Wednesday, September 30, 2009

End of September

It's the last day of September and I can feel the changes in the air. It's darker every morning, and when it rises, the sun marches southward on the horizon. I think about starting a fire in the woodstove and contemplate the changes this winter will bring. Here's a shot looking north over the old barn foundation and comfrey showing the beginning of the fall fireworks here on the mountain.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Septic is Fun!

I love discovering things about this property, and Friday I'm going to discover where the septic system is ... hopefully. I'm expecting it to be somewhere in this green area.

Last fall, I called the county person who keeps records on these things, to see if they had drawings I could look at. Since they keep property records NOT by address, but by owner's name ... and I don't know all the previous owners' names, we reached an impasse rather quickly.

The sellers disclosure stated that she hadn't had the septic pumped for 10 years, so it's feeling like it's about time to have it pumped. Thankfully, the system hasn't been heavily used, as the previous owner was a single, female, Chemical Engineer too. (What are the odds of that? You'd think we have a secret ChemE property society or something!)

Fingers crossed, I'm hoping they come out, find the thing and pump it out with no issue. If you hear nothing more about this topic, that means it went well!

Monday, September 28, 2009

You Are Here

When I took possession of the property last October, I received a survey from the previous owner that was done in 1991. It starts from a corner of the house and goes 3xx.xx feet bearing North 33 degrees, 5 minutes, 50 seconds west and then walks a circuit around the property using angles and distances. I also got a legal description of the property that is similar.

Property records are public, so I could look up tax maps online to see how my parcel fits in with the other parcels nearby. (For instance, I found that a company in my town owns a bunch of acres on three sides of me. Hopefully that means no neighbors anytime soon - woo hoo!) These tax maps are in viewable CAD files.

One of the things I wanted to do was walk to each corner of my property and ... who knows. Look at it? However, putting the information from public sources and the survey together still did not give me any information I could put into a GPS. I spent a fair amount of time reading about different coordinate systems (since the corners of each tax map page provided a norther and an easter number, which looked totally foreign to me, and still would have required impossible CAD math). Eventually I gave up. Temporarily. Let's just say that I put the issue aside for several months.

When I started to think about it again a few weeks ago, I came up with a brilliant thought. Ask for help. I sent the county GIS person an email asking for the best way to find the corner coordinates of my property and today received an answer - that included the GPS coordinates of my property corners. Perfect!

I think there's some lesson in there somewhere about sharing, or asking for help, or playing well with others. But it's been a long Monday after a few days off last week, and I'm not as sharp as usual. I'm sure I'll have to learn this lesson a few times before I get it right, as many of us do.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Homestead-y Food Weekend

It's been a wonderful homestead-y food weekend! Saturday's lunch was anchored by pastrami home-smoked and brought by the guest. Then dinner featured steak cooked outside on an apple-wood fire and capped by homemade apple pie. Pie definitely goes faster when two people eat it!The guest has moved on for now, and there's a steady rain outside, forecast to last most of the day. To continue the foodifying, I think I'll try making apple fritters. I suspect that no matter how badly they turn out, they'll still be fairly good. And the warmth should go a long way towards warming up the homestead. It's beginning to look like a fire-in-the-woodstove sort of day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Apple Pie and Chevrolet

The guest and I made apple pie last night with apples harvested from the Macintosh apple tree (the yummy one), and ate fresh homemade apple pie a la mode. Yum!

The truck finally came back from the repair shop, more than two months from the evening it started itself in the yard late at night. The time spent at the 'truck spa' was well worth it though. Welcome home Truck!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Out Comes the Down

Somewhere in my travels last week I managed to pick up a cold. So I'm feeling yukky and just all-around low. It's a terrible time to be sick. I have a guest coming to visit, a weekend I've been very much looking forward to.

