Thursday, July 31, 2008


It occurred to me yesterday that the difference between Type A personalities and others is that the others are satisfied with "enough". Enough is a highly underrated condition. It means you are content. You have enough. You have done enough, worked enough, own enough and spend enough. It covers all areas of the human condition, adequately. Enough. To say you have enough is to be satisfied with what you have. You need no more. You have enough. We don't feel this satisfaction often enough. I am learning. Contractors here in the north have adopted this condition as their work ethic. When they have enough, they have worked enough, and go fishing or hunting. They understand the importance of down time, and make sure that they don't miss whatever it is that they consider valuable. It may be family, fish or deer, but they know, without apology, that it is more important that whatever they are doing. The question is "don't they have families to support?" Our frustration at the difficulty in finding contractors who want to appear at 9 am and work till lunch, returning again after one hour and finishing the day, was becoming frantic. We were running out of recommendations when it finally dawned on me. They have it right. We need to just chill out a little and slow down. It will get done. We are not suffering without water or heat or food. We have enough. Relax, enjoy the down time. When they get here, it will get done. It may be 10:30; it may be tomorrow. It will be soon enough. We do know folks here who are on the same page as we are. We are all up and at 'em at the crack of dawn. Ready to go - progress! At 9:10 AM we are beginning to freak out. He's not here yet! The contractor is late! We spend time watching the clock, pacing for his arrival. Chomping at the bit. When he does arrive, he jumps right in and starts work. No apology, no remorse. Also no stress, no racing pulse. He works when he wants, he stops when he wants. He has enough, and other things are more important than our renovation project. Even though we are paying him, the money is not the issue. He has enough. He doesn't NEED us. This is the healthiest attitude I have come across in a long time. He is how I want to be. I want to learn to ride it out, to sit tight and let the day roll in. When we decide to pick up the pace, the work will be there. It will always be there. There will always be a wall that needs paint, spackle or wall board. There will also be improvements to be made, repairs to be done, jobs to tackle. It never ends. And so, the ability to recognize this and to embrace the moment, is a rare gift. Some call it laziness. The stereotypical upstater is unemployed and low income. This is not due to laziness. This is due to priorities. Ours are just different. We moved here to slow down and try to smell the roses before the bloom is over. But we brought with us our Type A work ethic. This is something we should have left on Long Island. It doesn't work here. We have to embrace this lifestyle of "enough", or we will be frustrated forever. "We've done enough for today" is the ability to see that there are three more hours of daylight, and if you play it right, you can get your line in the water before the sun goes down. This is what we wanted. We need to get with it. Enough of this blog. Get out there and do something for your head, not for your wallet. Make the choice to be satisfied with the material things, and make sure that you have enough soul food. I am talking about emotional food. Feed your soul. For that there is never enough.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Dog's Life

Jake is developing an attitude problem. A good attitude. He seems to be acclimating to our surroundings by becoming a country dog. All of a sudden he is demanding that he be included in every outside venture. He has discovered that the screen door does not have a latch and just bangs shut. We left it this way on purpose, as it has a comforting sound that reminds me of my childhood. The banging screen door signifies summertime. At my Grandfather's house on Candlewood Lake the side door had a banging screen, and it is that sound that I remember most, next to the hawks. Anytime Jerry or I leave the house and walk outside, Jake slithers out behind us uninvited. He has always had selective hearing when it comes to discipline. If Jerry speaks, it's Lassie who responds. If I speak, he completely ignores me and continues on his way. It is frustrating and annoying and yet he can be so charming that I always forgive him and forget the constant dissing that is going on. He will sleep on the floor next to my side of the bed, and make me feel like I have a canine bodyguard. All in all, he's a regular good guy, and just wants to be with us. Here, dogs are included in the day to day activities. It is not unusual to see a dog walking alongside his owner down the sidewalk in town, without a leash. They will sit and wait outside whatever store the owner is in, and not bother anyone. Nor will they run away. They are sidewalk savvy, and seem to know the ropes. Dogs seem to enjoy a higher status outside of the city. They are trusted to roam and not disappear. I am not there yet. I don't want to chance our beloved dog not coming home. Riding in the back of a pickup is another skill I have observed from these dogs. I cannot say if Jake would ride without making the leap after a squirrel or something seen outside of the pickup bed. But these country dogs seem to know that jumping out would be detrimental to their health. They just don't. We have not tested this theory, as we do not have a pickup truck. But Jake is taking in all of these aspirations as though he were in training. Where is he getting his information? Are dogs that observant? On Long Island, he seemed to know that the backyard was his domain. Outside of that, it was leash world. Here in upstate New York, our backyard is still his territory, but it is a much larger world that also embraces other wildlife. Our neighbor's dog (Dan-Dave the excavator) has endured a few trips to the vet due to run-ins with a porcupine or two. More than once. Not fun. But it doesn't seem to deter the desire to run and be free. Jake continues to ingest any specie of flying insect, including the bees. That can be painful, but he doesn't stop. He never remembers that the bee will sting if he swallows it. He just keeps gulping and gulping till he gets one. He loves to be outside and now expects to be with us, no matter where we go. He will stay with us and lay down if we stay put for any length of time, but if something catches his eye, off he goes. I guess that is the beauty of dogs, they will forget what happened yesterday and start today with a clean slate. All memories of yesterdays painful consequences are forgotten, and it is a new day. All he asks for is a pat on the head and a kind word. . . and freedom to run. I have to remember that this is a new and exciting experience for the dogs too. I wonder how he'll respond when the alpacas and goats arrive. Friend or foe? We'll see. In the meantime, he's learning the lay of the land, under a watchful eye. Good dog Jake.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Noah-my new best friend

The cabinets are here. They are here in the living room because Dan and Jerry went and picked them up yesterday from Noah's workshop. Complete and gorgeous. I have never seen such workmanship. They are works of art, truly. They are also incredibly heavy. You don't get solid wood without it weighing more than the average cabinet. I think Dan is rueing the day he ever met us. His back is saying "no more!" We are going to tackle the installation today, however, I am at a disadvantage (or is it Jerry's disadvantage) as my shoulder is still sore, and I am sore all over due to yesterday's installation of the laundry room floor (peel and stick - did I mention that we have laundry?) As I knew would happen, everything is ready at the same time. But we are excited and thrilled, and wearing incredibly clean clothes. By the end of the week, we should be somewhat more functional, and certainly more organized. On to the bathroom! Those appliances should be here NEXT week. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. We are in the egg-breaking phase. Thanks Noah - high five.

