A View From the Field








November, 2008


November 30

Wow, November is history! Where does the time go?


Last night, I read until 12:30 or so, then I aborted the bath and jumped into bed, wearing my lightest weight nightie, and I slept very well, thank you. I did reset the night temperature to a lower value, but I don't think it ever got down there.


I got up around 11:00, after dozing for half an hour or so, and I am now working on the heel of the sock. I knitted for quite a while, so that I am now going in circles again. Now I can go back to my eight rows a day.


I did do a little bit today. The last two loads of wash are in the dryer, so I will have clean underwear tomorrow. Otherwise, I sorted beads. I wanted to look at the last half kilo, but it isn't all that interesting. There aren't any triangles, and the drops are all red and green. Of course, that means I might have enough to do a Christmas ornament using them, and the red ones are very pretty, but there are other colors I like, too. When I got the orange beads out, and a whole bunch of very little pale yellow matte tubes, the rest of the batch looks quite pink, and that might be useful. I am working on Japanese beads, and while the ones in these assortments sometimes aren't a standard size (no doubt why they are there), they look to be more uniform, which is good when I want to use them.


I forgot to mention yesterday that in the morning, Buster turned over a box I had put aside to pack the silver in it (if I ever get around to it). It was full of packing paper, so he industriously pulled out all the paper and spread it out over the floor, then he got into the box and went to sleep. He has always liked to sleep in boxes, and it's been a long time since he's had one, but boy, did he make a mess! I heard him (or Jasmine?) rustling around in the papers a couple of times today, but I don't think either of them slept there. He certainly made a mess for his mama.


The weather was the usual. The temperature was steady at about 30║, with not much wind until around 4:00 when it picked up quite a bit, and is now in the 25-35 mph range out of the northeast. The lake is singing. It was dark and dull and sort of blah.


I didn't go out, although I think I have figured out an easier way to rescue the bird feeders. If I go out the basement door and use a rake, I can probably hook them and pull them over to where I can reach them.


I am feeling a bit better (or I was until I got tired again), and my legs are doing better, but my back is still bothering me. So now it's time to totter up to the north end and tonight I must bathe. 


But the lake will sing me to sleep. It's a cold, windy night in the field.


November 29

I really crashed last night, although I did take a bath. I read for a while, and I was in bed about 11:30, but I didn't sleep very well. I was warm all night, so tonight I will try the lighter nightie again and see if that helps. Getting the temperature right is sometimes a problem. I got up around 11:00 this morning, but I'm tired again, so maybe I can do it a bit earlier tonight. At least, I'm starting this entry a bit earlier.


So I didn't do very much today. I did begin to load the dishwasher, and there are a few things soaking in the sink, but mostly it's cat dishes and the dishes I've used the past couple of days. I really must get those pots and pans soaking. 


I sorted beads, and I got all the big interesting ones out of the entire kilo. But in the meantime, I decided to take out some other colors of opaque beads, so I have to go back over what I was through earlier. And then I noticed some really beautiful, very tiny metallic beads, and I would like to get those out just because they are so pretty. They are only 1.7mm wide, but they sparkle just beautifully, and I can see lots of uses for them in bead embroidery. So I keep on... I still have another half-kilo that I haven't looked at, which seems to have more little beads and fewer bugles and odd shapes, but I won't know until I pour them out of their bag. At least that batch doesn't have several hundred grams of big, ugly orange beads, like the kilo batch does. 


The batch I'm working on also has a lot of brown opaque beads, about the color of milk chocolate (see where my mind goes...). They are rather large, and they are very irregular, but with a lot of culling, they might be useful for something...trunks or branches or something like that.


I also went out onto the deck to fill the bird feeders, and I discovered that the platform feeder and its hook, as well as a block of woodpecker feed I had hung out, are on the ground under the tree. I don't quite know how that happened. I didn't think the winds were quite that strong. So I will have to take a trip around the house and rescue them.


I had a lot of trouble getting out. The screen was frozen into its track, and I notice that part of the screen has come out of its frame on the opposite side from the last time. I ended up pushing it out of the track completely, and when I thought it over, I just brought it in the house. I will take it out to the garage one of these days. It's much easier to get out in the winter when the screen isn't on the door.


It was another unprepossessing day. The temperature hung at right about 30║ all day, with north winds in the 10-20 mph range. It was cloudy and dark, but there wasn't any snow.


Slowly my back and my knee are recovering. My back was some better today, but my knee buckled a couple of times. That was one reason I didn't go out to get the bird feeders. The other reason was that I was wearing my Crocs, and they have holes around the top of the soles, and my feet would have gotten wet. Tomorrow I will have to wear shoes, at least for a while.


Tomorrow I have to wash, too, so that will occupy me.


Now it's time to totter up to the north end and read a while. It's another dark, cold night in the field.


November 28

I guess it was about 2:00 when I finally got to bed, and while I didn't get up until around 11:00, I didn't get enough sleep, and I was tired and sore all day. Particularly nasty was that my left knee kept collapsing. And besides that, I had another accident this morning. Oh, well.


So except to clean up after myself, I didn't do much all day. I did run water into the plates, so they should be ready to put in the dishwasher when I get around to it. The pots, of course, are all dried up, so they will require considerable soaking before I wash them.


It was another dull, gray day, but the promised snow never did materialize, at least around here. It was breezy, in the 15-30 mph range from the north, and the temperature was steady around 34║. I should refill the bird feeders, but I just didn't feel like it. Between my knee and my back, I decided to spend most of the day sitting down, so I did.


Debbie called tonight, and we had our usual long conversation. Her son, who was in Stevens Point, WI playing hockey, is home now, because somebody associated with the league embezzled all the money and the league had to shut down until they finish suing the guy. And she has a new boy friend, which is nice for her. So that is most of the news on that front.


I am so tired that I am planning to try to get to bed early tonight (for me), although it usually takes close to an hour to compose this thing, edit it, upload it, and reboot the computer. And I do want to read for a bit. Tonight I have to take a bath, so it won't be really early.


Oh, yes, and I heard from my mortgage banker. They turned down my application for an interest-only loan, but they approved a 30-year fixed rate loan at 5.3%...I know, it makes no sense at all. Except that the interest rate on the interest-only loan was a lot higher, and when they underwrite those things, they do it as though the payment was actually what the amount would be if it was a regular fixed-rate loan...and they don't take into consideration what I am paying now or whether I could continue to pay it. None of it makes much sense, but since the only mortgages that are being approved these days are backed by Fannie Mae, and that amounts to a government agency, it's the usual government illogical rules. At least I'll be able to save a couple hundred dollars a month, and that's something. We probably won't close until close to the end of the month, to save me from having to pay as much interest as possible.


The banker wanted me to not pay the December payment, but that would mean it would be late, and while he assured me that it wouldn't go onto my so-far sterling credit rating, I don't quite believe him, so I am going to pay it anyway. When I consider what has gotten into my credit report, it would be just my luck to have that late payment get there.


I was disappointed that the interest-only loan wasn't approved, but this is the next best thing, and considering that the interest rates aren't ever likely to be this low again, I wasn't going to turn down the offer. Any amount will help. Besides, the payment he was quoting me was on a larger principal than I think the final loan will be, the payment is likely to be more then $200 less than I'm paying now. Unfortunately, the mortgage calculation program in my calculator got erased, so in order to see what kind of payment it will actually be, I would have to find my HP user's manual and put the program back into it. I didn't feel like doing that today.


Now I can start trying to scare up some more money for next year. My Social Security will go up a bit, which will help, but I need some other sources of income. I have a lead to another company that will place ads on my website, which I will be looking into, and I have a lead on possible jobs from home. Both those things would help.


So that was my quiet day, and I'm tired!! It's a dark, breezy night in the field, very good for sleeping.


November 27 - Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everybody had a lovely Thanksgiving. We did.


I didn't get to bed until about midnight, but I slept. I was awake around 8:30, and that just seemed too early to get up, so I went back to sleep until 10:30, and that was too late.


So the turkey got into the oven a little late, about 12:30. I keep forgetting what a job it is to get a turkey ready to roast. 


Then I had any number of tasks to complete, including getting the table set and vacuuming up all the flies. Vacuuming was frustrating. I would go over an area and when I came back, there would be more flies. I finally gave up. Ron has flies, too, so he knows about that.


Trevor didn't come, the fink. He missed a good dinner. But Ron and I got to talk about some things we probably wouldn't have if he'd been here, so that was nice. I like to talk and he likes to talk, so we did.


Anyway, the turkey was a real success. The breast meat was very tender and very moist, the stuffing came out pretty good, and everything was fine. Now I have lots of leftovers. Yum! I always say I'm going to package up some TV dinners when I roast a turkey, but somehow there is never enough left after I eat for a few days and make tetrazini. Maybe this year, but I doubt it. I love turkey too much.


