Thursday, December 20, 2012

Milos turns 8

Cherrywood's Midnight Clear, Milos, celebrated 8 years today.  As a giant breed owner, it is great to watch them hit 8 years and up.  These big guys do not have long lives, but they certainly do live long in your heart.
Milos was feeling his oats though today - He romped in the snow with Sira (who turned a year last week).

Friday, December 14, 2012

One quick year! Sira is 1.

The years pass so quickly - today, our "puppy" turns a year old.  She is enrolled in her 5th class on the way to getting her TDI certification for further therapy work.  Following this one, we will either do Rally or Agility.

Here is a short video - watching her change over these few months is almost a miracle.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Proud of my state

Elections are over and I am very proud of my fellow Maine citizens.  They were the first state to approve same sex marriage by citizen vote.  Thank you Maine.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sira Ambushes our Walks

We have had some beautiful Fall days this week and walking the dogs through the crunchy leaves is a delight.  Sira takes great joy in flying through the woods and hiding behind trees and bushes only to ambush Milos and me.  She is a caution...

Sunday, October 07, 2012

NRLC Specialty

Boxboro, MA - North Regional Leonberger Club AKC and LCA shows - Sira at 9 months took her class both shows and was Best Youth Bitch in the LCA show.  It was great to see old and new friends and to "show-off" my girl.

Cooperstown, NY

It is not just the Baseball Hall of Fame!  We enjoyed visiting all the sites of Cooperstown, NY with two of our best friends.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Flowers for next Year

There was an old foundation on the property with some nice stones.  Dave brought them up to the house and is making a flower bed for perennials.  Next is the compost and then after it sets over the winter - planting.
It is going to be excellent.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sira gets her CGC

Last night, our pup, Sira, passed her CGC test.  A picture of her celebrating with a friend after the tests...
What is a CGC?

The CGC - taken from

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
Test 3: Appearance and grooming
Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
Test 5: Walking through a crowd
Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
Test 7: Coming when called
Test 8: Reaction to another dog
Test 9: Reaction to distraction
Test 10: Supervised separation

Because to be a responsible owner, you need to do more than love and feed your dog.
A book on CGC:
A blog about CGC:

For more information:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meters installed

Central Maine Power was here - we now have a double meter.  Top one measures what is coming in - bottom what is going out.

Yesterday was a nice sunny solar day - and as of midday we were producing 2660 Kwatts.  I can see how a person could become meter addicted, LOL.

Not really certain exactly how the meters do the calculations and measuring - but they do!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Solar Installation - Completed!

What a wonderful crew showed up yesterday morning from Revision Energy to install our system.  Very polite - neat - and capable group of 4 did a fabulous job!

We now have 18 photovoltaic panels (240 watt) on our roof!  It looks wonderful - just like the roof was built for them.   We have a Solectria PVI 5000 inverter. We also have a new highly efficient 58 gallon electric water heater.

This system is rated to produce approximately 4,715 KWhrs of power yearly which will offset 6,130 lbs. of Carbon Dioxide.  Final step will be to complete the grid tie - then we can send electricity your way....

Pictures of the day can be found in larger format if you prefer.  Large picture slideshow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Solar Install - Day 1

Equipment was unloaded - staging constructed and the rails installed today.  Tomorrow they will attempt to finish the job.  We are replacing the water heater as well - wonder if they will finish.

The pictures are of preparation - the rails are mounted on the standing seams of the metal roof.  Oh, and the old water heater too.

Solar installation scheduled

We are scheduled for installation! Filled in all the contractual paperwork for net metering and got validation that we are approved for the state rebates. Stay tuned for pictures and more. I do not understand why building codes for all new homes do not take advantage of renewables. We live in Maine, remember! have no furnace in use and burn less than a cord of wood a season, no air conditioning, and soon only use fossil fuels for my cook top which is propane unless we decide to change it someday. The only thing that I still cringe over is my car, someday they will have a better choice there for us (hope I live that long). Our run around car does get about 40 mpg. I figure if I am going to talk the liberal talk, better be a good example...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Moving away from Propane - to Solar

When we planned our bermed home, we hoped to use a minimum of propane for heating and cooking.  The sun and Tulikivi have done such a great job, that we never use the radiant heat (only used a cord of wood last winter too).  The propane we consume (about 300 gal / year) is for our hot water and the range top.  Being environmentally conscience and hating the use of fossil fuels, we have been discussing moving to solar hot water.  This is the year!

There still a federal tax credit in place for 30% of a solar installation cost and a rebate from the state of Maine for up to $2000.  These make the move even more tempting.  We have decided on a company to work with - Revision Energy

ReVision Energy is a full service renewable energy contracting company that provides a full range of engineering, design, installation and equipment service for homes, businesses, municipal buildings and nonprofits.They are friendly and so far have been very helpful.

