30 September 2007

Music in my life...

Music can trigger memories. It calm nerves, creates common ground, brings a smile to your face, or a tear to your eye. Songs mark memories for me. For some reason, if I am thinking of growing up I think of Country Music. I can still picture my mother singing The Gambler along with Kenny Rogers when I was growing up. Or my dad tuning in to 70's rock on his buffet sized radio while we ate dinner. I can remember all of the songs I learned at church camp even though I am not particularly religious, and, of course being a teen at the time, I can also recall words to most popular songs in the eighties. I would record song after song off of the radio with my new boom box. I would be 'totally bummed out' if the radio announcer started talking before the song ended because that meant I would need to do it again! My first two tapes were Rick Springfield, and Breakdance. The first tape I drove to the mall and bought myself when I turned sixteen was Crowded House. I got my first portable cd player in high school. I think my first cd was the Beatles White Album. I didn't like our senior class' choice for class song at the time- Rod Stewart's Forever Young- but now I can't think of any better song for us. I remember the song I played over and over again after breaking up with my boyfriend in college. It can still choke me up, even today. I attended my first concert after high school. MC Hammer with a couple of girlfriends. I have only been to three others. Two in college- Greatful Dead, and AC/DC. Then James Taylor with Art's sisters and their family when we moved back East. One of my favorite tapes is one made by Art that has Hymn to Her by the Pretenders on it. It took us years to identify the song, but I played it over and over again when commuting to work in Texas Creek. DH won the memory award when he knew our wedding song and I could not remember it. It is Wonderful Tonight by Erik Clapton. Definately a meaningful song for us. The i-pod is an amazing little device for us. We love making different mixes, or letting the computer do the work. It is definately a requirement that our next car be i-pod ready. I put together a list of songs from my life. One from each year. It is more difficult than it seems, because some years there are ten or twenty you absolutely loved, and other years where you wonder if you listened to anything new at all!
1971. Anticipation by Carly Simon
1972. A Horse with No Name by America
1973. Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd
1974. Already Gone by the Eagles
1975. Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon
1976. Somebody to Love by Queen
1977. Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton
1978. The Gambler by Kenny Rogers
1979. Let’s Go by The Cars
1980. Magic by Olivia Newton John
1981. Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen
1982. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
1983. Every Breath You Take by The Police
1984. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper
1985. We Are the World by USA for Africa
1986. Final Countdown by Europe
1987. Livin’ On a Prayer by Bon Jovi
1988. Forever Young by Rod Stewart
1989. Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil
1990. Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor
1991. Shiny Happy People by REM
1992. Walking on Broken Glass by Annie Lennox
1993. Happy Nation by Ace of Base
1994. Satellite by Dave Matthews
1995. Waterfalls by TLC
1996. Jealousy by Natalie Merchant
1997. Don’t Speak by No Doubt
1998. Even Flow by Pearl Jam
1999. Livin La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin
2000. Follow me by Uncle Kracker
2001. Whenever, Wherever by Shakira
2002. Lose Yourself by Eminem
2003. Hey Ya by Outkast
2004. American Idiot by Blink 182
2005. Photograph by Nickelback
2006. The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani
2007. Makes Me Wonder by Maroon 5

28 September 2007

Premiere Week

This week was the premiere week for many of our favorite shows. I ordered a DVR to celebrate the new season of vegging and tubing. But as Joe Malozzi likes to point out, you have to watch your show live to get counted for those precious ratings that decide whether your show will get to continue next season. Here are my thoughts on a few of the premiere's I watched this week.
Heroes- This is not a show I have ever watched before, but was intrigued by the previews so I thought we would give it a try. There were so many characters, and clearly it is mostly an ongoing story. I found it very choppy, and confusing. Some of the characters were interesting, but it seemed like a bunch of disassociated stories being crammed together in little bits. I clearly missed something. Maybe one day we will try to watch it from the beginning with Netflix, but not planning on tuning in any time soon...
House- This show is hilarious. I am not usually in to the whole doctor, needles, blood shows, but this one is edgy, and fresh. House reminds you of the things your inner child wants to say or do, except he just does says/does them without regret or second thought. The survivor start with many then pare down to a few is interesting. I see how you have to mix the interns around. The old ones, while great, would not put up with House's garbage in reality as long as they have. Hopefully we will still get to see them occassionally...
Eureka- O.k. so this is not a premiere. Actually their finale is next week. But, Michael Shanks was heavily advertised for this episode. His part turned out to be a light cameo with a character that sounded vaguely Dr. Jackson'ish. Regardless, I think this is one of the best new(er) shows out there. Eureka was also renewed for a third season this week :)
Bionic Woman- This looks like it will be a dark and edgy drama. I think that this show may be a keeper. It was just setting up the story, but it had some interesting characters. When Nu-Starbuck from BSG showed up at the end I was hooked.
Ugly Betty- I watched part of a marathon UB when I was doing data entry one day. I had not watched it live, and honestly never thought it would interest me. I did not like The Devil Wears Prada, and am really not in to fashion. Who knows, maybe that's why I found myself watching this... I think it is a purely entertaining show. Vanessa Williams is great as the evil one, and I can't think of anyone better to sell the I once was a boy but now I'm a hot blonde than Rebecca Rojmin.
Survivor China (this is it's second week, but close enough... I taped this to watch with Art after his class while I watched UB)- Absolutely beautiful setting. The shots they have of China are absolutely gorgeous. We have watched this show for years, and so far I think that this year's challenges are the best. Although the charcters seem to be a little predictable, and I wish they accepted more Joe Averages than recruiting models, and wanna-be-actors...
Stargate Atlantis Aaaahhhh! The best for last. Actually, it hasn't even aired yet. It's on Skiffy tonight at ten est. I have been waiting for this for a long while. Sam Carter will head to Atlantis this year since SG-1 is no more. They haven't let any secrets out in the promos that I can decifer, but Atlantis was last launched into space and we know that Dr. Weir gets hurt, so you know it will be a high intensity opener. Can't wait!!!

