Monday, September 29, 2008

Maine foliage shots 908


Maine foliage shots 908


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kyle missed us

First off, a great big thank you to everyone for your positive energy and thoughts of us during this time! I think you helped fend off a direct hit!

I think it is safe to say that Kyle missed us! We didn't see a puff of wind and we had more rain Friday night than from Kyle afterwards! I have yet to take a final rain amount reading. I am guessing around four inches for the weekend.

The pond is quite full. A bit more rain and it would have been over the top of the dam. We walked over this afternoon to have a peek, and some adventerous fisherman had tucked a pickup up in behind the right of way. They had been there all day or possibly since last night, as there was no sign of tracks leading to the pond. They will have to drive through water to get out, though!

The fullest I have seen the pond, it was clear up to the logs on the high side. There was only about three feet of shore left until that point today.

Hard to believe we had a category one hurricane cruise by. The satellite pictures looked like we were getting walloped and then the rain just drizzled out and everything was dead calm. So, we didn't lose much foliage at all-the good soaking might even brighten the colors up this week. Watch this space for more autumn photos. :)

Hurricane Kyle and Tropical Depression


My moods are really affected by weather. Low pressure systems depress me. I awoke this am following a crappy dream where I woman told me I was mean and I was trying to find someone to refute that. I awoke to light rain and put out a lazy call to the Firebird to pull dog duty. He is NOT a morning person and refused. Bright little Willow leapt to the occasion and fed the dog and took him out for his business. She will be getting an allowance bonus for that kindness!

A check of my email found a critical note from an older sibling, and no response regarding a birthday package the saplings and I had sent out to another relative. Gratitude, love and appreciation lacking, I turned to my daily horoscope for consolation to find no solace there, either. :(

After tending the goats in the rain and the muck, we went to the local store as I needed a few things. I expected the place to be packed and all the milk swept from the shelves, but it was business as usual. Mainers are pretty unflappable. Even the AP recognized that fact in its Hurricane update-we typically see blizzards with winds in excess of 60 mph and don't even blink. What's a little Hurricane? LOL.

Still dead calm and light steady rain. We have had about 4 inches counting the storm Friday night. Kyle has gained in intensity and is now averaging winds of 80 mph, but is expected to weaken when it hits the colder waters in the Gulf of Maine. Predicted path still indicates that we will be on the western side of the eye, so we shouldn't take the brunt of it.

I saw the eye of Hurricane Agnes in the 70's growing up in a DC suburb. Our White oaks withstood the 75 mph winds, but were tossed like saplings. We had 12 inches of rain in twelve hours, and the creek I loved to play in rose over its bank sand swept out a bridge down the road. I remember when it was finally reopened a few months later-my mother and I were the first civilians to cross it in automobile. LOL I don't know why she wanted to be the first over-personally I would rather let a few hundred cars go first. Hehheh.

I do have a few personal concerns about this hurricane. Heavy rain -if we get it- could cause damage to the dam , my driveway, my road-not to mention other local places subject to flooding. Yes, we get some high winds here-blizzards and microbursts-but the ground is currently saturated and the trees top-heavy with water-laden leaves. High sustained winds could topple a few trees meaning property damage and possibly extensive power outages.

But, it just looks like a rainy depressing day out there. It is a warm rain-I was out in a tank top and jeans and not chilled a bit. My hair is still damp and frizzed. Even Peko didn't mind the warm rain-he raced around the car shaking his noodle after we returned from the store.

I did find some nice fall color to brighten my mood. Now it looks like pj's and comfort food for the rest of the day while we watch old movies.

Kyle Update 1am Sunday


So far just moderate rain and no winds.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections,
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro,
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar limbs.

Wallace Stevens

Hurricane update

We are just seeing rain from the leading edge of Hurricane Kyle. That's right, in the last 6 hours windspeed has reached category 1 Hurricane strength of >72 mph. Current windspeed is 75 mph.

The forecast is still predicting landfall in far eastern Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, although a good section of the Maine coast is currently under Hurricane Watch. I think we are far enough inland that we won't take the brunt of it, although the firebird said that last night we were in the range of the 6-12 inches of rain prediction band.

AP is carrying the story, passing it off as not unusual, although we haven't had a Hurricane in 17years. That would have been Bob. It was sort of a joke with us as we had just left a nasty job where one of the bosses was named Bob. LOL. We were fine about 10 miles east of my current location, but my best friend lost her sailboat to Bob.

She rang me up to let me know her boat had pulled up its mooring and vanished. We spent hours canvassing the coastline and folks backyards with binoculars, until one homeowner told us a boat had smashed up on Witch Island. That turned out to be her Cape Dory. No insurance-she let a marine salvage company have it.

Before that we had another one that was not a big deal . We spent the day before landfall helping a friend secure his cottage and pull in docks. That sputtered out to nothing.

So here's hoping we don't get clobbered too badly. I have a rain gauge in place and we have already received 2-3 inches of rain from another system last night. The pond is flowing over the sluice, so a foot of rain is going to hit the pond hard, as it is already full up.

Will continue with updates as long as the power stays on.

Debate and updates

Just a quick note to my regular reader. I removed Rivergirl's blog from my blog list. Last night I picked up some adware from multiply in a scan, and I must have got it from her blog, since hers is the only multiply site I visit. She has started posting ads on there, as well as pix off the net, so I am sure it was unknowing on her part, but I just don't want the risk.

If you have been to her site, I suggest updating your antispyware and running a scan-my apologies.

I watched the debate between Obama and McCain last night, and it reinforced my backing of Obama.

One thing I want to say, it is unfortuneate that this bailout on Wall Street fell hard on the heels of Obama declaring he would invest 180 billion in an energy policy that would free us from our dependence on foreign oil and invest in alternate energies including solar and wind.

This bailout seems like a last ditch effort from the current administration to make sure that those changes can't happen.

Also ironic, IMO, is the fact that conservative Republicans are against it, and the news headers are placing this on the Dems like it is THEIR idea. Just because the Dems were terrorized into making an agreement does not mean that they like it, either.

I am against it in my gut-never thought I would side with conservative Republicans!!! Obama's comments on it did assuage some of my fears last night in that there will be some points in place to help protect the average American. The trouble is, we just have no idea what the banks will be selling us, and I am quite confident that the banks have been taking advantage of this delay to work to their advantage.

We should also add that we won't be buying any bad bank paper that was created more recently than the last month!

Now, some of you probably won't agree with me on this last point, and that is I am mad at the Dems for this line about how much we spend in Iraq versus how much Iraq has for themselves. The US is overseeing the export of a million barrels of light sweet crude out of Iraq per day. The Iraqis did not ask us to come in and destroy their country. Why should they be expected to pay for us being there? I think they have made it quite clear they want us out.

I just think how many wind turbines and solar panels and methane generators could be built on that 10 billion dollars a month we are sending to Iraq for that oil. In the meantime the world is showing more and more severe weather as a direct result of all the greenhouse gases we are dumping into the atmosphere.

The report came out that there was a 3% increase globally in greenhouse gas emissions last year. That far exceeded predictions. Some countries, such as Denmark and the UK, reduced emissions. China, the US, and India increased emissions.

