Saturday, September 24, 2016

Autumnal Saturday

 A little bit of color at the bird feeder in my yard.  Not much to offer but it's something.

This is my maple tree--it's usually a brilliant orange but this year it's more like brown.  It's been dry, dry, dry and the color is just not what it usually is.

Tess is depressed because there's no bright color this fall.  She is happy that outside temps have dropped, though, so now there are fires in the wood stove.  I guess we have frost warnings for tonight.  I brought in my impatiens, the rest of the plants can go to hell, they gave up on me a long time ago so I gave up on them, too.

Had a pretty good day today, went to coffee and breakfast with friends, home to do laundry, clean the kitchen, set some more mouse traps.  Saw friends tonight for dinner and am now settled in, waiting to get sleepy for bed.  It was a beautiful day though pretty cool, 50's I think.  Won't be long before 50 is a pipe dream.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

First day of fall

I have these mums on my deck--they're so bright that sometimes when you see them it's as if a light is shining on them.  Very pretty, very autumnal and nice.

I had a good day today, didn't go to Plattsburgh as originally planned.  I went to Westport to the vet's to get Tess' med.--it's almost an hour away but it's a very nice drive through the mountains.  There's just the hint of color starting in the mountains.

I came home the back way, across a long dirt road into the "old" neighborhood, where we lived for 6 years before moving to this house.  Our house, which was a cute little one-bedroom house has been turned into something entirely different, which is fine.  It's been sold twice, I think, since we sold it.  Anyway, now it's blue and strange and I have no emotional reaction to seeing it.  It was nice to see the changes in the neighborhood, I guess, there are a lot of new houses along the way.

I spent more than 2 hours on Linda's dock with her, oh we have such a good time doing that.  We swam in what felt like cold water, but the temp is a steady 71 degrees.  It was a warm day with hot sun and a cool breeze, not a cold wind.  A couple of boats on the lake but mostly just loons, a heron, a turkey vulture, a gull and a bunch of crows.  All very nice.

I came home for a while to be with the dogs, then went back to Linda's for drinks around the campfire.  That was lovely.  She has birdfeeders near the fireplace with very busy nuthatches and chickadees, and an occasional goldfinch.  We spend lots of time watching the birds, Linda dubbed it Channel Chickadee.  We are easily entertained when we're together.

Tomorrow looks pretty nifty.  NO PLANS.  No coffee in with friends in the morning, no lunch in Plattsburgh, no shopping.  I may hit a farm stand, and may buy a new lawnmower (but I doubt that).  Temps are due to be in the 50's, maybe 60--a huge change from today's sunny, warm dock temps.  Rain tonight.  It's warm enough to sleep in the boat house but I like being at home and the dogs are at peace, so here I'll stay.

Getting colorful slowly

This is the view from the farmers market, not very colorful just yet but there is a hint of red in the mountains.  We have some oranges and reds around here but the color is slow to arrive and will be muted this year, I think.  It's been very dry and the birches seem to be just losing their leaves rather than trading in green for yellow.  Time will tell, and there will be color, maybe not the incredible show we sometimes have, but there is color coming.

I've been busy--everyone wants to spend time together now that the season is drawing to a close.  My mother asked me how I got involved with "those people who always want to eat together."  Yes, it's true we like to have dinners together--she said, "What's wrong with snacks?  Why do you always have to have dinner?"  Sometimes we have coffee in the morning, sometimes we just have drinks and snacks, but I guess I mostly report the dinners to her.

I hosted dinner for Duncan & Sue and J&M the other night, that was a lot of fun and very nice.  I can only fit about 5 at my dinner table comfortably so it worked out.  I really like entertaining, now that I'm retired and no longer fuss about how much work it is to clean and prepare for company.  It's a leisurely activity for me and I like cooking and hauling out the silver and good glasses.

I spent most of the day in Plattsburgh, without the dogs.  I always take the dogs but today had to have the car inspected so The Ladies had to stay home.  They didn't seem to mind and mostly just slept when I finally came home.  I was only home for an hour or so, then went to a delicious dinner at J&M's, had a really nice time there.  Hard to believe how much my life will change after next week, then even more after Columbus Day.  Yes, winter will come and here I'll be.

