Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Little White Church in Schuyler Lake

Sadly, just about the same time I was writing my previous post on Tuesday, the Little White Church in town was burning down. They still don't know what caused the fire, but the church is totally destroyed. We saw a "house concert" here a few months ago, and met many of the members of this church. I am very sure that everyone is devastated, especially the woman in her 80s who told us she had been baptized here.

I had to go take some photos before they tear down this perfect little church building. It makes me very sad to see it go. I hope that the local historical society makes an effort to preserve as much as they can, especially the stained glass windows and church pews.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Did everyone have a nice Christmas?

Even all you snow bunnies in NJ and PA? And you thought we were the ones getting all the winter weather...HA! Jersey Girl (first photo) doesn't seem to mind the snow at all!

Santa was good to KatyD and The Hub, and even Dave made out pretty well...he took over my new sweater as his own comfy new bed (next photo).

Friends Jane and Mac brought some festive drinks—prosecco and St. Germain, with an orange twist of course—for a little pre-Christmas-dinner celebration. Everyone seemed pleased with their meal, and Jane presented me with a beautiful painting she did of an owl on a branch in a windy landscape. With her permission, I may take a photo and add it to the blog for everyone to appreciate.

Then, on Sunday, we met yet another of The Husband's cousins (there are 9 of them, 8 brothers and 1 sister). Kevin and his wife Sharon, daughter Charly, and son Rory came all the way from North Palm Beach to find out what a White Christmas is all about. Since Kevin grew up here, he was anxious to show the kids all the fun things there are to do in the snow.

We are still figuring out what, if anything, we want to do for New Year's Eve. It's not one of our favorite holidays, but if one of our favorite restaurants (the Rose and Kettle in Cherry Valley) is open for dinner, we may go, just because.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Have yourself a Merry Christmas Eve!

This morning, I searched for an open garage to get a headlight in the CR-V replaced for The Husband. But hey, guess what? they're all closed for the holiday, Baby! It is only the unlucky bankers (and maybe a few others) who don't get a day off when Christmas falls on a Saturday. Then I went back to the Price Chopper again (they're working too!) for a few last things for Christmas dinner (arugula, avocado, pecans, goat cheese and fresh ginger). I decided to make gingerbread for dessert tomorrow, and I am using a Nigella Lawson recipe from that calls for fresh rather than powdered ginger. I have made it in the past, and it is fabulous!

Otherwise just cleaning house and tending the woodstove to get ready for tomorrow's festivities.

To all of you: Have a very warm and wonderful holiday from KatyDaly, The Husband, Lester, Sophie, Dave and Will!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

First frosty week of winter

We finished up our Christmas shopping in Cooperstown today. The Husband had the day off, so we wandered around town, bought a few last gifts and some spirited beverages, OK, and maybe we bought 2 slices of pizza as well...

We took the long way home. In the higher elevations, frost is still on the trees. Pictures can't capture how pretty it really was, probably because I just took them out the car window. It is difficult to pull over and get out of the car on these winding, narrow roads.

Friends Jane and Mac are coming over for Christmas dinner. Pork tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes, and roasted beet, goat cheese and arugula salad are on the menu. We might even share some of those spirited beverages we bought. Also hoping to work in a visit with Cousins Greg, Chris, Brian and their brother Kevin flying in with his family from Florida. We will both be missing our NJ family for the first year on the holidays, but we may test our technical abilities and do a video chat with both parties. We'll see how that goes...
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Morning snow, and now the sun

The weather changes minute to minute up here in the North Country. We have been getting snow here for the past 2 weeks, but not much is really accumulating. There was probably about 6" out there this morning, but now the sun is shining again and the snow is melting again. Maybe the ice slick that is covering the driveway will also melt now that Mr. Kelley blew the snow off the top...again.

I am trying to plan a short trip back to NJ, leaving tomorrow, coming back on Monday. But between the confusing weather reports for up here and the expected Nor'Easter on Sunday down there, it's tough to plan. I just hope I don't get snowed in down there! I have WAY too many things to get done, and I certainly don't want to miss my first Christmas in NY...White Christmas that it promises to be!

Lester and Sophie are still not bored with the constant snow cover. It's a new world for exploring every time they go out the back door, even if it's just to roll around and push their faces through the snow. (Yes, I admit, that was me saying "oopsie!" when the screen door slammed shut right behind me in the Lester video.)

This will be my last post until I return next week—I finally caved and shut off my internet connection and phone line in NJ. My only connection to the outside world will be the TV and cellphone...I guess (maybe) I can (somehow) survive without e-mail and Lester's Flat!
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Getting ready for Christmas

Christmas cards should be finished at the printer in NJ. He is going to ship some of them up here, and I will pick up the rest when I go home for the weekend. Needless to say, our cards are going out late (again) this year, and again I am blaming The Husband for taking so long to come up with an idea for the design.

I promised some photos of the house wearing its festive holiday decorations—here's one of our little Frasier fir all done up in new LED lights and our eclectic mix of ornaments. You can't see it in the photo, but even Pee Wee Herman (whose hometown is Oneonta) is hanging in there somewhere!

I was surprised to find that Christmas trees are hard to find here in the North Country. It took us a good hour of driving around and stopping at places that only had small expensive ($40) trees. There are trees in every size and shape, in every parking lot in NJ and Philadelphia. The place we used to go to every year probably had 50 trees on display at any given time, and more laying down in the back to replace the ones sold. Here each place had a dozen trees or fewer, and no one seemed to have anything taller than 6 feet.

