No time to procrastinate

My to do list is getting shorter. We leave in a week to become caretakers at Bass Harbor Head lighthouse. If you are one of the 100,000! people who visit annually, please say hi.

The National Park Service acquired it from the US Coast Guard in 2020 and we will be its first NPS caretakers! Mount Desert Island is technically an island but we can drive there.

Time to clean the fridge. Meals become interesting as we eat through its contents.

Time to finish projects I can’t take with me. Actually, I will take my latest with me in its finished form. Back in March, I started weaving a queen size blanket made of alpaca silk yarn. I planned and calculated but still ran short of yarn 2/3 through and could not find more. I found some similar though, waited for it to be delivered, and made do.

Hot off the loom

I wove about 10 yards of fabric, cut it into three panels and, poof, we have a blanket to take to Maine.

Tim is in full form so I no longer am responsible for EVERYTHING!! Of course, he is already doing too much.

Sparky is sporting a new windshield but won’t be making this trip with us. He is strictly a lake boat. I found a great guy in the north country with a can do attitude and he did it!

We plan to bike the 45+ miles of carriage road in the park and I converted Tim’s bike to fit me, while he had a new recumbent bike delivered to Maine.

My car may look like the Beverly Hillbillies because I also fixed my roof rack just in case.

Off we go.

The chaps swagger

I strapped on our chainsaw chaps, which were still set for my waist, donned the helmet and got to work. I immediately felt like a tough guy. Tim gave me lots of tips and we made quick work of a large fallen branch on the lawn, and got three!! pieces of firewood.

I hope the tree survives. I believe it is a copper beech and it is a beauty. It holds its leaves until January and then they fall after they have turned a beautiful, golden copper color.

We used to hang the bird feeders on it but recently moved them closer to the house. It’s better than Netflix. Yesterday, a chipmunk stuffed its cheeks and only stopped when it couldn’t poke its head back into the feeder because it was too big. We’ve had cardinals, too many blue jays, goldfinch, who are almost fluorescent now, chickadees, nuthatches and tufted titmouse.

The blue birds picked the perfect box to build their nest. We won’t be here to follow their activity though and the hummingbirds and bees will be on their own. Who knows what mischief they will get into.

Hint of Spring

We were tempted into believing it was really Spring. The bees are out and about, the birds are returning, two bluebirds chose a house on the lawn.

I drove to Middlebury, Vermont to meet a friend from New Hampshire. Trees have buds but no blooms yet.

Many are shaped by the southerly winds.

And then, just like that, we got another 10 inches of snow and lots of fallen branches. Tonight, Tim coached me as I rebuilt the fire pit. Tomorrow, I’ll be wielding the chain saw. Vroom, vroom.

On Edge in NY

Tim and I took a 24 hour trip to Manhattan, so I could visit my best friends from medical school, who were in town, and Tim could visit and dine with his son at the Oyster bar.under Grand Central Station.

Not as crazy as it sounds since we took Amtrak from Albany. On our way down we received the news report that there had been a mass shooting in a subway station. Probably the safest day to ride the subways. And we did. We explored the new Moynihan Train Hall, which is a vast improvement over the old Penn Station I used to know.

Moynihan Train Station from on high

You can see the three atrium domed roofs set within the open courtyard of the old Post Office. The round building at the top is Madison Square Garden.

Tim and I parted ways and I headed to the Edge with Liz.

https://www.edgenyc.com/en

Reportedly the tallest observation deck on the continent, it offered fabulous 360 degree views of Manhattan, its waterways and bridges, and the outlying areas.

I took the obligatory photo on plexiglass, very strong I hope, 100 stories high. The elevator ride was deceivingly pleasant because a slow motion video of the city played on the walls while my ears popped.

New to look old?

While I visited my doctor in the Flatiron District, my cell phone screamed an alert. Every smart phone in NYC received a notice they were hunting the man from the shooting the day before.

Apparently it worked. He called the police with a tip and they found him !

Dichotomies

I wrote a paper today for my french class about Stromae, a Belgian singer-songwriter, audiovisual creator and fashion designer. Here it is for you francophones.

I discussed the dichotomies of his songs: harrowing themes with music that makes one dance.

That is what today is like. Flowers in bloom inside and perhaps the last snow squalls of the season in the mountains.

Cascade lakes

WE drove to the pool in Lake Placid today and Tim exercised in it. He finally believes he is going to be OK. Last month, one doctor scared the bejeesus out of him and painted a future filled with chronic pain.