Our original plan of installing a solar hot water system has changed however.  Due to the cost of installation and the fact we are already on the grid, we have opted for a solar electric grid tied system.  Our service comes from CMP which supports these systems.
image from

We will replace our present propane hot water with a super efficient electric one from Marathon.

The Marathon electric water heater offers these advantages:

  • Technologically advanced design is clearly differentiated from short lived steel water heaters.
  • It's the most durable water heater made, with a warranty to match
  • Envirofoam™ insulation is completely free of CFC and HCFC ozone depleting gases. Marathon leads the way in environmental friendly manufacturing, design and operation.
  • Tank comes complete with a factory installed vacuum relief valve, ¾" brass tee and ¾" brass nipple for easy, professional installations.
  • Replaceable brass drain valve
  • All wiring run in conduit for easy control wiring
  • Seamless blow molded polybutene tank with no anode rod required for a corrosion free life
  • High temperature, commercial-grade diptubes for greater durability
  • The filament wound fiberglass outer tank is designed to be more flexible and withstand more pressure than conventional tanks
  • Our unique high temperature dip tube is offset from the concave bottom, creating a "whirlpool effect" which helps prevent sediment build-up
  • Every tank includes 4' of pipe insulation for even greater savings.

So, it looks like we are ready to take the plunge - very anxious to remove one of those propane tanks!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sira is 6 months old today

Boy does time fly!  Our puppy is 6 months old today - she has had a great 1/2 birthday so far.  There are some pictures posted on our website and here are a couple of videos - the first is her morning romp with Milos and the second an extended swim in the pond.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Rainy Sunday in June 2012

What to do with two large dogs on a rainy weekend?  They figured it out.

Click to Check the pictures from the eventual battle.

and see the begging to get started:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Canopy - for the Dogs?

New canopy - and yes, we built it mainly for the dogs.  With the smaller chain link fence, there was no shade.  Now, our dogs very seldom are out without us - and are usually inside, but just in case...  we needed shade.
20 x 10 canopy up and ready to serve their royal highnesses.  We did not put the bottom half of the legs on as it is for the dogs afterall and this give them more shade longer.  Of course, we can not see anything when we are sitting under it - but they can.  :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mower Give In

We really prefer the totally natural look, but tall grass draws more bugs and ticks.  So after replacing the fencing this year, we decided to bit the bullet and mow some grass.  Thus the new mower - must say, it looks a lot neater and the dogs seem to enjoy it also.
It is a Cub Cadet rider -

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


The following image has been making the rounds on Facebook.  As an avid ecology buff (with a small ego, ha), I thought it was worth posting in my Share.  I do not feel it needs any explanation - a picture is worth a thousand words.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sira Learns to Swim

Our leo puppy, Sira, learned to swim today at 4 months.  She took right to the water and can out swim Milos already, ha.  I kept him on a leash so I could get a good video.  She also does a great job at tracking.  Not sure which to pursue with her.

Here she is:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Some doggy videos

Sira is learning to follow the scents around the lot.

They still love to tussle - especially in the snow.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saving my Back

After 13 years of grooming giant breed dogs - my back said "no more".  I gave in and ordered a grooming table, then Dave built a great entry platform to make it even easier.  No more excuse for all the balls of undercoat blowing down my hallways?

This came from the PetEdge in MA. and is very sturdy and large enough.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Today I visited my previous school district and took Sira (of course). We started at the Central Office where the staff ooed and aahed- loved took pictures and generally went crazy over the girl. She was the little Princess. On to the technology office and 3 men - again, she took the show and met several High School students and teachers on the way - loved them all!

Then we went to the Elementary school - same routine with one BIG caveat - an entire classroom of 4th graders all on the floor and Sira basking in the middle - not overwhelmed at all and going full throttle! I was so proud! The teacher took some pictures on her phone, I hope she sends me at least one.

Back to the Middle School where she met a couple of students from the Life Skills program and lots of teachers and staff - Center of attention!

WOW! I see big time therapy coming up. What a day! and they are to have us come back soon.

Thank you to all my friends at MSAD#52 - I miss you guys!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

They have made Friends

Milos has decided that the pest is here to stay and he should make the most of it.  He is on leash as he is untrustworthy in the woods near deer and snowmobiles.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Basira Von Alpensee joins the family

We have a new puppy - Milos is not happy, but she is growing on him.  She loves the snow:

Friday, January 27, 2012


Not every dog loves everyone - be respectful.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grind - Bake - Enjoy!

David has long baked bread using a "peasant" method of baking in a dutch oven. He has always wondered what would change if he milled his own grain.

Hence, the new grain mill (Country Living Grain Mill) from Lehman's Hardware. He was given fresh grains at the holidays (interesting gifts come in 40 pound bags). Today, was the first test - seems to work fine. Now it is part of a Peasant's Hearty Rye - can't wait to try it out.