Sunday, December 19, 2010

Difficult early winter

Trimmed the tree today - and made the obligatory Chex-mix for munching.  Now, the Tulikivi is burning (as are the lights on the tree), and it is cozy and festive. 

We accidentally left the stove open last night (dampers that is) and it really cooled off which reminded me what a difficult early winter it has been to keep the house in the 70's.  The problem has been lack of any sunshine!  If we can get even a few hours of sun every couple of days, things warm up nicely - but we have had many consecutive days of "drear".  Our solution has been to run the radiant heat in the bathroom zone a couple of hours a day (in the evening so that it is comfortable for my morning shower).  On the days that we had stiff winds and temps in the teens (and lower), we also ran the portable electric radiator in our bedroom.  This combination works well for everyone except Milos - he spends the nights trying to find the coldest tile to sleep on and gets quite aggravated with warm floors. 

We could probably survive without the extra degrees - but just getting too old and like my temps to be at least 67-70. 

Today, we had sun!  and the house came right up to near 80.  Hoping that trend continues. 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wish they would, Fear they won't

Elections are over for this mid-term debacle.  I am happy to no longer get those D*(#$ robo-calls and no longer watch the lies broadcast via "ads" on TV from nameless money-wells.  But, I have lots of wishes and even more fears with the results. 

I wish they would, fear the won't:
  • Pass the DISCLOSE Act -
  • End the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans
  • Reverse the Citizens United decision
  • Establish and defend net neutrality
  • Do away with lifetime tenure for committee chairs in the Senate
  • Repeal Defense of Marriage Act,
  • Repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell,
  • Stop the wars
  • Strengthen and defend the EPA for the good of the environment
  • The Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service investigate the political organizations set up to launder millions of dollars in secret cash
  • Expand Voter Registration
  • Stop partisan bickering


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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hallloween - Snow

This morning, we woke to snow on October 31st.  I checked my pictures and the last ones I had of new whiteness were taken on April 17th.  So, this year we only had 5 months without snow - whew.

We have snow, we have wood-fire, we have football - winter seems to be here.  I took some pictures on the morning walk.  They are posted here on facebook:

At least Milos is happy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall Chipping

Although Dave has used the chipper numerous times, this was the first day that I was home and able to see it in action.

He has a Wallenstein - 6 inch - unit which does the job for us. I hate to move brush (a long time family "joke"). But, I may give in a actually shove those ugly branches into this baby. The grinding sound gives me great satisfaction.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Book Review - One Good Dog

Book Review
One Good Dog by Susan Wilson
first printed in March 2010

This is another of those audio books that kept me in the parking lots before work - bringing me late to my desk.  From the clever twist at the beginning to the predictable but satisfying last sentence, I was hooked. The alternating readers (from the human view and then from the dog) may seem cheezy - but, it the effect brings deeper meaning into the bond that grows between these two as they struggle for a better life.  It touched my heart.

Your emotions will run the gambit - from chuckles to tears.  This is a great listen for anyone. I give it a 5.
In addition, you might want to read the short blurb by the author:   How, in Writing One Goood dog, I Inadvertently Became a Pit Bull Advocate.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day - get ready for winter

The 3 day weekend is almost over and we used it to relax, but still get ready for the winter.  The weather was beautiful with temperatures finally dropping into the 70's and nice breezes.  We all three took a long walk on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Sunday was a little rough as we tramped around the woods looking for a new path to extend our trails.

Today, I baked the first apple-crisp of the season while Dave worked clearing some brush around an area we may use to extend a "water-hole".  He also brought in the pumpkins and all the firewood is ready for the first fire.

I see that the trees are just starting to turn - hope it is a good year for leaf-peeping.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Canine alternative medicine

Milos heading down the berry path.
From early spring until they are in full bloom and dry, Milos devours goldenrod leaves.  He can smell them from a distance and zone in on the first green sprouts as the snow melts.  I used to worry that he ate so much, but it never seems to harm him.  He also like to leave a steady trail of markings all along our paths - and we have quite a few in our 140 acres.

Today, I discovered that he is a genius - goldenrod leaves increase urine flow!  The tasty solution to running out before reaching the end of each walk :) While not yet popular in the United States or approved for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), goldenrod is used widely in Europe to treat urinary tract infections and help eliminate kidney or bladder stones. It is used to flush the bladder and prevent infection.

