Thursday, August 30, 2007

Peterborough - Cool!

Peterborough was recently named as one of the ten "coolest" towns in the nation by Budget Travel Magazine. Click here to read the story.

Of course we could all agree that Peterborough qualifies. But, another fun discovery I made as I read the article was that Parkville, MO--home of Park College--was another one of the ten coolest towns. Click here to read THAT story.

Naturally, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has been all over the story including our connection to Parkville. Check out this paragraph in the latest edition of the Chamber News:

"Another thing we have learned has to do with another town on the list--Parkville, Missouri--which just happens to be where well-known local educator and civic leader Chet Bowles and his wife Sue went to college. So this would make them doubly cool. Or super cool. Or something. But then again, we already knew that. Cool!"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Our New Home


Brian, Lauren and Max will be moving to The Bronx. 555 Kappock St. #8S to be exact. It is a sunny, spacious 2 bedroom, 2 bath on the 8th floor. This is our view! We face East. That is the Harlem River, so The Bronx is on the left and Manhattan is on the right. The baseball diamond in the middle is for one of the high schools, and across the river is Columbia's Bakers Field sports complex. We will be able to watch them row crew on the river. More to come.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Canadians DO love Tim Horton's

I think Great Uncle Dave deserves an apology, Canadians really love Tim Horton's. I have been in Montreal for the past week and see on nearly every street corner a Tim Horton's, and hear RAVE reviews all the locals about the quality of their coffee. I haven't ventured there to grab one, but I probably should before I leave.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Deer, Damn! (Part 2)

Our new "Intelligent Animal Control Device" (advertising slogan for the company) arrived today. It's called the ScareCrow.

There's an infrared sensor that detects the temperature difference between an animal and the background. When it senses an animal, it turns on a sprinkler (the ka-chunk, ka-chunk kind) for about 3 seconds.

Since I probably qualify as a large animal, I sacrificed my dry clothes for a field test of the installation. Seemed to work just fine. We'll let you know the fate of Sue's remaining hosta.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

White Lady's Slipper

In addition to mushrooms, I found that we had a nice clump of White Lady's Slippers growing near the driveway at the cabin.

We have lots of the pink variety, both at the cabin and in Sharon--they are classed as a "threatened species," so we are quite happy to be able to enjoy so many of them. I know that they grow in other colors, however I had never seen a white one. I did some limited research on the Internet and, while the white variety seems to be fairly common in the upper Midwest (MN, SD, etc.), they weren't even listed as growing in Maine!

Year of the Mushroom

For whatever reason, we seemed to have a bumper crop of mushrooms at the cabin (both quantity and variety). Here's a sampling:

Friday, August 17, 2007

uncle dave's birth-dough cake

I was thinking of you on Wednesday, Uncle Dave! I sang "Happy Birthday" and blew out the candles for you!

Love, Max

Latest Pomponi-Buttner Happenings

Hi, Bowlesians! Thanks to Chet for inviting me to your new family blog! I've enjoyed catching up on the latest news. Sounds like everyone has been having an exciting summer!

My latest adventure was bringing the Audubon animals to Noah and Caleb's preschool for a classroom visit. Karl came too, and it was great to share my job with them. You can see pictures and stories from the day on my work blog (under August 8th):

Take care,

Apartment Update

So things are going well, but slow. Despite my hard work to get everything in at the begining of the month the Co-op board is just now getting all of the final things together before they start to review it. I got a lovely call from Gloria who is the Co-op's attorney. she wanted to know if I had a more recent bank statement, that might show I have more funds in my accounts. She also informed me that there is a clause in the contract that says the seller is allowed to stay in the apartment for 7 after the closing takes place. this is fairly standard according to my attorney for co-ops. however the co-op board does not allow this practice and needs it removed from the contract. So this change is the current hold up in the process. Hopefully the sellers attorney will get that done and we can be on our way. the current "on or about" date is August 31st, so hopefully it will still be close to that.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Birthday update

First off thanks for the lovely phone calls and sorry I missed them. I was out to dinner with Amanda, Casey and Kathleen, and didn't notice the calls come in.