The weather mavens say that it will be cold tomorrow night, possibly in the upper 20s in the high country. In honor of the visitor and the cold, I've pulled out the down comforter and cover, joined the two and let the whole thing air out this afternoon on the hammock. It looked so comfortable that I had to nap-test it to make sure it's still soft and downy. It is. It may be cold outside, but inside it will be toasty!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The First Business Trip

I'm just returning from a business trip to a plant near Toronto, Canada. Six of us piled into two rental cars, drove 7 hours north and west, ate dinner, slept, ate breakfast, spent 5 hours in the plant, then drove 7 hours back east and south. Yes, we drove for 14 hours just to spend 5 hours at a plant in Canada.

I remember a time when I used to love travelling for business or pleasure. Back then I was footloose, so taking a trip meant throwing some clothes and my travel toiletries into a bag and off I went. Now, it's finding accomodations for the dogs, and missing home and the cats and everything else (like fresh air)!

My company makes these caulkers, among other things. If you go to Home Depot and see a caulker with the GE logo, we made them. If you look at the small print on the back, you'll see that we're not GE anymore, we've licensed the name for several years. We make other silicone products too, like glues to hold windows on buildings, wetting agents for agricultural products, flowability agents for beauty products, etc, etc, etc.

But this isn't a blog about work. It's a blog about homesteading. Two trips to different big cities in one week is a bit much for me these days. I'm really looking forward to spending some quality time at home, and especially looking forward to spending this weekend on the mountain. It's good to be home!

Monday, September 21, 2009

To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street

Every time I come to Mulberry Street in New York City's Little Italy, I can't resist saying, "And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street!" So... I did it again Saturday.

The activities committee of my work organized a day trip into the city for the Feast of San Gennaro. So I seized the chance and down I went to the big city. For a grand total of 8 hours (15 hours counting the bus trip up and down).

When we got to the city, the first thing I did was go into the nearest subway station and buy a one-day unlimited bus/subway pass - cost $8.25. Then I took an uptown bus to Central Park South, walked around a bit and had lunch at Whole Foods in Columbus Circle. Then I took another uptown bus to the Hayden Planetarium at 81st and Central Park West and caught the latest star show. Then a downtown bus to Herald Square and one of my favorite cheap shopping places. There was nothing interesting there, so another downtown bus took me past Union Square, Greenwich Village, and back to Canal Street. I walked around Chinatown and Little Italy a bit, and then it was time to go.

It's amazing how four bus trips and a short show at the planetarium can consume 8 hours, but it did. I really enjoy taking buses like this in NYC. It's easy, buses come frequently, and you get to see the NYC that people who live there see - all the things that make a good sightseeing day.

This last picture is Chinatown (the top picture was Little Italy). They look pretty similar which makes sense seeing as how these two pictures were taken about two blocks apart from each other. The major visible difference is the language on the storefront signs. Over the decades, Little Italy has gotten smaller and Chinatown has expanded. It seems as though Little Italy is mostly on Mulberry Street now, and Chinatown is all around it.

These pictures were taken with my new camera, which also has a 'vivid' setting (and a little more wide angle than my old camera). Vivid makes everything look a little brighter, and ... better than it looks in real life. It was a nice day in the city, but I was happy to spend a quiet Sunday listening to the birds and recuperating at the homestead!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Eating Pie

I made this pie on September 10th. I took this picture on September 18th. This is pathetic! I obviously need to take pie-eating lessons, or find someone to help me eat pies. Who in their right mind would allow a perfectly good blackberry pie to sit for over a week? I did remedy the situation slightly. Friday night's dinner was two pieces of pie with ice cream. This is one of the few advantages to living alone - I can eat meals that have no vegetables without guilt. There is still one piece left. Anyone?

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's Been One Year

I first saw this house tomorrow, last year.

I had been daydreaming about owning land for a few years, and had been seriously looking online for about a year before events conspired to put me here.

A year before last year (September 2007, for those who can't do word problems), I was in the Middle East and all over the world in various hotel rooms and apartments (Singapore, Oman, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan, Spain, Egypt). In the Middle East, I was in Aqaba, Jordan for 5 months, July through November. If you have to be in the Middle East, go there. It's very nice. Even though, it isn't the kind of place where you (a white, solo, female) can comfortably wander the streets without stress. I digress. As an American, I felt a little culture shock and turned to the internet to transport me to other places. Where on the internet? Real estate listings of farms.

