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Posted March 4, 2015 By Ruth

Today’s predicted high was 40(F) as of a couple days ago.  Today’s forecast says we’re not actually going to see that, but might see 35 a bit later today.  Since it was above the freezing mark when I got up this morning I’m just thrilled.  The snow is melting!!  I can see where the garden containers are!  Ok, barely, but still…..

Course, the downside to that is that all the ice and snow thats been collecting on the roof is ALSO melting.  Unfortunately our attic space isn’t well sealed, insulated or vented (its on our list of things to fix).  Especially the space where the woodstove chimney goes up through.  We roof-rake, but apparently not as much as we should.  And we have ice dams close to a foot tall.  Or we did as of the weekend.  When temps finally hit above 20 for the first time in forever.  The leak over the vent in the 2nd bathroom was an easy fix.  But the ice caps over the water in the valleys where the living room addition attaches to the main structure were more difficult to deal with.  Monday we (me, my husband and my father-in-law) spent several hours on ladders hacking at ice, clearing the collected water, and creating channels for the melt water from the rest of the roof to go through.  But I think we’re going to have to pull down at least part of the ceiling in the living room and replace at least some of the insulation and drywall…..

Course, Thursday night-Friday morning temps are going to dip below 0 again…..

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Posted February 24, 2015 By Ruth

This is the first time since I moved to NY that my parents in MA have more snow on the ground than we do.  But that doesn’t mean we’re slacking here.  We’re just over average snowfall, and since we’ve not had a single (normal) thaw since the snowfall started its almost all still on the ground too.


Looks so pretty and peaceful doesn’t it…..Well, here’s a photo, taken of the same spot, back on 2-2-15:


Those orange things are the tops of 5gallon Home Depot buckets that mark out my garden patch there (so we can keep the dogs off it in the winter).  Now go back and look at the first picture again.


There’s a reason all that snow is unbroken and smooth.  Its pushing 3ft deep.  Might even be over the 3ft mark at this point actually.  Its hard to be sure since the wind scours the surface constantly.  The drifts are insane.

And COLD.  Did I mention COLD??  Syracuse, the closest major city to me, has broken several cold temp records this winter.  Last Saturday morning the temperature between midnight and 1am dropped to -16(F) before windchill.  And oh yes, there was windchill.  Most days the windchill is dropping the “feels like” temperature at least 20 degrees, and we’ve had drops of up to 40 thanks to the “breeze”.  Its so bad that EVERYONE has ice dams and icicles on their houses this winter.  No matter how well its constructed or what its made of.  Even the steepest of metal roofs can’t shed their loads properly when its this cold.  The local stores can’t keep roof rakes and the Roof Melt tablets in stock, and folks are out on ladders with hammers and chisels trying to keep the ice on their roofs down.

Even Apollo thinks thats cold.  He still wants to go out in it mind, but instead of wanting to stay out he doesn’t argue when we tell him its time to come in either.

Which doesn’t stop him from lounging in the snow when we let him:



Poor Arty disappears completely when he tries to hop into the snow, and I’m pretty sure he frostbit one of his feet last weekend (we’re keeping an eye on it).  I have booties for him, but they don’t fit well and he really doesn’t care for them, kicks them off almost as soon as he’s out the door.

The wildlife is suffering for it too.  Mind, I’m not complaining, to much, since it means that the insect and rodent populations shouldn’t be as bad come spring.  But the local birds are clearing my feeders (2 of which hold about 5lbs of seed apiece) in less than 2 days at this point.  We had an American Tree Sparrow strike a window and not pick up and recover like normal (considering it was barely above zero I’m surprised ANY of them pick up and recover honestly), so I took it down to the local wildlife rehabber, who said that she’s got lots like him that she’s waiting for a warm spell to release.  This winter has been hard on us all.

In slightly more cheerful news my tomatoes and jalapenos have all sprouted though!


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This one’s for you NH people.  I know there’s at least a couple of you who read here.

House Bill 0624 is going to modify the process of what happens when an animal is seized for abuse or the like.  I just did a quick scan of the text, but at least one problem jumped at me right away.

Apparently current process: your dog is seized for abuse, you go to court, and if you’re convicted you’re expected to pay for the costs of the care for the animal while it was in custody.

What they want to do: your dog is seized for abuse, you get handed a bill for the care of the animal before you even get to court, and if you can’t pay that bill you lose custody of the dog regardless of whether you end up convicted or not.  Cause you know, guilty till proven innocent or some such……

I can sympathize that caring for an animal, especially a sick or injured animal, while waiting for a case to go to court isn’t cheap and eats up the limited resources of shelters, but this isn’t the right solution either.