It was a rough start to the day, had to get up early get stuck in traffic and fly home. to add to it, the valet at the hotel the night before stole my ipod from the center console of the my rental car. so I had to make the trip music-less. But the day shaped up nicely when I finally got back to NYC. Dinner was excellent, we went to Cucina De Pesce (mom that is the restaurant that Rick took us too).

In other news I hear from the co-op board, they were missing one piece of paperwork, but got that faxed over. Hopefully the process wont take that long.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

deer, damn!

This is what I came home to today. The deer finally found my hosta. Damn!

I went many years before they found them. Not just the usual variety, but the blue and the different variegated kind along the sidewalk. The ones around the flag pole haven't been touched since Chet peed on them. We'll see how long that lasts. In the meantime, we are going to try a sprinkler setup that will go off when it senses a creature. We'll see how it works.


oa·kum (ō'kəm), noun. Loose hemp or jute fiber obtained by unraveling old ropes; sometimes treated with tar, creosote, or asphalt, used chiefly for caulking seams in wooden ships and packing pipe joints.

Good definition, but it leaves out one very important use for oakum: Filling and packing the spaces (chinks) between the logs of log homes. Hence this post.

We're not sure exactly when our cabin was built. A person we know in Rangeley (a fellow golfer, BTW) is writing a book on the many old camps and cabins in the area. His research of the various titles and legal descriptions of our property puts the age at somewhere between 90 and 100 years. That matches with construction techniques evident in our place as well as local "lore" about when the cabin appeared on the property. Suffice to say, it's old.

And, more important to this discussion, the joints and chinks are filled with oakum. But, because of the settling and drying out of the logs, some of the gaps have gotten larger over time. And, quite frankly, whoever put the oakum in originally, did a lackluster job (or, to give them the benefit of doubt, they had a limited supply and only did what they thought was "important").

Over the years, we've talked a lot about how to make the cabin more airtight, with better insulation. And I've looked at all kinds of modern foams and insulation materials that I might use for the job. In the end, though, I decided that, because the cabin is such a one-of-a-kind place (with some obvious historic value), any changes I make should be done using original techniques and materials. And that led me to oakum.

First, I had to find a source. Turns out there's a great place (in Oregon, I believe) called the Log Home Store--all kinds of products and "stuff" for building, repairing and maintaining log homes. They had oakum. While waiting for my stuff to arrive, I found out that one of our Rangeley neighbors (Don Corkran from Windswept) had a small box and was happy to let me use it to get started.

I decided to start on the "windward" side of the cabin--it's clearly the most in need of repair and the source of most of our wind and cold air infiltration.

I tried to save the old quarter-round that had been put in between the logs, but it was just too dry and brittle--it broke apart in my hands. Then, once I got the quarter-round off, I realized that no oakum had been installed on the outside of the cabin--just the inside. No wonder it was cold inside!

This is what oakum looks like. It comes packaged in five pound boxes of "ropes." Each rope is about 2' long and can be pulled apart to make it easier to install. The fiber is impregnated with a mineral oil called Bentonite (apparently, a naturally occurring mineral oil). It's not bad to work with, but I used disposable gloves just to keep my hands from getting slippery, etc.

Installing it is pretty easy--just pull the stuff apart, place it where it needs to go, and pound it into the gaps (I found a wide, heavy metal spatula worked best with the second-best option being a piece of a cedar shingle).

And, here's the finished result. In addition to adding the oakum to the gaps between the logs, I also added more to the spaces around the window frame and at the corners of the cabin where the logs overlap each other. Note the new quarter-round. It's stained a "Driftwood" color--it should weather in a couple of years to look more like the original logs.

I've done only about 20% of the windward side of the cabin and a small portion of the front porch. But, even with that relatively small amount of work, the cabin is noticeably more "tight." Clearly, this is going to be a multi-year project. But it's a project that should help make the cabin much more comfortable for longer periods in the spring and fall.

I'd be happy to give you a guided tour of the project the next time you visit,

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

33 Ties

About 10 years ago, Sue gave me an old rocking chair as a gift for either my birthday, Father's Day or our anniversary (neither of us can remember the exact event).

The chair needed to be refinished and had no back and no seat. But, Sue saw potential. She thought it would be a great--and comfortable--addition to our cabin. The chair sat in our basement until this spring.

