29 November 2008


My turn to do a thankful post. I'll try to keep it fresh ;)
I am thankful for life. It is very short, and I hope I can make the best of every moment. Mine, my family and friends, and my fur and feather babies. I am grateful that we did not euthanize my cat when the vet suggested it two months ago. She is doing great! She has put weight back on, and is better than she has been for many many months.I am thankful for my home. Growing up I never imagined that I would have the wonderful home that I do. I am not just talking about the house although I enjoy that too. I have a wonderful husband who tolerates my love of feathered friends, as well as my two darling kittens. Hoping for three soon ((fingers crossed)). A friend in town has a preggers kitty and I am pretty sure one is looking for a bed...
I am thankful for my health. The ear ringy thing is annoying, but not debilitating. My MIL makes sure we all appreciate our health and seeing her struggles really drives home what health is worth.
I am thankful for the weather this fall. It was warm early alleviating fuel issues at the shop, Thanksgiving day was absolutely gorgeous for going to the beach, and with a storm rolling in we will likely have a white Christmas!

I am thankful for my family. I missed my parents and in-laws but know they are happy and warm down in sunny Mexico, and/or Arizona.
My sisters and brothers in law are a lot of fun, and my nieces and nephews are a joy! We had a great time seeing Art's extended family at the beach. What a wonderful tradition. For forty years his family has met on the same beach at Thanksgiving time. It is amazing to see how the kids change from year to year!
I am grateful that the eating is over, and that I have the exercise equipment to work off the SEVEN freakin' pounds I put on this week! Hubby is giving me credit because my Aunt Flo is visiting and I am a little stopped up... Such a wonderful hubby! (sorry if that was too much information, but he cracked me up!)
Lastly, I am glad that I have finished my first knitting project!!! My SIL was an incredible teacher, and so nice in undoing whatever booger mistake I made. She scared me a little (LOT) when she took the needles out of the yarn completely and unraveled five rows of work to go back and undo a big hole I inadvertently made... But, here it is! I am now working on a scarf to match, and with eight rows in I have not added or missed a stitch yet- YAY!

25 November 2008

Back to work

Things have been picking up with the fire department. A couple of weeks ago the guys had a professional come in to show them how to correctly use a chain saw. Unfortunately, he dropped a tree on a beautiful blueberry bush. The owner thought it needed pruning anyway, so no harm no foul. Not a week later they had a call for a chain saw accident. Rule of thumb: Chain saws and ladders do NOT mix! The guy didn't do the ultimate Darwin award manuevre of putting the ladder on the part of the tree he was cutting off, but close enough. When the tree branch freed it came around and swung at him like a baseball bat. He did an endo and fell about 20 feet to the ground.
Car accidents are the number one foul weather call the guys get. We live on T Mountain and the whole town is a series of hills. Most of our roads are unpaved which helps with maintenance and allows to flatten frost heaves, etc. The rest of it needs to be diligently salted, sanded, and plowed. I paid almost $7g to Morton Salt earlier this month for our first of many loads of road salt/sand.
Not sure what happened last night. The weather reports have been saying rain turning to snow turning to rain... for over a week. That is the worst of the worst because it usually means that we end up with no one's friend- ice. The temperature has slowly been rising from the teens and early twenties up to the thirties over the last couple of days. Later last night it started to snow. We got about two inches before it warmed to the upper thirties and turned to rain. Result? The inch to two of snow was now a block of ice. Even better the plow trucks don't come out for just a couple of inches so the roads were coated. Why they didn't salt or sand I am unsure. Budget concerns could be a possible reason there. So many of the town's budgets in NH were depleted last spring due to all the snowstorms last year, and just budget cuts in general. Add to that our town is getting less (as are most towns) money from the state and federal governments.
The guys were toned out at about 10:00pm for a motor vehicle accident on the North side of town. The car had bounced off a tree and was laying in the middle of the road. It was so icy they had a hard time getting the engine up our main road (state route). They determined that was in a different town, but before they could even ease their way back to the station there was another call so back out they went. Then a third. He got home after midnight. No major injuries, but it makes for a restless night wondering when the next call will come. Luckily it warmed to about 40 by the middle of the night and was raining hard enough that it must have washed the snow/ice mess away.