And for the first time since I have spent nearly thirty years in this great state of Maine, a Hurricane is not coming up the eastern seaboard, but coming in off the ocean. IMO weather patterns have already started to reflect the changes seen in our atmosphere.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Foliage dam pool 908


I was trying to grab a pic of the pond this am, and turned around and thought this was a nice example of the different stages of foliage. We are in the early stages when the rock maples turn their bright crimson. The green beech next to it will be turning at the end, long after the maple has dropped its leaves. The beech leaves will be gold and tend to cling to the tree until late winter.

This early stage I think is my favorite-most of the trees still have leaves and the reds and yellows are very intense-like the bright daffodils and red tulips of early spring. The color get more muted as the season wears on.

early morning pond foliage

Tree 908

Thought we'd try and catch a pic before the rain-the light wasn't quite right at this early hour, but it was a nice excuse to be out and about. :)

Peko and Jingle 908


Taken at the top of the dam.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


yeah! after a month of scans, updates, upgrades, downloads, and finally some very kind online assistance, I think this machine is finally clean.

I was asking for trouble-everything was outdated and not updated-so I was probably just at the wrong place at the wrong time. The timing of the attack made me wonder if it wasn't personal, though. Two days before I had apparently made some controversial comments elsewhere regarding my opinion of relationship status.

In general, I said that if one was married it would be wrong to hide the fact. That's just my personal opinion. Even when I have been in merely LTR's I have always been upfront about being in a relationship-even if they were ready to crash and burn and temptation was inches away from my face. LOL.

Well, it caused an avalanche including several offline messages, shortly afterwhich I nearly lost the main computer. But I'm back and now know better. Next time I run my mouth, I will make sure everything is updated in triplicate beforehand. :P

And to clear the slate-I don't wear a wedding ring because I am not married. The only males that have been on my bed in the last three years were animals-and neutered. hehehe.

Ok, glad that's out of the way.

Willow and I went fishing again this evening. She landed a huge pickerel! It was about a foot long and put up a big fight! She landed it herself again. Then I had a reminder why I cut the line on the rare occasions the kids catch one-they are slimy things! I lost my grip on this one four times before I finally freed the hook, which was thankfully in the side of the mouth where I could grasp the shank. Pickerel have an alligator mouth of teeth!\

Finally I got a good grip on it and I could feel the heart beating while I clutched it in one hand and teased the hook out with the other. Then I let it slip back into the water. Willow is so happy I taught her how to fish!

A little while later she asked if she could reel in and recast. Her line was only about 8 feet from the edge of the sluice, so I said sure, and moved my attention off her line as she reeled it in. Well, right now, the water is right up to the top edge of the concrete, but not flowing,. The water is about 8 inches deep there and drops off gradually. All of a sudden it was a scene straight out of the movie "Jaws" and there was a giant tidal wave and splash of water and she started yelling, "you said the fish wasn't one there, but I got it!" and then her line went dead.

I think something large came up after her line as she was reeling in, and flipped as it got up to the shallows-probably the mother of that pickerel she landed before. LOL. Scared me!!!

The water was like glass-reflecting the red and yellow foliage ringing the pond. It is so beautiful!!! And my batteries still weren't recharged on the cam and I had no other AA lying about! So no pretty foliage picture or pickerel picture tonight! Now the batteries are charged for tomorrow, we have a Hurricane headed our way!

That is right, I got home in time for the weather and heard that Hurricane KYLE-are you reading this, Tanya? LOL is coming up the Atlantic to the Gulf of Maine. Predicted to make landfall as a category one. There goes the foliage! And fishing at the top of the sluice-as we are predicted to get at least several inches of rain this weekend.


Yesterday I decided to undertake the task of supporting the house. The house is supported by cedar posts that are four feet in the ground. At the time they went in, I tarred a ring around the posts where they protrude from the ground. That is the place where wood eating bacteria are the most prevelant-the first few inches of earth.

I told the old timer who sold me the posts, and he claimed that should make them last 40 years. That was ten years ago. Last fall I checked them and was greatly alarmed that they had started to rot out at that location.

I immediately brought in a carpenter friend for consultation, and he believed there was still a lot of strength in them, but it was neverless an issue I needed to address.

When the power was put in here, a new pole was placed at the road, and the company told me that I could do whatever I wanted with the old pole. I figured that old pole looked pretty good to back up the posts under the house.

So I called on my carpenter friend again to drop the post for me. Although I had seen him handle a chainsaw, he seemed a bit hesitant when we got down the road with my small saw. Just then a mutual aquaintence drove by. One of his side jobs happens to be logging, so we-me mostly- coerced him into dropping the pole for me. He used his own saw, much larger than mine, although grumbled about the possibility of hitting metal.

We had the pole roped off and the first helper and I put tension on the rope so it would fall the correct way, and not on the line or the road. It came down with a crash, and the top cracked. Still, there was quite a usuable length left, and we left it for another time.

Unfortunately I lost the help of my carpenter friend shortly after that-after ignoring my repeated rebuffs of his physical advances I finally had to use cruel words and nearly physically kick him out of my house one evening.

So the post job fell to me alone, and in true procrastinator fashion I finally decided to undertake part of the job yesterday. I braced off one of the three supporting beams with two more posts-lengths I managed to cut off the good part of the pole with my little chainsaw.

That was easier said than done. I needed to support the pole in such a way the piece I was cutting would drop free and not just cave in and trap the chainsaw. But I coulnd't budge the pole. I spent some minutes wishing a nice strong guy would show up and give me a hand, but the road has never been quieter.Finally I found some lengths of hemlock I could handle, and jammed them under the pole in such a way that I could cut it up without getting the saw stuck.

Although the pieces I cut off were just around three feet in length, the post is 8-10 inches in diameter and the things were beastly heavy.

I managed to end over end them off the power line and into the back of the car to get them up to the house. The Firebird and I took turns with the sledgehammer sliding them into place. The Willow had helped me measure, and I added 1/4 of an inch to each length to make sure they fit tight. And they did-we really had to pound on them to force them into place.

Two more beams are left to brace off-which will each require three posts as they are the longer beams. And most of the work will have to be done under the crawl space-which the Firebird is NOT going to enjoy!

NOT today, Zurg. ;)

While I was prepping the location for the posts yesterday, I found an ENORMOUS bullfrog. I was stunned. We have quite a toad colony around the house, but it seemed like an odd location for a bullfrog. (The batteries needed recharging on the cam so no pix.)

Anyhow, the frog had to be relocated due to the work, so I put him in a bucket and the Willow and I headed down into the marsh. I thought that would be a better place than the pond. We had to hike quite far into the marshgrass to find a small pool of water for him. We found huge moosetrack while we were there!!!! That did alarm me, as it is not far from the house, and moose will be going into rut anyday, if not already. I have seen a video of bull moose in rut attacking a car!!!So I really do NOT want to come across a bull moose in rut!!!!! EEKKK!

