Before we headed off to join Steve and Cathy at their house for New Year's Eve, I had some snow shoveling to do, and then we drove Lucas down to Boston's Logan airport for his flight back to L.A.
We had a fun evening with Steve and Cathy, and just a really lazy day New Year's Day, watching a couple of Hallmark Channel movies.
01/02/20: Doctor Check Up For Sue's Wrist
Today is the 1 year anniversary of Sue's broken wrist surgery. She's been having a tough time of it even with many, many months of physical therapy. She had made a consult appointment with the surgeon early last month, and so I drove her down to the office for that.
She's glad that she went in as she got some actionable advice from the doctor. He gave her a cortisone shot to relieve the pain from what he said was tendinitis. Over the following days, that seemed to have started to help with the pain, and we hope will help with the healing.
We got out of there around 3:00 pm, and headed to a couple of shopping stops around the Dover area. Though it was early, we decided on stopping in Rochester at the Lilac City Grille for dinner, and a special Margarita for Sue that she had been looking forward to.
01/03/20: Movie Night At Alan's in Ossipee
We loaded The Beau Dog into the car Friday afternoon 01/03/20 at 4:00 pm and headed to Sue's brother Alan's home in Ossipee.
We had given Alan an Amazon FireStick, and so the first order of business was to set that up for him. We needed that working in order to have a Movie Night with pizza, of course! After getting the FireStick loaded, we all hopped into the car, and drove to one of the local pizza shops to pick up our order.
We ate while watching the selection of the night, the 2019 Judi Dench spy thriller, Red Joan. Both the movie and the pizza were pretty good, but by the time all that was done it was late.
On the way home, we stopped off at a store in Ossipee to get some batteries for our smoke detectors. A couple of them had started beeping in the middle of the night. I had to pull the unit out of the wall because you can't just remove the batteries because it gets really pissed off if you do that — threatening carbon monoxide gas, fire, low battery and all sorts of evil crap.
Sue snapped this picture of Beau watching me intently as I came out of the store in Ossipee carrying the bag of batteries I had just bought.
We got home around 9:45, watched a quick recorded show, and tumbled into bed.
01/05/20: Snow Clean Up and Great Sunday Dinner For Two!
While Sue took Beau for a snowshoe walk in the woods, I spent about 40 minutes shoveling another 2 inches of snow that had fallen during the night.
I wanted to get right to that. Temps were supposed to rise during the day, and then go down later in the night. If I just let that all sit there, then we'd have ice all over the place.
I didn't use the snow blower as it was still very light and powdery. Though, in some places where the sun had hit it, it was getting pretty heavy. Besides, if you're not crazy doing it, shoveling is fun, and great exercise. Well, as long as it's light as it was for the most part today. When it gets heavy, that really sucks.
After I got in, I snatched Beau, and brushed his teeth. Poor guy is very susceptible to tarter. This is easier than the vet bill for cleaning them....
Beau is just not interested in having someone messing around in his mouth. What a sad face that is! And the paw on my arm is supposed to make me feel sorry for him. Sure....
And it did get cold! The wind picked up around noon, sometimes blowing 30 mph or more in strong gusts that rocked the trees around us. The wind just howled through them, and slammed into the side of the house.
At 4:30pm, I popped open a bottle of a nice red blend that we enjoyed by the wood stove as we played backgammon for awhile. Dinner prep was fairly easy, and I had it ready in no time. I fixed Mandarin Chicken over long grain rice with a side of sage steamed broccoli. Simple, but really good!
I usually have some sort of party to celebrate this, but we just got so busy with the holidays that it just slipped by....
01/08/20: Another Storm Cleanup!
We had more snow than I thought we'd get last night. I was out shoveling about 4 inches in some places, and just an inch in others. The high winds just howled through the trees an just blew shit around all over the place. The wood stove kept us warm as we watched the pretty good Renee Zellweger film, Judy, for which she won an Academy Award. It was really worth the price of admission just to watch her performance.
01/10/20: Bland Dinner Out With Friends
Cathy had called earlier in the week to see if Sue and I wanted to go with Steve and her to check out the new opening of The Dockside Restaurant in Alton, NH Friday 01/10/20. It was a sad disappointment for all of us as depicted in the following Yelp! review I wrote.
When we got back to our house, Beau went berserk when we walked in the door. He was soooo happy to see not only us, but Steve and Cathy. He was all over the place. Very funny.
I got a fire going in the wood stove, Sue brought out some great lemon and thyme flavored cookies she had made, and we just sat and had an enjoyable time chatting.
