Sunday, October 18, 2015

And So It Begins...

Woke up to 26 degrees this morning and a dusting of white on the ground. Didn't amount to much, perhaps a 1/4 of an inch, but it IS a harbinger of things to come.

Snow capped Sumac and Goldenrod

Oak leaves with a dusting of snow

Oak, ash, maple and poplar leaves with snow

Deck is coated, too

With so many trees still hanging on to their leaves, it's a good thing there wasn't more snow.
Snow + Leaves = Power outages.

Still, it does look pretty when the edges of the colored leaves stick out from beneath the central coating of snow.

This should all disappear sometime today as the forecast is fro 50+ degrees and plenty of sunshine.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Taste....

Had visitors on the deck again last night. I heard some thumping out there and got up to flick the deck lights on but the bears scurried off before I hit the switch. Sounded like two or three of them as they banged into each other in their haste. Anyway, they got no sunflower seeds from me as I had brought the feeders in before 7 AM. They did leave a mess of muddy footprints on the newly stained deck.

There was a little bit of rain around 10 PM and the temperatures fell steadily overnight reaching 30 degrees this morning. There was a bit of frost on the deck but not on the lawn. I guess the cold air under the deck helped ("Bridge Freezes Before Roadway").

Scudding clouds thinned more as the day went on but at 10 AM it was still just 35 degrees and one gray cloud was spitting snow flakes.

The lows tonight and tomorrow night are forecast to be in the mid 20s so we can expect more frost and perhaps some more snow flurries. Things get a little warmer after Monday with highs around 60 and lows around 40.

We just may get out of October without any measurable snowfall.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

(And a lot of the same old-same-old.)

Spent last week doing a lot of nothing much.

The lawn got cut. The garden has been pretty much retired. (Though the zukes and tomatoes are still producing! In October!) I sorted out lots of stuff in the workshop and am (nearly) ready and able to do some woodworking. Even built a couple of extensions for the hooks that hold the stick bird feeders on the deck and a new tray feeder--although the latter will need some work. And I spent time watching the Mets vs the Dodgers, college football and pro football. Sunday morning I went up to Bath, NY for the Southern Tier Outdoor Show, Did some reading, too.

The Outdoor Show was nice. They had demonstrations of how to train a retriever for duck, goose and upland bird hunting. There were falconers there doing demonstrations of their craft. They had archery games (try skeet shooting with a bow and arrow) and a 3-D contest. There was a .22 rifle range and a hatchet throwing area. The kids had an obstacle course to play on as well as those other things. There were vendors of hunting and fishing equipment. And there was lots of food. I only stayed for maybe two hours but it was enjoyable. Much smaller than the one in February down in Harrisburg, of course--the Southern Tier show didn't have all the outfitters and many fewer vendors--but nice.


Monday I worked on winterizing the Vibe. That required draining the water system and pumping antifreeze into it. And, of course, that required purchasing a proper sized socket to remove the water heater's drain plug and that required a new socket wrench because the socket was a 1/2 inch drive and all my wrenches were 3/8 inch. And I got soaked because I failed to drain the water through the outdoor shower (clearly labeled "low drain point") before I pulled the plug and some six gallons of pressurized water came shooting out. A one hour job took me closer to four, but I got 'er done!


Terry spent a few days down in Valley Forge for an EGA regional convention. She left here on Thursday for a couple of days of business meetings--she's a regional rep--and then enjoyed some classes. She got to see many of her far-flung friends from around the country and came back late Sunday.

She spent Monday over at the hospital in the dermatology ward having a couple of questionable moles on her back removed. She says the doctor didn't seem to be too concerned but a biopsy was ordered as it's standard. She's got a few stitches for each that will have to come out when she's on the road down to San Antonio (SAGA convention) in a week and a half.


Weather has been pretty great with nice cool nights and warm sunny days with highs only getting to the mid 60s. The leaves have hit about 90% color so the hills are beautiful. Only problem has been some real breezy days that have knocked some of those leaves to the ground. It's supposed to be getting even cooler the rest of this week and there's a slight chance of some frost. At least it's not snow.


Even though the knees and back are feeling fine--only moderate pain--I've been a slacker with regards to hunting. Haven't even lifted the bow to check the sights let alone gone out in the woods. Don't feel that I'm missing much as I've seen only a couple of does in the yard in the last two weeks. There's still time, however. AND muzzelloader season starts on Saturday.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sunny Sunday. Surprise!

