Monday, September 26, 2016

Tomato Canning Woes of 2016

Second, and sadly, the last tomato canning of the season, alas.

The hot, humid and dry conditions we experienced this Summer was just too much.  The plants simply didn't produce as many tomatoes as they had in years past, and the ones they did were on the smaller side.

Also, for whatever reason, and this is the first time we're dealing with this, the White Tailed deer are doing a number too.  They're tromping in, on and through our tomato garden eating the tender plant ends and both read and green tomatoes, UGH!  I'm at my wits end with them.  Boy oh boy have they worn their welcome out.

At this point I'm actually looking forward to our first frost so I can put the gardens and yard to bed and get ready to hunker down for the coming Winter.

Load 1 and Load 2

 A couple of loads relaxing with some football after a day working in the yard -

Thursday, September 22, 2016

aka Stump Stabber

Here's a odd looking wasp-like insect we spied in the back yard the other afternoon -

From what I can find, I believe it's a giant ichneumon wasp, also known as Megarhyssa macrurus and as stump stabber.

It's a predatory insect, notable for its extremely long stinger or ovipositor. It uses this to deposit eggs bored deep in dead wood.

This is the first time seeing such a creature, which always amazes me as I've been around a while.

Pool Closing Time In New England

Oh it's happen'n!

It's official, our pool has been closed for the season!  Always happens with mixed emotions and this year was no different.  It's not a difficult process more tedious than anything else and typically takes me a whole weekend, starting on Friday evening.

The first three pictures below show that I've drained the water to just below the returns and added 8 gallons of liquid shock.  The pump ran over night and into Saturday afternoon.  I then blew out all the lines and capped all the ends.

Here's the finished product, covered with our brandy new safety cover -

We'll do it all over again in the Spring...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Yellow Yellow

Our ole homestead yellow flowers of Fall -

And a purple one too -

Traffic In The USA

So, Bruce Springsteen was at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough this past Wednesday night performing the last concert of his tour.

I did not go.  I didn't want to go. I heard he put on a good show and played for an extra 30 - 45 minute.  Well past the towns allotted curfew for which I'm sure he'll be fined.  So, bully for Bruce and the fans in attendance!

Due to this event all commuter traffic leading to the venue was effected and a royal mess, as is typically the case.

What normally takes me an hour to get home took me two, UGH!  Traffic on Rt.495 crawled, bumper-to-bumper for most of my ride.  At one juncture I took a screen shot of my Wave app which as you can see shows solid red otherwise known as heavy stop and go traffic.  It made for a much longer work day...

Next week, Thursday September 22, the Patriots are hosting the Texans at Gillette, so traffic leading to the event will be heavy once again adding misery to an already miserable evening commute...

On High Alert!

We have a potential predator problem!

Some critter was pretty determined to get into the chicken coop the other night.

Put in a pretty good digging effort too.  Made it's way down to the bottom of the buried pressure treated timber but thankful that was it.  Perhaps too tired or it got scared off before breaking through.  In any case I pulled back the dirt, added a bucket full of stones and filled back in.  Hoping this, along with keeping the traps set, will deter and encourage the critter to move along or better yet, stay away.

Friday, September 16, 2016

If Only!

Fingers crossed!

What's Up Doc

Jack 2.0

Our Holland Lop buck.

Stretched out and relaxing after a hot humid day.

Moooove Over the Weekend is Here!

I am SO udderly excited that the weekend is upon us!


Well HELLO and Welcome!

I am beyond elated to report a beautiful BIG Praying Mantis hidden among our Golden Rod!

Here she is hanging upside down while patiently stocking an unsuspecting insect.

It was two years ago that we had oodles of Praying Mantis.  They seems to be in every corner of our yard with each claiming their own territory.  However, the proceeding Winter was a frigged one that took it's toll on the Mantis egg sacks.  The Spring and Summer that followed (last year) I didn't see a single Mantis in our yard, not a one.  Of course just because I didn't see any doesn't mean they weren't there.  This lady is a perfect example, as I'd guess she's been around all Summer long but stayed hidden until last weekend.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Our Verbena -

How's this for deep stunning color?