Russell Peters TSB, China Man

Happy Confucius Day!
Confucius fav:Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.
Confucius

27 September 2007

Changes

Changes-David Bowie
I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes(Turn and face the strain)Ch-ch-Changes
Don't want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes(Turn and face the strain)Ch-ch-Changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me.
But I can't trace time...

This song made an impression on me when I was a teenager. Adding to the allure was the fact that David Bowie was having issues with his label (at the time) and you could not buy it anywhere, but that is a different story...
If you asked me at seven what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have said a chemist. Fast forward to fourteen and I wanted to be a combat pilot in the Navy. Later in my teens I thought I would be single and probably working for the FAA, like my father did, but being an air traffic controller (yikes!) In college I entertained the idea of being a flight attendant. If you know me you are rolling on the floor laughing hysterically at this... I worked at Radio Shack during college and to date have never loved a job so much. Too bad the pay sucked eggs. For a brief moment in time I worked in computers and was a project manager. Right after I got married I had a momentary lapse of reason where I thought I might want to stay home. That passed quickly, thank goodness, when we moved across the country to NH. We then had a chance to be business owners. It sounded perfect to me. My brother owned his own business, and my father in law had nothing but positive things to say for that avenue. When I first started the business I had it in my plan to sell the business after five years or so. Five years came and went and we still had the business. Art was very content where he was at, and I enjoyed the freedom and flexibility we had. Pellet seemed to be taking off and we thought we would be foolish to jump ship. Then it all seemed to screech to a halt. The government incentive that we all worked so hard on turned out to be for lack of better terms just a political tool so they could say they supported alternative energy, never mind that they never intended to fund it... Then oil prices came crashing down, and pellet prices shot up. Add to that the soft economy, crashing home loan scandal, and failing consumer confidence and our industry has had a couple of tough years- hearth in general not just pellet. So with the ever face of change we find that we may be at a turning point. Our main stove company was just purchased by a much larger hearth group. Our stove company was the last of the family run stove manufacturers. There is much speculation of what this will do to the line, and the people involved in promoting and selling their products. We don't have to look too far back in our own history to see what a disaster Lennox buying (and consequently destroying) Whitfield turned out to be. We also got a potentially serious offer from someone to buy our business. While we are extremely skeptical and extremely leary I imagine we will at least talk about that prospect. But then what? I always knew what I wanted to do even if the 'what' changed from year to year, but without this I am not sure. Where do you go from here? Do we stay in the industry we have worked so hard to promote and support, or do we make a complete change, or do we ride the tide, hope for the best, and see how it plays out? One thing is for sure. It's never dull or predictable around here...

25 September 2007

~Yawn~

On the way home last night I was listening to NPR. Their story intro started by saying that by the time they were done with the story more than half of us would participate, and even more than that would feel compelled to. There is nothing better than waking up from an afternoon nap, and taking a deep breath in, opening your mouth as wide as it will go, stretching your arms upward, and letting out a great big Yawn! Yawning seems to be a universal mammal trait. My cats are some of the best yawners out there. Even my parrot Ody can give a great jaw splitting yawn. Babies, still in utero yawn. But, why are they so contagious? Little is known about this, and for that matter why do we yawn at all? Some say it is a need for oxygen, or to get rid of carbon dioxide. Others say it is an old intimidation tactic from the days of the caveman. Others say we do it when we are bored, or drowsy. While the Why? of yawning is still unknown a group of college students and a professor did a study to try to find out why they were so contagious, and if there a way to control how contagious a yawn was. They did an initial control study where they simply showed a person yawning to a group. Fifty-five percent of the viewers yawned. Almost 85% said they felt compelled to yawn. These are pretty big numbers. They then showed the same case studies with the yawners covering their mouths. The results? The same. No change at all. They changed the routine a great deal, showing only the image without sound, showing only the mouth with no eyes, or the upper face and sound only. There was no difference in the results. If they simply talked about yawning and then heard a yawn nearly the same amount of people would yawn. They even tried the experience between different mammal species. Dogs and cats were just as likely to yawn as their human counterparts, even when it was another species that yawned first. Whatever the cause of this seemingly unconscious act, nothing beats a good long yawn in my book!

