Saturday, February 27, 2016

Maniacal Laughter Is One Description - UPDATE

Admittedly these are not the best pictures.  However, under the circumstances it's the best I could do.  If you click on them they'll open larger making them a little easier to see.

This is a follow up to the "Maniacal Laughter Is One Description" posting from earlier in the week and it confirms my suspicion 100% percent!

As I do every morning when I first get out of bed I look out the back window.  In part to do a cursory inspection of the chicken coop but also to see what Mother Nature has in store for the coming day.

So, just before 6:00 this morning, while performing said routine, I was shocked to see a new visitor.  A new visitor in terms of the first time I'd seen this particular critter in our yard in the 15+ years that we've lived here!

A coyote!  A very BIG and inquisitive coyote!

He was next to the chicken coop, and as you can see if the first picture his attention was focused intently on the coop.  I suspect the girls were beginning to stir and their rustling caught his ear.

However, from what I saw that was the extent of his fascination with the girls.  He poked around a bit longer then slowly moved on through the next door neighbors back yard.

I'll inspect all around the coop, when I make my way out there shortly to feed and water everyone, to ensure he or anyone else for that matter didn't attempt to dig in. 

 Perhaps, since the coop is wrapped in plastic visiting predators like coyotes and foxes are unable to see the chickens and therefore tend to leave them alone.  Thinking back to an incident with a fox, one morning, over the summer when there was no plastic.  The girls could clearly see the fox, with only chicken wire separating them, so when he'd lunge the girls would panic and fly this way and that way.  All that did was encourage more of the same from the fox and turn him on more to the possibility of a chicken breakfast.

We also now need to be very careful when bring Trixie-dog out with us when feeding the animals.  She's the perfect size for a coyote, as big as the one pictured above, to grab and run off with.

February Sunset

Emilie took some awesome sunset pictures last week.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Aloe Vera, Mr. Succulent

JoAnne secured a couple Aloe clipping.

They sat in a vase of water, on the sill of the kitchen sink, for several week until they started putting out roots.

It was then time to transfer them to a planter.

They've now been in the soil for several weeks and seem to be doing well and growing!

Bring on the cuts, scratches and burns...

Maniacal Laughter Is One Description

Friday morning, around 5AMish, I was awoken by a loud noise coming from outside.  The noise sounded like it was coming from under the bedroom window.  Still in a fog, I waited for the noise to come again and there is was!  A sound I'm familiar with, and one we typically hear during the spring and summer, and always off in the distance.

I jumped out of bed and opened the window to get a better sense of where the noise was coming from.  Perhaps, I was too eager and too loud but scared off the noise make because there was no more noise to be heard.  I listened for a while and thought I heard something moving away through the back underbrush.

The noise was most definitely the howling of a coyote!  I can't be certain but it sure sounded like it was right near the chicken coop, which is our backyard!

I'm not novice and understand that nocturnal-type critters are out and about all the time.  Just because you don't hear them doesn't mean they're not around.

They're welcome to come pass by and visit as often as they'd like.  They can even help themselves to a chipmunk, squirrel or woodchuck or two.  However, the invite will come to a quick end if they get a hanker'n for chicken or pet rabbit or Trixie-dog...

Friday, February 19, 2016

We're Down to Three, Oh Deer...

The deer were out and about last week.  They continue to visit and nibble on the neighbors Arborvitae.  There's virtually no green growth remaining on these poor shrubs, with the exception of the tip-pity tops, but they were content to forage.  

This is a mother and baby -

The mother nibbling as high as she can -

One of the babies taking branch ends off -

Here they are preparing to cross the street!

Can you locate all three in this pic?

As I've reported in an earlier post, there have been four deer all summer and fall; two adult female, each with a single baby.  However, on this day, one of the adult females was missing, so there was only three.  I suspect the worse.  I wouldn't think a mother would stray too far from her baby, even though they're approximately 6 - 8 months old.  Perhaps, the bone chilling temps took their toll.

Looney Tunes Henery Hawk Perhaps?!

A Turkey Vulture soaring high above the snow covered tree tops.

He was out and about shortly after the snow stopped falling.  The fresh snow still covering everything sure must have looked spectacular from this dudes vantage point... 


Sport controversies here in New England just won't quit!.

I'm not talking at the professional level this time around, not even the local travel league, nope.  Rather, I'm referring to the local town recreation basketball league, grades 7 and 8.

First let me ask, do you see a difference between the two pictures below - Specifically, the basketball nets?  Hint - it should be easy, as I've circled the issue in red...

Shortly after we arrived the girls were practicing and I noticed the backboard wasn't down all the way as you'd expect.  The rim/net was slightly skewed upwards towards the ceiling.  Although, it wasn't off by much, believe it or not, it was having an effect on the girls shooting.

I was able to eventually locate someone from facilities and pointed out the issue to him.  He grabbed his keys took off up the stairs to where the electronic controls were located and proceeded to fully extend the backboard down into place, where it should have been.  I don't believe anyone else had noticed or had any idea.

The game went on as scheduled, was exciting and ended in a tie.

Before -

After -

This game was held in Franklin at the Tri County High School.  A week earlier, at a game held at Franklin High School, the same issue occurred.  I searched high and low for the facilities person but could NOT find where he was hiding.  The game proceeded and girls struggled to sink baskets.  Eventually, before half time, the dude made an appearance. So, I quickly grabbed him, pointed out the issue and had him fix.

Ironic?! Intentional?!  Mistake?!

I don't think we'll ever know...

It's Yamaha Noon Somewhere!

