Saturday, April 30, 2011

Splash of Color

Finally everything is starting to bloom and we are loving the colors!

Monday, April 25, 2011


If "April showers bring May flowers," then we ought to have one heck of a show next month.

I know we haven't been home for "30 days and 30 nights" yet, but since our arrival it has rained nearly every day. The water well really likes it though, the trees, plants and lawns are beginning to green up, and the birds don't seem to care (yes, I did have to grease the birdfeeder pole). However, if we start to see the animals marching "two by two", then we'll be following close behind to the nearest boat....which of course with us is never very far away.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

And They All Fell Down!

In my last post I mentioned that we were ready for bigger projects. Our latest project was so big that we had to call in the professionals to help. After last year's lumberjack 'oops' back by the shed, we figured that it was best to hire someone to cut down the two gigantic white pine trees near the house and garden shed. One of the trees had grown into two with a huge trunk, and the other one was leaning in the wrong direction. The guys we used didn't use a truck or boom to top the trees, they actually climbed up and cut limbs along the way.

Then large sections were cut on the way down. We give the climber a lot of credit for this dangerous job, and he sure got himself into some precarious positions, toting a chainsaw too!
When the trees hit the ground it felt like an earthquake hit, rattling the windows. I can't believe I caught these mid-air pictures of portions of the trees falling down.

If the photos look rather mono-chromatic or even black and white, that's just how the day was. In fact, there was thunder in the distance and it poured rain for awhile. It never even slowed down the crew. Of course being that high up on a tree with thunder would make ME work fast too!

Once the trees had fallen, it was time for us to take over and clean up the mess. Hercules to the rescue! Karl and Dave chained the huge sections and skidded them away to be put to use as part of the motorcycle trials course Dave wants to make.

Meanwhile, I hand lugged mounds of branches into the woods. Later Dave used the New Holland tractor to bucket load and rake the small stuff up. Afterwards we were a sticky mess, since these trees constantly ooze sap. No wonder white pines aren't used for much except paper and turpentine.

Unfortunately, while hauling away the logs, Hercules started making some increasingly noisy knocking sounds and spewed out antifreeze. These are not good signs. I think that Hercules is out of commission for awhile, which will put several of our other projects on hold. Needless to say, Dave is a bit depressed, especially since he has only put 10 hours on it since we bought it late last summer. At least we still have the New Holland for smaller jobs (and I can drive it!), but lacks the power needed for some chores. I'll try and keep you posted on whether Hercules gets his strength back.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rake 'n' Scrape

In the Bahamas, there is a well known type of music called Rake ‘n’ Scrape. This lively music with a Caribbean beat, originated from bands playing the saw as a musical instrument. In fact, Dave has been known to play the saw during a rollicking band set at one of the local bars, using a well worn spoon to do the ‘scraping’. To see more about the history of this type of music, click HERE.

NOW, here in upstate New York, we are playing a different tune on our implements, and Rake 'n’ Scrape takes on a whole different meaning.

Living with the woods in our backyard has its advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes during the winter, all the leaves blow into the woods, and other times the leaves blow from the woods into the yard. Sort of like the saying, “Sometimes you are the statue and sometimes you are the pigeon.” This year we were definitely the statue, so we had more than the normal amount of raking to do and branches to pick up. Luckily we have the equipment to handle it, making the leaves and branches easier to dispose of. An advantage of having the woods is that we can just put the bucket load after bucket load back there to mulch down (and hopefully not blow back!).

While raking one of the large periwinkle gardens I decided we might as well REALLY clean it up and remove all the old stumps, rocks, and a couple of errant growing nuisance trees. Dave was ecstatic to be able to do some digging (aka scraping) and hauling away the old roots.
This area hasn’t been maintained in years and gets totally out of control during the summer. Now I can keep it trimmed and even mow it if I want or need to.

Once the raking and scraping were complete close to the house, garages, road, and shop, I started the process of ridding the open field of fallen foliage. Since Dave was already busy with customers, I took over the job of running the ‘Billy Goat’ gigantic leaf blower on wheels. This is the first time I have used this machine and what a handful it is. Once I got the hang of how it diverts the air and leaves (you have to be careful not to keep it blowing in one spot because the power will dig holes in the ground), I actually enjoyed the exercise and instant gratification!

The ‘Pashley Ranch’ looks so much better now, and it even felt and looked like spring today. Now we are ready for bigger projects…

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chillin' Out

The past few days have been extremely cold and blustery. It's not just us southerners complaining either. I heard quite a few nasty comments while out shopping today, but that's mainly because we have been having 'white-out' snow squall conditions since early this morning. BRRRRR! Aren't we a full month into spring now?

Even this poor squirrel was a little confused as to how he was able to stand in the middle of the bird bath and not get wet. I guess his mother didn't teach him that his tongue could stick to the ice!

The birds may still be ice skating instead of bathing, but they now have plenty to eat. Within an hour of putting out the feeders, the cardinals, chickadees, sparrows, titmouse (or is that mice?), and even a nuthatch had returned and were vying for a perch at the feeder. Time will tell if I have to grease the pole with Vaseline to keep the chipmunks and squirrels from climbing it. What a funny sight it was last year, watching a chipmunk keep trying to get the feeder but sliding down the pole.