The weather was interesting. Cloudy, of course. and along about noon or so it started snowing lightly, then not so lightly. For most of the afternoon it was light enough not to register anything in the rain gauge at the waste treatment plant, but I think maybe a couple of inches came down. It is still snowing lightly. The temperature hovered right around 30║ all day, and the wind was rather light until just a little while ago, when it picked up into the 20-30 mph range, from the north, of course.


Ron is not going to have to plow nearly as much road this year as he did last. Mac doesn't need to get into his house early in the spring, and there is no one out on Lake Lily Road this year, so he only has to do Woodland from his house to the highway, and he as agreed to plow one driveway on the Lake Fanny Hooe side. I hope he can get Aaron and Steve to spell him on weekends.


Buster was delighted, both that I was sitting down a lot (late in the day) and that Ron was here. He likes Ron. He sat on our laps and twined around our legs and generally seemed happy. I think partly it is because all of the dry food dishes with the stuff he likes are empty, and he is out in the kitchen howling now, so I will have to break down and fill them. There is still food in one dish, but he doesn't like that flavor. Picky, isn't he? Jasmine doesn't like it much either, but she'll eat it.


So that was my nice day. The kitchen is a disaster, but what else is new? I am not going to start cleaning it up at this late date. In fact, I think I am going to forego the bath tonight and jump into bed. I did work pretty hard, and I am tired.


It is a snowy, wintry night in the field.


November 26

I tried to be good, but it was 1:00 when I got into bed. I didn't think I slept all that well overnight, but I guess I did. I finally got up around 10:30, which was better than yesterday, for sure.


I guess  I didn't get everything done that I wanted to do, but I did get the squash cooked, prepared and stored away. Most of it went in the freezer. I didn't lose one squash to mold this year, so I ended up having to use both ovens to bake it. There was one small pan with 3 halves in it that just wouldn't fit in the oven with the other three big cookie sheets. Then of course, after it cooled, I had to scoop it all out of the skins, mash it up and add butter and pepper. The first bowl I used was too small, so I had to transfer it to my biggest bowl. That is in the sink now, ready to be washed. I think there was nearly 3 quarts when I was through.


It is good squash, as usual, but I have to remember I have it in the freezer and eat more of it.


I guess that was about all I did. I did get the dishwasher unloaded and all the clean pots and pans put away, so that was something. I will be busy tomorrow.


I did go to the post office, where there was another whole pile of catalogs and pleas for money.


The weather was as usual. We did have a little sunshine around noon, but it soon went away. The temperature was around 34║ all day, with a moderate wind from the north. It wasn't bad outside, but it was pretty humid, which didn't do a thing for my back. Fortunately, I have my rolling stool, which has already paid for itself. 


This was one of the few times when I wish I had a man around the house, though. Halving squash, even little squashes like the delicatas, is very difficult. After I started bending the tip of my smaller chef's knife, I hauled out the big one, but it was still hard. For one thing, I am always afraid the knife will slip and slice me, and for another, I simply don't have the arm and shoulder strength to push through the tough skins and ends of those squashes. I banged on the counter so much I woke up both fur faces, who couldn't figure out what in the world I was doing, making all that noise.


I also discovered that I don't have a round damask tablecloth. That's weird - I thought I did - so sometime I will have to invest in one. Sometimes some of the mail order sources have those things on sale after the first of the year. Now that I have all my nice china and silver, I need a nice round white damask cloth for when I only have two or three guests.


So tomorrow will be a busy day, and I'm off to the north end and I hope to get to bed early and sleep long and hard.


It's another cloudy, quiet night in the field.


November 25

I did it again. It was 2:00 before I got into bed, and it was 12:45 when I finally climbed out. I have to stop this and haul myself back onto a normal schedule, or we'll be eating Thanksgiving dinner at midnight.


The task of the day was to wash and iron tablecloths, but I was rather thwarted. I got them washed, and one of them ironed, but the big one has what appears to be a scorch mark on it, so I rewashed it. Then I discovered that the two outlets in the laundry room and the one in the hallway don't work, so I had to set up the ironing board at the end of the kitchen. And then, when I tried to fold up the ironing board (which was my mother's), the lever broke off and I can't get it to collapse. Aarrgghhh....


Since the grounding outlet didn't trip, I have to assume there is a circuit breaker in the basement that did, and I didn't feel like going down and trying to find it. The mark seems to be gone from the table cloth, but now I have to iron it. I guess I will just take the ironing board downstairs the way it is and fiddle with it some other time. My ironing board, which is downstairs, is much more stable anyway, so at some point I may try to bring it upstairs. If I do any amount of sewing I will need something more than my ironing blanket.


I washed up all the dirty pots and pans, which are drying on the counter, and I have the dishwasher almost ready to run tonight. I also cleaned the cooktop and sort of did a job on the counters on that side.


I have a lot of things to do tomorrow.


I haven't seen very may flies alive, but they are all over the floors, so they need to be swept up. I need to clean off the dining room table and find the round tablecloth - both the ones I washed are oval - and there are a couple of boxes I would like to get into the basement, besides the ironing board.


I also finished the sorting of the kilo of beads I've been working on for so long. There is actually much more to do, but I did get the essentials done - sorted by color, mostly, although all the metallics are together. I put all the bags in a basket and set it aside and started on something more interesting. The new batch is from Japan, and there are cubes, triangles, drops and bugles in it. There were also a lot of ugly size 8║ orange opaque beads that I took out. I thought that would be all for tonight, but then I noticed some extremely pretty (if rather large) pale orchid pearls , so I had to at least look through the batch and find as many of those as I could. They would go nicely with the bright orchid size 11║ in the batch I just finished. And that's the reason I keep sorting beads: every new batch has something a little different and very pretty. Unfortunately, sometimes there are only a few, but some of them I could use for bead embroidery.


The weather was just about the same as it's been lately. The temperature was steady around 35║. It was quite windy this morning, in the 15-30 mph range from the north, but it has quieted down almost completely now. There were a few short rays of sunshine, but mostly it was cloudy, as usual.


So that was my day, and there will be no reading tonight. I need to get to bed (although it's already not a reasonable hour) so I can get up at a reasonable hour tomorrow.


November 24

Well! After I posted the journal last night, I got to sorting beads, and then when I finally got up to the north end, I started reading, and it was 3:00 before I turned out the light. That was not what I intended. Besides, something wasn't right after I woke up at 8:30, so I didn't sleep all that well until I got up at 11:30. I did have a rather interesting and vivid dream, however.


That was not what I intended, but oh, well. So I did my morning surfing, made a little list, and was off to town. I got what I went for, I think (or I should say, I hope!), and I didn't do too much damage, especially if you don't count almost $100 in Jack Daniels. It would be a sad thing indeed if I got so strapped for cash that I couldn't have my JD. Now I am extremely well supplied for the next month or more.


I got a nice fresh turkey, although it is basted. All the unbasted ones were either 10 lbs or 20 lbs. Once in my life I cooked a 16 lb turkey, and I don't think I want to do that again. For one thing, it takes all day, and for another, hoisting it around is difficult. This one is between 13 and 14 lbs, and I think it will be all right.


Apparently not everyone eats turkey on Thanksgiving, because they had beef tenderloins, among other things, and a new one on me: beef back ribs. I'm not sure what they have to do with standing rib and short ribs. They looked interesting, but they would just have been something else to stash in the freezer. I still have the tenderloin I bought last year. If I don't find a standing rib for Christmas, I will have my tenderloin and think of my Jewish aunt who passed away a couple of years ago.


We used to always go to their house (he was my mother's uncle) on Christmas Eve, and she always got beef tenderloins from a restaurant he had an interest in. Talk about good meat...Ah, the memories!


Anyway, there was no Pepperidge Farms stuffing this year, oddly enough, so I just bought unseasoned bread cubes, and I will use the recipe I wrote down a year or so ago. I think I've mentioned that I use a lot of herbs, as well as onion, in my turkey stuffing. The main flavoring is savory, but there is sage, thyme, rosemary and who knows what else in it. I like it strongly flavored, and it gives a very nice flavor to the meat.


The only problem I have now is that the fridge is so stuffed full of stuff I am almost afraid to open it. There is some stuff I can throw out, and I should, but that won't help a lot. When I get my chicken dish and the bowl of canned fruit I keep forgetting out of there, it will be a little better.


I got home just before 5:00. When I went down, the covered road was quite slushy in spots, which always makes for interesting driving, but from Delaware south, it was just wet. It was better coming home. I didn't encounter a car in my direction until I got to Kearsarge, although there was a a bit of traffic in the other direction. I didn't encounter any cars north of Calumet coming back. In fact, traffic was so light that I was quite surprised to see so many cars parked at Econo.


