Sunday, November 25, 2012

Witches' Broom

I see these things fairly regularly in our woods--they are called Witches' Broom.  Often on oak or birch trees (we have lots of both), they occur when a mite or rust causes multiple branches to grow from a single spot.  Found this one as I was chipping up trees and decided it should be preserved for a while.

Lotta Chips from the Chipper, Chet!

Branches and debris are always coming down in the woods--it's a rather constant clean-up task.  However, we are still dealing with the aftermath of the ice storm a couple of years ago.  I dealt with the downed trees close to the house.  But there is a section of our woods that was decimated during the storm with a dozen or so big trees that came down.  An eyesore that probably didn't bother anybody else but me. 

Recently, during the  the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, a large white birch fell into that same mess of trees.  It was quite visible with its bright, white bark which made it an eyesore that everyone could see.  I had to deal with it.

I don't have any "before" pictures, but here is one that shows the various piles of chips produced as I moved from one spot to the other.  Another picture shows the much-improved view (in my eyes, anyway) looking from the house toward the road.

The chipper worked flawlessly--it handles branches up to 4.5 inches.  Anything bigger went into the pile of logs to be split and burned next year.

Finally, Sue (bless her heart) moved the chips to the pathway in front of the house.  Dual purposing at its best!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cablebox II?

Cablebox (the original) has been a lot of fun--a beautiful boat that generated lots of admiring looks.  But, after two years, we decided that we needed a boat that would be easier to take care of (as we age) and also one that would give us more flexibility to take longer trips around the lake.  Plus, even though it started every single time and ran like a champ, we were both tired of the smoke and noise from the decade old two-cycle engine.

I've always loved the style and grace of the dory design.  Same for Sue.  And, one boat in particular--the Amesbury Dory, by the Stur-dee Boat Company--has always been a favorite.  So, when I found this one on Craigslist, I contacted the owner for more details. It's a 2005, but didn't actually go in the water until 2010.  Has a 25 horsepower Tohatsu four-stroke engine that is in absolutely pristine condition.  Looked and sounded really good.

About three weeks ago we took a day-trip to Scituate, MA to check out the boat.  Enjoyed meeting the owners very much, then went on a "cruise" on the North and South Rivers and then into the Atlantic.  We were sold.

As part of the negotiations, the owner had the bottom of the boat power-washed and re-painted.  Also serviced the trailer.  And, today, we went down to pick up the boat.  Will probably do a test-run on one of the local lakes, but it will "live" in NH until spring when we take it to Maine.

Should the name be Cablebox II?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Time-lapse Sunset

Brian and Max recently got to spend a week at the cabin--it was great to have them there.  During his stay, Brian experimented with all sorts of photography techniques, including this time-lapse sequence of a sunset.  It was taken from the porch of the cabin using his iPhone with a time-lapse app.  Pretty neat!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Weekend - Mooselookmeguntic

An absolutely perfect Labor Day weekend at the cabin--blue skies, warm, and calm.  A full moon, to boot.  Here is a short clip, taken at sunset on Sunday, that shows the fantastic view we have from our point.

And here is our view of Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range.
 Finally, we always talk about the great sunsets we get to see from our front porch.  But sunrise can be just as beautiful.  This picture was taken on Sunday morning just as the sun was rising behind us and lighting up the far shore.  I love how the light hits the small bank of clouds between Mts. Aziscohos and Observatory.  Also pretty nice that the full moon is still visible!

Friday, August 10, 2012


We love watching the hummingbirds at our cabin and have had a number of close encounters over the years.  For example, David was able to get close enough to stroke the tail feathers of one bird and another landed on the sunburned bald spot on the top of Chet's head (no comment!).

A member of our extended family recently sent us a link to some pictures of a woman who was able to attract hummingbirds to sit on her hand as she held a feeder.  Seemed like a fun thing to do, so Sue decided to try it this morning.  Here is a photo and a quick video clip to show how well it worked out.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fireplace (Update)

And here is the finished fireplace and hearth.  The stones surrounding the opening all came from our jetty down by the lake, so they are local.  And the mantle is a 4" section of a big pine tree.  We think it looks great!

For comparison, this is what the fireplace USED to look like.  See why we are so happy with the change?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sue's Daylilies Are Especially Beautiful This Year


Smoker BBQ

The optometrist Sue worked for (until she retired, that is) was giving away this smoker BBQ.  Free, but since it weighs ~300 pounds, there was a challenge involved.

