eor: (Default)
The other day I looked out the kitchen window and saw a bird which, to me, resembled George C. Scott playing Scrooge. It was the mutton chops and the large down pointing beak. Face on this bird

really does look like Scott. I couldn't find a good shot head on, but you might be able to picture the white swath running down from the beak as mutton chops.

My brain is strange.

The bird is a juvenile Rose Breasted Grossbeak.
eor: (greenscreen)
I sometimes feel sorry for the kids today because, well, just what will they have to live through in the coming decades. But I envy today's geek kids. I wish I had time to explore all the geeky possibilities. There is just so much cool stuff out there now.

I mean lego mindstorms, arduino, raspberry pi are just the start!

Be an undersea explorer: http://store.openrov.com/

Use your very own robot arm: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:360108

3d print your imagination!

It would be cool to have thousands of hours to blow playing with all this stuff.
eor: (news3)
This link came from www.oreilly.com .

I don't use Gmail and honestly hadn't thought about the business model at all, but I probably should have. And people who use it probably should even more.

Now I understand much better why countries like the U.S. Russia and China want the Google servers for their users stored in their country. What a lovely mine of info. No need to take everything off the Internet and store it, someone is already storing it for you.
eor: (Bleeding Heart)
Tonight I'm reading resumes. I've been selected for two hiring panels, one starts interviews on Monday.

I take the task very seriously. I feel like finding the best possible fit is in the "most important thing you can do all year" category. Getting someone who isn't the best fit is disastrous for them and for everyone else. It's tough to try to intuit all kinds of traits from a cover, resume and interview. The hires from my last to panels are great team members and all around great humans. (Which may be why my name ended up on more hiring panels.) I hope my luck can hold for two more.

The resumes that aren't even close are easy to decide on, but I feel for the people behind them. They apply for jobs that aren't even close to what they can do because they're desperate. That sucks.
eor: (Big W)
In honor of Labor Day, I listened to Utah Phillips this evening. I figured it was fitting to listen to the "Fellow Workers" album that Ani made with him while I was drilling a 4 inch hole through an inch and a half thick piece of oak by hand.

I did get the last of the holes drilled in the whiskey/water barrels and got the hardware in. The last two barrels I had to drill by hand because the oak killed my electric drill. It's easy to drill an 7/8 hole with the bit brace. It's not easy to drill a 4" hole with a hand brace. It took more revolutions than are in the history of Central America!

The barrels are complete! I've got one in place already and just have to put the foundation bricks in place for the other three. I did haul them across the yard with the hand truck today and put them more or less in place. Now I have room in the barn to move around. The barrels have been in the way for about a month and it's nice to have floor space again.
eor: (Bleeding Heart)
I believe I just saw a Great Black Wasp feeding on the pollen provided by our thyme patch. Wiki says it's only been seen as far north as Lyman,ME, but global warming and all, we're not that far north of Lyman.

It's certainly an impressive beast, almost double the length of our large bumble bees, with the lean look of a wasp and a total goth black look, just a little bit of purple shine on the wings. I wouldn't want to be stung by one as the business end looks like business.

The bumbles and the honeybees are in a frenzy in the flower patch. After a few days of rain they seem anxious to get all they can and are pushing each other out of the way to into the flowers. Honeybees, though smaller, can shoulder the bumbles out of the way.
eor: (Bleeding Heart)
Yesterday I inadvertently cornered a small groundhog in the compost bins. He made the mistake of running into the center one when he was scurrying downhill across the yard away from me. I stood back and watched as he tried to get through the fencing on the three sides that were fenced, then got brave enough to come back out and run around the end of the bins and down the hill.

Then I set a trap for him at his hole and put some nice lettuce inside.

This morning the trap was empty.

This afternoon when we got home there was a disconsolate groundhog in the trap standing on shreds of lettuce. I carried him down to the driveway and when I set him down he emptied his bladder. Thank the gods he decided to do that on the driveway and not in the car. We took him across town and released him in some trees right near the edge of a field. Once he realized the door was open he was out like a shot, bounding downslope and into the nearest cover.

I hope he does well for himself, well away from anything I'm trying to grow.
eor: (Bleeding Heart)
Today's bird is the rose-breasted grosbeak. We at least two of them, who are quite frustrated with the feeder situation. They can't figure out how to get the sunflower seeds out of the feeder we have them in. They peck at the clear plastic, but can't perch and bend over enough to reach the openings. I saw one of them pull the tail feathers of a goldfinch just because it was something he could reach. The finch didn't appreciate that very much.

