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.

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!

It’s never the right time

Tim and I have been caretakers in every season and weather around the world. It’s a fabulous life. I have a chance to reflect on this today while I warm up and drink my tea. I just finished snowblowing the homestead after we received an additional 14” of snow. And I may have to do it again.

Tim had a minor procedure and was told, “no heavy lifting”.

Last year, while we were at Schoodic Institute, where our one major task was to hand shovel 20 doorways, he broke his wrist, again. And we got lots of snow….I shoveled.

Two years prior, he broke his wrist in winter…I snowblowed. He had also selected the elm trees he wanted cut down for a future project. After a quick chainsaw refresher lesson, we snowshoed into the woods.,,I chainsawed. We brought them home on a sled, where they dried until he was healed and could build our bed.

It’s becoming a blur to me. Something happened just before we ordered three cords of wood…I stacked. And something else before a hill of sand blocked the road on Deal Island…I shoveled. Maybe his timing is just right! We make the perfect team.

Dendrophobia

The fear of falling trees. I have it. I always worry about hiking when it’s windy. Hikers are killed by falling trees. Tim thinks I am ridiculous. The other day, while we were driving as a gale blew, I asked him to look up the word for the phobia. I thought it might be arborophobia, but dendrophobia is the word. We continued our drive, swam at the YMCA and headed home.

The last part of our drive is six miles along a spruce lined coastal road. While Tim was gazing off somewhere, I watched as a medium size spruce fell on the road…right in front of us!!! Moments sooner it could have been us. And that same day, a woman in another part of Maine was impaled, in her car, when a branch somehow came crashing through the dashboard. Be advised.

The past week included a trip to finally see my family, now that I am vaccinated, home to work and back to Maine. I have grown accustomed to long car trips.

Schoodic Peninsula morning

I left early on a beautiful day.

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

I spent a few exhausting days with grandchildren then headed home to work, which was not as exhausting but not as much fun. I got home to this.

Once again I shoveled a narrow path to the house.

Clouds on my way to work

I took a brief look around, since I didn’t have much time to do anything. The beehive is still surrounded by snow as is my she shed bee shed that I built last summer.

I tucked it all in and headed back to Maine for the final leg of our winter care taking stint. I’ll stay in open fields when the wind blows.  “Well, Jane, it just goes to show you, it’s always something — if it’s not one thingit’s another.” Roseannadanna (Gilda Radner)

How can this bee?

It’s cold in the northern Adirondacks, -15 degrees F this morning with about a foot of dry snow on the ground. My bee hive was prepped for this before I abandoned it and went to Maine for most of the winter.

The tilted cover shielding the entrance prevented the snow from blocking it off. Miraculously, I listened with my stethoscope and they are buzzing and humming inside there. How can it be? They are maintaining a temperature of 90 degrees in a small cluster. What a wonder!

Speaking of stethoscopes, I received my second Moderna vaccine and I know I mounted an immune response. I slept for 16 hours the following day. Well worth it. The one time, other than childbirth, I was happy to feel crook.

Happy cows?

I wonder which one produced this albino calf? I thought it was a sheep at first glance.

Our own island

450A7A28-502C-491D-BC2F-E6F7F7CB9458That’s what it feels like at home. We are well stocked with the usual provisions- flour, butter, eggs, milk, coffee, but no chocolate. By default we gave it up. We’re only missing the ocean.

We are complying with New York’s PAUSE order. I work a bit at home. I get outside for an hour and a half a day and walk/run, listen to books, nature, practice french. I go offline a few hours every day.  My kids brag about grubhub and food (and wine) delivery in urban areas. Not here. We’re on our own.

I’ve been creative in the kitchen: irish soda bread 82B95CD2-34E0-427F-BB8F-4818DACC61B5and corned beef, rustic white bread, donuts, pecan pie. They will have to roll me out of here.

We’ve been retreating to the cabin, which brings solace.

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I’m ticking off my list of house projects, knitting, spinning, and quilting.

This little guy makes me laugh.

We wait. Thinking of those who have been touched by this and wishing them well. The mountains will remain.