I went to the campaign headquarters of our Congressional candidate in Plattsburgh to offer my volunteering services.  I was all set to do some phoning tomorrow afternoon but then I remembered that I have to go to Westport to get pills for Tess.  Westport is in the opposite direction from Plattsburgh, about an hour from my house, so I decided to postpone my volunteering until next week.  What a wuss.  I will do it next week, though.  I talked to the young man who is staffing the headquarters and regaled him with tales of my earlier campaigning efforts.   Gene McCarthy, George McGovern, Rush Holt.  And some phone bank work for fundraisers.  My mother had us go door-to-door for school board candidates when we were young, I think we hated that but it was good experience and got me trained for campaigning later in life.  Who DOESN'T go door-to-door for something as a kid?  Selling cookies for Girl Scouts, and my poor sister went around peddling light bulbs one time.  Light bulbs?  Sure, why not.

The weather has been near perfect, maybe a little too warm for reality.  It's been in the 70's and near 80 with a very warm sun but cool wind/breeze.  I've had some really nice dock time with Linda, our annual Fall Festival of Cool Water.  The lake is still pretty warm but it's getting colder and harder to get into.  This weekend it might be only in the 50's so maybe there will be no docking, but I can sit on my deck in the sun and read to the dogs.

The mice have settled in here at 58OHR.  I've got the definitive trap collection, I think I have every kind of killing trap.  I don't do live trapping and I sure don't do the glue traps.  Anyway, I found the rodent raceway under my kitchen sink--and WHACK!  I just heard another one giving its life for me.  That makes a total of 18 I've killed since July.  We all agree it's odd to have indoor mice in the summer, they don't usually move in until the weather changes (or maybe they're responding to autumn leaves...) but this year they settled right in early.  My record is 21 and I think I'll pass that soon.  Yesterday I caught 4 under the sink in a single day.  I've found the best bait is not the traditional peanut butter, but Tootsie Rolls.  Much much more appealing to North Country mice.  Does this all sound disgusting?  I suppose it does, but mice are so much a part of life here in the woods that I don't fuss, I just trap.

The dogs continue to thrive.  Tess is doing very well, is slightly deaf but still very mobile for a 13-year-old Lab.  Treasure is a true treasure and I love her dearly.  She's only 6.  I worry about Tess, which is natural, but she reassures me regularly that she can bark at the bogeyman just like a 3-year-old dog.  She's a sweetie.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Not frosty yet

It was 39 this morning, not the frost that was predicted.  I'm eager to have a frost, hoping it will kill off the ragweed so endearing to Tess.  This was close but not quite.  We've had heavy mist in the morning, some even up here at my house but a lot on the lake.  I went swimming with Linda yesterday--water temp was 71, air temp in the 60's.  The water felt cold at first, but after moving around a bit it was really lovely.  Getting out, not so lovely, but the sun is still warm though much lower in the sky.

I went to 2 farm stands with Duncan & Sue yesterday morning, a nice outing.  Bought corn, cider, squash, yellow carrots and apples.  Yum.  Got cider donuts for Linda and her company, very nice.  We had a group breakfast at Duncan & Sue's, "Hawkeye, party of 9?" was a  big success.  We ate in front of the fire, in the living room, while Linda cooked pancakes on the outside porch.  Lots of food, lots of good friends, a great time.

Today I'm going to Plattsburgh for lunch with Barb, always fun.  I have to get dog food (didn't I just DO that?) and some staples for my staple gun.  Yes, I swear one of these days I will actually crawl under the house and staple up the insulation that's drooping.  Yes, I will.  No, really.

I've had fires in my stove for the last couple of days, standard for mid-September.  They're not terribly effective fires, I'm not in hot fire mode just yet.  Just taking the chill out of the living room I guess.

Yesterday afternoon I did something so un-like me: I took a long nap.  Man it felt delicious but threw me off completely.  I ended up at Linda's at 8 p.m., which is normally the time I'm getting ready for bed.  We sat in front of the campfire for a while (thankfully, no one broke into song), then went inside.  She has friends from Michigan visiting, very nice and happy people I enjoy visiting with.  The neighborhood is slowly emptying out, Jim & Judy left recently, the last renters at the Owl have left, the last of the Holts' renters have left.  Our camp is quiet and cold.  Not sure if I'll sleep in the boat house again this fall, I don't savor cold mornings there.  No progress on closing camp, I don't think that will happen any time soon.  Still food in the fridge in main camp and in the boat house, dock still in, nothing going on there.

Supposed to be warm today, in the mid-70's (is that different from 75?), even warmer tomorrow but maybe some rain in the afternoon.  We've had wonderful weather this September.  Not too warm for the mice to move into the house, though.  I caught #13 this morning, a small one, member of a new generation, just swell.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


That's shrimp in paella that Linda cooked on the campfire.  It's quite a feat but she's masterful at campfire cooking.  Delicious dish, so well cooked by Chef Hormes.

