Monday, January 31, 2011

Bad news and good news

The bad news is that no one but my neighbor showed up at the open house yesterday. We've already come down in price as far as we want to, and folks just don't want to buy that great NJ old house. Praying that spring will bring out the happy house shoppers...

The good news is that we found someone to tear down The Dump at a reasonable price. We are paying taxes on 2 residences because of it, even though there is no more electric or plumbing in there. I will miss it with its charming turquoise and cream siding, but its removal will certainly improve the appearance of our property, and it will give us a clearer view of the horse farm across the street. I used to love to eat breakfast in The Dump while watching the horses, and in the spring there are always new babies to see.

We haven't seen our eagle since the other day when The Hub took that photo in the previous post, but I think he is probably still around somewhere. Here are some more pics that Hub took the other day. We have been getting some snow just about every day, but nothing to compare to the storms hitting south Jersey. I suspect that may have something to do with why no one is house shopping.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Not as cold...with eagle sitings

I saw this eagle briefly yesterday...from a distance, from behind. Today, The Husband found him perched in the dead tree out back, where some interesting birds (red egret? owl?) and some crows like to hang out. The Hub caught this photo of him (above) before he flew off. Second photo is the eagle can get an idea of how large he is in this photo.

I think this is the same large bird I saw several times last year, but he must have been a young boy then because he didn't have this obvious coloring. I have seen enough red-tail hawks and eagles in NJ to know that he was eagle-size, not a hawk. But last year he was all dark without the chocolate and white markings that make bald eagles so easy to identify.

Also today we took an expensive trip to PetSmart to stock up on provisions for the kids. We made a stop at Target, and The Husband took a spin through the Sangertown Mall on his way from Dick's Sporting Goods back to meet me in Tarzhay. It is a new world up here: in NJ we could shop at at least 5 or 6 real malls, and probably 40 or 50 strip malls within a 20-mile radius—every possible store included. Here I think it is a relief to actually have to travel a half-hour or more to do the necessary other-than-grocery-shopping.

Possible local freelance work in the works.

Possible person to take/remove The Dump coming to meet with us tomorrow. They left a note on the door while we were out.

Open House on the NJ house tomorrow. Thanks to Brian and Evie for cleaning up for us, and big thanks to the O'Connors (across the street) for all the snowblowing they've been doing. Apparently south NJ has had more snow even than the North Country folks.

I'll keep you posted.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Baby it's cold outside!

This video from last night says it all...all except for the part where it was down to -20° this morning, and we woke up (again) to no heat. To spare you all the whiney details, it is fixed, as of 11 am, but I am thanking my lucky stars for my woodstove. It took some time to get it fired up, but we would have all been mighty cranky if we didn't have at least that to warm us up from 6:30 to 11... As you can see from last night, all the kids know the best place to hang out, even when the heat is working.

Guitar accompaniment is by The Husband. I would have included him in the video, but he would have stopped playing and ruined the moment.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Baseball season? Not!

In addition to the 20" or so of snow on the ground, the high temps have not even been coming close to 20°. Below zero at night. Whose idea was it to move to the North Country anyway?

The Sand Lot Kid in Cooperstown, just in front of Doubleday Field, is waiting for the big thaw. (That hat is getting a bit heavy...) But we real humans know that spring probably isn't coming any time soon. The birds are the only things moving out there. The deer have found their winter hiding places and aren't even coming out of the woods like they normally do. There was what we think was a coyote making some odd noises right after we went to bed last night—maybe he found the suet we put out for the birds and was complaining that we hung it too high in the tree.

For now, the woodstove is my friend. I need to go back downstairs and join him...
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Still snow...and some sun too.

The Husband and I took a walk across the creek to the back 40 (more like 20) today. It was sunny when we started, then it snowed so hard that we could barely see, then the sun came out while it was snowing (in photo), then things seemed to calm down for a bit and the sun stayed out until it fell down.

We did some serious pruning on an apple tree on the far side. I took this cool photo of the house from there. If you double-click to view it large, you can just barely make out, from left to right, the Magic Barn, The Dump, the yellow shed, the garage, the house, and the neighbors' farm behind us.

You can also probably see the snowmobilers' trails through the Fireman's Field in the foreground. Unfortunately they also run through our property. It kind of takes away from our nice walk through the snowy fields, hearing the buzzing motors all around us, but there's not a whole lot we can do about it at this point. We'll just keep posting those No Trespassing signs so that we are protected if anyone hurts themselves on our land...
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Work and winter weather

All that anyone seems to be talking about is the snow, even up here in the North Country where you would think they would be used to it by now. This past week, all the stormy weather combined produced maybe 10" to 12" here. Luckily most of December's snow had melted with that one weekend of temps in the 40s. Snow is still coming down now, but it never seems to amount to all that much. Maybe that's because last year's Nor'Easter in NJ produced 40" of snow in just a few days. Maybe I'm just jaded.