The weather was...eh. Coming and going, I ran through some areas of ice pellets around Kearsarge, and a little snow between Calumet and Hancock, but nothing serious. The temperature got up to about 36║ in Houghton, with a little wind. Here, it was about 35║ all day, and the wind has shifted around to the northeast and is now about 20 mph. I can hear the lake fussing a bit in the background. When I left, around 1:30, there was a very short period of nearly clear skies and sunshine, but it only lasted about 5 minutes. I did wear my sunglasses down to about the Cliff Bar, but after that it got darker and I took them off.


This was the first time since spring that I haven't taken Cliff Drive. It was open, but it looked slushy and unpleasant, and I get enough of that around here, so I went through Mohawk. At this time of year, there isn't enough traffic for that to slow me down very much, and the road is always cleared and salted.


A couple of mornings ago, around 3:00, I saw Ron going down the road in the tractor, I assume with the blade, and it is now nice and flat and we are getting a good base. That is the most important thing about keeping it open. The snow is filling in all the potholes, and pretty soon it will be nearly as smooth as pavement, much smoother than it is in the summer. When I went out this afternoon, I noticed that there seems to have been quite a lot of traffic, and I wonder who besides Ron is out beyond me. There also seems to be somebody out on Lake Lily Road, but I thought the guy who lived there last year had left. I will have to find out from Ron who's here. He usually knows.


So that was my day, the turkey is home, and now I will go up to the north end. I will probably read for a while, but maybe I can get to bed a little earlier tonight.


Another clipper is coming through, and the lake will sing me to sleep tonight.


November 23

Tonight I'm a little earlier. I dropped into bed about 2:30, and got up around 10:30, which is not enough sleep, for sure, but I didn't feel too bad. I knitted a bit this morning - I'm back to the 8 rows a day on the Maizy sock - and got to the office around noon.


It seems that the platform feeder is just fine while hanging in the tree. At least I saw a couple of squirrels in it. I know it will get covered with snow, but at least I will be able to find it, and it won't get frozen to the deck or blown over the side. I actually have two of those, but the hangers for the other one got blown away in a gale a number of years ago. Maybe in the summer I will leave the one in the tree and put the other one on the deck. I don't know if the chipmunks will be able to get into the hanging one.


I didn't do much today - too tired - but I did cook some chicken for a couple of days' meals. I finally washed the down parka and several polar fleece jackets. And I turned on the humidifier. The humidity around here has gotten down to 25% and is dropping. Much lower and my nose will start to crack. I hope it is working.


The parka is still in the dryer. I have to use low heat on it, since it's down, and it didn't dry completely on the first cycle, for some reason. I hope it is dry now, because with two down rings and all the zippers and things, it's awfully noisy when it's running. I kept the door shut.


The weather was extremely dark and dreary all day long, but there was no precip. Darkness came very early. The temperature rose gently to 32║, where it has been for most of the afternoon. There were very light breezes from the west-southwest, under 10 mph.


So I sorted beads, and I have started the last batch of this kilo. It is sort of a large batch, but splitting it in two would be too small and take too long. I swept the floor, because I looked down and saw more white beads on the floor, from when I dropped all of them. I sometimes think they come out of the woodwork. They were sort of under the computer, and I know I've swept there several times. I had dropped quite a few beads, so it was time to sweep anyway. What I don't understand is where all that other stuff comes from, since I sweep regularly around the desks.


So that was my quiet day, and now I have to put the rest of my dinner away. It's a dark, cold night in the field tonight.


November 22

Well, it's tomorrow already, but oh, well. I got to reading one of the stories in the computer and I just kept on until I finished it.


I started rereading the white binder last night, and I think it was after 1:00 when I got to bed. I wore a little bit thicker nightgown, and I pulled up the other comforter so that it covered my legs and feet from the knee down, and I was quite comfortable. Oh. It seems I frequently forget about that in the fall, until I have several nights like the ones I had last week.


I got up around 10:00 this morning, and I knitted on the sock for a while before I got dressed. I didn't do a lot today, unfortunately, except clean out the trash in the kitchen and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Oh, yes, I did get the bird feeders refilled, and I rearranged things so that the platform feeder is now hanging rather than on the deck. I don't know if the critters will like it as well, but at least I will be able to find it. There is a website that has a very nice covered platform feeder that is meant to sit on the ground, but it's expensive, so we will just have to make do. I didn't do that until after dark tonight, so we'll see what happens tomorrow.


The weather was certainly better than yesterday. The temperature was about 27║ all day, with very light winds from the southwest, and we even had a little blue sky and sunshine late in the afternoon. It was nice to see the sun, but it went away fast.


I also noticed how quickly it gets dark at this time of year. The sun set just after 5:00, and by 6:00 it was dark. Boom. When I went out to hang the bird feeders, Venus was hanging high over Lake Fanny Hooe, very bright and very pretty. I guess Jupiter is someplace over there, too, but I didn't notice it.


i finally went shopping in  my freezer in the basement, and I came upstairs with a whole bunch of stuff to eat, as well as a better idea of what I have down there. I don't remember making chicken a la king, but there are several containers down there. I must try to remember that and eat some of it. I did bring up the last quart of bean soup, so after I get the Thanksgiving stuff out of the way, I will have to make soup - pea this time, I think.


I brought up the last packages of the English muffins I was getting through the mail, but the more I eat them the less I like them, and I don't think I will order them again. They aren't English muffins like I know them, and most of the flavors are rather gluey inside, which isn't the right texture. Well, I gave them a long trial. Now I can go back to Thomas's.


Now it is very late, so I will go up to the north end and jump into bed without a bath. It's a cold, cloudy night in the field.


November 21

I finished the story last night! I know I said that back in March, but this time I think it's really finished. Now I have to read through it and make sure it flows properly, but I think I've got it done. Amazing. I started it sometime in 1987 - there is a notation on the top of the first page that says "this takes up where a dream left off", and I even vaguely remember the dream. It defined one of the main characters.


Anyway, it was 12:30 or so by the time I got to bed, and I didn't sleep very well again until early in the morning, and I didn't get up until after 11:00. I am thinking that my problem has been that I'm not quite warm enough. I know when I got into bed, my hands and feet were frigid, and I suspect the rest of me wasn't warm enough to be really comfortable. So tonight I will try a slightly warmer nightgown and see if that helps. I don't think I have a wearable flannel nightie, but I will take a look.


So I had a truncated day again.


However, when I read my email, a new neighbor of mine, Mike, who does some technical work for PastyNet, had read the journal, done some checking and some work, I think, and the broadband is working again! Thanks, Mike, I really appreciate that. He didn't say what he found or what the problem was, but whatever, he fixed it. I don't find that completely satisfactory: my acquisitive little mind wants to know exactly what the problem was and what he did about it. I hate to say it, but I have the suspicion that the guy I talked to yesterday, who had been working with somebody in Eagle Harbor, screwed something up at the Mountain Lodge that cut me off. I'll probably never know, unless I can corner Mike and pin him to the wall.


Anyway, it certainly is nice to have my broadband back! It's actually not all that high speed, compared to DSL, or even to the wireless I got in the motel in Detroit, but it sure is better than dialup! I got to do my morning surfing in comfort. In fact, it's working so well that I wonder if there hasn't been some sort of problem with it for the past week or so.


I had some plans to fill bird feeders and maybe go out for dinner tonight, but when I saw the weather, I decided to hibernate. The temperature has been between 17║ and 20║ for the past 24 hours, with north winds in the 15-25 mph range, which puts the wind chill down around 3║. Not nice. There were lake effect snow showers all day, but there doesn't seem to have been any more accumulation.


I need to wash my down parka, so I will be ready for the next blasts of frigid air.


Apparently the problem Ron had was not with the tractor but with the pump in the 50 gallon drum of diesel fuel he uses to fill it. He said the exit hole from the pump was full of chunks of ice, and after he thawed that out, it works fine.


UPS delivered my Thanksgiving chocolate turkeys to the Gaslite, and when Ron stopped by, they gave the box to him, so I had to go out and meet him and trade him my box for a check for the tractor. It was cold out, even in the garage. Brr! This is about 10║ below our normal minimum temperature, and I hope it doesn't bode for the rest of the winter. 


The front steps are covered with snow and I have decided to declare them inaccessible for the winter, as usual. it's just too much trouble to try to keep them cleaned off. We will just have to come and go through the garage until the thaw next spring. I need to clean out some stuff that is cluttering up the breezeway - trash bags and grocery bags - but it's an easy way to get into the house.