Monday, July 28, 2008


If you google our address, North Bush Road, you will find that in 1998 there was a Bigfoot sighting on our road. It was investigated by the Bigfoot Research Association, which is the agency that follows sightings around the world and classifies them according to believability. The sighting on our road was classified A - highly dependable. Hmmmmm. If you go to the research site you can read the entire report. Now I don't want to cast any doubt on the Bigfoot Research Association, but if you read between the lines there are alot of facts that are questionable. Two youths out at 2:00 in the morning stop to relieve themselves. There was no alcohol involved as the youths were underage. really. Underage drinkers are right in there giving all the facts to the authorities. you bet ya. I am not convinced of the existence of Bigfoot, nor am I convinced that it doesn't exist. Researchers are constantly coming up with new fish or other fossils that were previously unknown. It is possible that an obscure mammal such as bigfoot could be roaming the northern hemisphere and still fall under the radar of researchers. Probable? not really, but certainly possible. Never say never. until it is proven that bigfoot does NOT exist, I will still consider the possibility that it does. And I will take the necessary precautions living here in the northeast woods. I won't go hiking at night. And I won't stop in the woods at 2:00 a.m. to relieve myself. Other than that, I think we can coexist nicely. Never has a bigfoot wandered into a campsite or backyard of humans, and I don't expect him to start now. We sit out at the campfire and the woods are there, with all kinds of unknown noises and calls of the wild. Some I recognize, some I do not. That's OK. We don't have to know the species of everything. Just stay in your part of the woods, and I'll stay in mine. If, however, you are interested in reading more about bigfoot, go to the BFRO site and check it out. They seem to be out there. I do believe that Bigfoot holds less danger for us than even mosquitos, or flys. The flys are out now, and they are a son-of-a-gun. Incredibly annoying. More so than Bigfoot. It pays to have a nice healthy and smokey campfire going, which alleviates all the flying pests. I just hope that Bigfoot doesn't go for s'mores, or we're screwed.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's humiliate the dogs day!

Good morning. Without much to report on the renovation projects because it is Saturday, I'm stooping really low. The dogs are a big part of our lives. All of our lives. They are part of our family, and as such, also have accessories and apparel. That being said, I'll share. This is Jake. He is part lab, part great dane. He is the best dog in the world. His personality is so mellow that he allows Daphne (more on her later) to completely demoralize and abuse him. She is in charge of who sleeps where, who eats first and who gets all the toys. Jake just does what he's told. Like I said, he's mellow. His wardrobe is limited, as he is quite large and not easy to fit. Here he is in his hunting season poncho. Here in the Adirondacks it is wise to outfit your dog in hunter's orange as anything moving is likely to be a target. We don't walk the property much during hunting season, and I may consider a hunter's orange poncho for myself. It may be a wise choice for all of us. As I said, Daphne is a real charmer. Her personality changes with her audience. When we are at home alone, she rules the roost. She can change from a tail wagging sweetheart of a dog to a snarling growing beast - but only to Jake. Everyone else is shown Daphne's sweet side,and everyone falls in love with her. She is not attractive in the classic sense. It's like a jack russel with feet attached to the body. No legs. She is also a shelter dog, a jack russel/chihuahua mix. She's a little bit rotund, which only adds to her charm. Because she is a small dog, she does have apparel. In fact, she has luggage. Her wardrobe consists of parkas, turtleneck sweaters, a burberry raincoat and of course, lingerie. This picture is Daphne on Christmas morning after she received a pink negligie. Clearly, she is thrilled. Our newest family member, Blue, is Jackie and Jesse's pride and joy. He is, as she says, a rock star. Everywhere Blue goes, he is happy to meet you and participating in everything. I was never a big fan of chihuahuas, but Daphne and Blue have changed my mind. They understand each other and easily communicate. When we are all together poor Jake just tolerates the little dogs. But we adore Blue. Because he is tiny (maybe 3 or 4 pounds) he has the most complete wardrobe of all. Of course, having a Mother who is totally fashion savvy means that Blue is decked out no matter where he goes. He has t-shirts and hats and anything the well-dressed dog could possibly want. He is shown here in his winter gear-which means he is well prepared for winter in the adirondacks. We're counting on seeing Blue alot! He looks ready for a real winter! Last but certainly not least is Otis. The Patriarch of the dog family. We think Otis may be, at 13 1/2, the oldest living Boxer. He is Clint and Joanne's sonny boy, and he is loved by all. As boxers have a life expectancy of 9 years, Otis at 13 is a testament to clean living and lots of exercise. He has been a faithful friend and good soul all his life. Otis is not a big fan of apparel. Being dignified, he has no use or need for the outfits and accessories of the trendy, but young. However, we recently discovered that Otis clearly resembles a tragic figure featured in this summer's biggest movie blockbuster. Heath Ledger. After making this connection, I cannot look at Otis without being reminded of this uncanny resemblance. He is a dead ringer: Or, as Clint says, Heath Ledger looks like Otis. These are our dog family. I hope you enjoyed meeting them all. They are our best friends, and deserved a blog. We have no pictures (yet! of Brian's Cujo, or Nicole's kittens and cats, but as you can see, we are all animal lovers. Have a great weekend! See you on Monday!

Friday, July 25, 2008

We seem to be shopping alot lately. Is this what retirees normally do? Actually, I don't really think so either. I believe once we get our house in order, the shopping will lose its necessity. I am enjoying picking out decor and appliances, but it does devalue everything when you are buying in bulk like this. The whole retiree thing is kicking in, and I still don't know how I feel. I wake up some mornings feeling slightly lost, as though whatever it is I have planned for the day is not important enough. I am wondering sometimes if I am happiest with routine. I know Jerry likes to work, and he is loving this bee job so much that it motivates and rejuvenates him. He loves those bees. He is at a bee removal today, in Saratoga. He and Dan left at 7:30 to get over there before the crowds get going. It's in season now. They both love the bees, and they have alot in common. It inspires me to find my niche. I love the spinning and am anxiously awaiting the excavation of the pasture, because that brings me a little closer to my goal - farming. The reality is though that we won't be able to bring on any livestock until at least next spring. Which leaves me without livestock, and without a job. A farmer without a farm. Incredibly, I am not feeling terribly stressed about this. Is this a character flaw? Or am I finally finding my vocation? It is a question I ask myself daily. Physically, being home and being busy with minutae is absolutely the best medicine. I feel better than I have in years. Emotionally, I am struggling with the notion of "unemployment". My friend Cathy told me to wait it out and enjoy the moment. That is the hardest lesson for me to learn. Enjoy the moment. There are moments when that is too easy, and moments that fly by without a second thought, lost in the rush and chaos of each day. We are enjoying the process, but will both be relieved when it is somewhat complete. If we can get it to where the house is 50% completed,it will be better, I know. Right now, we are living admidst chaos, mess and disorder. I think the answer here is obvious. We need to go fishing. Only fishing will alleviate this feeling of anxiousness. If you fish, you know what I mean. We're compadres. If you don't fish, you should try it. It instills patience and a feeling of calm that you can get nowhere else. We are both fly fishers, although my son Walter loves to salt water fish. Different strokes. But we all love being on the water and the deliberate activity that goes with fishing. The rythem of casting, the ticking of the reel. It is a peaceful activity that allows for moments of thrilling chance. To catch a fish is the goal, not always the outcome. And to enjoy a day fishing doesn't mean that you have to catch a fish. Unlike golf, there is no score. A successfull day fishing means you got there. After that its all gravy. If you catch a fish, great. If not, well, maybe coming back tomorrow will fix that. It is peaceful,solitary and communing with nature is always a stress antidote. I think Huckleberry Finn said it best: "I ain't goin to school - I'm goin fishing!" Job? What job?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mars and Venus, brass or brushed nickel?