23 September 2007

Harvest Time






Today was the town's annual Harvest Festival and what a beautiful day it was. Last year it rained and was cold, this year 75 and sunny. The fire dept and auxiliary offered a chicken lunch. We also dusted off Annabelle, our original fire truck, and brought her up so kids large and small could sit in her, get their picture taken, and run the sirens. NH is the home of IT (aka- the Segway) so we had Segway rides. No racing though. I have never seen anyone crash on one of those. Talking with some of the guys who helped develop them it sounds like you have to try to knock it over, even though it looks like it's not stable. They also said that it's unstable look is the most common reason for people falling off or wrecking it, not actually machine malfunction. Our neighbor up the hill brought his sheep. His kids were demonstrating shearing them. Polar really wants to be friends with those little sheep. I think he thinks that they look like him- white and fluffy. Maybe next year... We have the oldest town band in the country. That's not just a crack at their age, its a real factoid. They dressed up in their finest and played all afternoon. Growing up we had an awesome high school band, so I have pretty high standards, but the town band is not so bad considering it is a group that plays for a hobby. Not that I played in a band- ever, but I was a teacher's assistant for our band, and I was on flag corps so I listened to them a lot. We also had a favorite of Art's. Someone fresh squeezing apple cider with a very dramatic looking contraption. Of course, the dairy offered ice cream there, a maple sugar booth, and tons of other booths from local artisans. The fire department was able to borrow a fire simulation trailer. So they can do demonstrations on how fires start, and how and when to stop them or get out and call us. Our lunch was a great success. We ran out of chicken by 1:00. We even sold some cookbooks. The desserts went over very well. I put whipped cream "pumpkins" with a frosting stem on the cheesecake cupcakes and they were the first to disappear. Great day!

22 September 2007

Holly Housemaid

Some days I feel like I am channeling a 1950's housewife. I will get my toothbrush out to scrub the tile, tidy the house top to bottom, freshen myself up and put on something "pretty", and have dinner on the table for DH when he comes home. Other days I just sit in the mess and wonder how I am ever going to find whatever it is I have lost (again!), or try to remember what color the rug was before the dog brushed himself on it. I go through various phases of movitation regarding housework. This can be a bit of a problem especially since we always have so many construction projects going on. There always seems to be construction dust everywhere. I am currently procrastinating two drywall sanding jobs because it takes forever to get all that fine dust off of everything. Washing dishes is a dreaded task. Although the floors are a big contender. My ever shedding malamute and his little furball companion Zoi, the fruit flinging bird and his seed spitting cohort, and my darling mud tracking hubby could keep me cleaning 24/7. It takes several hours if I want to vacuum the whole house. I am glad to have a Dyson. It sucks anything anywhere. It has a wand that pulls out to get up stairs and hairballs hiding under tables, and I can turn off the brushes to avoid flinging debris on the hardwood floors. Plus it has a huge canister. I can't imagine what people did with bagged vacuums. I empty that canister probably four or five times a week. That would add up to some serious $$$ if I had to buy those bags! I try to wash one section of the hardwood floors a week. This means that once every couple of months a part of my floor will be clean. Laundry has moved up on my list of preferred jobs. It is so easy with the washer and dryer right outside our bedroom. I love that we put them up on a pedestal. No bending over to get stuff out of the dryer. I use the lip on the front to stack everything and the ironing board is a great place for the hanging things.

Cooking is a love of mine. We do eat out an awful lot, but most of the time that is due to a hectic schedule. If I am home I do enjoy making dinner. Last night I made a chicken cacciatore for something new. Tonight it's back to meat loaf. I make a pretty mean meat loaf. This one will have baby bella mushrooms, garlic, and blue cheese in it. I love baking, too. I don't get many opportunities anymore since we can't eat any of that stuff, but when I do get a chance I go all out. This is one of those weeks. We have our annual Harvest Festival this weekend. The Fire Department and Auxiliary do a fire roasted chicken lunch. The guys make a huge fire pit to cook the chickens, we get cole slaw, potato salad, and a green salad from the local deli, and all of us girls bake cookies and other treats for dessert. This year since we are promoting the cookbook we are using those recipes. I made Great Pumpkin cookies yesterday. I decorated half of them with pumpkin faces, and the other half with nuts, star and moon jimmies, and icing. Today I am baking Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes. Yum! I feel very June Cleaver today.

21 September 2007

Paul Potts Semi Final winning performance High Quality V/S

See who made Simon's jaw drop. The recording at the Venetian (NV) sounds nothing like this! Thanks Jo'Blog...

Is Fire Hot?

It is shocking how many people over the years have asked us if fire is "Hot?" Apparantly there are also those who will just stick their hand on glass that is mere inches from a 40,000 to 70,000 Btu fire to check and see.
For and/or because of these brilliant individuals we have a new safety sticker being promoted by the Hearth Association.
Seems to me that it falls in the common sense category, and if you really need it you are probably eligible for a Darwin Award.
Gotta love the U-(litigious)-S.

