31 August 2022

Another Month

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!

13 June 2022

Some Life in Maine

A few pictures to illustrate the good bits…

Georgia the rescue mutt sitting at front storm door, looking back at me
Georgia wants to play with chipmunks
Our Alumacraft boat docked at the lake, with mooring whips.
The boat docked at the lake, with mooring whips.

And Flowers…

Our yard through spring so far has been a cornucopia of flowers, here’s some more of them…

Another of the flowering trees, a horse chestnut
Asian bleeding heart
Lupin
Apparently, rosa xantina…
A cherry varient

The peonies are just now coming into bloom…

So, yeah, plenty of pleasant surprises from the yard that Lorraine gifted to us when she sold us the house.

Have a great week…

5 June 2022

Oh, Hail…

Last night we had a good line of thunderstorms roll through. In several different directions, folks had rain plus the light/sound show. But we got hail, too… Here’s the front walk as that phase of the storm was winding down:

Hail on our front walk

Not a huge deal, but we only had two small tomato plants in the ground … now we’re down to two “3/4 scale” smaller tomato plants. We’ll see if they survive.

Georgia’s Wonderful Day

Most of Georgia’s days follow a specific pattern:

  • Wake
  • First toilet of the day, out front
  • Breakfast
  • Nap & Chase sunbeams
  • Morning walk ~ two miles or so
  • Nap / Supervise me working
  • Watch us eat lunch
  • Nap / Supervise me working
  • Afternoon toilet
  • Nap
  • Dinner
  • Nap
  • Sleep

Here’s one of the instances of resting in the house, chasing sunbeams

Georgia, our rescue mutt, nap-chasing sunbeams

Today was special, though. The morning walk up to the nearby reservoir found the parking lots full, and stacks of people celebrating something up in the picnic area by the lake – too many people and dogs for her to cope with. But some of our regulars were off in a field to the side – these were dogs that in the past Georgia has run into down near the road, on leash, and freaked out about. But all the dogs were just running around their people and playing while the people talks. So I dropped Georgia’s leash and … she was great. She just went to play with all the dogs and was a slightly bossy sweetie. So nice.

Then, after some errands and chores, Marcia and I took Georgia over to my sister-in-law’s camp on a nearby lake. I had boat whips to install on Nancy’s dock, so that our boat could live there, across from Nancy’s party barge. We got there, and Georgia got to play all afternoon with Raven the black lab, and some kids and some friends of Nancy’s. So while I toiled in the Sun, Georgia had a lovely play date.

Best. Day. Ever. (So far).

Tomorrow, I’ll take the day off work, and we’ll haul the boat back down to the lake, figure out the docking setup, and get some fishing in. Should be fun.

Have a great week, y’all!

24 May 2022

A Sad Day

A sad day for Texas. Another sad day for a world in which the right answer for anyone is to go shoot a bunch of kids. Breaks my heart.

Fishing

We got out on the boat on Saturday. Marcia caught the first fish, before she ran out of steam, on a warm day out on the water. I went back out and caught two more, the biggest being this 1lb 11oz monster small mouth bass. A purposeful catch, too – I saw a spawning bed, knew at this time of year a fish was likely right nearby. I cast a small worm past the bed and dragged it slowly across, tricking with wily fish. Brought it in quickly, weighed, picture, and right back in the water to finish the business of making more bass…

Captured a small mouth bass on Cobbosseecontee Lake …

It was a fun day out. Sunday was mostly chores around the house, and a bit of visiting with Nancy…

8 May 2022

On the Water

This weekend, we celebrated my birthday a few weeks late. Marcia had been unwell (no Covid, but no fun, either) and she’s now mostly much better, thanks for asking. The best part is that in the interval between birthday actual and birthday celebrated, we took delivery on our AlumaCraft 165S boat. We got it into the water on Friday, and took it out for some fishing both Saturday and Sunday. Note that I said fishing, and not catching – it’s pretty early in the season here yet, and we have lots to learn about fishing techniques/baits that vary with the seasons up here. I think that I had fish on the hook maybe three times, and boated approximately none of them. Marcia did a bit of fishing, but spent time re-rigging and getting gear setup for future trips. That’s time I should probably take, too… Here’s Marcia enjoying our new mode of transportation over the weekend:

Marcia at the helm of her one-boat fleet, our new Alumacraft 165s boat, setup for fishing.

