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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Critters in the back yard





It has been a long time, three weeks I guess, since I have posted. I tried a couple of times, but couldn't make adequate connection to the internet. I got a replacement Verizon aircard and determined that the laptop itself was slowing down. The laptop spent a few days, including Christmas, at the Geek squad getting a treatment of electronic Drano. A virus was found. I got it back, and the computer was quicker, but the aircard wasn't. An external antenna is on order. One needs about -75dbm of recieved signal strength to work properly. The best I can get anywhere in the house is 10 db short of that.
Both the deer and the eagles were here last week. It is pleasantly amazing that in such an urban environment that we can enjoy their presence. The Baxter and Belle picture was taken a couple of evenings before Christmas. We hope you had a good one, and we offer our best wishes that you have a fine 2010.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The leaves are turning!


Well, it's not a sugar maple, but it is a Bradford pear. We planted it three years ago. It is covered with white blossoms in the spring and its leaves turn red in LATE fall. If you enlarge the picture you can see the Christmas lights on the fence.
Since we are not traveling, there are fewer occasions to update the blog. But one came along today. Baxter's picture and story are featured on this week's home page for Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue. Check him out at www.ygrr.org.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009





Well, we had the traditional deep fried turkey just like the pilgrims would have done! The pictures, again, are in reverse chronological order. The bottom picture shows me checking the temperature of the oil with a remote sensing IR thermometer (also Pilgrim traditional). The middle shot is the finished turkey coming out of the oil, and the top one, of course, is the table. Our only mistake was in not inviting another dozen folks. These leftovers are going to last longer than the Frogmore Stew. The weather was in the high 60's with no precipitation or wind. It could not have been a nicer day. There's a front coming, however, and tonight's overnight low is projected to be in the 30's. We actually put the down comforter on the bed today.
We have a lot to be thankful for, and we thoroughly enjoyed the day. We hope you did the same.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pre-Thanksgiving


This is clearly NOT a current picture. In doing a bit of housekeeping I scanned in a faded, 45 year old photo taken on Unimak Island in 1964. Do you recognize that 25 year old?
We are preparing for a southern Thanksgiving complete with a deep fried turkey. That old pot and burner is good for more than lobsters! We will be joined by Cindy and a co-worker who will both have to go to work after the meal. There will be mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, butternut squash, miniature boiling onions, a green bean casserole, cranberry jelly and assorted hors d'ouevres. Of course, there will be a pecan pie and some pumpkin and pineapple cookies. There might even be some Chianti Classico. We hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th


Good morning. I thought you might enjoy this shot of a couple of our noisier backyard neighbors. I would estimate the range of this picture at about a quarter of a mile. Last evening we broke down and turned on the heat for a couple of hours, but we should be back into the 70's this weekend. The residue of Ida went north of us, so our rainfall was modest compared to North Carolina.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Baxter




In response to the last post there were some comments which, paraphrased, said, "To **** with the sunsets already. Send some pictures of Baxter and Belle." Since the customer is always right, here's a couple. There is one of Baxter by himself on his bed with a few of his friends. The second picture shows both of them. Belle's right elbow still shows where she was shaved for the removal of the cyst. Durelle's brother, Mart and his wife Ann will stop overnight tomorrow. They left the fifth wheel in Florida for the winter and are heading back to Lynn, MA for the holidays. We always look forward to their company. This time we are taking them to a Citadel football game.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

We're Baaack


This will be another quick note. Here we are in November and Daylight Savings Time is over. So we took the dogs for their walk when it was a bit darker than it might have been. The sky was spectacular. Trust me when I say the camera did not do it justice. Plus, there is a full moon tonight, although it is presently behind some very attractive clouds. The picture is taken from our back porch.
We have been back for two weeks. The bus is having repairs made to my faux pas this fall. We are settling in to a new routine. Cleaning up the house after five months is additionally inspired by the fact that Mart and Ann Grover will be visiting shortly. They are storing their fiver in FL and will be heading north to winter in New England (yuk) with Ann's mother.
Baxter has learned his new name, and we have learned via the embedded chip that was registered in 2001 that he is at least nine. Although in vet terms, he himself is geriatric, he has pointed out that Belle moving a bit slower. She still runs, but not so far or so often. Belle's cyst removal on her right elbow went fine. It was cancerous, but the vet said it was of a type that almost never metastasizes. Baxter is also settling into a new routine that is becoming comfortable for him. We have started to use an anti-barking collar that gives him a squirt of citronella when he barks. It is working.
I'm not sure about a non-traveling blog, but let's see what happens.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Home again in SC