That's my boy!

Elderberry weekend

This weekend we spent working on the wild elderberries on the lot.  Its been two years since we last preserved these tasty fruits. It has been a great year for all sorts of berries and the tiny elders are no exception.  Saturday, David trekked to the bush - and brought home lots of snipped clusters. 

We spent all afternoon removing the tiny berries from the tender vines and sorting them into 2 pound bags.  In the end, there were 17 pounds of fruit.  I stored 4 pounds in the fridge for Sunday and put the other 13 into the freezer for this winter.

After breakfast on Sunday, I transferred the fruit into elderberry syrup (recipe on my RecipeBoxMemory Blog).

This was our first attempt at using the press - and it extracted every last bit of liquid from the softened berries.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 2010 update

The beds are full of flowers and tomatoes.  There is still a couple of onions and one cabbage to eat also.  The upper garden has been wonderful this year with lots of beans, corn, beets (not enough for me), carrots, and there are many pumpkins turning orange.

I say - year one of raised beds a success.

Friday, August 13, 2010

2010 - Berry Berry Full Summer

As I munched on yet another bowl of luscious blackberry and black rasberry mix, I realized just how abundant the summer fruit this has been. 
How to rate the summer?
Here are the top 8 ways to know it is a good berry year:
  1. You ignore those less than an inch long
  2. Your dog ignores those less than an inch long
  3. You pick you breakfast every day
  4. All the animal droppings are full of seed and have a tint of purple
  5. You have to quit freezing them so you have a corner left for some corn
  6. You have scratches all over your hands and arms
  7. Your walks take you three times as long as usual
  8. You chuckle everytime you drive by the $4 / pint signs on your way home

And  today I noticed the elderberries are getting ripe.

Monday, July 05, 2010

4th of July 2010

Great weekend
just grilling - cooking -(our pickled beets&eggs)

watering and watching the garden grow...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Third flows the charm

We have had to repair our overflow to the pond 3 times now.  Previously, we used the pipe in the dam method, but ice flows and heavy rains caused it to lift / fail twice.  this time, we went with the stone spillway / overflow method and I like the look.  Now if it just makes it through the next Maine winter...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Raised and Planted

We had been planning some raised beds on the southern side of the house for several years.  This year, we decided to go back to a completely natural (read no-mow) landscape and constructed our first two beds.  Memorial Day weekend, we filled them (peat, garden soil, Maine sea-compost, lime, packaged growing soil) and planted.  The sea-compost is composed of the "remains" from the seafood industry here in Maine - lobsters, crabs, scallops, etc.  I am thrilled to be able to use it to produce more food instead of seeing it in the landfills.

The bed nearest the house has tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, several varieties of lettuce, onions, and spinach.  The other is mainly flowers with some additional tomatoes.  They look great - now if we could just get some rain since we are several inches behind this year, they should furnish us goodies as well as beauty.

check them out:

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Big Boy Toys

Spring has sprung in Maine and thoughts are on gardens and woods!  The first starts are up in the back garage (love those south windows) and I had fresh asparagus on my salad yesterday!  Sure hope the weather is better this year than last and we get more from the garden.

We have been busy filling the garage with more tools (or Big Boy Toys as I call them).  After you live on a piece of land for a few years, it becomes evident some of the things that really would help in maintaining your investment.  Where there are trees, there is always windfalls - and when you make firewood, there are branches.  Since I hate to "move brush" and sawing everything is really tedious as well as hard on David's back - we have invested in both a lift and a shredder.  The lift is in action today moving some old trees, so I took an action shot.  The shredder has yet to be "taken to the woods".  But when it is, I will get some shots of it also.

In the middle of the winter each year, we talk about an easier (and better) method for moving snow.  When the sun shines, the freezing winds and icy hands are forgotten - but this year we took the plunge.  A new snow blower sits in the garage also.  Obviously, there won't be any action pics of that for awhile (quite awhile, we hope).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Perfect Start to Spring Break

First day of Spring Break and we woke to a fresh coating of wet snow. Yesterday, everyone left work with travel on their minds - one off to London, another to visit sunny Acapulco.  Did it disappoint me to not be off with my colleagues to places sunny and warm?  Let me consider...
Headlines today:

London:  Ash may hover for days over uncertain Europe

Acapulco:  the scene of a war in recent months between gunmen from ...


