Angus and Murphy

I must say that the difference between my two Scotties is very noticeable. Angus tends to be rather “reserved” in many ways. He doesn’t get toys out to play and he rarely ever gets into mischief. He is, however, hysterical when he *thinks* he is on the trail of something!

Murphy, on the other hand, is affectionate, sweet, full of mischief, but always so very innocent!
Murphy also sticks to me like glue. He is my little boy.

This morning, Murphy found the little doggie sweaters on the floor. First, he grabbed his. It was so cool observing my little buddy…his tail was wagging back and forth like a metronome out of control! He dipped his head up and down, up and down. I could not help but wonder what thoughts were going through his little Scottie mind.

When we visited my mother-in-law the other day, she decided that she would give Angus a little red striped sweater that had belonged to her cockapoo who passed away a few years ago. Now, whenever we mention my mother-in-law to the dogs, we call her “Grandma Cookie”, as she always has lots of treats for the boys.

After Murphy was finished inspecting his little green sweater, he grabbed Angus’ and brought it over….by now, his tail could have kept time to Flight of the Bumblebee! He looked so happy nudging his big brother’s sweater with his nose and wagging his tail! I couldn’t help but wonder if Murphy was thinking about Grandma Cookie to be so brimful of happiness! Perhaps he recognized her scent on the red sweater?

As this was going on, I made such a fuss….

“I hear Big Brother Angus coming!”

Yes, if anything can make Angus come to life, it is hearing his little brother getting accolades for just being CUTE! But, little did Angus know that I already had his toothbrush and toothpaste ready to clean his teeth. Angus doesn’t like getting his teeth brushed!

I snatched him up and gave him a good brushing. Poor Angus sulked a little, then ran and hid in his little pup tent. But wait! Murphy, sensing Angus’ distress, decided to retreat to the tent as well!

Yes, poor frustrated Angus (left) was so annoyed with ME, he forgot to tell Murph HE couldn’t come into the tent! HA! Soooo, Angus told Murphy, “Let’s just hang out here till Mum leaves…that is, takes that blamed camera and just forgets about US!”

Please Do Not Adjust Your Sets!

Yes, as I was sitting at the table wrapping 200 bars of soap with cigar bands this afternoon, I looked up to see…..SNOW!

I know that this is nothing in comparison to our friends in Buffalo. Ours didn’t even stick to the ground! But, it was snow, nonetheless…

Speaking of our Buffalonian friends, I pray that all the damage done by this rather “freakish” weather will soon be ammended. Having been without power for 10 days in March of 1991 during the ice storm that hit Rochester, NY, I know how awful it is to be without utilities!

I Was GOING To Say….

How wonderful it is to rise early before everyone else when there is quiet and stillness all around. Just as I began to write these words, however, a certain little brindled fellow began skidding his plastic food dish across the ceramic tile floor in the kitchen. It was SO loud, and made a noise akin to the old “scratching the fingernails across the blackboard”! Yes, I picked the bowl up from the floor and quiet has resumed!

When I took the dogs out this morning, I was totally shocked by what I saw! Remember I said our leaves were falling rapidly? Check this out!

This picture is the hickory tree on the front eastern side of the garage taken on October 6.

And the same tree taken early this morning! The other trees are still “clad”, but have lost so many leaves, they are barely clad!
I have written about our firewood this year. Almost all of the wood we have this year, I cut in the spring of 2005. Mark and I could hardly believe it, as he was a bit worried we were going to come up short. Another interesting fact is that in the spring of 2005, I only worked at cutting wood for about a week! We always laugh, as every winter trees topple over under the weight of ice and snow, along with brisk winds; we always say the angels are harvesting our wood for us so I don’t have to fell the trees!
And, speaking of firewood…Before Mark suffered the injury, he always enjoyed cutting firewood. But, there was one part of woodcutting that disturbed him. When he had to cut a live tree, he was quite disheartened that the beautiful (and usually very straight) first 8 or 10 feet of the tree should become firewood.
Mark also loves woodworking. He looked around and found information about cutting firewood into planks, using portable sawmills. Well, most of these mills were far too pricey! After looking and looking on the internet, he devised a system that used his Husky saw with a 36″ bar and chain. He took his blueprints he drew up to the neighbor, and they welded up a simple, but effective, sawmill! Now Mark was producing beautiful red oak planks he could plane into breathtaking oak boards for woodworking projects!
When we first built the house, I was stubbornly opposed to cutting any trees that were not entirely necessary. So, we somehow wound up with a tree in VERY close proximity to the driveway. One day, while backing up the truck, I somehow “dinged” the side of the truck against the tree. I thought that I had run over a root. OOPS! Later that evening, as I saw the dent, I told Mark what happened. Needless to say, THAT particular tree was removed!
But, the story doesn’t end there! A portion of that tree lives on in infamy! Yes, it hangs in my living room…are you curious yet?
OK, here it is!

