Sunday, December 21, 2008


It's funny, for living in New England, a lot of New Englander's complain about the winter. But not me! I love the winter! OK, yeah, that ice thing last week was not so much fun, but technically it was still autumn...

So, snow! We've gotten 20" in the last week, and it's so much fun! Yes, there's the shoveling, but there's also the sledding! Yes, there's the slippery roads, but there's also the good reason to stay home by the fireplace, curled up with E and the kitties. Yes there's the cold, but there's also the comfy warm sweaters and blankets!

My only complaint? The predicted 45 degree day coming mid-week...

Ice Storm

An ice storm hit us here in central MA a little over a week ago. Thursday night E went to visit his parents in southern MA and stayed there over night. The ice had started accumulating on the trees here around 4pm, and before long, they would have had enough.

At midnight, I'd just turned off the light with Noki snuggled up next to me when we heard a big, loud, BOOM, like a rifle shot. Noki looked up and growled, and I told him it was fine and to go to sleep. At 2, I realized the power had gone out, probably at the boom, and that it was possible no one had called the power company. So I called, then crawled back into bed, and heard the loud CRACK-BOOM!! The first tree near the house had toppled. I went and looked out the window, and didn't see anything. So back to bed. And for the next 6 hours, trees were coming down every 15 minutes or so.

At 4:30, I heard another loud CRACK and thought my now ritual mantra - 'Please don't hit the house!' And when the boom came, the whole house shook. I jumped up again to look out the window, and this time one of the close trees had just missed the house. So back to bed.

A long night of not sleeping while listening to trees come down around you leads to some interesting thoughts. Besides, 'Please don't hit the house!' there's the 'I wonder if I should move to a room further from the trees?' And the 'If I move, that's where the tree will end up hitting.' And the morbid 'I wonder if I will be able to reach my cell to call for help if a tree comes in and impales me?'

At 5:30, the mantra finally stopped working, and the first tree hit the house, on the south wall of our bedroom. Again, up to the window, and nothing seemed to be damaged. No sounds of rushing air, no water pouring in the roof, OK, it's OK, I shouldn't call and wake up E at his parents. Back to bed.

At 6:30, the mantra failed again, and a second tree hit the house, this time on the east wall of our bedroom. The whole house shook and I thought for sure I was about to have a tree in bed with me. But no, it luckily bounced the other direction, pulling the wires off the house as it went. This time, I decided it was OK to wake up E and called him. Poor guy, got woken up by a somewhat frantic wife telling him trees were hitting the house.

Aside from the wires, no damage was done, thank goodness. And while the next few hours were stressful, it all worked out OK. E went to the store down by his parents (where they didn't get the ice storm, by the way) and got us a generator. I went out and sawed up the 7 trees across the driveway with my trusty bow saw. And we had the generator for power for the next 8 days, until the power came back.

The only sad part of this story is that, unfortunately, 2 of my fishies didn't make it. Tropical fish aren't used to 20 degree daily temperature changes. Poor little guys. Sniff, sniff.

And now that I've got power back, I suppose there's no excuse for not blogging...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Noki vs. the Vet

Its that time of year again. The leaves start changing, the squirrels devour the seed in the bird feeder to fatten up, and it's time to bring Noki and Mamosa in for their yearly checkup.

Noki hates the vet. Actually, that may be putting it mildly. Noki is TERRIFIED of the vet, and therefore, tries to kill her. And what has the vet done to deserve this? Nothing, aside from being one of the best vets I've ever had.

So, I made the appointment, and brought Noki and Mosa in last night. I got home and pulled out the two cat carriers. Then I grabbed Mosa and struggled to get her into her carrier. Who knew that 8 pounds of cat could put up such a fight? Noki, as usual, came to see what was up, saw his carrier, and walked right into it. Two cats in carriers. So far, so good.

I drove to the vet, and all was quiet. As I got out of the car, juggling the cat carriers and my wallet, all was quiet. And as I stepped onto the porch, the growling started, coming from Noki's carrier. Mosa's was silent. As I walked into the office, a low yowl was added to the growling. I checked in and sat down to wait. And the carrier next to me continued to yowl.

We were called into an exam room by a tech. And as we walked in, the yowling and hissing got louder. I've learned from past experience, if Noki can't see anybody but me, he's quiet. So I put his carrier on the floor, and he was silent. I asked the tech about bringing home Noki's meds, aside from the rabies (by law, the vet has to administer that). She said she'd ask the vet, and left. The vet came in and checked out Mosa. Every thing's great, she's in wonderful shape, and her rabies shot went off without a hitch. Everybody at the vet's office loves Mosa. So the vet gave her a little cuddle, and then we let Mosa go back into her carrier and set it aside. Then it was time for Noki.