01/12/20: Winterscapes on the Mountain!
Saturday the 10th, it was so mild out, in the 50s, that we stuffed Beau into the car and took a scenic drive over Route 140. We drove all the way out through Pittsfield before looping back. Really nice, relaxing excursion. On the way home, we swung by the store to do the food shopping.
But the night skies then, as well as the night before on the 9th, were just spectacular, Sue couldn't pass up using her night view lens for some pictures of the backyard.
The lens made it look like a day shot, but the sky was really was black. It's soooo cool the way she caught the long shadows of the trees against the snow from the full moon.
I snapped this shot with my phone camera to catch the contrast of the barn flood lights against the snow. The lights kept going on from the motion of the trees being buffeted by the strong winds.
Again, it's pitch black out there but the lens just picks up the faintest of light that you can clearly see the stars.
Another night shot, this one showing more stars.
As we sat watching a movie in the living room Saturday night, we could hear the wind howling through the trees. Both front and rear barn motion lights kept getting triggered.
By Sunday morning when we got up, it was pelting rain against the side of the house. The rain got so heavy for awhile that you could hear the water in the brook out back crashing down over the rocks. And then all of a sudden, the skies cleared, and the sun popped out. Amazing.
Later in the afternoon, I got a fire going in the wood stove to take the chill out of the air. The temps had started to go down around 3:00 pm, and were supposed to drop to 19 degrees by midnight. While Sue finished up some things she was working on, I got a jump on some of the food prep for the Herb Seasoned Mediterranean Vegetables over couscous I was fixing for dinner.
We played some rugged backgammon over a very nice bottle of Chateau St. Jean Sauvignon Blanc for an hour or so, and then headed into the kitchen to put dinner together. The meal came out quite good, though, of course, the flavor profile was different than I've used before. The basic ingredients were the vegetables: onions, leeks, yellow summer squash, red, yellow, and green sweet peppers, black olives, mushrooms, and garlic. That all paired nicely with the spices I used, which had quite a collage of flavors: ground black pepper, rosemary, coriander, parsley, cilantro, and oregano with crushed red tomatoes and Port wine. It all went together amazingly. We finished off the night with the great 2013 Martin Scorsese movie, The Wolf of Wall Street.
01/13/20: Mia Overnight Visit
After Sue ran some errands down in Dover Monday 01/13/20, she swung by the shop to pick up Mia for an overnight visit.
Pile up at the bottom of the hill.
Sue had her out sledding on the hill in the backyard about as soon as she arrived, and they went snowshoeing a couple of times as well. It was a really fun couple of days, though keeping up with a 4 year old can be exhausting at times. Well, not for me, but Sue was all over the place with her.
01/16/20: Another Winter Storm Rips Across the Mountain
So Thursday early morning 01/16/20 we got hit with another substantial snow storm. It dumped about 8 inches, probably more, but it was heavy so it didn't fluff up. Because it was supposed to blow itself out by early afternoon, Sue and I just sat inside sipping coffee, and working on projects.
You can see the huge flakes of snow against the background of the barn.
The backyard is buried!
At 960 feet above sea level, we got hammered, but Colin who lives in Somersworth and works in Dover said all it did was rain. Up on the mountain it was lovely. I shoveled the walkways and barn area out about 2:30 pm after the 25 mph winds knocked 4 inches of snow off the drooping tree limbs. That would have been irritating to have shoveled earlier and then needing to go back out again. Once is enough!
After wearing myself out shoveling, I went inside, and lit a fire in the wood stove. Sue and I played backgammon until having an early diner and watching the terrific movie, The Two Popes.
01/17/20: Pre Storm Prep and Dinner Out
Friday 01/17/20 I started the day hauling in 10 loads of wood. The weather service was projecting a massive snow, ice, and rain storm to sweep across the Northeast tomorrow and into Sunday, so I wanted to get the wood in early rather than shag that in a storm.
Sue helped with a few loads, and getting the wood stove ready, and then headed off to snowshoe with Beau in the woods. I knew she'd be a while because the snow was deep everywhere from yesterday's storm.
Because we were planning on going food shopping when she got back, I thought I'd take care of the Christmas tree. We had left it up until now just because we enjoyed the soft glow of the lights while we relaxed in the living room. The target for getting it down and to the dump was actually tomorrow, Saturday. But because of the pending storm, and not wanting to wait another week, I just started pulling ornaments and lights off.
By the time Sue got back with Beau, I had the tree hauled out by the barn. While she was finishing up with the shopping list, I secured the tree onto the top of her car, and then we were off to the dump and shopping.