We've been to Lowe's. It's quite possible that their stock has risen dramatically. We shopped till we dropped, and accomplished great things. The material for the bathroom is now fully on board, and we are ready to move ahead. This was not without its traumas and disagreements. Mars and Venus should not be allowed to shop together. It's not that anyone is WRONG necessarily, it's just that we think completely differently. We do not speak the same language, nor do we understand each other. It is cause for confusion and frustration. Add that to the fact that according to Lowe's, brass is the new stainless steel. WTF? I just spent the better part of two decades eliminating brass from my decorating mentality. Although I am fond of brass, I have been led to believe that it is very 80's. I happen to have liked the 80s. Shoulder pads are still a good idea. They always will be. But the brass I have come to understand is a decorating faux pas that is at the very base of undesirable. I got it. And now they are changing it on me? They must do that when the stainless market has been saturated. "OK, they've bought all the stainless we have to offer. . . let's change!" After deciding that I just didn't care, I was going to go with brushed nickel, we found the right lighting fixtures and them moved on to lightbulbs. 40 or 60 watt? Incandescent or flourescent. Now the only thing I know for sure is that fluourescent is not flattering, to anyone. So that was easy. Actually, I prefer low lighting with dimmers. The dimmer it gets, the better I look. That holds true with everyone. I think the whole world should be on a dimmer. It's just better that way. Anyway, we got it all, brushed nickel, and we got out of there without killing each other. This renovation thing is exciting, but hazardous. There are so many places to get caught up in opinions. Compromise is essential to our well being. Sometimes it matters more to one or the other, and that's when it pays to give in. We usually know how to communicate with the other, and let each other know when "this one matters to me, can you give in?" Generally, that doesn't happen at the same time. Generally. We're at loggerheads with bedroom paint colors, but we've got time for that. Today, I just want to make sure the bathroom gets done. One room at a time. Yes dear. On the way home we stopped at the beer distributor for some Blue Moon Honeymoon blend. Good idea. We're going to need it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rainy Day

Well I think that it's time you heard from the other side of this team. Raining here in Caroga and workman working on the house so I have some time to get involved in this blog. Checked on the Bees this morning but not much going on with them...they don't like the rain so much,best to leave them alone in this weather. Jen's enjoying retirement....out shopping as I type. As you may or may not know,I have been busy with my new career, Raising Bees, selling Honey and Bee removals from homes, farms and trees. That part of "Blue Line farm and Apiary " seems to be well on its way! The fiber part is moving along as we are working towards getting some livestock on the property, some obstacles to over come. We will either have Livestock on the property or some very expensive lawn area to play horse shoes on. Ali has started to adjust to this new life, she has been taking horse back riding lessons and involved in a theater group in Gloversville. The best part of her summer has been that she has learned to "Sleep well into the Afternoon". My partner "Beek" (meaning BeeKeeper) Dan and I are heading off to Albany near the Capital Building to do a Bee Removal on Monday. Last week Dan and I did a removal from an old farm house on the Albany Airport property which was about 100 Ft from the runway landing strip. We took out about 5 Lbs of bees. The farm house for some reason was being saved and needed to be moved further away from the landing strip. I did not understand why it was being moved...this had not been a stable building for a long time. The fact that a lot of termites had been holding hands caused this farm house to still be standing. The workers involved in moving this "Pile of Wood and termites" would not touch it until we took the bees out. I think we did the bees a favor! I took some pictures and as soon as I figure how to get them out of my phone and into the computer I will post them. In the mean time here is a picture of me working on one of the hives.


Today is an indoor day. I remember hating that when recess was cancelled. Indoor day meant crowded gymnasiums and loud games. I'm much happier now when we call an indoor day. It is coffee in bed and good movies. We were busy yesterday though. The carpenter was here to begin the laundry (not a moment too soon - my back is hurting) room. It looks closer to paint than any other room in the house. Dan-Dave the excavator was here yesterday too. He is beginning the process of plowing under the tree tops to allow for pasture. His bobcat was a big change from Amish Dan's Morgans, but just as happily received. We are experiencing progress. It's exciting and a little scary. I have never been busier, and never felt more relaxed. Jerry is keeping busy with his bees, and the progress is showing in the apiary as well. We are up to five hives that are thriving. He is hoping to reach ten this year, and we will have a substantial honey harvest. That is good news. The electric fence seems to be working. We haven't seen hide nor hair (that term has taken on new meaning) of the three bears, and the honey is accumulating daily. The real test will be NEXT May when they come out of hibernation again. I think next year Jerry will be camping in the woods with his gun. Just a hunch. We are heading out to Noah's today, since it is raining. We'll see how far along he is with our cabinets. Last week, he was halfway done. The workmanship is fantastic, and they are beautiful! Soon we can put away all our sundries (does anyone use that word anymore?) It's opening day at Saratoga, although the races will not likely be running. What a shame. These communities here depend on summer business to make a go of it. The weather can be cruel to so many Mom and Pops that don't do well when the tourism is down. It is much like the east end. I've even heard of people moving out of their homes and renting them for the month of August. It can be so lucrative that that is their annual income. They move in with family and benefit from Saratoga's visitors. Not a bad idea. hmmmmm. The spinning and knitting continues. Allison continues to sleep. Life is good at Blue Line Farm and Apiary.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ashes to Ashes

