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.
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)…
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…
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.
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.
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…
Not much else to report. Work, chores, staying warm, board games. WInter in Maine.
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…
… 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…
Some things just don’t suck.
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.
It takes about an hour and a half to split enough wood for the rack I built her, and stock it in.
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.
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?
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Going to go with pictures for the time being, since I’m too busy for most things.
We got out to California for a week last month, and got to see all the family that we haven’t since well before the covid struck. A really nice visit with everyone, bracketed by terrible long travel days with layovers longer than flight times.
Before traveling, we got the boat out of the water and put it in for the assorted minor warranty issues that surface during our first season with the watercraft. On our last weekend of fishing, Marcia and I both caught good-size bass:
Once back in town, work and assorted Fall chores started lining up, so we’re leaving the boat out until next Spring.
And so it goes. The best intentions and all that, but in the split between life, work, chores, fun on the boat, etc … I’ve not posted here. Sorry-ish. So what’s been going on…
August was a fairly wet month up here, compared to the first couple of months of Summer. I know you Californians will hate us for this, but just this morning, we had 1.25 inches of rain, bringing the month’s total up close to a nearly normal 3″. The weather is about to turn, though. The first night below 50F should be this week… Down in MD, that would have been a mid- to late-October event.
Work has been okay, but seriously busy. Busy is far better than the alternative, but requires a bit of a balancing act to prevent sliding onto the burnout train.
We’ve been out on the boat once or twice a week all summer, doing lots of fishing and a wee bit of catching of bass and other species of fish. Good fun, that, but there are a couple of issues to be addressed when we put the boat in for first service, next month.
We put a couple of tomato plants into the front garden where they flourished until the ground squirrels discovered how much they like tomatoes. We also learned that you need to treat our particular variety of peach tree with an antifungal … far too late to do anything about most of the fruit this season. Marcia did put up a dozen jars of preserves, but not the many quarts of preserved peaches we’d been hoping for. She also “canned” pickles and beets this year, so she has plenty of those (neither are in my list of preferred foods).
Georgia Aileen, the american bully mix rescue dog, has continued on her slow, slow path to becoming a civilized mutt. She’s still a real handful on a leash around other dogs, but even there, her behavior is so much improved over the start of her life with us… we’re very proud of her.
Be well, take care of each other, and get the new booster for covid variants as soon as you can, which may be as early as next week!