The store was mobbed with everyone stocking up in anticipation of the storm, and so it took a little longer to navigate through the aisles. But no one was pushy or so focused on what they were trying to do that they were abrupt or rude. We just strolled down the aisles, picking our stuff out, and enjoying the process.
I currently have 40 pages completed on another book on currency trading I'm writing, FOREX Theoretical Scalping Analysis and Execution, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and went into the library to work on that for awhile. I'm glad we've kept the wood stove going as the temperature outside was in the low teens. I really enjoy sitting in the library and writing with views out the windows of the woods, and feeling the heat from the wood stove warming everything around me.
Just before 5:00 pm, Steve and Cathy pulled into the driveway. We were all headed for dinner at Shibley's at the Pier in Alton, NH. It was their opening from being closed for a few weeks, so we were excited to go. Shibley's has really good food, the atmosphere is terrific, and as Steve commented a few times while we were there, "It sure is nice to be able to carry on a conversation unlike our experience at The Dockside on the 10th!"
Cathy had brought a wonderful pumpkin spice pie that she had made for desert, and so when we got back home we had that with loads of whipping cream on top. But, man, was I stuffed! The food had been so good at Shibley's that I ate my whole dinner which was portioned more for a 40 year old field worker than a sedentary 70 year old. But it had been sooooo good.... After the pie, I was beyond stuffed....
01/18/20: Bigger Storm Hits and Carries Through until Sunday!
Late Saturday evening 01/18/20, the snow started to fall. The weather service was predicting 6 to 8 inches, but by the time it blew itself out Sunday morning there was closer to 10 inches, maybe a foot in some places.
Plenty of wood in the rack to last out the storm!
We had a fire going in the wood stove all day, and it was really nice throughout the house. Though that night we did hit a season high temp in the upstairs hallway of 89 degrees! But it was frigid out, and the wind blew the snow through the trees like shit through a goose. It was a Nor'easter for sure!
As Sue and I sat down in the living room to play some backgammon before dinner, I popped the cork on a 14 Hands 2016 Stampede Bold Red Wine Blend. Man, was that a surprise at first sip. When it came out of the bottle we both gasped at the really deep, dark, and rich color. We thought it would be overpowering. But what a surprise: our first sips were of a bold, but soft velvety richness. Man, that is a good wine. I'd do that any day of the week.
For dinner, we were just having spaghetti. But Sue had wanted to try store bought chopped sausage rather than meat balls. We had got a pound of sausage when we shopped Friday, and so I went at it. I mixed in parsley, oregano, tarragon, ground black pepper, some cilantro, and a dash of cumin. I cooked that in a really hot skillet until just browned, and then added a bottle of Barilla Tomato and Basil sauce. I let that slow simmer for about an hour while we played more backgammon, and enjoyed the wine. It was really, really good! Success!
By the time we got up Sunday morning, the storm had blown itself out, and the sun was shining brightly. What a contrast to the heavy blanket of freshly fallen snow. I spent almost 2 hours roof raking, and then shoveling. I have to get the snow pulled back away from the barn and around my car in order for the plow guy to get all of the snow out of the driveway when he comes to do his thing.
I took a long hot shower after that, grabbed a coffee, and headed back into the library to work on my book until late afternoon.
Sue was fixing salmon for her brother Alan who came down for dinner, and catching up with her. I was off at 4:30 to meet up with Colin at The 99 Restaurant in Dover for dinner, and then we headed down to see the new Star Wars movie at the big complex in Newington. Sue is not a fan of Star Wars, and I don't like salmon, so we all made out pretty good tonight!
We arrived a little after 5:00 pm, Steve popped open the wine we had brought, and we were all into helping Cathy fix a special West African Style Peanut Stew With Chicken recipe that she had found. And man, did it turn out great!
01/26/20: Quiet Sunday Dinner Party For Two
Sue and I had a relaxing day Sunday 01/26/20, and by 5:00 pm we had settled into a nice evening by the wood stove with some wine and backgammon.
01/30/20: Thursday Night Out For Dinner
Thursday evening 01/30/20 Sue and I joined Marissa, Gary, and Mia at the Thirsty Moose in Dover for an off-the-cuff dinner. We had a great time catching up with them, as well as sampling some of the many craft beers they have.
John and Marion posing with the moose outside of Cabela's, Scarborough, ME.
On the way, we met up with Alan, and then stopped off for lunch at the Cracker Barrel in Scarborough, ME. Great day, and I even found a nice pair of new boots!