Let's Play Doctor

Not to be out shined by his wife's having two jobs Art has decided to join the Rescue Squad. The Fire Department is his first love, but we are very short handed in the Rescue Department and with Art's Mom having so many health concerns it just made sense to him. So this fall he is taking a medical rescue course. Even more than the two nights a week, and several weekends a month commitment he's made to the class I am impressed and proud that he is doing this. I am not the person for that job. I would be on the board myself at the first site of blood or a needle of any kind. Art is very calming to people and has a stomach for things that make some queasy. Like pulling an accident victim out of a car and covering him until the ambulance shows. Art has patience. Like the time a lady in town was having (another) heart attack and her husband wouldn't get in the ambulance to take her to the hospital until everyone cleared out of his house so he could lock it. Last night he brought home his newest rescue tools. A stethascope and an arm band for blood pressure readings. He will learn to use these tools for good in the field but in the mean time we can play doctor at home. Just for practice, of course. Anything I can do to help!

Beaker's Favorite Passtime

He loves that bell!

video

20 September 2007

Sleep Is For Sissies

Art's Mom has been having serious health issues for almost two years now. While we were visiting them yesterday we saw that she had made progress in moving her feet and legs. She also seemed in good spirits, and the pain well managed. But still, every time the phone rings at an odd hour you get that momentary sinking feeling. It is usually a fleeting moment but it is scary none-the-less. Each time she went into the hospital this year we had such a phone call. Usually early in the morning. So last night was a VERY long night for us. Our phone (number)used to be used for a fax line. So, infrequently, we will hear the phone ring at night, when sales fax presses usually pump out their propaganda. Last night it hit a whole new level though! The phone rang at 1:11am for the first time. Art, who jumps to get the phone every time it rings anyway even other than his Mom's situation, leapt out of bed and ran down the stairs to get the phone. It had already been picked up by our voicemail so he struggled with the caller id before coming back up to try to fall asleep again. At 1:53am it rang again. Up Art went. Then again at 2 and 3 and 4. It rang twice in the five o'clock hour. I imagine it had successfully spammed most of it's other numbers so it could try us more frequently at this point. By the six o'clock hour it rang four times!!! Art was at the end of his tether. I don't think he got any sleep. Thank goodness we have Vonage that records the name, time, and number that calls. I sent a very nasty fax back to them this morning letting them know what I thought of their faxing my home all night long and keeping DH up with worry. I hate telemarketers but these fax marketers really take the cake!

19 September 2007

Tis the Season- NOT!

Every year Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier. This year moves to a whole new level. Two days ago I heard White Christmas on the radio. I let it slide because it was a production company selling tickets for a show in Boston in November and December. But then, last night, watching Eureka (awesome show!) there was an ad for some rinky dink local jeweler with jingle bells in the background, and a guy wearing a Santa suit pushing to buy now for the holidays. I know that it is a tight economy right now, and most retail industries are struggling to survive but, come on, really?? Christmas in September? I haven't even seen ads for the haunted houses yet, or buy candy and costumes ads. Can't we just do one holiday at a time?
FYI- Michael Shanks (aka- Daniel Jacson-SG-1) will be guesting on Eureka next week!
http://video.scifi.com/player/?id=157729

18 September 2007

Vial of Life

This is a great program for seniors or any person that lives alone. Help the people who are there to help you in an emergency. The more ambulance, fire and rescue personnel know about you the better they will be able to help.
What goes in the plastic baggie on the front of your refrigerator door?
A completed Vial of Life form.(Answer the questions you want, don't answer questions you don't want)
-Providing a picture of yourself would be helpful.
-A photostat of your last EKG will greatly assist theemergency personnel.(Your doctor should gladly provide you with a copy)
-Place your Living Will or equivalent in your baggie, if you have one.
-Place any Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) documentation in the baggie,if you so choose.
-Place any other documentation you feel important in the baggie.
In an emergency the Vial of Life will speak for you when you can't !During normal office visits to any of your doctors, the Vial of Life will tell them what medications you are taking, and the ailments that you have.
Go to http://www.vialoflife.com/ for full details, and to print Vial of Life Form, and Decals.

17 September 2007

Stargate Atlantis September 28

Stargate Atlantis returns on September 28. Sam Carter is promoted and heads off to the Pegasus Galaxy to step into Dr. Weir's shoes. I am so looking forward to this! Even after all these years, it is still one of the greatest shows on television!

Here is a great interview with David Hewlett, Amanda Tapping, and Rachel Luttrell.
Click here for the full interview: http://www.scifi.com/sfw/interviews/sfw16933.html
The cast of Stargate Atlantis contends with casting changes as they open the iris on season four By Melissa PerensonChange is afoot at Stargate Atlantis as the series enters its fourth season. For starters, the cast gets an infusion of new blood, with Stargate SG-1's Amanda Tapping and Firefly's Jewel Staite joining the lineup. And the stories will take some new directions in what has been described by many cast and crew as a shakeup of the status quo and a "soft reset" of the series. No surprise that Stargate Atlantis would be shaking things up a bit—after all, the stakes are higher now that companion series SG-1 is no longer on the air.

