Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Special Christmas Present

My nephew's son gave me a really fun present this year.  It was a Spyderco knife kit.

But . . .

. . . it is made from wood!  It is constructed exactly like other knives.

I 'sharpened' the blade using a sanding block, then inserted the pins into one side of the handle.

I then inserted the knife blade and the spring lock mechanism.

I added the other side of the handle . . .

. . . and had a fully functioning Spyderco knife!  The folding lock mechanism works like a charm.  I have to decide if I want to stain the handle.  Hmmm . . .

Uncle Tractor had fun with this project!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Start of Winter

Now is the quiet time.  No projects, no gardening, no outside chores (except shoveling snow and cleaning off the roof),

I venture into the barn to check it out.

All is still.  I check the doors and windows.  I look to see if there are signs of any varmints deciding to make it home for the winter.  I then go up to the hay mow.  All is quiet.  I check out the workshop.  Everything is in its place.

Though things are quiet, there is an air of excitement.  Maybe it is me looking forward to the deep of winter and big snow.  At least the barn is ready...

Seasons Greetings!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Old Friends

The wind picked up last night.  It is blowing steady from the north at 20 mph.  Temperatures are near freezing.  Winter is soon to come.

I'll complete my fall chores.  Clean off the porch, bring out the snow shovels, drop the mower deck, put the plow blade on the tractor,

I finished the last of the autumn raking.  We have one small maple that seems to wait until November to drop its leaves.  

As I was raking I realized how each tree, bush and plant in the yard and in the gardens is an old friend with their own personality.  I know when different trees will drop their leaves (the big maple in the front and the one by the barn are the first to drop their leaves).  The  black gum tree by the creek is the last to get any leaves.  The daffodils by the barn bloom first, but those behind the barn bloom later but longer.  The big lilac blooms later than any other lilac in the town (and it has the smallest flowers).  There are the plants I transplanted.  The 'Nanny Regan' sedum (cuttings have been passed down through generations), the one lonely trillium I get, tiger lilies, hostas and irises.  I have a map in my mind where the columbines are found.  I make sure I don't mow or weed in certain areas until they come back.

Walking in the yard and garden is like reunion of old friends,  We are sharing our lives and growing old together . . .

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Country Architecture

Our recent trip to Vermont gave me the opportunity to enjoy some of the old fashioned architecture and buildings in the country.

We came across a converted barn.  We think it was turned into offices.  What intrigued me was the cupola.

What a beauty.  This one was octagonal.

The next day I came across this cupola on a working barn.  The slate roof was a nice feature.

As you journey down the country roads you come across interesting buildings . . .

. . .  and even old-time general stores (this one is still the local post office and has a mechanical cash register)!

Of course there is the traditional covered bridge.

I came across these concrete pillars.  I knew what they were.  Any idea?

Here's a hint.  They are supports for a special building.  Here is an old version of one.

See how the building is set up off the ground.

This was a granary.  The building was set off the ground to keep rodents out of the grain.  The pillars were for a corn crib - keeping the corn off the ground also.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Still Busy

Work, travel, autumn chores.  It never seems to stop.

Leaf color has peaked, and most of the leaves have fallen off our trees.  We had a strong storm and push through a few weeks ago.  It seems like all the leaves came down at once. I spent the better part of a day raking.  I cleaned out some of the gutters, but need to get the big ladder out and do the gutters on the second story of the old farm house.

I still see bees busily collecting nectar, but the hive in the wall of the barn has gone quiet.

We decided to move the garden beds.  The raised beds were made from modular cedar sections.

I was able to lift and disassemble the beds quite easily.  I then had to rake out all the soil.

The soil was rich and crumbly.  It was full of healthy earthworms.  Seems a bit of a shame to spread good soil about, but we will just bring new soil in.  I wanted to get this done before it gets too cold so I can get some grass seed down.

The wife and I did get a chance to travel to Vermont for a little vacation.The farmers have a lot of work to do still to bring in the winter feed corn.

I guess I am not too busy.  It is all relative...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Very Busy

Autumn is but 1 week away.  The last several weeks have kept us very, very busy.

Like the bees that have taken up residence in the walls of the barn, we have been finishing our end-of-season tasks.

There is always something to paint, yard work to do, vegetables to can.

