Sunday, March 28, 2010


Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” - Lance Armstrong
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger." - Friedrich Nietzsche
I remember talking to my father after his first heart attack. He was home from the hospital and on the mend. He was not yet ready to go back to work, but he was allowed to take walks. He had his nitro tablets if he had any chest pains. I sat at the kitchen table with him one morning and asked where he walked. He said he did not go far from the house because he might have pain. I found this a funny response. He knew everyone in the neighborhood. If he had any discomfort, he could sit on someones porch and take a nitro pill. I guess he did not want to bother anyone if there was an issue. But how would you know your limit? You have to push the edge a little to find your limits (we all have them).
Today was one of those days.
I went for a 34 mile yesterday. The winds were light, it was in the high 40's, and I had a good ride.
Today was tough. It was around 35 degF went I left. The winds were around 15 to 20 MPH from the south. It was cloudy. With the windchill, it felt like 25 degF!
Today was to be a hill day. I chose a route to do some hill work for the first 10 miles, head into the winds for about 5 miles, turn east for more hills for another 7 miles, and then ride 13 miles north back home. The headwinds and cold temperatures just drained the snap from my legs. I would get to the top of a hill, then freeze as I accelerated downhill. The headwinds felt like pedaling through molasses. By the time I got through the hills and headed north, bu toes felt like ice, my legs were stiff, and I just couldn't get my legs to turn fast. I plodded home.
When you have one of these type of days, you think of cutting the ride short. I could have just called the wife and have her pick me up. Though my speed was well under what I would have liked to see, I was not cramping nor did I feel like I hit the wall. I powered through it all.
It is expected to be in the high 60's and 70's by next weekend. I hope this character building only makes me stronger next weekend. We'll see . . .

Monday, March 22, 2010

Auction Update

We did get the winning bid for the metal cooler. $10! The wife got a call today from the auction house. The tractor bell went for 'way more' than the $25 we bid. The cooler reminds me of the coolers we had on our porch. The milk man ('Old Man Miller') used to deliver milk in glass jugs 3 times a week (we were big milk drinkers). You still can get milk delivered in certain areas, but home delivery of milk is now a vestige of a simpler time.

A Similar Kamp Kold Cooler

We've seen similar coolers for as much as $100! Ours has a slightly different handle and is not in as good shape. The wife bought it for its decorative appeal. A fun find.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nice Weather

The last 3 days have been beautiful. I had Friday off from work. The wife andI decided to visit my sister,who also had the day off. I rode my bike out towards her place. My wife followed in the car. It was cold when I started, though I made good time. At about 22 miles, I headed into the wind and my speed dropped off. My wife had started out a few hours later and caught up with me at mile 44. I was glad to throw the bike on the rack and jump into the car to get out of the winds. After a quick shower at my sister's place, we all went for lunch. Italian - yum!

We headed home later in the afternoon and stopped by one of the local auction houses. We put a couple of absentee bids out for a bell (it had a tractor on it) and an old-fashion milk jug cooler for the porch. As we didn't hear anything, guess we didn't get them.

We came home and I did a little cleanup in the yard. The roofers had left 2 large pieces of roofing which I dragged into the barn. The new roof is done and it looks great.

New Metal Barn Roof

New Roof Over Gym

Saturday found me working in the yard. We spread some topsoil around the new well and where the crew dug out the old village water line. I hooked the roller to the tractor and smoothed out the soil and pushed down the tread marks from the heavy equipment. I did some raking, collected all the sticks from the yard, did some work on the barn gutters, and used some roll sheet metal to cover a hole the birds had made in the garage (pesky varmints)! I went for a 26 mile ride in the early afternoon. As it was nearly 60 degF, I did not wear any of my cold weather kit. It felt nice riding. I saw my first bluebird. What a nice ride. We fired up the grill and enjoyed the warmer weather.