16 September 2007

Lose Yourself

Feeling lost? No sense of place? Not sure how to get out? You must be in a corn maze! I am sure they have these all over the country, but the first time I went through one was in New England. The fall is best. The corn stalks get up to eight feet tall, and the size of the mazes average six to ten acres around here. Some give a map if you want to navigate your way through. A few have bridges built at certain points around the maze to give you a lofty vantage. The cautious use the right hand rule- keep your right hand on the wall at all times and you will eventually get out... Or you can wander aimlessly. We are wanderers. It's nice to take your time, although at some point you do have to start paying attention or you will never get out! I have never gone through a maze at night, although I hear that can be quite spooky. Especially when they have characters dressed in creepy gear hiding in the dead ends breathing loudly, or hiding around blind corners then jumping out to scare you. My ticker isn't strong enough for that! If you can find the time, a corn maze is a great way to lose yourself!

15 September 2007

For Gary

Happy 38th Birthday Gary!

Just for looks

Did you know that the expiration date on your passport is inaccurate? As a matter of fact, for all intents and purposes, it expires 6 months prior to the "expiration date". It sounds a little silly, I know. But we have two confirmed situations that show this to be true. A friend of Karyn's was going to Israel for a week or so with a friend. They would not let her board the plane because her passport was going to expire two months from the date they were leaving. She (fortunately) was flying out of Boston's Logan airport. There are only three or four passport offices in the country that you can go to to get a passport on the spot. The ticket counter lady was able to confirm them on the next day's flight, so she immediately went down to the passport office to try to renew her passport. She spent the entire day there, begged, borrowed, and pleaded, not to mention that she spent an exorbitant amount of money. But, did get her passport renewed and was off with no further issue.
Last night we went out with a friend who had a few day business trip scheduled for Sweden. They would not let him go because his passport expires early next year. Frustrated, he came home and started the renewal process. Lo and behold this process takes up to six months, and to renew you have to mail them your passport. He said he felt like a hostage in his own country. He can't even go to Canada with no passport.
So, if you are planning a pleasure or business trip outside the country make sure to check your expiration date six months before you go!

Save my Ass.

UNDERWOOD, Minn. - A donkey is happily eating grass again after falling down a dry, abandoned well and being freed in an intensive rescue effort. It appeared that the animal wandered away from its farm and onto some boards covering the well, which broke, said Bruce Huseth, fire chief in this western Minnesota town. Firefighters quickly realized that the animal, which belongs to farmer Warren Gundberg, couldn't just be pulled from the abandoned well on Bryan Nelson's land.
So they started pulling away earth with a tractor and dismantling the well block by block Thursday. Once one wall had been taken apart, firefighters put a harness around the donkey and guided it out with a rope.
"Whatever it takes," Nelson said as he watched his well come down. "I love animals, and I'm just glad it's OK."
Gundberg admonished the animal after the rescue: "I bet you'll think twice about doing that again. If you would have stayed home you wouldn't be in this trouble."
Huseth said that he has rescued cows that have fallen through ice, but that the donkey was a first.

14 September 2007

What do you want to do when you grow up?

From Wraithfodder:
1. Go to http://www.careercruising.com/.2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark.3. Take their "Career Matchmaker" questions.4. Post the top ten results

1.Purchaser

2.Venture Capitalist (money not included... :o(> )

3.Mining Engineer

4.Industrial Engineer

5.Electrical Engineer

6.Mechanical Engineer

7.Aerospace Engineer

8.Health Care Administrator

9.Research Analyst (Financial)

10.Economist

Wow, way too many engineer thingies. When I started college I was in Electrical Engineering. Ick! Dropped that like a bad habit. 80% of our high maintenance customers are engineers. What does this mean?? I like the venture capitalist idea. Too bad that takes a ridiculous amount of money and I am not a member of the lucky sperm club or won the lottery yet. I guess I like the number one. Who wouldn't want to shop all day? :)

13 September 2007

Temple Gardens

A good friend of ours once said, "I know how you can become a millionaire by farming." (beat) "Start with three million dollars!" Never ones to shrink from a challenge we are going to rent our greenhouse to a local organic farmer. We will put a pellet stove out there to extend the growing season, and replace the old pump in the water pond that supplies the greenhouse. We plan to replace the plastic on the back half of the greenhouse with the more durable plastic panels, but for now they will start in the front section, which is maybe four to five hundred square feet. Our organic farm may be producing again soon.
Foods grown commercially are so laden with petrochemicals- between pesticides, fertilizers, and transportation that organically farmed food can take as little as 10% of the energy to produce. It is estimated that "the average American needs 20 to 25 acres of land to produce our food and assimilate all our wastes…" If the entire planet’s population had similar requirements we’d need four or five planets to meet the needs. If you divided up the productive land available worldwide it breaks down to about five acres each. Unfortunately, with populations at such an enormous and growing rate we cannot all eat organic foods. Did you know the average person eats ~235 pounds of meat a year and ~330 pounds of fruits and veggies? Over a thousand pounds of food annually.
A definite benefit to organic farming can be found in saving carbon emissions. If only 10,000 medium sized farms in the U.S. converted to organic production, they would store so much carbon in the soil that it would be equivalent to taking 1,174,400 cars off the road, or reducing car miles driven by 14.62 billion miles.
So, for better or worse, we launch our experiment. At least we will be saving emissions, and hopefully they can provide good quality organic food for people in this area, and with any luck we will get to have some of the fruits (or veggies) of their labor.