When I got to the office this morning, the temperature in here was 62║ - a little too cool to be sitting around. It was also cooler here than even in the great room. I endured it until late in the afternoon, when it became clear that it wasn't going to warm up, before I finally bumped up the thermometer. I'm not sure what the problem is, or whether there is something wrong with the thermostat, but it is very nice not to have hands like two icicles when I try to use the computer or sort beads. Or possibly I hit the wrong button at some point and actually turned the heat off in here? I don't know, but it's nice and cozy now.


So that was my day, and I'm tired again. I want to start reading the story (hereafter known as the white binder) again, and as you know, when I get into one of those things, sometimes I get sidetracked and forget to go to bed.


It's a very cold, snowy night in the field tonight, and a good one to curl up under the covers and hibernate.


November 20

So last night, I was a good girl. I read over the last stuff I wrote, but I didn't write anymore, and I was in bed by 10:30...and I couldn't sleep. In fact, I didn't sleep very well all night long, and I don't know why. I got up around 9:30, and I finished the knitting on the sweater with about half a ball of yarn left. Now all I have to do is work in all the yarn ends, sew on the buttons, and wash it. I think it's going to be a nice warm sweater, and I think I may need it.


I did my normal surfing, and I was fiddling around trying to get the camera aimed right when all of a sudden my broadband connection went away. So I did all the usual things, and since it didn't come back, I called PastyNet. Well...after considerable checking both from my end and their end, it appears that my receiver may have died. Oh, dear. Somebody is supposed to be out sometime to check it out, and in the meantime I am on dialup.


What that means is 28.8kb (groan!) and numerous redials, especially in the weather we're having. So I have a request for those of you who correspond with me: until I get the broadband back, please do not send me any long emails or large attachments. It takes forever to receive them and ties up the line, which affects the camera. 


The camera will probably not be updating very regularly, either, since the line has been dropping regularly and even though I will reset the parameters (if I can remember how) to redial, that doesn't always happen.


The weather...oh, the weather! The wind has continued in the 25-50 mph range from the north, the lake is roaring in a tenor tone, and there have been numerous heavy lake effect snow squalls all day, although there still doesn't seem to be much accumulation. I have about a 12" drift in front of the garage, but it's not too deep to get through, and the rest of the driveway and the road are just fine. The temperature dropped off overnight, to about 24║ all morning and 26║ all afternoon. I went to the post office, and it was cold outside. And windy. And nasty.


The tractor came home today, and the price per person wasn't too bad, but there seems to be something else wrong with it (like the fuel pump, maybe?) so I'm not sure whether it's available for use or not.


I did some bead sorting and I threw away some more catalogs (although I got rid of most of the new ones to Mary Ann at the post office). I brought the snow shovel almost inside, and I got the boxes out of the breezeway and into the garage. Tomorrow I will try to get the bird feeders refilled, although I have to refill the pail first. I found the chains for the deck feeder, so I think I will hang it for the winter. At least the birds and I should be able to find it if it is hanging up.


Tonight I sent an email to HP to ask them whether I should consider the printer dead or not, or if not, how can it be fixed.


So that was my day, and I'm tired again, so I will totter up to the north end, but this time I think I may write again. I seem to sleep better when I go to bed later.


It's another cold, hairy night in the field, and it will be good to hunker down under the covers and snooze away.


November 19

I got up to the north end at a fairly reasonable time last night, but then I picked up my pen, and it was 1:00 before I turned out the light. Trouble is, I'm quickly getting to the end of the story, and I want to finish it. Maybe not tonight, though. I didn't wake up for the first time until 7:00, and I didn't get up until nearly 11:30 (later every day!). I'm really tired tonight, even though I should have had enough sleep.


I did a few things today. I finally got all the books put away in the bookcase, and I got most of the trash into the wastebaskets in the kitchen. I got the dishwasher completely emptied and started filling it again, so the kitchen doesn't look too horrible. I washed the two comforters from the double bed, and they are in the dryer.


After taking the sheepskin pad out of the dryer today, it was so nice and soft and all the matting was gone, I really want to wash the one on my bed. Maybe later.


However, the whole dryer was full of lint or something that had come off the sheepskin, and I had quite a time getting it cleaned out. I worry that the part of the air exit that runs through the dryer is getting really full of lint, but I would have to completely disconnect the hose to clean it out, and that would be a pain.


Otherwise, I sorted some beads and I had several calls from my mortgage banker, not all of which were pleasant. I have to give up almost all of my line of credit in order to get the mortgage to close. I guess I will do it, but it annoys me, and it gives me a little fear, too. That was my backstop, and I won't have it anymore.


In the course of that, I discovered that my printer is sicker than I thought it was. I can't get a fax to print out of it, for the same reason I can't complete the cleaning of the cartridges. And I had to practically beat it with a stick to get a .pdf file to print. What an annoyance! I need that thing, and now is not the time to have to buy a new multifunction device. They are going for under $400, but that is more than I feel I can lay out right now. Grr.


The weather was...wintry. It was OK until around noon, but about the time I got to the office, it started to snow and blow, and it was like that for the entire afternoon. The wind has now gotten up into the 35-50 mph range (!). The temperature was steady at about 27║, then it started to rise when it started snowing, and it is now about 34║. The wind is from the north again, so while I can hear the lake fussing, and I suppose there will be some gusts banging on the house, I won't get the full force of the wind. We had enough snow that the NWS station reported 0.04" of precipitation. I can't tell how much snow fell - it was too windy. The marine forecast is saying the waves may get up to 15 feet, but of course, that will be overnight, when we can't watch them!


I had some conversations with Ron today, and the tractor is coming home tomorrow afternoon...just in time, it sounds like. I really think the guy who was servicing it thought that since Mac isn't here this winter, getting it done wasn't critical. I guess he got the word.


So that was my day, and I will totter up to the north end and hope to get to bed a bit earlier tonight and hope that the sound of the wind and the waves lulls me to sleep. It's a good night for that.


November 18

So much for that idea. I got into bed around 11:30, but it was after 2:30 before I really got to sleep. I don't know exactly what the problem was, but I kept thinking about Thanksgiving dinner. Why, I don't know.  Anyway, I got up around 10:30 anyway and knitted a while. I have about 5 rows left on the sweater, plus the finishing. So that project is getting done.


When I was awake during the night, the clouds looked like they were breaking up, but at one point there was a snow squall over the harbor and the moon was shining through the clouds into the bathroom. It was interesting...if you weren't trying to get to sleep.


I tried to do a few things today, but I wasn't very successful. I did look through and throw away a number of catalogs, and the dishwasher is mostly unloaded. And that was it.


The weather was so-so. It was dark and cloudy all day, but the wind is finally dying down and shifting to the south. The temperature has been about 27║ for the past 24 hours. That, by the way, is our average minimum temperature for this time of year. It looks like the winter may be like the rest of the year has been...abnormally cool. When I got to the bathroom this morning, it was snowing lightly, with big flakes coming down slowly, but that stopped and I don't think there was any more snow for the day.


I spent the late afternoon sorting beads and killing flies. They are attracted by the lights, and they kept landing on me...anyplace on me. Yuck. If these are cluster flies, which I think they may be, they don't carry diseases, but still. I do not like flies landing on me. The sorting is coming along, I guess.


Well, I will try the sleep thing again and see if I have any more energy tomorrow. There are some things I really do need to do.


It's a cold, cloudy night in the field, good for hibernating.


November 17

That didn't work out. I sorted beads for quite a while, then when I got up to the north end, I wrote for a while, and it was after 1:00 before I turned out all the light. Oh, well. So I didn't get up until after 11:00 this morning, which sort of shot the day. I knitted for a while and petted a cat, and it was almost 1:00 before I got to the south end, and it was 3:00 before I finished my morning surfing. Oh, well.


It was another good day to do not much, so I sorted beads and watched the weather.


IT was a pretty good day for that. The temperature was just about 28║ all day, and there was a strong northeast wind - 15-35 mph, with one 40 mph gust about  7:45 tonight. There were lake effect squalls all day long, but whether it snowed on you depended upon where you were. There were also a few rays of sunshine early in the day. There were two heavy squalls that I saw this afternoon that hit town and Brockway and we didn't get a flake here. In fact, the sun was shining a bit here during one of them. We did get one rather heavy one later, but it only lasted a few minutes. The lake has been fussing all day, and I noticed this morning that the ice sheets are building up on the rocks across from the channel. There is also enough snow on Brockway that you can see the road. We don't have much at all down here at the east end of the harbor.


I guess that the eastern UP has gotten socked, with up to 12" in parts of Alger County - that's between Munising and Grand Marais, more or less, although I didn't recognize any of the hamlets that were reporting. No fear. We'll get ours eventually. When the wind turns more northwesterly, we'll begin to get the best of it.


I do love to watch those squalls come through. First you see a very dark, fuzzy cloud over the lake, then you can't see the mountain, and then, if the wind is right, pretty soon you can't see anything. 


