24 March 2024

A Boston Song (aka Long Time)…

I got a wellness check email from the estimable Rick Hellewell recently, which brought to mind just how long it’s been since I was here. Let’s just say, it’s not you, it’s me.

As I noted in my reply, I’ve been hideously busy with work, which I can’t really discuss publicly. And some family stuff has been going on and distracting, which I won’t discuss publicly. So the things that have consumed most of my mental energy don’t currently have a place here. I haven’t had time for much in the way of interesting fun things to share, so this just dropped off the radar for me for a while.

Maybe I’ll just post with some more regularity, but on trivial outtakes for a while, to try to get back in the groove. Wish me luck.

From early last month – Georgia and her cousin Raven hanging out in a patch of sunshine in our dining room:

Georgia (black on white, american bully mix) and Raven (black lab)
Georgia and Raven

From earlier this month – Georgia watching television, as dogs will:

Georgia (black on white, american bully mix)
Georgia watching something on Discovery streaming

From today, a couple of views of yesterday’s snowstorm output:

Snow covered landscape, dog prints on snow in foreground.
Snow covered landscape view east from our house, planter boxes in foreground, fields and distant ridgeline.
The view from my home office (aka, the foyer)

The snow was supposed to be 20″ plus of fluffy stuff, but about 8-10 inches in, it switched over to sleet/ice/rain for a couple of hours, creating a thick, crunch layer. Then we had a bit more snow before the event ended overnight. Not super fun to clear. Good thing my snow blower works and is substantial.

9 December 2023

Snow days

Snow days don’t really matter much unless the storm takes out the power and the internet, these days. What snow days do is make everything prettier … and slightly more difficult. Everything is an exercise in dressing appropriately for the task and the wind and the temperature.

Last Sunday night, it started snowing right around sundown. We were due for 4.5 inches or so ending mid-Monday morning. Instead we finished up with around 6 inches early in the afternoon, then another inch or so that night. Here’s my Monday morning (12/4/2023) view from my office window:

Snowy view east from our house, fields and brush all coated.
Snowy view east from our house

The snow was heavy enough that I used the machine instead of shoveling, late morning on Monday. I did, however, shovel out some walking and bio-break spots for the dog on the front yard. Through the week, Georgia and I did make it out each day on abbreviated walks, only a mile and a half or so, I had to break out my snow and ice cleats, it gets treacherous pretty quickly:

Georgia the rescue american bully mix dog, in her safety orange vest, on a tree-lined trail, everything covered in snow.
Georgia scouting ahead.
Georgia the rescue american bully mix dog, in her safety orange vest, on our way though one of the quarry areas, snow-covered granite blocks in the middle distance.
Georgia trying to figure out the ATV tracks

The other treacherous bit was the bitingly low temps for this early in the season. Overnights dropped hard into the single digits: 9°, 8°, 5°, 4° – that was Monday through Thursday night lows. Since then it’s warmed a little bit, but not much – we got all the way up to freezing yesterday. Today we got up to the mid-30’s, and Georgia went walking out on one of the smaller, shallower frozen ponds on our walk today.

Be well.

23 November 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s t-shirt weather outside, midday today. We hope you have a lovely holiday. But here’s what it looked like yesterday morning…

Snow, 1" or less, on front walk and yard, first of the season.
First real snow of 2023

Might as well get used to posting black & white pictures for the next few months…

21 November 2023

Winter, Reporting for Duty

Not Winter, just yet, but it is swinging the bat in the on-deck circle. We’re getting regular overnight lows in the teens (°F), and the smaller ponds and lakes are starting to ice over as the colder temps take hold. The bulk of the leaves are cleared or mulched in – I have one more round of that work to do, probably over the holiday weekend.

We didn’t miss out on the fall color, though it has come and gone…

Fall color - the leaves changing color on the trees, reds, oranges, and yellows, reflected in the pond in the foreground.
Fall Color

We had a smattering of snow three weeks back, and perhaps a quarter inch fallen on the ninth, some of which stuck. Not enough to write home about, though. Yet.

Georgia is cherishing time laying in the sun, indoors:

Georgia, our black-on-white american bully mix rescue dog, laying in one of the dog beds, in a patch of sun.
Georgia the sun dog

Enough catch up for now, more later. Be well.

10 October 2023

Busy Times

We’ve had family visiting in the past few weeks. First Marcia’s brother and his wife, then Marcia’s niece and her family (hubby and three kids). It was hectic, and fun. We went to the local Common Ground Fair (pricy, crowded … meh). We went for lobster on the coast (or, in my case, bacon-wrapped scallops), and we did some fishing. Then with the second group: cook outs, a family party, and fishing. A reasonably good time was apparently had by all, including us. Georgia, the rescue mutt, did pretty well with all the hustle and bustle, too.