I've seen the blackbirds, which are larger, work cooperatively to get empty the feeder quickly. One would pull out the seeds and drop them on the ground while all the others would eat from the ground. They'd take turns doing the work and eating. The one doing the work would hold onto the perch with one leg, lean over, and flap its wings wildly to maintain a position it could reach the opening. The thrust from its wings would propel the feeder around, so you'd have a flapping spinning bird spreading seed all over the ground for his mates. It was fun to watch, but wasted a lot of seed.

The grosbeaks aren't that smart. They'll sit there and watch each other tapping at the plastic.

In other news, we have lots of flowers in the yard, with more things coming along daily. We've got a large bleeding heart at the top of the flower bed that enjoyed yesterday's rain and is in full bloom.
eor: (lilac)
Yesterday was an overcast day, with rain predicted, so it was dedicated to burning brush. We started out at about 8:30 working out in the yard.

[personal profile] derien was cleaning out one of the compost bins, which was filled with dirt, and moving the contents to the berry patches. They could use some more soil and the compost bins don't work too well if they're filled with dirt. I started dragging brush from behind the barn up to the pile by the pool. That was an endless task, so after a while I switched to another endless task, cleaning out flower beds. I made very little relative progress because both are such big jobs.

At some point it started to sprinkle and just before 1pm I decided it wasn't going to stop sprinkling, so it I started the fire. Fire regs say we can only burn before 5pm if it's actively raining and I didn't want to start a fire, have it stop raining, and have to put the fire out. We fed the fire brush, and fed the fire brush, and fed the fire brush. The rain went from sprinkles to a steady rain and we kept the fire going. Fairly difficult when all your fuel is green or rotten on the inside and wet on the outside. But we kept at it until about 8pm. I'm guessing we burned close to 10 cubic yards of brush. We saved all the pieces big enough to use as firewood or kindling, but vine and rot isn't good for anything unfortunately. [personal profile] derien kept making jokes about us being charcoal burners because we were gather all these little twigs and bits.

This morning I'm doing laundry, dishes, and such because I didn't have any chance to do housework yesterday and it's soaking wet and cold outside. With any luck it'll dry out and warm up a bit this afternoon and I can start piling up the next brush piles.

I thought I'd taken some pictures, but unfortunately the memory card was in the computer not the camera, so no pictures of flowers, birds, and brush for you.


Apr. 23rd, 2014 07:45 pm
eor: (Renton gun)
Tonight after work, while [personal profile] derien was scrubbing the pool and moving sticks, I managed to tackle the front brakes on the car. It took longer than it should have because of things rusted together and not wanting to move. But it is done. I'm going to drive the car to work tomorrow because my commute is shorter and slower and new brakes sometimes stick and get hot until they've worked in a bit. So I figure I'll play it safe.

The only thing on the current car list that I haven't gotten done is changing the strut on the drivers side. I tried to get the bolts out today, but it just wasn't happening even after spraying the stuff that supposed to help loosen rusted bolts. Even after trying to get them to move by using the hydraulic jack under the end of the wrench. I think the only way those are coming off is with a very hot torch. They might come off with an air impact wrench, but I'm not even sure of that.

It has been a productive day, but I'm very tired.
eor: (lilac)
Today while wandering around out back, well behind the barn and down hill I came upon a bit of wild unlife. It was a raccoon laying on a rock, looking for all the world like he was peacefully sleeping. His coat was beautiful, especially his tail. The rotten tree stump next to the rock looked like a good home for a raccoon, until the side fell off. I have no idea what killed him and I'm not going to go pick him up to find out. I will leave him on his rock until the cleanup crew comes along. [personal profile] derien is worried he'll stink, but he's so far down in the woods I doubt we'll notice.

Today I saw a bird with the sillouette of a cardinal, but not the size or the color. I think it's a Tufted Titmouse. The pictures and description seem to match. It certainly was hanging out with the chickadees, but more shy.

bird brain

Apr. 20th, 2014 05:00 pm
eor: (plant)
Today's bird of the day is the male Downy Woodpecker. He's a very ska bird, decked out in his two tone, with just a touch of red for style. He was enjoying the suet feeder along with the chickadees.