12 September 2007

Pellet Heat

Today's Bloomberg Energy headline:
Bodman Says $80 a Barrel Oil Prices Are `Troublesome'
Oil futures rose to (a record HIGH) $80.18 a barrel in New York after a report today showed a larger-than-expected drop in U.S. oil inventories. The rise in prices follows yesterday's announcement that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would increase production by 500,000 barrels a day. Full Story

Also on this day our bulk feed bin for our pellet boiler was installed. Last fall we were so thrilled to start our new addition by ripping out the ugly, drippy, slimy, and smelly oil tank and boiler. We had our Harman Pellet Boiler installed. It heats our 3,000 sq. ft. house and hot water with ease. It has a 200 hopper. This means that last winter we filled it every ~2-5 days. This fall Harman created a bulk feed bin that holds 1400 pounds of pellets (35 bags of pellets or about 90 gallons of oil heat equivalent). Now we will only need to fill it once a week in the coldest months, and maybe a couple times a month or less otherwise! Imagine what this renewable fuel could do with government support and incentive! Either way I am saving a couple to few thousand dollars this year alone by heating with pellet, not to mention the saved carbon emissions since I am no longer burning oil or propane.


11 September 2007

Remembrance

In memory of all those who lost their lives, loved ones, and colleagues.

Flix

Art and I are not very responsible video renters. We were so frequently late, and lost so many of those slippery little discs that we decided it was less expensive to just buy them. So we would go down to the video store every few months and scoop up some of their used movies at four or five bucks a pop. Well, now we have a closet full of movies. Too many of which we only watched one time. We farm them out to family members on occassion but (too) many times they have the same one already. Not very environmentally conscious. Wasteful really. So, we decided to switch gears and join the hoards who are enjoying Netflix. We have a couple of family members who use it and enjoy the movies, although our nephew probably gets more picks than anyone. We also have some friends in the next town who are addicted to their documentaries. Gray Gardens is their current recommendation. We cancelled the newspaper that my Mom signed us up for last fall, Finally! and with the added funds decided to try Netflix. We sat down and chose which movies to start with. I let Art go first. He chose Fahrenheit 9/11. Very disturbing, heavily slanted against Bush, but I HATE Bush and his policies so I was o.k. with that. We signed up on Labor Day, and by Wednesday we had the movie. Art took it out of the envelope, and I sent it back. Blonde moment in the repacking precluded me from returning the little sleeve that identified who the movie was assigned to. So I had to call and explain my stupidity. The nice phone support guy (actually a US Citizen living and working in the US!) told me it was o.k. and he would get my next movie right out to me, but please remember to return both the sleeve and the movie in the future. Our next movie Supersize Me came the next day. It was a flick I wanted to see but didn't want to buy because I knew we would only watch it once. Also heavily slanted, as many documentaries are, it showed what would happen if you binged on Mc D's and stopped exercising for a month. The grain of salt is that his beloved is a Vegan Chef, and he was an avid exerciser before the test... Go from there. Our next movie is the 300, then Cars. Should be here tomorrow. We already have 18 movies on our list; well 14 movies and the first season of Firefly. I have always wanted to see that and this seems like a great time! Happy watching!

10 September 2007

Old Friends

Many years ago I joined classmates.com. I was pretty bad at keeping in touch and maintaining friendships after high school, and thought that might be a way to reconnect with a few old friends. About a year after I had posted my information I got an e-mail from my old friend Sharon! I was so excited. She had also kept in touch with Sara. We would all get together and have the best visits when I was in Colorado. Then Sharon moved to Kansas and I lost track of her last fall. Sara didn't know where she was either. I signed up for a MySpace page a while back. Nothing fancy, more of a place holder. But I found Sharon on there. It was a long shot but I sent out an e-mail hoping it would find her. Today I opened it up to check a friend's from one of my group's page, and also checked my account. Well, I had two messages from old friends in there! One was a response from Sharon. She is doing great and has six kids now! Another old friend Sandy had found my page. We were on the cheerleading squad together. We used to have so much fun! I think we had lockers next to each other one year, too?? Of course I had to drag out the yearbooks and show Art all the pictures. Ah, memories...