I kept up the online farm hunt as I traveled around the world. It connected me to places that I missed in the US, New Mexico, California, Montana, New York. It didn't matter where, since I wasn't actually looking to purchase. I was looking for a daydream.

I came back to the US in mid-2008, stayed in Oregon with my mother and spent 5 months figuring out what to do with my life (hoping that it would be outside, helping the environment). It didn't turn out that way (yet), but when I got the job I now have in upstate NY, I finally had a location and an upcoming endgame to the farm search. I had also examined so many farm listings across the country that I had a good idea how much 25 acres plus a house would cost.

I started across the country from Oregon to New York on September 10th, 2008. I saw my place online while I was still a few days away, called the real estate agent and made an appointment to see it on my first full day here. That day is September 20th. September 20th is also the day I made an offer on the house that was accepted. The deal closed on October 17th and here I am today. So many things have changed. It's been quite a year!

Note: this is a picture of my house taken from the west (and from a plane) about 20 years ago. The mountain range at the back of the picture is/are the Taconics, right at the New York/Massachusetts border.

Third Truck of Wood

I came home from work Wednesday to find the loggers filling the third truck with maple and cherry. It's amazing how much work these guys do for not much money. The guy using the chainsaw is at my place about 7:30 in the morning, and here they are at 6 pm. I'm so far in the woods, I'm guessing he has to leave his house about 6:30 to be at my place around 7:30.

They sell the wood and split the money with me, so I theoretically know how much they get. If there's profit in this, it's higher up the food chain. Here's the truck going by the house on its way down the hill. You can see the trees beginning to change. It's going to be a beautiful fall!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cucumber Successes

The cucumbers are the only thing that I could call an unqualified gardening success this year. There are 5 of them in this picture (the one in the top, left corner is sticking out instead of hanging down) on top of the many I've already gotten. No squashes, no melons, only 3 tomatoes and 1 head of broccoli. It's not all my fault! The tomatoes flooded when we got 10 inches of rain in 2 days and didn't survive. The broccoli was eaten by critters, as was the squash. The corn should be OK. There are several ears in various stages of ready.

I really didn't cook much this summer, so didn't use rosemary, thyme or oregano at all. I harvested basil a few times, but never got enough at one time to make pesto. Next year, more basil plants!

The weather says it will get cold Saturday night. It was 41 this morning, so we may see frost soon!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sharing the Bed

Here's who I'm sharing the bed with these days. Two black dogs. If you thought the bed looks suspiciously like two mattresses on the floor, you're right. In the depths of last winter, after sleeping on an uncomfortable sofa bed in front of the wood stove for three months, I bought these mattresses from someone on Craigslist.

I planned to sleep upstairs again when it got warm, but Desmond's hips started hurting and he couldn't handle stairs any more. So I moved the mattresses into another room on the first floor for the summer. When it gets cold again, I'll move everything back into the room with the wood stove and close off most of the house to keep the front room as warm as possible. I'm almost looking forward to it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Work Shoes

A wise blogger once wrote, 'if you see a homesteader with clean shoes, you know they've never worn them.' (I think the actual quote had poop in there somewhere.) Here are my shoes. Work shoes in several senses of the phrase, and I don't even have animals yet! I go to production meetings at work and notice that mine are the dirtiest shoes in the room. Yes, I look at shoes in production meetings.

PS. I don't really wear shoes this bad to work! I came home one day a few weeks ago and saw the loggers had done some work, so I took a walk around the back 20 in my nice clothes. The bad part is that it's taken me so long to clean them up!

Lawnmowing at Night

It's times like these when I'm glad the lawn tractor has headlights. I wanted to take a shot with the headlights on, but there's a dead man switch (like anyone would die on this tractor) that turns off the engine when there's no weight on the seat. Left to right you see the well, the lawn tractor, the yummy apple tree, and Desmond, looking for apples. The point-and-shoot camera makes the scene look much brighter than it actually was.