We released the bullfrog and headed back, and I remembered two years ago we brought home twenty or so bullfrog tadpoles from a friends vernal pool. They had about twenty billion tadpoles, so I did not feel too back about taking a few for the kids (and me).

Well, we had them right where I found that frog yesterday!!!!! I thought most of them had died, but a few a the end we took to a friends and released in his small pond. So, maybe that is how we got a bullfrog living next to the house in the damp spot....LOL.

After all that was done, I had promised to take Willow fishing. The Firebird didn't want to go, so he stayed home to listen for several phone calls I was expecting. I took the cell phone with me as back up.

Willow and I found that the water has dropped enough the dam is dried, so we decided she would fish from there. It was so lovely!!! It is very nice to be able to cast from the dam with the branches cut back. The early bright red maples are turning up the pond, and the sun was behind us, so it made a postcard view.

Right after we arrived the Firebird showed up to tell me I had missed a call-of course-and not wanting to head back to the house, I made the call from the dam on my cell phone. I guess it is easy to tell I am an old-timer, because I am still amazed that I could be sitting outside in such a wild location making a phone call!!

The fish weren't biting very well-until Willow got a big hit. I coached her through setting the hook and landing the fish all by herself. Her reel was screeching several times. She landed a big largemouth bass!!!! And the tiny hook was set perfectly-just a flip and the hook was out and the fish was freed. I was so proud of her. That was a big fish for that little tiny Barbie pole! LOL.

She was just reeling in her last cast when we saw the Firebird coming back. He had my cordless phone from the house!!!! I took it from him and there was blaring static-of course!_ and I shouted"call me back in ten minutes!!!" and couldn't even end the call it was so far out of range!!!

On the run back to the hosue, I explained to the Firebird it was a cordless phone, not a cellular phone, and it had a very short range from the handset in the house!!HE was very apologetic!! I found it ironic in the generational difference that I am amazed a cell phone works out there and he just assumed the cordless would too...LOL

I think the most amazing thing is that when I finally did get the call through, the caller told me he could hear me when the Firebird turned the cordless phone over to me at the top of the dam!!!

Another icon of "Can you hear me now??" HEHheheh.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spotted Salamander

Ambystoma maculatum.


Monday, September 22, 2008


To help me better understand the current economic situation, I emailed a person I know that I thought would offer some insight-an economics professor. He has a Phd in economics and knows Bernake from college. Here's my e-mail and his reply.
At 03:59 PM 9/21/2008, you wrote:
>HI L....,

>sorry to bother you, but I have a question about the current situation.
>>My argument with friends is that the high cost of energy has driven
>up the cost of living to the point where more folks are defaulting
>on their mortgages and credit cards. So, the question is, how is
>bailing out the banks by buying their bad credit going to help the
>economic situation if folks can't afford to pay the credit back?

>>Won't the circle just repeat itself?

>>If you're too busy to reply, I understand, I just thought I would >ask the expert! :)


Hi M....,
Well, energy costs and interest rate resets on mortgages drove a lot of people out, setting off a housing price crash which crashed the banks. Paulson/Bernanke are more keen on saving Wall Street by buying bad debt rather than nationalizing. The people booted out will have to pin thier hopes on the Dems.

The Gift of God

Blessed with a joy that only she
Of all alive shall ever know,
She wears a proud humility
For what it was that willed it so,--
Among the favored of the Lord
That she may scarcely bear the weight
Of her bewildering reward.

As one apart, immune, alone,
Or featured for the shining ones,
And like to none that she has known
Of other women’s other sons,--
The firm fruition of her need,
He shines anointed; and he blurs
Her vision, till it seems indeed
A sacrilege to call him hers.

She fears a little for so much
Of what is best, and hardly dares
To think of him as one to touch
With aches, indignities, and cares;
She sees him rather at the goal,
Still shining; and her dream foretells
The proper singing of a soul
Where nothing ordinary dwells.

Perchance a canvass of the town
Would find him far from flags and shouts,
And leave him only the renown
Of many smiles and many doubts;
Perchance the crude and common tongue
Would havoc strangely with his worth;
But she, with innocence unwrung,
Would read his name around the earth.

And others, knowing how this youth
Would shine, if love could make him great,
When caught and tortured for the truth
would only writhe and hesitate;
While she, arranging for his days
What centuries could not fulfill,

Transmutes him with her faith and praise,
And has him shining where she will,
She crown him with her gratefulness,
And says again that life is good,
And should the gift of God be less
In him than in her motherhood,

His fame, though vague, will not be small,
As upward through her dream he fares,
Half clouded with a crimson fall
Of roses thrown on marble stairs.

Edwin Arlington Robinson

Isabella moth-woolly bear caterpillars


According to popular myth, I was incorrect. The size of the winter is predicted by the amount of BLACK on a woolly bear, not brown. Funny I was right last year...although it was not really cold-we just had a bunch of snow.

So these guys are claiming we will have a cold winter, I guess. :P

Saturday, September 20, 2008



I took a walk after morning chores. I headed down the road and decided to take a walk streamside. The path has pretty much vanished, but I made my way to one of our favorite spots to access the stream and found it overgrown and the bank somewhat altered from all the heavy rain. I continued on into the chest high marsh grass, and paused as the footing became questionable.

I saw a large dragonfly hover, and mentally called at to it as I do when I see them, and I was suprised when it flew right at me and landed on my shirt . I stared down at it about eight inches away. It looked like another Western Flying Adder.
I stared into its multifaceted eyes trying to see if they were green, but from the angle I could not tell. It was about 4 1/2 inches long.

The dragonfly had caught a small winged insect, and one wing and part of the abdomen protruded from its mouth. The dragonfly stood on my shirt, chewing, and chewing, and I stared down fascinated. I could hear the water running in the stream. I was over waist deep in marsh grasses. I saw movement on the nearby New England Asters, and had a moment of panic when I thought I saw yellow jackets.

It would be a rude suprise to find myself standing inches away from a yellow jacket nest, as their sting is ferocious. But, they were honeybees. I shifted my weight and snapped a stick beneath my feet; the dragonfly stayed undisturbed. Finally, all that was left of the insect it was eating was the one wing, which dropped to my shirt.

The dragonfly stayed, and we continued to stare at each other.

I had a sudden impulse to touch it. I fought the impulse for some minutes, as in the past when I reach that point in dragonfly communion, the dragonfly will leap away at the movement. Finally my left hand came up and as the dragon fly remained still, I found myself wondering what part I wanted to touch.

I decided to touch the end of one of its four wings, and very lightly stroked the tip of the wing. It was so delicate I couldn't feel it. I pulled my hand back and the dragonfly drew one leg over its eye, most likely cleaning it, but it looked like a farewell wave, and it leapt back into the air and flew away.

Suddenly my surroundings seemed very wild, like another reality. I headed out of the marsh, watching where I was walking to avoid any wasp nests, and movement caught my eye. I stopped and saw just a few feet ahead of me a woodland jumping mouse, sitting and staring at me.

"Oh no, did I trample your nest?" I asked it.

It crossed my path in three or four hops and vanished into the grass to my left, and I took the next few steps gingerly hoping I had not disturbed a nest.