So, since I wrote yesterday afternoon, the NY Mets have suffered a no hitter (Max Scherzer's second of the season in which he tied Nolan Ryan's 17 strikeout record for a no-no) and went 7 + innings without scoring a run on the final regular season game of the year. Lucky for them, the Mets' pitchers were almost as good as Scherzer today. They held Washington hitless into the 7th inning and tossed a shutout punctuated by Granderson's solo home run in the bottom of the 8th.

The last day victory gave the Mets 90 wins for the season, put them 7 games ahead of second place Washington, and sent them into the post season with a wee bit of momentum.

The Mets begin their post season play at Los Angeles against the Dodgers on Friday, October 9th. Jacob deGrom, who started today's game and threw 4 hitless innings while striking out 7, will be on the mound. Noah Syndergaard will start game two. Mat Harvey will start game 3 back in New York.


Oh yeah, the Jets (3-1) and Giants (2-2) won today.


I spent a couple of hours this morning over at the range. It was the Sportsmen's Club's annual work day. Guys were there to repair shooting tables and rails, weedwack around the target pits and do general repair and maintenance. I have been a member for a couple of years but have never taken advantage of the range. It's got rifle targets out to 200 yards as well as a pistol area and a rim fire area. They have sponsored pistol competitions and various types of rifle competitions. (A running deer competition will start on November 1.)

In the past, I would take my rifles up the Bolt Hole and shoot on the 50-yard  lane that I created. Now that we've sold that place, I need to find some other place to shoot. Besides. I couldn't take my pistols up north into New York.


Today's weather was surprisingly nice. The last couple of days were cold, rainy and dreary. We had 0.45 inches of rain in the gauge this morning. Today, contrary to the forecast earlier this week, we had clear, sunny skies with a high going up to 65 degrees. All with Joaquin heading further and further out to sea. I bet there are lots of folks in the journalism community who are very disappointed. Except for the exceptional monsoon-like rainfall in South Carolina, they have no "disaster" to write about.

Sunday's 8 PM prediction fr Joaquin

Saturday, October 03, 2015

That Was The Week That Was

I finished busting my butt and staining the deck on Sunday (September 27) and then retired with my bourbon and pro football. The stain calls for 24-48 hours of curing before walking on the surface. It also says to not apply if there's rain expected within 24 hours. I got through the entire week with no rain and pretty low humidity. In fact, it didn't rain until late Monday night...more than 36 hours after I finished staining. I must say that the deck looks good.

The only part I didn't stain was the top surface of the top rail. I had hit that with a different stain about a month ago and it really would need sanding before it gets stained. That will have to wait until spring. Why? Well, it has rained every day since Monday. (We had 1.95 inches of rain in the gauge on Wednesday morning, October 1.) In addition, the temperature hasn't climbed above 45 degrees these last three days and it may not get much higher for a good long time.


I began to wonder what was up when Adam didn't show up on Monday or Tuesday. (He was supposed to return from Peru late Sunday.) Terry had a meeting with her church ladies on Tuesday and hear the sad news. Adam's dad, Don, died on Friday. He had been battling lung disease that had been destroying his ability to function. While Adam had told us he was showing some improvement, Don passed quietly at home. Don was 66 years old.

Don was the contractor whom we hired to build the Aerie back in 2006. He, Adam and I were the only three on the job from start to finish. He and his wife, Deb, allowed me to stay with them during the building process from April through November. I got to know them and their family quite well.


Terry and I sat down on Sunday afternoon to activate our new iPhones. We had no difficulty setting hers up but when I tried to set mine up, the phone said there was no sim card inside. There was, however, so I had to wait until Monday to head for the Verizon store to find out if the problem was the phone or the card. The very helpful young lady at the store took the sim card out of my old phone and installed it into my new phone. At that point the new phone saw the sim card and I was in business. She then started the set up process and sent me home where my wifi is faster than theirs to finish retrieving stuff from the Cloud. I left the old phone with them as part of their rebate/recycle program. Didn't get as much for it as I was originally promised, but, hey, it had a faulty sim card.

To sum it up, both our phones are iPhone 6ses and both are now activated. Life is good.


I've been watching the progress of Hurricane Joaquin this week. Initially predicted to impact the Atlantic coast somewhere between the Chesapeake and Long Island, it has slowly been shifted further and further off shore. This is due to the presence of a stationary front just off the coast that is steering the storm.
Friday, Oct 2: Stationary front runs from Florida to Nova Scotia

As of 5 PM this evening, the storm will stay well out to sea.
Predicted storm track at 5 PM Saturday.

Even so, the storm is throwing lots and lots of moisture on shore and it has been raining hard from Georgia to Boston for several days. And that will continue for a couple of more days before the storm moves far enough north. I saw a prediction that Columbia, South Carolina may end up with as much as 18 inches of rain before it's all over.