Greetings all you faithful reader(s),

No pictures...no stories...just a short note to let everyone know that we are back, safe and sound, in SC. Baxter is curled up at my feet, finally relaxed after three months of not knowing where he is. More later

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gettysburg













Today was day three at Gettysburg. The first day we got set up, drove around the area and waited for Cindy to show up. She arrived early and we had a pleasant evening. Yesterday we did the visitor center, museum and Cyclorama...all of which were newly reopened last year. The museum is very well done, but the restored diorama is spectacular. Painted in the 1880's on a canvas that is 347 by 48 feet, it is a 360 degree view of the battlefield. It was restored over the past few years at a cost of several million dollars and installed in the new visitor center. It has been augmented with light, sound, and narrative. The realism is eerie. Then we took the self-guided auto tour of 23 miles around the park. Today we reinforced our impressions by taking a professionally guided bus tour of almost three hours. We stood on the top of Little Round Top (where Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine and others reshaped American history), and we stood at the point where Pickett's charge stalled out...the so-called high water mark of the Confederacy. We could look out over the mile plus of open fields that Longstreet/Pickett faced. Even the terrain has been preserved, so one can feel the terror they faced as they marched toward 150 field pieces with barrels depressed so as to be used as anti-personnel weapons. Over ten thousand died at Gettysburg and there were over 50,000 casualties (killed, wounded or missing). Lee's ambulance wagon train of retreating wounded was 17 miles long. Lincoln berated Meade for not pressing his advantage by allowing Lee to escape. After the tour, Cindy and I took a side trip to the cemetary at the top of Cemetary Hill where the 272 words of the Gettysburg Address were delivered. The last picture is of the Lincoln address memorial.
The pictures show the copse of woods that demarks the high-water mark. The battlefield shot was taken without flash during the diorama show. The railroad station is now known as the Lincoln Station because that is where he arrived to give perhaps the most momentous speech in American history. On a pound for pound basis it has no equals.
We'll be "home" Friday. It may be a while before I do a wrapup posting because of unpacking chores after five months.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Classic West Point Weekend












It is hard to imagine how I could have improved on this day. Before I get started on the details of a weekend at West Point, I owe you an answer about the "what is it" photo. The winner was Dick and Eleanor Roth. It was a snow roller. Prior to the internal combustion engine, winter travel in New England shifted from horse and buggy/wagon to sleighs. To make the main arteries passable, a snow roller, pulled by oxen, turned those clogged roads into very passable routes.
As most of you know, Army's great football legacy has fallen on very hard times. We are struggling back and are now 3 and 3. Today was an SEC team, Vanderbilt . We won in over time with a field goal. It was a struggling game with the refs having a major impact. Our disinterested sportswriter observer, Cindy, on her TV at home said that there weren't any bad calls. The weather was fine, windy but fine. We each had a field goal hit the post and bounce through. The good news is that ours was the last one. To honor our old tradition, today we we retired Felix "Doc" Blanchard's number 35. His record at Army was 27-0-1 with a Heisman and a Sullivan.
After the game we had a classic tailgate party. We used one of the hors d'ouerves that we had fine-tuned at the Maine happy hours. Then Durelle and I took the dogs for a walk. In this case we walked up the south end of "Flirtation Walk", a well known cadet sanctuary. As the path got a bit rocky, I had to encourage Durelle to press on. We reached the overhanging "Kissing Rock", and I stole a kiss as I had over a half century ago.
The first picture was taken through the windshield. The second is the number retirement ceremony. The third is the cadets on the field after the game singing the "Alma Mater". The fourth is an evening shot up the Hudson and the last is a campfire picture that all of our Maine buddies would appreciate.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Old Home Week