Yes, when we had gone shopping at an outlet mall, I saw cute little cabinets made of pine with a fabric backing to show off little chatchkes! Mark looked the cabinets over and over and made up this design. I treasure this cabinet, and now would like him to revise it a bit. Since it houses mostly my little Scottie trinkets, I think it should have a red plaid fabric that will show off the Scotties better. Also, I would like a little halogen light added to the top, along with glass shelves. Not asking for much, am I?

As an aside, Mark made this cabinet with wood that he thought wasn’t properly dried. He expected the little cabinet to twist and turn and become distorted. But, it did not!
Perhaps a walk in the woods will be in order today….Enjoy your weekend!

Winter is Coming!

Phew! After all of the work of this last week, I am happy to say, today was a PLAY day! I decided I was just going to take things a bit easier and not allow myself to stress about anything!

We took a drive this afternoon to the Chevy garage to take a looksee at what was available. We are thinking of getting a new vehicle, as our truck is aging! We drove a couple of new trucks. One was a barebones Silverado, and the other was a GMC Denali. The GMC was really fancy with its leather and wonderful skylight! The new electronics and gizmos on the new trucks are cool, but the price! Yikes! On the way home, my poor mind felt like it was swimming! I was a bit confused and feeling like someone PARKED a truck on my head!!!

We barely got into the house when I looked outside and saw little white FLAKES in the air! Wow! I guess we got that firewood JUST in time! WeatherBug is telling me it is currently 29 degrees….where did that balmy weather go? Just last night, I left the bedroom window open!

By the way, we did finish up the firewood around noon yesterday. I am so grateful to have completed this task, as there have been more than one year that we have been working in the woods while the snow was falling around us…..

The woods are getting sparse now. Even though the leaves only just turned so beautifully, most of them are now littering the floor of the woods. The winds last night were so brisk, and the fragile stems of the leaves are just too weak to hang on in such gusts. My dream is to have a whole YEAR of autumn…..the colors, the smell, the sun, the very air that we breathe…it all adds up to such a wonderful, but so very, very short time…..

The Firewood Saga Continues

When Murphy and I got up at 6 this morning, I fiddled around, after taking the dogs out…doing dishes and straightening out the house. By 7, there was nothing left to do, so I asked Mark if he wanted to get up so we could finish getting firewood. He was up and ready to go in a matter of seconds!

We had an addition built on the garage last summer. Mark labored over the layout and made several different designs before settling on one. The design he went with was for a big hip roof’ off the back of the garage for our woodshed. The wall is 36′ long, and when all of the wood is stacked, we have close to 12 face cord on that wall. I stack over 6′ in some areas, and only 4′ in others, as there are three windows on that wall. (we make two rows of wood 36′ long)

The side entry to the garage is actually double doors which when fully opened, Mark can drive the ATV and wagon directly into the garage. This makes for easy and fast work!

One of the best (and completely unexpected) benefits of the addition is that it is actually a wind tunnel. Mark discovered that he can sit next to the splitter in the wheelchair and split wood with no fumes in the garage. This worked so well this year, as we still have a little bit of splitting to do, and now we needn’t worry about the weather report!

There are now two rows of wood stacked up and nearly completed. As I look to the left and right, I see BTU’s of heat, and QUITE a savings compared to the propane we would be using if not for the woodstove!

I took these pictures this morning around 9, and I figure by noon, the firewood saga will be history…all of the wood will be split and stacked. Am I happy? You betcha! This seems like such a small task for such great rewards.

Now, off for a cup of hot tea!


After spending well over an hour making an entry to my blog, Blogger said it could not process it….

Today’s (ambititious) project was redoing my mother-in-law’s rock garden in the back of her home. My father-in-law had this project created many years ago to add beauty and interest to their yard. In the picture below, you can see the part of the garden that did not need to be done.

This is the section of the garden that needed to be redone. With the torrential downpours we experienced this past summer, the water undercut upper areas of the plantings, sending lots of the soil downhill. With the continuous rains came more and more washouts. My mother-in-law spent a good deal of time shoveling and removing soil that washed down onto her patio. We told her we could fix the garden.

The first chore was to remove all of the brick chips that covered areas not covered by plants. This was a bigger chore than it sounds, as the soil that washed from above was all settled in pockets of landscape material, along with the brick chips.