Frogger

Aaahhh relief. The long dry spell that was August has been broken with cooler temperatures and rain. The grass was looking reminiscent of Colorado in late summer, dry, brown and crunchy. Even the weeds that had taken over my as of yet un-loamed back yard were suffering. After a snap two day heat wave where the temperatures reached 90, we heard the winds of change. Then the thunder, then the pit pat of rain on the roof. Happy Day! Driving home that night was a uniquely New England experience. When it rains like that the frogs and turtles all congregate in the streets. It's like stepping into the old computer game- Frogger. Except you are the car and there are dozens of frogs... The frogs are hopping every which way, in a complicated dance that is part joy of rain, and part oh, crap that monster is coming to squish me! Some of the big guys just sit there daring you to try to hit them, and the poor turtles don't stand a chance. The turtles are not very good at getting out of the way, and they are difficult to see with their dark shells. It is a very distinctive thump-thump when you accidentally find one. Art masterfully manuevered with a series of guesses and swerves to try to miss them all. There was one close call with a frog hopping right into the path of the passenger side tire. We were both yelling, "NO! Go the other way!" Art missed him and won the game tonight!

08 September 2007

NOAA Report

Picture compliments of NOAA
ARCTIC REGIONAL SEA ICE TO DECLINE 40 PERCENT BEFORE 2050
September 6, 2007 — A new study by NOAA scientists shows that areal sea-ice coverage of the Arctic Ocean will decline by more than 40 percent before the summer of 2050, compared to a 1979-1999 base period.

Click here for full story

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2007/s2915.htm

07 September 2007

Sounds like the city today.

We have been waiting all summer to finish laying loam and grass seed on our back and North side yard. Rumor is that if you do it in the summer all you will get are weeds. So we patiently waited until September then ordered the loam. It was delivered yesterday, and we thought we would spend today moving it, spreading it, and if we were lucky starting to york rake it. Art was up early and in the Bobcat. Slight snafu when one of the hydraulic lines broke, but he quickly and efficiently got a new one installed and was back up and running. He moved pretty close to ten yards of dirt. When he came in for a drink and a rest, his fire pager went off. Something about a car on the highway. Six and a half hours later he came home. Turns out the car was a pickup truck loaded with fifty bales of hay towing a trailer with another 100 bales of hay fully involved (aka- totally on fire) on the side of highway 101. Art and only two others showed up in the engine initally. They didn't even pack up because they didn't think it was any big deal. Before you know it they re-toned our town and called Wilton for Mutual Aid. Flames were shooting forty to fifty feet in the air. The tires were blowing up because of the extreme heat. Of course the trees are pretty thick through that stretch of road, so the first thing they did was foam the trees. We have been having a pretty severe drought and the last thing we need is a brush/forest fire. Art was smart and fast enough to pull a can of gas and a can of kerosene out of the cab of the pickup before they exploded. They soaked the area, truck, trailer, and hay with 5000 gallons of water. Art spent a better part of the day with a pitch fork spreading out the hay to soak it. They had left the scene and were filling up the truck when the hay re-kindled. So back they went for round two. I sure hope we get some rain soon.
Update at 8:00. Art got home, ate some dinner, took a shower, sat down for five minutes then his pager went off again! This time a motor vehicle accident on the top of Pack Monadnock. All these sirens around town today makes me feel like I am living in a big city again!

Bushisms

The Republican Debate was just held in NH. The Democratic candidates paraded through the state last week. One of the guys at the shop went to a parade on Labor Day. When he saw Barack Obama he started shouting, "Touch Barack Obama. He will bring you luck! You will win power ball if you touch Barack Obama." He was quite pleased with himself... But I digress... We are also approaching the five hundred day mark in the Bush countdown. In that spirit I went in search of some of his quotes while in office. Years ago (Bush's second or third year in office) we got our friend, an avid Republican, a Bush doll. It spouted many of Bush's witicisms such as, "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." The doll had twelve to fifteen early Bushim's. I wonder if they make an upgrade chip for it? There were so many to choose from in my search today (Click here for full list) but some of the quotes that caught my attention include:
"You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --interview with CBS News' Katie Couric, Sept. 6, 2006 (see Fahrenheit 9/11 for details...)
"We need an energy bill that encourages consumption." --Trenton, N.J., Sept. 23, 2002
"Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?" --Florence, South Carolina, Jan. 11, 2000.
I was talking with a friend who lives in VT the other day. She said that VT is the only state Bush hasn't visited while in office. They decided not to talk about it too loudly, lest he decide to visit them. She was pretty sure he would be mobbed if he did something that foolish. But, then again, it is Bush were talking about...
The new candidates offer a stark contrast to Bush. Here are a couple of quotes from my current fav's.
John McCain: "War is wretched beyond description, and only a fool or a fraud could sentimentalize its cruel reality."
or Hillary Clinton, "We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society. "

05 September 2007

How Art spent Monday night...