Today was a fun day. We both had some errands to run, but in the afternoon we went by our old house in Nashua to meet the new owners and our old neighbors. As some of you know, the house at 137 Shore Drive was a very special place. We designed and built it on the south shore of the Nashua River. We worked with a designer and created a special place. I could wax eloquent about all the innovative features, but I won't. We built it in 1990 and sold it to a couple in 2004. He had a heart attack, and she lived in it alone for five years. Yesterday she sold it to a couple who had transferred from Hill AFB to Hanscom AFB. Today we got to see it and point out many of the unique and invisible features. It was so pleasant to see that the place had been well cared for and that it was just as nice a place as we remembered it. It was also rewarding to see how much the new owners appreciated the effort and ideas that went into it. We also met several of our old neighbors and enjoyed getting up to date. Baby Kelly is now twelve! The picture today was taken a few days ago and shows our rig at the Field and Stream RV Park in Brookline, NH. Note the mix of trees.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Log "cabin" and foliage











Today we took a fall foliage drive from Brookline, NH to Royalston, MA via back roads through such metropolises as Ashburnham, Rindge, and Fitzwilliam. Sister, Marian and her husband Eldy Taylor are three years into this project of building a very special log home on a remarkable site just west of Royalston. The long range view picture was taken through one of several picture windows. The short range foliage shot was taken across Lake Potanipo here in Brookline. The first picture is an "identify this object" shot. It was taken in Brookline, also. It is an old cylindrical structure about a yard in diameter and six to eight feet long. If you know what it is, send me a comment to the blog. The first correct answer wins a free ticket for my next batch of Frogmore Stew. The answer will appear in the next blog posting.




Friday, October 2, 2009

Getting Reacquainted in NH











There will be no dramatic or scenic pictures today; just a few "family photo album" types of pictures. Son, Mark, daughter-in-law, Heather, granddaughter, Meghan, and great granddaughter, Brielle came by the bus last evening bringing pizza for a pleasant visit. We would have normally gone to their place for something from the grill, but we are not yet ready to leave Baxter (and Belle) alone in the bus for any extended period. I bought a light weight, collapsible crate for Baxter, and he doesn't seem to have a problem with it.
The first picture shows the two dogs in a quiet moment. We are starting to have more of them (quiet moments, that is). The second shows Meghan and Belle with Brielle in the background. The next shows an intent four and a half year old reprogramming my laptop. The last is a nice shot of Heather and Belle.
For the next week we'll be hunkered down in chilly NH (35 degrees this morning) and visiting family and Durelle's golf and bridge buddies at Nashua Country Club. We lived here for an interrupted 25 years so there a lot of old friends. We'll also visit my sister, Marian, in Royalston, MA and check on the status of their log "cabin". We expect to get back to SC on the 16th.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Baxter











Well, we are now a two dog family. This the third eight year old golden that we have adopted from the Yankee Golden Retreiver Rescue league, but it's the first time we have had two at the same time. The first picture shows the YGRR headquarters (note the logo). The second picture is washed out because Durelle's head was in shadow and everything else in bright sun. There is a shot of Baxter by himself and one of the two of them. Baxter is only 68 pounds, about ten less than Belle. They're getting acquainted OK, but Baxter is still interested in mounting Belle. She's gradually being more assertive, so I'm sure everything is going to be fine. They don't fight over food or toys. It will require some accommodation by all parties.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cotuit Harbor and environs












A day on old Cape Cod. Since Cotuit, MA is only about 75 miles from Foxboro, it seemed to make sense to drop down so that Durelle could visit her college roommate and maid of honor. Cotuit is on the south shore of Cape Cod only a few miles from the Cape Cod canal. Peter and Marcia Dudley showed us a wonderful time. Friday night we had Peter's salmon chowder, and today they took us on a harbor/island tour on their pontoon boat. The weather was crystal clear, but a windbreaker was needed on the water. After all, it is fall in New England. The cruise took an hour and a half. We circumnavigated Oyster Harbor which Marcia tells us is the nation's first gated community. We saw the homes of folks like Dupont, Mellon, and many other kindred souls. The pictures include: Durelle and Marcia, an artfully named (in case you can't read it, it is the "Trysting Place, Too") yacht from the Cayman Islands, and an example of one of the more elegant homes. The last two pictures reflect some of the seafood from Cotuit. One shows the Cotuit oyster factory. The floating bags contain the immature oysters prior to being seeded in the oyster farms further out in the harbor. The last picture shows a shipment of conch which I thought was only a Caribbean product. Tomorrow we leave for NH. Many thousands of people leave the Cape on Sundays over one of the two old narrow bridges. Plus there will be the early tailgate traffic at the Foxboro exit on I-495. We hope the traffic this late in the season will be tolerable.