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There’s a chill in the air

Woke up to a temperature of -16 F outside and 56f in. Brrr. Cold enough to form ice on the inside of the windows. (This happens quite a bit, not sure if it’s the window or heat’s fault).

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It framed spring flowers’ reflection nicely. I bought a bouquet for myself and the geraniums and violets are also in bloom. It is a nice contrast to the white and gray outside, which is pretty in its own right.

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I hope you caught the almost full moon on Saturday. It was gorgeous.

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My fingers are crossed that the snowblower parts arrive before the next snow.

 

Goodbye Tappan Zee

The old bridge was demolished last week in a controlled explosion with very little fanfare. My daughter sent this Reddit link from an engineering site she follows.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, winter moves on. I managed to adjust the chain saw helmet so it fit like a glove. The chaps were warm as anything and now all of our wood has been cut. Tim even helped move wood with the last batch. More importantly, he had surgery to correct his wrist and it was a smashing (he he) success. All systems go for our February departure.

I’ve sailed through my projects: Birthday quilt and pillowcase, done; New baby gifts, done; 5/7 boat cushions recovered; Leg warmers, done. Several of these left the house so quickly, I never got a photo. Even squeezed in a deer hat.

Yesterday, I put work and projects aside and walked with the ladies’ hiking group. This is an intrepid group of women who hike year round in the Adirondacks. Yesterday’s group was large, probably due to the several weeks we’ve had cooped up indoors because of icy and frigid conditions.

Champlain Area Trails’ new Vail trail

One loop had several cattle skulls as fence posts. I tried to take a photo through the eye socket but my phone did not like the cold.



Now we brace ourselves for the next winter storm this weekend. It’s been called a major snowstorm with “plowable” amounts greater than six inches. Greater than 6 inches? 7? 50? Time will tell. Better fire up the snowblower.

Who knew I was such a slacker

My house chores have increased significantly now that Tim is one handed, and lefty at that. I realize that he does the lion’s share of housecleaning. I was able to ignore many things, knowing full well he would take care of it. Now it’s up to me, temporarily.

So I dusted and washed a few floors (on my hands and knees, the only way). I think if I had more free time, I might actually like cleaning. But when I pulled out the ammonia from under the sink the bottom of the bottle was wet. I found a drippy sink hose and tried to tighten things up to fix it. It didn’t. So now I will try to replace the whole faucet when it arrives.

Next up, the wood stove. We were a little short of wood at the beginning of the fall and had to buy some seasoned hardwood, cut too long for our wood stove. Tim gave me a brief refresher course in safe chain saw use and I cut and split a wheelbarrow full of wood to start.

Any task with scissors or a screw top lid requires my second hand. He writes pretty well with his left hand and thank goodness for dictation on the iPad.

Sunrise White Pine Camp

I had a reprieve from chores for Christmas. We went to a cabin on a lake in the woods, with heat, a kitchen and bathroom. All with plumbing that worked and didn’t leak. It was beautiful and relaxing. We took walks and played games. I knit mittens and sewed in threads on a quilt.

Tea house in snow
A little Christmas tree

Now it’s time to get back to work.

Who doesn’t like to play in the snow

I found myself in a staycation with 2 feet of snow at home and more than 4 feet of powder in the mountains.  And I had a free pass to Whiteface!  So off I went to ski.  The day was perfect, 27 degrees, sunny, light breeze.  There may have been a few too many yahoos for my liking, due to a Canadian school holiday, but I found plenty of places to be on my own on the mountain.  Basically I am a princess and conditions have to be just right.  This was my first day downhill skiing of the season!  Before it was too cold, too crowded, too windy, too icy.

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I had progressed far enough on the baby blanket I am weaving to take a break.

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The cardinals look like they have been having fun at our feeders and in the snow.  The male’s vibrant red against the fresh snow is stunning. Red squirrels tunnel and burrow under the snow and jump from tree to tree.

Today I am too sore to play in the snow, the blanket is more than half way done and we are off to the opera! sort of.  We’re actually going to see a live simulcast of La Traviata. It’s the best we can do here in the mountains.