I had a nice day today, ending with paella.  I had coffee in the morning, then spent some time reading on my deck (to warm up after the 49-degree porch coffee) in the sun.  Went to camp for a little while, mostly just to clean up the garbage the dogs had spread all over the back porch.  huh.  

I went back to Linda's and we had some dock time, bright warm sunshine but the most incredible wind.  Big waves, hard to swim.  We had a good visit anyway.

Tonight I caught mouse #12, way to go!  Everyone is plagued by mice this season.  My reaction to that is pretty simple: welcome to my world.

Tomorrow I'm having coffee with Duncan & Sue, lunch with Julie in Plattsburgh and maybe a visit with some friends visiting from Calif., renting another friend's camp.  They're leaving on Thursday so I guess I should get down to see them tomorrow or not at all.

We're supposed to have a rainy Wednesday, but right now it's still clear and warm and not raining at all.  It's still very dry here and the fall color is slow to arrive (if it comes at all, there are those of us who fear the leaves will just dry up and fall off). 

The dogs are great, snoring right now and oblivious to what I'm doing.  Which is fine with me.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

She's BACK!

 Tess is fully recovered and in great shape again, what a relief.  I was very upset and unsure what her problem was, but now she's off the cortisone, back on her anti-inflammatory drug and back her anti-itch drug and she's wagging her tail in circles again.  Whew!

She swims like a pro, though she doesn't chase or retrieve things.  These 2 Labs are the least retrieving retrievers I've ever had.  Tess used to swim out after sticks but now she just watches you throw the stick, shakes her head and walks away.  Stoopid people, throwing things into the lake.

Sunrise this morning from my deck.  I should have stayed in the boat house last night so I could have seen the mountain in this color, I bet it was just amazing.  I was lucky to see what I did, though, so I don't and won't complain.

Linda and I had a turkey dinner this week, it was a huge success, thanks to her hard work and cooking.  She cooked the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and sauerkraut.  I roasted vegetables and cooked a couple other things.  Mostly my part was setting up the porch at camp and breaking down the party when it was over.  People came at 5 except for some who came at 6, and everyone had a grand time (I assume).  The food was delicious, people were happy and jovial, alcohol flowed freely, Sue made a delicious chocolate birthday cake for Duncan and Annie brought a delicious pie.  J&M brought delicious wine.  Everything was perfect.  That porch is a grand place to have 14 people come for dinner to.

Yesterday I had coffee at Duncan & Sue's, joined by Linda and the people renting Bill's camp.  What a nice time--they have a wonderful screened porch, too, and we sat there watching the hummingbirds and each other.  Very nice.  This morning was coffee at Fred's with Linda, and a farewell siting of Jim & Judy, who leave for home today.  Fred and I went to a fall "festival" in Wilmington.  It didn't amount to much but we each bought a couple of things to support the vendors (and the library--Fred, like most of my friends can't resist used books).  I went to the dump when I got home, now I'm too warm, sitting in my living room.  It's not exactly a dock day but I may venture to camp to sit on the boat house porch to catch the breeze that Linda reported to me a few minutes ago.  Last night I had dinner at Annie's with Jim & Judy, a very nice time.  Tonight?  I think I'll visit Joe & Martha, it's hard to believe they'll be leaving in 3 weeks.  THREE WEEKS!! 

I don't have much planned for the next few days.  A visit with Pat & Jim, lunch in Plattsburgh later in the week.  I have to have my car inspected--rats, it's also due for a servicing, which will be done in Burlington, where they can't do NYState inspections, so there will be 2 auto activities in the coming weeks.

It's still very warm here and we really need rain.  Maybe it will rain this afternoon, but I doubt it.  The leaves are starting to turn but whether that's because it's autumn or they're too dry it's hard to know.  My deck flowers all look like hell because I didn't water them.  My lawn needs to be mowed but it's too hot--will be cooler next week.  I paid a nice young  man (is 42 young?) to pull the brambles from the spot they'd taken over at the foot of my deck stairs.  Wow does it look great.  I'm enthusiastic about paying people to do things for me.  My bank balance is less enthusiastic about that, but I do it when I can.