It was perfect. A tall drink in my hand, Nanci Griffith, Joe Ely and Joni Mitchell full-blast underneath industrial-strength ear protection as the lawn falls under these blades. The only problem? This engineerhas evolved into a random lawnmowing pattern, and it got too dark to see where the grass is uncut and which way to turn next. I may have hit a few rocks. I couldn't see them until it was too late or hear the blades on them. Next time I mow, I'll see the rocks polished white, and I'll know.

The vet thinks Desmond is older than I thought. He says 11-12 is closer to his real age. Plus, he's got cataracts and the vet thinks he can't see very well. He suggests as a test that I move some furniture around and watch him run into it. The rescue organization I adopted him from last November said he was 8 then (would be 9 now), but it makes more sense for him to be older. For goodness sake - he's hard of hearing, seeing and can't walk very well because of his hips. For a 9-year old dog that would be terrible. But for an 11-12 year old dog, he's doing OK.

Monday Night Homesteading Adventures

I'm not sure why I had more mental energy than usual when I came home from work last night. But the homestead benefited as I did corn stuff (harvested and ate my first ear), cherry stuff (harvested and tried to pit), and apple stuff (taste-tested the two types after cooking with sugar and cinnamon). There's more to say about each item, so sit back and relax. This is going to be a long one.

First, the corn. I've been reading on how you know when to harvest corn (crack a kernel with your fingernail and when the fluid runs milky, it's ready to harvest). Now that I've harvested my first ear, I know what it means. I did the fingernail thing and got fluid, so I took that ear of corn. When I did the fingernail thing on a kernel farther down on the ear, the fluid was the color of corn milk, if there were such a thing. Ah, what a discovery! The fluid from kernel closer to the top was clear. Aha! I know people have been learning this for thousands of years, but last night I learned it, and it's a great thing to know!I microwaved that thing whole in the husk for 2 minutes and 45 seconds and then ate it with real butter and salt. The ripe kernels AND the unripe kernels were all yummy!

Then, the cherries:
I've been keeping tabs on the cherry trees for the last week or so to try and figure out when I should be harvesting cherries. When the cherries are red all over and soft, they have a mealy texture that's not appealing. So last night I thought I'd see what happens if I harvest cherries before they get mealy. Since I think these are pie cherries, they'll never get sweet, so I thought maybe harvest time is supposed to be while they're a bit hard.Above are the results of my cherry pitting experiment. I made it through about 5 cherries, shaving off bits of cherry while the cherry tried to stick tight to the pit. This is obviously not the right way to do it. I guess I need to do more research here.

Finally, the apples:
I cut a few apples of each kind into slices and tasted them. The right kind had a sweet beginning taste evolving into tart and the left kind had a more full-bodied flavor that was sweeter than tart.

I cooked each kind separately in a saucepan with sugar and cinnamon. If this were a true test, I would have measured out the same amount of sugar in each. This was an ersatz taste test - I just threw sugar in until I felt like stopping. I cooked just until the sauce began to thicken. The left apples kept their shape better (probably because they're smaller) and tasted WONDERFUL after cooking. The right apples tasted good, but the sugar seemed to take the edge off, leaving this apple with less interesting flavor overall. I have more trees that carry the right apple, so it looks like I'll be doing more tests to find where it shines best.

Stay tuned for more homesteading adventures in future episodes. Today the dogs go to the vet to get their shots. They love the car, so this should be fun. As fun as handling two excited dogs on 4-foot leashes can be, that is.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pie and Apples

I really need to eat more pie! I made this blackberry pie with newly picked blackberries on Thursday night. It's Monday morning and only a third of it is gone! The fact that I ran out of vanilla ice cream may have a little to do with it. Can you freeze pie? Who freezes pie?- everyone eats it before it gets that far.