My buddies all ride Harley Davidson motorcycles.  I ride a Yamaha.

As a result I typically take a rash of ribbing since I have a non-Harley.

Even the clock in the bike garage is Harley Davidson themed.

However, I claimed the top of the hour, twelve noon, as Yamaha time.

It's the small victories that often times gives the most satisfaction.

#winning, #yamahappy

Winter 2016 Damage

I'm thinking of starting a GoFundMe page to help raise money to resurface our driveway.

It's in terrible shape, UGH! These harsh New England winters have done a number on it for sure.  There are long depressions that pool water, holes, cracks, divots, etc.  Also, the railroad tie retaining wall along three sides at the end (where car in first picture is parked) is bowing out in places and twisting in others.  Needless to say, we're looking at a hefty cost to repair it all. 

To add insult to injury plowing the driveway this winter has caused further damage.  There are two spots in particular where the plow caught an edge and tore a couple big chunks of black top right off.

We feared this was going to happen several years ago but never did, so on the positive side it's held up till now.

Gerbera Daisy Winter Lovin

Come on Spring!

This Gerbera Daisy of ours is showing her appreciation and anxiousness for Spring with a beautiful red flower.

This particular plant; pot soil and all, has to be in the area of 10 - 12 years old.  I kid you not!  Outside of watering with an occasional Miracle Grow feeding, we've done nothing in terms of maintenance and care.  As I indicated earlier, it's housed in the original pot we planted it in all those years ago and in the same soil.  Yet, she produces many big beautiful flowers all year round.

This is one of about a dozen outside plants that we bring into the basement and winter-over inside.  Then when the weather breaks, and the fear of frost behind us, out they all go back to grace the pool area.


This is how cold it was last Sunday here in New England -

One of the ladies laid this egg late in the evening on Saturday, after they were fed, watered and tucked in for the night.

With temps in the negative numbers over night and into Sunday, it wouldn't have taken long for this egg to freeze solid.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Happy Valentines Day!

Baby It's Cold Outside!

It's -9.8 degrees here in Franklin at 6:30 this morning without the wind (and it's pretty windy)!

With the exception of  the billowing of smoke from neighboring chimneys, there's no outside activity taking place.  Even the birds are staying put and not at the feeder, which I topped off yesterday in anticipation of these fridged temps.



It was very cold and super windy yesterday afternoon.  So, while out running errands I pulled into the McDonald's drive thru for a hot coffee in an effort to help chase the chill away.

The following is about how the interaction with the McDonald employee/teenager went -

McD:  Welcome to McDonald's, would you like to try a breakfast sandwich this afternoon?
Me:  No thank you.  Medium black coffee please.
McD: Is that all?
Me: Yes.
McD: Okay, that'll be $1.07 at the second window.

As I'm pulling to the second window I remove a single from my britches and begin riffling through my stash of coins for a nickel and two pennies.  Unable to locate a nickel, I opt for a dime and proceed to hand the lad $1.12 - a single, two pennies and a dime.

The kid was obviously taken aback by what I handed him. He hem'd and haw'd for several seconds, as the automatic window closed, confused and not sure what to do.  He then returns, window opens, and proceeds to hand me my dime back -

McD: Excuse me sir, that was $1.07, you gave me too much
Me:  That's correct.
Me: I didn't have exact change.  I gave you $1.12 so you would give me back a nickel.
McD: Oh!,Oh, I see.  Sorry about that (with a hint of embarrassment).
McD: Hands me my nickel, my black coffee and says "Thank you.  Have a nice day."

Of course I was then the confused one.  For started, why was he handing me my dime back?  That would have then left McDonald's short.  Then there's the whole why can't a teenager comprehend that exchange of money and do the math immediately off the top of his head?  Sadly, it looked to me that he didn't even know how to enter that transaction into the register, which would have done the math for him and save him the embarrassment.


Monday, February 08, 2016

Happy Birthday Emilie!

Happy Birthday to the best daughter ever!

VERY proud of you and LOVE you VERY much!

Remember, peer pressure and bad choices...

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Happy Birthday Alyssa!

A VERY special Happy Birthday shout-out to Ms. Alyssa!

Hope you enjoy your day!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Mailbox Down...

The good and the bad...

Our mailbox residing in a 5-gallon bucket is ugly and unsightly - bad.

Being able to simply stand it back up when the town plows knock it over - good.

Peaceful Beauty

Even if you hate the snow, it's hard to argue at how beautiful it is when falling and before being disturbed.


Dumb and Dumber Perhaps

I was randomly taking outside pictures yesterday afternoon as the storm moved in, which in the end dropped a good 8" - 10" of heavy wet snow.  Certainly can not complain compared to the walloping we took last year.

A couple somethings caught my attention high atop a Boxelder tree out back.  I was very surprised to see two Grey Squirrels holed up out in the open, covered in snow as the storm raged.  For lack of a better term I'll say they seemed content but of course that couldn't be true.  Why were they sitting out there in the open like that is puzzling for sure.  I would have thought they'd be in their nest, wherever that might be, hunkered down with an acorn or two to ride out the storm.

I checked back a couple times and they were still there but eventually got busy and forgot about them, so not sure how long that braved the chilly, wet conditions.

Of course I wouldn't be too disappointed if they turned into "squirrel popcicles"...

Welcome Birdie

Here's a new visitor I've not seen around before.

I believe this is a male House Finch.

Very similar looking to the annoying House Sparrow but with the red head and breast.

They're supposed to have a long, twittering song.  I'll hold my final judgement on these new visitors until I see more of them and hear what they have to say.

Initial thoughts are a thumbs up!