Saturday, February 11, 2017

Frozen Dock

 The First Nor'easter

The first heavy snowfall of the season arrived yesterday, so it was a couple hours of cleanup, which of course, included creating a path around the pond with the snow blower. It was one of those times when I was questioning my sanity and priorities, because it was cold, and I'm not at all convinced that the ice beneath the snow is still good for skating. Time will tell.

Sane or not, if you've had the opportunity to skate by moonlight in your front yard, or anywhere for that matter, you'll understand that it is worth the chance, spending a bit of time preparing for the next opportunity. Forecast calls for more snow today, followed by another Nor'easter bringing nearly 2 feet of snow...maybe it's time to get out the skies again! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Hen House

Falling Snow

This was Wednesday morning, after the Nor'easter had just started building up some steam. So far, this year, we've missed the heavy snowfall--instead we've received several storms that are a mixture of snow, followed by freezing rain. It has kept the snowfall down but made the commuting a real mess.

This is the "new" hen house, at the end of the fence, half buried in snow,  waiting for clearer weather and a new flock of laying hens.   

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Duck Tracks

 Duck Tracks in the Snow

Our ducks keep a watchful eye on the pond. They seem to have taken to the barn for the winter, without too much difficulty--they do, after all, have a little turtle-shaped wading pool, with a water heater to prevent the water from freezing. Usually, Mr. and Mrs. Duck walk down to the shore and look out over the frozen pond, and share a few duck words at what used to be the water's edge, then return to the barn. Today was different though, one of them decided to take a little walk along the pond. I wonder if they have a little calendar on which they are crossing off the days until the water thaws?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Lionel Milk Car

Dad's Lionel Trains

  I can't remember the last year Dad's trains were set up. I think it was in Lincroft, NJ which would have been 1973, or so--perhaps 43 years ago. We didn't know that would be the last time they would be set up. I remember the first time I saw them, as a young child in Jackson, MI. They were set up in the basement, on a piece of plywood set on top of wooden barrels, in which the train gear was stored. This might have been 1963, when I was 4.

It was an amazing setup! There was a trestle, and tunnel, fruit trees, and a station with people waiting, and there was the smell of electricity when it was turned on, and the hum of the controller as you pushed it forward to speed the trains up, or pulled back to slow them down. I was 4 years old then, and the train set was amazing with the lights on the trains, the sleek looking diesel, and the locomotive. The milk car was one of my favorites because as it went around, the milkman would move in and out. and little cans fo milk could be released.

The boxes of trains were located in the garage, at my mom's home and will now go to my sister's storage unit. No telling if they will still run, although I suspect they will. I asked Mom if she had any idea how Dad saved the money as a kid to buy his trains, but she didn't know. She guessed he may have gotten one car a year. This is just one of the questions, I wish I'd thought to ask Dad before he died.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


 Snowblowers That Start

The snowblower wouldn't start recently, and as it turned out, it was because the gas I used to fill it, had some water in it. Before it would start, I needed to drain the gas out using, of all things, a basting tool, sucking up a little at a time.

Two years ago, this snowblower stopped running after about 45 minutes. Aa it turned out, a defect in the engine permitted a drain oil drain plug to work itself loose, draining out all the oil, until the engine seized. I bought a new engine and had it installed.

I realized, even before this happened, I have a sneaking suspicion that engines will not start, and this goes back to a place that I can't remember. I love engines and anything with a motor--lawn mowers, motorcycles, scooters-- but I am not surprised when these things don't work for me, and always suspicious, as if it is just a matter of time before I am betrayed by this engine.

There is nothing quite like the magic of a working snowblower. Without it, there would be hours of work shoveling the snow away from the barn doors and keeping a path to the barn for hay or delivering grain. I think about the gas that is used, and I am always amazed at the amount of work a quart of gas can do. I also think about all of us jsut starting our snowblowers and living our lives in such a way that we just use a quart of gas, instead of considering other, alternative ways.

For now, this winter, at 57 I am just grateful that the new engine starts nearly every time I pull the starter rope, and it is easy to replace the sheer pins when they snap off.