Monday, January 06, 2014

Snow, Cold, Repeat and Our Propane is 1/2 Gone

Happy New Years
Sorry for the lack of writing but it was a strange summer and having only one somewhat useful arm didn't help matters
Late spring turned into a pretty nice growing season for both flowers and vegetables and we were overall happy with all the gardens.
We also run an outside light on a wall of the cabin that attracts moths, we have done this for a few years now but this was an exceptional year with great variety. We did notice a large decrease in dragonflies which led to a huge increase in mosquitoes.
The black fly season had it's moments, lots of people up here will tell you more black flies means more and better blueberries {I think they're full of shit}I believe all that does is help us bit up, welt covered folks feel better while scratching till bloody.
Big summer for ducks on Deeryard,
maybe the best since the 70's when the wild rice was thick in the small end of the lake and our osprey nest produced two healthy offspring.
With the ducks came the eagles, more then I have ever seen in the valley. Turns out the eagles like chasing, killing and eating the ducks! They would perch high in the great White Pines screeching  and swooping down on the ducks driving them away from shore to where  they were easier targets in open water.
Now just when I thought I'd seen enough duck killing for one season this happened.: We had Jim, Michele their daughter, son-in law and two grand kids out fishing  and along comes a mallard with her 7 ducklings swimming happily about eating emerging may flies.
As the hatch moved away from the shore maybe into 12 feet of water, the mallard  followed the hatch and led her young into the deeper water. They were now about 30 feet from our pontoon giving all of us a great view,.with the whole boat watching and the kids counting the ducklings,1,2,3,4,5,6,7, suddenly things got ugly fast.
The water exploded from underneath and up popped a loon with one of the ducklings in its mouth. The mother mallard put up one heck of a fight but swam away with only 6 ducklings following her lead.. So there we sat,. wondering what we had just witnessed and trying not to freak out the kids.  A quick Google search  confirmed everything so now when we hear a loon calling on the lake we think
"duck killer"

Work continues on the observatory, we still have no Internet service although the fiber is run to the building it's still not lit-up.
We also burned out our declination drive motor and controller board in the telescope, which meant we couldn't control the up and down movement of the scope. After some research I found the JAT Observatory which covered the removal and replacement of the parts, which made me brave enough to take the scope apart.

Taking it apart went good, I then called Meade for the parts and found them again very difficult to work with,. All they kept saying is " Pack it back up and send it back to them in California," and "The scope is not serviceable be the owner and not to take it apart". Little did they know, but that pony already ran and the bad parts were sitting on my desk.
After getting no where with Meade I called the dealer that sold it to us in the first place
 Woodland Hills Telescopes
 One call to them and by the end of the day Meade called me back, found and shipped the part but made it very clear the parts are sold as-is with no responsibility on Meade's part.

Thank you Woodland Hills your a great company to work with.

All in all the repair went well and the scope jumped back to life with out trouble, we also added a piggy back camera mount and tried some Milky-Way photos

The phrase million or billion is used a lot but rarely seen
click on these photos and see just a very small portion of our galaxy.

Summer quickly changed into fall which included a big wedding up on Cascade Bluff for are friends
 Val and Kathy
This event brought the highest quality of cars to ever drive down  Pike Lake Road and the largest group to come to the realization they were not in Kansas any more.

you can
Kathy and Val's New World At Cascade Bluff! 

Fall colors on our lake were pretty good

photos by Jim Malters
gives a good view of the large Maple forest in our valley
panoramic view

The preparation for winter got started right after the leaves dropped. This began with moving things around out of the way of the snow plow, wrapping and storing boats, building a new bird feeder and mounting the heated water dish, pulling shovels and roof rakes out of storage, wrapping the bottom of our cabin with concrete blankets so the wind can't blow under it, installing the tracks on the trucks and more just to be ready.
Well here is how the time frame looked

Last boat wrapped   Nov 21

New bird house installed   Nov 26  {trace of snow}

Dec 3 1st snow fall of 10 inches

Here is our December snow plow bill dates for cleaning out the storage building where we park the cars.
This is more plowing then all of last year with no let-up in sight.
the track fleet
Lots of people put there wipers up for snow storms, I thought it was to keep the wipers from freezing down
Now I know they are snow depth gauges, you can look up the driveway and if you can't see the wipers the snow is deep
day after day we wake up to this
This photo was taken Jan 1st, just short of 24" of snow on the level and since then we had a blizzard with another 12" of new snow on top of that.