I always thought that I would prefer to be cremated instead of buried. It just seemed so much simpler to me. The logistics and expense of a cemetery burial are not something I wanted to saddle my grieving (I hope!) family with. All kidding aside, I was fairly certain of this until this morning, when in anticipation of the contractor coming to begin work in the laundry room in what was the former pantry, we found Conan....on the shelf. We had inadvertently forgotten his ashes there, where he was placed last year after he had to be put to sleep. Conan was a dog, not a person, but he was no less a member of our family than the rest of us. He was the best dog that ever loved me. He didn't love everyone, but he loved me. It was the hardest thing we ever had to do, putting him down. Jerry was the hero and took him for his last visit to the vet. I couldn't do it. Jerry had a really hard time of it, but he knew it was the only choice for Conan. He had been diagnosed with cancer, and it was his time. I feel that there is no greater gift you can give your dog than to be with him at the end. Holding him and telling him how much he is loved. I couldn't do it, but Jerry did. He is my hero. He had behavior issues (Conan, not Jerry), sometimes drastically missing near-disaster only because we were present. He was a loose cannon. I'm sure we have friends and family who thought we were nuts with Conan's behaviorist and training and doing everything we could to keep him, even when we were afraid of his personality with others. But when you love a dog, you love everything. Just like family. So, like I was saying, we were devastated when he had to be put down. We decided to ask for his ashes and intended to spread them here in the country where Conan was happiest. He just loved running free and exploring everything he could. He was a big dog, bigger than Jake, and he could run like the wind. His big ears would flop behind him as he thundered through the woods, and he was just plain joyful. That's where we wanted his ashes to be placed. It has been more than a year since we were here all together with the kids and their SO's (significant others), so we decided to wait. We put the box of ashes on the pantry shelf, where it was safe. Over time, we began to collect things for the house. Extra serving dishes and crockpots. The pantry is where we stored batteries, flashlights, and recyclables. Jerry has been accumulating jars for honey preparation, and I acquired canning accessories at Christmas. It all came up here over the past year, and got put in the pantry. Slowly and unintentionally, Conan got pushed back further and further. We have not had the opportunity to be together so we could let his ashes go with some dignity, and so we chose to wait. Until this morning. I was crushed to see that we had in fact forgotten him and the purpose of saving his ashes. He was left on the shelf like a box of Duncan Hines. I am mortified. How did this happen? We loved him! And if it happened to Conan, it could happen to any of us. Do I want to end up on the pantry shelf, with all the other utility items? It is completely understandable as to how it can happen, and I don't want to be that box. So now I must debate the question all over again. Burial or cremation? Jerry and I don't agree. He wants burial and is very clear about that. I'm still not sure. It may sound morbid to be discussing this, but the older we get, the more important the question becomes. I want everyone to know what I want, so they don't have to suffer through the decision while they are already suffering. I also want to have SOME control over this last party that I attend. Then again, coming from a group of superb party planners, I could just leave it up to them. All this on my mind because we found Conan on the back shelf. I think we will let him free this week. He deserves it. He was a good dog. I hope the burial/cremation question will answer itself for me. We'll see how it goes with Conan. I hope I will feel like he got the burial that would make him happy. Will there be some sign? I don't know. I will be looking for one. We'll see. But he's off the pantry shelf, and back in my thoughts. Maybe that's the sign. I was forgetting, and now I'm not. There is nothing like a good dog who loves you. It's pretty simple. Unconditional love and a loyal friend. We should all be so consistent with each other, the way a dog is. Thanks Conan....for the reminder. I needed it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Making Good Time

I have been away, and I am better for it. Allison and I traveled to Long Island this weekend to visit family. She had a wonderful time, as did I. It was so great to see Jackie and Walter, and my brother and sister-in-law and and their family. We had a ball. The trip down was rather uneventful, as I drove like a man. That is to say that I was trying to make "good time". I don't know what it is about men, but as soon as they get on a road trip, the one and only goal is to make good time. That means that rest stops should really be called rest drive bys, as stopping is out of the question. They are constantly checking their watch and fretting anytime we stop - "we want to make good time you know". No, I don't know. What is the rush? Is someone clocking this trip? Are we in a race that I was not aware of? What is the point of making good time if you miss everything along the way? When I retired I pledged to myself that I would spend the time to enjoy the journeys. I was always so rushed when we were working that taking the road less traveled was not always an option. So now, whenever I can, I try to make sure that I take a route that isn't always the fastest. I want to see the side roads and the towns that the thruway passed by. We called Jerry as we were leaving, and I could hear in his voice that he wanted us to make good time. When it took us an hour to get from the Rowland's driveway in Port Washington to the expressway, I knew we were in trouble. We had stops to make. There is so much history in New York, and Allison and I had the opportunity to see much of it on our trip home. We shopped in Manhasset, gas, dunkin donuts, Linens and Things (closing sale). I was actually brutally quick and opted out of many side stops. We did well until we decided to jump off the thruway at exit 21 - Cairo. We passed through Cairo and up to Purling at Shinglekill Falls, which is where my Father spent summers of his childhood. It was so peaceful there, and we got out at the falls and looked around. I think I may have recognized the house that was Grandma Rowland's boardinghouse, but I would need a cousin's eye to be sure. That's a trip for family history that should never be missed. I was glad we stopped there. We traveled further west through East Durham and that was hysterical. It is lousy with the Irish and their flags and gift shops and pubs. Every single building has a shamrock on it. There was a bluegrass festival at the fairgrounds all last week, and it looked like it was a great time. I am adding it to my calendar for next year. Through Scholarie county and up to Cobleskill, New York is amazingly beautiful. This is where real farming is going on. Not dabbling like we are, but rich and vibrant farms that have been years in the making. There are so many small towns that are frozen in time, and you'll never see them from the Thruway. That is their beauty, that was their demise. It is a trip through the 50's when the Catskills were really hopping. The mountains are so beautiful, and the lucky ones are those who still get to see them up close. We stopped to eat when we were hungry, and to run into retail opportunities whenever they arose. It was a fabulous trip all around. We are only 240 miles from Long Island, but there are worlds between us. And that's the difference between Men and women. The Friday trip was 3 hrs. 50 min. Today's trip took us 7 hours. Today was the better trip by far. We didn't make good time, but we made the time good.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blue Line Farm

Someone asked me how we came up with the name Blue Line Farm. As you may know, the perimeter of the Adirondack Park is called the Blue Line. Within it are six million acres of forever wild land. If you reside inside the blue line, you are governed not only by your particular municipality, but also by the Adirondack Park Agency, whose zoning and environmental protection laws are sacred. This blue line runs through the base of our nine acre property. It is called Peck's Creek (crick if you are an upstater)and the blue line follows the creek along the back. Our House is approximately 40 feet over the Blue Line within the Adirondack Park. The Police also have a brotherhood that is referred to as the Blue Line. According to Wikipedia, the Thin Blue Line is a colloquial term for police and police forces. The term derives from The Thin Red Line and suggests that a thin line of police officers is all that prevents civilized society from descending into chaos. Boy ain't that the truth. The Thin Blue line can also refer to the brotherhood of the profession. It shows the bond of police officers, and the symbol is taken very seriously among most police officers. The term is also sometimes used as a pejorative against police who cover up criminal activity of fellow officers. So, when we were deciding on a name for the farm, it just seemed like the obvious choice, seeing as the blue line runs right through the property. Kind of like a bow to both our connections. The new blue line and the old blue line. And, in case you didn't know by now, Apiary means bee yard. So there you have it. Blue Line Farm and Apiary. Hopefully, the farm will have livestock by next year. The pasture is clear and starts to get excavated next week. If the APA rules against the livestock we will have a wicked bocce court or an excellent place to play volleyball. I'm hoping for the livestock OK. Angora Goats and Alpaca. This way I can spin to my hearts content while Jerry manages his bees. Blue Line Farm and Apiary, that's us.

