Lunch on the Terrace

We talked it over and decided not to have lunch on the terrace today because it’s just too bright out there. It’s hard on the eyes.

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Winter Is Here!

Snow. Then more snow. And that was followed by more snow. And even more snow after that. And more snow to come in the next couple of days.

Not to mention cold. Ranging from cold to very cold to arctic blast cold to Siberian cold to temps almost as cold as in the old days when I was growing up and walking miles to school barefoot through five foot drifts of the white stuff.

Winter has lost its charm, to say the least. We reached that conclusion while trying to get a 50-pound bag of chicken feed open with the temperature at 9 degrees below zero. Really cold.
And did I mention we’ve had a lot of snow lately?

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The Old Barn

How can you not love an old barn? I mean a real barn; not one of those ricky-ticky metal sheds you see too many of these days. A barn made of wood and hand-hewn beams and posts (all pegged together, no nails used) holding everything up, with the scars and general wear and tear of honest use. Ours is about 75 feet long and some 36 feet wide, with a haymow that would hold several thousand bales. You saw some outside views when we were getting the hay in as well as some views down the center of the main floor when the doors were being built. The photo above is up in the haymow. Those 8″ x 8″ beams that extend from eave to eave are just under 37 feet long. There are seven of them over the length of the barn and each one is a single piece (trees don’t even come like that anymore). On the road side of the barn is stenciled “1844” and we assume that was the year it was built. We are trying to confirm this. But think what an exciting day it must have been when it went up. Strong men pulling together, oxen or draft horses heaving against their harness, the straining of the block and tackle. It’s a humbling thing to look at it now over 165 years later and note that it is still as straight and true as the day it was built.

As usual, Letty has something to say about it: “Spend a night out here in this drafty old ark, honey,  and see if you still babble on about what a great barn it is.”

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The first of the winter in our neck of the woods. Hate to admit it, but it is a nice feeling and lots of fun. Of course by the time the shoveling and snowblowing  is done that opinion may have been modified some. The girls don’t seem to mind because they are so-called “primitive” sheep who in their native Shetland Islands pretty much fend for themselves, living on what they can graze or browse, even eating kelp, which is a fancy name for seaweed.

Seaweed, seaweed? This so better not be seaweed….

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Merry Christmas to all . . .

Merry Christmas

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Friday’s Musings

We were hippity-hopping around the internet and came across this; a wonderful bundle of thoughts to cheer the soul and blunt the chill winds of December!

George Carlin’s Views on Aging

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about ageing that you think in fractions.

‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m four and a half!’ You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key.

You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16!’ You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . . . You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . .YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; ‘I Was JUST 92.’

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’

May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

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The Picasso Project (part 2)

On the day before Thanksgiving the Picasso Project Manager suffered a spasm of ambition and ventured to actually remove the doors. The left side door came down with a satisfactory crash and partially disintegrated. There were no injuries.

Deconstruction continued on the right side door

In due time the right side door crashed to the ground as well, reinforcing our belief in the Law of Gravity. Again, there were no injuries. Amazing.

By the time the doors were reduced to a pile of rubble (note pile on the right) and the tarp was deployed and secured in place, it was after dark. So this view of the scene was captured the next day. Note the trace of snow on the ground, which occurred overnight.

Here the project pauses, perhaps through the winter, because the old rollers are not in the best of shape. They need cleaning with rust remover, general lubrication, and a vital piece of one roller was broken during final door removal. That was the part where we pushed what was left of the door off the rail and ran for dear life. I think we’re still running. The rollers are shown below.

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The Picasso Project

Visitors may recall a reference to our original Picasso, worth tens of millions of dollars and hidden in plain sight (See Chores). That story having worn thin, our hero has decided to make and install new barn doors. The frame of one of the doors is shown below, roughly 12 feet by 6 feet and made with 2″x6″ lumber.

The window inserts for the two doors are also completed and have been painted. They are shown here awaiting their being secured in the frames.

No sooner said than done! The plan is to get them up before going any further with the construction because to lift one of these doors is to nearly bust a gut. One other little feature of the plan perhaps deserves mention: both boys (read muscle) will be home this weekend for Thanksgiving. If the three of us can get the doors up then the old man (aka our hero) can finish the job, adding the panels and the panes.

Meanwhile, demolition has begun on the existing doors. Which is a good thing. Because our hero is good at demolition and finds that it soothes the soul and eases whatever minor resentments may have accumulated. Our former neighbor Olin Maxham, whose wonderful teams of oxen were perennial contenders at Fryeburg, Tunbridge, and other northern New England fairgrounds judged even the most difficult task as doable through “brute strength and ignorance.” And these are precisely the qualities we bring to this task. As can be seen below, the task has begun. As for the lower picture, those are the tools of ignorance.

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The Banty Chickens

Banty chickens are little miniature guys. Tiny eggs, small bodies, major chutzpah. Ours are Brassy Back Old English Game (quite a name for such little twits)  and we started out with three of them: a rooster and two hens, only one hen of which remains. But their descendants live on and on and on. At present there are four adults and three almost adults. And the two grown roosters — Jethro and Snorts — don’t get along at all. Jethro pretty much rules the roost (to coin a phrase) but Snorts keeps trying to get full membership in the group. Sporadic fighting is the result. Complicating the situation is the latest hatch last August which added two hens and a rooster to the fold. They broke out of their eggs about the size of fuzzy golf balls but are now nearly mature and further complicate the lives of both Jethro and Snorts, who are looking nervously over their shoulders at the new lad. It remains to be seen whether they work something out or just go on scrapping and scuffling through life.

But on a cold afternoon in early November with the wind chilling from the north and just one sheltered patch of sunlight in their part of the world, an unlikely truce is somehow declared and seven feisty Brassybacks are all in a heap. Basking in the sun’s warm caress.

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Yoda, Part II

Further to Yoda, Part I: It’s just minutes before the great Halloween Parade and Liam says no way Jose to the Yoda hat.

However, he says, it does look pretty cool on Mama so maybe I’ll humor her and try it on.

It looks a little lop-eared there Mom, but if you can fix that I’ll give it a try.

After all a little bare head tends to get chilly in the breeze at the Harvard, MA great Halloween Parade. Plus there’s grandparents and uncles and visitors who are counting on me.

And it does look pretty neat at that, he says, besides being warm as the home planet in summertime.

There’s Yoda, look at Yoda, people keep saying. Yes it is indeed great to be Yoda.

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