Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thansgiving Visitors

The 2013 Pennsylvania bear season ended yesterday at sundown. I didn't go out although I had been asked by Don if I wanted to. There were a couple of considerations in my decision not to participate. Two of them are called "knees."

In PA you can not bait nor use dogs to chase bears as you can in other states. It's a rough hunt with groups of hunters--often 20 or so--doing drives to rouse the bears. Half the hunters take up posts along one straight line while the other half goes a mile or so further down the road and enters the woods to push any bear to the standing hunters. When the two groups meet they either celebrate a bear kill or find a new place to repeat the process with the teams (standers and drivers) changing sides. It's very imprecise and very rugged. Especially rugged in the hilly country of the Northern Tier.

With the knees just 18 weeks old and my footing on rough terrain still a work in progress, I figured I'd play it safe and leave the game to others. And there were plenty of others in the woods. Monday, when Terry and I were going to the dump via Mountain Ridge and Fallbrook Roads which cut through parts of Tioga State Forest we came across two groups of hunters clad in solid orange. (You want to be as visible as possible to 1) scare the bear and 2) alert the other hunters that you are NOT a bear as you crash through the brush.)

Still we heard very few shots during the four day hunt. The exception was one cluster of shots from one to two miles to the west on Tuesday evening. Two quick shots were followed by five very well spaced shots. I assume the first wounded the bear and the latter finished him off. At least I hope that's what happened.

So, as I said, the season ended yesterday at sundown.

Brian safely navigated from New Jersey to the Aerie and arrived around 4 PM. We had a nice venison roast for dinner and enjoyed a drink or two pre and post meal. Then we sat and talked for a bit.

At approximately 8 PM there was a sound on the deck and the cats ears went up. A second noise sent them running to the windows and we followed.

 Mama Bear

 with baby Cinnamon

and Blackie.

These three hadn't been seen since early summer/late spring when I stopped putting the bird feeders out. I've seen scat on the logging trail but actual sighting of any bear hasn't happened. To the point where I got careless/lazy and left the bird feeders out over night. Still, they've been out there for two weeks and this is the first time they've been robbed by anything other than a squirrel.

I was very pleased to see that Mom had succeeded in making it through the season with out getting separated from her cubs and possibly shot (sow bears with cubs are protected). Seeing how big the two cubs had grown...well, that was a shock! When we first saw them they weren't much bigger than Chester, our 22 pound cat. Now they look to tip the scales at 70-80 pounds! That's a lot of berries, grass and grubs. Not to mention Mother's milk. Both cubs looked healthy as could be.

They came up on the deck not five minutes after I had come in from being out there and stayed on the deck for the better part of half an hour. We banged on the window ans they left...for two minutes before returning to slurp up black oil sunflower seeds. The Cinnamon followed the lead of Mom but Blackie was a little more reticent. The Cinnamon also seemed to dominate Blackie in chasing it away from the stairs and into the woods briefly.

After their second round on the deck, I banged on the glass really hard and Mom took the hint (she had also finished all the sunflower seeds) and led the cubs off the deck and out on to the lawn. I took the opportunity to step out onto the deck clap my hands a few times to spook them and they dashed off into the woods while I retrieved the undamaged but now empty bird feeders.

So. Who  are you having over for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 18 The Knees and More

I spent many hours behind the wheel of the Tundra this week driving back and forth between the Aerie and Mom's house in Linden, NJ. It's 250 miles one way and I made three trips in eight days. Add the trip to and fro for Mom's funeral and since October 28th I tallied 2000 miles. With each one-way trip taking approximately 4.5 hours, that's some 36 hours. That didn't leave a lot of time for exercises but, once I was at Mom's, climbing up and down stairs, toting boxes and bags and furniture more than made up for my lack of routine. Back at the Aerie, unloading much of that stuff and hauling the rest to the dump also had me doing what I call "occupational therapy."

That said, I've got to report that there are days when I (almost) don't notice any pain in either knee. The left is still complaining more than the right, however, so there is still some room for improvement.


We got our first really cold weather of the season yesterday as the low temperature was 8.8 degrees at 6:45 in the morning. That day it got all the way up to 22 degrees. Today was slightly warmer with a low of 11.5 degrees and a high 30.9 degrees. The thermometer making these readings is on the porch just eight feet from the house and on the sunny side to boot so there may be some heat island effect going on.

We're forecast to get a bit of serious snow starting Tuesday night and all day on Wednesday. It's supposed to be warming late in the day on Tuesday causing the snow to switch to mixed precipitation which will affect the amount of snow. Maps currently show us in the 3-6 inch zone but that 6+ area is less than 75 miles to the west so a slight shift in either the temperature or the storm system could bring us more.