Just thoughts

I've had a bit of feedback from some friends, and I love it! It's so great to hear people's opinions of what you write. It keeps you honest and motivated. Keep those comments coming. I love them all. Jerry is off to another bee job today. He brought in two swarms last week and it appears that they have set up shop in the hives. That is great news. It is busy as bees over in the bee yard. The nearest neighbors are the cemetary at North Bush Methodist Church, which is next door. Our property runs behind the church's cemetary, and that is where we have placed the bee yard. We figured we'd get less complaints that way. Although it may be a little daunting for the friends and family of the newly deceased, as they do spend a little collective time in the cemetary. But if you don't look too closely behind the massive pine tree, you'd never know the bees were there. That's the theory. One half of the kitchen paneling is done. We are just waiting on the cabinets from Amish Noah. We stopped by the other day to drop off the hardware and check on the progress. He is better than half way done, and they are absolutely beautiful. The workshop smells wonderful - sawdust! We always seem to get there when he is having lunch. And when I realized that we always take a ride down after lunch, I checked a clock in the shop to see what time he was eating so we didn't disturb again. One hour behind. That's right, they don't observe daylight savings. Now, wasn't that put into place to help the farmers? That's what I was always told. Noah said it doesn't help him one bit. The cows don't abide by the change, so neither does he. Just works through it while all us "farmers" are enjoying the extended daylight. I guess it might have been put in place to assist Harrows or something. Seems to me the barbeques are being more aided then the farmers. I love Daylight Savings, because it is lighter until close to 9 PM. We do get more done, and I feel like I should be doing more. It motivates me. We are so easily fooled. Our friend Eric lived in Alaska for quite a few years, and he said that the 24 hour sun cycle would mean you could be playing volleyball at two in the morning and not realize what time it was. That would be a little much for me. I like nighttime at SOME point. I sleep better in the dark. But it all changes anyway, so everyone gets their shot. These are the things that go through your mind when you're a bee widow. Scary eh? Have a good day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Four Seasons

They say the four seasons here in the Adirondacks are Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter and Construction. We are midway through the Construction Season, and way behind. We took a drive to Amsterdam yesterday to pick up construction material. paneling, glue, nails, etc. We pulled up to the Lowes at 8:30 a.m. and were not sure if the place was open, it was that empty. The parking lot had about 6 cars in it, and one guy was sitting in his car. We thought for a moment they hadn't opened yet, and then remembered that life here is a little different. It's just not crowded. Even Lowes. We went inside and had help from four different assistants who were just WAITING for us to ask for something. It was lovely. After loading the car with stuff we started back and it struck me just how lucky we are. The views and vistas from the car for a routine trip to the store are magnificent. The whole trip is not just a destination goal, but a journey unto itself. The farms and fields and mountains are breathtakingly beautiful. They are vacation worthy. And we're not on vacation. Which begs the question, where do you go on vacation when you live in paradise? Where do Hawaiians go? Do they pack up their suitcases to get away from it all? Where is their destination? I'm inclined to think I'm staying here. I can't imagine any where else that would soothe the savage soul like the mountains. Of course, it is fly season and we're getting killed, but even that has a solution. The bigger the campfire, the less the insects will hover. It is a known fact that "moth to flame" has its origin in a campfire. When you see a moth deliberately fly into the flame, even with the heat warning it from two feet away, you realize how intoxicating it is. I'm not jumping in, but i'm enjoying it from a very close distance. The heat is cozy on a cool night, and the stars are within reach overhead. There is nothing like it, anywhere. Which is why most days, I'm just grateful. It's that simple.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Girls

Jerry and Dan went to Jaffe's farm to pick up the remainder of Jerry's hives. They have to do it at night so that the bees are "home". Otherwise, it's like moving their home out from under them while they're out foraging. Imagine coming home after out polinating all day and finding your hive gone? That would be cruel I think. So, he and Dan went down to the farm tonight,at 9:30 PM. to tie up the hives and bring them up. Allison and Jennie and I elected to remain at home. I don't know if Jennie is as afraid of bees as I am, but she wasn't signing up for the move either. We wait here patiently, Bee Widows, for the boys to do their thing. It is kind of funny that we think of ourselves as being left behind, because the truth is I wouldn't go near the damn things anyway. But when the Bee Guys get together they talk about their "girls" as if they were woman. I realize how really absurd it is to be jealous of bees. I mean really. However, he speaks of them with such fondness that I find myself being irritated at their constant availability and allure. Do we need to check on them twice a day? What could they possibly have that I don't? What's the deal? I think it is the pull of nature that brings Jerry to the bees. He enjoys the solitude in the field, and the possibility of a magnificent honey harvest. You can tweak the position of the hives and make improvements, all while the bees are doing their job. In alot of ways, I'm sure he feels in control of the whole bee situation (with the exception of the bear crisis of a few months ago). They are doing their job, they are potentially profitable, and they don't talk back or get sarcastic. If they are in a bad mood, you just smoke them a little more. If I were smoking I could be pleasant and productive too. I've been off cigarettes for 17 months. I am still bitchy - I'll admit it. It's just something I can't do if I want to live to see tomorrow. The bees can inhale all they want, and it calms them down. So that makes them better company than me? I resent it. When he say's "I'm going to see the girls" I am jealous. Maybe he too is breathing in the smoke of the sage. They're all out there "smoking" together in the woods. How intimate. It drives me crazy. I just don't like it. Sometimes when we're doing something, he'll just disappear for awhile. Like mowing the lawn. All of a sudden I'll realize Jerry is gone. I can't hear the mower and I can't find Jerry. I couldn't have been more suspicious than if it were another woman. It's just 50,000 other women! All of them busy at work and keeping their mouths shut. Smoking. I find myself looking forward to winter when they are dormant. Then I might win this battle for his attention. I could be overreacting a tad, really. But who can blame me? As I said before, I'm rooting for the bears.


At the Southern Adirondack Bee Association (SABA) summer picnic, we met all different types of beekeepers, as well as some kids who manage bees. Most beekeepers that I have met tend to be earth-friendly and people friendly too. They are pleasant and have all kinds of good stories. One of the gentlemen there was also a falcon trainer. They all seem to be, without fail, people who are conscious of the environment and the consequences of our actions. The hosts, Anne and Ron Frye had a pond on their property. It included a dock in the center and a rope swing off the shoreline. All the kids had a ball catching frogs and setting them back. It took Allison all day but she finally went in (Go Allie!) It is a little different than a lake, as ponds tend to have smuck on the bottom. That's the only word I can think of. It is clay, with weeds and dirt mixed in. Smuck. There is nothing wrong with it, it is just different than we're used to. As Jethro said, we like that ce-ment pond. But after she went in, she was glad she did. Very refreshing. I did not go in. It wasn't the smuck factor, it was the temperature. As I said before, I am not a real adventurer when it comes to temperature. There are usually about three days in August that allow me to swim. The water temp. must be 90 degrees and the outdoor temp. must be 100 degress. It has to be a perfect alignment of roasting weather and then I will go in. The kids just jump right in. I was never able to do that. It causes my heart to freeze. That's not a technical term, but it is a shock to the system that I don't care for. I am finding here in upstate New York that many people have unusual jobs. It seems to be a place that allows more freedom in the occupation department. Folks are either making a go of it on one salary, or filling in with part time stuff that is seasonal and intermittent. We would never have tried to do that downstate. Way too risky. But here, it doesn't seem to matter. It is a mindset that I will have to get used to. Things here are generally more reasonable (gas is holding at $4.19)Jerry seems to be doing fine with it. He has been working with bees all over the place. They have had jobs in Saratoga County, Albany, and Schenectady. He is really getting around. The bees are his job. He likes it that way. Allison and I are holding down the home front. The interesting thing is that real estate is wacky too. A $400,000. home can be right next to a $20,000 shack. There aren't really bad neighborhoods, just bad houses. Of course in the city (gloversville) that changes a little, as there are worse areas than others, but in the outskirts of town where we are, it's limited to your property. You're either a pristeen manicured home, or you can have furniture, abandoned cars and appliances on your front lawn. And there is no difference. The two co-exist right next door to each other. We fall somewhere in between. I have not yet left an appliance on the front lawn, but as soon as our bathroom fixtures arrive, you may find a chopped up hot-tub out on the lawn. We haven't gotten our dump permit yet. One thing at a time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Laundry Day