You be the judge.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Walkable Winter

Yesterday, March 27, 2010 - I woke up to 9 degrees F. and sunny skies.  This was a perfect day for a Spring hike as the remaining snow piles (which are always blocking the open paths) would be frozen solid.  Today, it was low 20's, cloudy and windy - not as pleasant but quite "walkable". 

The frost is slowly coming out of the ground with tiny mountains of needle ice crystals being crushed under your feet  (see image). You still need to watch for the collapse of a frost heave along the trail.  In the middle of my hike with Milos, I realized that this was one of the best winters for getting outside in years.

We had early snow which was never too deep for dogs, nor too powdery for snowshoes.  The lows were always bearable and the wind mild.  I can only think of 2 weekends that kept me totally in the house. I declare the winter of 2009-2010 walkable!

Wonder what mud season will bring?  

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Slush Puppy Spring

Last week I was in Phoenix, AZ for 4 days - what a difference from the northeast.  The daily highs were in the 70's and the nightly lows dropped to the mid-50's.  It was nice to step out the door without a coat - and the warmth of the sun certainly felt great.  But, this morning I hiked with Milos in the slush puppy season of Maine and decided it was much better!

Definition of Slush-Puppy Season.
When the top several inches of the snow pack turns into a crystaline icing which "slushes" as you shuffle along on your snowshoes.

Every morning the trails from the night before evaporate in the sun leaving a pristine covering of sparkling white.  Each new hike is like the first following a snowfall, but you don't need your hat and gloves, just a light jacket will do.  The birds are singing (Phoebes were literally shouting from the trees) and the breeze has the feel of Spring.  Mud season has not yet got its slimy grip on the world. It is perfect!

And one of the many reasons I love living in Maine.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Not Spring - Not Wiinter

This winter has avoided Maine for the most part - the heavy storms have all gone out to sea after playing havok with our neighbors to the south.  I have read commentary about "this is global warming" in heavily sarcastic tones from the residents of the Atlantic coast.  I just reply, yep - it is climate change.

This latest wave has made one ugly mess out of the foothills.  Many are without power due to the rain laden snow and others just slogging through the slush.  The mountains have received many inches (feet) though which is great for the skiers and snowboarders.  :)

We have been through about 7 inches of snow - followed by a couple inches of slush - then just a little rain - back to a couple more inches of snow overnight - then into the rain/sleet - and on - and on - and on.  Here was the look this morning - sheets of ice on our roof - and dirty snow around the mailbox.

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Just takes some training and LOVE

If this one doesn't touch you -
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 2010 tracking

A beautiful day in Maine foothills.  I snowshoed out with Milos and we had a great time investigating all the snowy tracks.  The forecast is for ugly rain - hope we luck out!  I know what creature made the tracks - do you?  Love your comments.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

UP America

Great advise in three minutes from Kimberly Alyn -

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Mixing Pretzels

Dave got a new KitchenAid Professional 600™ Series | Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer | Flour Power™ Rating - 14 Cup stand mixer for Christmas and today it was babtized. 

A couple of weeks ago, Robyn posted a recipe for Homemade Soft Pretzels on DogNamedBanjo that really sounded good.  So, we downloaded the recipe and today Dave took the plunge.

The mixer worked like a dream (sorry for the last few seconds):

and the pretzels are delicious.

So, today we made a new RecipeBoxMemory for ourselves.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See

What's the worst that can happen?

Monday, January 04, 2010

First post on RecipeBoxMemories

The new blog is off and running with a post from my Great Grandmother's favorite cookies.  If you are interested in honey cookies from days gone by, see it at Recipe Box Memories.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Recipe Box Memories

I decided to start another blog for my 2010 challenge.  Visit Recipe Box Memories and add your thoughts and reflections prompted by "food from your past".  

2010 New Year Storm

The blizzard level winds made this one memorable. Today it is in the low 30s are everything is so heavy. Even the dogs are relaxing inside. It seems that it even adds insulation to the house - quite warm inside even without sun.
A few shots:

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Thought on food

The kids suggested that I blog some of my family's older recipes. Should I add them here or start a special blog? I start tomorrow.