The Mets...*sigh*...gotta love 'em. After clinching the NL East title and a place in the playoffs, they have been...well, horrible. They've dropped three to the Phillies on the road and one to the Nationals at home. (A second game will be played tonight and the final will be on Sunday afternoon, weather permitting.) A few players have been dinged up, some of the young pitchers are being sat down and "saved" for the playoffs and, frankly, they have been playing like they've got hangovers from the celebration or something. Snap out of it guys!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Doing Some House Work


Adam finished staining the house on Thursday last, and then took off for a week in Peru. I looked around and decided I'd start work on the deck. First I started cleaning all the old bird seed from between the boards using a spackling knife then the air compressor. (This after Adam had hit it pretty good with the pressure washer!) That took much of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Okay, not much much of Saturday or Sunday because....FOOTBALL!)

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I hauled out the extension ladder and started on the outside of the deck staining the stiles and rails. There are a boatload of them! More than 100 stiles with top and bottom rails. Each 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 22" stile presents three surfaces to be stained when viewed from the outside. And, since the stiles are screwed on the outside that leaves a small--about 4" wide--pocket between each. And that needs to be stained, too. Very time consuming. Lots of up-and-down on the ladder, too. Good exercise for the knees and thighs!

Thursday and Friday I finished up those stiles I couldn't get because the ladder was in the way and started on the inside where I only had those two rails (top and bottom) and the one surface of the stiles to do. Still, there are well over 100 of them on the 10' x 36' deck and the 8' x 16' covered porch. While I had very limited need for the use of a ladder (just three posts on the covered porch), everything was below the waist so there was a lot of bending over and/or squating. Good exercise for the back and thighs!

Thursday afternoon I was working on the east end of the deck. The sun was shining directly into my eyes and its reflection off the house windows was getting me from the other side. I had to ask Terry to come out and be my portable shade umbrella just so I could see where I was supposed to be putting the stain. I haven't looked closely, but I think I got it where I wanted it.

Any way, I finished all the hard stuff this afternoon around 2 PM. Tomorrow, I'll get to work on the deck itself. I also used up 1-1/4 gallons of stain, so I went and got two more gallons this afternoon just to be safe. If I have extra, it does call for two coats--or there's the front of the shed.

When Adam does return, he won't have too much to do! (Except stain the front door porch, fix the electrical outlets on the deck (they have never worked properly) and touch up a half dozen log ends he missed because they are hiding behind a downspout.)


I mentioned that Terry and I purchased new iPhone 6ses last week. They arrived today. One delivered via UPS and the other via FedEx. From different directions.

Now we have to figure out how to transfer our data/settings from our iPhone 5s to the new phones. I've backed up to the Cloud several times and so has Terry. Maybe tomorrow I'll get around to doing the transfers.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Good News, Bad News (again)

Got a phone call last week from Adam K. Seems he didn't forget about the conversation we had back last November.December about pressure washing and staining the Aerie this year. (I did ask his brother, sister-in-law and several nieces to remind him when they were cat sitting early in the summer.) He's been busier than a one armed paper hanger but finally had an open week where the weather looked perfect.

So Adam came out Monday with his ladders and pressure washer. While he cleaned the logs and deck, I drove over to Beaver Mountain in Deposit, NY to pick up two five gallon containers of stain. That took me the better part of the afternoon as it's about 120 miles one way. When I got back, Adam was just wrapping up the gable end of the garage.


Tuesday Adam started in on the staining while I went south to Cabela's in Hamburg, PA with Joe. This was a long ago planned outing to pick up some fishing equipment to replace broken/lost stuff. I picked Joe up at his home outside of Jersey Shore, PA and we eventually got to Cabela's around 11 AM. (It's a l-o-n-g ride--about 180 miles one way when I stop at Joe's.) We shopped for about two hours and got nearly everything we wanted although I was disappointed in not finding the handgun I was looking for (Springfield XD Mod.2). Not too surprising as it's a new release and hasn't hit all the stores yet.

When I got back to the Aerie around 5 PM, Adam had finsished staining the south side of the house and the bedroom dormer.


Wednesday I had a doctor's appointment over at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, PA. I was to have a CT scan of my lumbar spine and then meet with a new neurologist. (The doctor who did my surgery in January has moved on to greener(?) pastures. Dr. Reichert and her PA Tim Rogers were very thorough, friendly and informative. I'm almost sorry this may be the last time I see them as the CT scan showed the screws inserted in my lumbar spine were stable and holding their own. There's new bone growth that's typical of a fusion surgery and everything is progressing well. THe small amount of tingling I still have in my right leg is normal and all I need to do is get more exercise to strengthen the thigh muscles. I was given a clean bill of health (from them and as regards the spine) and told I wouldn't have to return.