Longest Ride of the 2016 Season

We got in a 202 mile round trip motorcycle ride the other weekend.  It was a cool beautiful day with fall like temperatures in the 70's, which was a tad nippy on the bile.  We rode up to the Quabbin Reservoir in western Massachusetts, which is one of the largest man-made public water supplies in the United States. In the past we've driven onto the reservation to climb the overlook tower or to have lunch.  However, on this day we drove past the entrances and rode counter clockwise up Rt. 202 to a quaint little town called New Salem.

The red circle in the bottom right is where we took of from (home).  The red circle in the top left is New Salem, MA and as you can see it's on the other top side of the Quabbin -

The New Salem General Store is a classic type general store that carried a little bit of everything.  It even doubles as a Post Office.  They offer Boars Head cold cuts, which are the best in my opinion, so we order sandwiches, grabbed a picnic table and enjoyed a late afternoon lunch.

Being late afternoon and daylight soon to fade, as well as the temperature dropping some, the decision was made to turn back and head home.  We plan on returning but getting an earlier start, so we can drive all the way around and come back home a different route than the one taken up.

Smile Trixie!

It's been a hot, humid and very dry summer here in New England.

I down in the "dumps"!  Just look at what it's done to our front lawn, burnt up something terrible.

Good news is there hasn't been a need to mow the grass.

If given the choice I'd rather have it golf course green with the need to mow every week.

Welcome Feathered Visitors

Awoken the other morning to the chickens making an awful racket.  Typically and indication that they're spotted a perceived threat nearby.  Sure enough something, actually several somethings, were in fact milling about in front of the coop.  Fortunately, these visitors are not a threat, so no worries there.

These four BIG male turkeys were just passing through.  However, they did take the time to introduce themselves, up close and personal, to the chickens.  They also discovered the ripen grapes hanging just behind them in the top two pictures and immediately began gobbling (no pun intended) them down.

Very agile birds for their size.  I watched them easily fly up, on and over the post-rail fence, as them moved along foraging.

I Spy With My Little Eye

Look up in the sky it's a bird.

Actually, it's in the tree.  A big beautiful and well hidden hawk.

Perched just over top of the chicken coop and chilling.  Perhaps, patiently waiting for a meal to scamper by.

Come again...

Friday, September 09, 2016

Free Beer Yesterday

Our favorite local restaurant had a special the other day that I missed, DARN IT!

A Pig's Life

Let's wallow in this mud puddle!



Number Four! 

Yes sir, this is the fourth pesky, destructive woodchuck that we've trapped this summer.  This one looks like a youngster.

Their weakness is fresh grown broccoli, works every time!

Well It's About Time!

We've been patiently waiting for our Morning Glories to bloom.  They final have, they're beautiful and there are oodles of them now!

Our neighbor started these inside in early Spring and gratefully gave us a bunch.  I planted them, in the ground, against the outside of the pool fence and as you can see they've taken over and are doing terrific.

However, I'm not looking forward to removing these before the winter arrives, as they're growing over, under and between the fence slats.  I suspect they'll be some cursing but it'll be tempered thanks to the lovely flowers we've been enjoying.

Back In Time!

The key chain for my motorcycle key is a red rubber motorcycle.  As you can see in the picture above this key chain came from Johnson City, Tennessee!

I've had this key chain for many, many year.  Picked it up when I was a kids visiting family in Johnson City.  I came across this when going through some of my old stuff.  Since I now own and ride a motorcycle this was and is a perfect key chain, that I proudly display.

I did a Google search and it looks like Jim's Motorcycle Sales is still in business today, some 30+ years later!

Watch Your Step on the Steps!

I'm at a loss for words on this...