24 November 2008

Puzzler II

Here is a new puzzler for you. No fair googling- I did try it on a few and it is not an easy route to the answer(s) anyway ;)
Thought it might be fun for the holiday week!

Instructions: Each question below contains the initials of words that will make it correct. Find the missing words.

Example: 16 O in a P
answer- 16 ounces in a pound

Good Luck!

26 L of the A
7 W of the W
1001 A N
12 S of the Z
54 C in a D (with the J)
9 P in the S S
88 P K
13 S on the A F
32 D F at which W F
18 H on a G C
90 D in a R A
200 D for P G in M
8 S on a S S
3 B M (S H T R)
4 Q in a G
24 H in a D
1 W on a U
5 D in a Z C
57= H V
11 P on a F T
1000= W that a P is W
29 D in F in a L Y
64 S on a C
40 D and N of the G F

26 Letters of the Alphabet
7 Wonders of the World
1001 Arabian Nights
12 Signs of the Zodiac
54 Cards in a Deck (with the Jokers)
9 Planets in the Solar System
88 Piano Keys
13 Stripes on the American Flag
32 Degrees Fahrenheit at which Water Freezes
18 Holes on a Golf Course
90 Degrees in a Right Angle
200 Dollars for Passing Go in Monopoly
8 Sides on a Stop Sign
3 Blind Mice (See How They Run!)
4 Quarts in a Gallon
24 Hours in a Day
1 Wheel on a Unicycle
5 Digits in a Zip Code
57= Heinz Varities
11 Players on a Football Team
1000= Words that a Picture is Worth
29 Days in February in a Leap Year
64 S on a C
40 Days and Nights of the Great Flood

22 November 2008


No matter how old I get in life there are still many, MANY, things I have yet to learn. Unlike the smart aleck high school kid that I was, I like to think that I now appreciate being able to learn and try new things. When I was young school was very easy for me. I didn't have to study, and it was probably a good thing because my parents didn't really have any expectations when it came to homework, reading, etc... When I got to college it opened my eyes fast! Too quickly, I didn't know what they were talking about and I couldn't make my stop light turn from green to yellow in my first engineering class. I pulled the plug and switched schools. I floundered through the next three plus years with poor study skills and not much appreciation for what my parents were giving me (free education). This week I have been taking opportunities to learn again. One self-taught, one submitting to a higher power (not that one- but close ;), and one I hope I am getting better at.
I have always wanted to know how to knit. My Mother never knit, and I could just never seem to find the time to sit down with Art's sister (who is an amazing knitter btw). So I got a pair of needles, and an inexpensive roll of yarn and the first time I tried to knit this is what I came up with-
Yeah, didn't mean to make a triangle. I was shooting for a square. I got frustrated and put it away for about a year or two. I pulled it out again a couple of weeks ago because I had found a how to video online. Knitting Help Online
This was the best tool I had found so far. Check her out! The problem is turning corners. Other than dropping a stitch here and there I think I have the general stitch in a row process down. Somehow when I turn corners I am prone to skip a stitch (or three), or my old nemesis- adding a stitch. This new project has been doubly frustrating because on one side I seem to be doing o.k., but the other looks like a triangle! How on earth can I do it right only half the time when I am doing the same thing!! I brought it over to my friend's house last night to see if she could figure out what on earth I was doing wrong, but she doesn't stitch the same way so she couldn't help much. I tried the way she was stitching but I kept dropping the needle and therefore a stitch or three... Renna might have some thoughts on this too :)?? I will try again on Monday at the auxiliary meeting. One of the ladies is a knitting guru, and my friend said she holds her yarn the same moves her needles the same way so she may be able to tell me what's up! My backup plan is to bring it over on Thanksgiving to have my sil help. I will get there!
The second is school. I have put it off for a long time, just learning what I needed to know to do my job for the biz. I went to school for Physics, and Electronics. You don't learn very much about accounting in either of those departments. I could always squeak by, but that darn balance sheet keeps tripping me up. I need to learn from someone else. So, I investigated the different schools around me and settled on a tech college in Nashua. The question is whether I should just take what I need or should I go for the piece of paper? Of course, the class I need is buried under a pile of prerequisite classes, so it may be irrelevant. So, my plan is to start taking classes this spring. I just couldn't let Art have more jobs than I do! LOL! So now, I have the biz books and payroll, job as treasurer, auxiliary, chickens (gotta love those beaks!), the new biz, three sub-committees for the industry, and school. They always say if you want something done ask a busy person! I am a little scared about school. I was never good at the show up in class three times a week, and if they start with too much that I already know I may doze off and miss it when they come to something new! But, I am up for the challenge and I think it will be a good exercise in discipline. Lord help me!
Lastly a seemingly complex task made simple. How do you get eight grown men to not only smile but dress up in the same outfit at the same time for a photo-op? Set up a fun evening going to the Garden to see the Bruins! Last year we were in the top ten dealers in teh nation for our main stove manufacturer. This year since we were all on allocation they glossed over the awards. But, since we all had the same increase, our standing stayed the same. So we wanted to give them a reward for all their hard work this last year. Of course, we will take some of our Canadian friends, too. The game with be the Montreal Canadiens vs. the Boston Bruins. The details of how we get there and where we eat are up for grabs.
Should be a great time for all!