It’s been asked, what will we name this boat. Not sure that I need to name a boat, if I’m going to be mocked for naming cars (which I totally didn’t do). But while “Bob” and “Baldrick”, and perhaps even “I have a cunning plan” are on the list, I’m voting for holding off on a naming ceremony for the first year, after which, if the fishing was good, we can name it nicely. If, however, a boat of our own that doesn’t improve our fishing capabilities is found to have been the result, then perhaps just “UPoS” on the transom will be sufficient (“Useless Piece of —-“).

Spring has (finally) sprung

The weather has finally reached the point where we can call is Spring. It’s been greening up for a while, and the daffodils have been up and out for a while. But the trees and shrubs are finally starting to leaf, the tulips are in bloom, and I’m going to have to mow the lawn for the first time this year, real soon now.

The front flower bed is in Spring bloom, daffodils and tulips in abundance.

The bit of lawn visible behind that flower bed doesn’t seem so bad, but other patches of the lawn have been unevenly fertilized by the dog over the last three months, such that the front yard now looks much like the result of an old man shaving: splotchy and uneven. My initial goal will be to make it flat.

4 April 2022

Springing

In the last few days I managed a variety of outdoor chores around the new homestead. This includes stuff that should have been done during the Fall cleanup, but weren’t since Lorraine was getting ready to move out, and we were not in, yet. By the time I got settled enough to do a small amount of yardwork, there was a tiny window of time before the snows started. So all I managed was to get the bulk of the leaves off the lawns, then.

Now a couple of the front beds have been raked out, and the leaves blown off into a holding area. Then yesterday, I raked out some more leaves around back, and fired up the Cub Cadet for the first time. Works like a champ. The chain-driven leaf collector does a sufficient job at picking up most of large piles of leaves, then I could drive them down to where I stockpiled the Fall accumulation. Eventually I’ll turn that stack over a few times a year and compost them.

Table saw component clamped and gluing back together after the move...
Fixing the table saw

In and around that, I did some more lower-garage cleanup and organization, as well as gluing up another bit of the table saw assembly that needed repair after the move. This one was sort of on me, as I had not fully disassembled a bracket from the top, and of course they moved it bracket-down, breaking out the end of the edge. It’ll be fine, though, once re-assembled.

Georgia, our american bulldog mix rescue mutt, loves lying in the sun on the bed in my home office.
Georgia likes the sun

Georgia likes napping in the sun, in my home office. But she’d rather not be disturbed by being photographed while in the act of napping.

13 March 2022

Friday the Thirteenth

Friday the thirteenth falls on a Sunday this month. Sorry for the lag in posts, but settling into a new house and getting a new rescue mutt makes for a busy time.

Georgia (our American bulldog mix rescue dog) relaxing in a sunbeam on the futon sofa.
Georgia finds a sunny spot

Georgia is settling in pretty well. She’s testing a lot of boundaries, and it’ll be a few months of getting her expectations aligned with actual reality, we’re sure. We are doing formal training with this dog, as Marcia can’t walk her right now – Georgia would pull her over right away. But it’ll all work out. Hardest thing at the moment: finding her toys that she can’t destroy quickly that won’t instead destroy her teeth and gums.

Georgia and I took a walk up to the nearby (retired?) quarry last week. She had fun sniffing everything and trying to pull me over. I had fun looking at the rusty old gear, and trying to keep my feet on a mostly ice-based walking surface.

An old piece of equipment at the old nearby quarry
An old piece of equipment at the old nearby quarry

Chores

Maine remains a chore-filled place. Today, for example… Due to extraordinarily good planning on my part, I had to be up at 0630 on the morning of Daylight Stealing Time, to do production OS patching at work. Following that, I did the following activities today:

  • The bi-weekly cleaning of the pellet stove and the wood stove.
  • Shoveled the driveway by hand, since we only got about 2.5″ of snow yesterday afternoon into evening. The downside of not shoveling a light fall is that it partly melts, then turns into an ice rink. So it’s better to clear it quickly. And it’s faster by shovel than by machine, with a light fall.
  • Roasted coffee (the second pound of a tasty Guatemalan from Sweet Maria’s Coffee)
  • Fabricated a new wood rack for near the basement wood stove, to make it easier to manage for Marcia when she’s downstairs sewing, etc.
  • Used wedge and sledge to split some more of the large split wood into smaller split wood – more appropriate sizes for Marcia and our particular woodstove.

