Chitter, Cheep, Cheep! Wednesday, Jul 8 2015 

After several years of near absence, the chimney swifts are back. At least four adults and likely a nest of young in the old southern chimney. Very nice to see them again! Also barn swallows next door (I hope the neighbors tolerate them for once, pity I can’t explain to the birds that we would be happy to share some space with them, but they do like the big dairy barn better). And two pairs of phoebes.

Almost makes up for the over territorial catbirds that seem to have taken over the gardens. Only the hummingbirds seem to be able to deal with them, seeing as they were happily checking the bergamot. The hummingbirds not the catbirds like the bergamot; the catbirds like the currants, the blueberries, the strawberries, the peaches, the apples, the….

Ode to basements Monday, Jul 6 2015 

I like our basement. Most people don’t, in fact I think the majority are scared of it: the long darkness wherein lurks Something.*

It is usually in summer that I am reminded of my fondness for the basement. I really do find anything over 70 to be too Hot and as for sun…  The basement is always blessedly dark and cool. Even more so than the house, which is designed to be dark and cool. And there are those deep dark corners. But then, I like cities at 3 am too.

It has its oddments: the working guts of a big modern structure from pipes to wires. The five fuse boxes, genuine fuses mind, and the master switches. The remnants of the phone put in by the good Dr. Bell himself, the old furnace, the new furnace, the tires for some early Model T. The exterior window that leads nowhere…and hasn’t since 1874. The door that can’t be closed….because of the pipe for the plumbing put in 1913.** The water in the spring, that however is channelled neatly back out again (those old builders knew their job). The double foundations and crawl spaces. Clutter, lots, more than it should have, I am sure.

*The worst I have ever encountered is a snake and memorably a salamander. The cats keep the rodents down.

**Has anyone else noticed that that door is not in fact the old exterior door? It appears to have been attached to the southern addition when it was put in place. Why? And why with a window?

A walk around Saturday, May 9 2015 

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It would seem likely that I am making apple sauce this fall (the solid mass of white is a Wolf River apple!)

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A good year for apples, this is one of the crab-apples

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Looking back up at the Wolf River. Spring was in a bit of a hurry this year, usually the big Spirea hasn’t leafed out while the King Alfred Daffodils are still going, a bit of a clash of yellows there…

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That crab-apple again and a window.

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East lawn: Redbuds, Saucer Magnolia, Daffodils, and tulips

 

21 Years Ago Today Thursday, Apr 16 2015 

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April 16th, 1994: Ten years old.

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April 16th, 2015: 21 years old.

I’m a Chevy girl!

Puttering Tuesday, Mar 31 2015 

It snowed a bit more today, what is there to say?

Actually, I spent a good bit of time cleaning some bookshelves inside, badly needed! I always enjoy the old books. So many of them have such elegant bindings, true pieces of decorative art. I know the Kindle or whatnot makes a great deal of sense; but….you can’t help but realize the value of the written word when it is presented in embossed, painted, gilt leather with an incredibly ornate design. This was Work and valued.

Do we take literacy for granted?

Still life Monday, Mar 23 2015 

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With humor:

http://petapixel.com/2015/03/22/the-real-meanings-of-common-photographic-words-and-expressions/

Pong… Thursday, Mar 19 2015 

Old country houses….with porches….and crawl spaces….and skunks…..

Usually, spring is heralded by our hibernating skunks waking up and perambulating, in need of a bath perhaps. Eau de skunk actually isn’t that bad (subject to personal opinion!).

However. Eau de decomposing skunk? We think that it must be under the porch and has finally…Thawed. We can’t get under the porch. We did check the crawl space under the house though. Always fun. the only scent there was good clean earth, no spiders, no skeletons, no anything creepy or smelly. (no water either)

So on the negative side: Eau de decomposing skunk for an undetermined time.

The plus side is that my explorations in the crawl space uncovered a bit of wiring that needed repair. Nice to catch that.

March Sunday, Mar 1 2015 

and snow…

But I was also thinking the other day about music in this house. There is a remarkable variety: from shape-note hymnals, to Congregational, to Lutheran, to Anglican. Then there is the classical piano pieces appropriate for a young lady in the late 1800’s: a heavy emphasis on Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann. Then there is a whole Raft of other classical pieces from Chopin to Sibelieus, Rachmaninoff to Shostakovitch. Then the organ music, and the clarinet, and… Then the folk music: from the New England folk music revival of the 1960’s to the early Fireside Book of Songs which first really re-popularized so many pieces, then there is an odd collection of pop music from the first pop era….then there is….

And that, I should hasten to add is the Just the Sheet music!

I will learn to play the piano 🙂

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Tick-Tock Wednesday, Feb 25 2015 

I was contemplating a recently repaired clock today, quietly purring away, and thinking how artificial digital clocks are. If one considers them in culture, they tend to represent implacable countdowns of some mechanical/technological catastrophe. Always in either glaring red or green. They simply don’t lend themselves to ornamentation, names, or anything else.

But mechanical clocks have hands and faces, they are grandfathers or slaves, they strike and speak, they are cats, cuckoos, and skeletons. They run for a day, a week, a year.

Can you imagine Cinderella’s midnight hour being indicated by a digital clock? Or Hoffman’s owl atop one in Tales of the Nutcracker? Dali’s clocks as digital?

Maybe in a thousand years….or maybe not. The steady beat of a mechanical clock, tick-tock, has far more connection to the beat of the human heart than a silent set of numbers.

Winter Ice Tuesday, Feb 10 2015 

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The bare spot on the roof is actually caused by the wind, not a heat leak. Some of those icicles now touch the drift on the top porch, which is about three feet deep.

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Note the almost entirely buried dormer windows on either side of the chimney. And for those that know the house, the drift on the lawn, which should be flat and at the level of the base of the yew.

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