Mr. Kelley the Snow Blower must be a bit grumpy about agreeing to that $600 yearly contract—yesterday he knocked down our fencepost with house numbers and reflectors. That was the only way to find the entrance to our driveway in the snow...big red 4x4 wooden post...broken like a toothpick. We just bought it, painted it and installed it Thanksgiving weekend. What a waste!

Update: Took the pooches out for a walk. There's at least 15" to 18" out there, more than I thought. The good thing is that it's up to dog-belly height, so it's a real effort for them to disappear in it. I even had a chance to fill the bird feeder and bring in some more wood while they were struggling to make it down the path. Ever since I got that woodstove running properly, I think it's been running every day.

After about a month of no work, finally some jobs are coming through. Better get back to the old grindstone...

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom and Elvis!

Mom would have been 78 today. She passed away 3 years ago on January 6. Elvis would have been 76 (I think)...I know Mom was kind of happy to share a birthday with him...evil hip-shaking dude that he was.

So happy birthday to you both—Mom and Elvis Presley.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Yesterday vs. today

Good thing I didn't make the trip back to NJ. There was a winter weather advisory for the whole 300-mile area where I would have been driving. We are supposed to get steady snow here through Sunday.

First pic is from about 30 minutes ago, snowing like crazy all day. The only blue you can see is on the porch ceiling, unless of course you call that siding blue. (It is Hardie Plank Evening Blue, but The Husband and a lot of other people call it grey. Exactly the kind of color I like—one that isn't easily identified.)

In the second pic, from yesterday, you might notice less white and more blue. You can also see that my new chimney is finally operating as it should—smoke is going up and away instead of down and in. I have been using that woodstove every day, although we are still getting $350-a-month propane bills. If I turn the stove up any higher, we'll be walking around in shorts and t-shirts. It is usually around 75° in the living room with the heat turned off. But in order to keep it comfortable in the rest of the house, I have the other thermostats set at 68°...thus the big bills. Plus we use propane for our hot water. So much for being green!
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Still waiting for the weather report

I thought about going back to NJ today, but maybe Friday through Monday will work better for my trip through the storms. I won't decide until tomorrow morning whether or not I can actually go, the second Alberta Clipper this week is headed our way. The first produced only a dusting of snow.

We had a showing of the NJ house on Monday. As with everyone else who has seen it, they loved the house, thought it "showed" well, but it's too small for their needs. I never thought of that house as small, but then I bought it when I was single. There were at least 2 families over the years in there with children, the Heeters had 4 or 5 kids growing up there (if I remember correctly). Of course that was long before folks decided they needed mansion-sized homes in which to raise their 2.2 charming children...

Funny thing was that in talking to the realtor, he told me that a good friend of his called to say that he used to live in my house. Turns out it is the guy I bought it from—Jeff. He told my disbelieving realtor that he was quite happy in that house with his wife and 2 kids. So there!

Today's photo is of a pheasant feather I found earlier in the week while chasing the dogs down by the creek. I have seen the pheasant once or twice, but not recently. I hope he survived the hunting season.
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Have a happy and healthy 2011!

The Hub and I had a very nice dinner at the Rose and Kettle last night. It was a 5-course meal, and all of the courses were perfectly sized, except for the main course, which was HUGE! We both chose the filet mignon, topped with crab, sitting on a bed of asparagus and roasted shallot mashies. I think I maybe finished half of it. But of course I had to leave room for the final course—dessert. I had ordered the butternut squash bread pudding, but changed at the last minute to apple cider calvados sorbet...a wise move. It may have had the same number of calories, but it went down so much easier, especially with the help of some sparkly prosecco.

You know the first sign of getting old is when you are in bed before 11 pm on New Year's Eve. We had dinner at 7, got home around 9:30, and were in bed by 10:30. So this must be the first year we are truly old, and both of us only 54. I blame it on not having TV coverage of that ball dropping in Times Square: so silly, and yet somehow my only tradition that has (had) remained constant.

My toast: Here's hoping you all remain young for your years, and that your New Year celebrations were equally enriching.

And here's a pic of Sophie gnawing on a deer jawbone just to put you in a festive mood. After only 2 days of temps in the 40s, that snow is mostly melted here. It almost feels like spring...makes me want to go outside and do some yard work!

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