Our nephew, Brian, is supposed to fly into NJ Wednesday morning to pick up the car Mom left to him and then drive out here for Thanksgiving. The weather's likely to affect his flight and decision to drive northwest. Vicki, his wife, will be flying into Corning/Elmira on Saturday, renting a SUV and coming for a second Thanksgiving dinner before they both drive home to Milwaukee hauling several large pieces of furniture (hence the SUV).

Once again, the best plans aft gang astray.


Terry and I made one more trip to the dump today with ten or so bags of trash from Mom's house as well as some of our own. There's still a good deal of sorting and decision making to be made as well as some old paints that need to be made safe for disposal, so there will be more trips to the dump in the future.

Terry also took care of some banking stuff in connection with her role as executrix. After I shifted stuff around in the garage, I turned the tractor around to prepare for "The Snow" they say is coming. Some of the stuff I had to move included folding chairs--lots of folding chairs--we didn't need. Terry took them and a couple bags of clothes to My Neighbors' Closet in Mansfield and they were very happy to receive them.

Monday, November 18, 2013

College Football: Delayed once more

Due to the intrusion of real life events detailed in the previous post I'll not be making any comments on last week's results nor posting on this week's rankings and the Week 13 schedule.

Week 17 Knees and More are Growing Old(er)

The knees are growing older--and less painful. With the well acting up this week, I was up and down the basement steps--a lot. Then going in to NJ to clean up Terry's Mom's house meant more up and down stairs and toting stuff. (More below on those activities.)I can't say that they don't hurt at all, but they almost hurt less than before surgery and they are getting better as compared to their getting worse weekly prior to surgery. And, with rifel deer season just around the corner, that's important to me.


We're spending this week doing some work in NJ cleaning up Terry's Mom's home. I went in on Saturday and Terry and Lucille came in on Sunday night. Time to pack up all the odds and ends we didn't throw away, move some of the furniture out to open up space, and do those things that will make the house more salable.

Today, while the girls did some packing and met with a realtor and lawyer, I hauled some stuff back to PA. Some of it will go to the dump tomorrow (Linden doesn't pick up anything but kitchen garbage until December 18th without a fee), some will make its way to a second hand store in Mansfield, and some will go into the pantry. (Mom may not have been a prepper, but she sure took advantage of sales at the grocery stores: canned goods, aluminum foil, Saran wrap, Kleenex, paper towels and toilet paper abound. We may not have to purchase any of those items until April.) 

Terry says the realty representative was impressed with the size of the interior (looks much smaller on the outside--not quite Tardis-like but still larger inside than it appears) and all the recent improvements Mom had made within the last 5-10 years: new roof, new carpets, converting from oil to gas and the new furnace that entails, new paint job upstairs, etc.

Terry and Lucille took Mom's auto (10 years old and just 25,800 miles) to a mechanic to get it checked out. It was making some peculiar sounds when we went back and forth to the airport two weeks ago. We need to make sure it's in fine condition before we get the title transferred to Brian next week. He and his wife, Vicki, will fly in for Thanksgiving and drive the car back to Milwaukee. 

Tomorrow I'll be driving back to NJ to rejoin the girls and pick up another load of stuff to be hauled westward. 

All this back and forth with a truckload of stuff reminds me of 2006 when we moved out of NJ and had to store our stuff either at a facility in Mansfield or up in the Adirondacks. It's 250 miles one way just like it was back then. Lots of time to think while I'm driving. Still, seeing the same 150 mile stretch of I-80 time after time grows old quick. Makes me want to make a new, different road trip.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cold and Waterless

A chilly 17 degrees here at the Aerie this morning. At least the wind has stopped so it doesn't bite right through you. The birds have found the feeders on the deck and have been putting a dent in my sunflower seed supply. It will get busier as winter takes hold. So far only one squirrel has been spotted on the deck/in the yard. Often there are a dozen or more fighting for their turn at the bounty of black oil sunflower seeds.


The water well at the Aerie is shallow (only about 150 feet) and slow to recharge. As a result, we have a 550 gallon cistern in the utility room to provide all the water we need. The well also passes through a mix of shale and clay which proves problematic. If we stress the water usage (doing lots of laundry and washing dishes, or trying to water a new lawn, or spending too much time watering the garden, etc.) we will get a cistern full of water that's just loaded with colloidal red clay. This despite limiting the well pump to just 3 or 4 minutes at a time and then only after a 90 minute interval, and we have a whole-house filter that is supposed to screen out anything over 1 micron in size.