Once back to the house, I decided the day had come to try out the chainsaw which had been home from the shop for several weeks. The mechanic warned me that I might have to yank on it a bit to get it to go-which was not what I wanted to hear, as the yanking and stalling is quite a workout, especially with a cranky lower back.

So, I had not wanted to try the saw, but the nights have been cold enough, and even the days, to have a small fire in the woodstove to get the chill out of the house. I have been bundling up dried sticks from the woods, but I needed something bigger. Regular firewood makes too big of a fire and nearly cooked us out of the house last week.

Well, the saw, which is ten years old, has never run better. I fired it right up first pull, and for the first time since I have run it, it stayed running until I ran out of gas. Usually it stalls out if I try to set it down to adjust the woodpile, requiring more yanking on the cord. I had a new chain put on it, so it was cutting like a hot knife in butter.

I went after a pile of goatwood that had been stacked since last summer. Goatwood, a name I picked up from other wood-burning goat-owners, is what goats do to small trees. First they strip everything they can reach-about four feet off the ground. Bark and all. Then I go in and drop the tree and they strip all the rest-all the bark on every branch, every leaf, every bud. Goat treats.

I then take everything off I can handle with the brush cutters, and the rest is sorted hardwood from softwood and stacked in long piles. I cut pretty much all of the stack in about two hours. I put the saplings to work lugging armloads of it out of the woods and throwing it on a scrap of tarp. This was the result-about a third of a cord of wood that will be perfect for the fall. We'll see how long it will last...

I was so beat! My hands and forearms were numb from the vibration of the saw. My left bicep was so weak, I did not have the strength to lift a glass to my mouth afterwards. The muscle was trembling. LOL. But, a very nice feeling to have the saw running well and that pile taken care of!

Tonight after dark I took Peko down the drive. I tried not to think of the "Darkseekers". I bought "I Am Legend" with Will Smith a few days ago, and that movie was scarey!!!! I am really suprised that it was PG13!!!!!

Instead, I stared straight up at the Milky Way as Peko led me down the pitch dark drive. The stars are so beautiful tonight. A good day. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

The mortgage crisis

President Bush announced today that the fed wants to buy several hundred billion dollars of bad debt off investment firms to help clear their books and get money moving again.

I have been following this economic crisis trying to learn what the mess is and how we got into it in the first place.

So I am going to write what I know, and try to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit.

According to the government, the heart of the crisis is a collapse of the home mortgage industry.

This is my personal experience with mortgages:

About twenty years ago I had a little bit of cash saved up, and decided I was sick of paying 450 a month rent on an apartment and would rather put the cash down on a home. I was figuring that way, the monthly shelter cost would be applied to something I would end up owning.

I went through FHA-Federal Housing authority, or HUD (housing and Urban Development), a mortgage program for first time homeowners. My income was calculated into a payment, and I was told that I would qualify for about 45,000.

I think there were two homes for that price in a 20 mile radius, and I looked at both. One of them was owned by a couple, the wife of whom was wheelchair bound. The entire house reeked of urine. No getting that odor out -short of a match and a can of kerosene.

The second home was located about twenty feet from a major thoroughfare and was about the size of a crackerbox. A couple years after I passed on it, a car left the road at a high rate of speed and hit the house. Glad I wasn't there.

I was told that if I brought in my boyfriend's income and added him as a joint tenant, we could qualify for a larger loan. Although he already had a large payment, it still added more borrowing power. So we did that and bought a home.

We signed in on a fixed thirty-year mortgage. Our interest rate was about 6 percent. The sellers received 57,000. I put cash up front and the mortgage total was 63,000. What?!?!

Well, I discovered that there are things called "points" and "discount fees'-which is money that the lender just tacks on there for fun. The realtor suggested having the seller pay the points, and raising the selling price of the home so that went into the loan. I think the points and discount fee added up to around 5,000-money that went right to the mortgage company. Then there was mortgage insurance; in case we defaulted on the loan, the lender would get paid. I paid that up front. And title search and home appraisal, and inspection fees-to make sure the deed was good and the house was worth the money. All designed to protect the lender mostly, although us too, but of course that was paid up front by me.

So, right off the bat, the mortage company has made 5,000 and has an ironclad guarantee that they hold the title until the loan is paid. If it isn't paid, what they have is worth the money they lent, and they are insured through mortgage insurance, and also work the home owner's insurance into the monthly payment so the property is insured against lawsuit or damage.
Also included in the monthly payment was an estimated tax payment which went into escrow until property tax was due annually. That ensured the town wouldn't be putting a lien on the property for unpaid taxes.

I was then a proud home owner with a nice little monthly coupon book, and a huge folder of paperwork. Didn't I aggravate the attorney handling the closing, when I read through every line on every paper I signed. I wanted to make sure I understood everything as I signed it.

The biggest suprise was the long print-out of the amortization schedule. Mortgages are amortized. Using my example, a 63,000 mortgage for 30 years at about 6% fixed interest, including taxes and insurance, was 600 a month for thirty years. The suprise? The interest is calculated up front, and paid more or less up front. For the first year, about $3 a month goes on the principle (the 63,000). So out of the 500 going on the loan-about 100 was taxes and insurance-497 went to interest. In the first year on receiving payments, the mortgage made about 6,000 for the company -not counting the 5,000 up front. That is more like 10% interest, but that is how it goes in the mortgage industry. Amortization-grrrr.

So I was pretty suprised when every couple of years or so, we would get a letter saying that we would now send the check somewhere else. Mortgages sold as investments. Meaning, after making a nice little sum, the original company would bundle together a bunch of mortgages and sell them to another company.

After about nine years of 600 a month, 1986-1995, the original loan had been reduced by about two thousand dollars, and I wanted out of the relationship. The housing market had not budged in those 9 years. I estimated that by the time lawyers on both sides were paid to duke it out, and the house sold, and the realtors' commission paid, it would costs us both several thousand dollars and the house. That didn't make much sense, so I signed my share of the house over scot free to the ex so he could re-finance it in his name.

Sick of mortgage companies and their interest scams, I bought my own piece of land outright and started building on it. Ten years later, and it is not finished. LOL. But I refuse to borrow the money to finish it off. I figure I have saved-on paper-quite a nice chunk of change not paying rent, -or interest.

Back to the first house and the ex. After the ex refinanced our original loan, house prices took off. The next ten years saw the value of the house more than double. Ok, sometimes that annoyed me, I admit, but good for him for sticking with it. He has mentioned refinancing a couple of times-I play dumb and don't ask for details so I don't know the rate or the amount, or the monthly payment.

The example is just to point out what happened to the appraisal values on homes in the last ten years-they went through the roof. So, what happened?

A lot of the blame is placed on the mortgage companies. While mine had been scrupulous in matching income to loan repayment amounts, and requiring money up front, the word is that changed. More companies wanted in on that risk free mortgage investment, Anybody that could get a loan was given one. Higher demand meant higher home prices.

Higher risk folks were given variable rate loans. Don't EVER get a variable rate loan. Because the rate can change-and it is almost guaranteed to go up. So, it is no longer based on your income. That 600 a month payment might change to 800. Now, a lot of folks would cut out the extras and come up with that extra amount every month, but there is another something that no one on the news is discussing in relationship to the current economic crisis.