Saturday was laundry day. We have a solar-powered washer and dryer. What that means is a washtub and a ringer, with a clothesline. Until the plumber is here and installs the washer and dryer we got in Colonie last week, this is the alternative I choose. I could go into town and spend time at the laundromat, but there is something about clothes hanging on the line that makes me nostalgic for my childhood. Everything dries crisp and fresh, and no ironing is required. I like to check its progress during the day, and sometimes change the way a heavy garment is hanging, so that it gets maximum sun. The washtub is a whole other ballgame. I remember using a washtub at my Aunt Lillian's in Bay Shore. Back when Bay Shore was rural. Her machine was electric, but it had a ringer. I was totally intrigued by that, and I have fond memories of helping her do laundry in her basement. Then we would carry it up to the porch and she would hang it on the line. She would hold the pins in her mouth as she hung each piece, and explain to me the best way to hang it. It is vivid still. So when I hang the clothes on the line, for me it is a nice memory. I did not understand back then how backbreaking a job it was. Today I am feeling the punishment of hanging out the clothes. My back and arms are aching, my shoulder is shot, and I see that today is going to be a Tylenol kind of day. I can hardly move. I am ashamed to say that upper body strength is not my best feature. In fact, I hardly have upper body strength at all. My left shoulder has sustained a rotator cuff injury, which I am still nursing (that was a moving injury) and the last time Jerry and I tried to install a ceiling, I was little help to him. My legs are very strong due to tap dancing, but I am still no match for Aunt Lillian. She was a force of nature. Never did I hear her complain, much like I am complaining now. She just did what had to be done and with a smile. I am not smiling now. Fortunately for me, I did the laundry yesterday. It was 80 degrees, sunny and warm. Perfect for laundry. Today it is dank. Rainy, humid and muggy. Nothing would dry today. I will spend the day in the recliner and soothe my body. Tomorrow I may get to the whites. That will be easier than jeans. I hope.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

For Sale

This is what appeared in yesterday's leader herald classified: For Sale: The cutest pigs you've ever seen. Also available, roasting pigs. Oh my God. If you're cute you're a pet. If you're not you're dinner? How do you qualify for either? Who makes the call? That is a little disturbing. Now I like roast pig, alot. If you've never been to pig roast you are missing something. It tastes delicious and fresh. If you can get past the apple in the mouth thing, which I find a little derogatory toward the pig, it is a real delicacy. But seeing it in print and so cruelly stated was kind of an eye opener. Thank God for Daphne we don't have those criteria here. We don't eat our pets. or she would be dinner. We went to Saratoga Springs yesterday. It is a must see. It was a combination of the Adirondacks and Manhattan. The architecture that is so beautifully restored and maintained is just spectacular. The stores are quirky and arty, or there is Borders and Seattle Coffee. Everyone is dining al fresco out the huge sidewalk. There is money there. Big money. And it shows. This is not your average upstate town. This is the big time. We ate lunch at the Circus Cafe which was decorated in the old circus motif, with an urban flair. The walls were brick with beautiful animal drawings on the brick, so that it looked as if the animal was coming through the wall. Quite well done. The food was the best I've ever had. Not just here in upstate new York, but anywhere. Like the Irish, the Adirondacks are not known for their cuisine. This is carb country. But I had a quesadilla with delicate greens and fresh tomatoes that was out of this world. We all enjoyed our meal. We did alot of walking around and I was pleasantly surprised at every turn. I had been through Saratoga Springs before, but never parked and stayed for the day. We had been to see our friends Dan the Bee guy and his wife Jennie at a quilters fair in Saratoga Springs City Center. They are dealers for an amazing quilting machine that is able to do intricate stitching. They had a great booth and we were so glad to see them. in the Center there was a juried quilt competition. The talent and creativity that is out there just amazes me. These people should have their own shows, their own networks! These are not bed quilts-but magnificent wall hangings. It is a wake up call for the creative mind. THEY ARE WAY AHEAD OF YOU! Just making the time to create these original pieces of art is daunting, no less following through with the idea and the material. I am in awe. Everything was so beautiful. Allie and I had a lovely time checking out fabric and participating in a pin-making activity out of old buttons. It was too fun, and now we have some wearable art. Not a bad day all in all. I just keep thinking about those pigs. I wonder who is making the cut and who isn't. And I must confess. I'm not exactly sure if I want to save the cuties, or order up a pig roast. It could go either way.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Yesterday we drove to Colonie which is right outside Albany. They have LOTS of stores there. We were in search of fixtures - bathtub, shower, washer, dryer, sinks. We are ready to take on the construction and renovation that needs to be done to make our "camp" into a full-time home. It's going to take alot of sweat equity, and I'm sweating already. I'm constantly wondering if we're up to this task. I'm amazed at Jerry's expertise when it comes to construction. My experience stems from assembling the Barbie dream house. Not exactly worthy of real construction. I can snap plastic together like nobodys business, but lifting and hammering are somewhat out of my league. I will learn. We fixed up our house in Glen Cove, but I did alot of cheering and not so much lifting. This is a larger labor of love that will require my participation. Jerry is counting on me. But shopping is in my blood. Retail Therapy is our family motto. We were happily surprised at the showroom as prices were much better than Home Depot and Lowes, with larger selection and better quality. We're learning where to get stuff. We did find Staples, which was like going home. I'm very comfortable around office equipment. We now have a fax/copier/printer and I feel a little less isolated. Electronics are my link to the outside! Allison was happy to see the Colonie Mall. She has hope for her future. We didn't go in. we'll save that for a back to school excursion when I have been appropriately well rested and sufficiently medicated. Yesterday, I was only able to tackle the appliances. So, we're getting started with this massive project, one room at a time. The pasture has been cleared (Thank you Dan!) so we'll be out there clearing small brush as well. Hopefully, we'll get a little firewood out of it, and be able to put some aside for winter. With a 3 foot base being the norm here, we need to have wood. And summer is going too quickly. This is fun.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Amish Family