Apparently, we over stressed the well (again) when Terry returned and commenced to do her laundry after three weeks on the road. Add all the bedding (which, in hindsight could have waited) and the dinner dishes. The "water" in the cistern took on the consistency of a mud wrestling pit and the water coming from the taps would have been useful for the folks filming the shower scene in Psycho.

Yesterday was spent draining the the cistern and swabbing out the insides using all the big fluffy bath towels we could scrounge up. I got the bloody (no pun intended) thing cleaned out and then tried a new filter from Monsanto's 3M company. It had no micron rating but said it was good for sediment, rust and soil as well as odor and other stuff. I should have read the label better. In addition to some red sediment, I got a shot of carbon from the damn filter which is not really meant for a cistern application. The directions state clearly that you should run the water for several minutes to purge the lines after installation. That must be to clear the lines of the carbon the filter releases.

This morning we went back to our plain old 1 micron filter. The water, after a night's rest in the well, is coming through clear. With luck, we should have water back in the cistern deep enough to turn the house jet pump (for water pressure and supply to the house lines) sometime tomorrow. I'll probably have to change the filter at least once before the cistern fills. I've three more filters on hand and a dozen on order. (They aren't on the shelves locally so I have to mail order them.)

It will be nice to have water flowing again. Jugs and bottles of water are okay for cooking and drinking, but the dishes are starting to pile up and flushing the toilet....


Today, Terry and I will be going up to Bath to pick up the RV from Camping World. They were doing some minor (?) repairs on the Winnie Access and finished a couple of weeks ago. We just haven't been able to find the time to go pick it up.

 The only other item on our schedule is to keep a close eye on the water situation. And keep warm.

Oh, and a Happy Birthday to my Little Sister, Ruthann.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

College Football: Week 12 Polls & Schedule

Week 12 polls don’t look terribly different than Week 11. Except for the slide of Oregon down to the #6 slot after they got manhandled by Stanford. There are still six undefeated teams and only Northern Illinois looks to have an opponent with a credible challenge to that. They start things off on Wednesday night so stock up on snacks and beverages!

The numbers on the right are for the Associated Press, the Coaches’ Poll, the BCS standings and the 126. NR means that the team was Not Ranked by that particular poll. I’m not sure for the reason that the CBSSports Poll is so different from the others except that it is the result one man’s opinion and not much else. There is a way you can vote as to whether a team is ranked too low or too high.

1/1/1/1 Alabama (9-0) The Crimson Tide will hit the road to play the Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-5).

2/2/2/2 Florida State (9-0) The Seminoles host the Syracuse Orange (5-4).

3/3/3/4 Ohio State (9-0) The Buckeyes play on the road against the Fighting Illini (3-6).

4/4/5/3 Baylor (8-0) The Bears host the Red Raiders of Texas Tech (7-3).

5/5/4/5 Stanford (8-1) The Cardinal are on the road to face the Trojans of USC (7-3).

6/7/6/6 Oregon (8-1) The Ducks host the Utah Utes (4-5).

7/9/7/9 Auburn (9-1) The Tigers host the Georgia Bulldogs (6-3).

8/6/8/7 Clemson (8-1) The Tigers host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-3).

9/8/9/8 Missouri (9-1) These Tigers are on the road against the Ole Miss Rebels (6-3).

10/11/11/11 Texas A&M (8-2) The Aggies have the weekend off.

11/12/10/13 South Carolina (7-2) The Gamecocks will host the Florida Gators (4-5).

12/10/12/10 Oklahoma State (8-1) The Cowboys hit the trail as they look to corral the #23 Texas Longhorns (7-2).

13/15/13/16 UCLA (7-2) The Bruins host the Washington Huskies (6-3) on Friday night.

14/16/16/12 Michigan State (8-1) The Spartans will play on the road against the Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-2).

15/19/17/17 UCF (7-1) The Knights head north to face the Temple Owls (1-8).

16/14/14/15 Fresno State (9-0) The Bulldogs are idle this week.

17/20/22/14 Wisconsin (7-2) The Badgers host the Indiana Hoosiers (4-5).

18/18/21/19 LSU (7-3) The Tigers will be idle this week.

19/13/20/21 Louisville (8-1) The Cardinals host the Houston Cougars (7-2).

20/21/15/18 Northern Illinois (9-0) The Huskies host the Ball State Cardinals (9-1) on Wednesday night.

21/22/19/20 Arizona State (7-2) The Sun Devils will host the Oregon State Beavers (6-3).

22/17/18/22 Oklahoma (7-2) The Sooners will host the Iowa State Cyclones (1-8).