Terry had I then went over to Horseheads, NY to visit the Verizon store. I am experiencing swift battery power loss in my iPhone 5 (from 100% to 30% overnight) and wanted some answers. (In contrast, Terry may lose 5-10% of her power in the same time despite getting many more emails.) Instead of answers, we walked out having ordered new iPhone 6ses. Mine will get here around the 25th while Terry, who opted for the new rose color scheme, will get her's on the 30th. We also got new plans that are better suited to our usage.

We then Stopped at the Field & Stream store to pick up a couple things Joe and I couldn't find at Cabela's. I had a $25 F&S cash coupon burning a hole in my pocket that I got from purchasing a Henry Golden Boy (in .22LR) last week. We burned through that $25 coupon like a gas soaked rag as I picked up two boxes of .22 ammo, two boxes of Lightfield slugs, a couple of little stuffed toys, and several packs of the rubber skirts I was looking for...although they weren't the red and white that I really wanted. Those rubber skirts go on the Johnson weedless spoons Joe and I got at Cabela's who also did not have the red and white skirts. We're looking for something that's about 50-50 red and white but all I could find was about 10-90 red and white. Maybe they discovered that just a little red worked better than more? Whatever.

When we got home after putting another 180 miles on the Tundra, Adam had finished the north side and the west side of the house. All he has left is the gable end of the garage and the north side of the garage.


Got the checks from the closing on the Bolt Hole yesterday and were sorely disappointed on several levels:
  1. They forgot to collect the $700 for the furniture we left behind despite our having reminded the attorney's office several times and being assured that there would be a note made.
  2. They spelled our last name incorrectly on the check. (They used a "V" instead of a "B" in our last name. Lots of people make that mistake but considering they had our name spelled correctly on a dozen or more pieces of paper...well, that's inexcusable.)
We've made phone calls (too late to catch them in the office on Wednesday) and sent emails, but will be making more today. *sigh* Might have to make a drive up there on Friday to get the correct name on a check.
[UPDATE: Our bank accepted the check with the misspelled name, all we had to do was sign it the way it was made out and then with our "real" names. I guess it's now up to the attorney's bank to accept it.]

Adam should finish staining the house today. Then it will be time for the deck. He's leaving Friday night for a week in Peru so, should he not complete the deck, I'll probably be charged with doing that this weekend or so if the weather holds. There's no guarantee that it will be good when he returns and I've got the doctor's word that I'm healing well and in need of exercises that will strengthen my thigh muscles. Going up and down a ladder (necessary to do the rim joists and rails on the outside of the deck) should do the trick.


Today's my birthday!

Last week I bought the Henry rifle, then it was fishing lures and line, and today I bought a new gas grill. Of course, Terry will be the one using it most as she does 99% of the cooking when she's home. She said it was like "buying me [Terry] a vacuum cleaner for my birthday."

Friday, September 11, 2015

Good News!

Got the word today that the closing on the Bolt Hole went without a hitch and that the checks are in the mail. Along with no longer paying town and county taxes (spring), school and library taxes (fall), phone bill, electric bill, and insurance bill, I'll no longer have to worry about mowing the grass, maintenance, rebuilding the garage, repainting the barn and finishing the painting of the roof, or any of the myriad number of things a neglected piece of real estate really, really needs. Which is mainly some TLC.

Yeah, I'll miss it a little. But the extra $$$ and the time will free me up to make some additional trips in the travel trailer to places near and far.


Did some further declutering today making a quick run to the dump with a few bags of assorted trash and half a dozen half empty paint cans. Still sorting through some of the stuff from Terry's Mom and the Bolt Hole. If I ever get around to doing inventory, I might have more stuff in my shop than Mr. Burns had in his hardware store when I worked there 50 years ago. (Some of it might be as old, too.)


I was notified that the ATV--a Yamaha ProHauler--was repaired and ready for pickup. All, that is, except for the tail light cover which is backordered. Okay. I can't pick it up until Monday anyway, how 'bout if I call you Monday morning to see about that light cover? (I've no immediate need to use the Hauler, anyway. AND I've still got to clean out a spot for it in a cluttered garage!)


Mets swept the Nationals in a three game series. They had to come from behind in all three games bit opened a 7 game lead in the NL East. Then they went and beat the Braves to make it a 7 1/2 game lead. Things are looking pretty good for some post-season play!

Oh! And the Jets and Giants open their NFL play on Sunday.


My Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-0) will be playing the Washington State Cougars (0-1...they lost to he Portland State Vikings for crying out loud!) on Saturday at 3:30 PM EDT.