There have been SO MANY cases of reports of abuse that aren’t anywhere close to such.  People who see an animal with “an obvious health problem” where the animal is under the care of a vet for the condition and the owner is taking the appropriate steps to care for the animal.  And sometimes there isn’t a “health problem” at all beyond the reporter’s imagination and lack of knowledge of life.  

Its not bad enough that you’re spending alot of money on the vet bills and medications that your sick animal needs, but now, cause some idiot reported you for abuse and it went viral (which happens WAY TOO OFTEN cause people are fucking stupid), and the local ACO gave in to pressure, they seized your dog, so now you have to pay a ton of money in legal bills to get him back and clear your name……but now they want to  charge you for caring for the dog (which you were doing properly at home in the first place) and if you can’t pay that bill TOO you’re going to lose your dog no matter what the outcome of the court case……

Maryland folks, I’m being told that there’s a similar bill(s) pending in your state as well, I’ve not stopped to read them yet, but consider this a heads up you’ll want to check on!

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Today’s scam email

Posted February 6, 2015 By Ruth

I don’t normally read the scam-spam that ends up in the junk mail folder, other than to do a quick scan to make sure that nothing important ended up there.  But every now and then one will catch my eye….

Today’s scam email:

Good Day.
I am Mrs.Michelle Obama and i am here to inform you that your SCAM VICTIMS COMPENSATION FUNDS from white house here in Washington DC is the sum of $20.000.000 twenty million us dollars. and the funds will be delivered to you as soon as you get back to me with your home address and your cell phone numbers.

bear in mind that i am the only one that has your funds in regard to my husband Mr Barack Obama and you will have to pay the sum of $260.00 before your funds will be delivered to you today so get back to me with your home address.


Regard To Mrs. Michelle Obama


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Tracking new legislation in your state

Posted February 5, 2015 By Ruth

I ran across this site LegiScan today.  I haven’t registered for the free account yet, but the base tool that’s available without that has already proved its use to me…..

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I was not expecting…..

Posted February 2, 2015 By Ruth

… have to shovel out the INSIDE of the garage…..



Something tells me I’ll be replacing those door seals this summer…..

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Golden Eagle—I wish

Posted January 29, 2015 By Ruth

Though I’m not truly a “Birder”, in the sense that I really don’t spend time and effort bird chasing, and only really care about the birds I can see without going out of my way, one of the birds I’d really like to see is a Golden Eagle.  They migrate through the area every spring and fall so its entirely possible that I could, but I’ve never had the time/energy to go “chase” reports to go see one.

Back on Monday a local birder reported (report still listed as un-confirmed on which, btw, is an awesome resource for what birds to keep an eye out for in your area if you’re interested in that sort of thing) a juvenile Golden Eagle at a location not far from me, and infact, not even that far out of my normal path for errands.  So Tuesday I made a point of modifying my usual errand run to run by that area twice.

This is the description in the report from Monday:


First seen perched in a tree facing me & at some distance & through falling light snow.  Appeared all dark with pale greyish bill. Feathered head ie not a vulture. Then seen flying with dihedral. Bicolor underwing pattern reminiscent of a Turkey Vulture. Pale feather colors probably accentuated because bird was flying over snow-covered ground. Prominent white in tail with dark terminal band. No white in head. Black & white pattern typical of juvenile Golden eagle but the opposite of a juvenile Bald eagle.


After checking the listed descriptions and pictures of young Goldens I decided it was possible that he really had seen a Golden, which made it worth my time.  And sure enough, on my way out I spotted this stunning bird that matches the description perfectly. 

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There’s just one teensy little problem…..thats not a young Golden Eagle.



That is a “dark morph” Rough Legged Hawk.

Stunning bird, very distinctive and eye catching.  But not an eagle.


We’ve got at least one “light morph” Rough Legged Hawk hanging around the area too though, very cool!



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Wasp Spray

Posted January 29, 2015 By Ruth

Brigid has a post up about self defense in the home (go read, its got some great thought points).  And points out that the common advice to carry wasp spray instead of pepper spray might not be such a good idea.

Reminded me of an online conversation I had recently with the wife of a gentleman who taught at my high-school.  She got quite mad at me for pointing out the possible legal ramifications of such use.  But when I insisted that its also not nearly as debilitating as everyone insists she did the online equivalent of storm off in a huff.

