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.

28 January 2023


We’re in the midst of the season where mornings aren’t very … welcoming. Some days, I’d rather just stay in bed until Spring. For example, in the days to come, we’re due for highs in the low single digits (F), and lows in the negative teens. That’s proper cold. When it does warm just a bit, it actually just screws things up further – the other day, two days after 15″ of snow…

Snow thrower, still more work to do clearing snow from the driveway.
Clearing snow from the driveway

… We had a further 3″ of snow over night … but then it warmed up enough to deliver a bit of rain, then a bit of ice, then a bit of rain, then back down to snow. That left me with a driveway covered with 3″ of something the consistency of a slushie. The snow thrower (and we have a pretty good one) wasn’t very happy – I had to stop and clear the throat and impellers a couple of times.

The payoff is that, often as not, I’m greeted with a spectacular sunrise out my home office window, just about the time I’m starting work each weekday. Like last Tuesday morning, with the sunrise colors echoed in the snow fields…

Sunrise in Maine, reds and oranges of the clouds reflecting in the snow on the fields to the east of the house.
Sunrise in Maine

Some things just don’t suck.

Keeping Warm

The other thing to do in the winter is to keep warm. Every three or four weeks, I head down to the lower garage, crank up some tunes, and start turning the firewood we bought into sizes manageable for Marcia and the Jøtul stove she uses to keep her sewing area in the basement warm.

This time of year, it’s about 35°F in the lower garage. I fire up the little propane heater I have, point the fan at me, and start splitting wood. Doesn’t take long before I’m down to a t-shirt, and the space is up to, oooh… 38°F or so.

Splitting wood with a wedge and a five pound sledge.
Splitting firewood

It takes about an hour and a half to split enough wood for the rack I built her, and stock it in.

Racked firewood in the basement
Racked firewood for the Jøtul stove (partially in view at lower left)

Depending on how many days she’s downstairs… well, it lasts as long as it lasts. To be fair, I have about a six week supply also already split and stacked under the basement stairs (out of view to the right of the rack pictured above), so that if needed, there’s wood available should I be busy or ill or whatever… but my preference is to stay ahead of the game.

Be well, care for each other, and stay warm!

19 January 2023


On Monday, this was supposed to be ~12″ of snow:

path through ice on the driveway
Disappointing precipitation

But instead we got a bit over an inch of mixed sleet and ice. Tuesday is trash/recycle day, so I chopped a path to the street (and cleared the boardwalk to the front door), and got the important bits out by the road. Later in the day, after Mr. Feeble Sun got a chance to lukewarm the surface, I cleared the rest of the driveway, making it safe for anyone visiting (and safe for our garage doors should someone have been unable to stop their vehicle on an icy driveway).

Tomorrow (Friday), we’re suppose to get ~7″ of snow? Any bets?

17 December 2022

Winter Days

Winter days are … often busier than summer days around here. But before we get to that level of fun, Marcia wanted our rescue dog Georgia in her winter coat, as most days around here struggle to get up to 0°centigrade. Georgia did fine in the coat, and then went to find Wolverine to put paid to the winter coat:

Georgia wearing a winter coat with the back fabric shredded and the filling leaking all over the place.

As I noted above, winter days are busy. Yesterday, I took off “work” early… so I could spend some quality afternoon time turning big pieces of fire wood into smaller pieces of firewood. The basement wood stove is a Jøtul 118, which is deep, with a small front firebox door. Therefore, larger cross section pieces of wood are hard to deal with. Sadly, than means that about 70% of the 2 cords we had delivered last year need further splitting. It takes me about an hour and a half to split and stack enough wood for Marcia to use for 3-4 weeks in that stove:

Splitting firewood into smaller cross sections with wedge and small sledge

Today, to ensure that I kept up the manual labor, we had the first serious snow of the season. The weather app says that we had 13+ inches between yesterday and today. Much of the early snow was wet and heavy:

First snow of the season, view out the front walk.