It will be interesting to see how the Scarlet fair in the running game (last week they had something like 280 yards on the ground) and who the quarterback will be. Both did well last week against Norfolk State, but the second half combo of Chris Laviano and receiver Leonte Carroo (three complete passes for 129 yards and three TDs) have earned Laviano this week's starting assignment.

Go R U!


Almost forgot we harvest more acorn squash today. That brings the total to nine. Pretty good considering I didn't plant any. These are volunteers that grew in the compost heap from seeds dumped there last year. Guess I need to distribute the compost to the growing beds of the garden!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Hey, Y'all! Still here.

Egads! Almost three weeks since I last posted?
The Mets are still leading the NL East!?!
And college football has started?

Yeah, I'm still alive and (mostly) well.

We finally got word on the title search for the Bolt Hole. Success! The closing date came and went but the title search folks persisted and came up with a reasonably clean title that seems to have satisfied the buyers' attorney. THe closing is now scheduled for Friday, Septemebr 11th. Our attorney has all the paperwork needed to act on our behalf so I won't have to go up there for any reason.

The Mets have continued to make baseball interesting as the hold on to a five game lead over the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East. There's a little controversy about Matt Harvey pitching only 180 innings (he's currently at 166 or so innings) but he's also got a remarkable low pitch-per-inning count that should allow him to pitch more.

The college football season got under way this week and there are still a couple of games to be played Sunday and Monday. My Rutgers Scarlet Knights had their share of controversy this week, too. Several players were arrested for off campus criminal behavior. (All five have been dropped from the team.) Head Coach Kyle Flood was accused of contacting an instructor to discuss one player's eligibility--a violation of school rules and now a moot point as regards that particular student as he was among the five. And several players were benched for the first half against Norfolk State for breaking curfew and trying to use a false ID to enter an establishment. (Two of them--Leonte Carroo and Chris Laviano connected for three TD passes in the second half.) RU had four passing TDs, four rushing TDs and a special teams TD when Janarion Grant ran the second half opening kickoff back 80 yards for a score. Oh, and the defense allowed minus four (-4) yards rushing.

Pro football starts next week and I'll be cheering on the Jets and GIants (in that order!).

Pro politics continues to amuse/frighten with Hillary Clinton being exposed (finally!) as incompetent, a liar and an incompetent liar to boot. That leaves Socialist Bernie Sanders as the Democratic front runner. (Yeah, he calls himself an Independent but if you listen to him, he's clearly a Socialist.) On the Republican side, Donald Trump is saying the things people agree with. Dr. Ben Carson is too but with less narcissism. And Ted Cruz is smarter than anybody else but has the disadvantage(?) of being a Senator. Anyway, pro politics, especially of the Presidential kind, is a l-o-n-g season.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The End (Almost) of a Quarter Century At the Bolt Hole

Made my last trip to the Bolt Hole today. There were a few odds and ends we had left in case I was going to stay there the night before the closing. I also arranged to sever connections with the power company (National Grid) and the phone company/internet provider (Newport Telephone Company). BUT...

The sale of the Bolt Hole is currently on hold as the title company is searching for a warranty deed somewhere deep in the Stone Age. When we purchased the property some 25 years (!?!) ago, we had a title search done. It did not go back beyond 40 years (1950) and no encumbrances were found. Chicago Title Insurance Company tendered a policy that protected us should some long lost ghost of sales past crop up.

[Our title search back in early 1988 DID discover that the seller (K) did not own the 101 acres he thought he did—and on which he was paying taxes. Turns out he only owned 34. The other 67 acres still belonged to the persons he purchased from (R)—and they, too, were paying taxes on those 67 acres! At the time, K lived in New Mexico, R lived on Long Island and I lived in New Jersey. I was the only one with a lawyer in the county in which the property was located. What transpired was a comedy (?) of errors and was the reason we never took possession of the property until spring of 1989.]

In today’s litigious society, I guess they want to be more careful. Forty years would be just me, and the three previous owners a total of just three sales. You can trace things back a bit further using the computer data, but that must be attached to some hard data which, if the county records are anything like I’ve been told, are a labyrinth of unsorted and mislabeled (if labeled at all) boxes and boxes of paper—kind of like my basement.

Anyway...the couple to whom we are selling need a place ASAP. They insisted on the quick closing date (three weeks from acceptance of their offer), I really hope the clerks in the county office work a little faster or that an alternative to a warranty deed can be accepted by both parties.

Today I dropped off the keys with my attorney as well as a not for the new folks detailing where different things are (power line to garage, water line to the house, etc.), how no one has lived in the cabin over winter since...oh...1987 so I don't know what the baseboard heat (only one of which has ever been used) will be like, and so forth. 

