Tuesday, December 12, 2017

SNOW DAY AND SCHOOL IS CANCELLED!

We got 3" of snow, and now the mixed precipitation will begin soon.

Check out the warming temps. as the afternoon and evening progresses. The temp. will be above freezing until 3am! Crazy and not fair. It will be a super icy mess on the roads tomorrow morning. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Snow Storm Total

We got 6" of snow from this storm. The first snow plow of the season went by, as did the sand truck. Then, the daytime temp rose above freezing.


Here is the next week's weather. We are in for a mess on Tuesday, if that storm pans out. We should get between 3-5 inches of snow mixed with rain. Absolute UGH to that storm. We had so much mixed precipitation last year that it was almost a bust snow-wise with tons of ice. It looks like this is the weather future for us this year as well. By the way, this is a weak La Nina year.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

My new hat and our first winter storm!

Neighbor hound, Sugaree, was kind enough to pose with me!
I went to a local craft fair last weekend and bought my newest winter hat. I love, love, love it! The only problem that Drew has with the hat are the owl's ears. Me? I don't quibble about fluffy ears. Any owl would be proud to sport them;-)
Here is a close-up of the hat. It is a grainy photo, but you get the gist of it!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Weekly Weather

I know, I know...when are we going to actually enter into winter-like weather? Well...after next Saturday, we'll be dumped into the deep freeze. Yay!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Weekly Weather

Well, it is still going to be somewhat warmer than usual this week. Although, there are days when it feels so raw and cold! The wind can suck the warmth right out of our bodies...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Bertie McBat

Bertie McBat is made from saw blades, a wrench and nuts.
Well, the metal work doesn't stop at the big bird. Liberty Farm and Forge allowed me to choose a smaller piece for free, since I'd purchased one of their larger pieces of art.
Bertie McBat sits atop a long pole that sticks into the ground.
He will travel from garden to garden in search of mosquitoes!
I chose the bat. I respect little brown bats because they are voracious eaters of mosquitoes, and I Love Bertie McBat! Look at those chompers!

Ernest P. Mower Bird

I name thee "Ernest P. Mower Bird."
Wow, what a day! I attended the craft fair at Mt. Ararat High School, with Neighbor Shannon, and came home with quite a haul. I love supporting local artists, and fell in love with some metal work last year but didn't purchase it. This year, I felt the tug of longing for one of the big birds. We went to check them out and I just couldn't resist.
Ernest P. Mower Bird covets the bird seed at the feeder!
This big, metal bird was created by John Liberty who, along with his wife Debbie, scours the earth for old metal tools, farm implements, etc. At Liberty Farm and Forge he crafts the artwork. "Ernest P. Mower Bird" is named for our dearly departed neighbor, Ernie. Why? Well, Neighbor Ernie loved sitting atop his mower all summer long. He had a beeeautiful yard...And, Neighbor Ernie would have loved to have crafted something like this. He too was artistic and ingenious.
Ernest P. Mower Bird checks out the stump next to the wood pile
Ernest P. Mower Bird's feet, legs and tail were crafted from scavenged parts of an old McCormick-Deering spring-tooth harrow which was used to till the land for farming. You can also see the big, old wrench used for his neck.
Ernest P. Mower Bird checks out yet another stump.
I think he might want to eat some moss and shrooms!
A well casing was used for his body and lawn mower blades were used for his beak. He is one handsome bird. He has spikes on the bottom of his feet that push into the ground so that he can stand on his own anywhere in the yard. Gosh, I love this bird!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Flying Squirrel sighting

This afternoon, Drew was on the roof cleaning out the gutters. While he was on the back side of the roof, he was afforded a direct view into the hairy woodpecker hole, in the ash tree next to the back porch. To his surprise, he found himself in a staring contest with a pair of large eyes that belonged to a small squirrel (between the size of a red squirrel and a chipmunk.) The squirrel vacated the hole and scampered to the opposite side of the tree trunk where Drew lost sight of it. The only squirrel that we know of with large eyes is the northern flying squirrel! I know that they must be around as I saw one about 16 years ago, but I can never catch sight of them as they are nocturnal. Yahoooo! Now, I really want a trail camera to capture their activity;-) Gotta start saving my pennies!