Jan 4th I pulled the small drag out to the mail box corner, the snow banks are as high as the car
one more good snow and the mail box will be covered
at the storage building, under that snow is 2-16 foot boats, a 20 foot pontoon boat and a station wagon
I was down that driveway Dec 31 and now you cant even tell I was there
going to be some big snow loads on some old cabins
snow blower at the end of my dock after last storm Jan 4th
lake view Jan 4th

That's it for now, I will try to do more with the blog, this was a perfect day for writing we woke to
temp   -31
dew point  -40
wind chill   -62
and the scary part is our propane is 1/2 gone and we will be lucky to get more by
 May because we have already packed down 3 feet of snow on the road
One thing is for sure, it's either warm (above zero) and snowing or waaay below zero and freezing,

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shoulder Surgery, Long Spring and Green House

Well part way through February
 I came to the realization that my shoulder was not going to heal without help so we packed up and headed  for the cities to see my orthopedic surgeon.
 This visit started out with the customary pulling, twisting, wiggling, poking and lifting of the affected limb followed by a 45 minute MRI.
I was asked if I wanted to be sedated for this 
MRI procedure and I declined, god I can be a moron!
When you are my size that tube looks a little small, which happens to be a great understatement.
It felt like I was a fat pencil shoved into a giant pencil sharpener till I plugged up the hole making it impossible to sharpen my head however the machine kept trying for 45 minutes.
The next day I returned to the Doc's for the bad news,
badly torn rotator cuff needing not scope but open surgery, the date was set for March 7 and we headed back home to get things done before my long heal up time ahead.

This looked like a good time for the surgery, the temp was rising, snow was melting fast, road was in good shape although still covered in ice.

We also moved the tracked vehicles back to the storage building, I even thought about pulling the tracks
so the trucks would be ready for spring.

Then we built our new larger green house
Looking out the front door from our living room into green house

Inside the green house with glass windows in the lower corner so the cats can watch the birds and squirrels 

The snow had melted off the deck so installation went great.

Things were looking great as we headed  back down to the cities for surgery. It would be at least a week before I could travel again, so we were hoping for the best. Needless to say as soon as we left it started snowing.
I was lucky that Ian was still plowing for the carpenters working for Patrick. He offered to plow our driveway, clean snow off the greenhouse and feed the birds and one of the carpenter's, Cory , plowed the path down to the cabin with the 4 wheeler. Without their help we would have really been screwed.

We returned to heavy snow
View out our bathroom window
Snow 3 feet up the green house (inside look)
outside look

That's what we came home too after being gone 12 days but little did we know it would just be the start of a very snowy spring.
It would snow a few inches every other day for a week or so and then we had a warning of big snow coming,  so we moved our car and truck out to storage building and rumbled back to the house with the tracked truck .
The snow and wind was very heavy for the next two days, leaving us completely snowed in.We received a total of 18 new inches and saw drifts of 3 feet in many spots. There was no way Ian could plow that much wet heavy snow.
Before the snow slid off the roof and made kitchen window useless

No more view from the bath room window

Snow  5 feet up the green house wall

If  wasn't for  the tracks we would not be going anywhere!

A few photos of other cabins on the road

Finally the weather broke and things are getting back to a normal spring. 
   We now have the greenhouse up and running and the first if our flats planted. You are looking at 3 kinds of tomatoes, 2 different cukes, red peppers, Marigolds, zucchini, radishes and lettuce with more to come. 