17 November 2008

The S word

The winds of change may have arrived this week. Yesterday morning I had the windows open upstairs as I did laundry, and vacuumed the upstairs. By four in the afternoon I was putting on a sweater. The P68 in the living room even popped on for a bit that evening.
This year it has seemed like a really warm fall. Part of this may be true, and part of it may be new windows, doors, and added insulation we added this past spring. Our pellet stove has usually gone on in September and has used up two plus tons of pellets at this point. I can think of three, maybe four, times that it has come on at all, and it has only been briefly, so far. Of course, right on cue, it popped on as I was typing this...
The last few days we have had alternating forecasts saying flurries, clear and cold, or the S word- snow!
I grew up in Colorado so I am not a stranger to snow. But, contrary to popular opinion it does not snow much on the front range where we lived, and it doesn't last long- usually a day or two and then melts.
Moving to New England was a wake up call. We moved right after Christmas and snow was on the ground. They had said it came early that year so they didn't get to finish raking up leaves, and it still stayed until nearly May!
I have a love hate relationship with snow. This time of the year I romanticize it a bit. I look forward to making snow angels, going ice skating, and playing with the dog. That will change quickly with shoveling, and tramping out to the greenhouse three times a day for eggs and to give the girls unfrozen water!

Last year was a real test. It snowed on Tuesday and Friday, with an occassional small flurry or two in between. I think I put more gas in the snow blower than I put in my car over the winter!

I was at a meeting with the selectmen to set our tax rate today, and as often comes up the driveway plowing was discussed. We have a weird little town that works driveway plowing into the taxes. There is a ton of discussion about whether it's advisable or even legal, but we have done it for years... My feelings- get rid of it. Not that I wouldn't LOVE to have someone plow my driveway- but, the fact is that even though I pay for it in my taxes and a plow driver does drive past my house at some point...

They rarely if ever do more than a single swipe with their blade right by the road, and more often they shove the big pile of snow right in front of my garage creating even more work than if we had no one do it all!

Of course, hubby is on pins and needles waiting for it to snow. His life long dream of doing ski patrol will become reality once we finally get some white stuff on the mountain! Plus he has some new skis to try out. Someone finally convinced him that his 1980 210's were just a little too long and geezerish for him to have any credibility on the slopes!
Then there is the business. Pellets were in super high demand this year, and the longer it stays warm the better off we'll be...
I love snow at Christmas. Trekking through the snow covered woods to get a Christmas tree, and the decorative lights reflecting off of the snow and ice.

Nothing beats a bright red cardinal in fresh fallen snow! But, since we spend Thanksgiving at the beach, I prefer it to wait until December.