The fishing this year was good. Not great, but we’re getting better at it with practice as one might expect. We’re better at finding the fish, and tricking them into biting. Now if only we had time for more time on the water.

This last weekend was the last fishing weekend of our year. Saturday was a rain-out, in every sense of the term. My back porch rain gauge measured 3.5″ over about 16 hours. Yeah. So Sunday early I headed over to the lake to empty the bilge on our yacht. Oddly, 3.5″ of standing water in the bottom of the boad. So after emptying the bilge, as I was already there, I got out on the water and spent a few hours fishing. Caught a couple of fish just like bass, only smaller (less than 1#), had a good one on the line but it jumped and thrashed and threw the bait/hook off. Sigh. The fishing is done.

On Monday (Indigenous Peoples / Columbus Day = a Federal holiday that my work observes), after coffee and dog walks, Marcia and I wrangled the boat up to the Monmouth public ramp, loaded it onto the trailer, and drove to the house. There I did some maintenance, including replacing the windscreen that got shattered by a drop shot weight earlier in the year. (Yes, by me!)

Our fishing boat in the driveway, after I replaced the starboard windscreen.
Our fishing boat in the driveway, after I replaced the starboard windscreen.

Then I drove the boat up to Waterville, where it’ll get serviced, have a couple of glitches fixed, and they’ll store it indoors for us for the winter.

Speaking of Winter

Yeah, winter is coming. I expect our first evening in the 30’s (F) one night this week. The pellet stove is coming on for a few hours over night now. And the leaves are robustly expressing their opinion of the situation:

Leaves on a couple of trees turning red, reflected in a small pond between the camera and the trees.
Color season in the Northeast…

Meantime, it’s also the time of year when I regularly get lovely sunrises at a time when I’m awake and can appreciate them. Through most of the summer, sunrise is just too early. But now it’s just at the start of my day.

Red clouds in the sky, just before sunrise.
Red sky in the morning…

Lovely, innit? Yep, just a reminder that’s the view out of my home office window (aka the foyer of our home).

See y’all again soon…

11 July 2023

In Favor of Theater

First, some context: From The Washington Post: Theater is in freefall, and the pandemic isn’t the only thing to blame. I place this in light of the woes that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is going through, as mentioned in that article. And indeed, it’s not just the pandemic. For OSF, it was the Almeda Fire of 2020, and it was the smoke filled skies in the Pacific Northwest last year that cancelled so many outdoor performances on the Elizabethan Stage. It was the cracked main load beam in the Angus Bowmar a decade ago that had that venue closed for most of a season. The hits kept coming, and the budgets kept getting slimmer – and OSF is a top tier regional company. They’re hurting, and trying to keep going. A bunch of small companies haven’t survived.

It isn’t just that the options for live theater are shrinking as time goes on – small and regional theatres are the talent pipeline for Broadway and world stages. If you have a company in your area, and if you love theatre, support them, go to see the shows, even (or especially) if the shows go outside your comfort zone.

We were in Ashland and saw three of the five shows on offer this year: Three Musketeers, Twelfth Night, and Romeo and Juliet. Wonderful productions, adapted and interpreted with an eye towards racial injustice and bias in our culture. That last part apparently puts some segment of the OSF traditional demographic off their feed, and vocally, too. Black adaptations (Three Musketeers) and staging/interpretations (Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet) brought light to new facets of these jewels – they aren’t diminished: they’re wonderful and make us squirm a bit, and think a bit, and feel some things that might not have been felt with traditional staging and interpretation.

When venues like OSF are staging five productions, where 10 or 11 a season were the norm, you know that the smaller companies are teetering on the brink of extinction. Love your local and regional theaters. Support and attend your local and regional theaters. Or they’ll be gone. Live theater is a gift to give yourselves and your family.


The reason we were in Ashland was to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Our honeymoon was there, in 1998. And this trip was a joy, as have been all of the years we’ve shared together already, and the years we have in front of us.

Wrapping Up

Enough fun and sermonizing. But that all needed saying. Be well, y’all.

11 June 2023

Moist Spring

It’s been gray and raining far more often than not these last few weeks. Nothing ever really dries out. Not me, not the dog. We got the boat out of storage on a Saturday in early May … immediately followed by 3.6 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. Everything flooded. Bits of docks were floating away. It was two or three weeks before things stabilized and we could put our boat in the water. We’ve been out a few times, caught a few small bass and a monster of a great northern pike that I got to the boat, but it came off the lure before I could land it.

Last week I finally got about 36 hours without much rain, and re-mowed the front yard – the property was looking abandoned, which isn’t a good look. Now the lawn is flat, the tulips and daffodils have come and gone, but the rhododendrons are stunning this year.

