Sunday, March 11, 2018


My computer is aging rapidly and I hope to have the new one up and running in a week or two, but these things take time. I know, I know, how much time can someone of my age have left? I have learned patience over the years, but no longer have the time to practice it. Seems like a lot of us are in the same boat.

The other day at work I had to finish a project at my desk that took a while to complete. As I got up I noticed I was a bit stiff from sitting in one position for a bit too long. I discussed it with one of my not-too-much-younger coworkers. Thinking it may be a bit of arthritis or just a little aging we determined that it could actually be early onset rigor mortis. We are all in the long slow process of dying and it seemed like a distinct possibility. But what do we know? We're not medical examiners or morticians.

Here is a smattering of thoughts on aging.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Photo Free Entry

Spring is a time of renewal so they say, whoever "they" are. I took a walk today instead of a ski as there is a not too icy place to go. Of course we will get more snow and cold and I will get out and ski again, but today it was a walk.

A lot of friends and acquaintances are traveling about now with most going someplace warmer. Costa Rica seems to be a favorite this year. Apparently our president hasn't insulted Costa Ricans yet so no one has to spend their time apologizing and explaining their way through the day other than general questions like "why" and "how" of course, but not specifically having to apologize to specific Costa Ricans.

Another guy I know, a recent immigrant to the county, is headed in another direction. To the Hebrides and the Faeroe Islands and vicinity. I doubt he is going for the weather. I hope he gets some nice days.

Others are headed down to Arizona, Florida, and other places to visit snowbird friends before everyone comes back up this way to evade the heat of the southern U.S.

The computer I have been blogging on is on its last legs and this may be the final post from it. It is eleven (maybe twelve) years old and aging, wearing out, slowing down, and becoming obsolete. I won't draw the obvious parallel to its owner. I have maintained, updated, upgraded, added memory, deleted files, and done my best to keep it moving, but it is about time for an assisted demise. I have already ordered another and will transfer the stuff on this one to it, hopefully, and be up and running again soon. Last weeks photos had to be loaded into the Cooker's computer and emailed to this one instead of the direct SD card reader which has now failed in addition to some other things. I shouldn't have to reconstruct too much, but it is always a chore to do so if I must.

'Tis a kinder thing I do to Old Vista. It has served me well. If I am not back in a week or so, don't worry. I will likely be pulling out my remaining hair and recalling words I haven't needed for quite some time, but I shall return.  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

More of the same only different

It is still winter. I can tell by the two feet of snow we have had this week. Smaller doses starting last weekend and finishing this morning with another foot of the stuff plus a pretty stiff wind. At least it compresses and blows away otherwise it would be impossible to traverse. I got out skiing yesterday and realized how much I missed moving. Walking is difficult because it has been slippery and until recently skiing hasn't been fun because it was too cold. Now things are getting warmer and better so I am excited to get moving more. Here are a few pictures from this morning.

The inside cats know just what to do when the weather outside is frightful and lots of snow needs to be moved. They have been doing their part so well for years that they can practically sleep through it. Here are Bella, Cotton, and Blue doing their part.
Vinny, the outside wild man, has a nice house on the deck. It was under snow this morning, but he had the forethought to spend the night in a hay shed making sure that no mice would rest easily. That is apparently his part. He is less fearful of the camera now, but his attitude is unmistakable.  Here was the day before the storm resting in his human made digs.
Still pointing that thing at me?

 Click the pics to embiggen.

It will be March this coming week. There are a lot of special days in March. The first ones to pop into my head are the Ides of March, in which I make a mental note to appreciate the works of William Shakespeare, St. Patrick's Day, and the Spring Equinox. Other special days are, March 2nd which is Employee Appreciation Day, March 4th which is Grammar Day, March 9th which is Meatball Day, March 11th which is World Plumbing Day, March 12th which is Napping Day (one of my personal favorites), and March 31st which is Bunsen Burner Day reminding us of all the near and not so near misses in our early science education. There are lots of other fun days in March in which I always celebrate the return of a decent length of daylight at last.

I would be remiss if I didn't congratulate Norway on it's fine and winning participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Gratulerer med spillene!

Sunday, February 18, 2018


Every once in a while someone comes into my life that forces me to consider other forces at play. If I were a religious person I could say something like, "It's God's doing," or something like that. I seriously doubt that something omnipotent would waste its time with my petty curiosity when there are so many serious problems in the world that need immediate attention.

After a hiatus of several years from the music group I play with, Over The Waterfall,  I needed to come back and play. I have walked away from music for periods as long as a year without even touching an instrument (although I sing in the car a lot) I always come back. The band has existed for at least 25 years in one form or another. When I started to play with them again there was this "new" guy in the band and a few of the veterans. About a year and a half ago we were practicing in my garage and toward the end of the practice Erik, our Irish flute and penny whistle player notices my father's old license plate from Delaware that I had on the wall (part of my "garage chic" decor)  and asks me, "Are you from Delaware?"
"Me, too!"
"Which part?"
"Me, too!"
"Where did you go to high school?"
"Me, too!!"
I went over to my record shelf (lots of old vinyl LPs) and pulled out my 1969 senior yearbook, the "Azurean," and opened it up. It turns out that we had some of the same teachers, but 18 years apart. Erik was also in the high school jazz band, the Brandywine Blazers, which added to his musical credibility. Many, if not most, of the musicians in that group went on to be at least semi professional musicians. They had some serious talent. Erik also plays saxophone and a few other instruments.

