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…
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:
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!)
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:
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.
Lovely, innit? Yep, just a reminder that’s the view out of my home office window (aka the foyer of our home).
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.
Enough fun and sermonizing. But that all needed saying. Be well, y’all.
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.
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.
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?