I managed to relocate somewhere between 6 and 12 frogs from the pool today. I lost count. Some seemed to take to relocation pretty quickly. Others just sat where I put them in the water feature under the trees. It's a pretty good spot for frogs with stagnant water and lots of leaves and water plants to hide in. I may have overpopulated the little hole, but I hope a few of them live. The pool isn't a good place for them to be because I got the pump going and started working on cleaning the leaves and algae out of it. I spent I'm not sure how many hours today scooping leaves out of the bottom or the pool or scrubbing the sides and bottom with the long handled brush.

I also got the last of the blackberries transplanted. By the time I was done with that task I was sick of it. I hope a few of them survive the process.

Also on the accomplishments for today, 3 more wheelbarrows full of sticks/brush transported to the burn piles, several medium sized limbs dragged to the burn pile, one of the compost bays shoveled out into one of the others (making room for new stuff).
eor: (lilac)
Today we took on moving the berry patch(es). We started at around 10am in Freeport, digging up blackberries. We dug up all of the blackberries we've deemed "the nasties" in respect to their thorns. They are root spreading and with the nasty thorns, we didn't want to leave them where they might be left to go crazy. We took a sample of the everbearing raspberries we planted a few years ago. We left enough of them to provide late berries for anyone who wants them. We also took a sample of our favorites, the wild early season blackberries from the property. Digging up berry canes is tiring work and by the time we left Freeport at about 1pm we were both pretty much done, but digging them up is only half the job.

We put the early season blackberries on a bank between where the pool currently sits and the lower terrace that has the horseshoe pits. My idea is that they can spread as much as they want on the bank and it'll be easy to mow above and below them. No one will want to walk through the patch because it's a bloody steep bank. The everbearing canes we place on a bank behind the house down a bit from the level of the lawn around the house. The idea being if you're sitting on chairs on the lawn you'll be able to see over the canes and enjoy the downhill view a bit. That bank is nothing but vines and rose right now, so it will be nice to have something on that side of the house that isn't something we have to rip out.

We didn't manage to get the nasties placed. They are going to go further downhill in a spot that will allow me to mow around all four sides of the patch. We started to clear some of the debris in the area, but didn't have the energy to start another batch at that point. So I wrapped them in a tarp and sprayed them with water. Hopefully the roots will survive. If they don't, we can buy more if we choose. Those originally came from Fedco. By the time we got back into the house it was 6pm. Utterly exhausted.

We also discovered we have a frog in our pool. He was sitting in one of the inlet filter baskets, croaking sonorously. I decided to rescue him and pulled the cover off to have a look. He's a big frog and he has no interest in being rescued. As soon as I started to reach for him he was off, out of the inlet, and into the bottom of the deep end of the pool. He will have to come out eventually, but for tonight, he's happy where he is and seems quite healthy.
eor: (ooooohhhhh)
Yesterday after work I was going to change the alternator belt on the car, but the engine was too hot when I opened the hood, so I just left the hood open and went off to fight with rose vine and asiatic bittersweet. Now it says something about a job when rose vine is more appealing. After working for about two hours, I was too exhausted to deal with the vines anymore, so went back to the garage. Changing the belt turned out to be a really easy job and in no time I was done. I was going to do more, but I was unable to get the wheel off the hub on the passenger side, so I decided to try again when the wheel was hot from driving.

Tonight I did manage to get the wheel off. Of the 4 bolts I needed to loosen to fix the brakes, only two wanted to budge. I was afraid I might break them, so I gave up for another day. After a fairly epic battle with rust and tight spaces, I did get the strut on that side changed. The old strut was completely shot, I pushed the old one down with my hand and it just stayed down. They're just not supposed to do that.

Unfortunately, when I was working on the strut I found that the link between the strut and the sway bar is also shot. Changing that will almost certainly require pulling the strut out again. At least next time the rust will be broken and all the parts recently lubricated.

I don't know when I'll get to the other side of the car. Tonight I sprayed various bolts in hopes of making the process easier. Tomorrow is a meeting with the realtor and a condo meeting, so that's out. Thursday we're meeting [personal profile] derien's uncle for dinner. Friday after work will probably be yard work at the condo. Maybe Saturday, but it'll have to be after we have moved the berry canes, which is priority one for Saturday.

Other than that, nothing is happening, nothing at all.
eor: (Death with scythe)
The battle was joined this morning. At times I felt like I had put on a red coat on January 22nd, 1879. Even my heavy iron couldn't bring them all down.