OIL. That's right, I'm back to oil. You see, in the last eight years, the price of a gallon of gas here has gone from 1.25 a gallon to the current 3.76 for regular. That is a three-fold increase. The cost doubled since Hurricane Katrina.

Now, it's not just gas for your car, it's gas that costs to ship the food you eat and the goods you buy. It's gas that's cost to harvest the crops to make your bread and feed your beef.

It's heating oil for your home-oops, add 300 amonth heat onto that 800 a month mortgage and your shelter costs nearly doubled in eight years. So did your food costs, and your transportation to your job, if you didn't happen to get laid off.

So people start defaulting on their mortgages. They can't afford to pay them. And most anyone that could get a mortgage in the last ten years got one, so who's going to buy those homes that the folks with better credit can't afford?

The value of property started to drop like a bullet because there is no one able to afford the payment on the home.

Take a couple steps back. While the economy is crashing around our ears, and the taxpayers are going to have to swallow half a trillion dollars in bad mortgage debt so those companies can start the wheel all over again...where did the money go?

In 2007, the top five oil companies had 123.3 BILLION dollars in PROFIT. That's Exxon Mobil leading the pack with 40.6 billion, Shell 31.3, Chevron 18.7, Conoco Philips 11.9, and BP 20.8.

I know, 123 Billion is not half a trillion, but if you figured in this year and the previous two or three years,and the fact that it is not just the one time sale that is coming out of your pocket. Meaning, not just that tank of gas, but the tank of gas to get your bread from the field to the factory to the shop owner, and the oil to heat the shop...that extra cost of gas becomes an huge gigantic mudslide aimed right at the Global economy.

Yeah, blame it all on the poor credit risk mortgage takers. I'm not buying it.

Brown Daddy-long-legs

Phalangium opilio

Photo: Tree 908

"Description: 1/8-1/4" (4-6 mm). Long thin legs. Body reddish brown. Legs dark with prominent paler coxae. Eyes on black turret; 1 eye to right, 1 to left.

Habitat: Fields on tree trunks and open ground.

Range: Throughout North America.

Food: Small insects and decaying organic matter.

Life Cycle: Female thrust ovipositor into soil to deposit eggs. When warm weather arrives, young creep out and grow slowly. Normally they mature in summer, then mate without courtship. 1 generation a year.

On cool afternoons adults often climb trees or side of buildings, seemingly to benefit from residual heat of the sun. A warm knothole may attract dozens of daddy-long-legs, which stand close together with legs interlaced all night."

The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders. Milne and Milne

As children we loved Daddylonglegs. They do not bite.-Tree

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Oh, come again to Astolat!
I will not ask you to be kind.
And you may go when you will go,
And I will stay behind.

I will not say how dear you are,
Or ask you if you hold me dear,
Or trouble you with things for you
The way I did last year.

So still the orchard, Lancelot,
So very still the lake shall be,
You could not guess—though you should guess—
What is become of me.

So wide shall be the garden-walk,
The garden-seat so very wide,
You needs must think—if you should think—
The lily maid had died.

Save that, a little way away,
I’d watch you for a little while,
To see you speak, the way you speak,
And smile,—if you should smile.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Golden Day

We saw the Golden Eagles today! It was a perfect day for flying; great visibility and clear air.
We had just pulled back into the laundrymat, and a fellow laundry washer pulled in right after to see me shading my eyes staring up at the sky.

He looked a bit puzzled and looked up, and I explained that I had just been watching a pair of Goldens. We struck up a conversation and I was suprised to see that the insignia on his shirt said, "Alaska Raptor Center" with a picture of a Bald Eagle on it.

While we were chatting away discovering mutual aquaintences, the Goldens returned a bit higher up, and my new friend started ransacking his Land Rover for his binocs, at which point the Goldens soared off again.

We exchanged phone numbers with plans to share some favorite hiking trails in the future. He chastised me for using the dryers (hey, I had six dryers full-way too much to hang up at home) and then I told him we took advantage of the drying time to go for a hike. We said goodbye, and the saplings and I took the upper power line trail across the highway, which was a new one for us.

One of the Goldens flew over us to cross the road, and after a bit uphill hike, we saw the other Golden come out of the treeline and head away from us. Apparently they decided to split up and hunt solo.

We saw moosetrack as large as my hand, and some feline track that might have been Lynx, although it looked rather small.

Once we crested the hill, the view to the West was amazing-we could see Mountains that must be part of the White Mountain range in New Hampshire.

The wildflowers were still blooming;wild morning glory, hawkweed, New England Asters. And the local butterfly population was enjoying them more than we were.

We are actually starting to enjoy laundry day now with our educational hikes. Peko saw me loading the laundry up this morning, and jumped in the back seat, waiting expectently.

NO way was he missing his nature hike! ;)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Full Moon 9/15/08


Blood on My Hands

Early this morning I was awakened by gnawing over my head. The flying squirrel was at it again. I reached over and grabbed the stick I use to prop open the small hatch, and abruptly rapped hard on the ceiling three or four times.

I saw Ruby look out the window, and I smugly figured I scared the crap out of that squirrel and it had fled its place in the roof.

I contemplated getting up, but was still tired enough to roll over and grab another hour or so of sleep. Then I got up, fed the dog, and then took him out for his morning business.

Jingle, our indoor/outdoor cat, greeted us just outside the door, and I called Peko away. He stopped and started sniffing under my car and I saw a little body in a heap. Uh-oh. I called him away, and after he finished his business, I recovered the body.

I thought, here was my chance to get a picture of a flying squirrel, but to see the large glazed eyes covered in dirt, and the body still warm but quite dead, did not strike me as a nice photo opportunity.

She, for it was a female with long rows of nipples, did not have a mark on her, but to see her beautiful coat covered in dirt gave my imagination of her torturous death much fuel. I felt much grieved, like I had lost a small friend.

I wrapped her body in some newspaper and interred her without ceremony in the compost heap. Do I feel guilty? Yeah. :(

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Eastern Red-Backed Salamander

Plethodon cinereous


Saturday, September 13, 2008

And the NIght Comes Day

I love it when I happen to be at the computer as the dusk draws around. First the bats leave their daytime roosts under the eaves. Tonight a large one did a very close fly by of my window. Most likely a Large Brown Bat.

Then Jupiter makes it nightly appearance, usually followed by the flying squirrels. Earlier this afternoon I could hear gnawing in the roof over my bedroom, and I eyeballed the maple branch that is providing them entry. I fiercely contemplated getting the ladder out and taking the branch out-the flying squirrels would have no trouble leaving, but would not be able to return.

The branch is just too high for me to tackle on an extension ladder though. I really don't care for ladders. The tree is straight trunked for about twenty feet, so no climbing it freestyle, either-at least not to saw a branch. Not for me, anyhow.

As it is getting late in the season, I guess I will have to allow the squirrels to stay another winter. Too much later and they would be hard pressed to find a new home before winter.

