A Burning Question

140216 Chester snowshoeChester doesn’t care if the snow is too deep to run in, he still wants you to throw that ball.

The photograph looks a little bizarre because he was moving when I released the shutter.  I typed that line and wondered “Are we even releasing a shutter anymore?”  Are we?  This looks like a double exposure to me but I know it’s not.  Hmmmmm . . . .

When the Weather Starts to Warm

This winter has been brutally cold so far this year.  This past weekend the temperature rose to the mid to upper 30’s and it felt like spring was on its way.  It was the kind of weather when staying indoors is not an option and Bill decided it was time to cut trees.

Saturday’s tree is along the ridge going down to the back forty.  The trees there have always been too close together and because they are on the east side of the garden and quite tall they shade the southern half of the tilled area until almost noon.  There is a tree that we will keep for it’s shade and I will just plan the garden accordingly but this will begin to bring earlier sunshine where it’s needed.

The first thing done when felling trees is to look it over to make sure you have a good idea where it it will fall.  This tree only had limbs on one side of it and was leaning over the bank so it was not difficult to discern where it would go.  Bill made the first cuts on the side the tree would fall then sawed the other side as you can see in the video.

The next phase is to cut the limbs off of the tree

IMG_0099Once that was finished we use the logging winch on the back of the tractor to bring the log up to the spot where we will chunk it up and split it for firewood later.

Okay, originally I thought that this was a really pricey add on to the tractor but after about a month of tractor ownership you realize if you are going to use the bucket for anything you need weight in the back of the tractor.  If you are going to work in wet, muddy areas you probably are going to need to winch yourself out at some point. If you are going to cut down large trees using a winch becomes a safety issue at times. It turns out that what I thought was a pricey toy really is a workhorse and we have never looked back.  As you can see from the last video it has made Bill’s life a lot easier.

A Neurotic Little Dog

140117 Shophie in the ShowerFor some reason Sophie thinks the shower is just about as much fun as playing in the snow.  If she hears the word shower she will run into the nearest bathroom and wait for you – in the shower.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a walk in shower or a tub combo, when you turn the water on she will be waiting to get wet.  She’s a weirdo. Judging from the way she looks in this photo she probably really wants a shower, she certainly needs one.

Chester Swims

Chester swimming –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln25i3bAA8A

Percy’s Point is one of our favorite spots right now.  It’s quiet, peaceful and the perfect spot for Chester to getting his swimming in.  He’s come a long way since his first swim in June.  I was afraid my water dog would be a panic swimmer forever.  Not so, he LOVES it.

Mr. Photobomb

130908 Pear Tree PhotobombI just had to take a photo or two of the pear tree.  It is loaded with fruit this year and I am always amazed at how the branches bow down to the ground without breaking.  The light was harsh but it was a beautiful evening.  And guess who just happened to be in the shot.  One of many that he was in.  You’d think he was waiting to see the results.

Dusk on Pelham Lake

130818 Percys Point

 

Percy’s Point on Pelham Lake has become one of my favorite places to bring Chester.  The lake is such a calm, quiet place.  This particular spot boasts a few picnic tables and a couple of benches.  I was leaning against one of the tables the other day and realized my father had made all of them a few years ago.

We started visiting this spot out of necessity.  Chester likes to be in water when he gets hot but the only water on our property now is a slimy, muddy little brook that is trickling water from the beaver pond above it.  There is no other word to describe it other than gross – and stinky.  When he’s hot he will go into the reeds around it and lies down so he comes out covered with this rust colored goo, yuck.  We’ve tried hosing him off but it’s pretty ineffective and he won’t get into the pool we have for the dogs.  Usually I hose most of the mud off and then bring him to the lake and make him swim for a while until he’s clean.  He thinks this is quite a treat and we are now wondering if he goes into that muck just so I’ll take him to the lake.  Hmmmmm.