Entering my 3rd week of  physical therapy with a sadist named Peter. Seeing improvement, but there is still a long way to go!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

We now live on a Glacier, A very very cold Glacier

Right now you can't tell the difference between the road, the driveway, the path to the lake
or the surface of the lake, it's just one big

                                       Definition of GLACIER

: a large body of ice moving slowly down a slope or valley or spreading outward on a land surface

 Two weeks ago we had about 16" of snow on the ground and very nice weather,
then came the 2 days of rain.
During this rain the driving surfaces packed down and turned into solid ice with water on top, this made for one of the scariest rides I have had in years.
 On my first trip out, I only made it  the 3  miles to the mailbox when I turned back for home. This trip, normally 10 minutes, took an hour and ended with the truck parked in the middle of the road at the top of the driveway and I had the feeling I had cheated death.

On day two of the rain, Pat and I decided to make an early run into town for some sand to grit down our driveway and also grocery shopping. We also used this trip to move Pat's vehicle to the storage building so  we would have only the truck to deal with in the driveway.

All the weather reports that day had called for rapidly dropping temps and rain changing to snow in the afternoon. Well, the temps fell and the rain quit without changing to snow.
which turned all the driving suffices turn into skating rinks .

I pulled into the driveway (big mistake) sliding sideways down the hill . I had no choice but to hit the gas driving us into the woods and hoping for the best. We ended up at a 90 degree angle wedged between the tress and rock garden at the top of the path leading to the cabin and lake.
It took all the sand we had just picked up to even be able to get out of the truck, sand our way to the cabin door and sand enough driveway to get the truck freed and looking up the hill.
 If it didn't have sand on it you couldn't walk on it.

If you would like to read another account of this 2 day event have a look at Val and Kathy's blog,
their driveway is a tight sphincter steep hill ride in the summer. As a matter of fact,  there is a local adventurer
Lonnie Dupre who has been trying to be the first solo climber to climb Mt Denali in January,  if he wants to impress me he should try summiting that driveway.

On Day 3 I was lucky enough to get my truck back up the hill and onto the road to make another trip for sand. Slowly making our way out, we happened to see that one of  the sheet rocker's working on Patrick Sullivan's new house has a plow truck with a large sander in the back,. After talking with him we came up with a plan for splitting the cost and the next morning he sanded down the driveways and road.

That night the heavy snow started. With the low temps the snow was very fluffy and without any moisture it wouldn't stick to the ice. The snow continued throughout the next day ending with around 6" followed by lots of  cold and wind.
Ian, another of Patrick's carpenters plowed out the road on day 4 and ever since then we have been driving on roads that look like this.

Since then the temp's have been,
-22, -24, -24, -27 and frozen pipes, -24 and a new bad sound from my truck. All these temperatures are without wind chill  taking windchill in account and they may have reached as low as -55. 
Right now it's +2 with maybe 7" of new snow coming tonight.

Other then that we have 2 bucks at the feeder now, but haven't named the second one yet

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years to all and yes we're still alive,
although I'm typing this blog with the use of just one arm.
The lack of a left arm is the result of a high speed cross country ski crash that ended 
with a half day visit to our local emergency room.
The trial description called the run "a gentle incline stretch followed by a  long glide back to the parking lot".
Let me interpret this language for you.:
"a very long  steep uphill sucky part, followed by a rocket fast scary death run back to your car!"
After whezzing my way to the summit, I took a little time to gather my thoughts, my air, my courage and let my ears pop. Pointing down hill, I stepped into the track of death , lifted my poles and was gone in a flash.
After breaking the 150 mile per hour mark I began to make what I hoped to be life saving adjustments, :
I pulled down my goggles, tucked my poles under my arms, got my hands out in front and dropped into my high speed aerodynamic tuck.
However, these adjustments had just the opposite affect I had hope for, not only did they not seem to be life saving it sadly just allowed the speed to quickly pass into the high 200 mph mark. 
At 300 miles per hour things started going horribly wrong, hat and goggles peeled off my head, eyes now blurry, the buffeting ski tips chattering in the icy tracks, it was just horrifying,  but then, for just a split second, everything was fine.
silent, everything went quit and peaceful, almost floating like an out of body experience which was interrupted by impact, not some little impact, more like the meteor that killed the dinosaurs type of  impact.

