Friday, August 27, 2010


One day last year I was lucky enough to see a swarm of dragonflies chasing each other around in the late afternoon.  They were large dragonflies.  It was quite a sight.  I could walk right into the center of the swarm, and the dragonflies would rush all around me, oblivious to my presence.  It was truly magical! 

Today, I saw more dragonflies chasing each other around the yard.  I ran inside and grabbed the camera.  It was quite a chore trying to snap a picture of a moving dragonfly - but I did get a few.  I will keep on the lookout to see if they will swarm again!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Great Auction Deal

We stopped by the local auction house last Friday.  We put in a few bids for a few items.  We were happy to find out we got 2 boxes of Christmas ornaments (around 60!) for just $20.  What a bargain.  If you follow my blog, you know my wife and I are nuts about glass ornaments.  Anyway, almost all are glass.  They are mostly smaller ornaments (1 - 2 inches in diameter).  What a deal.

Just think.  Christmas is only 4 months away . . .

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rainy Day Chores

We finally got a good rain.  It started sometime after midnight and has been going steady.  I expect we will get over 1 inch.  This is good. It has been dry this month and the plants and rivers could use it.  Our creek was nearly dry (just a few puddles), but it is now flowing again.

Dry Creek

Wet Creek

We picked up our corn yesterday.  We get it from a local farm-stand.  It was picked around 8:00 in the morning, and by 3:00 we had it all shucked, wrapped, and in the freezer.  We put way 160 ears!  This will keep us in corn-on-the-cob for most of the coming year.

Our plum (roma) tomatoes have been coming in.  We peeled and froze 4 1/2 dozen this morning.  We have a few more dozen we picked yesterday, and will certainly pick many dozen more in the coming weeks.  We use frozen tomatoes in our spaghetti sauce, chili, soups, etc.  We put about 8 tomatoes into quart size freezer bags after we peel them.  Each bag is roughly equivalent to a 10 - 12 ounce can (no salt, preservatives, and better flavor).

I'll be making pesto today.  We blend our basil with grated parmesan cheese and olive oil.  We divide it into small portions and also freeze it.  We can take some pesto out any time and whip up some pasta, etc. in a snap.

I spent a few ours in the workshop catching up on a few projects.  I had picked up a few hand drills at auctions that needed some cleaning up.  Most needing some lubrication, while one needed its handle glued.  I also worked on the puffin decoy.  Most of the sanding is now done.  I've glued the bill in, and filled some of the big cracks with wood putty.  The decoy will get one more finish sanding and then I'll paint it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Swiss Cheese Barn

We went to visit my sister yesterday (yea!).  I decided to ride to her house (~ 54 miles).  It was a beautiful day, but I did have a few headwinds (luckily not too strong).  My wife went by car, and passed me by mile 34.  The bike rack was on the car, so I did not have to ride home (whew!)

Summer is peaking.  The corn is in strong, our garden is yielding tons of tomatoes, and the final wildflowers of summer are in bloom.  As I was riding, I could see the creeks were low (the river by our house is very low, and our creek is nearly dry!).

As I would ride past the farms and fields, I could see the corn.  More interesting were the fallow fields.  I particularly like the fields of purple vetch.  This little member of the pea family does grow wild.  Its little purple flowers are a pleasant surprise in late summer.

It is surprising to see some color on the maples.  It has been a hot summer, and some of the trees are probably distressed and getting ready for the fall.

My ride was through farmland and very small villages.  I especially like all the barns.  One of my favorites is somewhat neglected.  I think the building is still used, but it is full of openings.  I cannot imagine what all the openings were for.  I call it the Swiss Cheese Barn!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer's Peak

Though we still expect some hot days, summer hass seemed to change course.  The last few nights have been cooler and pleasant.  The cooler nights have seemed to signal the tomatoes to ripen.  We finally picked a few today, and many more are starting to change color.

The robins that are nesting by the windows of the workshop have a brood of 2 or three young birds. This will probably be the last brood of the year (robins can lay up to three clutches of eggs each season).

The farmers are making hay.  The warm, dry days are perfect for the hay.

Our gardens are looking spent, especially the white garden.  Luckily, the Black-Eyed Susans are at their peak.  I can't get enough of them (and they oblige as they seem to take up more space every year).

This is the time of year for the late wildflowers.  The chickory, Queen Anne's Lace, teasel, hawkweed and goldenrod are bursting forth.  I really like these wild stragglers.  I keep a bunch of goldenrod and Black-Eyed Susans growing in the white garden just to keep something flowering.

Soon enough, fall will be here.  I consolidated some of my compost bins.  By October, I'll be down to one bin which I'll be putting into the garden for next summer's tomatoes.  The cycle goes on.