I am glad I closed the shutters when I did. I will probably have to fill the bird feeders tomorrow, and I will make another valiant effort to find the chains for the platform feeder.


My friend Sandi called this evening, and we had a nice chat. They are going to California for Thanksgiving, so they won't be here, which is a shame, but they haven't seen their son in some time, so it's nice for them.


She confirmed my sighting of the red-bellied woodpecker, though. Their cottage is on Lake Fanny Hooe, in the woods, and she said that all summer they were hearing it in the woods, even though they couldn't see it. So despite what the bird books claim, we evidently have a resident red-bellied woodpecker or two (I hope it's two!). Global warming, no doubt.


She confirmed the bear. They had a lot more problem with it than I did, for most of the summer. She said it was a rather large bear, so I suppose it was a casualty of the bear season. I do like bears, and I enjoy seeing them, but they are very destructive and can be real pests. Sandi said that it opened their garage door, which at that time wasn't locked, and opened the chest feeder, and pulled out all the ice cream she had just bought. Fortunately, she disturbed it before it got into most of the ice cream, but still, it was a mess. They have now figured out a way to lock the garage.


She also told me a very funny story, which made me laugh enough that my eyes watered, so that was a nice ending to the day. Now I am going up to the north end and try really hard to get to bed earlier than I have lately. There are some things I need to be doing, and now.


So that was my quiet, truncated day. It's another dark, noisy night in the field, good for sleeping.


November 16

Well, I sorted beads for a while, then I went up to the north end and wrote for quite a while, and it was midnight before I turned out the light.


The bead sorting turned into a near disaster. I was looking at one of my little triangular sorting trays when I twitched and about half an ounce of white beads went on the floor. Aaarrrrgghh!! So I swept...and I swept...and I swept some more, and finally I think I got all the beads up except for the one that is lodged in a crack in the floor. What an awful mess! I also found a number of other beads I had dropped along the way. I keep forgetting that I should do that with a linen towel on my lap, just to catch what falls off the desk. 


Anyway, I finally finished that and went up to the north end. The lake was singing and every so often I heard a gust of wind hit the house, and it was a good night to close all that out and write for a while. I think perhaps I am finally getting to the end of that story, although there are some things I need to do to wrap it up. I hit 1500 hand-written pages last night. It's not a short story.


I got up around 10:30 this morning, and I knitted until I started the ribbing, so that project is wrapping up, too. I am going to have to go downstairs and hunt up my black yarn for the next sweater, but I need to go down anyway, to put away my tax return (and MARK THE BOX!!!!) and get something to eat this week.


I was doing my morning surfing (the one comics website is still plaguing me), when I got one of those urges. I would have made it to the bathroom with just a little overflow except that when I got up there was a bird sitting between two rungs of the porch railing, and I looked at it too long, so I had a real mess. Darn. Just when I think I have everything under control, something like that happens. I have no idea why. It doesn't seem related to what I've been eating.


Anyway, after I cleaned that up and put my sweatpants and underpants (and slippers!) in the washer, I came back to the office and looked up the bird. I have a red-bellied woodpecker hanging around my feeders. According to the bird books, it isn't supposed to be here...except maybe "rarely". Well...there he is. Later in the day, he came back, and I got a good look at his back while he was clinging to the tree. I must put out a suet block tomorrow and hope he stays around.


So for the rest of the afternoon, I sorted beads. I finished a batch and started another. It's getting done. I would really like to put this batch away and start on a different one, which has cubes and triangles and interesting things like that in it, but then I'd have to do something with all the beads that are in the sorting trays, so I guess I will just keep on. Since I haven't completely sorted out what is in each tray, I need to go back through them and break them down further. I don't know if I will get to that before I get totally bored.


It is early enough that if I can get my act together, I might be able to finish my two Christmas stockings this year. At least I remembered them before December 20th.


 It was a winter day. When I got up, it was snowing briskly, and there was snow on the garage roof. There were lake effect squalls coming through all day, but there was hardly any accumulation. What showed on the deck was about all there was. The temperature was just about steady at 30║, and there was a north wind in the 20-30 mph range. It was good to be inside.


I noticed, from the camera pictures, that sometime before Friday night somebody moved the camera, and the thistle feeder is no longer in the picture. Ahem, Jasmine... I will try to move it back.


I've been pretty certain for a long time that the base of that doorframe, or maybe under the cupboard there, is one place where the mice get into the house. Jasmine also likes to chase flies, and of course, they tend to cluster around the windows. Keeping the camera pointed in the same direction all the time is not something she is likely to be concerned about.


So that was another quiet day, and it's winter in the field.


November 15

I wrote for a while last night and turned out the light at 11:30. The lake was singing and there was some wind, so I slept well, in fact, so well that I didn't get up until 10:45. That shortened the day! 


It was a good day to do something like that. So I knitted some more, and decided to end the sweater in about 16 rounds, so I'm getting done with it. For the rest of the day, I sorted beads. I finished one batch and started another one. Slowly, ever so slowly, the box with the unsorted beads in it is emptying out.


The weather was typical for November. The temperature was about 36║ all night, then it slowly declined and has been right at 32║ all afternoon. There has been a very strong (20-30 mph) wind from the north. It was cloudy and dark, but we didn't get any precip of any kind. I didn't go out at all. I guess there was a little snow in Houghton, and maybe in the higher elevations, but we didn't get anything. So much for the forecasters.


I'm doing this early, and I haven't decided whether to stay here and read something on the computer or to up to the north end and read there or write, maybe. It's a dark and windy night and fit mostly for sleeping.


November 14

 I got to writing, even though my hand was sore, and it was around 1:00 when I got to bed. I slept very well, and I didn't get up until after 10:30. Then I knitted for quite a while - and counted rows - and it was noon when I finally got to the south end of the house.


I am still tired, but I did get the porch shutters closed and the bird feeders filled, so I am all ready for the snow we are supposed to start getting tonight. I looked for the chains for the platform feeder and couldn't find them, so I don't know what I'm going to do about that. I will try to look again.


I haven't heard back from the mortgage people, so I had to pay this month's payment, since tomorrow is the 15th. I also paid some other bills. It took me a long time to begin to pay my bills online, but now it's my preferred method, and I hate to have to write a check. Fortunately, my bank has been very reliable about sending the payments.


I was going to go out to dinner tonight, but then I started hearing about everybody not spending money, and I decided I should probably do that, too, so I stayed in.


It was a nondescript fall day, cloudy and dark. The temperature was steady at right about 41║, and there was a brisk north wind, in the 20-30 mph range. I not only put on a coat, I put on my hat when I went outside. It seems there was a little rain early this morning, but no precip all day. Now they say it's snowing in Houghton, so I guess it's on its way.


Now it's time to go up to the north end, and I suppose I will write some more tonight. It's a dark, windy night in the field, and the snow is coming...


November 13

It was probably around 11:30 or so when I turned out the light last night, and I slept until nearly 5:00 this morning, I think. I was tired. I got up around 10:00, and I petted a cat and knitted for about an hour before I got dressed. 


I was still tired and creaky, so I didn't do much of anything but go to the post office, where there was a 6" pile of catalogs plus a few magazines stuffed in my box. 


One reason I was so creaky was that it rained lightly all day, and it was a really yucky day. The temperature was 43║ all day, with little to no southwest wind. It was drippy and humid and cold. Also dark and dreary. Not a nice day at all.


So the boxes and bags are still out in the breezeway, and none of the other things I wanted to do have gotten done, but oh, well. I am tired again, so I think I will go to bed early tonight and see if I can catch up.


I hope it's better tomorrow, because the time has come to close the shutters on the porch, and the bird feeders are emptying out. At least a jay screeched at me today to tell me the one on the deck was empty. I saw Jasmine briefly this morning and Buster briefly this evening, but they have been sleepy, too. It's that kind of weather.


So it's a damp, dark night in the field.


November 12

I don't remember what I was doing last night, but it was midnight before I got to bed. I was tired enough that I went right to sleep and didn't wake up until about 5:00. It took me a few minutes to get back to sleep then, and I woke up about 9:00. I didn't want to get up, but the cleaning lady was coming at 10:00, so I had to, and I had a quick breakfast before she got here.


I now have a wonderfully clean first floor, not including the office. It is so nice to have clean floors and no dust! She is a very nice lady, and I hope I can get her to come back. 


It was a good day to turn our backs on the outdoors. The temperature hung at just over 40║, and it rained lightly from 11:00 on. It is still raining. There wasn't much wind, and what there was, was from the southwest. It was nasty out there!


I don't have much to report, because I was working, too. I did finally get all the boxes for my Harmony Kingdom things packed up in two boxes. I wanted to get them into one, but there were some big cylindrical ones that wouldn't fit. I also located all my winter gloves, which was nice.


