Friday, October 24, 2014

Not Sure What To Do With Myself

Now that the market is over, there are huge tracts of time that have opened up. We're talking weekends and weekdays that are now available to fun stuff like cut firewood and build a barn. Those two things alone are full time jobs, on the condition of course that I know what I am doing. Ignorance definitely holds you back.

I must say, by the time the market ended, we were pretty burned out and in need of a break. It's too early to say whether we'll do it again, but for now, I'm hoping to make the most of the time that is now available. That boils down to two things - barn and wood. There are assorted yard chores that need to be attended to, mainly mowing and raking, but now that fall is here, at least the grass is slowing down... finally. I was reading that raking the leaves, which for the record is the job I loathe the most, is not necessarily the best thing for your yard.

According to this article, while you don't want massive piles of leaves covering the grass, a layer is not bad if you just mow over it and turn it into smaller bits. It actually fertilizes the grass. This is probably wishful thinking for someone who really doesn't like raking, but I'm going to give it a try. Around the trees I'll rake the massive piles, but otherwise, I'm going to leave the stuff (no pun intended) and mow it into bits. Even just thinking about an easier solution to raking makes me feel better. We'll see how things look in the spring, after the snow has melted, especially since leaves take a long time to break down.

The wood pile has hit a lull, as can be expected. I am about 40% done with year 2, though I think (hope?) that I have cut enough blocks to finish it. It always takes more than you think. In terms of the barn, I can work inside pretty much all winter. I might need a space heater to survive, but my new goal is to get all the insulation in and prepare to drywall and do the floors. If I can accomplish all that by spring, we are in pretty good shape for the final stretch, I think. My Mentor can verify that, or remind me that I don't know what I'm talking about. It wouldn't be the first time.

As the saying goes, time is on my side, so I'd better make the most of it. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Pookie and Schnookie for the pic.

More High School News

There are several high schools that we are looking at as possible destinations, and like many things in life, sometimes having options makes it harder. Life is so much simpler when they just tell you what to do, but is simpler better? Not always?

I arranged to meet with the principal of Woodstock and went over to meet with him. I have to say, not only was he a really nice guy, but he was smart and very well-versed in all things education. Very approachable and willing to talk to me about the possibilities, and there are a lot of possibilities. Some of them I was aware of because we know a few people who homeschool and attend high school. Basically the principal told me on the one end you have students going full time, and on the other, students who take no classes but play sports. Our options would fall somewhere in-between.

As I mentioned, we know people who cover those different options, some of whom take no classes but play sports, and others who do a hybrid program of homeschooling, high school classes, and community college classes. We are intrigued by all the possibilities. Whatever we end up doing, it was nice to talk to the principal, especially since he's a nice guy. I'm sure we'll talking to many other principals in the near future.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Krzysztof Pacholak for the pic.

Not Quite So Painful

A day or so back I was whining (what else is new?) about my chainsaw woes and how bummed I was about all the money it was going to cost to fix it. I even regretted taking it in because I realized after the fact that I probably could have taken it to one of my logger friends or My Mentor (who is experienced with logging) and they might have been able to have fixed it, or at least given me more insight into the problem. Instead, I took it to Joe's and before I could grab the thing back the guy had the tag on it and took it out back to the mechanic. Done and over. He even mentioned that the problem I described could have meant a broken seal, for which the repair costs the big bucks. Total bummer. I decided that if that was the problem, I would simply take the saw back home and wait until spring, when I would really need it... and would have time to save up the cash to pay for it.

They said it would take about a week, but of course I called after a couple of days to plead my case. They understood, they are cool guys and probably deal with broke losers like me all the time, but they are a business, and one thing you learn when you're training to be a real man is that the cost of labor kills you. I think they sensed my neurotic frugality and told me they'd call me when the estimate was done.

On Friday they did in fact call, and the news was good. They said the repair cost was $20, and now I have the saw back with a little more time before the snows come. This means I just might be able to finish the second wood pile after all. Don't want to count my chickens just yet, there's a fair amount that needs to be done, but at least progress can continue. I love when that happens.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Len Matthews for the pic.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Seasonal Shift

People are constantly talking about the strange weather, especially in New England, and for good reason. This summer was actually really nice, though we got slammed with rainy weather at the market early in the season. Now that fall is here, we were all primed and ready for cold weather and then we got a warm spell for a few days. It went from the 40s and 50s to the high 70s, almost to 80 one day. It really threw me for a loop, though I shouldn't complain about having beautiful weather. It also made the market more pleasant, though I have to say, it was unusual. I'm not sure what to make of it all, but I'm thinking winter should be interesting.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Rudolf Vlcek for the pic.

Back and Forth

It's time for the big Halloween-a-thon competition at the local TV station, and as usual the kids are doing a film. This is probably the fourth year they're doing it, and things are a little different this time around. They've branched off from their regular group and are doing their own thing, which I have mixed feelings about. I wouldn't intervene and would let them decide, but they are sort of abandoning their book group in forming their own. On the one hand I understand they want to do a project with their friends whom they have worked with before. This also means they don't have to spend a lot of time teaching news kids what to do. On the other, I do think their book club is their clan, and maybe deserves some of their attention.

It's complicated, especially since a lot of these kids make the trip up here to do the book group, and now the locals (i.e., us) are not involved. I want the kids to make the right decisions, but I also want them to have some autonomy, so I'm not speaking up. I did say that they shouldn't ignore their book club and should help out when they can. I'm curious to see how the group evolves, time will tell.

In the meantime, their current group has a member who lives in another town that is a bit of trek to get to. As a result, there is a bit of back and forth to get the group together. This past week they had a day where I literally went out there three or four times, and it was crazy. I think it went like this: KS took the kids to the filming, I went and picked them up, then had to take A back to the studio for her trip to Burlington, and then had to go and pick her up in the evening when they returned.

Just wait until hockey season starts. Then the real driving begins.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Karsten Konrad for the pic.

Local News

A got to be interviewed on the big city news channel up in Burlington, and it was pretty cool to see. This wasn't simply some local cable access station, this was the real deal news station. They are promoting a program on the local cable access and it was a big enough to deal warrant a news story. A and another student headed up with BF and they were broadcast on the prime time news. A said it was cool seeing how the news stations operate, and she did very well in her interview. She was poised and relaxed and did a fine job, objectively speaking, of course. Afterward she got to eat at Five Guys burgers, so it was a win-win situation. I think it's a cool opportunity for a kid to not only see the behind-the-scene workings of a news station, which is probably pretty interesting, but to also get to be on TV.

We couldn't catch the broadcast in real-time but we were able to see it on their website afterward, and it was pretty cool. I tried sending the link out to various family members with varying degrees of success, but I think we can remedy the situation in the near future. We shall see.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Adam Clark for the pic.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Last Ultimate?

I hope not.

Fall is in the air, and sadly, as the weather cools and the days get shorter, it's clear that the days that we can UF are numbered. In fact, I'm wondering if that might have been our last UF game, especially with hockey starting and participation dwindling. It's been a great summer with so many new players that span the entire skill spectrum, and I hope it continues next season. For now, maybe it's not such a bad thing to wind things down.

I did learn from the kids at a high school the A is considering that people do play on the team even if they don't go to the school, which is cool because that might be an option for her. These guys are also very cool to N, encouraging him and complimenting him on his skills. I appreciate that. A guy (and girl) needs to have a little ego boost now and then.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mochi Milena for the pic.