Here are apples I've picked from three different trees. I hope they're ripe. How do you tell? What happens if you eat apples that aren't ripe? I've only had grocery store apples before and I'm pretty sure they're ripe. The two dogs, Desmond and Maggie have been eating unripe apples fallen from the trees for weeks and Desmond is farting a lot these days. Maybe it's the mice he's eating or maybe it's the apples. I won't be doing a scientific test on that question!

I bought an extra crust last week in preparation for the next pie. It'll either be apple or cherry, since the Northstar cherries are ripening as well. Maybe both. Must get more crusts!

Tell My Boss

Please tell my boss I can't come in to work today. It's too interesting here at home! All of the below happened on Sunday.

The mice seem to come in waves. Nothing for a week, then 2 or 3 in one night. Here Sparky and Maggie have a standoff over whose mouse this one (the third since Saturday) is. Sparky won because Maggie left to follow me into another room. After the mouse died, it was apparently less interesting because I saw it laying alone in the center of the room. Then later I didn't see it at all. I think it's in Desmond's tummy.
Maggie and Pancho seem to be getting along fairly well...First, Maggie uses Pancho for a headrest on the 1/2 quilt. (Or maybe it's the 20% quilt. I started it when I was young, and my mother finished it and gave it to me when I was an adult.) Later, Pancho uses Maggie for a headrest.I harvested some apples yesterday. It looks like there may be more than one type here. Macintosh for sure, and something else yet to be identified. I am SO loving this homesteading, discovery stuff. But again, it's not cold yet. I may love it less in 4 months!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oregano Blossoms

The oregano field on the north side of the house is beginning to blossom. As is the one lonely plant by the front door of the house.

Sparky is a Good Helper

Here he is helping me finish the labor of love (the waterproof bedspread so dogs can be wet, messy dogs and people parts of the bed will stay clean). I think cats know what you want to focus on, and so they sit on it. Or sometimes they lay down on it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weeds and Not Weeds

This spring I was a little ruthless about clearing the area in front of the house, until I realized that there were things in there that I wanted to keep. Like peonies. Then I was a little ruthless about NOT clearing. As in I've done basically no weeding since June in here, after mom and I planted corn, rosemary, melons and cucumbers in this area. The corn is before the picture begins, and the cucumbers are at the very end. In between is the area where I didn't know what anything was. As you can see, some of it is weeds (goldenrod), and some of it is not weeds (phlox). Maybe next season I'll better be able to tell the weeds from the not weeds. One can hope!

Friday, September 11, 2009

What I Did Last Night

If you were holding your breath waiting for the outcome of yesterday's dilemma, let me start by saying that I had pretty much made the decision before I left work. You may know from prior postings of mine that if I go home without my evening task firmly in mind, nothing will happen. I use up 99 and 44/100ths percent of my brain capacity at work and there's generally nothing left for evening. I'm a morning person.

That said, here's my logic. It's blackberry season. Blackberry season doesn't last forever. Those 10 stumps however, are not going anywhere any time soon.

I'm just busting at the seams to tell you something totally unrelated that I read in the paper earlier this week! When I was skimming an uninteresting article about the Kraft/Cadbury hijinks (Kraft is trying to buy Cadbury), my eyes lit upon an important factoid in a paragraph about the Kraft CEO, Irene Rosenfeld. It said, (I wish I could quote but I'm having problems with online access to the paper) something like, "One of Ms Rosenfeld's first actions as CEO was to increase the amount of cheese in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. The amount had previously been decreased in a cost-cutting measure." I knew it! Kraft Macaroni and Cheese afficionados everywhere can rejoice!

I know that's very important news, and if you thought I was delaying the inevitable, you'd be right. Without further ado - here's the pie! It was yummy. A bit crunchy with lots of seeds, but yummy. Did I do something wrong? Is blackberry pie supposed to be crunchy?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Have a Dilemma

Now that I have successfully acquired sawzall blades AND pie crusts, what should I do tonight when I come home from work? Cut stumps or make blackberry pie? Or both? Put blackberries on the stumps, cut the pie crust with the saw? If I think about it too much, I'll throw up my hands in indecision, do neither and take a nap instead!