There are times that are particularly nice to bring him there.  Last night I was canning and didn’t get to go until almost dusk.  On the way a coyote crossed the road in front of my car.  They elicit fear in many and if there is a pack of them near your yard at night I can understand that – they are loud and talkative.  I’m thinking they are probably the reason I haven’t seen a rabbit since winter as well as every other critter that usually makes its home around the property.  I have to tell you though, they are a magnificently beautiful animal.  They have the most intense yellow eyes, they stare right through you.

As I was tossing the ball into the pond a couple walked by with their little dog on a leash.  I told them about seeing a coyote not too far from there.  Anyone here that has small animals knows that letting them loose this time of day always runs the risk of losing them.  As beautiful as they are being aware is always the best idea.  Meanwhile Chester kept swimming after his ball paying no attention to the couple or their little dog.  There’s is nothing that keeps him from his game.

Family Affair

130818 Wood (2)

The wood still needs to be cut and split and we had some help on Sunday.  Daughter Amanda, her boyfriend Yusuf and sister Sue all were all there.  I can’t tell you how much you can get done with helping hands.  The saying “many hands make light work” really rang true.

130818 Wood (1)

Each person had their own job, depending upon their skill level with pieces of equipment.  Well, everyone can use the splitter but not everyone can wield a chainsaw (that’s the piece of equipment I stay away from).

130818 Wood (4)

Chester just likes to be in the thick of things.  He’s not afraid of the noise of the equipment or tractor (although he stays away from the chainsaw as well).  The splitter is a real godsend to people our age or anyone for that matter.  The pieces of wood that were dispatched were large, some 25 to 30 inches across.  If they weren’t full of knots they were spit with ease.

130818 Wood (8)

The wood we split Sunday was ash and cherry.  I love splitting ash, it’s beautiful and splits easily.  Cherry on the other hand . . .

130818 Wood (7)

By the time we were done we had a wall of wood over 25 feet long and 5 feet high.  All in all a great days work.

130818 Wood (6)

Of course this was happening all day with anyone that was near him.   Chester had a good day too.

 

Chester’s First Swim

We brought Chester up to the lake yesterday for a swim.  He’d never been swimming before but we knew he would chase a tennis ball anywhere.  It was a little windy so the sound isn’t that great on the video but this clip pretty much says it all.

After retrieving the ball a few times he became a much more calm swimmer, started swimming without all of the splashing.

The most difficult part of the day was getting him to leave.

 

Retreat

IMAG0523-1-1

I’ve been in Rowe for the past few days, needed a retreat of sorts.  The weather is beyond beautiful and there is so much that I wanted to get done.  What I’ve found is that I’ve been most distracted by the quiet – in a good way.  The lack of activity all around you helps to bring you back to yourself, it helps to restore your soul.  Very few cars go by, very few planes fly over, there aren’t any people that I run into that I don’t already know.  My shelves are stocked if I want to make myself something to eat.  There is no schedule. The only thing you really have time to do is think.  It’s as if your entire day is spent in meditation.  It’s a good thing.

Sophie likes to spend her day on the pillows on the sofa.  As you can see she has no trouble relaxing at all.

Little Dogs and Snow

Sophie in the Snow (1)

 

It’s difficult not to love snow when you have dogs that are crazy about it.  Sophie is especially obsessed with it.  I don’t know where it came from or how it started but if she sees you with a shovel she’s there.  This is what she lives for in the winter.

 

Sophie in the Snow (3)

 

All she wants you to do is throw shovels full of snow into the air so she can jump into it.

 

Sophie in the Snow (2)

 

And she doesn’t stop.  She will jump and jump every single time.

 

Sophie in the Snow (5)

 

She’s quite the acrobat.

 

Sophie in the Snow (4)

 

And more entertaining than anything I can possibly think of indoors.

Of course she really appreciates it when we go indoors and there’s a fire in the fireplace.  Unlike Chester, all of the snow sticks to her fur in little snowballs.  She waits in front of the fire until she is standing in a puddle of melted snow.  Now if she would only learn to stand on a towel.