We’re about halfway through our regular stock of pellets for the stove. I’ll have to go out and pick up another load in about a week and a half. That batch might carry us right through into the warm (though I doubt it). I buy (25) forty pound bags of pellets at a time, and stock them into the upper garage, bringing a bag in to the house as needed. Here’s what three and a half weeks of heating for the house looks like in the back of the truck:

Pictured: Half a ton of hardwood pellets for our pellet stove, in 40 pound bags, sitting in the back of the F-150 truck.
Half a ton of pellets, bagged in the back of the F-150

As we start to ramp our days back up into 40+ degree Fahrenheit temperatures, the pellet stove shuts itself off for several hours in the middle of the day, so our consumption of pellets should go down by twenty or twenty five percent over the next month.

That’s all I’ve got for you at the moment. Time to go grab a shower, and get ready to start another week… Be well.

31 January 2022

Snow Day

Snow days are … different up here. It snowed 20″ or so in our immediate vicinity on Saturday. The roads seem to have been plowed and treated by 7 AM on Sunday (and the plows were keeping things clear enough on Saturday). No schools are closed or delayed this brightly chilly Monday morning that I can find.

I was up at 7 AM on Sunday morning. I got the coffee started on brew, and geared up. I moved the car back, shoveled out the front porch and a couple of feet in front of the garage doors by hand. Then I fired up the Cub Cadet snow thrower. It took a little under an hour to clear all the snow from our driveway and side parking pad.

Driveway cleared after 20" snow blizzard on 01/29/2022
Driveway cleared after 20″ blizzard on 01/29/2022

Then it was back to the shovel. I went around to the back and cleared the drifted snow from the two basement access slider doors, then cleared the stairs and the back upper deck, which had about 3 feet of snow drifted against the double slider there. All in, just under two hours to get all the snow I needed cleared. Then I took the [[SPOILER ALERT]] and chatted with our neighbor Myra, she had a plow coming so I didn’t need to help her out.

Things I noted – people tend to appropriately stay off the road, for the most part, up here when there’s an active snow event. And people mostly seem to know how to handle the snow and ice when they do drive. We went out and spent some time [[REDACTED]] yesterday. If I’d been out and about 12 hours after a major snow storm in Maryland, there’d have been cars off the road and in the ditches everywhere. I didn’t see a one, yesterday.

Spoiler Reveal

So, we actually got Georgia Aileen, our newest rescue pupper, on Jan 23, 2022.

Meet Georgia Aileen, our new mixed-breed rescue dog. She's a black on white American bulldog mix, about 35 pounds.
Meet Georgia Aileen

She got on a transport in a crate with a bunch of other dogs in South Carolina on the Saturday. We picked her up at a meeting point a few miles south of Portland, ME. She’s a sweetie with an intermittent habit of chewing things. She’s smart, acclimated quickly, and already hates winter up here. Grin.

Georgia, our rescue mutt, inspecting her yard via the paths I cleared for her in the front yard.
Georgia vs snow…

There will be much more about this new addition to our family as we get to know each other. I think she’d going to need some socialization trainings sooner than later.

The spoiler alert redaction above: Walking Georgia over to say hello to Myra.

The redaction above: Taking Georgia over to an enclosed mall area to spend some time walking about in a neutral space getting acclimated to her cousin (Nancy’s black lab, Raven).

13 January 2022

Broken Things Fixed

Of course, a Friday the thirteenth that happens to fall on a Thursday this month is the perfect time to fix some broken things. In this case, I fixed the broken 2FA bits on all of our sites. Better yet, I fixed up the broken sites – once again you can delve into the deeper history of this place, probably by starting at https://legacy.orbdesigns.com/bpages/metajour.html. Now I can do silly stuff like point you at what was going on twenty years ago today: https://legacy.orbdesigns.com/bpages/2002/z20020107.html#sunday. You’re welcome – I sure liked seeing a couple of pictures of our very first rescue dog, Sally.

Georgia Aileen

This is the name, I’m given to understand, of our next rescue dog. We’re signed up to adopt a young adult dog of uncertain heritage but robust health who was picked up as a stray in South Carolina. With luck, she’ll be ours in a few weeks. More when we know more.

Heating

Heating is a persistent topic, the further north you go. We have lots of options in this new-to-us house, but we’d held off on using the wood-fired choices until after cleaning and inspection, because we weren’t sure of the state of the flues and stoves. Both were cleaned and approved of, so last week we were able to spin up the basement wood stove, and the main floor pellet stove…

Our fully operational pellet stove, here in Maine.
Our fully operational pellet stove, here in Maine

The brand is Harman, and the maintenance dude says it’s one of the best on the market. We like it.

Winding Down

It’s tough, going through all the continuing waves of COVID, and we’re thinking of you and your families. Be sane, be safe, and take care of one another.