Dogs are miraculously in fine shape.  Tess is snoring, under the table and Treasure is panting, out on the deck.  I think I'll try to do some reading.  I'm reading Nobody's fool for the second or 3rd time, it's our book group book.  I'm savoring it, truly savoring it.  What wonderful writing.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Warning: severe canine intestinal distress

I cut up a bunch of cucumbers but had some left (quite a few left) in a bag too close to the floor last night.  While I was indulging in oysters at Linda's the dogs ate at least 20 cukes.  I Googled "dogs and cucumbers" to see that no, cukes aren't harmful to dogs, but in large amounts could cause "soft stools."  Or maybe explosive diarrhea all over the floor all over the house.  No, it didn't warn about that, but that's what happened last night.  I spent most of the night letting the dogs out and in and out and in and cleaning up what didn't make it outside.  Oh honestly.  Poor Tess had a very bad time, Treasure wasn't as anxious to get outside RIGHT AWAY.  Anyway, that's all in the past and now they're exhausted and so am I.

I made my pickles this morning, I think they're too salty but will wait to taste them again to be sure.  Once many, many years ago my ex-husband wanted to have a stone crock of pickles at the sawmill for everyone to gather around.  We got the cukes, and he'd read somewhere that you had to have your salt concentration in the water enough to float an egg.  That's not true, no, that's not true.  We ended up burying the huge crock of (what could barely be called) pickles.  That was the end of that dream.

Right now I have  Yard Boy pulling up blackberry bushes in my yard.  He advertised in the local online news-thing, and I scooped him right up.  He's very nice and is hard at work while I do nothing.  I usually feel obligated to visit with or at least keep company with people who are doing work at my house but today I really don't have the energy or interest in doing that.  He's not local, his mother lives in Upper Jay and he's from Conn.  I'll probably never see him again, he's between jobs right now and just trying to pick up some cash.  I think we're a perfect fit.

It's a gorgeous September day.  It was 44 this morning, which felt way too chilly but I'd better get used to that, huh.  Now it's 73 and sunny with a slight breeze.  And crystal clear with a blue blue sky.  Oh my I do love September.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Midnight musings

I sure am tired of these late/middle of the night musings.  Tonight I slept soundly until midnight, when Tess started pacing around the bed.  Well, she's taking cortisone, which makes her thirsty, which leads to excessive peeing, and we don't want her to do that in the house, now do we?  So I'm up.  Yeah, I'm up. 

I had a nice evening with the Nadals, wine on their lakeside porch then delicious dinner.  They'll be heading home next week it seems.  I guess it's getting to be that time.  J&M will be leaving in a while, Linda will be here another six weeks or so and then WHAM the neighborhood reverts to its natural state.  That will feel very strange but it's an annual ritual.  What will I do this winter?  I made a $100 bet with Ted that it will be a hard, cold winter with a lot of snow.  He thinks La Nina is a bunch of hooey so the predictors are going to be wrong.  It would be worth the money to have him be right, that's certain.

I'm having some guy come to do yard work for me ("What???" says Fred.  "Can't you do your own yard work?")(well, he's going to pull up blackberries and weeds and the mess that's at the foot of my steps and NO!, I can't do that)(Oh, OK, maybe I could, but I don't want to).  I guess he's a young man, I found him through the online neighborhood rag, he posted a request for doing yard work for $20 an hour.  Fine, fine, come on over.  He lives in Conn. but his mother is up here and he's "between jobs."  Now watch, he'll be some 45-year-old loser.  No, he sounds young.  I guess he's coming Saturday.

I bought the last of the cucumbers at a farm stand that always has tons of cukes.  The woman there told me a blight took over the field.  That sounds strange, not long ago they had tons and tons of cukes.  Anyway, I took the last 1/2 peck they had for $3.50.  I threw out all the pickles I made earlier this summer, they were too spicy and no good, and for some reason I'm feeling driven to make another batch.  When they're good, they're good.  Now I know that, when they're bad, they're bad, too.  I don't usually put pickling spices in the pickles but I tried that last time.  There are red pepper flakes in pickling spices (who knew?) and they sure can ruin a batch.  I guess I'll spend much of Friday peeling and slicing cukes, they have to soak in salt water overnight.

I gave Tess a bit of a cortisone bath but didn't let the shampoo sit for 5 minutes, and didn't wash her legs at all, I just let them soak.  How does one get a dog to sit still for 5 minutes, fully lathered with special shampoo, the way the bottle directs?  I was lucky she let me lather her up for 60 seconds.  Now she's very shiny--I don't think I've ever given her a bath before, she swims in the summer and rolls in the snow in the winter.  And rolls in the ragweed in the fall, which is the whole problem now.

Oh, Tess has come back in and now Treasure is outside, trying to figure out what Tess did out there.  Come on Ladies, let's get back to bed.