The malapuppy loves the snow! You cannot get him inside the house when it snows. He just curls up in a little ball and accumulates a nice warm snow blanket. He loves to follow in our path (read- ride on the back of our skiis) as we go cross country skiing around the yard.

Snow shoeing is something I want to try this year.

Our friends have a ski hill in their back yard and Art has a great time with his friend and their kids going up the rope tow, then down through the trees as fast as they can!
I do love the seasons, and think I would miss them terribly if we ever left New England.

So bring it on!

15 November 2008


Here is a good puzzler for you:
Which four US states have capitols named after former Presidents? (I will post the answer in a few days...)

12 November 2008

Tools or toys?

Fall. It's like going back to school. Traveling and summer play time are done. Time to get back to work. The projects that have been left for a rainy day can now be done. One project has waited maybe a little too long this year. Raking. Growing up in Colorado I never raked leaves. Our largest tree was maybe six feet tall. The seedlings my Dad had planted around the property I remember dragging three connected hoses around the yard to water, but not raking. We moved to NH and our first house had about 1/3 of an acre to rake, but hubby cleared most of the trees so we could mostly mulch. This new house has a lot of grassy areas. We only rake in front of the stream but there is the South yard, the back yard, the front yard, then up by tree and fruit trees, then all around the raspberry patch. Phew! Tired just thinking about it. I have a little sweeper that fits on the back of our lawn tractor. The problem is that if the leaves get more than a couple of inches deep you can't make it across the yard without overfilling the sweeper bag which starts to cause a fire as the leaves back up... That point passed maybe a month ago. So the alternate way was with rakes and sheets and lots and lots of sweat and elbow grease. Or??? Yup. Leaf blower. Probably a little embarassing, but it is saving time and at very least a lot of sweat and elbow grease.
We got the backpack version because holding a twelve pound machine would get old after about twenty minutes. Hubby was able to blow the south yard and the back yard yesterday. Hopefully we can get the upper yard done today. I think the front yard will still have to be done the old fashioned way since there is nowhere to blow to, but it is the smallest so I am o.k. with that!
I took the day to rearrange the office. I didn't like that my upstairs computer had to be on for us to print anything. I also didn't like running up and down the stairs to have to turn the computer on, remember to turn the computer off, go get the print job... So, I got a wifi printer/fax/copeir thingy- about two months ago. Thought it was about time to hook it up. Sounds easy, but it involved moving the Vonage hub and cable modem across the room, then moving the wireless router down into the bar where I have the wifi printer.

Hubby has also been operating out of a postal box (the kind Lizzy likes to sleep in!) So I moved his desk out of the cottage and up to the office. They both fit along the windowed wall so we both have a view!
I still need to take a trip to the used office supply store to get yet another filing cabinet for me- thanks to Uncle Sam who makes me keep 7 years of paper for the biz (about two file boxes a year!). and of course, bring the USPS their boxes back! (oops!)

Then we move on the ever fun project of diggin down a couple of feet to put wire mesh and gravel around the outside of the coop to keep out the weasels that have begun tunneling in (frat-a-rata-frata...)

10 November 2008


When I finally went grocery shopping yesterday (yay!) I noticed that the frozen turkeys were in place, and pumpkin pie makings were set up in a nice display at the front of the store. At home I have noticed a flurry of family e-mails about the biggest event in the year (as far we are concerned ;)- Thanksgiving. Christmas may be big for some, but Thanksgiving is the big winner here. It is a multiple day event and we take it quite seriously! Our business is pretty good on perks, and one perk that we have honored is a two day Thanksgiving holiday.
On Wednesday as we get out of work we head over to Art's sister's house for spaghetti night to kick off the festivities. Thursday we all get up early (early gets a little later some years depending on weather...) and the whole clan- cousins, uncles and aunts, sisters, brothers, neices, nephews... head out to Plum Island. This is a great little nature preserve on the coast of Mass that is packed all summer long. At Thanksgiving we often have the beach to ourselves, not that we wouldn't offer some cider to a passerby! Then off to Art's oldest sister's home for Turkey dinner. Friday, the grown ups all get up early (depending on weather, etc...) and head off to the mall's. This is the way to take advantage of the kid's parents knowledge while shopping for them :)
Anyhoo, this has me thinking about the goodies we will see and or bring to the festivities. Apple and pumpkin pie are the honorary staples of the holiday. However, I think we all have a dozen recipes that everyone in our family already loves.
Here are some of my additional favorites:
Whoopie Pies- A distinctly New England treat if I do say so myself. I first heard of them in Greeley, CO while in college when Art's sister sent him a care package full of these little cake sandwiches with white fluffy goo in the middle... Wow! those were tasty! Art's youngest sister went a step beyond and makes Pumpkin Whoopie Pies for the beach!
This one is easy, inexpensive, and if you only try one this is what I recommend.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
1 box spice cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 small can pumpkin