We removed all of the chips, soil, and landscape material. We also took out the landscape timbers from the edge of the patio. What a mess! We had to use a garden rake to rake the brick chips out from the soil, separating them.

Tedious manual labor! We made such a mess of the patio, but we really needed to sort the soil and brick chips! Unfortunately, we didn’t have any screen to do this.

After we got the new landscape fabric cut and set in, I needed to go work at the top of the garden.

I had to replace a small sidewalk composed of 6-18″ square blocks with a brick basket weave pattern on them. This went rather easily…easily until it came to the sixth block. Gads! Up and down, up and down…I had to do the block over and over again. The sidewalk had prevoiusly been placed directly on the soil with no drainage. Hence, when the rains came, all of the rain undercut the sidewalk, washing all of the soil down the hill. We dug to a depth of 4″, placing 2″ of gravel down first. Hopefully, this will alleviate any erosion. When I finished placing those blocks, you cannot imagine my *delight*!

To keep the gravel from running out, we found a piece of landscape timber that measured exactly 36″! Wow, that was JUST what we needed! Mark was going to drill holes to stake the timber into the ground. Oops….we remembered the drill, but forgot the BITS! We found a piece of steel rod we could use. Mark hacksawed it, then formed a point in it and we drove it down into the ground.

The next step was to place the pink 8″x16″ block border next to the house. This required more cutting of the soil and shaping. Finally done! We replaced the landscape timbers below, then began replacing thebrick chips back in the garden between plants. Here is the completed project that took from about 12 noon until 6:30.

By the time the project was finished and all of the tools cleaned up and put away, the sun was moving far into the western sky and the air was getting rather nippy! We huddled into the family room, lighting the gas fireplace. The warmth of that fireplace felt so good after spending the better part of the day on my hands and knees, sitting on cool stone and sidewalks!

Another Perfect Day in the Bristolwood

We had to take a run to town today, so along the way, we stopped at one of the scenic overlooks and took a couple of pictures.

You couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day than today. The colors were so intense and the sky so blue…It was close to 70 degrees out and the sun shone brightly the entire day!

Our days have been starting a bit early the past few days, as we are loading the woodshed for the winter. We will be all done in probably about 4 days, thanks to my wild woodcutting tirade last year. Living in 20 acres of woods is great, and when you add a somewhat steep grade to the mix, it means that many dead trees will fall throughout the winter from the weight of ice and snow. These fallen trees are terrific for cutting, as they often lack their bark and are pre-seasoned. No felling trees, no danger worrying about where they will land!

After working hard to get in several loads of firewood, we were pretty tired, and the little trip to town was quite relaxing. Mark got on the ATV to take a look in the woods to assess the rest of the wood we stacked in piles earlier this year. As he came past the house, Angus quizzingly looked out through the railing, wondering where Mark was going without him! Here is a picture I took over the railing of Angus looking out. I love it when the dogs do this…it is so cute!

And finally, although the lighting was buggered up, I took this picture of the boys sitting next to the strawberry pot I filled with begonias this summer. Angus is so good about getting his picture taken. He knows that if he is good and listens, a cookie is always in store. Murphy, on the other hand, is a bit rambunctious. He bounces around and I need to keep telling him to sit and stay. When I said the word “cookie”, Murphy did that little Scottie head cock….

What an enjoyable day this was! Oh, and the reason for the “rush” in getting the woodshed filled is that the weatherman said that we might be “seeing a few flakes in the air” later this week!

Why I Need a New Camera!

Last night I posted that the weatherman was promising a harvest moon. When I got up with Murphy and Angus this morning, *it* was there! As I opened my eyes at 5:28, the room was bathed in streaks of cool white light, shining in through the branches and leaves on the trees.

I grabbed the camera as I went out the door. The air was a brisk 37 degrees, and the light show in the sky, phenomenal! The stars were simply gorgeous! The moon by this time was hanging in the western sky, so I snapped a picture of it through the trees in the front yard. I was so disappointed by how SMALL it looked in the picture. This is truly disproportionate!

I REALLY NEED a new camera. One that does macro AND telephoto….all the way up to the MOON! Now, how do I explain this to Mark?

Just One Picture……

I was looking at my friend Denise’s blog and she has some cool pictures of Lake Erie she posted. That reminded me of one picture that Michelle took when we were visiting Lake Erie this past June.

My brother had to have open heart surgery and we wanted to visit him while he was in the hospital. We found a really nice state park that we could camp at while we were there. Michelle and Ben walked just a few yards from the camper to a large cliff that led down to the lake. What a great place this was…………and what a memory!