I heard one cussing the other night, and it was perked in the maple tree fussing at Ruby staring from the window. I shined a flashlight out the window to verify it was a flying squirrel, and it did not care for that and scurried around and down the trunk.

Peko needed his evening stroll, and we headed out about 7:30, which is getting on well dark here this time of year. I have found that I enjoy walking down the pitch black drive led by the dog. The fireflies lie in the weeds glowing brightly, and the only sound is that of the waterfall and crickets. Tonight I could see the shine of the moon on the road, and we walked over to the pond guided only by moonlight.

We had a few more inches of rain since my last trip, and the pond is quite full. I could see fish rising toplit by the moon.

I am hoping to start posting photos again soon, as the pieces have come together for some computer surgery. Hopefully I will be able to put this trusty senior computer into back up mode once again.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wrong number?Please leave a message after the beep

I have always had an unlisted telephone number here, and for some reason known only to the telephone company, it costs me an extra $6 a month. You would think if they don't have to give out your number or print it in a book, they would be saving money. I presume they must sell phone numbers and are charging me the loss of income for not selling my number. (now we know)

My first two years here I just had a cell phone, since I didn't have any lines in. I was the icon of, "can you hear me now?" . The few days I could get any signal at all, I had to perch on a certain step or stand on the southwest (outside) corner of the house on my tiptoes.

Finally I had the landline put in. I lasted less than six months with the first number. Apparently the person who last had the number had run up a bunch of bills, and I was getting all their collection calls. Not nice.

So, I called the phone company to get another number, with much regret, as it meant I also had to reissue my phone number to the people who have access to it. The phone company told me that they hold cancelled numbers a very brief time before reissue-hence my trouble with the first number.

I begged them to search for numbers that had been out of service the longest, and she came back with three or four choices, the longest which had been about six months. I picked one and have had pretty good luck with it. I later found out that it had belonged to a minister, when someone rang a few months later looking for him. She was quite nice and we had a lovely conversation! LOL.

Then a few years back, apparently someone sufferring dyslexia received a number very similar to mine, but kept giving mine out. I was quite gentle about these wrong numbers for quite awhile-then one caller had the misfortune of catching me at a bad time, and caused me to dash for the phone. I asked them when they please got ahold of the fellow, to ask him to stop giving out my number. That put a stop to those calls-poor guy-his friends did sound like nice people !

Of course, I still get the occasional wrong number. Sometimes they are the same (very embarassed)folks. I am always sympathetic, as I used to frequently misdial the same number when trying to reach an out-of-state-relative by misdialing the area code and calling New Jersey by mistake. OOPS.

Once I had a message from someone asking to be picked up at a hospital, and I hit *69 to get the number and called the hospital back and told them what happened, and they put me on with the person waiting for a ride so I could tell them they had the wrong number!

IN the last two days, I have had two wrong numbers on my answering machine. The first was for Brian. Apparently Brian is in arrears on something to do with a car company-the lady sounded quite annnoyed and said that was her last attempt to reach him before starting legal proceedings. Uh-Oh. Poor Brian never got THAT message.

Today there was a message from a very prestigious local jeweler. I recognized his voice from the radio ads. His message was for Joe, to invite him to a special sale that was not going to be open to the general public. If Joe wanted to make an private appointment for viewing, please call back.

I couldn't help but wonder what sort of purchase Joe had made at this lovely jeweler to qualify him for a personal invitiation.

Then I started thinking I might perhaps change my voice message and raise my voice an octave, since these folks seemed to believe they were leaving messages for Brians and Joes. LOL.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thomas Friedman, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded"

I had a gentle nudge from the powers that be the other night. Being somewhat of a nightowl (meaning, I was not sufferring from insomnia in this case) the night after I watched David Letterman tear off on climate change, I decided to turn on his show again to see if Barack Obama was on.

The TV was on PBS when I turned it on, and a familiar voice jarred my subconscious and paused my hand from changing over to CBS. I stopped and watched, and it was Charlie Rose interviewing Thomas Friedman, author of "Hot, Flat, and Crowded."

This is the author and book that had Dave on such a tear the other night.

So, I couldn't remember the name of the author or title of his latest book, but at least I recalled his voice. :D

I just learned that Barack Obama was on last night but I went to sleep early. I have to get some sleep now and again to keep my brain functioning at a minimum. ;)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Frost, Plath, and Sandburg

Acquainted With the Night
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain --and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.

I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet

When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;

And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.

I have been one acquainted with the night.
Robert Frost

Black Rook In Rainy Weather
On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To set the sight on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Lean incandescent

Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then --
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent

By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love. At any rate, I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical,
Yet politic; ignorant

Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.
Sylvia Plath

Horses and Men in Rain

Let us sit by a hissing steam radiator a winter’s day, gray wind
pattering frozen raindrops on the window,
And let us talk about milk wagon drivers and grocery delivery boys.

Let us keep our feet in wool slippers and mix hot punches and talk
about mail carriers and messenger boys slipping along the icy
Let us write of olden, golden days and hunters of the Holy Grail and
men called knights riding horses in the rain, in the cold frozen rain
for ladies they loved.

A roustabout hunched on a coal wagon goes by, icicles drip on his hat
rim, sheets of ice wrapping the hunks of coal, the caravanserai a gray
blur in slant of rain.
Let us nudge the steam radiator with our wool slippers and write poems
of Launcelot, the hero, and Roland, the hero, and all the olden golden
men who rode horses in the rain.
Carl Sandburg


OK, so that's what I get for bragging about caffeine not giving me insomnia-a case of insomnia.

However, the caffeine was not the culprit last night. I had my blood in a boil over an injustice wreaked upon me by the local school system. Already, just a week of school underfoot, and I am seriously affronted.

I have had issues with the small local school in the past, but I think this one might be the last straw. I am 90% sure I will be homeschooling the saplings for the remainder of the school year. I have serious reservations about taking on such an enormous responsibility, but I think perhaps it is the best choice at this time.

So I tried in vain to fall asleep last night. Usually if I decide to sleep nothing gets in my way-caffeine, noises, locations...snooze. Not last night. After at least an hour or so, I realized the David Letterman show was underway, and I thought I recalled that Barack Obama was going to be on, so I relocated downstairs and turned on the tube.

Dave was holding up a book about climate change, penned by a New York Times journalist, whose name and book title escapes me as I type this. The point was, Dave was really upset. He was saying stuff like, how about everyone gets rid of their cars and starts bicycling everywhere? With the amount of CO2 and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere NOW, the Earth will continue to heat for the next 60 years. We are so SCREWED!!!!

Then the audience would LAUGH.

Then Dave would say something like, "yeah, go have another pitcher of Margaritas,"
greeted with more laughter.

The he started on about the melting ice and polar bears are gone. He just saw 20 swimming down the Hudson. More laughter.

Then Paul Schaeffer asked what a polar bear was-he didn't remember them.

Dave just kept saying, "we are SO screwed," "and why hasn't the government done anything about this?!?!"

and telling the laughing audience to have another drink-the jab being that they must be loaded to think the subject was something to laugh about.

I cuddled on the couch with a blanket and watched open-mouthed. You go, Dave!!!