I cleared the first round with the snow thrower, then did two more passes during the day with a shovel, clearing 2-3 inches per pass:

Shoveling snow from the driveway, partially done.

Plus, I use the snow thrower to clear some dog outing tracks in the front yard, just to give her a place for me to bring her out on leash to do her business:

Cleared paths of snow for Georgia to use the front yard with more ease and interest.

That’s about all there is. Up early tomorrow for patching Linux boxen at work, then the big chore for tomorrow: cleaning the upstairs Harman pellet stove. Ciao!

4 December 2022


I’m continuing to slowly put the woodshop together, cleaning up stuff and building infrastructure and storage. The first “big” project was to build a new workbench, replacing the one I left behind in Maryland. This one incorporates the vise that Marcia got me for Christmas a good many years ago. The work surface is just about a quarter inch lower than the table saw, so it works well as a drop zone for longer outfeed work. Stainless steel bolts set at the bottom of the six legs are the leveling feet.

wooden workbench home built in the garage, roll-up door in the background, table saw in the foreground.
Home-built workbench

The next thing I built was a pegboard wall for accessible tool storage. In the basement in Maryland, I had lots of walls to work with. Not so much in this space. I built a 2001: A Space Odyssey inspired pegboard, 8′ x 4′, on locking wheels with a storage trough at the base on each side. It’s 2′ wide at the base, just enough to slide in between the two storage shelving racks. I was pretty happy with it, but added some features today: a handle for maneuvering it, a paper towel holder, and a pencil holder.

white pegboard tool storage rack, on mobile base.
Mobile pegboard tool storage monolith.


Geogia Aileen, our american bully mix rescue mutt, continues to get me out and about every day. Yesterday was cold, rainy, and miserable. Today, the lack of rain made it just cold, which is a lot less miserable, frankly. By the time I’m halfway through our walk, I’m shedding layers in hopes of not breaking into a sweat. Sweating on cold walk is a bad thing. Sometimes Georgia gets to be off leash for a while, and play by herself or with friends (once we’re well away from the road). As it was Sunday, she didn’t have to wear her bright orange hunter alert vest.

Black on white dog on gravel road.
Georgia Aileen on the gravel road heading up to the reservoir.


Marcia and I continue to be reasonably healthy. A couple of months ago, I got my third covid booster shot (Pfizer bivalent) and my seasonal flu shot. A couple of weeks ago, I got the first of two shingles shots. And this last week, I got one of the once-every-ten-year procedures done, as one of those unpleasant but sane precautionary activities. No bad news, but they want me on a five year repeat schedule going forward.


It started to get cold, and the ponds around us started icing up. Then it got warmer again, and we got a bunch of rain, and the ice is all gone again. And while we got a dusting of snow a couple of weeks ago, that’s long gone and there’s no more in the short- or mid-term forecasts. Sigh. I like snow.

20 November 2022

Keeping Up

Such as it is. It’s a busy time of year. The last of the outdoor maintenance is getting done. Leaves are all up and composted … well, they were, then a new batch blew in from across the street, argh! Friday I took off a few hours early to get some maintenance done on the propane-powered home generator, an 11KW Generac. I did all the normal maintenance stuff, and ended up having to reset the controller to make everything work right again (remove battery connections, unplug controller, plug controller back in, restore battery connections, then redo all the setup wizard steps). Not hard, just a bit of drudge work at 37°F.

Generac home generator, top open and front panel off

Abandoning Twitter

I can’t bring myself to the point where I continue to provide content of any type on Twitter, supporting the new ownership of that firm. I’ve had accounts on CounterSocial (@bilborg) and Mastodon (@[email protected]) for a good long while, and I’ve managed to find most of the folks that I care about keeping up with over on those services. I’ve dropped my following count down to 2 folks while I try to figure out how else to keep up with them.

That’s all I’ve got queued up right now. WInding down after a pretty busy weekend. I’ve been making progress in the woodshop setup, more on that soon.