Stay Tuned for the outcome in tomorrow's episode.

In other news, my sister knit this vest with my first handspun yarn. I bought the carded silk/romney, (I think) in CT in June, so no, I didn't make the yarn from raw fiber. Sis says the vest is too short (maybe because I'm so new at this that I could only make 306 yards with 8 oz), and that it shrunk when she blocked it (maybe because I didn't wet and whack it after I spun it). Nonetheless, it's a beautiful vest and only a little crooked because the yarn isn't balanced. Thanks to sis for being the first knitter to use my yarn! I promise it will get better!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Seeing Mom off to Work

The dogs, Maggie on the left and Desmond on the right, watching me leave for work this morning.


I added one item to yesterday's shopping list. A printer cable, because somebody ate the computer end of my current cable (I'm not mentioning names, but I'm pretty sure it's an orange tortoise shell cat).

Now, where can you go after a long day of work to get sawzall blades, pie crusts, embroidery thread, and printer cable, and not have to make 3 separate stops and get home at 7:30? Unfortunately, you guessed it, Wal Mart. (Or as my fellow South Carolinians call it - Wally World.) I'm very pro local shopping, and in fact, my first stop before work was to the local hardware store for cat food and reciprocating saw blades. In my before-work hurry, I accidentally bought some jigsaw blades (which I have plenty of and do NOT need), so sawzall blades went back on the list.

I found most everything I was looking for, but, FYI, Wally World does not carry embroidery thread. That's a task for lunchtime today. I also got some things that weren't on the list and re-learned a lesson that I learn every year about this time. There IS such a thing as too much candy corn!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Harvesting Blackberries

It's funny how when you live in the middle of the woods on a mountain and it takes 1/2 hour to get anywhere, you don't tend to rush off to the store much. I tried and failed at three things this weekend for lack of something. I couldn't finish the bedspread for lack of embroidery thread. I couldn't cut stumps out for lack of not-dull Sawzall blades, and I couldn't make a blackberry pie for lack of crusts. Oh, I know I could have made crusts from scratch, but you wouldn't want to make pie crusts on my countertops. They're yucky with mouse stuff and cat stuff!

I didn't leave the mountain for the entire 3-day weekend - it was heaven! Not even to get my mail 3/4 mile down the hill. And - it didn't rain, not even once. I came down this morning with a list of things to do though, buy cat food, embroidery thread, sawzall blades, and pie crusts!

Harvesting Elderberries

The internet (the source of all widsom) says that harvesting elderberries involves waiting until the fruit heads droop, cutting off the entire umbrella head, and putting them straightaway into the freezer on a silver serving tray. OK, the silver serving tray was my part.

Here's the whole frozen mess, serving tray and all, right before I popped off all the fruits into a ziploc bag and put it back into the freezer. This is about 2 cups. I'll collect another 2 cups later this week and send it all frozen to my father for a birthday present. Shh - don't tell him.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Project, and Today's Mice

Here is a picture showing my current project in progress. I laid it out on the floor yesterday and overnight, and found these two mice this morning. I think Desmond was asleep, and since he is near deaf, missed his opportunity for a breakfast snack.

Below is the project aaallmost complete! I just need to bind the edges and add thread ties throughout. It's a bedspread, made out of salvaged shirts, and won't pass water due to a waterproof mattress pad in the middle. I'll probably continue letting my dogs be dogs, but it's time to protect the people parts of my bed from wet, dirty dog stuff. The thing turned out quilt-y-er than I anticipated, because the mattress pad was a little thick. That's OK. This is a labor of love.

Friday Before Labor Day Weekend

(What follows is a rhetorical question - I don't need an answer.)

Who do I send this picture to, to get brownie points for being almost the last car in the parking lot Friday afternoon before Labor Day? Do I get a cookie?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Mouse-Killing Crew

The mouse-killing process is beginning to coalesce, and involves both dogs and each cat.