Then his first guest, Kiera Knightly, of Pirates of the Caribbean fame came out to promote her new movie "Duchess" and let Dave know that she was mortified that he had this Doomsday mood lead-in that might spoil her hopefully upbeat interview. PLLLEEEAASE.

Well, she IS only 23 years old. Dave delightedly pointed out his TIE was that old, and that she was young enough to still be alive to see the Earth explode. hehehe.

Finally Dave brought the author of the book out, and then had some good if not great discourse of ideas about how to (try) and effect some change in energy policies to get us out of this mess.

Then Craig Fergusson came on with the Late late show, and I watched his intro (he cracks me up). He was doing a bit about how google was ten years old, you know, google to search your friends, and find good deals on stuff, and let's see....he mimics an elderly McCain at a keyboard (he is awesome with his body and facial expressions) and says, "hmmmm, let's seeeeeee"...."Vice president"......."Lady"......*hits search*" LMAO.

Interestingly enough, if I fall asleep on the couch with the TV on, Craig Fergusson always wakes me up. But last night he had the opposite effect. I felt my eyes close with a big smile still plastered on my face, and got up and went to bed where I promptly fell asleep. Thanks Dave and Craig, for making me smile in the face of such serious issues.

Monday, September 8, 2008

revenge of the creeping black goo

As evening crept in last night, it became obvious why the roofing tar only covered half of what it did last year. It was too thick, and it started to drip. And drip, and drip.

Poor Loosey Goosey took a big splot right across his beak. I felt so sorry for him, I had to try and get it off with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil. Considering that I had quit trying to be friends with the goose a number of months ago, and our relationship is based on him pretty much accepting that I am boss and leaving me alone, this was a challenge.

He did very well, but I couldn't get the goop off.

Then this morning, his beautiful white feathers were showing a few splotches. Oh-oh. I went after his feathers with the oil, but just managed to smear it a bit. After I tended the goats, I ran in for the surgical scissors. I think Loos knew what was coming-he ran.

I cornered him by the rabbit hutch and managed to snip the worst bits off his supreme plummage. At least he won't get it in his mouth now.

Then I rigged a shattered piece of plastic with some baling twine and staples to that end of the house, to try and catch the drips before they hit any more unwilling victims. All morning great stringy ploops have been hitting the plastic. It seems to be a perfect drying and curing day, so it better stop dripping soon!!!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hannah made my roof leak

The tropical storm Hannah moved in after the house had fallen asleep. As happens to me with severe storms and their associated low pressure, I had knocked out cold with the radio running and a half a mug of coffee. ONe day caffeine will keep me up all night, I am sure, but not yet.

I heard torrential rain during the night-even the loud radio couldn't drown out the hammering.

Willow awoke shortly after I did with the report,"my ceiling is leaking."

Yes, it had leaked, and missed the bed by inches, and then leaked downstairs, somehow soaking the couch, but as leaks can run along rafters they can be the devil to locate.

I was going to head directly to the city this am, and mentally added in a Home Depot stop for more roofing tar, but I figured I better get on the roof first and see what was up. Every summer the roof gets maintenence-this summer I just have not gotten around to it.

I had the Firebird help moved the mattress and box spring off the frame in my room. Who makes queen sized mattresses with no handles, anyhow?!?!?! We managed, and I dragged in, and upstairs, the eight foot stepladder, cursing myself for getting the eight-footer, as it is tight setting it up in that spot.

At least the hatch was still operable, although heavier than usual as the rain had soaked the boards that extend along the frame...from underneath, as it must have been splashing.

I discovered I still had a half a bucket of tar from last summer up on the roof, but the roof was soaked in puddles. The house has three roofs-the one over my room is flat, the other two are shed style with a drop of 1 foot for 6 feet of run, so they were roll-rooffed and not shingled.

The culprit is (always) the larger shed roof sloping North. That is the only one that was laid with OSB board and not 1 inch pine boards. I patched and tarred it last year, but the ice dams last winter had it leaking. It didn't leak all summer. I had to use the mop to mop up the puddles on the flat side to get it to dry, figuring I would seal that as well while I was at it.

I scanned the suspect section of roof and found a couple of matchhead sized spots and that was all! So, I used the thick stuff and a putty knife. Along some of the seams I added in fiberglass cloth, because although I retar them every year, with the expansion and contraction tiny spaces open up. I figured the cloth might cure that.

Then I was ready to spread the liquid goop. What did that whole section of roof when it was 90F last summer did half of it this year. It was going on late afternoon, so I decided to make a run to the Village to pick up another bucket. When we arrived, they were closed!!!! Grrr. By then it was 4pm so not enough time to drive to the city and get back to it.

So, some ice creams and some IPA and we headed home, to haul everything back down off the roof (mop bucket, mop, putty knife, etc, etc) close the hatch, put the bed back together..and hope we get some 90s this month to finish the job.

At least I made sure to focus on the suspected leak-spot, and managed to work in cleaning the chimney while the mopped-up roof was drying. Turns out that I didn't have to mop that darn section since I never got to it.

Well, I am sure the flying squirrels will appreciate a clean dry place to romp tonight. ;)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Few black delegates attend Republican convention

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
At the Republican National Convention in 2004, the party touted its record number of black delegates - 167 or almost 7 percent of the total.

This year?

"We don't know the numbers," said Gina Countryman, communications director of the Republican Party of Minnesota. "They don't check boxes that say race or religion."

The numbers appear to be down dramatically, though. One nonpartisan group, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, counted 36 black delegates this year, which would be 1.5 percent of the GOP delegates.

David Bositis, who oversaw the study, said the party was "not very cooperative," in helping with numbers, so they may be slightly off. But 36 would be the fewest black delegates at a GOP convention since 1964.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ramblings again

The saplings started school this week. I made sure to walk Peko down to the bus so he could see the kids get on and realize they were not going to be home. The first two days he strained on the leash to stand on his back legs while they entered the bus, and then after the bus pulled away, he cast about the end of the drive and into the woods, looking for them.

He seemed to think they had teleported nearby and could not understand where they had gone. By the second day, his ears perked up in the afternoon when the other town's bus went by earlier.

Today he seemed to understand that they left on the bus. He is very glad to see them come home again!

I have been doing the morning chores solo and leaving him in the house while I grain and hay the goats. I am just too worried about having the goats tied and then freaking out over the dog. So I listen to Peko bark, and howl, while I am doing the goats. I think it is because he can see me from the window.

Yesterday I had some chores to run, including dropping the chainsaw off for maintenence. I took Peko with me. The only place he barked was at the grain store. I had a bit of a dilemma because the grain goes in the back, but I didn't want him to jump out of the car. So my grain dealer said she would load and I could restrain the dog.

This has been a regular stop for him, and she always gives him a few dog biscuits. Well, after she put the first sack of grain in the back, he just leaned over the back seat waggin his tail, and she handed him his biscuits and said, "That is what he was looking for!!"

I replied, "N, you must be friends with all your client's dogs!"

