Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ice and Snow

It was very mild 1 week ago. The rain melted the snow away and our temperatures were in the 40's.

A cold snap moved in, and we had a new batch of snow.

Then it warmed up again.  The mix of cold and warmth have turned all the snow into ice.  The ice started to build up on the roof and curl about.  I sure don't want it to break off unexpectedly.

These ice curls are common on metal roofs.  I see them a lot on the old chicken coop and the barn roof.

We are heading into a cold spell.  The creek is starting to freeze up.

We are expecting more snow later this week.  Maybe there will have enough to get some cross country skiing in . . .

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An Old Story

An old story I will tell my grandchildren this year . . .

A long time ago a wondrous star appeared high in the sky.

Some shepherds saw the star.  They followed it to see where it was going.

They came across some kings from a far off land to the east.The kings were also following the star.  They decided to travel together.

In time they came to a little town.  The star stopped over a little stable.  Inside they met a man and his wife.

They found a small baby laying in a manger.  The baby was beautiful and made the shepherds and kings feel very joyful.

They gave the baby gifts.  In that moment the whole world was at peace.  All was calm, all was bright.

Enjoy the season!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

And It Is...

In my last post I had started on a little project.

What was it?

Can you guess?

Why it's Santa, two elves, and a red-nosed reindeer!

Just a little something for my granddaughters!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What's He Up to Now?

I find myself rushing to finish a little last minute project.  This has been banging around in the back of my mind for a while.  I then saw a show on television which gave me a few ideas which motivate me to take the idea in a different direction.

I start with some square stock - in this case some 1.5" x 1.5" red oak (about 18" long).

I cut them to various lengths, and finish one end with a 45 degree compound miter cut (I do this on my table saw using a scrap block cut at 45 degree as a jig).

I have a longer piece . . .

Two pieces of equal length, but shorter than the first . . .

One roughly midway in length between the first and the two similar pieces.

I cut out a piece of the mitered end . . .

I end up with four pieces which fit together like this -

. . . and from another angle -

Next step is to smooth over the edges, and then paint it (them).  Do you know what this will be?

Sunday, December 1, 2013


We rush around.  Get up, make coffee, run to the dump, work out, clean the pellet stove ,get the mail, make dinner, start our Christmas preparations.  We run a similar pattern the next day.  Our energies are focused and directed.  We go to bed at night, feeling all was complete.

I was going out this morning to follow the same patterns.  I was bringing some boxes to the garage.

And then I saw them in snow . . .

Deer had been by in the night.  We had multiple set of tracks about the barn, following the creek, and then off through some thicket to their next haunt.  We aren't the only ones about who have thins to do!

I followed the deer track about.  Then I came across some prints from a crow . . .

I walked about the house and came across this hole by the foundation. I had seen a chipmunk scurrying about weeks ago.  Now, it is probably in its restless winter sleep.  It is well that they are sleeping, as this entrance will be covered with snow once we get the first big snow.

I hope you get a chance in this busy season to stop for a moment, look around, and see what the other creatures around us are doing this time of year.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Rain and Snow

A storm system pushed through the area over the last few days.  We started with cold temperatures and a few inches of snow.  The battle between cold and warm was in full swing, and the rain pushed in. The battle was on.  Would the rain win, the snow, or the worst of all truces - the ice?

At first I thought the ice would win . . .

. . . but ten there was a lot of rain.  The creek was up quite a bit . . .

Then the temperature fell, and there was still snow about.

The winter war has started.  The snow has won the first battle.  There will be many more.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


We had a bit of snow overnight and very cold temperatures.  The snow started as light, fluffy flakes.

We seem to be in a snow belt.  Bands of snow blow down from Lake Ontario.  We're not near the lake, but our town will get many inches of snow, but we can drive 5 miles south and it will be dry!

We awoke to a few inches.  Nothing too serious.  The snow was pretty.  It can get in the way and be a nuisance, but I always like watching it come down.

We had enough to plow (I actually like to mow my grass and plow my snow...).  We were going to visit my sister, so I had to clean up the driveway and walks.  It is easy work with the plow.

We drove an hour to my sister's place.  Not much snow, but the cold weather was really starting to ice-up the waterfalls in the area.  Nice!


Sunday, November 17, 2013


I feel sorry for the little Woolly Bears.  The weather has been quite fickle.  The week has been one of constant change.

It started like a typical November (like I always say - "No sun, No snow, No color, November..."). All is still and grey.

Last weekend I finished the yard work.  I raked the last of the leaves, dropped the mower deck off the tractor, put on the plot blades, threw some straggler plants into the compost bins, dragged out the snow shovels, cleaned out the gutters, and put a few more snow guards on the roof (we lost a door hood due to an snow slide - it won't happen this year).  Of course, the weather decided to taunt me - snow and freezing rain while I worked!

My timing was good.  We had cold front move through by mid-week.  A little snow on Tuesday . . .

. . . followed by a few inches on Wednesday . . .

By the weekend it was all melted.  We have had temperatures above 50 degF the last two days!  Those poor Woolly Bears must be confused - I am!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fall Planting

I'm not really into planting bulbs.  I have enough lilies about to keep me in bulbs for the year.  I never got into tulips and the like.  I guess they are just too ephemeral - a quick splash of color in the late spring, followed by months of withered leaves.  I think I prefer plants that take their time and stay around a while (I still have stella d'oro lilies flowering!).

The only bulbs I plant are garlic bulbs.  Today was the day.  We filled one of the deep beds in the raised bed garden.  I covered it with a bunch of mulched leaves.  It will be about 9 months before we get garlic - but what a great scent once we pick it (assuming you like garlic).

I have turned over most the empty beds and hit them with a dose of calcium / calcium sulfate pellets.  I swear by the stuff.  We had a lot of fruit on our plants this year, and no blossom rot in our tomatoes!

As always, we have one tree that hasn't dropped it's leaves.  It is the same every year.  Luckily, there is still a little room in the compost bins for it's leaves.

I have to cut back the peonies and four o'clocks.  I also need to rake out the shade garden and hosta beds once they are thoroughly withered.  Not much yard work left.  We are moving into the quiet time around here...

Sunday, October 27, 2013


I have been traveling a lot lately, and need to catch up on yard work.  Our autumn is nearly over, the majority of the leaves are off the trees and in the compost bins.  Morning frosts have shut down almost all the garden plants (except for the spinach, collards and arugula).

We have had cold and windy days with scattered rain.  I cleaned out the gutters, collected seeds pods from the green bean plants for next year, pulled the bean, zucchini, and peppers plants (into the compost bins they went), trimmed some bushes, put away lawn furniture, did a mowing (the final one for the year I think), trimmed the grass, ran the string trimmer dry, cleaned up the porch, brought the potted herbs inside.  Just getting ready for the coming winter.

We have been running the pellet stove almost continuously.  It is getting colder, and the days are getting shorter.

I really sense the change this year as I recently came back from New Zealand and Australia.  It is spring in those southern parts of the world.  Time to enjoy the warmth there...

Auckland Harbor and the Botanical Gardens!  Cherry blossoms, quiet paths, spring flowers...


Sydney, Australia!  Opera House, Botanical Gardens, colorful flowers, tropical birds...