Good thing I signed all the papers including a power of attorney the other day when Terry did the same. (She was going to be out of town today; Pittsburgh for a stitching thingy.) Having done so means I can get on with doing what I want to do and do not have to show up at the closing...when ever that will be.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Once More With Feeling!

Another busy two days.

After a trip to the dump on Monday morning to deliver some recyclables and a load of trash, I hauled the utility trailer up to the Bolt Hole.

Mark was there and we started loading all sorts of wood and trash into the Tundra. We also loaded a cabinet that was in the garage that once serve as the base for a radial arm saw and a half ton of various rocks (mostly pretty stuff that could be used for lapidary work and some petrified wood). We came pretty close to emptying out the barn and the garage! What I didn't take, Mark picked through. Some stuff will go to friends and some will go to some enterprising youngsters Mark knows who collect scrap metal.

Terry showed up at dark when all the heavy lifting was finished.

Today Terry and I went down to the lawyers to sign some the papers for the sale. Terry won't be around on Friday when the closing is scheduled but I will attend. I signed the papers anyway just in case the title searchers take too long and the closing has to be postponed. We returend to the Bolt Hole and cleaned almost everything we're taking out.

We were on the road home by 2 PM with both the Jeep and the Tundra loaded to the gills. Ran into a couple of nasty downpours on the way home but once there, we were able to sort out everything from our two vehicles (and the trailer!) into trash (Tundra) and recyclables (Jeep) so we could make a run to the dump again on Wednesday.

It wasn't until I went to park the utility trailer and its load of wood under the deck using the ATV that the rains hit again. And the ATV started acting up. We ended up putting tarps over the trailer and the ATV so I could attend to them tomorrow but by then we were drenched.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Whew! Long day.

First we headed to the dump in two vehicles. Terry emptied the Jeep Compass of all its books and magazines and where I dropped an extra large TV and a bunch of folding plastic & aluminum chairs among bags and bags of trash. (I certainly got my $15 worth this time!)

Then I drove to the Bolt Hole (225 miles) where I got to shmoose a bit with Mark who helped me load the Tundra with boxes Terry and I filled Sunday, a crate seat from This End Up (Are they still in business?) and a cradle I made for Rick lo some 32 years ago.

And then I hauled all that home (another 225 miles) and unloaded the Tundra.

Tomorrow I get to go up again and Terry will follow. We'll stay overnight to do still more sorting and cleaning before coming home on least I will be coming home. Terry will first stop in Liverpool for a ANG shindig. (That's American Needlepoint Guild.)

With luck, Mark will be there again to help load the large (and heavy!) This End Up coffee table. And we will get to meet the young couple who are going to live (!) in the Bolt Hole.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Busy! BUSY! BUSY!!!

Got a phone call Wednesday night from our realtor up in New York. She had an offer for our camp. It was too low so we counter offered. They counter-counter offered on Thursday and  we agreed. It's a cash as is sale so there shouldn't be any problems.

We got the names to three attorneys in Herkimer who the realtor recommended. Terry made some phone calls Friday morning and we chose the only one that would give us a straight answer as to the cost of handling a closing. (The first went to an answering machine and the second said, "Well that depends....") We still had the title search that was performed way back when we purchased the property in the mid-80s. Plus the deed and tax bills from last year. Could I get to the office before they closed at 4:30 PM Friday afternoon? Hell yeah! IT was only 11:30 AM and Herkimer's only 190 miles away. No sweat!

I got there at 3 PM. And not all those roads between here and there have 60 mpg\h speed limits, you know. All I know is I was still getting passed on the NY Thruway!

Terry joined me at the Bolt Hole later that evening as she left around 3 PM.

I spent much of Saturday morning replacing 10 boards in the middle of the screened porch's floor. Tongue and groove stuff is supposed to be laid from one end to the other. Trying to replace sections in the middle is a...challenge. Especially when that final board is 1/8 of an inch wider than the hole. I didn't have a table saw so I screwed one plant to a longer, wider board from the barn to rip the edge of that overly wide board and then slid it in from the end. Tight fit! As for the other boards, I don't think I used more than six 4d finishing nails (galvanized) to encourage a couple of boards that wanted to bend where they shouldn't.

Meanwhile, Terry was going around bagging clothes (some for home, some for donation), bundling books (again, some for home and a lot for recycling--mostly old Reader's Digest books. Hey! They did add some insulation to the walls.) I went on to clean up the red shed behind the house, and start on the brown shed on the east side. Then joined Terry in sorting stuff for donation, home and trash. I also protected her from the mean old teenage mice she encountered in one closet and fended off that piece of string she thought was a snake skin.