We have other BBQs, of course, and Sue gave me a smoker for Christmas a couple of years ago.  But I've always eyed these things to slow-cook ribs, brisket, etc.  Too good an opportunity to pass up.

A little cleaning, some high-temperature stove paint, and voila!  This is the maiden cooking experience: a pan of baked beans that will simmer all afternoon.  The brisket will wait until I have a full day to devote to the task.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cabin - Chimney and Fireplace

It's leaked since we bought the place.  And the former owners had done a terrible job of re-building the hearth and the stones around the fireplace inside.  It looked awful.  We've put up with it for 25 years, but this has always been a project we wanted to take on.  Now is the time.

To start, they installed a new flue pipe and re-worked the top of the chimney.  Also added a stone cap.  Looks much better and is much more in keeping with the ways things are built in Maine.  And, for the first time in 25 years, the inside floor of the fireplace is completely dry!

Inside, they started by tearing out the surface stones in the hearth.  In this picture most of the new stones have been mortared into place--just need to be grouted to finish it.  They have also begun building up the sides with stones from our property. 

It's a messy job with lots of dust.  But everything should be done when we go back on Sunday.  Hooray!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Zip Line - One More Picture

The last run of the day was a side-by-side race.  It was optional, but after everything else we had done on the trip....

For this run, the cables are bare steel, built for speed.  No plastic coating like the others so you don't use your gloved hand for braking.  Instead, braking is mechanical and very abrupt- you don't even slow down until you hit the braking system.

Once again, it was over all too quickly.  For the record, let's say that our race was a tie.  A great way to end the day!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Zipping Into Retirement

June 30, 2012:  Our first day of retirement!

To celebrate, we treated ourselves to a weekend at the Mt. Washington Resort (magnificent!).  We also did the zip line canopy tour--something Sue has talked about for quite some time.   Nine cables, three rappels, and two swinging bridges.  Literally zipping into retirement.  Great fun!

And here are some pictures of each of us on the longest cable--850' long and 150 feet high.  You can see the entire length of the cable from the starting platform.  The zip starts in the treetops, but you quickly race out of the trees and find yourself 150' above the valley floor.  The only problem is that you wish it could go on longer!

And here is what we found in our room when we got back to the hotel.  We have great sons and daughters-in-law!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I've been looking at cars to replace the Tracker.  It's fun and gets great mileage.  But at best, it's basic transportation. 

Wanted something that equaled the mileage, but a car that didn't leak when it rained, had A/C, and I wanted to be able to hear the radio when driving more than 40 MPH.  Looked at all the subcompacts:  Ford Fiesta; Honda Fit; Hyundai Accent; etc.  These cars are great.  Very small, but a surprising amount of room inside and quite comfortable.  Really excellent designs.

Did all the comparison shopping for new versus used,  buy versus lease, etc.  Pros and cons for all.  Then I found this Toyota Yaris on Craigslist.  2010, low mileage, automatic, power everything, alloy wheels, really good condition.  And, as you can plainly see, it's RED.  Did a test drive and bought it on the spot.  No haggles. 

I've had it now for about two weeks.  Very solid and surprisingly comfortable to drive.  Really happy with the purchase so far!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Crab Dinner

Sue is visiting long-time friend, Pat Reagan, who recently retired and moved from Missouri to Annapolis, MD.  Part of the visit featured the obligatory crab dinner.  Here's the proof:


Tuesday, March 6, 2012


When the calendar turns to March, I begin to think spring.  Golf can't be far away; same for spending time at the cabin.

Recently found this picture Sue took last fall during one of the final days of fishing for the year.  Cablebox looks really good on the water, doesn't she?

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Not to be outdone by brother Dave's kitchen remodeling project, we have done some remodeling as well. 

For those who have been in our house, you may recall the window in the dining room--a large center panel with two double-hung windows on the sides.  Big and drafty, it was also beginning to deteriorate.

As we considered options for replacing the window, the idea of installing a bay window came up.  The more we thought about it, the more we liked the idea--it would allow us to remove the shelf that we had under the old window, which would give us much more usable space in the dining room.   The new window was installed just before Christmas.  Not inexpensive, but it's triple-pane with a Low-E film that helps retain the heat.  Much, much more energy efficient!  We love it.

That also meant re-painting the wall around the new window, so we took the opportunity to paint all the walls and the ceiling in the dining room (not an easy task--the ceiling is very high!).  And, we had one of the walls done as a color accent--the same light green we used on the fireplace wall in the living room.  Really ties everything together.  We are very pleased with how the project turned out!