Well, they arrived this morning at 8 am and have just left. They worked all day and the pasture looks beautiful. What can I say? We're so happy and the pasture looks huge! this horses are tremendous. Jake was happy to see them. Daphne - no. Dan told us he has 15 children. 14 living at home - the oldest just got married. whew! 15. I want to meet his wife. What a day! And a happy ending. I love when that happens! Thanks to Dan and his family - I stand corrected.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


There is something about living in the country that gives you a greater ability to hear things. It's the quiet that is most noticable to me. I can actually hear the birds chirping, or pecking, or hooooing. If you sit still and just listen, there really is alot of noise going on. It's just a different kind of noise. But no less deafening. The quieter you are, the louder the animals are. it is amazing what is out there that I don't recognize. But for me it is a comforting sound. I feel close to nature and at peace with the world. Daphne - not so much. She is 15 lbs. of misery. She is beginning to look a little dog-eared (no pun intended) because I know she feels it is her responsibility to keep a watch over everything. Jake (lab-great dane mix) does not have that same sense of responsibility. He is just keeping his eyes on the immediate area. If it comes into his peripheral vision, then he'll deal with it. Otherwise, it is not his problem. He has perfected the art of mellow. Daphne who is a little high strung is convinced we're being attacked from all angles - including the sky. We don't like to take her for a walk without her leash, because at 11 lbs. she is hawk bait - and she knows it. The hawks here are so big that they could swoop down and grab her if they wanted to. So, I guess she is fearful for good reason. If I thought the flying monkeys were coming to get me I'd be a little high strung too. She gets a glazed look in her eyes when we go outside. The smells that animals smell are a warning to them. The scent of another animal means danger to her, and there are lots of scents out there. So, she is on red alert all the time. The poor little thing is flat out exhausted. I don't think she is loving the great outdoors. She did have a bath the other day in the outside hand tub. She was quite happy getting lathered and dried. Quite the spa experience. She loves the sun and splays out on the back deck drying. At that moment she is happy. But then she'll hear the birds that have a nest under the deck and get all fussy again. Her moments of relaxation are few and far between. Jake, however, is just one big relaxed guy. He knows how to nap. He can sleep sitting up if he has to. He is very accomodating, although slow. He will move with you from room to room, but when he arrives at his destination he plops down with all kinds of grunts and groans. We make him tired. But he is happiest here. He can run for hours. He is not young, but when he is running he forgets that. It is blissful, free-wheeling happiness. We should all be as happy as Jake. We're not running through the woods with our ears flying, but we're happy too. The animal noises, whether wild or tamed, make us happy. Nature is amazing, and we're lucky to be a part of it. This kind of noise I can take. Jerry's bees make noises that I'm not thrilled with, but it makes him happy to hear his hives buzzing and humming with activity. I get it, but from a distance. I'm happy when the honey is harvested. Take a moment and listen to the sounds around you. It's not as quiet as you think.
The Amish are here! The Amish are here! Update as of 8:10 this morning. Amish Dan has arrived with the horses and wagons and they are working in the pasture! My faith is restored! I am sitting here in my PJ's feeling incredibly lazy, because the reality is in order for him to be here at 8:00 A.M., they had to leave at 7:00. He is an upstanding guy, and we are thrilled. The pasture plan moves forward! Wooooo hooooooooo!

Medical Care

We have been here in Caroga Lake for a week and a half now. It feels as though we have been here forever. We have had alot of great experiences since we moved, but mostly we have just been observing as certain structural improvements are being worked on (not by us). This past week was our traditional vacation date, and it still feels as though we are just visiting. It has not truly sunk in that we are not visitors, but residents. We have our library cards, we have met the pharmacist and moved our account up here. Next will be our Doctor appointments. That is how you really know you've moved - you have a new Doctor. Now, word of mouth tells me that the local hospital is the one you should drive PAST on your way to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is approximately 10-15 miles away. That is where I am hoping to find my new team of medical professionals. Although the local meds are closer, I have heard from more than one person that it is not where you want to be, unless it is an acute emergency. I hope not to have any of those. Ever. But the reality is, the older we get, the more we should assume that it is a possibility. So, I am solving this predicament by finding a physician who has dual privileges. This way, in a real emergency we can get there fast. Once we are stable, they can move us the heck outta here! Once again, I most probably will offend someone, but let's face it - when it comes to medical issues, I am the one who must not be offended. It is OK to make this all about me, or Jerry, or Allison. I have acquired a good deal of experience dealing with the mediccal community, and they rate up there with the Amish in customer service. It is enough to make you crazy when trying to get your ailments taken care of. Of course there is the exception (Dr. Dentist comes to mind - I WILL be traveling back to the island for dental care!) - but it seems to me that the medical community could take a few lessons from the heating/cooling guys. I am hoping that this will be a positive experience, because so far we are enjoying the subtle changes of Long Island vs. Upstate. For us, the changes have been good. We'll see!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Even the Amish Screw Up

How do you express annoyance to the Amish? We had a date yesterday with Amish Dan. (Not to be confused with Dan the Bee Guy or Dan-Dave the Excavator). He was supposed to arrive in the morning to complete the job of clearing pasture for us. He is taking the Sugar Pine and our field is getting cleared - a win-win for both of us. He started the job in February and was last seen to be working on our job in early April. The majority of the job is done, but he keeps cancelling. This is the third missed date in two weeks. We can't call him, because he has no phone. He uses a community phone to call us, and has been appropriately apologetic when he cancels. But how long can this go on? How do you let the Amish know when you are annoyed? I feel as though they work so hard and have such simple demands, that my being irked is inappropriate. But irked I am. Jerry did give him a deadline when they spoke on the phone. He said thursday is the last chance. I felt this was kind of harsh. After all, the guy has about 13 children. He NEEDS our lumber. His 10 mile commute to our house from Palatine Bridge takes him about an hour - he travels by horse and carriage. That is a rough commute. I do feel bad, but I'm also looking at a pasture that is no use to us until it is cleared, so the battle goes on. We wait, we hope. I don't want to take the lumber from him, but we need to get moving here. Is this us being impatient Long Islanders, or are we being played by the Amish? I feel confident writing this question because we are assured that the Amish have no electricity. No phone, no no lights, hence no computer. Even their refrigeration is propane fired. I will assume that Dan (Amish Dan) will never read these words and therefore will never be offended. But what the hey is going on? This is his business. This is bad business. I will continue to hope he makes the deadline. I'm actually on his side. I don't want to be a rushy downstater, but I fear that I might be. It's a hard habit to break. Till the pasture is plowed - Jen

