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Goodbye Tappan Zee

The old bridge was demolished last week in a controlled explosion with very little fanfare. My daughter sent this Reddit link from an engineering site she follows.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, winter moves on. I managed to adjust the chain saw helmet so it fit like a glove. The chaps were warm as anything and now all of our wood has been cut. Tim even helped move wood with the last batch. More importantly, he had surgery to correct his wrist and it was a smashing (he he) success. All systems go for our February departure.

I’ve sailed through my projects: Birthday quilt and pillowcase, done; New baby gifts, done; 5/7 boat cushions recovered; Leg warmers, done. Several of these left the house so quickly, I never got a photo. Even squeezed in a deer hat.

Yesterday, I put work and projects aside and walked with the ladies’ hiking group. This is an intrepid group of women who hike year round in the Adirondacks. Yesterday’s group was large, probably due to the several weeks we’ve had cooped up indoors because of icy and frigid conditions.

Champlain Area Trails’ new Vail trail

One loop had several cattle skulls as fence posts. I tried to take a photo through the eye socket but my phone did not like the cold.



Now we brace ourselves for the next winter storm this weekend. It’s been called a major snowstorm with “plowable” amounts greater than six inches. Greater than 6 inches? 7? 50? Time will tell. Better fire up the snowblower.

So many new skills

I hardly have time to apply the old ones. My holiday crafting is officially over. Now I am only left with: a birthday quilt, with only a small amount of binding to be sewn; new baby and sibling gifts; a wedding afghan; leggings for painters; two bathing suits for me; and recover a set of boat cushions. Then it will all be about travel projects for out next trip to lovely Deal Island!

Tim gave me a refresher course in the chain saw and I have been cutting the wood down to size for the wood stove and splitting it. My only two compaints are the chainsaw is a little heavy and I need a girlie chainsaw helmet with ear protectors. Tim’s tends to slide down over my eyes. Could be a problem.

Next up are my mad plumbing skills. I replaced our kitchen faucet. Kohler boasts it should be a homeowner project easily completed in under an hour. I guess that would be the case if all the parts worked. But alas, I resorted to eBay and two parts were defective. How did I know this? After my first installation and trial, we had a fountain in the kitchen. At least the plants on the windowsill got watered. After many false starts – under the sink, turn the water off, try something else, turn on the water – drip, drip, drip, I identified the culprits. Luckily I still had the old parts and with them installed, the faucet now works beautifully. There may have been some cursing under the sink in the process.

Yesterday I got to use the snowblower because we had about 4 inches of snow. That got me thinking about organizing the garage. And go to the dump. When Tim mentioned his piano needed “voicing” I put my foot down. I’ve had a lot of days at home and about and have really enjoyed them. We went for a walk at Heaven Hill in Lake Placid. Lovely trails – with micro spikes – and beautiful views.

Here are some shots from closer to home. Iron mountain looked lovely down our road, covered in snow.

And my poor little pizza oven sits across the driveway, unused and looking lonely. I painted a face on the door so when I look at it, it looks back at me. Next summer…

My house chores have increased significantly now that Tim is one handed, and lefty at that. I realize that he does the lion’s share of housecleaning. I was able to ignore many things, knowing full well he would take care of it. Now it’s up to me, temporarily.

So I dusted and washed a few floors (on my hands and knees, the only way). I think if I had more free time, I might actually like cleaning. But when I pulled out the ammonia from under the sink the bottom of the bottle was wet. I found a drippy sink hose and tried to tighten things up to fix it. It didn’t. So now I will try to replace the whole faucet when it arrives.

Next up, the wood stove. We were a little short of wood at the beginning of the fall and had to buy some seasoned hardwood, cut too long for our wood stove. Tim gave me a brief refresher course in safe chain saw use and I cut and split a wheelbarrow full of wood to start.

Any task with scissors or a screw top lid requires my second hand. He writes pretty well with his left hand and thank goodness for dictation on the iPad.

Sunrise White Pine Camp

I had a reprieve from chores for Christmas. We went to a cabin on a lake in the woods, with heat, a kitchen and bathroom. All with plumbing that worked and didn’t leak. It was beautiful and relaxing. We took walks and played games. I knit mittens and sewed in threads on a quilt.

Tea house in snow
A little Christmas tree

Now it’s time to get back to work.