As we worked, we thought about where we would put all the furniture and decided we would rather sell it that have to haul it out. So we emailed the realtor our suggestion and offered all the furniture (except for a few choice pieces) to the buyers. [The realtor would later give me the buyers' phone numbers and tell me to make the suggestion to them. So I called Sunday night and they agreed to the purchase with only a little haggling. They don't have to go shopping and I don't have to figure out when I'll have to haul and where I'll have to store all those things.]


In the midst of this all, we learned that my Aunt Doris passed away. She was the youngest of the five Dunn sisters--and one brother. She was also the last survivor of that particular generation. They were all sweet ladies and independent as hell. Each had skills that they applied to daily life while raising families. And they each had the misfortune of seeing their husbands--and in some cases a child--predecease them. They are all missed by, not only their own offspring but their nieces and nephews--many of whom are grandparents now.


Sunday, we spent the morning packaging and boxing still more stuff and filled the Tundra cargo area to the brim with trash and the back seat with treasure. Terry's little Compass got filled with books and magazines to be recycled at the dump and clothes of the home-or-donation variety. We packed up most of the Tupperware and dried foods and stacked those boxes in the living area. Ate lunch and left for home. I went one way while she went another and I got home all of 2 minutes before she did.

After feeding the cats, we unloaded those items we wanted for home, and those that we wanted to donate. Tomorrow (Monday) morning, we'll both go to the dump. She to the recycling area, me to the trash area. Then I'll drive north to get those boxes we packed and bring them home.

Tuesday we both go north--in separate cars--and get to work cleaning out the garage (me) and washing down the house (Terry).

Wednesday, Terry goes over to Liverpool (just west of Syracuse) for a dinner with one of her stitching groups and then home. I'll leave a little later than she does but I'll be going home with a load of stuff from the garage.

Thursday I'll be prepping for my fishing trip to Quebec. Joe and I will leave Friday around 3 PM to arrive at Clova (look it up if you can!) in time for our 7 AM Saturday flight to our wilderness camp.

And that fishing trip--and an August 21st closing date is why Terry and I are racing back and forth between the Aerie and the Bolt Hole this week and probably between August 17th and 21st!

Just hope I don't run out of gas like Kyle Busch at Pocono today. Poor guy was leading by a considerable margin (because two others had already run out of fuel!) got the white flag for the final lap...and...ran out of fuel himself!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Today's Saga

For those of you new the Pennsylvania-New York border, that blue streak you saw this morning (and again around 2:30 this afternoon) was just me swearing at the fershugina chipper/shredder.

This morning, after spending some time cleaning up the slash and getting ready to chip it all up, I ran into a teensy weensy problem. The damn chipper wouldn't start.

I purchased it two years ago and used it only once. That time it started right up and ran until the gas ran out. I refilled it and it wouldn't start again. I put it under the deck and covered it with a tarp. Then the back acted up and I couldn't have pulled the starter cord if I wanted to. Then there was back surgery and it wasn't until now that I needed to use the darn thing.

Figuring the gas might be part of the problem and since it had been in there for a year, I drained the tank. No water in the fuel that I could see but it was ethanol containing crap so I replaced it with good clean no ethanol unleaded. Followed the directions for starting it and nothing happened.

I checked the spark plug and it was dry. No fuel getting there? So I decided to pull the carburetor and clean the fuel out of that and see if there was any obstruction. But to do that I first needed to pull the air filter. Long story short, I pulled everything but the kitchen sink and saw nothing obviously wrong. (But I sprayed the carburetor with starting fluid anyway and poked a thin wire in all the little holes--just in case.)

Put everything back together again (with no left over bolts!), put a bit of gas in the tank and pulled the cord. It started right up! BUT it was time for lunch so I shut it down and went in to eat.

Coming back outside, I said a few silent prayers, filled the gas tank and pulled the cord. It started on the second pull.

I ran that sucker for over two hours and got about half of the pile done. When the gas ran out, I let it sit for fifteen minutes while I took a break. Filled the tank again and pulled the cord and...nothing. The damn thing wouldn't turn over.

Drained the fuel, pulled the carb (and the air filter) and cleaned the thing again since it seemed to work the first time. This time it didn't. So I pulled the spark plug again. It was slightly moist but when I tested it I couldn't see if it was producing a spark. So off to Lowe's I went to get a new spark plug.

After returning and installing the new plug, I put a little gas in the tank and gave it a pull. Started right up!

Moved it back to where I was working, filled the tank and it took me half a dozen pulls to get it going again. I ran that thing for another two and a half hours before the tank ran dry and I was almost done with the stuff I wanted to chip/shred.