I was interrupted around 12:30 by my mortgage banker, saying that they needed my 2007 tax return. Well! I knew it was in the file box with all my 2007 papers, so down to the basement I went, and of course, I couldn't find it. I did discover that a light had burned out, so I came upstairs, on the off-chance that the box was still here, which it wasn't. So down I went again. There was a box on a shelf in the back that wasn't marked, so I opened it, and there were my papers. How I ever forgot to mark the box, I just don't know. Anyway, it took me about an hour to find it, and then I had to fax it. 


Faxing is much easier these days. When I am faxing to the bank, I'm actually faxing to a computer, which is also a neat thing.  As soon as I am finished, they can pull it up on their screens and see what I faxed. No paper needed on their end.


The only problem with all that is that the chances I can close by Friday look dim, so I will have to pay this month's payment on the current mortgage. I think I will get most of it back, but I had hoped not to have to do that. Oh, well. It's worth the hassle.


By the middle of the afternoon, my back and my feet were so sore that I didn't do much after that. There is trash and empty boxes out in the breezeway, but I will deal with all that tomorrow.


Oh, yes, and when I went out to the breezeway, I discovered that the roof is leaking again. I will have to talk to Adam about that. Not only is it dripping through one of the lights, there is a wet spot in the drywall. I really think we need to do something about it.


So that was my very active day, and I'm tired, which is probably good, and I will sleep tonight. I have a lovely, clean house, and I can try again to do something about the office.


It's a dark, dank and yucky night in the field tonight, good only for sleeping.


November 11

I read for a while last night, and I think I turned out the light about 10:30. As it turned out, I should have read longer. I had a horrible night, and I don't know why. I just couldn't sleep. I was achy and itchy and twitchy and the whole thing. I didn't really get to sleep until about 5:00, and I slept until 10:00, with some very weird dreams...which reminds me, I must add the water dream to my file of recurring dreams.


Anyway, I didn't do a whole lot, although I got a call from a lady to come tomorrow and do some cleaning (!!), so that impelled me to do a few things, like unload the dishwasher and get the trash bagged up. It has been too long since I did that, and the wastebasket in the bathroom had about twice what it will hold in it, and both baskets in the kitchen were full, and the counter had lots of trash on it, too. So I filled a large bag to overflowing and it looks better around here...at least in spots.


I refilled the bird feeders. When I finally got to the office this morning, there was a squirrel hanging onto the tube feeder, since the other two were empty. Not long after I set the new ones out, a jay came by and started screeching, and so I suppose a lot of the seed is gone. I think I will have to take the feeder off the deck and hang it, since the snow covers it up so easily. I will have to try to find the hanging chain.


It was a so-so day. The temperature hovered just above freezing, although it did get to 35║ for a bit. There was almost no wind, so it wasn't too bad outside. It was mostly cloudy. While I was awake last night, I kept seeing the gibbous moon through the clouds, and it was very light out. I still haven't figured out why the moon is so much brighter here than it was in the city. Anyway, we had a little sunshine this afternoon, but it was cloudy at sunset. Apparently it might rain tonight and tomorrow, which could be interesting or ugly, depending upon the temperature. 


I did sort a few beads, and I'm down to the blues and purples in this batch. Before I sorted, I had to do some work on the ones I had already sorted, since I messed them up getting to the telephone yesterday. They are all nicely sorted now, and since some of the trays were getting pretty full, I put them in bags. There are certainly some pretty beads in that assortment.


Now it's time to totter up to the north end again and hope that tonight I can get some more sleep. It's a quiet, cold night in the field.


November 10

I was so tired last night that I didn't do anything but get into bed...and then it took me the better part of two hours to fall asleep. So who knows?  Anyway, once I got to sleep, I did good. In fact, I did so well that I didn't get up until 10:00, which meant I had to rush a bit to get to my massage at 11:00, but I made it, a bit groggy.


And I felt a bit groggy all day, so I didn't do much of anything after I got home. Oh, well. I still feel that way, so it will be an early night tonight. I don't know if I have something or I'm trying to come down with something, or what.


The gale is over. It was still quite windy until this afternoon, but we had no more snow. It was a dark and dismal day, however, and it wasn't very nice to be out. The temperature was about 33║, plus or minus a degree, all day, and the wind is still about 24 mph from the north, so while the lake has calmed down a bit, it is still speaking.


So that is about all I know, and I will totter off to the north end shortly, with a stop in the kitchen to prime the dishwasher, and I think I may be early to bed again tonight. I don't really feel like writing, so maybe I will read a bit or maybe I will just turn out the light.


It's a dark and windy night in the field again.


November 9

When I got up to the north end, I had to fill my pill boxes. After I finished that, I realized I was tired, so instead of doing anything else, I went to bed. I turned out the light at about 10:00. I had a little trouble getting to sleep, but once I did, the song of the lake and the howl of the wind were a lovely lullaby. I was up a couple of times, and I noticed that it was quite light out - the moon is gibbous, so it was up most of the night.


I got up about 9:00 this morning, and the first thing I noticed was that it was snowing, and there was snow on the ground. The wind had shifted to due north, but it has been in the 26-40 mph range all day, and it has been snowing all day, too. The flakes are very small, and I doubt there is 4" on the ground, but still, we are having our first snowfall and gale. The waves on the lake probably got to around 10'. The temperature has hovered around 32║ all day, so it's not excessively cold outside. It was a good day to hunker down in the house, so I did.


I did accomplish something, though. Every time I had to go to the bathroom, I did a little more on the kitchen. The dishwasher is loaded to run tomorrow night, the clean pots and pans that were on the counter have been put away, and all the dirty ones in the sink have been washed. There is still a lot of trash around, but I decided to wait on that until tomorrow. Anyway, it looks much better out there.


Other than that, I did nothing but watch the snow come down and play on the computer. It seemed like a good day to do that. Besides, after I had knitted for an hour, my left hand started to ache extremely, so I didn't want to do anything that used it. This is bad weather for arthritis.


I don't think this snow is going to stay. It is supposed to warm up into the 40s by the end of the week, and maybe rain, so that will take care of the snow. That's just as well, because we don't know when we might get our tractor back, and it would be nice to be able to get out.


As usual, I have waited too long to close the shutters on the porch, and there is snow all the way to the back wall. I wasn't going outside today, with the wind chill under 20║, so that is a chore I will have to do when it warms up a bit. I always hate to close up the porch, since it makes the kitchen and the hallway so dark, but it does protect the furniture. I would like to wait until the snow melts and everything dries out, but I'm not sure I can wait that long.


There was one hungry squirrel in the big feeder, but I don't think there were many birds today. The feeders are too exposed when the wind blows like it is now.


So it was a typical winter day in the field. The lake is still roaring and the wind is still howling, and it will be another good night to sleep.


November 8

I wrote until my fingers were sore last night, and I turned out the light around midnight, I think. I was up several times, but the reason for that was that I took my morning pills at night...oops! I do that occasionally. My mind...


Anyway, sometime early in the morning, I began to hear the song of the lake, and when I finally got up, around 10:00, it was an ugly day. It was either raining or snowing - mostly raining hard, I think - the lake was singing loudly, and we are in the throes of a genuine nor'easter. I don't get the full thrust of the wind when it's from that direction, and it's just as well.


It was a very hairy day altogether. The temperature was in the middle 30s all day - it has now dropped to 32║ - and the wind was in the 25-40 mph range. It rained and snowed all day long, although we have not had any accumulation of snow. The camera pictures weren't at all good because of all the raindrops on the window, and that's a pity, because the waves have been coming in at a great rate. So far they are only 7-8 feet, but they are supposed to get stronger this evening. Well, you know, the gales of November, and all that. Only I hope we don't have too much snow here, because our tractor is still in the shop being fixed.


Ron had to go to Mohawk today, and he said that there was 2-3" of sloppy, wet snow on the ground from the Mountain Lodge south, so I guess we have officially had our first measurable snow of the season.


I didn't get up until 10:00 this morning, and I petted a cat and knitted for about an hour while peering out the north windows trying to figure out whether that stuff coming down was rain or snow. At that point, it was rain, but while I was sitting in the office, mostly sorting beads, I could look out and see sheets of snow coming in off the harbor...which is strange, since the wind was from the northeast. When I could see the waves, they were hitting the shoreline hard and flying into the air, and across the gap between the lighthouse and Porter Island, there was a continuous line of white. Every so often, I hear something go "whap!" against the rocks out by Ron's house, when a rogue wave hits the beach hard. The roar was in the alto range this morning and is now in the tenor range. 


So I did not much. This weather bothers my back extremely, so I didn't do what I should have been doing - the kitchen. I sorted beads and watched the chickadees. The weather was too bad for the greedy jays today, who screeched a bit and didn't come back. But there was an almost continuous line of chickadees at the feeders. They line up in the tree, then one at a time they fly from the end of the branch the bear broke off into the feeder, grab their seed, and fly off, then the next guy does the same. Such cute little birds!