I'm sure spring will get here eventually, but this year Mother Nature certainly is taking her own sweet time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Back Home Safe, Sound, AND Secure

Did I feel secure while traveling? You bet, especially since I was the lucky one to be pulled aside for a random search. A few seconds after I walked through the metal detector at the airport, a bell went off and the security guard said sorry, random search time. After all the horror stories I had heard, I thought “oh joy, my first time to be frisked.” He had me go into this little 4’x4’ cordoned off area where he was standing and pulled across one of those retractable straps so I couldn’t leave (HA! Like that was going to stop anyone from escaping?). He was very polite, as was all the security staff, and said I had to wait for a minute until a female employee came. Luckily all that ended up getting patted down was my computer! She walked me over to the machine, pointed to one of the computers and asked if it was mine. Both Dave and I laughed and said take your pick, we have three with us (found a super deal on a new laptop on sale in Daytona). She grabbed one of the old ones and took it off to the side to wave her magic wand over it, then handed it back to us. Finally we could put everything back in its case, put our shoes back on, and retrieve our carry-ons. I think we had to commandeer at least 8 of those plastic bins for all our items to go through the machine. It’s a good thing that Daytona is a quiet airport with something like 4 commercial flights a day, so we didn’t hold up the line too long. I bet the staff is still talking about us.

Now it is back to reality, where the yards need to be raked and put back in order, the trails need to be groomed, and the motorcycle customers are already appearing, even though Dave hasn’t even opened up the shop yet. Everything in our Glenville home and business appears to be okay, and all systems are up and running. The water and heat went back into service with no glitches. We have already been up to Ticonderoga and the house and garages there are fine also, with no water in the cellar. We did get to see snow up in the north country and the smaller lakes were still frozen over!

Despite the windy, damp, and cold weather since we returned, it is still good to be back home and see all our friends and neighbors. Plus our wildlife seems to have been waiting for us, with 5 deer greeting us in the yard, along with the usual woodchucks, squirrels, chipmunks, and many varieties of birds looking for a bath and a free meal.

Best of all, it feels great to be on ‘the grid’ again! I still hesitate every time I go to use the microwave oven, thinking that I need to turn on the generator. Conserving power and water is important, but it’s nice to have a never-ending well, a long hot shower, and the luxury of turning on more than a couple of lights at once.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Up, Up and Away

Last weekend we went to a local hot air balloon festival. Although certainly not on the grand scale of the ones held in the Adirondacks or out west, it was still lots of fun to see the different colors and varieties of balloons.

The spectators got to walk all around them and some were even asked if they wanted to help. Dave and nephew Matthew assisted in holding down this one basket while the owners secured the tether lines.

Another owner asked if the kids watching, wanted to help hold the mouth of the balloon open while the large gas powered fan blew it up.
Once the balloon is almost totally inflated, that is when they finish with the burners. This 10 passenger basket had 4 burners and the heat produced was sizzling hot!
During the sunset show, the balloons actually didn't go flying, but were all tethered. Some of the stunt planes did an impressive fly-by in formation.
As it got dark, it was quite a glow show with the burners lighting them up.

Tomorrow we get to do our own flying, in a jet (or two or three) back to Glenville. We are anxious to see how everything made out during the long snowy winter up north. It's time to go back to our 'other' life, and we love the diversity between our summer and winter seasons!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's A Wrap

The haul out of New Horizon is quite an event for us, the storage yard crew, and the boat itself. Our trawler is the heaviest boat that they haul, launch and store at Abaco Yacht Services. We are so glad that we leave the boat there, and have total confidence in all they do. Every person associated with this storage yard is friendly, professional, and really knows what he or she is doing. When it is time to haul or launch, it is such a relief to just walk away from the boat and have them take over the whole process.

Before New Horizon is readied for 'life on the hard', our skiff is taken out of the water with the forklift and stored nearby. As you can see from how small the 'Safari' looks on the rails, they have the capabilities to move some pretty large boats with this forklift.

Then it is time for the main event, which takes about two hours to complete. First they move the boat from the dock to the center of the travel lift well. This proved to be a handful with the wind blowing our 40,000 pound boat back against the dock. An extra sling is put on the travel lift to accommodate our heavy weight.

Then the travel lift slowly raises the boat up and on to dry land.
It looks huge out of the water, especially so for the unfortunate employees who have to pressure wash the growth from the bottom of the boat.

Dave inspects the trim tabs, zincs, propellers, and drive shafts for corrosion, which all appear to be fine.
Once clean, it is time to move this behemoth to its summer resting spot, and is supported with wood blocks and metal stands.

Then the stands are chained together so they can't move or slide (especially important if there is a hurricane).
Finally the travel lift straps are removed, and New Horizon settles into place until November, when the process will be reversed!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Look Who's Flying Now

Can't find us on the GTC Webcam? That's because we are already back in Daytona!

More on New Horizon's haul out and storage process later, but our flight back was fantastic on this 6 passenger Cessna 414 plane.
Dave was asked if he wanted to sit in the co-pilot's seat and naturally he couldn't refuse.

They even had snacks and water available for the hour and a half trip on this former medivac airplane. Hungry Dave?

Green Turtle Cay:

Marsh Harbour:

Now we are trying to get our bearings back on land again, catching up on almost 6 months worth of mail, and getting used to driving faster than 8 miles per hour. We don't have much luggage for being away for so long.

It's good to be back!