In a totally unrelated activity, Sue had been saving my old ties for years. She had no idea what she was going to do with them--just knew she would find the appropriate use.

The cosmic connection between ties and the chair came when Sue was walking through an antique store in Peterborough and saw a chair with a seat made from old ties.

Because you know Sue, you'll have no trouble believing that, once she had the idea, there was no stopping her. First, she refinished the chair. Next, with absolutely no lessons or instructions, she used the old ties to weave the back for the chair. Then, she found a local person who does caning and rushing (the material used in this chair is rushing).

And the result is this absolutely stunning rocker--it's perfect in the cabin. I can attest, BTW, that it is quite comfortable for all sorts of cabin activities (including naps).

Thank you Sue!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fire Island here we come!

Hello all!

We are very excited for upcoming trip to Fire Island. Fire Island is a barrier island off of Long Island, New York - You can read more about it here:,_New_York

We are sharing a house with my cousin Will (his grandfather was my grandmother's uncle), his wife Bala and their one-and-a-half year old son, Victor. Fire Island is a very narrow island, with the Bay on one side and the ocean on the other. The house we are renting is 5 houses from the ocean. There are no cars on Fire Island, but there are deer. Rumor has it that the deer got on the island by walking across the frozen bay during a storm in the 1920's. There are some full-year residents, but the vast majority are summer vacationers.

In other news, we are awaiting word from our agent regarding the status of our co-op application. Assuming we are approved, we will be official Bronx residents! We are both excited about our new neighborhood, and sad about leaving our current neighborhood. (We are also excited that moving to Riverdale will cut an hour off of our drives to New Hampshire!)

That's just about all the news right now. YAY BOWLES BLOG!


chicago strong

well things are finally starting to wrap up here in chicago. I have enjoyed many of the Chicago food specialties, hotdogs and deep dish pizza. Both are very good I must say, although I will stick with the pizza at the barn as a favorite.

on the work news the episode is shaping up just fine. no major performer for this episode, but Jermaine Dupri will be around, so that adds a little extra. And we had to go about 20 minutes outside of town to shoot with T-Pain for another episode. The only thing really exciting about that was running into his body guard, who I had met on a previous episode.

looking forward to heading home, and hopefully getting the apartment situation figured out.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Brooklyn Strong!

Hello All,

I like this idea for sharing things and keeping in touch. So I had the pleasure of seeing the Beastie Boys perform at McCarren Pool last night! Their first show ever in Brooklyn. It was one for the books. McCarren Pool is a decommissioned city pool, the largest on the east coast with the capacity of 6800 swimmers before it was closed in 1984. Now it is an amazing sounding performance space. The show was great and they played some favorites. NO SLEEP TIL BROOKLYN!

Full Moon

Our first (trial) post to see how this works.

Sue and I had a great week at the cabin--we arrived Saturday, July 28 and left Monday, August 6. This picture of the full moon was taken from the front porch of the cabin at about 4:30 AM on Thursday, August 2.

Sue took her sewing machine and enough supplies to stock a small store. She had a great time working on the quilt she's making for Lisa and Ian.

I spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the annual conference for the CTE directors from NH. We meet in North Conway. It's a very compatible group of people, so we always have a good time (and also get lots of work done, of course).

Played golf with the "Old Man's Group" on Friday morning. A good round of 87, but we got drenched by rain that started on the 14th hole.

Fished a lot. I've started using a very old rod-reel that was in the cabin when we bought it. I even use a classic lure: a medium-sized Red Devil spoon. I've caught a fair number of fish almost every time out and, on Sunday morning, caught what was probably the biggest salmon ever (for me)--about 20". He (I assume sex in this case) was happy to be released to chase more lures.

Perhaps our best day was Thursday. I was out early on the lake. Early enough that there were no other boats, just me and a loon watching the sun rise. Spent the afternoon reading on the porch and occasionally moving enough to get something to eat/drink. Then, after dinner, we went out in our kayaks to putter along the shore. By sunset, the few boats on the lake had left so were by ourselves as we floated and watched the sun set behind Kennebago Mountain. Pretty nice, I think, to see both a sunrise and sunset from the water with nobody else around.

It's a very special place.