That said, we are happy with our pretty little tree. It will be tough to spend the weekend in the NJ house without any Christmas cheer at all.

Well...I am going to 3 Christmas parties in 3 days, so I guess I can find my cheer elsewhere!
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We all worship the working woodstove

Now that Caleb the Chimney Sweep extended our chimney and gave it a new hat, the stove seems to be working properly. The last time we set off the smoke alarm was Thanksgiving, and that was probably just from the paint still curing on the stove and flue. We have made it through several very windy days, and so far, no more down-drafting.

So now that that seems to be working, our brand new Baxi boiler froze up instead (actually it was the regulator on the propane tanks that froze). Temps overnight were in single digits, so when we woke up to a very chilly house last Friday morning, we were grateful for the woodstove's low-tech heat. And when Suburban Propane came out to diagnose the problem, the $350 bill for refilling the tanks reminded me that we need to fire up that stove more regularly. Since we only paid with Tim's labor for the wood, let's use that propane as infrequently as possible.

Dogs and cats (and humans) do appreciate the radiant floor heat though—it is pleasant to walk on warm floors—but all 4 kids also love the warmth of the woodstove, and spend all of their time in the living room when it is working. Will, the B&W kitty, likes to sprawl on the floor so close to the stove, that I am waiting for him to singe his whiskers. These photos don't show how close he usually is.

Still working on decorating the house for its first Christmas. Those photos are coming next.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

We love the new house...and the snow...that's OK too

Our Christmas cards are off to the printer and should be done by next week.

I picked up a job today from my friend ME—a big, very-detailed job she didn't have time for, but one that is perfect for this mostly out-of-work graphic artist in upstate NY. I need this job as a good excuse to sit inside all day with the woodstove fired up, and look out on all the pretty snowy pictures framed by all the pretty triple-paned windows, and not feel guilty for sending The Husband out to support us.

The snow finally stopped falling and things are back to normal. I hope Mr. Kelley the Snow Blower is catching up on his sleep.

Lester and Sophie and I took a nice walk through the snow, and for once, Lester pretty much stayed with us. It is harder for him with his old hips to make it through the snow when it is this deep. Thankfully that keeps him closer, or at least it makes him easier to find. We'll test out that theory again tomorrow...
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Be careful what you wish for!

This is Mr. Kelley out there doing what he do: blow away the snow. Now that we have already decided on our Christmas card design for this year, I am tempted to go back to the original sentiment that The Husband came up with, using this photo—Be careful what you wish for!

Whose idea was it to move to this cold, cold, North Country? It was only a few weeks ago that it was too warm to fire up the woodstove! Now it's only 18° at high noon, and it's only December 8, with a long winter ahead. I should mention that today is the anniversary of the Willingboro Public Library fire that The Hub still remembers watching in his early years...the 1960s.

I received our first Christmas present in the mail today—made it worth the trip in the snow to the adorable little Post Office in town. Oregon Sis must have taken a glassblowing class, and created a beautiful cobalt blue ornament for our tree. How did she know I have this obsession with cobalt glass? She might have noticed the blog post about the recycled cobalt glass vanity top in the bathroom, or maybe she noticed the collection of blue bottles in my kitchen window in NJ, or maybe she just knows me too well...she is my sister after all.

Thanks Sis! I love it!
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Back in the nick of time

I drove in from NJ last night, just in time to catch the snow. The driving wasn't really treacherous until I got  off the highway to Rte 205—one of those poorly lit country roads with snow blowing so hard you can't find the road, much less determine whether you're on your side of it when traffic is approaching.

It has been snowing steadily since sometime yesterday, coming down even harder this afternoon. Of course that didn't stop the Big Bad Lester from disappearing in the back forty. At least he had a good run out there after being stuck in the house all day yesterday while The Hub was at work.

We are realizing the benefit of having signed on for Mr. Kelley's seasonal snowblowing of our long driveway, rather than paying him $60 per event. He's already been out twice that I know of...before the sun comes up he's out there blowing it all away.

And I am realizing the benefit of having some better photos to take for our yearly Christmas cards. Snow makes our pretty house so much more festive!
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rain and sleet, minus the pretty skies

I was going to go back to NJ today, but the weather forecast was a bit scary. Not only do I have my own driving conditions to be concerned with, but when I take the CR-V, The Husband is stuck with the little Civic to navigate those deer-populated country roads in the dark on his way home from work. I am glad that I was warned, because it is grey and windy and nasty, and now the rain has turned to sleet. The wind was so strong earlier, that it blew my wooden rocking chair right off the front porch, crunching a pumpkin on the way down. Maybe this is a message from Mother Nature that fall is ending, winter on the way.

I took the trusty old Civic to the Cooperstown Library today, to resolve a little problem I had: I am reading While I Was Gone, by Sue Miller. I pulled it from The Hub's extensive home library, and was happily making my way through when I found page 109 was missing, and page 111 as well! Definitely takes the fun out of reading a book, when I just get into it and have to put the brakes on! Thankfully the lovely lady in the library came to my rescue and held it for me for pick-up. She even offered to read those few pages to me over the phone, and I almost took her up on it just because I thought it was such a sweet thing to do.

Then I had a nice chat with Beth, in Cooperstown Wine, and found out that she is a member of Cherry Valley Artworks. She is into theater arts, but said that some other members are graphic artists. I certainly need to do some networking up here if I am going to increase my freelance work. I spent a few hours this morning signing up to, hoping to do just that, so this was a well-timed conversation. One way or the other, I need to get busy and make some money so I can go Christmas shopping!
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