Thursday, August 17, 2017

Peaches

Three years ago I started a small orchard with 2 pears and a peach tree. The first year the peach tree bloomed and sprouted hundreds of peaches.  Unfortunately some critters (I suspect squirrels) came in one night and pirated every single baby peach away.  The second year we had a very late frost that killed all fruit development.  This year the tree was a mass of beautiful pink blossoms which then created a mass of baby peaches.  


I was not very hopeful that they would mature without being absconded by some marauder but mature they did. Hundreds of them.  So many I had to brace some of the branches that were threatening to break under the weight.



Every day for the past 2 weeks I have been picking a huge bucket of them as they ripen.  But since they are not bred with preservatives they rot very quickly. So we have been in peach eating, giving away and processing mode.




Peach jam. Check.




Sliced peaches in canning jars.  Check.



Dehydrating peaches. Check.



Processing peaches is a very messy business and I am glad that the yield is finally starting to slow down.


But silly me, last year I was convinced that I would never get peaches to survive so I bought a second tree because I just liked the shape and flower of it.  So next year, critters willing, we will have twice as many peaches to deal with. Yikes.

Monday, August 14, 2017

For Eddie

There is a dog who needs some help.


He has suffered much abuse in his life.  He had his tail chopped off, was hung from a tree by a metal snare round his waist and left to die, and finally someone tried to kill him by hitting him over the skull with a metal bar with a spike on it.  They missed his skull and hit the top of his nose instead, hence the hole.  You can read more about him here https://sweffling.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/romanian-rescue-dog-2/




No living thing deserves to be treated with such violence.


Fortunately there are angels like Susanna in this world who love and  take care of those hurting animals, even when they themselves have heavy things on their plate.  


I have known Susanna as a blogging friend for a little while now and know her to be an extremely compassionate, empathetic person.  She so badly wants to help Eddie but as any of us who live with furry animals know, even routine vet care can be expensive.


Susanna has (reluctantly) started a crowdfunding page for Eddie. If you are able and so inclined, please kick in a few dollars*** for Eddie.

https://www.leetchi.com/c/money-pot-eddie-22587947


*** Susanna lives in England and therefore the funding page is in pounds.  I had no idea what the exchange rate was so I tried giving 30 pounds.  That turned out to be $39.10 on my credit card.  You can use that as a reference.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Full of Grace

After critters ate my entire first planting of green beans, the second crop is now ready for harvest.

Today's pickings

Visited Peachie in Boston where we went kayaking in the Charles River.  Very cool. We’ve decided that every trip should include a kayaking adventure.  

All the pink sailboats in the background were a kid's camp learning to sail.

Toured the inspirational Kennedy Museum and Library. I was not a big fan of the man, but greatly admired his politics.   



Back in the car for a quick visit to see my sister and family and finding a new route thereby avoiding all the Yankee Stadium traffic.

Had my yearly physical and was determined to be in pretty good shape. Cholesterol down, weight down, height steady and EKG strong.  Except for the increasingly irritating arthritis and possible reflux issues, I feel great.  I am hoping to make it to October which will mark the first whole year without a surgery in the last 5 years. Fingers crossed.

Good health is something I no longer take for granted and so I am particularly grateful today to still be able to enjoy friends, family and the great outdoors.


Monday, July 24, 2017

No Work and All Play

My body let it be known that it was time for some rest.  I enjoy projects but my arthritic hands, bursitis shoulder,  and decaying knees not so much.  So this past weekend:


I took my first swim in the lake. Truthfully, with all the cold rain we’ve had, the lake has been pretty chilly, but swim I did.  Not very far and very close to the shoreline, just in case.  I will need build up my endurance over time.


Beaner and a friend joined us for an easy, no stress BBQ that included farmstand, just picked corn on the cob.  Ultra sweet with butter running down my chin. Yum.


Took a quiet, easy kayak trip around the lake surveying the new construction. I tried to join a flock of geese but they would have no part of me.


the concrete structure is the dam that created the lake


Sat in my Adirondack chair and read an entire book - Little Big Lies - cover to cover.  An entertaining book with some very important messages about domestic abuse.   I am a pretty slow reader but this was a page turner.




I did stain the part of the reconstructed deck because, well, it’s just not a weekend at the lake without getting something done.


But I balanced that with a nap in my favorite hammock.  