Fire started by charcoal grill leaves nine homeless
By PAT GROSSMITHNew Hampshire Union Leader Staff Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2007
GREENVILLE – Three families are homeless today after a charcoal grill caused a fire that destroyed their apartment building, according to the fire chief.
Fire Chief Larry Legere said smoke alarms alerted nine residents, including four children, to the 8:52 p.m. fire last night at 24 Main St. All escaped the burning building and were outside when firefighters arrived.
Two residents suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene, he said.
The apartment building, owned by Barry Sullivan of Amherst, is a complete loss, according to Legere.
"It had a real good jump before we got there," he said.
Legere said the fire was caused by a grill on a rear, first-floor porch. The flames traveled up the outside of the building and then into and throughout it.
"The building is standing but it's a total loss," he said.
The fire was brought under control three hours after it started.
Firefighters, along with mutual aid from Mason, New Ipswich and Temple, contained the blaze to the building, even though another residence at 22 Main St. is only 10 feet from it. An outdoor propane tank was also of concern, the chief said, especially when flames burned the grass around it.
The Red Cross was at the fire scene last night assisting the families.

03 September 2007

Dirty Jobs The Song

Sexiest Opera Singer I have ever laid eyes on...

Risk

Another Sunday with family. We went over to Art's folks (surprise-surprise) for the afternoon yesterday. Bud's sister Mal and bil Fred were there, and Sue, Charlie, and Sam. Mal had gone down to a Shriner's in her neighborhood and gotten Mom an air cushion for her chair. What a great program the Shriner's run. They have all sorts of accessibility equipment that they loan out for as long as you need it, no charge. Mom got her chair from there, too. We also received good news about Mom. She went to see her doc this last week, and found out that she has a good chance of walking again. The nerve damage was not due to radiation, so they may re-grow. She has a lot of hard work to do, but a great prospect at the end of the road. :)


Sam brought the game Art and I got him for Christmas- Risk. Fun little game where the goal is Global Domination. Art was down to four guys at one point, but due to a few strokes of luck (and he would say a brilliant master plan) he came back to win. Sam was pretty upset that he didn't win, but I am sure he will get another chance. It took Peter years to beat Art at Chess, but it did eventually happen! Practice makes perfect, Sam. We had a bbq lunch with hamburgers, and sausage. Sue and Charlie brought and made lunch. They are both fabulous cooks, and it was delicious. I did make a recipe from the TVFD cookbook, baked brie. Always a big hit. I managed to sell two more cookbooks today, too!

Thanks Sue and Mom.

Cheap Sales Technique

Saturday we headed out for a roadtrip in the Porsche. We had to go check out a competitors open house. We also did a little car shopping. Out of visiting three lots only one sales person even approached us. Sales is a big part of our business and we really emphasize training, and qualifying customers to our guys. This guy did not ask one qualifying question. Not even something as simple as, "Can I ask what you're looking for?" When he approached us we were looking at a little Colorado truck. (We had been looking at the Colorado Crew Cab online the night before.) The dealer only had one on the lot. It was a bare bones regular cab truck. The guy came up, assumed we were looking for the "cheapest" Colorado we could find. I hate that word- cheap. I don't want to buy anything cheap. Who would??? Inexpensive, sure- Sign me up! Not cheap. He then proceeded to scour the online inventory for the "cheapest". I said that I would be interested in some comfort items like a seat heater, or memory seats. He said,"That isn't an option on the model I am looking up." Silly me, I thought that was a hint to look at a little more spruced up model... No, no. Needless to say, we left pretty quick. We like the comfort and functionality of the Avalanche, anyway... Had a great lunch at TGI Friday's. This is fast becoming a favorite of mine. They have so many things I can order straight off the menu. I don't have to say this on the side, or without that, or can I substitute x for y... I had a chicken and broccoli dish that was served on a sizzling skillet. Art had key west Shrimp and a salad. Very good, indeed.

01 September 2007

Down Day



Being small business owners we don't have a nine to five, five day a week job. So it is a good day when we don't have any appointments, or have to go to the store. We may still putter and get some loose ends tied up, but if it doesn't happen it doesn't matter. We call them Down Days. We were able to enjoy one of those yesterday. We didn't have to leave the house if we didn't want to. Art puttered in the garage for the morning. I did final tweaks on the database and sent that off to the computer guy. Then we had coffee, and played online. Polar was squeaking so we decided to take him up to the ledges. He likes to make the most of having us both home for the day :) It was a little overcast, and still damp from the overnight thunderstorm that rolled through, but it was a good temperature and not raining. The ledges are a great little marble outcropping on the side of Kendall Hill. You can see down toward Nashua and up toward Manchester, plus a great view of North Pack Mountain. We lounged on the rocks- Polar included, and just enjoyed the day. What a great way to spend the day. Then we went out to Amigo's for dinner. Even though we splurged the night before, by going to the Panda Wok we thought we would be mostly good. We succeeded, except the margaritas. They were just too tasty, so we were pretty sure there had to be sugar in it to taste that good! I had a taco salad, and Art had Chorizo with peppers and a salad. Very good evening. We had the intent of going to look at trucks. Mostly for giggles, although I think that one day we may have a moment of weakness and actually trade the Avalanche in. We topped off the evening with a quickie stop at the store, then back up the hill.