She admitted she has a lot of friends. LOL

I haven't left the dog home alone YET. I am pretty sure now he wont go through a window *knocks on wood*, but I am not too sure how he will be with one of the cats, Ruby. She likes to attack him, and he doesn't like it too much. This morning she attacked him and then was staring at him, and he growled at her. Othertimes they sleep on the bed together, but Ruby is a moody little thing.

I have been asked by the farm to do some fence work, and I claimed this week off. I am not too sure what to do with the dog while I am working though. Boss said I could bring him with and put him in the goat pen, but I am pretty sure he could clear a four foot fence. I guess what I will do is leave him at home.

I dropped a CD of pix off for developing last week, and called today and they said it was $90.00!!!!!!! WHAT!?!?!?! Ifeel like a total idiot, as I could have used that 90 in many other ways!!!! So I guess I have no choice but to put in some time at the farm to pay for my photo madness.

Somewhere only we Know

I walked across an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete

Oh simple thing where have you gone
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

I came across a fallen tree
I felt the branches of it looking at me
Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place that I've been dreaming of?

Oh simple thing where have you gone
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me inI
'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go
Somewhere only we know?

Oh simple thing where have you gone
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go
Somewhere only we know?

This could be the end of everything
So why don't we goSomewhere only we know?
Keane lyrics

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


We had a visitor last week. Or perhaps the week before. Time flies around here. Tempus Fugit.

We have so little traffic on the road several hundred feet away, that oftentimes it sounds as if someone is pulling in the drive. Not lately, of course, with the condition of the drive-even a well tuned automobile makes an obvious ruckus pulling in.

The Firebird sounded the alert, and the local boys have me well trained.

They sit in the dooryard and beep their horn-perhaps this is a legacy of years of bullmastiffs, but if an unexpected visitor arrives, I trot out dutifully to see what they want.

This time I was caught offguard (well, at least I wasn't in pj's)-but offguard in the sense that the visitor was out of the vehicle and headed up the side drive. He kept coming even after seeing my approach.

My first impression was military; clean cut, small but well built. He oozed proper manners and brandished a brand new Maine road atlas. (mine is well loved and in shreds and well past the point of replacement). He was obviously "not from around here".

He pointed at the boat icon at the head of the pond on the map, and gestured down the drive with his map..."do you know who owns this path?"

"That is a twenty foot public right of way to ------- pond, " I informed him. "You are welcome to put in, but they prefer if you park along the road."

He looked a bit puzzled, and repeated, "yes, but who OWNS it?"

I told him the name of the family, and which house, and specifically to talk to the neighbor with the bulldog disposition, and he confirmed the name and the house and thanked me and left.

Of course in this neck of the woods, that was food for thought for several days. I deduce he is from out of state, perhaps California, and maybe not military, but perhaps a lawyer. How many folks of average intelligence realize that a public right of way/access is still owned by someone?

Or perhaps he meant the trail beyond the boat landing-that is still private property. At least it qualifies as a trail now that it has been trimmed-to me a path is the ghost of a deer trail indicated by an opening through the branches, which usually splits off into even more questionable paths as it meanders through the woodland. Maybe I have paths and trails confused. A trail is something you can ride a horse on-a path to me usually means a footpath. Hence my indignant response with, "twenty-foot right of way." LOL.

So, I spent a tense few days wondering if this was an attempt at a purchase of the property. Visions of million dollar homes and deforestation danced across my vision. My ace in the hole was the woman I directed him to speak with. When her husband died, they were split up, and he left his out-of-state oldest daughter from a previous marraige in charge of his affairs, and the neighbor confided in me, as he was on his deathbed, that she was afraid she might be kicked out.

We have had minimal contact since that conversation well over a year ago-the man passed last summer-so I have no real idea in whose name the property is in. However, C is still there with the brood, and if she does not own it directly, I am sure she would not have directed an out-of-state purchaser to the out-of-state daughter. And if she owns it herself, I doubt that she would part with it, although money does talk to us poor folk. Or perhaps that polite, well- groomed healthy male specimen was sent to soften up the old bulldog(S). ;)

A few days after that, I saw a trio of vehicles parked along the road, and several others tucked in for a gathering. The trio stayed the weekend-either camping on the pond or perhaps on the property in question. So I was relieved to surmise in the end it was most probably a case of requesting permission to use the property and not purchase it.

I couldn't help but notice this weekend that another trio of vehicles had parked right up to the pond blocking the right of way. I was incredulous. A holiday weekend and they are blocking the right of way!?! Bear in mind that this is no way affects me personally-I don't have a canoe or kayak (bummer)-nor do I own the property. But I see the few folks that use the pond kindly, and the ones that are not so kind, and I was angry for the folks that had hoped to put in for a paddle over the beautiful weekend.

I have watched many lug their canoes and kayaks down the right of way, and trying to get past three suvs and trucks with a load would be impossible. Nevermind the fact that if any of them were leaking oil, it was going to leach directly in the pond. They were there Friday night, all day Saturday, Saturday night, and by Sunday I decided to act.

We walked the dog down to the pond, and actually it was a spur of the moment thing or I would have brought pen and paper and left a note. I saw a superman insignia in the dust on the hood of the front suv, and inspiration struck.

With my forefinger I wrote, "You are blocking a public right away. RUDE. :( "

Later that afternoon on subsequent dog pees I saw three vehicles pulled along the road that put in kayaks or canoes. I wondered how they felt when they had to drag by the vehicles in the way, and if they saw my dust doodlings. Then I did feel a bit guilty, as each subsequent paddler might suspect the previous one .....

shortly after the third had arrived,,, there was some commotion and the three blocking vehicles left (the saplings riding bikes informed me)...and I wondered if the poor innocent paddlers had waved at the ROW blockers, and if the ROW blockers upon return cursed them, the unguilty. Geez-I really don't have much excitement around here, do I?

I just feel very protective of the pond, as it is such a lovely unspoilt place. ON a recent trip to the city, we travelled through a place where there are cottages right up to the water-and visible along the pond. And that water was as green as jade, and as murky. That is what development does. Run off and leaky septics (or overflowing in heavy rain) cause algae blooms. They are disgusting. Our pond is as clear as glass.

I embrace the fisher folk and nature lovers who respect it for what it is. I am not too crazy about motorboats on the pond-too often I have seen a glaze of oil or gas on the water after one manages to put in. That is one of the nice things about the condition of the right of way-it almost demands hand carry only.

So, time will tell what will happen to the pond. IN ten years it has pretty much remained unchanged-the dam has taken some damage but looks solid overall. The worst thing that ever happened was the deceased landowner, in his last winter here, when he was laying the logs out to mark the right of way, dragged an old shanty down the pond and smashed it to bits with his tractor to discourage folks from parking there. It was a terrible eyesore, and I still pick up bits of glass from the one window. Some of the framing I hauled home and built the goose house-another intrepid visitor lugged out the aluminum siding when the price of junk metal got high. All that remains are a few odd bits that someone else and myself chucked over the logs-and they will be rotted in another few years. So for now, paradise is secure. Drop me a line and I'll give you the grand tour-including the path streamside. You might note the name of the stream on your brand new Maine Atlas. ;)