The fur faces have been asleep almost all day. Buster came once and tried to sit on me when I got back from the post office (yep, this was post office day), but he knocked a pile of catalogs and pills all over so he went away. Jasmine has been around a bit, but not much. They know what to do with weather like this!


I was going to eat out, but it was just too nasty, so I stayed in and had one of the steaks I bought. This one is a sirloin tip steak, and it was quite good, but too big. Half of it would have been enough.


So now I will toddle up to the north end and write some more. I am doing quite well on the story, and it looks like maybe I will be able to finish it soon. 


So that was my noisy, quiet day, and it's a hairy November night in the field tonight.


November 7

Well, I did it again last night. I wrote until around 12:45, by which time my fingers were getting too stiff to move. So it was 1:15 or so before I turned out the light.


I did sleep well. I was up around 8:00, and when I got back in bed, Buster came and got half under the covers behind me, quite comfy, thank you. We slept until around 10:00. That doesn't feel like quite enough sleep to me, so maybe I can do a bit better tonight.


So I didn't do anything again. I sorted a few beads, but that was about all.


The weather tried to be sunny this morning, but didn't quite make it. There were lots of clouds in the sky all day, with the sun trying to peek through every so often. The temperature was about steady around 52║ until 5:00 or so, when it began to plunge, and it is now in the mid 40s. The wind was from the south, and while it was strong overnight, it has been quite light all day long. They still say the snow is coming over the weekend. We shall see.


Now its time to toddle up to the north end, and maybe tonight I can get to bed at a reasonable hour and catch up on my sleep. It's a dark, chilly, night in the field, and there could be snow by morning.


November 6

I fiddled around in the office for quite a while last night, then I wrote for quite a while, so it was after 1:00 before I turned out the light. It was 7:30 when I woke up for the first time, so I really conked out. I turned over (I had a very sore ear), and didn't get up until 10:00. It feels like I could do the same tonight.


I knitted for a while this morning, and it looks like, instead of not having enough yarn, I have more than enough. That's a much better situation, in my opinion. I can make the sweater as long as I want, and I will have some left for repairs and sewing on buttons and things.


I was rather surprised to see sunshine when I got up this morning, and it was nice. It didn't last a long time, though, and it began clouding up early in the afternoon. It did apparently rain lightly overnight, but that went away for a while. The temperature was around 54║ all night and around 60║ or so during the afternoon. There was apparently quite a strong south wind - in the 15-25 mph range - but it didn't have much impact on the house. When I went out to refill the bird feeders, it was tolerable but humid. Late in the afternoon the rain started coming in again, but it has been light so far.


I didn't do much but pay a few bills online. It seemed like it was nearly 1:30 before I finished my breakfast, so it has been a truncated day. 


Now it's a damp, windy night in the field, and it's time to toddle up to the north end and maybe write a bit more before I crash again.


November 5

I wrote again last night for quite a while, although I was somewhat disrupted. Buster wanted to sleep on the rug by me, and Jasmine wanted to be with Buster, and he wasn't having any. After I yelled at him for going after her, he moved to the towels at the other end of the bathtub, where he sat glaring at me. So Jasmine, bless her little heart, came and went to sleep on the rug. Of course, she was at the far other side of it, barely on the rug, and she was facing me in case I made any suspicious moves, but she slept, and eventually Buster went to sleep, too. I was sorry I had to interrupt Jasmine when I took my bath. She looked like a little angel, lying there.


I got to bed around 11:45, and I slept until about 3:30. When I woke up, I found I had developed some sciatica in my right leg (a new place), and after that, I had a terrible time trying to sleep, until nearly 6:00. Finally I found a position that eased it, and I slept until 8:30. Buster wanted me to get up then, but I really felt horrible, so I dozed until about 9:30, when I had to get up.


I still didn't feel very good, but I got up anyway. I did my morning surfing, through a small rain shower, and finally I got out of the house, around noon, and started for town. It wasn't cold - upper 50s - but it sort of drizzled all the way to Calumet. I decided it was a good day to do what I did.


I was a good girl in Econo, I thought. I got what I needed, and almost everything needed refrigeration. I did splurge on two different kinds of steaks, including a package of flatiron steaks. They had pork sirloin, but there was a package of the most beautiful loin chops, so I got those. I came out quite modestly, for a months worth of refrigerated foods, I thought. Now I understand why they sell so much pork here, though: it is about the cheapest meat there is. They had rolled pork roasts that tempted me - we used to eat a lot of that - but I decided not. I'm eating pork this week.


Then the strangest thing happened. I usually get a bottle of pop or lemonade, because I get very thirsty, and I usually need a little sugar on the way home. When I took the first mouthful, somehow my throat got all confused, and wouldn't open the route to my stomach, so I ended up getting sugary pop all over the car and me. I still don't know what happened. I've never had that happen before, and I hope it never happens again. Maybe it was because I was tired.


Anyway, I cleaned up all of that as best I could and went off to the gas pumps, where gas was $2.30 a gallon. When I think that a few months ago, it was twice that, it makes me really angry. Of course, the price always goes down in the winter when there isn't much demand, but still.


It had been raining on the way home, but there were no more raindrops, and I got back about 3:30...in time to hear Beethoven's Fourth, which was nice.


Buster was evidently mad at me, because he didn't come to see me until just a little while ago. 


Along about 6:00, some thunderstorms started coming through the area and dropped about a quarter inch of rain in three hours, with accompanying rumbles and flashes. There was evidently a lightning strike up on Mt. Horace Greeley (not surprising, since it's quite high), so I had to call PastyNet, but fortunately, they were able to reset it with no problems. Charlie said they did the same thing I used to do with this computer when the camera hung up - he power failed the entire building. A bit drastic, but from a distance, sometimes it's the best way.


The temperature only got up to 60║ here, but it was 65║ or more in Houghton, which wasn't bad, although it is very humid. There wasn't much wind.


Eventually, I got the car partly unloaded. All that is left is boos, TP, and 140 lbs of birdseed. I need to do a little rearranging in the breezeway before I bring in the birdseed. And the steaks have to be packaged up and put in the freezer. 


So I accomplished something today, and I have OJ and food for the next month, I hope. I will have to go back before Thanksgiving, of course, but that will be mostly for what I need for my dinner.


Now I'm tired, and I certainly hope I can sleep tonight! I suppose the sciatica is from the progress of the arthritis in my spine, but I really hope it was the humidity that did me in last night, and it won't happen again.


It's a dark, damp night in the field, and bed will feel good.


November 4

I wrote for quite a while last night, until my index finger was getting sore, and I got quite a bit done. I think it was about 11:30 when I got to bed, and I slept relatively well, except that Buster wanted me to get up around 7:00 and I had to yell at him. I finally got up around 9:30, and I knitted for about an hour. The sweater is coming along, and I think it will be long enough.


It was a beautiful, clear morning, with not a lot of wind and only a little haze down the harbor. The temperature actually rose overnight, and it was already 62║ at 10:00. It got up to 69║ between 1:00 and 3:00, and I opened the sliding door to air out the house. There wasn't much wind, and it was calm for most of the afternoon. The temperature dropped off into the mid 50s after that, but it was still nice out. Around 1:30 some clouds began to appear in the sky, and it was partly cloudy at sunset. The conditions looked like there might be a sunset, but there wasn't, and the crescent moon was off in the south when it got dark. It was a delightful and unlooked-for Indian Summer day.


I filled the bird feeders, and I was glad to see it took quite a while for the jays to find them, although they did a job on them later in the afternoon. So the little birds and the critters got to get theirs first. The squirrels were sounding off at each other, and whoever got into the deck feeder didn't want anybody else around. Right after I put the feeders back out, the chickadees were in the tree twittering away. Already they are used to the seed being there.


Other than that, I didn't do much. I sorted beads, and got all the red and black ones out of this batch and started on the white ones. I went to the post office, where my box was full of catalogs and reading material, and no bills, which was nice. Then I went and voted. I was ballot number 119, so about half the registered voters had voted at 3:00. It is nice to vote in a place where there are no long lines and you know everybody. They have changed the rules so that you have to show your ID, which I suppose is a good idea, although everybody here knows I'm me.


So now I will trudge up to the north end again and write some more and try to decide whether to get up by 8:00 so I can hear the election results. Part of me wants to know, and part of me doesn't.


It's a cool, quiet night in the field tonight, and thank goodness the election stuff is finally over!


November 3

I fiddled around, mostly looking at beads, last night until it was too late to write or do much but take my bath and jump into bed, but it was nearly 1:00 anyway. I slept quite well, though, and I noticed, when I was up, that it was cloudy foggy. When I can see the beam from the lighthouse halfway across the harbor, it's foggy.