On the rocks

In my mind there are six seasons in the Adirondack Mountains: summer, fall, winter, ice, mud, and spring. The one to really avoid is ice. It happens every December and January. We get early snow, then a thaw and sometimes rain. The end result is ice, black ice, crusty ice, you name it. It’s all slippery. And dangerous. Each year there are a few broken bones and head injuries; sometimes even death.

This is our driveway this morning. I keep a pair of mini crampons (microspikes) on a pair of shoes that I wear to do chores in these conditions and to walk to the hot tub. On Thursday night, my winter 46’er ( he climbed all 46 peaks in the Adirondacks above 4000 feet between December 21 and March 21) slipped on the ice on our front step and shattered his wrist.

We drove to our local ER where they confirmed he had indeed shattered it beyond what they could set there. They arranged for us to meet our orthopedist in the ER at the hospital in Lake Placid. The problem was we had to cross two mountain passes with ice on the roads and get there in under an hour because it closes at 11 pm. With some white knuckled driving on my part we made it.

I expected some violent maneuvers to get the wrist back in position but it was all very gentle with traction and weights. Then it was cast and we were sent on our way back home. We’ll know in a week or so whether it remains in position. The ride back home was much more relaxed, my 46’er had pain medicine on board and we were no longer under a time constraint.

Until we reached the last hill right in front of our house. It was sheer ice. I made it halfway up, slid into a 45 degree angle on the road and couldn’t go any further without skidding. Going downhill would have meant sliding into a snow/ice bank, which I had done once before under similar conditions. We were stuck. And it was 1 am, well past my bedtime.

We decided to abandon the car but still had to get to the house without another fall. I thought my socks would stick better to the ice than my Blundies. They didn’t and I had to drop to my knees and crawl and slide, uphill to the car, to the side of the road where I had better traction. Then I walked in my socks to the house. I retrieved our microspikes, brought them back to the car and then we walked carefully home.

We called the highway department to let them know I had left the car stranded. The next morning as I was checking the temperature to decide if it was time to try to move the car, there was a knock on the door. The plow driver had walked up to my house and had a plan. He had backed the whole way down the road in the event he couldn’t make it to the turnaround. He had sanded behind the car and the crew had hand shoveled sand in front of the car. All I had to do was drive forward, straighten the wheels, roll back down the road in neutral and let the plow pass with more sand and then come up the hill. I chickened out and asked if one of them wanted to do it. One did – with aplomb. He slipped and skidded the car so it was no longer at an angle, rolled down the hill and then gunned it and raced up the hill right into my driveway. How lucky are we to live here?

Here are some photos of the more photogenic seasons in the Adirondacks.

It seems I don’t have any pictures during mud season.

Home team colors

The mountain view we enjoy from home changes minute by minute.

Here is how it looked yesterday and today.


Then I added a little color from one of our geraniums.

As seen through the trees

And the elves continue their work.

Elves at work

The elves have been busy at my house making and wrapping handmade gifts. There were lots of owls in the house before they topped the grandkids’ heads.

Owl toppers, hats and a shopping bag

No spoiler alert needed because our families already gathered for the holiday celebration. The gang has quickly grown too big to stay at our house so we rented a bigger house and a fun time was had by all. I ate my first fried turkey, 16 pounds in 45 minutes, cooked by my son, and tossed some donuts in the oil when the turkey(s)! we’re done. It was delicious and now we have the best turkey soup I ever made.

There were more hats,

Pom poms were a hit this year

and even a little pottery this year in my handmade gifts.

Snow conditions were ideal and we have been snowshoeing in the woods and mountains.

Snow at home

Hurricane mountain clouds

Can’t get lost here

My elf work is almost done so now I can sit back and enjoy the season.

Rainbows and moons

We’ve already had three snowfalls at home. We got stuck in one downstate, with cars and tractor trailer abandoned on the side and the middle of the road. It took us two hours to crawl a half mile. Never again. Then to make matters worse, the hotel we found was overbooked (“we have negative rooms”) and there was a convention of 1000 stranded lawyers who ate all the food and drank all the liquor before we got there. So we had raisin bran for dinner and called it a night. But the next day we saw a double rainbow over Newark airport.

Back home, I was able to ski my favorite trails, which Tim had already broken.

I’ve been doing a major house cleaning; a real purge. I was deciding whether to keep my stargazing binoculars. They are Elmer Fudd sized and have to be mounted on a tripod to be of any use. I set them up and could see Slip Mountain clearly off in the distance and spy on the local birds. That night, I couldn’t sleep and was able to observe our two? moons setting behind Cobble Mountain.

I think I’ll keep them.


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