No, I’ve never gotten a full face spray directly from the can of wasp spray.  But we use it quite a bit here at our property.  And I have, on more than one occasion, been spraying down a nest only to have the wind gust back at me and result in me catching a full face of spray.  And sure, I drop everything and run inside to wash it off…..but I don’t do it because its painful or the like.  I do it because its potentially long term dangerous.  Infact, its not painful at all.  No worse than catching a faceful of water spray infact.  Turning a can of wasp spray on an attacker might slow him down, just from the surprise of catching a faceful of liquid.  But you might as well just carry a water gun and avoid the possible legal problems that go with wasp spray use.

I also have to note that the supposed length of spray is utter BS on those cans.  Sure, somewhere out at 20-30feet there’s a fine mist of wasp spray…..but if you actually want a concentrated stream to hit something you’ve got to be a HECK of alot closer to your target.  Like, in the 10-15ft range…..

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Apollo says winter is awesome

Posted January 17, 2015 By Ruth

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I think my fingers froze off taking these pictures though…..

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My new spice cabinet!

Posted January 11, 2015 By Ruth

So, back at the end of Dec I ran across THIS link.  And although my spice cabinet isn’t THAT  bad, its not good, and after looking at my kitchen I realized I had a perfect spot to put it.


This is the cabinet end that is at my back when I’m standing facing the stove.  Perfect!

Course, then the “how to make it work for me” started…..

That cabinet you see is CHEAP.  Those sides aren’t solid, what you’re looking at is a very thin (not more than 1/8″) piece of laminate attached to the solid piece corners and a 1/2″ or so gap between it and the INSIDE decorative piece of laminate.  So mounting anything to it is an issue.  My spice cabinet had to be wide enough to mount to the solid corners.  About 11 1 /2″.

That cabinet is 32″ tall, but thats out of my reach, I’d not be able to reach the top shelf most likely.  So, I made mine 30″.

Also, that cabinet isn’t square to the wall, or else the doorway right there is wonky.  There’s just over 3″ of protruding wall at the bottom of the cabinet, and a solid 4″ at the top.  Since I don’t want to be banging my shoulder on the bottom corner the spice cabinet can’t be more than 3″ deep.

Color….I really don’t care for that fake medium oak color that my cabinets are.  Dammed if I’m going to stain this spice cabinet to match.  But staining it to match the wood in the living room (a medium cherry-ish color) would look odd in the kitchen.  I’d about decided I’d just paint it black like in the link when my Husband suggested a dark stain instead.  It looks very nice despite not matching.

Which way to swing the door….I really wanted it with the hinges on my right (facing the cabinet), but if I did that, and made the door the same width as the base cabinet, the door would bang into the wall before opening all the way.  Thats not going to work….After some discussion with an acquaintance who does woodworking professionally (and has built kitchen cabinets) I considered an inset door, that sits inside the cabinet frame, but that takes a degree of accuracy that I wasn’t sure my woodworking skills were up to.  After playing around with the idea I came up with a solution I’ll detail in a bit.

I had a few issues getting going, basically I was having a bad day and shouldn’t have been allowed to touch power tools since I couldn’t even manage basic subtraction correctly.  But we got that straightened out.

Here it is while I figure out the shelf spacing.  No, the picture’s not upside down, the spice jars are.  


No comment on my wonky shelves…I have a level around here somewhere….

And the door after its first, fresh, coat of stain.



Yup, we went with a solid door.  Mostly because I couldn’t find a metal grating that I liked that wouldn’t double or even triple the cost of the whole thing.  But also, because even though it would have looked cool to have a glass or grated door, spices aren’t supposed to be exposed to light all the time.  So, solid door it was.


Here’s how I mounted the door:



Basically the body of the cabinet is 2.5″ deep, but the one side is 3″ deep, and the door is 1/2″ to match.

And finished and hung:

2015-01-10_20-04-52_314 2015-01-10_20-11-13_378

 And I discovered that I don’t need to buy cinnamon any time soon….ooops lol




Birch 2’x4′ plywood for door $17.95 (but I used less than half of it, so really, less than $9 for this and I still have most of it to do other things with)

Poplar 1×3 (actually 3/4″ x 2 1/2″) $13.10 ( I didn’t use it all, but I did use most of it, close enough)

Poplar 1×6 (actually 3/4″ x 5.5″) $7.14 (again, I didn’t use it all, but most of it)

Hinges: $2.58

Handle: $1.28

Magnetic Catch: $0.98

1qt of stain: $7.77 (but I barely used any of it, I’d have bought a smaller can of it if they’d had it)

Birch edgeband for the door: $6.35 (but I used less than half of it for this so really $3.15)

1lb nails: $3.29 (but there’s most of them left….)

So, less than $40 if you don’t count the stain and nails (and considering how much is left I don’t).  I can live with that!

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