Monday, September 1, 2014

Disappointing Market

Two weeks ago the weather was perfect and we were on the heels of a terrible week for weather, so we figured we'd be busy at the market, but man was it slow. The day was nice but there were no people around. In retrospect it made sense because it was one of the final weeks before Labor Day weekend and families were all heading off for the last summer hurrah, usually to Maine from what I can gather.

We sat around and waited for people to come, but come they did not. Total bummer. It's the sitting around doing nothing that kills you. It should be interesting to see how things fare once the students come back.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to johan truter for the pic.

Splitting Time and Wood

I've fallen into my usual state of complacency with the wood pile (like everything in my life), but I'm not completely at fault. At least I like to think that. First off, it's still August, so I have all of Sept and Oct to keep stacking. Secondly, all of this year's wood has been stacked since April, so we are good to go for most of this coming winter, which I've read has been forecast to be brutal by the Farmer's Almanac. This means that I will more than likely dip into next year's pile as I did last season, inspiring me to be more on the ball this year. Did that make any sense?

Last year we burned through our pile and then dipped into about 25% of this year's pile, which was only half-completed because I got lazy and complacent. When I realized the value of having two year's worth of wood sitting, I vowed to make it happen. I split and stacked like a madman all spring and finished this year's pile, and still had a fair amount of wood left to complete next year's pile. I started out gangbusters but then slowed down as the weather got hot and we were busy with the market and other assorted activities. I still think/hope that I can complete year two with what I've got, but you realize it's a lot of wood. I'm about 20% done.

I have been splitting sporadically, mainly when I'm cooking falafels for the market. They take about 7-8 minutes to cook, so during that time I grab my mawl and split some wood. I can manage a block or two before heading back to the stove and finishing the cook. How's that for efficiency? It's nice because it's pretty much the only time I actually split wood. The rest of my limited free time is used to work on that barn.

It ain't easy training to be a real man. One day I'll get be in the Amazing PR Man's club. Until then, I'll keep working at it.

Thanks for reading.

Goal Oriented

I realize this isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but when you're as far behind the curve as I am, you celebrate every small victory. I was talking to N and we decided that finishing the last dormer by the end of August was a reasonable goal, and sure enough, I finished it with more than a week to spare. Truth be told, I thought I'd get it done in a couple of weeks, but like always, it took longer than I expected. At some point I'll need to paint again because all it has is a coat of primer, but let me relish the moment for now.

There's still a lot of work to be done on the outside, mainly putting in trim around the doors and windows, but once that's done, the house will be sealed. Then I can focus on the interior, but one thing at at time, right? I will say that it's nice to get down off the roof. Working up there is not only precarious, but it really slows down the process because of the setup and the fact that it's hard to pound in nails when you're quivering with fear from the height. It doesn't look that high but it's a whole different perspective when you're up there.

Then again, shifting gears into a new area always takes a bit of adjustment... it's always something, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Disc Golf Mania

We've been getting pretty into disc golf, and even travel to far off and distant places to get in a round. A few weeks back A was off in video camp so N and I went on a mission to try out assorted disc golf courses, and we drove as far Newport and Bradford. It was sort of cool exploring areas we never go to, and the courses were nice. The first place we visited was near Lake Sunapee in Newport, and we got lost in the process of trying to find it. The course has the same name as a fish and tackle shop, so the directions took us to the wrong place. We asked a local business if they could help us out and none of them knew, though they were nice and helpful. They got on their computers and did a Google search for us, telling us that we needed to go to the Lake Sunapee resort, about 15 minutes away. We drove over but in our guts we felt something wasn't right.

The ski hill is nice and the the course required purchasing a lift ticket and golfing your way down the hill. I didn't want to spring for a ticket, and I still wanted to find the real course. There was a guy in the parking lot who gave us the rundown about the ski hill course, and when I asked him about the Newport course, he knew exactly where it was. He told us to drive through town and go to the high school, so we turned around and headed back. N noticed that on the guy's car he had a disc golf sticker on the window, so we lucked out in finding the right person to ask. Driving back through town, we found the high school as well as the first tee for disc golf. The course was nice, weaving through the woods and a rec area, and it was 18 holes so it took us a couple of hours. It was hot and we had limited time because we had to get A, but it we enjoyed our time. We planned on one day doing the Sunapee course, but that's for another time.

The next adventure was up in Bradford. Again, we couldn't find the darn thing, and ended up in the mountains deep in the woods. The directions were once again all screwy. It's very rural up there and there was nothing in the way of gas stations or stores to ask for directions. I ended up stopping at a home business (the guy was a welder) and asking if he knew of a disc golf course. He said I needed to find the high school (of course) and gave me directions on how to get there. Sure enough, we drove back in through town and found it at the high school, Oxbow HS. I'd heard of Oxbow and didn't realize it was in Bradford.

This course was really nice, one of my favorites, and we enjoyed playing it. A good combination of killer wide open shots and challenging woodsy ones. Plus, it was free.

I packed a lunch so N and I had a picnic and then stopped in Fairlee to get ice cream and the famous Whippy Dip, or something like that. Then we headed to video camp to pick up A.

We've had some fun adventures with disc golf, and I'm sure they'll be more.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Doug Cash for the pic.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Garden with Benefits

Despite the depressing aspect of the plight of our tomatoes, we have had a good year of gardening in all other areas. With the unpredictable weather the warm weather crops seemed to have suffered the most, namely tomatoes and peppers. Cooler New England-like plants, however, have done well. We got tons of peas and green beans, and the squash is taking off like wildfire. I must have planted over a dozen butternut and delicata squash plants, and they are flourishing. Not sure what I'm going to do with all that squash, but I'll worry about that when the time comes. Don't count your chickens before they hatch, right?

The green beans in particular have been particularly prolific, and when R sent word out of our bounty, we were provided with a number of good recipes. Our favorites were a dijon-mustard g-bean and potato salad, and a g-bean and chicken Thai curry dish (compliments of JR). I like g-beans so it's not a chore to eat them, even just steamed with olive oil and salt, but the kids really loved these two, so we have a couple of winners.

Thanks to everyone for their ideas, and thanks to the garden for feeding us.

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

Still Going Strong

We've really lucked out with UF this year because not only do we have a good sized crew that comes regularly, but they have a good balance of skill and the proper attitude, i.e., they just want to have fun. No grumbling, criticizing, or intense competitiveness, which boils down to a manageable level of testosterone. Everyone has fun, everyone takes part, and it's still a good workout and challenge. Don't you love when that happens.

Plus, this year's crew is into it and shows up every weekend. The high school kids get a little cocky, but that's to be expected at that age, and they tend to show up sparingly. Again, they're young, we'll give that to them. I think A and N have really improved their game and are definite contributors to the game. I tend to be in traction the next morning because every joint aches, but it's a great workout, and fun, to boot.

All in all I think things in the UF universe are good. We have a couple more months so we'll make the most of it, even if it's hard to believe that summer is over.

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New Approach to School?

I say this at the end of every school year, but I think we might dabble in some new areas this school year. The kids do a fine job in all the basics, but I feel in some areas they could be more challenged, and might benefit from a little more structure. I'm not ready for a radical change, but I do think there are a lot of possibilities to do things better. Not unlike life in general, right?

More on this later. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to WVU Library for the pic.