We also decided to add to our work by looking (and finding) a piece of riverfront property.  We are packing up furniture and furnishing for the new place.

We will use it as a vacation home.  I time the wife and I will retire there (and the Barn Board will come to an end).

As fall approaches, the morning dew has been ever present.  The mornings have been cool.

The majority of the garden is harvested. The cool weather Swiss chard, onions and peppers still produce, but we pulled the tomatoes and zucchini out of the garden beds.  Soon we will put the beds to sleep.

The leaves are starting to drop.  I walked to the creek and saw them collecting in the pools.  I will soon be raking them up.

Today was a cool, wet day.  We actually ran the pellet stove this morning to take the damp and chill out of the house.  The last of the summer flowers are losing their vitality.  Autumn is running at us full speed,

Another summer ends, and my list of tasks gets shorter and shorter.  I decided to relax today and just putter about.  I finally started on a mallard decoy I had purchased a few years ago.  The body is nearly done.  Time to shape the head.

Another summer ends.  I look to the next season and the next stage...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Crops are In

The summer harvest is in full swing.  We have been eating loads of zucchini, swiss chard, scallions and green beans.

The green beans have slowed down.  They will start again and be more steady.  We haven't bought green beans in years!

The carrot harvest was excellent.  We have enough in the freezer for the year,

The zucchini are another story.  We have been eating zucchini just about every day.  Sauteed zucchini, ratatouille, vegetarian lasagna, grilled zucchini, zucchini salad.  We have also been freezing it!

Si può mangiare solo così tanto zucchine!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Once Started . . .

There is always a task that needs tending.  Some things need doing right away - a broken door knob, a leaky pipe, water the garden, shovel the snow.

Some things need doing, but not so fast.  Pull a few weeds, fix a loose board on the deck, paint some trim.

Our garage has two overhead doors.  One is an old wooden door.  It had some panels which had bowed and warped over time. I have been meaning to replace them, then I would have to paint the door, then the windows, then the trim . . .  Maybe I should put it off.

You can only look at things which need fixing for so long.  At some point it hits you and you just do it - you start to fix that which is broken.

I went to the hardware store, bought the bits, fixed the panels.

The old panels are in the trash bin.  Now it is on to painting . . .

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kayaking Keuka

Where does the time go?  It was two weeks ago the wife and I visited Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes.  It was a great little vacation on the lake.  Besides kicking back and watching the water, I got a little time paddling on the 'crooked' lake.

I took the boat off the car and put in a short paddle when we arrived.  Keuka is a busy lake with a lot of summer cottages and boat traffic.  It felt good to be on the water.

After a short paddle, I pulled my kayak ashore.  It had a comfy resting place near the water.

I awoke around 5:00 AM and decided to head up the lake to the outlet.  It was still and quiet.  It is amazing how different the lake felt without boat traffic.

The outlet leads to a slow, winding river.  I could see a marshy area to the left worth exploring.

Off in the distance I could see something splashing about in the water.  It came closer and closer to me.  I've seen this before . . . carp chasing each other about!

After exploring the marshy area, I started to head downstream.  I came across this old boat shed.

Off in the distance I saw a group of waterfowl.  A mother and here ducklings.  Given the shape of the head, my first impression was that these were mergansers.  The sun was still low in the sky and Things were not well illuminated.

After I looked at the photos on the computer was I surprised to see that this was a wood duck and her family!  This is a sight I don't see very often!

Back to the B and B. Just a 5 mile paddle. Time for breakfast.

The wife and I went to the outlet the next day.

The water lilies and damsel flies were beautiful.

Off in the distance we could see a great blue heron. How close can I get?

I guess that was close enough.

I probed the edge of the cattails and found a narrow sliver of water.  I paddled into it and came across an eastern spiny soft shell turtle.  How fortunate.

I had to paddle backwards out of the sliver of water, and hen headed with the wife downstream.  We new it would not be a long paddle as the outlet encounters a series of waterfalls as the river flows into Seneca Lake.

We came across more turtles, this time a painted turtle.

As the river snakes its way through Penn Yan, NY, we would come across various building along the waterfront.  This one had a lot of character (and very little support)!

Any day on the water is better than a good day at work!  Safe paddling . . .