I figure I lost over three hours futzing around with the damn machine. Three hours I could have used to stack the firewood length pieces and/or cut the pieces that are over 3" in diameter for firewood.

Well, there's always tomorrow. Although I still have about an hour on the chipper to finish what I'm doing so jeep an eye to the sky in north central PA tomorrow around 8 AM. If you see a streak of blue, you'll know I'm having trouble with the damn chipper again!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I'm A Lumberjack and I'm Okay

Terry and I took the Vibe up to Camping World in Bath, NY yesterday. There were a few issues that they need to correct under the warranty and we wanted two automatic awnings installed over the slideouts. Unfortunately the choice of colors was limited to white or black. We would have preferred a light tan to match the color of the trailer, but wet with the white since we wanted something to reflect heat and not absorb it.

Then we filled the Tundra up with more stuff to haul to the dump. As I expected, it cost us $15 for the load of crap we had. Still, that's the same as if we put five bags of garbage at the end of the driveway. And we had w-a-y more than five bags worth!


Today, with the Vibe away and no wind, I decided to fell two large poplars that were next to the area where the trailer sits. Sure, it was the hottest day of the year so far at 92 degrees but the other conditions were right. I dropped both trees exactly where I wanted them and then went to work lopping off the limbs and cutting the trunks into fireplace lengths. Poplar isn't the best of firewoods--being really soft it produces low heat--but when given lemons....

I spent five hours doing all that in the afternoon sun and really paid the price! So far the aches and pains have dwindled away as the evening progresses. I did take plenty of breaks and drank half a gallon of water and a quart of Gatorade. One problem with a low pulse rate is that the slightest movement in this heat causes me to sweat copiously. I was drenched when I quit at 5 PM.

Tomorrow, while Terry is out with her stitching friends, I'll be cleaning up the slash--if I can get the chipper/shredder working--and stacking the wood to dry. And, yeah, it's supposed to be another hot one.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Some Notes on Being Home and Our TIme On the Road

We've been back for almost a week now and a lot has been accomplished.
  • Grass cut. It took two four-hour days to get the normally two-hour job accomplished but it got done. Eight and a half inches of rain over four weeks must have been perfect weather for the clover, plantain, and grass which was a good foot high.
  • Gardens weeded--mostly. I've got one to go and a little hoe work in another. See comment about rain and perfect growing weather above.
  • Zucchini harvested and turned into 10--or was it 12--loaves of bread, half a dozen quart bags of slices, and one left to be shredded and frozen.
  • Cucumbers converted into freezer pickles.
  • Carrots harvested, cleaned and frozen in five quart bags.
  • Beets--eaten.
  • Doctor's visit done. Urologist for a PSA test and general check up following bladder infection and kidney stone in April.
  • Visit to Camping World in Bath to order awnings for the Vibe's slideouts and a new mattress. (The one that came with the Vibe is crap. Two nights and it was like sleeping on the plywood with canyon walls on either side.) They will also deal with a couple of issues that arose on our trip.
  • Speaking of the Vibe: Forest River will pay for the repairs to the AC. The only thing they will not pay for is the house call fee (about $75). It pays to have a detailed invoice!
  • Tomorrow the Tundra gos in for some TLC.

Terry is already on the road again. She has a SAGA thing out in Skokie, IL. She left around 10 Wednesday morning and will finish the drive Thursday. She'll also visit with Brian and Vicky and John and Cindy...again.


I ran some numbers for our four-week trip and found:
  • we used 800 gallons of fuel with an average price of $2.85 per gallon for a total fuel cost of $2290
  •  our campgrounds cost us $972 for 27 nights; an average of $36 per night 
  •  our total cost for fuel and nights' lodging was $3262
If we had just flown to Portland and stayed in a motel/hotel for a week it would have cost us between $2200 and $2900. (Airfare for two roundtrip tickets Monday-to-Monday start at $1375. Motel/hotel would run between $120 to $200 a night.) This does not account for a rental car. I've ignored food because we would have eaten anyway and most of our meals were prepared by Terry in the trailer. Those that weren't would have been matched (almost) by dining out while we were home.

Of course, if we had merely flown out and back, we would not have been able to have stopped to go bird watching in Brigham City/Bear River NWR, to visit Mt. St. Helens—at least not as easily, visited Little Bighorn, visited Mt. Rushmore or the Badlands or The Mammoth Site, or see the many, many square miles of corn, beans and cattle growing throughout the upper Midwest. Nor would we have been able to visit with Cassie and Patrick in Bonner’s Ferry, Brian and Vicky in Milwaukee, or John and Cindy in Chicago.