Monday, July 7, 2008

Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals

I start every day with a cocktail of prescriptions. Many people in my age bracket do - it is part of the aging process I believe. I just take them, and go about my day. Lately, I have begun to really try and understand what it is I'm taking, and what the side effects are. It is all part of our desire to experience "conscious living". Whether it be food or pharmaceuticals, I have the desire of late to really examine what it is that goes into my body, and make the informed decision regarding its intake. Tylenol has passed the test, and I take it routinely. Now I realize that taking acetominophin in large quantities can be harmful to your stomach, but the truth is, Tylenol is keeping me functional. I have so many aches and pains and our retirement has brought about some lifestyle changes that are remarkable. I absolutely am more physical than I used to be. I am moving furniture and shuffling wallboard. Every day we have another project and it requires me to be participating. Jerry can't do it alone, and I am the other half of us, so. . . However, I am not doing this without my share of consequences. I have become quite adept at working through the pain. Which means essentially ignoring it and paying the price later. Which explains the Tylenol. I take a Bayer a day for my heart, but that doesn't do the trik for pain management. I take Tylenol for my whole body. Often.
I watched the Today show this morning (as I do every day) and saw the swimmer Dara Torres, who is 41 years old and just qualified for her fifth olympics as a swimmer. My question is this - what the heck is SHE taking? She has pledged to be clean throughout the whole olympic process, and I find that inspiring. But really, how does she do it? Now, of course 41 is just youth personified. She is still a youngster as far as I'm concerned. But there is a huge difference between being a youngster at 41 and being olympic quality athlete. At 41 I exercised and maintained a healthy lifestyle. But I was not olympic quality. The grueling training of an olympian was not realistic for me at that point of my life. I am agag that this woman has a two year old baby and is "back in the swim". wow. She must be exhausted. We spend each evening before bedtime guageing the level of pain against the level of tolerance. Can we get through a night without Tylenol PM? Does it hurt that bad? Inevitably the answer is yes, it hurts that bad. One of us will get the bottle and dole out our doses. We share a nice cold glass of water and lay back thinking, aaaaahhhh, in twenty minutes or so, the pain will go away. and it does. In the olympics we would be disqualified. We are not clean. The tylenol would show up in the blood and mark us as cheaters. Thankfully, in the olympics of life, we are not going to be tested. No one is looking to see whether we are doing this without the aid of pain killers. We are not. We do what we have to do. I am glad that I am not an olympian. I would not be smiling in triumph, but grimacing in pain. It is not my dream. I just want to get through the day. I am in awe of her perserverance. Her glorious victories. It must be thrilling. My victories are smaller. I just try not to hurt myself. So I wish this olympian no pain with gain. Go USA. Go Tylenol.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Back In Business

The Three Bears notwithstanding, we have bees on the property again. Initially, there were two hives that had been placed on the property last August. Jerry (along with his bee-mentor Dan) had nursed these two hives along all year. The honey we sampled in May was delicious. Golden and clear - really tasty! We were very exited about the possibilities that were ahead - a lucrative honey crop would be a great way to start off. We were just waiting for the opportunity to be here long enough to extract the honey - and then the bears came.
Three of them, the neighbor said. Now, I'm not saying it's those three bears, but you really have to chuckle at the visual that comes to mind. Hardly threatening when you think of the Goldilocks situation. But these three bears were seen crossing North Bush Road and we can only assume that they were the bears who dessimated the hives. I mean dessimated. Tops torn off and strewn about the area. The inner workings of the hives (frames) were pulled out and stripped clean. The honey (about 200 pounds per hive) was gone. All of it. It was a crime scene. And the perps had moved on. Jerry spent hours putting the remains back together and trying to make one whole hive out of it. He was able to do that and hoped that the bees who had survived the massacre would come back home. He tied down the remaining hive with nylon straps and secured it to the ground with stakes. It was tight. Unfortunately, at that time we had to return to Long Island for a week. So, back we went hoping for the best.
The following weekend we returned to Caroga Lake and our worst fears were confirmed. The three bears had returned to what I was now referring to as Jerry's Diner. Jerry sometimes fails to get my sense of humor, but I digress.
The remaining hive was not only infiltrated, but they had carried it off about 20 feet into the woods. Again, ripped open and scraped for any honey residue that had been left after the first break-in. Again, we had been wiped out.
This was bad news for the bears, because now Jerry was pissed off. He was taking this personally, and he was out for justice. Lucky for us, Tractor Supply is just 8 miles down the road in Gloversville. Jerry went and purchased a 25x25 set up of electrical fencing. He enlisted Dan the Bee Guy to help him set it up. They spent an entire day searching out the best location, setting the posts and hooking up the solar powered electrical fence. Our little piece of heaven now looks like Guantanimo Bay, but our honey is secure. We can only hope that the three bears have moved on for good. I'd hate to see one of them get zapped. I kind of feel as though they are part of the family, we've been feeding them so well. Jerry feels differently. I think he would enjoy seeing one of them as part of our Adirondack decor. I won't elaborate on that thought.
So, with the secure fence in place, Jerry introduced a swarm to his hives, and will check today to see if we have a Queen. I don't totally understand how you can plunge your hand (without gloves) into a five gallon pail of swarming honey bees and just pour it out into the hive. I guess after you have retired from the Police Department, where there is the potential for danger and injury every day on the job, how else could you replace that for a career. It does begin to make sense. It's not for everyone. I will admire his courage and enjoy the honey. From a distance. Take care - Jen

Friday, July 4, 2008

Adirondack AC

We sit here on the 4th of July with a fire crackling in the wood-burning cook stove - in the kitchen. Here at Blue Line Farm it is cold. Well, cold for July - 58 degrees this morning at 7:30. We are thoroughly enjoying the weather here. For a couple who are clearly thermally incompatible, the north country is pleasing to both of us. I can sit in the sun during the day and bake. The heat and warmth can get into the 80's routinely. It is beautiful. At night, the temperature drops 20 or 30 degrees, and Jerry is completely comfortable. I can bundle up in sweats, wool socks and down comforters. We can both be happy about the climate - just at different times of the day. Still, it is a vast improvement over our Long Island summers. When the thermometer was over 80 degrees, the windows slammed shut and the AC went on. Jerry would cool off inside, and I would sit outside on the patio. Alone. Both of us. The temperature didn't change alot from day to night. There was maybe a five or six day window in June when we were both truly comfortable with the temperature - without intervention. But for now, we're both enjoying this climate. So far, so good. Adirondack AC - wait till the sun goes down.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Independence Day

We're Baaaack! We finally have internet hookup, and we're getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July here in Caroga Lake. The weather is crummy and it is raining. We have been working all week on unpacking and adjusting to life upstate. It is a different pace here, and we are learning patience. We are typical Long Islanders - MOVE IT! MOVE IT! MOVE IT! Here, things move at a slower and less urgent time schedule. Tomorrow is OK. Later is better than early. And no one arrives when they say they will. A few hours, here or there, doesn't much matter. I like this. I can get used to this. This is how I have been operating for years. I was just in the wrong place.
Happy 4th of July. Thank a vet. We owe a huge debt.