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Allegro Club Boston Tour












Since Monday we have been participating with the Tiffin Motorhome, Allegro Club Rally at Normandy Farms campground in Foxboro, MA. Today was the big tour day. Four large tour busses picked us up at 0830. As we got into Boston, we picked up a very competent tour guide. She had the bus driver of the 45 foot Prevost maneuvering through places that none of us bus drivers would have attempted. We even maneuvered by the Milk Street spot in the financial district where, 53 years ago, I got a parking ticket with my 1941 Packard while succeeding in being on time for my appointment with JFK's West Point selection committee. We disembarked for a tour of the old North Church of Longfellow fame (that's the first picture). The weather all day was pleasant...not too sunny, about 70 degrees and no showers. After the bus tour, we boarded the Spirit of Boston for a harbor cruise and another substantial lunch. We look forward to getting our eating habits under control. The pictures show two shots of the USS Constitution and a huge bulk carrier that had a large police and Coast Guard escort. The second Constitution picture shows the Bunker Hill monument in the background. We, and every other boat in the harbor, had to stand by well out of the way while the big cargo ship made its way to its berth. After the harbor cruise, we were dropped off at the Quincy market for an hour or so. There is a shot of Durelle visiting with Red Auerbach. As you can imagine, she also bought a cross-stitch kit. We got back about 1700 and relaxed outside for a while. There was no supper tonight. We have neither cable nor satellite! Thank goodness for WEEI so Durelle can listen to the Red Sox with a local broadcaster.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Last Night in Maine

















Well, it has finally happened. The summer in Maine is over. The Dunns, the Roths, and the Cloutiers all leave tomorrow. There may be some congestion at the dump station. The weather gods turned benevolent today. It was calm, sunny and 70 degrees. Would you believe that in this land of lobstahs, chowdah and beah, we had pizza delivered for our last evening together? We did. The pizza was almost as good as the view and the company. Larry Pegg did a dutch oven peach cobbler for dessert. As you can see from the pictures, it was a very pleasant afternoon.
Tomorrow the Roths head to Houston; the Dunns return to Cummaquid on the Cape; and we head to a Tiffin Rally in Foxboro, MA, followed by a couple of days on the Cape, a couple of weeks in NH, a tailgate-football weekend at West Point, a few days in Gettysburg with Cindy and then home. We are looking forward to the remaining days. We pick up Baxter a week from tomorrow. And we look forward to returning next summer.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The (almost) last hurrah


















Today, Saturday, had the flavor of the end of the season. We (the Roths, Dunns and the Cloutiers) all leave Monday, but today had the flavor of good-bye. It was an interesting day. We drove down to Lincolnville Beach (thanks again, Dick) to visit the Whale Tooth Pub and an artisans shop. We have driven through Lincolnville Beach dozens of times, but this is the first time we have stopped to eat there. There are several reputable restaurants, but we chose the pub. It was a good choice. Six out of six folks proclaimed it a success. What was particularly interesting was the choices. There were more pub options than seafood options. We had four shephard's pies, a steak and ale pie and a haddock sandwich. The grilled tomato soup was outstanding. On the way back we did a little bit of "mudlarking" whereby we drove down into some of the private neighborhoods along the shoreline. When we got back, it was almost time for happy hour. As an indication of the season I went back to the bus and put on a flannel shirt. There were no snacks, just a quiet appreciation of the Maine shore. Because there was no food at our happy hour, Belle got to attend. Bernie took her for a walk. He needs a dog.