23/24/24/23 Texas (7-2) The Longhorns host the #12 Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-1).

24/23/23/25 Miami (Fla.) (7-2) The Hurricanes head up the coast to face the Duke Blue Devils (7-2).

25/NR/25/NR Georgia (6-3) The Bulldogs are on the road against the #7 Auburn Tigers (9-1).

NR/25/NR/24 Minnesota (8-2) The Golden Gophers have this weekend off.

Week 16, Terry's Travels, and SNOW!

My knees celebrated their 16th week yesterday and I put them to good use as I finally got around to cutting the other half of the lawn and spread some lime. Good thing I got that done too, as last night the temperature dropped to 20 degrees and this morning there were one and a half inches of snow on the deck and the lawn was covered--the driveway too, as yesterday's temperature was low enough to suck the remaining heat out of the dirt and rocks.


Terry got home yesterday about noon. She covered just about 2700 miles from California to home chewing off 700 or so miles a day as she drove dawn to dusk.  Dead heading like that is not fun. It was a long, eventful three weeks with across-country round-trip flight thrown in for good measure. SAGA Convention near Dallas, visit with daughter in Anaheim, funeral for Mother in NJ (on the opposite coast from the daughter), a second visit with daughter (again in Anaheim), visits with niece and sister on the north end of SF Bay, and a long drive home. She made it safely and with no unusual road stories.


We have had problems with our well since day one. Very fine red clay (colloidal in nature) comes out of the shale with the water and into the well. About once a year that red clay overwhelms our filtration system (with a 1 micron filter) and fills the cistern with red water. Turn the faucet on and it's a scene out of Psycho with red water swirling around the drain. At that time I need to drain the cistern and flush the entire well before slowly refilling the tank. That takes time and filters. Lots of time and many filters. I've only got four on hand and that ain't enough. I've ordered more but for now it looks like a run to Wally World for bottled water for cooking and drinking.

Monday, November 11, 2013

College Football: Week 11 Results

Week 11 produced a couple of notable loses by ranked teams (#2 Oregon, #10 LSU, #12 Oklahoma, #24 Notre Dame and #25 Texas Tech) so there will be changes in this week’s rankings.  

The numbers on the right are for the Associated Press, the Coaches’ Poll, the BCS standings and the 126. NR means that the team was Not Ranked by that particular poll. I’m not sure for the reason that the CBSSports Poll is so different from the others except that it is the result one man’s opinion and not much else. There is a way you can vote as to whether a team is ranked too low or too high.

1/1/1/1 Alabama (9-0) The Crimson Tide made it look easy—in the second half—as they tamed the #10 LSU Tigers (7-3) 38-17. AJ McCarron tossed three TD passes and T.J. Yeldon ran for 133 yards and two TDs as the Tide remains dominant.

2/2/3/2 Oregon (8-1) the Ducks fell behind early and failed to come back as they fell from the ranks of the unbeatens at the hands of the #6 Stanford Cardinal (8-1) 26-20. Tyler Gaffney carried the ball 45 times for 157 yards and a touchdown and Jordan Williamson connected on four field goals for the Cardinal who jumped out to a 26-0 lead and had to hold on in the fourth quarter as Marcus Mariota (20 0f 34 for 250 yards and two TDs) and Co. staged a comeback that came up short. Rodney Hardrick returned a blocked field goal 65 yards for the third Ducks’ touchdown.

3/3/2/3 Florida State (9-0) The Seminoles overwhelmed the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-6) 59-3. Jameis Winston completed just 17 of 28 passes for only 159 yards and two touchdowns—and one INT, but it hardly mattered that he had an “off” day. The Seminoles got three rushing TDs and TDs from a 56 yard interception return (Nate Andrews), a 23 yard fumble return (Jalen Ramsey) and a 97 yard kick return (Levonte Whitfield) following Wake’s only score.

4/4/4/4 Ohio State (9-0) The Buckeyes had the weekend off.

5/5/6/5 Baylor (8-0) The Bears beat the #12 Oklahoma Sooners (7-2) 41-12 Thursday night. Baylor proved it’s more than a high scoring, offensive team as their defense performed amazingly. Bryce Petty rushed for two TDs and threw for three as the Bears exploded for 21 unanswered points in the second quarter of a 5-3 game to take a 24-5 lead into the locker room and never looked back.

6/6/5/6 Stanford (8-1) The Cardinal beat the #3 Oregon Ducks (8-1) 26-20. See above for more.

7/10/9/9 Auburn (9-1) The Tigers destroyed the Tennessee Volunteers (4-6) 55-23. Nick Marshall rushed for 214 yards on 14 carries scoring two TDs and Tre Mason rushed for 117 yards and scored three TDs as the Tigers ran, ran, and ran again.