He slid down that hole. Now this month she reports he will be fine (as did his first spinal surgeon two months ago). He’s on cloud 9 and able to deal with pain because he no longer fears it will dominate him. He thinks he needed that message. I disagree.

But now we are positive! This Christmas/Easter cactus went from good to astounding within a few days.

So hopeful. It opened itself up to the world. I considered putting it outside near my beehive!

Out and about

We may have had the last snow of the season and I didn’t even have to shovel, while Tim continues to recover.

Our last or penultimate dusting

I’m finally getting more comfortable putting myself out there. I took a wonderful trip to DC to visit my daughter, my first domestic flight. I wore a real N95 the whole time and declined food so I could keep my mask on.

The Capitol from Homewood suites

I stayed in a hotel she built! That was fun.

Rode the metro.

And ate mostly outdoors in restaurants, and perhaps imbibed bit too much.

I bought this new wide angle and macro lens for my iPhone. I am hoping to get some good shots of the Milky Way during our next caretaking stint in Acadia National Park (with the wide angle, not the macro).

African violet leaf

We heard Itzhak Perlman play at the Flynn Theater stayed in a hotel in Burlington overlooking Lake Champlain and home.

And then we returned home.

Always the best place to be, or as the good witch told Dorothy “There’s no place like home”.

Bird brains

Very useful for winged creatures, not so much for government leaders

Here are my local critters putting them to good use.

One bird often sits at the feeder and shovels out seeds for its buddies.

This image occurred when my own bird brain pressed the wrong button on my camera. It looks like an interesting textile but was really…

So plenty of mammals have bird brains too. Here’s a local deer taking a selfie in my Wildlife camera. I have to get a third camera. I hid the first in the woods, never to be found by me again, and this second version needed the animals this close to get a picture.

Wildcamera

Feeling chuffed

Tim upped his game to get out of work. He heard there was a storm coming so went cross country skiing, had a freak accident and broke 3 vertebrae, fractured his skull and paralyzed one vocal cord. End result, he can’t snow blow or shout. Lucky me. In all seriousness, I am happy and lucky he is alive and up and about.

But enough of that. Another storm came through. As the snow lightened, I fired up the snow blower. I cleared the driveway, the mountain the snow plow created at the end of the driveway, and the path to the cabin. When I was as far as I could be from home, the drive train stopped working. At least I was finished but I fretted. I went to bed watching videos of snow blower repairs. I had to rebuild the drive train a few years ago after someone who won’t be mentioned replaced a shear pin with a bolt. But I forgot everything I had learned for that repair.

So after lunch, when the temperature rose to the low 20’s, I headed back to the cabin with tools and shear pins in a bag. It’s not easy doing small engine repair in the cold and I have the gloves to prove it.

Anyhow, when I finally got the cover off all looked well and I couldn’t find a shear pin. Then I started doubting my repair. Nothing in the Snapper manual described a shear pin as a cause for no power, they only mentioned belts, cables and discs. But then, while spinning the axle, I saw it, an empty hole on the shaft just begging for a shear pin. The repair was easier than putting the plate back over the gears with gloves and the wrong tools but I started her up and drove off into the sunshine.

When I got home, all Tim could say was that I looked a mess and had grease on my face. Reminds me of my granddaughter’s favorite book, The Paper Bag Princess. Needless to say, I did not call him a bum.

The birds are fed, the wood box is full and I finally could get back to knitting. I made two pairs of socks and a sweet earflap hat. Topped it off with a delicious one pot stroganoff in my instant pot. All is well.

Fun in the sun

Not to be daunted by frigid temperatures, people in northern climates make the best of the long, cold winter. Yesterday was the last day of Winter Carnival in Saranac Lake which had its grand finale with the annual parade. As always, my favorite group was The Lawn Chair Ladies and you can see why.

2022 Lawn Chair Ladies

Their average age is creeping up, along with me, and they have ditched the webbed aluminum chairs for the newer, lighter variety. Always a hoot. I wrote about it in 2014 here.

Gym bear

This guy greets us at the pool where we swim a few times a week. With a little more snow, he may hibernate.

Wondering just how strong the roof is

But the big news in the rural Adirondacks is we finally have decent internet, no thanks to the NY Broadband initiative, which can’t even seem to map out who does and does not have internet, despite our multiple letters and emails.

I named our new Starlink network, “ThanksElon”. It really is a game changer. Now the question is, how will we spend all that time we gain instead of having to wait for web pages or movies to buffer and load.

Hopefully we won’t waste it by simply surfing more. I have to improve my installation because options were limited when there was two feet of snow on the ground and roofs. Even so, it’s still at least triple the speed of our old setup.