Monday, November 13, 2017

First Snow of the Season

Yahooo! We've got snow! 
We got 1 inch of snow out of this storm. Unfortunately, we are not ready for snow on the roads which are icing up. Cars are sliding off the road. Ugh... Not looking forward to tomorrow morning's commute to work.
Here is the radar map for this evening.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Thin film of ice on parts of Caesar Pond

We finally had a calm morning with just a hint of a breeze later on in the day. This allowed for a bit of thin ice to form on the southern edge of the pond.
All the wind overnight whipped the pond to whitecaps and coated the grasses with dripping water. This froze into pretty icicles.
There are thin sections of ice near some of the islands as well.
And, the grasses have a bit of ice that has formed on the blades.
Most of the leaves have fallen from the deciduous trees, with the exception of beech trees and oaks. Here you see the brown leaves of mainly oaks on the western side of the pond.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Tis going to be a bit chilly today!

Shiver me timbers! Tis going to be cold and windy today! 15-25 mph wind with gusts to 40 mph. We are getting water jugs ready just in case the power goes out again;-)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Project Learning Tree workshop held at Bates College

I am super psyched! I spent last Saturday, with my Maine Project Learning Tree associates, at a workshop to introduce the new PLT E-Units now available for purchase. These online versions comprise parts of the popular PLT books that focus on forests for STEM and experiential learning. They are fabulous!
I got to pull out all the stops and reprise my summer workshop activity using tree cookies as learning tools. An added bonus was a Bates student (future experiential science teacher extraordinaire) who assisted us with dendrology. He was incredibly knowledgeable about what a tree cookie could tell us about the health and history of a tree's growth.
I also had participants create their own model of the inside of a tree using some simple materials. Fun, fun, fun...

Winter Sunrise and Sunset is early no matter which way you look at it!

Click the calendar for a larger view
No matter which way you look at it, Daylight Saving Time or not, we would be going to or from work in the dark. My solution is to shorten the work day;-)
Click the calendar for a larger view
Finally, on Dec. 17th the days begin to lengthen.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Our power has been restored

After 7 days without power, we are truly glad to have it restored. Living off the grid was starting to get old;-) There is still tons of clean-up work to be done all around the state, and some towns are still without power. Unreal!

Monday, October 30, 2017

EXCESSIVE WIND AND SCHOOL IS CANCELLED

We are without power and many trees are down. This wind storm was a doozy. I think we had winds in excess of 60 mph. With the combination of a spring and summer drought, unhealthy tree roots because of the drought, and high winds, many trees have uprooted. Power lines are down all over the state, and we are in a State of Emergency.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Chard (from our front deck grow box)

Chard... what a wonderful green veggie to grow in Maine. 
I have it in our grow box all summer and autumn. It has such beautiful stems with colorful patterns.
Some of the stems remind me of ribbon candy from my childhood.
The backside of the "ribbon candy" stem looks like peppermint candy canes!
Other stems look like miniature trees with strong trunks and spreading branches.
I love this chard peppermint stick tree. It looks like I could just peel the bark off and eat it!
This chard looks so delectable with its swirls and curls off the branches. It would make a wonderful climbing tree for someone who was miniaturized!
And, oh the flavor... just like spinach. This bowl of chard made enough for my roasted beets and greens with leftovers being put into a bucket of veggie soup as well!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Oh, let it rain

The system is moving northward which is why it will be over us for awhile longer.
Drew emptied the rain gauge at 6:30 pm and we had 1.73" of rain thus far.  We may get up to another 1.5" before the storm is over. We've been in drought for so long that this moisture surely is appreciated.