 I was in the middle of a body part survey as Pat made her way into the strewn field that was my gear spread down the hill for hundreds of yards. Now at first she found the sight of her 31 year companion,  4 days after their 25th year wedding anniversary, to be somewhat funny, which was quickly replaced with the realization that I was hurt, I'd be really hard to get out of the woods and she had left her gun in the truck so just shooting me on the trail and leaving for the wolves wasn't an option.
She helped with ski removal, then gathered all my stuff off the hill and we set off walking to the truck followed by a trip to the hospital. The emergency room story itself is a great one, but for now I'll keep it private since I may need their help again.
So here I sit with a badly injured left shoulder but I have learned a few things, skiing up hill sucks, skiing down hill sucks, crashing sucks, a bad shoulder sucks and going to the hospital sucks.
(speeds in story are approximated)

Summer recap
Fishing and boating
The last post in May we had just launched both boats and this year turned out to be great for both fishing and sight seeing year. We are happy to report that fishing at Deeryard Lake has become a Stuart Smith grand kid approved destination spot and this year we entertained the whole clan.
Crew number one,
Stuart & Anita, Shannon & Barry with Emily 15: William 12: and Matthew 9:
Crew number two,
Stuart & Anita, Stacey, Jeff with Crawford 13: Forrester 11: and Robert 8:
Both trips were blessed with good weather, good fishing, great fun and no one got hurt, which is better then they ever do on the alpine slide at the Lutsen ski hill

We also had Tom Christensen with his grandson Soren, his neighbor 
Pete and his son Eric
unfortunately fishing was just slow but the night was fun.

Then came Conner.
I received a call from my friend Gregg wondering if I would take his wife's cousins son from Philadelphia out fishing. They showed up, Gregg, his brother, his wife's cousin and Conner.
We got lucky on this trip, turns out Conner was the only skilled angler in the boat and
he put the rest of his group to shame.
I think the only reason he hangs around with that bunch is Gregg has a nice truck and buys the minnows,  juice boxes and chips
Well the day after the fishing trip, Conner had his driver take him into town were he had a t-shirt
made for me that I now use as my seat cover in the observatory:
Thanks Conner

We also had many sight seeing trips including Tom Christensen, his dad from Arizona, two daughters, stepson and some grandkids. Other trips included my mom and sister Kathy and more.

Later in the year we pulled the seats out so the pontoon could be used as a barge for installing 
over a mile of fiber optic cable in the lake.
spool one
spool 2
Down the lake we go.
Just waiting for next year

Along with the water drop the fiber is now down the road and run to the houses and observatory

It's still not up and running but we're closer then last year and we need it bad . Our Verizon internet and phone service has been dreadful.

Part of the summer projects included removing and replacing  9 windows, 2 doors and 2 storm doors in the cabin.

This included all new trim work and paint.

The observatory had a small open house for the neighbors so supporters could go in both buildings and see it first hand.

Turn out was good

with great food, drink and fire

Flower and vegetable gardens went very well and I have to say we learned a lot

The fall steel head fishing was good, here is just a few photos from the last day in Wisconsin
My net man Doug
Doug's net man swishy Chuck

Great fall colors on Deeryard

Bird feeder back up for winter now with Christmas lights

Thanksgiving with Jim and Michele
and a large bacon wrapped turkey that was very moist.

1st ice

1st snow

Was notified by Full Tilt Power I could start playing  as LayDownSally again but only for play money right now

Sold Pats 20th wedding anniversary present,
I'll bet most of you don't even know that a snow plow is the 20th year gift

Our cat Itchy has found a new friend at the feeder. After losing our resident buck last year, named appropriately Bucky, I have named this new one Tulip, this name is for the 50 tulips Pat planted this fall that he will eat this spring.

Spent a fun Christmas week in the cities with the entire family, then back up north for our 25th anniversary
which now brings us back to.
Sorry for the lack of writing I'll try to do more