birds awaken me at 4:30 AM! At least Chester waits until 6 o’clock.)