It wasn't a thick fog, though, and it hung around until around 11:00, after which it was beautiful, clear and sunny and blue. It was hazy over the mountain all day long, and it was humid. It was also warm, although I didn't stick my nose out. The temperature went up to 55║ and has stayed there since about noon. That was when a strong wind from the southwest picked up, and it is in the 15-30 mph range now.


When I went to get my (overcooked) dinner, there was a lovely quarter moon hanging over Fanny Hooe, and quite a ways to its right, beautiful Venus. So it's a clear night tonight.


I guess I didn't do a lot. I washed a load of towels, which are now in the dryer, and I folded all the clothes that I left in the dryer last  night and put most of them away. I will put the underwear away when I go up to the bathroom. I washed the pots and pans that were in the sink and got the dishwasher ready to run tonight. So I guess I accomplished something. 


I cooked, glorified pork chops, but I overcooked them, and all the nice gravy went away. It also left the bottom of the sautÚ pan a horrible mess, so it will have to be soaked. I will probably have to concoct some more gravy, just so the rest of the pork isn't dry. What I was cooking weren't chops at all, I discovered, but pork sirloin steaks. They are good, and very tender, and I will have to remember that for the future. Sometimes Econo will have a cut of meat once or twice and then not again for months, so I will have to look when I go.


I knitted for a while this morning, but I didn't do any writing and I didn't sort any beads. Oh, well. None of those things is going to go away.


I didn't fill the bird feeders, either, but I will have to do that tomorrow. Those jays are just stealing away everything in sight. I felt bad when one of my pet squirrels came up and looked in the feeder on the deck, didn't find anything, and ran away. I think the little birds still have something to eat, though.


So tomorrow is finally the end of all this election nonsense. I will be so glad not to hear about it anymore! I suppose for a while we will have to listen to all the pundits rehashing what happened and what the candidates could or should have done differently, but at least maybe we'll hear about some other things for a change. I will be interested to hear what the turnout is. It seems like it finally might be a respectable number. I have always thought it was a scandal that the US, which prides itself on being the cradle of democracy, or something, has had about the lowest voting turnout of any so-called democracy in the world. Every vote does count, and maybe we've finally begun to relearn that lesson.


And now I'm yawning, so it's time to toddle up to the north end, via the kitchen, where I will get the dishwasher ready to go and put the sautÚ pan to soak. 


It's a clear, windy night in the field.


November 2

There weren't many flies, and there were no mice that I know about. I processed October into Word and started working on September before I went to bed. It was late - 11:30, but I kept reminding myself that it really wasn't that late.


My problem between April and October is that my body just never goes on Daylight Savings Time. My internal clock is set to Eastern Standard, more or less, no matter what the clocks say. 


So I got up at my usual time this morning, petted a cat, and did a few rows on the sweater, and it was still only about 10:30 when I sat down at the computer to change its clock. Both my computers are so old that they don't compute DST properly, so I have been changing it manually since they changed the beginning and ending dates. It really seems to work out better that way, and so far, FrontPage hasn't decided to copy the entire web the day the time changes.


It did copy it last night, however, which is another reason I was late. I don't remember doing anything to the borders on October 1, but it thought I did, so away we went. I was a little shaky about it, because I had had some connectivity problems during the day, but it went just fine, and I got most of the batch of beads sorted while it was running.


It was a cloudy night, with some wind after 4:00 am, but any sleep problems I had weren't related to that, or anything else that I know about. I did sleep, but not as deeply as I would have liked.


Today was washday, and it was a good one to do that. The last two loads are in the dryer now, and tomorrow I can do things like towels and fleece jackets. 


Otherwise, I finished up the batch of beads I was working on and started a new one. The problem is, in order to keep things simple, I only work on two or three ounces at a time, which means it takes a long time to sort a kilo (2.2 lbs) of beads. This whole kilo is very red, so I have adopted the strategy of "get the red out", then go on to other colors.


That bothered my eyes and my back, so I didn't do as much as I'd hoped.


Yesterday, one of my comics sites tried to install their new, great site, and it was an unmitigated disaster. It took me about four hours just to get my daily comics, and I didn't get all of them. So today, they were back on the old format, I was glad to see. It just confirmed what I have suspected for a long time - application development isn't any different than it was 12 years ago when I retired. Nobody ever really tests a new application to see if it works for the basic tasks a user might need to do, like registering and selecting what she wants to view. Hey, it compiles (or whatever), so it must work, right? They heard from me about it. 


I know, I've screwed up this site any number of times, and it's a simple one, but I try to test it if I make any changes. I did last night, just to make sure the links worked and the displays were OK. I think they are. However, in the past, I've made the unjustified assumption that if it looks all right in FrontPage, it will look all right on the Internet. I'm still trying to remember that it may not be so.


When I wrote application code, back in the dark ages, I always tested it against the specs before I let anybody else use it. Sometimes there were problems I didn't anticipate, but at least I knew that the basic tasks worked. However, I worked with enough other programmers and analysts who figured testing wasn't part of their job description. Clearly that attitude hasn't changed.


It was a day that would bother any back. It was dark and cloudy and very windy (20-36 mph) out of the southwest, and shortly after noon it started to spit rain, and it rained lightly for the entire afternoon. The temperature was about 42║ all night, and it rose to about 46║ for the afternoon. It was not a nice day, and my back is telling me that.


I raided the freezer for stuff to eat - Schwan's stuffed chicken breasts for tonight and a big package of pork chops for the week, as well as some breakfast stuff. I got one thing I don't like very well, but it is filling and I don't want to throw away good food. It is a biscuit with a sausage patty, some sort of compressed scrambled eggs, and a slice of American cheese. It doesn't taste like much, frankly, except that the sausage has maple flavoring. Whoever thought up maple-flavored sausage is down in my book of jerks. If I want maple syrup on my sausage, I will put it there myself - like when I have it with pancakes.


Anyway, the wash is done, most of the clocks are changed, and I did get some beads sorted, so I guess I did something today.


I didn't fill the feeders  that were emptied yesterday. There is still enough in the tube feeder to satisfy the little birds, who came, and the big old jays can just go elsewhere for their hoards. It is supposed to be nicer tomorrow, and I will refill everything (including the pails) then.


Now it is time to toddle up to the north end, and maybe tonight I can write a bit. It's a dark, cloudy night in the field, but the wind has died down, at least for the time being.


November 1

Not only is it the fly season, it's the mouse season. I was sitting in the bathroom writing last night when Jasmine came trotting in with a mouse, which she let go of, and it ran behind the wastebasket. She ran off, but Buster was most interested. I wonder if she caught it for him? Anyway, they didn't catch it then, although at intervals all night long I heard thumping around, mostly in the bedroom, and finally under my bed. I hope they got it. It seems like it's time for my yearly lecture to Buster.


I got to bed about 11:30, again, and I went right to sleep, but I was wakeful early in the morning, with numerous trips to the bathroom, before I finally got back to sleep around 8:00 and I didn't get up until around 10:30. 


When I was awake at 8:00, there was a beautiful, wide Girdle of Venus in the west. It was quite clear all night long, and I suppose I should have put on my glasses to look at the stars, but I didn't.


It was quite clear for most of the day today, too, with some puffy clouds that occasionally got in front of the sun. It was beginning to cloud up tonight when I came back from dinner, but there was a thin crescent moon visible behind them over the hill behind Fanny Hooe, bright enough to leave a little glitter trail on the harbor. 


It got cold last night: the temperature bottomed out at about 30║ between 7:00 and 9:00, and there was a little frost in the valley between the breezeway and the garage when I got up this morning. Then this afternoon, it got up to 46║. There was almost no wind, so it was quite nice out, although you wanted a jacket.


I went to the post office, where there was a note from the doctor saying my vitamin D levels are low, which I sort of suspected, so I will start taking my pills. Other than that, there wasn't anything of great importance, and no bills, which was nice.


Otherwise, I sorted beads. I have discovered that the glass of lemonade Buster knocked over the other day splashed into the open box of beads, and I now have nice little sticky clusters all over. Yuck.


The jays have cleaned out the feeder on the deck and the big feeder and are starting on the tube feeder, darn them. I don't know how to discourage them except to bring in the feeders, and I don't want to do that, because the chickadees have started to come, and I want them around. So I guess I will be going through a lot of bird seed for a while, and no doubt every tree crotch in the neighborhood will have a cache of sunflower seeds in it. Maybe that will work for the squirrels, too.


So it was another quiet day in the field, and now it's November. I will go up to the north end and write some more...or maybe I will crawl into bed and just read for a while.


It's a quiet, mostly clear night in the field, but it looks like we are in for some clouds tomorrow.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM