Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Some Aerie Doings and
some quick traveling plans

After getting 0.23 inches of rain Sunday night and another 1.26 inches Monday night, neither Monday nor Tuesday were good days to be staining. Things had to dry out before I could pick up a brush again.

That's okay, I had the pink water in the cistern to concern myself with. That pink was caused bu too rapid refilling after I used the hose to wash the deck on Friday. It's caused by fine clay washing into the well from between the layers of shale the hillside is made from. We get a little of it every summer when we use too much water for things like the garden. (Note to self: Get some rain barrels!) The clay gets passed the in-line filter which is a 1 micron job and into the 500 gallon tank. Then into the house lines and discolors all the water in the laundry, sinks and toilets. We tend to notice it more in the toilets because that water sits for a while between uses and the clay settles out.

I used the sump pump to empty the the cistern and then changed the filter. Turned the circuit breaker back on and...nothing. I started to panic a little. I fiddled with the delay/kill switch for the well pump. (This switch will kill the pump if it starts to draw air, or when it has pumped for a preset period of time.) Still nothing. Now I was panicing a lot. What bothered me most is that we have had this problem before and have successfully handled the restart.

Terry suggested I call Don, the contractor with whom I worked and lived as we built the Aeire. Maybe he would know what to do.

I called. He came up ASAP.

We went down to the basement and I was describing what I had done and what the problem was. Don set his tool bag down and did a quick test on the circuit of the kill switch. That's when I noticed that the two valves that control water flow around the filter were turned to the closed position.

I reached over and turned them to the open position and water began flowing immediately. The pump was running but couldn't push the water into the system because I had blocked the flow to install a new filter and never unblocked it. It's a good thing the pump was sumberged or it could have overheated and burned out.

Anyway, problem solved. Don stayed for a brief visit and went home with a zucchini bread for his troubles.

Me? I learned a couple of lessons.

1) Check all the damn valves before you panic!

2) Don is still a really nice guy and valuable friend.


All day Tuesday we had bright sunshine and a fair breeze blowing. The deck dried out nicely, but the sky was too clear Tuesday night and the temperatures (mid-50s) produced a very heavy dew on all horizontal surfaces. This morning I had to wait until that dew disappeared before I could take up the brush again and get some staining done.

It didn't reach 60 degrees until just after 10 AM. By then most of the dew was gone and I felt safe in getting to work on the stiles and rails which have many, many vertical surfaces.

I didn't lay down the brush until 6:30 when the first gallon of stain was gone. By then I was through with nearly all the stiles and rails with the exception of one side of the short steps down to the lawn and one bottom rail I overlooked.

I only took a couple of 10 minute breaks and 15 for a quick nosh around 1 PM.

The deck surface will be done next week when we get back from eastern Massachusetts and a claim bake with Sue and Bruce and their extended family. Sixty or seventy people in all will be in attendance. Friday we'll go quahog hunting off the coast. Saturday we're to collect seaweed. Sunday it will be time to par-tay!

Monday, August 27, 2012

It never fails.

Friday's 5-Day forecast said things were going to be sunny and warm until Tuesday.

Fool that I am, I believed the prognosticators and thus planned to stain my deck which had been basking in sunshine since last Tuesday.

Friday I washed the deck with a cleaning solution.

Saturday--a lovely day--I had to let the deck dry again.

Sunday, with a forecast of 30% chance of widely scattered showers, and after going to Knights' of Columbus breakfast at Holy Child (and winning the 50-50!), I started staining the rails and balusters. Since the deck is 10+ feet in the air, that means I had to use the ladder. A lot. Up and down at least 10 times just to get the outside of the 1-1/2 square wooden balusters and the outside of the 2x4 rail and 2X6 top plate. I put in a good 6 hours stopping only when I had to move the ladder to drink a half quart of water.
As luck would have it, around 5:30 PM the white, puffy cumulus clouds suddenly turned nasty looking. I wrapped up my work at 6:30 PM and put everything away. While washing the brown stain off my hands and forearms (it's impossible NOT to get some on you), I heard the tell-tale sounds of rain drops falling on the tree leaves and then it grew louder.

It rained hard enough that some of the stain ran. Not a lot, but some. Being a water repellant stain, I'm not sure trying a second coat without washing/sanding will do me any good. At least the honey yellow from the last staining has been covered.

I've still got half the balusters and rails to go as well as all the deck floor. After a nice drying day, the sky has darkened again and there's the sound of some distant thunder. If we do get rain tonight--and the forecasters give us a 60% chance--then I can't stain tomorrow (Tuesday). Thursday afternoon we take our Winnebago on its maiden voyage--for us, anyway--and head to West Wareham, Mass. for a clambake with Bruce and Sue. We won't be home until late Monday.

Naturally, the forecasters predict nothing but sunshine until...wait for Tuesday. How accurate are they? Who knows? While my knees and back help a little in predicting weather conditions, they are fickle. They hurt when it's nice out too because that's when I'm most active and most likely to over extend myself. Therefore, I'm looking into how to cultivate the growth of bunions.

Oh, and next time I'm getting a Trex deck and wrought iron rails and balusters.

Ding dong, the wasps are dead!

The wasps are dead! The wasps are dead!
Ding dong the wicked wasps are dead!

Seems two cans of Spectracide did the job. Oh, there's a stray yellow jacket or two searching the lawn for any dead, decaying fruit, or meat, but the nest behind the house is NOT a place of activity any longer. The ground in front of the nest is piled 3 and 4 deep with little yellow and black bodies.

Even the 0.23 inches of rain we got last evening couldn't save them. (Although it did save me from using another can of spray.) The Spectracide says to soak the nest and let it do its thing. The compound will continue to kill on contact as bees move about and/or return to the hive from a wild night on the town only to come into contact with the poison soaked hive. It delivered on that promise.

Now I "just" have to rake up the leaves and nest and haul it all into the woods to decompose. Oh joy! 8-(

College Football Returns!

The NFL has one more week of preseason games, but the College Football Season is upon us. Time to forget all the off-season drama of teams switching conferences, coaches switching teams (or, worse, getting arrested), of players switching teams (or, worse, getting arrested), talk of "death penalties" and suspensions. It's time for the Referee to blow the whistle and whirl his arm signifying "Play Ball!"

August 30th is kickoff day for the 2012 college football season and there are a few new faces in the crowd this year. The Texas-San Antonio Road Runners and Texas-San Marcos Bobcats join the soon to be dissolved Western Athletic Conference (it’s the conferences last season), South Alabama Jaguars become part of the Sun Belt Conference, and the UMass Minutemen will join the Mid-American Conference giving the FBS 124 competitors up from 120 last year. (South Alabama is ranked 113 by, but the others occupy slots 122, 123 and 124.)

Additionally, an old face has been permitted back in the mix. Southern California comes off a two year period of probation and post season ban to occupy the top spot in the AP poll, 3rd in the Coaches’ Poll and 2nd in the poll.

The frantic conference realignment that occurred as the 2011 season came to an end means there will be numerous changes in who plays whom and for what stakes—especially in the Big 12. (Welcome, TCU and West Virginia!) Even more changes will take place at the end of this season as the ACC, Big East, Conference USA, and Mountain West shuffle teams in and out, and with the dissolution of the WAC adding to the mayhem.
(As an aside, Tropical Storm Isaac may impact more than a few games as it heads up the Mississippi with a projected path having it near St. Louis, MO early Saturday morning. I know my Rutgers’ Scarlet Knights will be watching carefully as they are scheduled to play Tulane in New Orleans on Saturday.)
For now, it’s time to begin concentrating on the playing of the game and cheering for your favorite team/conference so let’s see who is perceived as the crème de la crème of the 2012 teams.
All but one of the Top 25 are in action during the first weekend, but only two contests feature two ranked teams. (Okay, one and a half since Auburn isn’t ranked by the AP.) As expected there are some mismatches on the opening slate. 

(Numbers given are the rankings of: AP/Coaches’/CBSSports. NR = Not Rated)

1/3/2 Southern California The Trojans start the season at home against Hawaii’s Warriors on Saturday night.

2/2/3 Alabama The Tide play at Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Texas) on Saturday night against the #8 
Michigan Wolverines.

3/1/1 LSU The Tigers open their season Saturday evening at home against the Mean Green of North Texas. (Isaac will have some impact on this game for sure. )

4/4/4 Oklahoma The Sooners will play on the road on Saturday night against the Texas-El Paso Miners.

5/5/5 Oregon The Ducks host the Arkansas State Red Wolves Saturday night.

6/6/6 Georgia The Bulldogs will play at home on Saturday afternoon vs. the Buffalo Bulls.

7/7/7 Florida State The Seminoles open the season at home Saturday against the Murray State

8/8/9 Michigan The Wolverines play #2 Alabama at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX Saturday night.

9/9/8 South Carolina The Gamecocks will play on the road against the Vanderbilt Commodores Thursday night.

10/10/11 Arkansas The Razorbacks will host the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (an FCS school) Saturday night.

11/11/10 West Virginia The Mountaineers host the Thundering Herd of intrastate rival Marshall on Saturday at noon.

12/12/12 Wisconsin The Badgers host the Northern Iowa Panthers (an FCS school) Saturday afternoon.

13/13/14 Michigan State The Spartans will host Boise State’s Broncos Friday night.

14/14/13 Clemson The Tigers play on the road against the Tigers of Auburn on Saturday evening.

15/15/17 Texas The Longhorns host the Wyoming Cowboys Saturday night.

16/20/18 Virginia Tech The Hokies host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Monday night.

17/16/20 Nebraska The Cornhuskers will be hosting the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on Saturday afternoon.

18/NR/15 Ohio State The Buckeyes open their season Saturday at noon against the Miami (Ohio) Red Hawks.

19/19/19 Oklahoma State The Cowboys open their season at home against the Savannah State Tigers (an FCS independent team).

20/17/16 TCU The Horned Frogs have the week off, not beginning their season until Saturday the 8th of September against the Grambling Tigers (an FCS team).

21/18/21 Stanford The Cardinal play Friday night at home against the San Jose State Spartans.

22/21/22 Kansas State The Wildcats open their season at home Saturday evening against the Missouri State Bears (an FCS team).

23/23/23 Florida The Gators play host to the Bowling Green Falcons Saturday afternoon.

24/22/25 Boise State The Broncos open on the road Friday night against the #13 ranked Michigan State Spartans.

25/NR/NR Louisville The Cardinals play at home on Sunday afternoon against intrastate rival Kentucky Wildcats.

NR/24/NR Notre Dame The Fighting Irish open their season Saturday—at 9 AM EST—in Dublin, Ireland--against the Midshipmen of Navy.

NR/25/NR Auburn The Tigers are on the road Saturday against the #14 Clemson Tigers.

NR/NR/24 Utah The Utes begin play on Thursday night against the Northern Colorado Bears.

There ya go. A run down of this weeks games played by the Top 25 (and then some). Get yourself some chips and a couple of six packs, sit back, and enjoy the on field action for a change. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What I did on my Saturday.

As night fell last evening, I ventured forth with a can of Spectracide Wasp & Hornet Killer to do battle with the yellow jackets that took up residence in the leaves behind the rear wheel of my log splitter. I could see no activity when I started to spray into the visible hole and soaked it and the surrounding leaves thoroughly.

In the morning light it was obvious that this first attack had had some success but did not produce a complete killing of the hive. I was, however, able to move the splitter a couple of feet since I could grab the tongue of splitter and pull it out of the way. What I then saw had the hairs on the back of my neck quivering. (There are precious few on the top of my head, but there are a few at the nape of my neck and these were at full, quivering alarm.)

The yellow jackets had built their nest in the leaves and not in the ground as they usually do. And what a nest it was! A mud construct measuring at least 12 inches long and 6 to 8 inches high and Lord knows how many inches deep was visible with the wasps--for that's what yellow jackets technically are--swarming over the surface.

Tonight I took another can of Spectracide spray out and gave them a second salvo of poison meant to kill on contact and keep killing for days. This time I emptied the entire can and marveled at the loud "buzzzzzz" from the agitated wasps. U was half surprised not to feel the vibrations through my heavy boots. With any luck, this will be the end of the little devils.

Actually, I was surprised that the little beasts didn't come swarming out and attack me while I was mowing the lawn yesterday, or moving the splitter, or spraying their nest. I have said many silent prayers of thanks for that little blessing! I've been stung before on multiple occasions and Do Not Like the experience.

When I was younger, I was allergic to bee/hornet stings and they almost killed me--twice. As a young teen I underwent desensitizing shots so the little creeps could not kill me. As a 20-something adult, I stepped in a yellow jackets' nest and got stung somewhere between 8 and 12 times. Who counts when there are that many? This was the first test of the shots I had received and they passed with flying colors as a couple of hours later--after having waited first with a NJ State Trooper a half mile from the hospital and then with a friend whose house was again just a stones throw from a hospital emergency room--I didn't even itch from the stings.

 Normally, I'm a live and let live kind of guy when it comes to wild critters who could do me harm. I give unknown snakes and spiders a wide berth. I'll sing or yell at bears when I see them approach--before making my own escape. (Of course, if I'm hunting....) I'll cut the line of any over sized shark (5 foot or better) and let it swim away with my tackle before thinking of bringing it into the boat. But not with wasps, hornets or their ilk. (Honey bees are another matter. Unless they are the Africanized version known as Killer Bees.) Especially when they invade my turf it's: Kill them all and let God sort them out.


In other activities today, I merely sprayed the deck with cleanser and then rinsed the same off in preparation of staining. I know I said I could do some staining of the rails today but my legs and back were protesting that I did too much yesterday so I was out voted 2-1. At least the spraying of the cleanser and subsequent rinsing didn't require my doing any stooping, bending or kneeling.

It did foul up my 500 gallon cistern, however. We have a shallow well here at the Aerie (just 120-150 feet deep) and it has a slow recharge rate. The water that comes in is usually laden with some of the fine red clay that surrounds the shale of the mountain. All the deck rinsing I did today caused a flushing of the water table and resulted in a rush of red clay particles into the cistern despite the one micron filter on the line. I had just replaced that filter last week but I had to do it again this afternoon. And the cistern's tank is cloudy with fine clay, too, and that will eventually have to be flushed out using the submersible pump. *sigh*


The Church is sponsoring a breakfast tomorrow morning on behalf of the Knights of Columbus so an early start to the staining project is not in the books. Biscuits and gravy, bacon and eggs, pancakes, the usual. Which is just fine my me! Staining will just have to wait until afternoon. Besides, waiting until later will allow the surfaces I sprayed with water today a better chance to dry out--as long as the widely scattered T-storms stay int he Northern Tier as they predict. ("Northern Tier" is southern, New York while "Southern Tier" is northern PA where the Aerie is located. Geography can get complicated. But at least I can spell "Ohio.")

Neil Armstrong has passed away.

Sad news this Saturday afternoon: Neil Armstrong has passed away at age 82. Those of you too young to remember, Mr. Armstrong, as commander of Apollo 11, was the first man to step foot on the surface of the Moon back in July of 1969.

Many of us were glued to our TV sets when this took place:

Rest in peace Mr. Armstrong.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Workin', Workin', Workin'...

...though my knees (feet, back) are hurtin', I keep right on a workin'. Rawhide!

Terry went off on another sit-n-stitch today so I was left at home to do chores.

First I mowed the lawn. While doing so I roused at least three leopard frogs and three red efts from the ankle deep grass. They and lots of black crickets and tan grass hoppers. Less welcome was the discovery of a yellow jackets nest in the leaves that have accumulated between the log splitter and the house foundation. I watched as dozens of the little stingers flew in and out of a sizable hole in the leaves and paid real close attention as I pushed the mower lawn mower a foot or so away from them. They did not attack for which I am grateful, but they are on my hit list. In fact, this evening I took a can of wasp killer and doused the hole with as much as I cared to use--probably 15 of the 20 ounces. If there are still signs of activity tomorrow morning, I will got to phase two--the remainder of that can and a second I have in reserve. (Might have to figure a way to move the splitter before I do that, however.)

Finished with the lawn, I ate lunch and then ran down to Lowes for some supplies needed to work on the deck. It needs to get stained--again. Today was day one of prep. I took the air compressor and a spackling knife and tried to remove as much debris as possible from between the boards. Shells of sunflower seeds and more seem to get wedged in there pretty tightly. I know we spaced these boards using a screw but next time I want to use something a wee bit thicker so all this crap will fall through. I hear a carpenter's pencil works nicely. It took me more than four hours to get that job done--much of it bent over--in the hot sun. My back and knees are killing me!

Tomorrow it will be time to use some cleaner. Spray it on, scrub it with a stiff brush (with a looong handle) and rinse it off. In a day or two, the deck should be dry enough to apply stain. While I'm waiting for the deck to dry, however, I can get started on the railing and spindles. If I do the outside surfaces (all ladder work) I can do the inside when I do the deck.

The weather forecasts show only the slightest chance of some scattered thunder storms early in the upcoming week. If I keep my fingers crossed-and my knees hold up--I might get everything done by Wednesday/Thursday.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Outdoor Critter In; Indoor Critters Out

I'm working in the yard yesterday and have the two garage doors open. Every time I return to the garage for something there's a rustling from the open bag of sunflower seeds and a chipmunk with two very stuffed cheeks pops out and scurries around the corner heading for the wood pile. He does this whenever the garage door is open for more than five minutes. He loves it when I cut the grass! The sound of the mower is like ringing the dinner bell.


Later, while I'm putting up the pea poles in the garden, Terry comes home and goes in to the house with her things. Then she comes out through the garage to see what I'm up to and pick some cherry tomatoes--of which we have an abundance.

I finish and head for the garage only to see a very familiar pussy cat on the driveway. Apparently, Terry had not closed the door between the foyer and the garage very tightly and we had an escape underway. Julie is the one I spotted on the driveway but when I called her name she headed back to the garage lickety-split. Shadow was under the front porch and she followed Julie back into the garage. When I shouted at them to get back in the house, they shot up the stairs--followed by Chester who was under the ATV (probably intrigued by the smell of chipmunk). When I got to the door, all three were acting innocent as hell. "We weren't outside! No sir! You didn't see us out there. Must be that beer you had. Now, can we have a crunchy?"

For Shadow and Chester this is the first time they've exited the house via the garage door. Previously they've gotten out on the deck but never stepped off the wood. Julie has been more adventurous. Jess had Julie semi-trained to walk on a leash when she was younger. ("Semi-trained" because--well--she's a cat! The leash did provide a tether when she would chase squirrels up the tree.) Anyway, Julie's shot through the door, on to the deck, and out on to the lawn; even leading me on a chase around the house (past a very startled opossum, I might add). She also once got out the front door when I didn't ensure it was closed properly and the wind blew it open. On that occasion she darted into the house as I pulled up in the truck and then hid downstairs, nonchalantly coming up when I came in the house as if to prove she hadn't been outside at all. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Busy Days

 We drove down from the Bolt Hole on Tuesday hauling the travel trailer on its final journey. The trip was uneventful and traffic moved along at a decent clip on the NY Thruway and then down Routes 14 and 54 to Bath. At Bath we unhitched the trailer in the Camping World lot and presented them with the keys. Everything inside was spick and span and, aside from a few stone dings and a need for a good bath, the outside is in very good shape, too. The only non-working items I am aware of is a wall mounted CD player and a burned out light bulb in one of the overhead light fixtures. The slideout behaved nicely when the Camping World rep tested it. And well it should after our experiences with it on our Alaskan trip and out on Cape Cod this summer. I was a little sad to leave her there in the lot, but I believe we will get more use out of the Class C than we did out of the trailer.

I can see a trip down to Florida in the spring with stops in South Carolina and Missouri for visits to relatives playing a part. Might even be able to get to Louisiana, Tennessee and/or Kentucky.


While Terry went off to one of her sit-n-stich hen parties, I ran a few errands down the hill then came home and did some work around the yard. Pulled up weeds from areas I didn't want them (that's how goldenrod and Queen Anne's lace become weeds around here). Trimmed the red bud that was threatening to completely shade the herb garden. Tilled the bed that once held onions, lettuce and beets and planted two rows of snap peas with their attendant climbing strings fastened to cedar and bamboo poles. And burned a lot of waste cardboard and junk mail. That work required almost as much walking back and forth as mowing the lawn would have necessitated--and I've still got to get the grass cut. Maybe Friday.


Tomorrow, Thursday, is the day we go pick up our new (used) motorhome.The only thing that scares me is that it has a 55 gallon gas tank. I read somewhere that the Ford E450 V-10 Triton engine will get around 9 miles to a gallon--about the same as the Tundra hauling the trailer. That larger tank may provide a few heart palpitations when I fill it up, but I won't have to do so every 200 miles like I did for the Tundra with only a 26 (?) gallon tank.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Done Cleaning

We drove up to the Bolt Hole this morning (having waited until the post office was open) arriving shortly after 1 PM. Immediately we hitched up the travel trailer and pulled it out of the barn and into the sun where we could at least open the blinds to get some light inside. I reinstalled the two propane tanks and the battery before emptying the outside storage bays. Terry went through the closets, drawers and cabinets to remove everything inside before doing a little washing of the interiors. About two hours after we began, the inside of the trailer looked almost as good as new. Unless we give the outside a good scrubbing, it's not going to get any better. (And it's not going to get that scrubbing unless some passing down pour does the job tonight or tomorrow when we take it to the dealer's.)

We set aside two days to get this particular job done since we weren't sure what the weather would be like or what we might find as we started our clean-up activities. Now we can take off Tuesday morning for Bath, NY (about 180 miles from the Bolt Hole) and drop the 2002 Wilderness travel trailer before heading home to the Aerie and the adulation of our three starving pussycats. Thursday we will go back to Bath to pick up our 2007 Winnebago Access mini-motorhome (Class C).


On a side note...I had occasion to peek at the calendar today and all I can say is: Where the hell has August gone? I've got a million things I wanted to do this summer and....whoosh!..August is almost over.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our Lazy Day

Terry and I enjoyed a very nice celebratory dinner over at Timeless Destinations in Wellsboro today. (I may not have to eat for another 40 years!) Afterward, we took a brief walk down the block to a sidewalk sale at Dunham's and to From My Shelf Bookstore. I got some nice polo shirts for $10 each and we both picked up a couple of books. (And talked to the bookstore staff about the Bacon Movement they so obviously support.)

This afternoon we just lolled around the house digesting.


Terry and I will be heading north tomorrow morning. We've got to clean our stuff out of the travel trailer and then haul it down to the Camping World in Bath, NY where it will serve as a trade-in on our new/used Winnebago Access Class C mini-motorhome--which we will pick up on Thursday.

Forty Years

It was forty years ago today that Terry and I exchanged vows of marriage.

A long time ago but it seems like yesterday.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Home again!

I'm back!

Joe and I just returned from our fishing trip with Caesar's North Camps on Gouin Reservoir in northern Quebec. We had a great time despite the rain (five of the seven days) and somewhat slow fishing. We've caught more and larger fish on other trips but had a good time and made lots of memories just the same.

Before we left to head north, Joe had gotten a call from Am, the office assistant. She warned that the lake water was down and that the level had been falling quickly (almost a foot a week!) for the last month. Just the word that we were coming, however brought two days of rain and our arrival guaranteed the end to all this "dry spell" talk. Joe and I are going to start a company called Drought Eradicators. We'll work for the cost of a fishing trip/hunting trip in any area you name. You want rain in the desert? Either let us shoot what ever wild game might be resent or stock the oasis pool with fish. A week after we arrive, there will be a bloom on the desert like none you've ever seen.

The highlights included Joe catching a 4-1/2 to 5 pound walleye that measured between 22 and 24 inches and (nearly) landing a 32" pike that broke off just as it touched the net. Those two fish plus our first ever sighting of a lynx made the trip worthwhile. We only caught 40 walleye and 25 pike in about 5 days of hard fishing. (Okay, semi-hard fishing. We basically fished from 8 AM until 5 or 6 PM each day the rain allowed.) 

We got rained off the lake one day when over two inches of rain forced us to retreat to the cabin and fire up the wood stove to dry everything--including ourselves--out. As in previous trips, however, we managed to work around most of the rain that fell.

The lake was loaded with loons that showed no fear of us or our boat and allowed us to to get so close we were concerned they might try for our jigs.

I did all the driving up and back (12-13 hours one way just to get to our float plane in Clova), all the driving of the boat, and the dish washing. Joe purchased our food, fileted the fish we kept to eat and bring home, and did the cooking.

A couple of things northern Quebec has plenty of is water and sky. Often they combine. 

You could watch the clouds for hours and hours.

Don't like the set you've got at the moment? Just wait fifteen minutes. There will be some new ones along shortly.
This one looks like the Roadrunner. 

View from the porch as the sun sets behind us. 

One morning we drifted with the wind casting to some weedbeds along the shoreline trying for some pike. As we got near the end of our drift (too shallow water), this tawny cat popped up from the grass where it may have been waiting for some careless ducks to come within range...or it could have been napping in the sun. (Using a point and shoot I'm not that familiar with, these are the best I got. NOW, of course, I know how I could have gotten better by adjusting some settings. Know your tools before you have to use them.)

Uh? What the heck is that? 
Curiosity could have gotten this cat killed. But not today.

He's seen enough and heads slowly for the woods. 

Joe with the large walleye. It was released soon after the photo was take.

Some of its smaller relatives were not so lucky. 

They, and a couple of pike got fileted for dinner or the freezer. (Note the essential tools of the trade: sharp, flexible knife; firm cutting surface; late for filets; and, most importantly, an adult beverage in the blue can.)

In addition to the lynx we say a young beaver addling around a bank lodge, a black bear along the shoreline, Bald Eagles, terns, gulls, Cedar Waxwings (eating fish?!?), very friendly Red Squirrels we could have hand fed if we had peanuts, a couple of snowshoe hares--one of which looked like a small kangaroo, a little brown bat (awfully far north!), and, of course, deer mice. (We tried to eradicate the latter with little success.)

Things we learned on this trip:

1) Call the credit card company when you leave the US. Our first stop for gas saw our cards rejected. We ended up paying cash (which we hadn't converted to Canadian). A short call to VISA got that problem corrected but too late.

2) Bisquick can be made into reasonably good pancakes using canola oil if you leave the eggs back home in your refrigerator. Taylor ham and egg sandwiches are a bit thinner without the eggs, however.

3) Patience pays off. We did a great deal of trolling to located walleye, but when we did, we were able to catch quite a few in the same spot using jigs or trolling back and forth over the same area.

4) Give 'em something they haven't seen before. When the standard yellow or black jigs stopped producing, I switched to a chartreuse and immediately connected. Then, when that slowed, a watermelon and connected again.

5) When you wish to see how a lure looks in the water, i.e. what sort of action it may have, before tossing it overboard it is wise to first connect it to your line.

6) Caught in a rainstorm while fishing 2 or more miles from the cabin, you might as well keep on fishing. you'll only get wetter--and in different laces--if you open the throttle on that little 9.9 horse power motor to try and get back to the cabin. (I think Myth Busters did something about walking or running to your car in the rain and proved you get wetter running.)

7) If it is raining cats and dogs, NEVER say: "Well, it can't get any worse!"  It can--and it probably will. (This is an old lesson that needs relearning. At least this time it didn't start hailing.)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

New Used Motorhome.

Well, we did it. We went out this morning and ended up purchasing a used 2007 Winnebago Access. It's a Class C (aka mini motor home) with only 10,800 on the odometer. This is the vehicle we looked at last Friday but were discouraged by some cosmetic damage. They lowered their price, promised to make repairs, gave us a great value on the Wilderness trailer as a trade, and we signed the papers this afternoon.

We will have to get a dolly for our towed vehicle so we will have more mobility once we reach our destinations. So if you see this vehicle moving down the highway with a bright yellow Chevy Aveo come  September, wave. It will be us.

 2007 Winnebago Access 30C

2007 Winnebago Access 30C

We looked at lots of layouts since last Friday as we visited nine different dealers and twice that many on-line sites. Terry really, really liked this model's interior and extremely low mileage. Aside from a few minor blemishes, it was well maintained inside and out.

The slideout provides ample elbow room in the living area and even when it is closed , as it was during our short test drive, there's still plenty of room to walk to the bedroom or work in the galley. For one night stops we may not even have to open her up.

 View from middle looking forward.

 Super slideout consists of the dinette and couch--
just like in the trailer.

We may have to "borrow" some of my daughter's DVDs and invest in a coaxial cable. The trailer never had a TV--and it wasn't missed--now....

 The entertainment center (rather than a bunk) over the cab.

The kitchen (galley) is essentially the same as in the trailer with a bit more counter space but no pantry. There are, however, lots and lots of drawers and cabinets.

The galley has more counter space than most and 
an oven as well as the microwave, cook top and refrigerator.

In addition, there's over 100 cubic feet of storage outside in various bins, a 4000W generator, a rear view camera ad several other amenities.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Aerie Report, August 6, 2012

It's been a busy few days at the Aerie.

Terry and I have been shopping around for a used Class C motor home and that's had us driving hither and yon.

Friday we went up to Bath, NY to visit Camping World and Wilkins RV. Each had a couple of nice units listed on their web sites and gave us a good feel for the layouts/floorplans we would encounter. Unfortunately, the former had one unit that would have been ideal but for some (to us) serious damage to the linoleum floor and shower stall. The latter had a beautiful Endura that was not listed yet but that 1) was just a bit above our initial price range and 2) had a few thousand more miles than we would have liked.

Saturday we went considerably further afield and visited two dealers down near Souderton, PA: Fretz RV and Indian Valley RV. Again, the former had an older Itasca Spirit that meets our criteria and the latter had a Class B+ that held some promise, but those dealers are four hours away!

On the way back, we swung by Hamburg, PA to visit Cabelas. As chance would have it, Saturday morning's mail had a 10% off coupon that would expire before I return from my fishing trip so we decided to take a slight detour. There were two more RV dealers in that area (Tom Schaeffer's and Boat N RV) and we stopped to see what they had. The answer was nothing that we were interested in.

Today we took the utility trailer up to Elmira, NY to pick up the Yamaha Prohauler since it was up and running again. While up that way, we swung east to Nichols, NY to stop at Jim's RV Center. They had nothing that matched our criteria but the salesman later called to make a proposal on a new Tioga Ranger that sounds pretty good if well above our price range.

Well, we have our name out there now and we've let the sales people know what we're looking for. If they get a trade-in that matches our criteria they should call. Well, if they want to make a sale, they should call.


I've got all my gear packed for the fishing trip. When Joe gets here on Wednesday we'll make some final decisions and toss our stuff in the back of the Tundra and start on our way. We have a flight out of Clova, Quebec at 7 AM Thursday morning. It's supposed to be a 15-16 hour drive from here. We shall see.


Sunday morning I was sitting at the table eating my breakfast when a black bear walked up on the deck. It sauntered right past the screen door and the watching Julie cat and headed around front where I usually have the bird feeders so it's pretty obvious that it has been here before. I got up and closed the sliding glass door and the bear came running back around the corner, down the steps and up into the woods.

Then it rained some. Or I should say some more. We had 0.33 inches on Thursday night and ran into one hell of a group of T-storms while we were out on Saturday. This Sunday rain didn't amount to much leaving just 0.08 inches in the rain gauge.

When the rain stopped and the breeze had dried things off a bit, I went out an harvested beets and onions from the front garden. I've about a peck (quarter of a bushel?) of each. Some were the size of golf balls while others were as big as softballs. The onions are spread out in the garage to dry. Terry cooked up some of the little beets for dinner tonight and they are the sweetest. The greens were also cooked with a little olive oil and garlic and proved to be even better than spinach.


Tomorrow I have to cut the grass. The buckhorn plantain heads are a foot high and they and the clover flowers are distracting the honey bees from the my zucchini and cucumbers.

Friday, August 03, 2012

More Food Stuff.

Terry spent the better part of Thursday doing some cooking.

First there were the ribs we had for dinner (with plenty left over for supper), then there were the stuffed cabbage (she cooked up five meals which now sit in the freezer), and finally she did some bread & butter pickles (five jars went on the shelf while the one that didn't seal went in the fridge).

Me? I cleaned the jars and supervised. And ate ribs. And they were good!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Ho-hum. A Quiet Day.

A quiet day at the Aerie.

Terry went off to southeast Syracuse for a stitching meeting and I was left to hold the fort.

I checked the rain gauge this morning to see how much we got during the storms that passed our way last night: 0.64 inches for Tuesday night. We also lost power for about 15 minutes. Long enough to through all the digital clocks off and have Terry run around lighting candles. (Saturday we had 0.12 inches here while Williamsport got over 4 inches in two hours. Summer storms can be pretty spotty.)

I ran all the necessary errands (grocery shopping, some banking, a visit to Lowes) this morning. After feeding the cats (poor Chester threw up everything he ate!), I went out to pick more black berries. I managed to harvest a quart which I washed and put into the freezer. Picked a few string beans and two cucumbers also.

I assembled a new set of shelves in the basement for all our canned foods.

I did some small amount of work (or at least I thought about) on selecting the fishing equipment  for our trip next week.

And now it's 10 PM and I'm heading to bed.

Hope you had a good day.