Front yard pink rhododendrons in full bloom
Front yard rhododendrons in full bloom

Now if only it would warm up and dry up. So of course the forecast for Tuesday through Friday is rain. And other than a couple of warm days, we’ve left the pellet stove plugged in and it’s been running itself from middle of the night to mid-morning nearly every day (about a bag of pellets every 3-4 days) – not a warm start to the late-spring / early-summer season, either.

Still, the rains have keep the smoke and particulates that afflicted much of New England (and other aread) from affecting us at all. So, upside, there.

Have a good Summer. I’ll try to get better about posting from time to time.

19 April 2023

Weather or Not…

Nearly three weeks ago, the (perhaps) last snow of the season came and went. (I’ve doomed us, now.) Friday last, it was in the high 70’s (F) hereabouts, shorts and tshirt while walking the dog. This week, we’ve been back down in the mid-thirties overnight most night, and might approach freezing again a few times.

That said, I’ve arrange for us to pick up the boat from winter storage at the end of the month (I’ve doomed us, again). The weather doesn’t look auspicious for early May fishing yet, but if the boat isn’t out, there’s no hope at all.

Weird Dog

I’ve said it before, but Georgia is weird. She certainly watches television, which none of our other dogs have. While she often does respond actively to pets and wildlife onscreen, she’s also often content to just watch whatever’s on. In this case, the Great British Bake Off (err, “Baking Show”, sorry Pillsbury)…

Rescue dog watching television, resting her head on the arm of the futon.
Georgia watching Paul Hollywood on #GBBO
Georgia reclining on the futon sofa, watching Great British Bake Off
Georgia watching Suri make marzipan on #GBBO

So much weird.

19 March 2023

Our Weird Dog

Hunting season is long past, but Georgia Aileen and I stay in orange, me to make us easier for drivers to spot and avoid when we’re walking along the road to our trails, and Georgia so that I can find her when she’s more than twenty feet away in the snow and shadows…

Black on white rescue dog in an orange vest on a snowy tree-laden trail.
Without her orange vest, Georgia is a fully camo winter dog.

When it’s TV time in the late afternoon and early evenings, Georgia continues to watch TV with us. So much more than any other dog we’ve had.

Black on white rescue dog sitting on futon sofa watching television.
Georgia watching television.

A normal weekend day

Well, normal-ish – it’s also production patch Sunday. So I was up with Georgia at 0630. Got the coffee started, then took the dog outside for her morning ablutions, then she got a treat. By quarter to seven, I was at my desk, signed in and doing prep for production Linux patching (remote). All that, and documenting the first phase of the work was about an hour.

Then Georgia and I went in to wake Marcia. Everyone had breakfast. Then I started in on the next round of patching activities. That took about another hour. Thereafter, Georgia and I went on our usual morning walk: about two miles up to the brush piles, around the trail and up to the local reservoir, then back home – about 45 minutes.

I sat and did the email and news online routine for a short while, then on to house chores. I turned off the pellet stove, so it could cool. In the basement, I did the periodic (every 5-6 weeks) coffee roaster cleaning, and ran water in the fixtures that don’t see much use (keeps the traps full of water and the sewer/septic gas out of the house).

Next chore, split and stack another couple of weeks of firewood for the downstairs wood stove. That was about an hour and a half. Final big chore of the weekend was cleaning/vacuuming the main floor pellet stove. We have a dedicated vacuum for that (steel canister, steel hose, etc, in case of live embers). 45 minutes put paid to that task. At which point my energy was … drained.

That’s not an unusual list – sometimes it’s cleaning, sometimes (in warmer months) it’s mowing, etc. But I’m glad to be able to be here and doing the things to maintain our home and our comfort.

Be well.

21 February 2023

Joys of a Slower Lifestyle

On the upside, no commute at all: dog out, brew coffee, sit, work. And when we do get out, there’s not much in the way of traffic this time of year. Summer is the time for tourists and road work, so very quiet just now. And cold. A few weeks back it was -21°out. This upcoming Saturday, it’ll be minus something again, we’re assured. But we’re keeping up the heating routine.

For President’s Day weekend, I split and stacked firewood, did some off hours work, got the weekly shopping in, did some off hours work, cleaned house, did some off-hours work, and stripped, then relined all of our fishing rods in preparation for the coming season. But it’s not all fun and games…

I do get the dog out for a mile or two (usually two) every day, and we end up going up to our local reservoir. In the non-frozen months, it’s Georgia’s mid-trip water bowl. But this time of year, she wanders about on it…

Geogria Aileen, the rescue american bully mix dog, walking on a frozen pond, evergreens in the background.
Georgia wandering about on the pond

Not much else to report. Work, chores, staying warm, board games. WInter in Maine.