Noki is quite adept at putting all 4 legs out and no manner of dumping and shaking will get him out of the carrier. And nobody is going to stick their hands in to get him out, I tried that the first time and he had all 4 legs out then too. Did I mention he's still yowling and hissing? So the only way to let the vet see Noki is to take the carrier apart. Thankfully, there are wing nuts holding the top and bottom together, so this is fairly easy. But the second the top comes off, Noki's yowling and hissing goes up another notch. You'd think someone was torturing him, the noise he makes.

At this point in the visit, the vet always remembers Noki. And a crowd comes to the door to watch (he's that loud).

The vet tried to get closer to him and out came the teeth and claws. Not attacking, just letting her know what would happen if she got any closer. So the vet called for a tech to come and distract Noki so she could give him his rabies shot. Yeah, like that's going to work (it didn't).

Next, out came the wild animal gloves, you know, the gloves that go all the way up to your shoulder and you could use them to weld? The vet donned the gloves and petted Noki to try and calm him down, and managed to pick him up and weigh him (18 lbs, 9 oz, big guy). Then the vet distracted Noki while the tech gave him the rabies shot. And Noki attacked the gloves, but the tech had gotten the shot in. Whew! And then guess what? They agreed to let me take his other shot home, and I could give it to him here. And back on went the top of his carrier.

All I can say is, thank goodness for 3 year rabies shots!

Of course, as soon as we got home, he was his usual, lovable, mommas boy self. Go figure. Maybe next year I'll give him some Valium...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Falling off the edge of the... blog

List of excuses for not blogging recently:
  1. "Vacation" with family - Actually, I think I need a vacation from my vacation. Sorry family.
  2. New employee - I have my first employee, and she's great! But so little work gets done when you're training someone, which leads to...
  3. Work - What do you mean 12 hour days aren't normal?
  4. The never ending story of the Garage-Mahal - List of items still to do:
    1. Finish driveway - I don't like slamming the nose of my car on the cement skirt
    2. Electricity - Of course, the green extension cord running from the house to the garage-mahal is permanent, what do you mean?
    3. Stair to second story - Although, extension ladder access is looking mighty fine right now.
    4. Gutters - Rain flowing off the roof into the Garage-Mahal, not so good.
    5. Final inspection - You mean MA requires a work permit?
    6. Landscaping - I'm thinking this might start next year...
  5. Spending time with husband - He is still around somewhere, right?
  6. Riding - My sanity. Although with another 2 week break just past, I'm not sure how sane I am...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Born to Ride

I haven't been riding in almost 2 months. We spent a month finishing the garage-mahal, (well, almost finishing it), and then due to a combination of work, being away on weekends, and a cracked quarter-hoof, I hadn't been to the barn. Until this past Saturday.

Friday I chatted with H and found out that Melody, the horse I ride, was finally well again. So we made plans to ride Saturday morning. And oh, how glorious it was! I had been thinking in my 2 month hiatus that maybe I could do without riding. That my life would be simpler and I'd have a lot more time on my hands to do other things. But baby, I was born to RIDE! I haven't felt this good in, well, months. And its wonderful!

So, the ride Saturday was nothing particularly special. The weather was nice, it was sunny but not too hot. We rode in the apple orchard across the road from the barn. From the top of the hill you can see for miles, its one of the highest points around, and because of the size of the apple trees, the view to the west and north is spectacular! You can see the Groton School, which looks a little bit like a castle. And some hills, and other orchards and barns in the distance. One of these days I'll bring a camera with me...

So, I'm back to the barn again. I'm planning on picking up riding 2-3 days a week. And I can't wait until tomorrow when I'm going again!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Sanity of Books

On January 2nd of 1996 I blew out my knee skiing. On July 2 of 1996 I had exploratory surgery to determine why it wasn't getting better, and it turned into an ACL reconstruction (a story for another time).

That summer encompassed the months between my senior year of high school, which I'd spent at the local community college, and the beginning of my sophomore year in college (I think this is where E says something like I'm wicked smah-t, with the Boston accent, of course). I spent the whole summer hobbling around my mom's in-ground pool with a calf to thigh brace on my leg, picking off dead day lily blooms and reading. While it was painful, it was also great. I had so much time to just be, not to have to worry about anything other than getting my daily physical therapy in. And I read. A lot.

I've always read a lot. In high school it was fairly common for me to read a couple of 300+ page books a day. Its amazing to open a book and escape into a different world. And figure out what to do about other peoples problems. Its amazing how much perspective you have when its not you. That summer I was taking a dozen books out of the library (well, the books by mail, same difference) and in a week I'd be sending back for more. Everybody should have a summer like that (minus the knee surgery).