It also turns out that Erik was born the summer I graduated. In fact he lived one block from my girlfriend's house and I probably heard him crying at that distance. His father worked for the same company and at the same location as my father and where I was working that summer. That was 48 years ago so now he is all grown up and has a lovely family of his own and only lives a couple of miles from me. He is a teacher by profession, but plays in several musical groups around the area and is another gem in our community.

In all these years since I left the East Coast I have rarely run into anyone from Delaware let alone someone from the same high school and even then with someone with whom I had so much in common. Coincidence? I guess so.
Here he is playing Celtic music with one of our fiddle players at one of our local venues. Now I need to figure out how to upload music from a cd to blogger and then you can hear something.

Sunday, February 11, 2018


You may remember the feral cat I mentioned a few months ago. He was hanging around the farm and showing interest in seeing how the other half live.  I wasn't sure at that time if it was male or female. I am still not 100 percent certain, but I believe he's a male. He isn't pregnant and he has a rather large ruff and looks kinda like a male. He still won't let me examine him close up and he is too hairy to see any external indications of his gender, but I am pretty sure.

We have made his life easier and while he is still more comfortable outdoors we have provided food water and shelter for him. He appreciates this and does rub against my legs and likes to have his head scratched, but is still shy about a lot of things. He is pretty sure a camera is a device used to maim and torture small animals. When I go to take his picture he tends to hide. Being a wild cat he is pretty good at that.
You are probably wondering how I came to call him Vinny. If you notice in the pictures his left ear is only about half there. I imagine it froze at some time in the past which lets me also know he is at least a year old. He may be five or ten for that matter, but he is a mature cat who has seen at least one winter. I named him after Vincent Van Gogh because of the ear thing.

I don't know what he does or where he goes all day, but he is here in the morning and evening waiting for food. I have seen him in the morning coming out of the shelter we have for him on the deck. He knows how to stay safe and that's a good thing. I have heard foxes barking nearby and saw one in the pasture yesterday. It is their breeding season. I also saw a large, healthy looking fisher about a mile down the road the other day. They are fierce predators and will eat cats and have been known to eat porcupines. They don't have many, if any, other critters to fear.
I think Vinny will be safe if he stays near us.

Meanwhile it is still cold and every night for the last couple of weeks has been well below zero. The days are starting to warm up a bit with the longer day length and stronger sunlight. Here is a shot from the deck yesterday. The first few miles of the lake is open water, but you can see the ice pack out toward the horizon. The wind is sending it over to Michigan and Wisconsin. They can have it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Let's Go Skiing!

Sunday was a lovely day. By lovely I mean the temperatures were in the twenties, there was very little wind, and there was no precipitation. A rare kind of day in January in the boreal forest of northeastern Minnesota. Since it was Sunday I also didn't have to be at my day job, just do a few things around the farm. The load of hay that we got on Thursday was all put away by Saturday afternoon, so I had a few hours of my own to enjoy on Sunday when I had recovered from the hay party.

I headed up the Gunflint Trail for a few miles and stopped at George Washington Pines to take a nice loop trail that is fairly flat for my first time on skis this winter.
I doubt that George Washington actually skied here unless he was getting acclimated to the winter for his Delaware River crossing, but they named it after him anyway.

I was the only vehicle in the parking lot and had the forest to myself which was kind of nice unless I got seriously injured and froze to death. I took my trusty TracFone which is what I used to take these pictures. I wanted to be sure I documented my demise for posterity.

Out on the trail I went. After about a quarter mile I ran across this by the side of the trail.
I wondered if the squirrels did it and if they ever take down their Christmas decorations. The trail was in good shape. As a multi use trail people can bring their dogs, go snowshoeing, or try skijoring if their dog is willing to drag them around.
There is a small lake just a few yards off the trail, but I decided not to venture out on it even though the ice is probably thick enough to drive on.
Then there are the pines. There is a stand of red pines that was planted, some about about a hundred years ago, after the earlier logging had taken everything available. They are coming along nicely, but I think they are protected now. Here are a few of them.
The trail was fast and there are just a few good downhill runs, but nothing too serious, and I managed to stay on my feet the whole time! My skis brought me safely back to the parking lot where three more vehicles had arrived and I said hello to an acquaintance and her dog before heading home.
Now I feel pretty confident about my replacement knees, too. It is supposed to be nice again this coming weekend. I wonder which trails I should try?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Return of the wayward pants - Update

About three and a half years ago we heard that there was a new resident in town ,about our age, who found herself recently petless. We were heavy on our feline quota and decided we could lighten our burden and help her out at the same time. It was a tough decision, but we decided to let two of our kitties try a different living situation.

Orange Mamalaid and Princess Puffy Pants were chosen after a very analytical process. After three days Mamalaid still hadn't come out of hiding in her new home, but Pants was adapting well to being a spoiled cat with no competition from ten others.

A few days ago I got a call from the woman who adopted her. She has a small active dog now and is about to get another puppy. Puffy Pants can tolerate dogs as long as she is left alone, but if provoked she will cut open an offending nose into three or four equal slices without hesitation. Most dogs learn this quickly, but puppies, not so much.

Saturday afternoon the Cooker and I went to bring her home. She is now purring in my lap as I try to write this which is kind of awkward, but after years of practice and constant editing of typos I can do it. Sort of.

Pants is back with only one new face to get used to since she and the other eight all knew each other before. Still a bit of hissing and growling, but no blood has been drawn, mine or anyone else's. So far. Here she is in all her fluffy glory.   

Welcome home Princess Puffy Pants!