8/7/7/7 Clemson (8-1) The Tigers will be idle this weekend.

9/9/8/8 Missouri (9-1) The Tigers routed the Kentucky Wildcats (2-7) 48-17. Maty Mauk tossed five TDs and Henry Josey scored three times (twice rushing) for Missouri.

10/12/13/12 LSU (7-3) The Tigers stood toe-to-toe with the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0) before they went down 38-17.

11/13/15/13 Texas A&M (8-2) The Aggies beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-5) 51-41. Johnny Manziel went 30 of 39 for 446 yards and five TDs—but proved he’s human as he also tossed three INTS—as the Aggies and Bulldogs went back and forth. Dak Prescott rushed for 154 yards and tossed two TD passes, and De’Runnya Wilson and LaDarius Perkins scored twice each for the Bulldogs

12/8/10/10 Oklahoma (7-2) The Sooners got beat badly by the #5 Baylor Bears (8-0) 41-12 Thursday night. See above for more.

13/15/12/16 South Carolina (7-2) The Gamecocks were idle this weekend.

14/14/11/14 Miami (Fla.) (7-2) The Hurricanes fell to the Hokies of Virginia Tech (7-3) 42-24. Trey Edmunds rushed for just 74 yards on 14 carries but he scored four touchdowns for the Hokies and Logan Thomas threw for 366 yards and two TDs. The Hokies also held Miami to just 28 yards on the ground on 24 carries.

15/11/14/11 Oklahoma State (8-1) The Cowboys jumped all over the Kansas Jayhawks (2-7) 42-6. Clint Chelf threw for 265 yards and three TDs, Desmond Roland and Tracy Moore scored twice each, and Justin Gilbert returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for the Cowboys.

16/18/19/19 UCLA (7-2) The Bruins beat the Arizona Wildcats (6-3) 31-26. Myles Jack rushed for 120 yards including a 66-yard TD run and Brett Hundley tossed two TD passes for the Bruins. Ka’Deem Carey rushed for 149 yards and one TD, while B.J. Denker connected with Nate Phillips for two TDs for the Wildcats.

17/17/16/17 Fresno State (9-0) The Bulldogs continued their winning ways, beating the Wyoming Cowboys (4-5) 48-10. Derek Carr completed 33 of 46 attempts for 360 yards and four TDs as the Bulldogs gave the Cowboys a 10 point head start before going on to put 48 unanswered points on the board.

18/19/17/15 Michigan State (8-1) The Spartans had the weekend off.

19/21/21/21 UCF (7-1) The Knights struggled to down the Houston Cougars (7-2) 19-14 in what was expected to be an offensive show but ended up as a defensive battle. Storm Johnson rushed for 127 yards on 28 carries, William Stanback scored two TDs on the ground and Shawn Moffitt kicked two first half field goals for the Knights.

20/16/20/24 Louisville (8-1) The Cardinals had an easy time beating the Connecticut Huskies (0-8) 31-10 on Friday night. Then, who hasn’t had an easy time beating the Huskies this year. Teddy Bridgewater tossed just one TD pass—and one INT but Louisville also got TDs on a blocked punt returned 7 yards by Charles Gaines and a 17 yard interception return by Terell Floyd.

21/22/24/18 Wisconsin (7-2) The Badgers beat the Cougars of BYU (6-3) 27-17. James White rushed for 147 yards and two TDs and scored a third on a short pass from Joel Stave for the Badgers

22/20/18/20 Northern Illinois (9-0) The Huskies were idle this weekend.

23/24/22/22 Arizona State (7-2) The Sun Devils were down by 12 in the fourth quarter before coming back to edge the Utah Utes (4-5) 20-19. Marion Grice rushed for 136 yards and Taylor Kelly rushed for two TDs and threw for a third for the Sun Devils.

24/25/23/25 Notre Dame (7-3) The Irish got beat by the Pitt Panthers (5-4) 28-21. Tommy Rees threw for 318 yards and two TDs only to be matched by Tom Savage’s 243 yards and two TDs—both the Devin Street. It came down to two short TD runs by James Conner for Pitt vs one by TJ Jones for the Irish. That and the three turnovers the Irish committed.

25/23/25/23 Texas Tech (7-3) The Red Raiders got mauled by the Kansas State Wildcats (5-4) 49-26. John Hubert rushed for 157 yards and one TD and Daniel Sams and Jake Waters scored twice each for the Wildcats who also got a TD when Ty Zimmerman returned an interception 43 yards for a score.