Anyway, lately I've been reading a lot again. Not as much as that summer. But a lot for me now. I finished a 1000 page book in 2 days. And I feel so much more relaxed than I have in a while. Now the only problem is I'm out of books. Guess I'll have to go to the bookstore...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blogging slow down...

I know that many of you out there enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it. The only problem is, its nice outside now, and sitting inside at my computer seems like a waste of perfectly good outside time. So the blogging is slowing down.

E has suggested that I should give myself a twice a week deadline, and make sure that in the evenings I have a go at a blog. Maybe I'll do that. We'll see.

In the mean time, there could be less blogging, but I'll try to include things that come up periodically. And who knows, maybe I'll get a lap top and be able to blog from outside, the best of both worlds!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Noki the Hunter?

Mosa is a great little hunter, if for some reason she ended up on her own again, she would be OK. And then there's Noki. He understands that little critters are interesting to cats, but he doesn't understand how it is one catches them. He sees a squirrel under the bird feeder, trots across the deck, and then launches at a run toward the squirrel, to watch it scamper up a tree.

So, it was with a lot of surprise that I found Noki had caught himself a vole. Noki was really surprised too. I had noticed that Noki was watching something in the leaves pretty intently, and figured it was a bug of some sort. I watched for a minute, and he pounced on what ever it was. And then he looked up at me, and again at his paws. He picked up one paw and out scurried a vole. Noki pounced on it again, and stood there looking confused. He couldn't figure out what to do with it. After a minute he picked up his paws again and off the vole went. By this point Mosa had come to see what was up. Mosa and Noki tracked it across the driveway and into the brush. After a few minutes they came back up the driveway, without the vole. And Noki went back to the leaves to see if another vole would scurry into view.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Turkey Sighting, Number 2

A few days ago E was walking by the glass door to the deck and scared a turkey that was eating under our bird feeder. It ran off into the woods behind the house.

Tonight, we were in the dining room and I looked out the window to see a turkey next to the driveway. It walked behind the garage-mahal, and appeared under the bird feeder a few minutes later. It got its snack and then made its way into the woods behind the house again.

I think its a nester, and we're going to have turkey babies!

Birthday tunes

Just before my birthday (Feb 25), E got himself a new car. It was time. His old faithful Maxima was dieing a quick death. He sold the Maxima, and remembered (this time) to take out his after-market stereo. It turned out that his new Subaru has a pretty good stereo in it. So, what to do with the old one? Give it to me for a birthday present! Well, OK, the present was really that he'd install it for me. Which he did. Today. What can I say, my honey's a procrastinator, and I know it! So, woo hoo for birthday tunes!


We had a great time in the Bahamas! We went to the beach, SCUBA diving 3 days, horse back riding along the beach, and had fun playing Backgammon with our friends that were there with us.

The house where we stayed
E and me on the Pier at Taino Beach
Gold Rock Beach at sunsetN, L, E, and me riding on the beach
E, L, and me playing Backgammon

Saturday, April 12, 2008


This morning I got up, and stumbled down stairs to feed the animals and start some coffee. As I was leaning over to feed the fish, I looked out the window and saw 2 white-tailed deer 10 feet away on the lawn. It was a doe and yearling faun, stopping to have some yummy acorns and flower buds from our lawn and gardens. These two are probably part of the herd, consisting of 2 does (Momma and Boxy) and twin fauns (Cherry and Arrow), that were visiting us daily last autumn. So then, where are the other doe and faun?

The doe spotted me taking her picture,
and they disappeared into the woods.

Friday, March 28, 2008


For the first time since our honeymoon 18 months ago, E and I are going on vacation! Woo Hoo! We're headed to Grand Bahama Island in the.... Bahamas! (Couldn't see that one coming, could you?)

Thursday, March 20, 2008


For the first time that I can remember, the Robins are agreeing with the Vernal Equinox! Today on my way home I stopped at the mailbox, and there, on the neighbor's lawn across the street, was a Robin. She (OK, I don't know she was a "she", but Mother Nature brings the first day of spring, so...) She was all puffed up, it's a pretty cool, windy day here, but she was there!

Yeah Spring!

This leads me to the other things I was thinking of today: birds, and trees popping.

I've seen a lot of birds returning this week. Tuesday on my way to work, I saw a single Great Blue Heron standing on one of last years nests in the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge. Which by the way, have you ever seen a Great Blue Heron standing on one of their nests? They nest at the top of the dead trees in a swampy area, they're pretty amazing to see, standing stark against the sky...

Today on the way to work, I saw 2 Canada Geese fly in for a landing on the ice covering the refuge pond. Everybody's returning from their winter habitats.