Mix above ingredients, and drop onto parchment paper. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes.

1/2 cup butter
8 oz. cream cheese
2 cup powdered sugar
3.5 oz. Fluff
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Mix above and use as filling between two of the above cookie-cakes.

Another is a favorite growing up. Pecan pie. My Mother would make this every holiday for us.
Deluxe Pecan Pie
Pie crust
2 Tbsp. chopped pecans
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 cup dark brown corn syrup
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup (plus) pecan halves
Heat oven to 375F. Prepare your favorite pie crust recipe and add the chopped pecans. In mixer beat eggs, sugar, salt, butter, syrup and cream. Stir in vanilla, brandy, and pecans. Pour into pie crust (I like to put more pecan halves on top of the pie, too) and bake for 40-45 minutes or until filling is set and pastry is golden brown. Cool and enjoy.
This last one is by far the easiest. The trick is that it takes a week to ten days to go from beginning to end. Kringle. A Danish favorite. My family is from Wisconsin and my grandparents would always send us Kringle for the holidays. What a treat. I have never tried to make it because I know I could not do as well as O&H bakery in my family's home town. My classic favorites are the chocolate pecan, cream cheese, almond, and pecan. Oh, then there's Blueberry, and Apple. O.k. I haven't had a bad one yet! All I do is go to their web site O&H Bakery Web Site and put my order in. Tip- always order an extra one or three for the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That stuff evaporates faster than anything known to man! Especially the chocolate ;)
Last bit is to start hopping on the treadmill for an extra hour a day starting now, so you don't have any holiday snack guilt!

08 November 2008

Week in Review & Rotten Roo!

What a week-
When we got our little chicks- 28 of them between the two of us- we knew there was a chance that at least one in five could be a rooster. I took eight and my friend took the other twenty. She lost two in the first few weeks. I won the lottery and got the one Roo- and he's a big one! This has been a mixed blessing. Where my girls are now laying (two to three a day :) my girlfriend's not only are not yet laying, they are attacking the fake eggs she put in the laying boxes (to show them where to go...) My girls also have a defender. He is a very good protector. Unfortunately, that leads to the down side. Often the one he ends up "protecting" them from is ME! He likes to hide behind the bobcat and go for my ankles. Or if I turn my back too long I will hear him gearing up and or flapping his beaky way toward me. Our coop door was in two parts a 1/3 top that was sticky so I generally left it shut, and a 2/3 bottom that I used to get in and out of the coop. Well, to get in that door you have to duck down under the top. If you have chicken under your feet and take your eyes off of Elliot Roo for even a second he thinks you are fair game and goes for it! I got this when he jumped at me last night as I was making sure Dorey didn't get stepped on. Silly me- I put my hand up to try to stop him! If I bring Art he doesn't do it. Otherwise I have to remember to wear pants- thick pants!

Polar and Zoi got sick this week. I had switched Zoi's food to a blend for healthy urinary tract and she had insta-flu shall we say. In one end- out the nearest and every exit! Switched back and she is much better now. We store the dog's food in a plastic bin. This helps keep the mice out of the food, and looks better than a big ole bag of food in the middle of the living room. We were scraping the bottom of the barrel as we have been too busy to go grocery shopping in the last couple of weeks. Insert pic of our sad empty fridge... Polar was very sick, too. I think the food at the bottom of that barrel had gone rotten causing the problems. Something to note. We threw it out and cleaned the bin before starting fresh. He is back to happy and bouncy (just as it started to rain for days in a row, of course ;) Hubby's been gimping around after a hard working sweating lift evacuation training session for ski patrol. He also learned where to cut the umbilical cord- so all you eight months pregnant skiers out there will have a friend in him ;) ???