Yes, trying to save some of the trees from Asiatic Bittersweet. Thankfully no rose was involved, so I didn't have to watch out for thorns. But I've had to take two rest breaks and I didn't manage to get all the vine out of the three small trees. After the first break I brought out the heavy artillery. Imagine the thing on the right in this picture, only 12 feet long and made of iron. It's hard to hold, but on the down stroke it provides its own locomotion. It wasn't designed for pulling vines out of trees, it was designed for cleaning clinkers out of steam engines. Since there aren't any steam engines around, it's been re-purposed.
eor: (Death snowman)
I realize I haven't posted here in a dog's age. To say I've been busy is a gross understatement. The new old house has made this long cold winter very... challenging. If we can unload the condo we'll be able to start to make some real progress. I hope by next winter we won't be facing the same challenges we faced this winter.

But I do have a picture for any of you who have been wondering what I look like, since it's been years since I last posted a portrait. This was taken in the kitchen with the huge fireplace in the background. Getting rid of the dark red is one of the items on the to do list. Dark red with dark floors makes a very gloomy room.
eor: (Duckman)
During a conversation today someone I hadn't met before today said, "How old are you anyway?" I answered honestly. She had pegged me for about 10 years younger "at most". I tend to have a younger attitude, but my unshaven face is covered with hair as gray as a donkey's posterior. And nearly as pretty.

The funny thing was, later the other person who was in the conversation asked, "So was that the truth or did you just make it up?" Incidentally, that person knows me better and probably at one time did know the answer. Yes, I'm 47. Technically, easily old enough to be a grandfather. There is someone I work with who's my age who just became a grandfather.

I'll attribute my youth to dancing.

I hope if I ever make it to 90 people still think I'm 60.
eor: (Default)
Yesterday we explored a trail that we'd seen previously, but didn't walk at the time because insufferable squadrons of mosquitoes.

cut for length )

It's obvious that someone uses the trail occasionally, because there is a visible trail, but it certainly doesn't get used much because we haven't seen other cars in the parking area of other walkers on the trial.
eor: (for all the good)
No, not literally, though I wouldn't put it past today.

I got home this afternoon to find the guy who was going to come work on the hot water heater didn't. The hot water heater was spewing more hot water than ever onto the crushed rock in the basement. 170 degree F water on stone on a hot day means SAUNA! I decided to rig up a temporary piping system to move the water to the sump hole so the sump could pump it out into the yard and get the humidity level in the basement down. On the way to the hardware store the muffler on the van broke. Now it sounds as loud as a high school kid's Honda.

When I got back and hooked up the piping, as soon as the sump pump fired up the hose popped off and started fountaining hot water all over the place. Pulled the plug and sent derien to the store for a hose clamp. While waiting mopped the cement pads and bricked areas in the basement with bleach to clean it up a bit. Reconnected with the hose clamp and all seems to be running.

The only good news is that with all the hot water the system has been dumping onto the floor, it's been running a lot. A whole lot. I looked at the oil tank, it's on "E". Why is this good news? Because when no one in the building has hot water, then it won't just be a problem that I talk about and no one pays attention to, it will be a problem for everyone. I am so sick of trying to babysit these children.
eor: (Watson Fez)
The other day I heard someone say that the thing that makes geeks geeks is they show their passions. Instead of it playing it cool (and being boring) they do what makes them happy, judgment of others be damned. I like that definition.

That said, I spent hours yesterday watching videos of accordion playing. They are amazingly complicated instruments, it completely blows me away that anyone can play such a thing.

Over the last few days I've bought quite a bit of new (to me) music. I had a gift card that I got from work and decided to use it on impractical, gift sorts of things, rather than food, gas, and boring things. Among the wins, Flogging Molly "Float", a lively Celtic punk band that is new to my collection. Also among the wins is a 20th Anniversary collection from the Green Linnet label. The only other Green Linnet recording I have is the Boston College Irish Fiddle Festival, which is among my favorite works, having incredible music and great live production. The collection, being a collection, doesn't hold together as well, but it's got plenty of good stuff on it. Among the losses, Ashley MacIsaac "Hi, How Are You Today?", a sad case of Cape Breton talent encountering American overproduction and marketing. I will probably give it a few more listens, but it most likely will not make it into the collection and will go back to Bull Moose for credit.

I've got more that I haven't even had the chance to listen to yet.

I also got a copy of Pee Shy's "Who Let All The Monkeys Out?" (the accordion theme again). There aren't many alternative rock bands with accordion and clarinet.


eor: (Default)

September 2017



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