Two towns over from us, in Ayer, the maple (Acer) trees look ready to burst. The buds are popping, another sign of spring! The maple sugaring season has started, buckets are appearing on trees around the area. Makes me think of sugaring back home, when I was a kid. My mom was the principal sugar-er, she slaved over the stove in the little red barn all day (and sometimes all night, maple syrup waits for no one!) My sister S and I would come home from school and get some yummy maple tea-the combination of almost-maple syrup boiling on the stove, and sap kept in the milk can in the snow bank, combined to just the right temperature to warm you, but not scald. I wonder if I'd still like it today?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Low Carbon Diet

There is an environmental program on NHPR (New Hampshire Public Radio) every weekend called Living On Earth. This is one of the NHPR shows that I listen to every week. On the show this morning, they had a segment on a low carbon diet. This is the sort of diet I can support!

The main idea is to reduce your carbon footprint- the amount of CO2 you help produce by going about your daily lives. If you haven't figured out what your carbon footprint is, you should give it a try. Its amazing how much a single household contributes to global warming. There are many calculators out there:
Once you've calculated your carbon footprint, hopefully you'll want to reduce it! Here are some ideas from the low carbon diet, and some from me:
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL bulbs
  • Take cloth bags to the grocery store
  • Insulate your water heater
  • Reduce the time in the shower
  • Turn down the thermostat in the winter, turn it up in the summer
  • Do laundry in cold water
  • Buy energy efficient appliances, and recycle the old ones
  • Air dry clothes
  • Bike or walk instead of driving
  • Grow your own vegies, no transportation needed
  • Replace your hot water heater with a Point of Service (POS) water heater
  • Only turn on lights if you need them, and turn them off when you're not in the room
  • Compost instead of throwing biodegradable material away
  • Get food from local farmers markets and farm stands
  • Reuse your water glass all day
  • Install rain barrels at your gutters for watering plants
  • Use drained cooking water to water house plants, the added nutrients are good for the plants
  • Carpool

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Snowy morning

Mother Nature has decided to show me she's not ready for spring, no matter how many chipmunks are running around. Its snowing again this morning. We were almost able to see the wonderful shingle job we did on the garage-mahal, and now it's covered in white again.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring's almost here...

The venal equinox is March 20. But I don't define my seasons based on the movement of the sun. I define them based on the movement of animals.

The first indication that spring is on the way? Chipmunks. They only come out from their near hibernation when they know spring is coming. I've never known them to be wrong. When I see the first chipmunk, I know winter's giving up its last hurrah.

The true indicator of the first day of spring is the Robin. When the Robin is back in the area, spring is here.

I saw my first chipmunk 2 weeks ago. Never mind that there was still 3 feet of snow out our door, I knew spring was almost here. And when E and I were in Cambridge on Sunday, we saw 2 Robins. So spring has made it that far. I give it another week or so before its made its way here.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I always have a case of the Mondays. Mondays are so uninspiring. The beginning of the work week, ugh. Tori had it right, I don't like Mondays.

When have Mondays ever been good? When they're holidays! We need more of those...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

What is it?

We live in the middle of 8 wooded acres. Its wonderful being surrounded by trees and nature. And often, it produces new and exciting furry critters that E has not seen before.

This morning, as I was reaching for my first cup of java, E said "Look, look, look!" grabbing my shoulder and trying to push me toward the window. I turned with the bleary eyed gaze of the early morning, to see... Nothing. I had just missed "it". E was excited, describing something that "moved like a weasel", but was "bigger than the mink we saw last time". After I had some of my coffee I was able to get E to describe what he saw, and it just might have been a fisher. While I love my wild animals, I'm not as happy to have a fisher around, because they think cats are tasty treats. I'll have to keep a closer eye on 'Mosa and Noki.

Speaking of the kitties, you should meet them. This is Noki, our 6 1/2 year old monkey:

And this is Mamosa, our 10 year old little lady:

And for those that are wondering, no, Mamosa's not named after the drink. My father's a forester, she's named after the tree!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Migraines are hell. I came home yesterday, shut the double blinds in my room, and went to bed. I must have dozed off, because I woke up and it was blissfully dark out. Of course, that meant that when E and I went to bed at midnight, I couldn't fall asleep. Which led me to thinking about car windows.

My generation says to roll down the window. And we make the hand signal like we're using the manual window crank. What is the next generation going to do? When will people stop remembering that there were manual cranks for windows? Not that these thoughts keep me up at night, but when you're not sleeping, you ponder many weird things. With the amount that I'm awake in the middle of the night, these thoughts are common. Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Eventually I fell asleep and dreamed of white cloud fry. Maybe I should get some more friends for my fishies...