We finally pulled the trigger and (cross fingers) purchased property for the business. It is a great flat 2.5 acres with two buildings that has an office between. It is on the corner of two busy roads in a town South of our shop. Of course, I have been up late every night this week, and up early to try to get reconciles done to give the bank some clean numbers.
The election. I am still a little (lot) cranky about this. I did not vote for Bush, and I did NOT vote for Obama. 2012- here we come. I don't think people know how much money Obama will take from their pockets to fund all of his social welfare programs. I also don't think he realizes how the people he advertises that he will take the money from are not only the ones who help create and provide jobs, but if they wanted to they could take their money and leave this country so they get nothing! I think Art's getting a new gun- while he still can! His x-mas request is a closet full of ammo.
Date night. My wonderful hubby and I went on a date last night. After we finished the P&S paperwork for the property we headed to Bertucci's for dinner, then off to the IMAX to see the long anticipated Madagascar 2. I loved the first movie and couldn't wait to see the second. Those penguins are the best! 'Smile and wave boys, smile and wave!' Of course, the monkeys were good too, and the lemurs, and the other characters... Yeah, a little sad. We loved the second one, too. We were early because we weren't sure we would find it so we went up the street to 99 for a pre-show beer and a wine (him beer, me wine). The IMAX is the way to see it. When the Mummy movie came out this summer they recommended IMAX but we saw it in the regular theater. Not the same. It was only $4 more for the ticket so it was well worth it. Plus it was date night. We even got Reeses Pieces to snack on. So if you haven't seen it yet, You need to Move it, move it. I like to move, it move it. We like to move it, move it...

03 November 2008


I know there is an election tomorrow, but quite frankly I don't think there is anything new to say on that topic. I haven't voted for a winner since the 1990's, and while I am hopeful for my candidate of choice I am out of energy to do anything else but put my vote in tomorrow(after morning coffee, of course...
So, on to another pressing ;) topic-
A New England tradition. So popular that the franchise has sold out. You can't open any more! Yet there are lines trailing out on to the street each morning as you head to work, even worse if the next closest is under construction.
Dunkin' Donuts- best coffee around.
If you gave a friend driving instructions by telling them to turn this way or that at the Dunkin' Donuts they would either die laughing or know that you didn't really want them to find the place they are looking for. On my drive to the store I only pass three, but if you go a mile further there are three more.
We are coffee lovers. I buy my coffee beans alternately from Gevalia and good ol' Dunkin's. So we have a fresh pot each morning. If I forget to pack my thermos for future cups it is just about certain that we will stop for a fresh cup of Dunkin's during the day. Decaf at night of course!
Today, when we stopped for an afternoon pick me up at Dunkies I noted a sign in the window that said Dunkin's beat Starbucks.
We have some less fortunate friends (who don't have any Dunkies around them) in Colorado who say they 'love' Starbucks. Nasty! We tell them they are not only totally crackers, but very VERY wrong! That stuff tastes burnt, bitter, and dare I say foul! Starbucks is the demonstration of what NOT to do to coffee- Yow! My neice (bless her) was among the disillusioned. After her first taste of a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Dunkies she started to reconsider. She commented (as have many others) that it is very smooth, and you don't need to add all that extra stuff to it to make it drinkable. It's yummy and smooth all by its warm-self! Helps keep the fingers warm in the winter, and nothing beats an ice cold coffee in the summer! Hazelnut is tasty, but the plain old plain is great, too! I can't wait for their Christmas buy one pound get one pound free!
Turns out we are not the lone messengers in this battle cry. Dunkin's did a good old fashioned blind taste test. Guess who won- over and over again?

Yeah- Dunkins!