NOTE: We ended up totaling about 4" of rain over a two day period. Wow! I need to go down to the pond to see how much height it has gained from the rain.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Tick Season

We went for a walk on the Papermill Trail this afternoon and pulled at least 12 ticks off of Toby. It is an insane tick season out there. Gross!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Weekly Maine Foliage Report # 6


This week's foliage report shows the entire state either at peak or past peak. I need to go boating on Saturday afternoon to catch the pond colors before leaf drop;-)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Weekly Maine Foliage Report # 5


And, here is this week's foliage report!
(AUGUSTA, Maine) — The Fall Foliage Report from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry reports 75 to 100 percent color in zones 4, 5, 6 and 7. Central and coastal Maine (zones 1, 2 and 3) are at 50 percent color change. Low to moderate leaf drop is also reported throughout the state.
Typically, northern Maine (zones 6 and 7) reaches peak conditions the last week of September into the first week of October. The rest of the state’s progression of color will start occurring from north to south in mid-October. Coastal Maine typically reaches peak conditions mid-to-late October.
“Now that the busy Columbus Day weekend has passed, you can take those long, leisurely drives throughout coastal and western mountains of Maine this upcoming weekend and find less hectic traffic with stunning views of the fall colors. The entire state of Maine is now ablaze with color, but with plenty of green in the oaks to create a beautiful contrast,” according to Gale Ross, fall foliage spokesperson.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Road Trip to Vermont - Oct. 9th

We awakened to a hard, driving rain. At first, we were going to head straight for home, but Amanda said, "We can't go home without doing a bit more sightseeing. Let's go to the granite quarry in Barre, Vermont!" I snapped a few photos out the car window as we headed south.
We stopped off at the visitor center in Montpelier to get directions to the quarry. I took the opportunity to walk down the road to photograph the Capital building. Did I mention that it was raining hard?
I snapped this photo inside the visitor center. The volunteer was knowledgable about the quarry and was able to give us some of its history and directions to it.
We drove to the quarry headquarters and were just in time to board a tour bus up to the quarry itself. The tour was well worth the $5 fee.
Our tour guide was great. She introduced us to the blasting techniques used in the mine and gave us lots of history about it.

As soon as we walked over to the fence looking out over the quarry, the rain stopped. Wow, what a sight! This quarry is amazing. 
"At nearly 600 feet deep, we believe it to be the largest operating deep-hole, dimension granite quarry in the world." The granite type is Barre Granite that is exposed from a Devonian aged pluton [a body of intrusive igneous rock (called a plutonic rock) that is crystallized from magma slowly cooling below the surface of the Earth. Plutons include batholiths, stocks, dikes, sills, laccoliths, lopoliths, and other igneous formations.)]

The granite from this quarry is particularly exquisite and is coveted for use worldwide for statuaries, gravestones, monuments, etc. It is especially fine-grained and more weather resistant than granite from other mines on Earth.
The blue color of the water is created by suspended granite dust particles.
There are only 2 or 3 people working the quarry at at time, these days, now that modern equipment is available. See how dwarfed the trucks and people are on the platform near the back? In the early 1900's, this quarry employed hundreds of laborers to saw and blast out the granite by hand.
Houses that back up to grout piles have to use extra heat in springtime as the grout piles accumulate ice
over winter that is slow to melt. It does keep houses cooler later in summer.
On our drive back to the Rock of Ages gift shop, we passed by grout piles (of fractured granite pieces that were imperfect and couldn't be used.) There are massive piles of grout all around the mine area.
Barre Granite
Of course, I had to purchase a chunk of Barre granite before we left for home. The minerals give the granite its color. There is feldspar, quartz, and mica (both muscovite and biotite) making up granite. The quartz creates the white crystals, the feldspar is often a tannish colored crystal, and the mica comprises the black crystals.
Homeward bound...Leaving behind the hills of the Green Mountain Range of Vermont and the White Mountain Range of New Hampshire...