Here's how it goes.

  1. One of the cats flushes a mouse.
  2. Maggie gets enthusiastic and goes over to help.
  3. The cat abandons the mouse.
  4. Maggie plays with the mouse and kills it, then sits with it for a short while.
  5. When Maggie moves away from the now-dead mouse, Desmond goes over and eats it.
I like it! It's resource-efficient and self-cleaning!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Things That Are Ripening


Cherries: These are pretty small, but maybe with some good pruning and food next year, they'll get bigger.

Blackberries: Maggie started harvesting these several weeks ago, before I even realized they were ripening.
Enjoy the weekend everyone! It's supposed to be nice here, and I am planning on accomplishing ... not much. I have a sewing project I want to put a big dent in, or maybe finish. I may end up taking the sewing machine outside with a long extension cord to enjoy the warmth and sun!


On my way home up the last 1/2 mile yesterday, I ran into Mr. Lumberjack on his way down. He told me that the 2nd load of wood was on its way down the hill, so I grabbed the camera and waited.... This is the second load for them, and all with about 4 days of work!

I walked around the 'back 20' for a bit, and I have no idea where all that wood came from. I still don't see sky anywhere, except through leaves.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Meet Me at Blueberry Way and Cherry Lane

On the left of this picture is a walking path from the house, going to the upper blueberry hill (which is over my right shoulder as I took this pic). It was overgrown with a fallen tree or two, that I cleared out this spring when I started to explore the land. On the center-right, you can see a brown patch, which is really the old logging road, coming from my new road that I had built earlier this summer. (An aerial photo would really help right about now!) I am standing on the path and the road goes to the right of me.

In this second shot, I am standing in the same place, but have rotated to the right. The path goes along the right of the shot and the logging road now goes just past that (cherry?) and before the blueberry bushes. Upper blueberry hill is just off the left of this shot.

It took me days to clear that path, and them hours to make/remake that road. It's just not fair! I'm beginning to see the attraction of having the proper tools!


I participated in a photography meetup event yesterday at the Schaghticoke Fair. is an incredible collection of groups, similar to yahoogroups for email lists, but meetup is for .... meeting, doing things. There are groups for every possible interest/location combination, I'm sure. Take a look at for your area and see what's there!

Since photography is one of my interests, I joined this group (and a gourmet group) when I got to upstate NY late last year. I've only gone on one other outing before this one - it was a hike to see local waterfalls. I've skipped get-togethers at a local cemetary, and architectural photo walks in some pretty old towns around here, just because it wasn't convenient. That's the beauty of meetup. Participating when it works means that everyone wants to be the same place you are, and that's neat.

Anyway, yesterday's meetup at the fair (pronounced Scat'-icoke) was to take pictures of the midway as the sun set, and after. I took over 100 shots, going mostly for shapes and colors. And words. For some reason I like taking pictures of letters and words. And juxtapositions of things that don't belong together. And to leave something missing, so you have to think, ... what's missing here? This one is easy, I hope.

I got a chance to try out an old camera of mine that I had given to my father a few years ago. He didn't use it, so he gave it back. It's a big, hulking Panasonic Lumix with a 12x optical zoom that I compared to my trusty Sony Cybershot that's been around the world with me and across the country twice.

What I noticed (and have suspected for a few weeks now), is that the Cybershot is having trouble focusing. It's hard for you to to tell because I size these pictures so small, but this last shot (as most of my recent shots with this camera) is a little out of focus. One of the things I love about this camera, in addition to how small it is, is that it has a 'vivid' setting that makes things look so good! The two top shots are with the Panasonic, the bottom one is the Sony. Come on little guy! You can do it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

The Tri-City Valleycats vs the Aberdeen IronBirds, played out at Joe Bruno stadium in Troy. It was a perfect night for baseball, with the waxing moon helping light the stadium and good company from work colleagues. Thanks to the Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency for the tickets and dinner!