Today I was lazy. I got a 32 mile ride in, but did not get out to the workshop to finish the gate leg table. It was just too nice to work inside. After my ride I grabbed a nap, and then went out to the creek to listen to the water and watch the birds. I noticed the daffodils were coming up. This warm weather (about 20 degF above normal) has really jump-started spring. We are headed back to normal temps and rain over the next few days. Next weekend will only be in the 40's. Oh well. . .

Enjoy the warmth while you can.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's Official!

It was a beautiful day. I decided to go out for a quick bike ride after work. I had the sun in my eyes on the ride out so I couldn't see them, but I could hear them . . .

Red wing blackbirds!

I had a flat. I fixed the flat and then headed back home. As the sun was setting, I could then see the red wing blackbirds.

It is officially spring!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring News Flash

Though I have been hearing them, I haven't seen any robins. Yesterday, I saw my first! Spring is here!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Signs of Spring

It rained all day yesterday and into the night. Today it was cold and windy, but we had a respite from rain. I decided to get outside for a bicycle ride. Though the wind and cold sap your strength, it is more fun than sitting on the turbo trainer watching last year's Tour de France videos.

With the coming of spring, the signs are appearing everywhere that life is stirring. I hear more songbirds calling, but I still haven't seen any redwing blackbirds. When I see the redwing blackbirds, I know for sure that spring has come.

I rode north following the east branch of the Owego River. A few years ago, I saw signs of beaver in the river about 15 miles from my home. Now, I saw beaver dams and a lodge around 10 miles from here. Last spring I saw beaver signs just down the street from our house, though the river is too an large here for them to dam the river. Upstream, the river is slower and there are more small creeks for the beaver to navigate and dam.

The sap buckets are on the maple trees. A nearby neighbor has a small sugarbush just down our street. About 2.5 miles up the hill from our house, there is a sugar shack making syrup. Real, fresh maple syrup is so much better than the syrup you find in the grocery stores. The thought of a hot, steaming plate of pancakes with maple syrup sound real good right now after my bike ride in the cold!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Spring is soon to come, and the outside projects are starting!

We found a contractor to put a new roof on the barn. They started this week due to the unusually warm March weather (it was nearly 50 degF - amazing we had 18 inches a snow just 2 week ago!). They got the purlins on the main roof barn, and are nearly finished on the east side of the main barn. They will then work on the single-story section over the gym. With the new roof, the barn work will be finished (for now)!

The well drillers are busy around the neighborhood. A number of our neighbors have followed our lead and getting wells drilled.

With the warm weather, the melting snow has brought the creeks and rivers up. Our creek is running high, but there is no worry about flooding.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gate Leg Table - Part 2

So . . .

From my previous post, I had finished the basic frame elements. I attached the sides to the front and back rails. I then glued it together and clamped it. I also added corner braces at the top (these also serve as a place to screw the top into the frame) as well as several chair braces to the lower rail sections.

Corner Brace

The gate leg is constructed the same as the other sides, but only uses 2 rail sections and 1 spindle. Size the rail sections so that the gate leg assembly swings from the center but just clears the other spindles by 1/4".

Attach the gate leg using hinges at the rails.

Completed Frame w/ Gate Leg

I was going to make the top from oak - but the price of oak boards in ( approx 16 feet 12") would have been around $150! I opted for pre-glued pine sections (one 48" x 24" and one 48" x 18") which totaled around $40.

I cut the top and drop side to size and attached the top. I notched the top rail of the gate leg to pass over the hinges, then attached the hinges to the top and the drop side.

Notched Section of Top Gate Leg Rail

I need to sand the piece and stain it.

Completed Table

Table w/ Side Down

Overall, I am pretty happy with the piece. The spindles are a little long, so the piece is tall for a table, but it is the right height for a counter. This would be a good piece for a small kitchen to hold an appliance or two but still give you workspace when you pull up the drop side. I might shorten the legs a few inches. Only time will tell . . .