Fresh air. Great summer food. Being in and on the water. Naps in a hammock.  Life is Good. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Lazy Days of Summer?


Summertime and the living is easy.

Unless you own a summer camp.

Fifteen years ago I built a deck for the lake house.  But to get around some zoning issues and the fact that the area is built on a rock shelf, I couldn’t put support piers into the ground. The whole deck (33 ft wide) floats and is supported by cement blocks.  Over time, as the northeast winters freeze the ground, the deck has heaved into a wavy, uneven mess.  This was the year to fix it.  First, remove 1000 screws that have wormed their way deep into the wood. About half came out. The other half had to be broken and/or hack sawed.  Then remove the supporting bolts to lower and heightened the corners as needed.  But of course, half the bolts broke requiring more hack sawing.  Bring in a couple more ‘heavier than hell’ cement supports (they were a lot lighter 15 years ago!) , cut and toenail in 12 joist supports and then screw all the top boards back on. It took us two 12 hour, backbreaking days to get it done.  It took me 3 days to recuperate from all my aches and pains. And unfortunately all that work and only 1/3 of the deck is done.  Then it will all need to be re-stained.


Two years ago Martha wanted to remove the carpeting in the dining area.  We peaked under a corner and saw wood flooring.  Great!   Until it all came up and we saw this.


Yep, they had run out of planks and so finished the floor with whatever non-matching wood they had left.  For the last 2 years Martha has been chirping at me to re-finish the floor.  I wanted to use wide plank pine, she wanted an engineered, easy to maintain floor.  We have looked for over a year and finally agreed on something so time to start that job.


Friday we were going to drive up and get the floor done together but on Thursday night we put out a skunk trap (yes, still dealing with a skunk issue at home) and actually caught one.  Unfortunately the pest control people could not come until Friday afternoon to relocate the animal so I went alone to do the floor while Martha waited at home, babysitting the skunk. By and large it was not a difficult job but very hard on my old weak knees.



Martha arrived just as I was doing the finishing touches (of course) and had a list of “smaller” jobs for the rest of the weekend.  Build shelves in the garage. Check.  Fix broken gutter. Check. Mow lawn. Check.  Meanwhile Martha was busy replacing some rusty old faucets, shampooing the carpets, painting shutters and hanging new lighting fixtures, a garage sale bargain. 

Occasionally we would take a break, sit in our Adirondack chairs overlooking the lake, sipping iced tea and wonder what it must be like to have a little mountain place to get away to and relax.  

We have no idea.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Full of Grace

  • After a week of very healthy eating and exercise, feeling good and dropping a few pounds.



I don't expect this rate to continue every week but hopefully it will reboot me into more mindful activities
  • Peaches still on the tree.  This is the largest they have ever been without them disappearing overnight.  I am beginning to get hopeful.






  • Everyone coming to the lake for the 4th of July weekend.  It’s always nice to be all together.



  • Answering an open request, Beaner and I were interviewed and gave a statement for this case. The Court got one right and we are thrilled to have been a tiny part of it.



  • Sold my first item on Craig’s List.  For those of you who are aware of my spouse’s borderline hoarding personality this was a big deal.  Plus $50 went into the 'going out to eat' fund.  I hope it is the beginning of some major decluttering efforts.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Full of Grace

The first of my bonus daughters got married in a beautiful, tear jerking ceremony last week.  I imagine that there will now be a string of weddings, much like we went through a rash of bar and bat mitzvahs, then Sweet 16s, then graduation parties. It is the next stage of their lives but it is making me feel very old. I have known these girls since they were 3. How can they possibly be old enough to marry already?

Installing a couple of new exterior doors and replacing all the rotten wood. We anticipated rot along the bottom where snow accumulates but on one of the doors the entire header was shot. So instead of an easy install we wound up having to remove siding, cut out all the rotten wood and replace a huge section of the garage header. It was a hell of a job that took days instead of hours, but I am grateful that we still have the strength and know-how to do these repairs.  And we feel we did something good for the house as well.


My peach tree has an over abundance of baby peaches loading down the branches.  I harbor no hope that the squirrels will leave me any once they are ripe but the whole process of trees bearing fruit both fascinates and delights me.


Along with now being able to pick a fresh salad every night.




And finally the monsoon season seems to have ended with a heat wave so I am walking my dog early in the morning and seeing the neighborhood in a whole new, summery light.