02/04/20: John and Marion Visit Relatives in North Conway
John and Marion headed off Tuesday 02/04/20 at noon to Ossipee, NH to meet up with Alan, and then then they all drove over to North Conway, NH to visit with other relatives.
Sue had a late morning appointment, and so Beau and I held the fort down while everyone was gone. When Sue got back later that afternoon, we just hung out playing backgammon and watching some tv until they arrived back around 7:30 pm.
02/05/20: Ending the Day With Night Sledding! Wednesday late morning 02/05/20Sue met up with Alan, and they drove John and Marion to Marion's aunt Mary's in Hill, NH for a family gathering lunch. I stayed home with Beau, and got about 60 pages read in a current book I'm reading.
When everyone returned, I started getting dinner ready: chicken thighs in a curry sauce over a bed of brown rice. After watching the really good 2009 movie Star Trek, Sue and Marion grabbed the sled, and took a couple of runs down the hill in the dark. That was quite something to see, and The Beau Dog just couldn't believe it.
02/06/20: Snow Storm Makes For Nice Inside Movie Day Thursday morning 02/06/20 we woke up to a little over 3 inches of freshly fallen snow. It was beautiful.
Yup, Sue's serious about this — heading out the door with her sled.
After our first movie of the day, Avitar, finished, we just sat in the living room and chatted for quite some time as the lasagna finished baking in the oven. We decided on an early dinner as today was movie day, and we wanted to get on to the next one.
It had been a long day and evening for everyone yesterday, and the thought was to wrap things up early tonight and get to bed. We watched the really nice 2010 Martin Sheen movie, The Way and enjoyed some wonderful ice cream and brownies that Sue had made earlier.
02/07/20: Snow Storm Continues, But Turns To Sleet
It had continued snowing all night, but turned to a fine sleet by morning on Friday 02/06/20 by the time Sue headed out to walk Beau. She went in the woods behind the house again because it was really nasty out.
Tree limbs hanging with the weight of the snow and ice around 10am Friday morning.
We all jumped into Sue's car after I got done shoveling the snow out of the way. We wanted to take John and Marion out to lunch for seafood at The Windjammer Restaurant in Rochester, and debated whether the roads would be okay from the storm. I had received a text back from Marissa that it was more rain and sleet down lower than it was frozen snow on the roads up where we were. So off we went, and though dicey at times, we made it down there and back.
Later that afternoon as we were sitting in the living room watching the entertaining 2011, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the sleet started pelting the side of the house, and the intensity of the snow storm was so impressive that I went out and took a picture.
Just as the movie was ending, Sue's brother Alan arrived. We had invited him up to have dinner with us, as Sue had made what turned out to be a marvelous left over turkey soup. I had been tasked with picking part of the turkey apart while she was out walking Beau, and then had been smelling it cooking all day.
After finishing dinner, we sat around the table for quite awhile just chatting, but by 7:00 pm I had to get everyone into the living room so we could start the evening's movie, the excellent 1972 Robert Redford movie, Jeremiah Johnson.
02/08/20: John and Marion Head For Home
It was sad to see them have to leave, but around noon Saturday 02/08/20 everyone packed into Alan's truck for the drive over to the airport in Manchester.
Saturday morning breakfast before John and Marion had to head for the airport home.
I stayed home with Beau and finished up with the shoveling. We had gotten another inch or so overnight to add to the several from the storm the day before. When Sue got home and settled in, we played some backgammon, ate a pizza, and enjoyed the evening with the wood stove pouring heat around us.
On one of her trips out to the kitchen, she noticed the rising of a spectacular full moon through the trees:
Full moon rising through the ice covered tree branches.
02/12/20: Valentines Adventures
Sue and I treated ourselves to some Valentines Day Adventures Wednesday 02/12/20. We visited The Flume Gorge up in Lincoln, NH for some winter hiking, then to the spectacular Ice Castles exhibit in Woodstock, NH, and dinner at the Covered Bridge Farm Table restaurant in Campton, NH.
Sue at in front of the Flume Gorge Visitor Center, Lincoln, NH.
We headed out around 1:15 pm after dropping The Beau Dog off for the day with Steve and Cathy. We took Route 140 out of Alton, NH over to Tilton, NH where we picked up I-93 North to Exit 34. What spectacular views we had along 93!
We hiked the 2 mile loop trail up to and back from the gorge at The Flume, getting some great, great pictures. But what a difference a winter hike is compared to the time in June of 2018 that we did it.
We spent about an hour and a half walking around the Ice Castles exhibit, and then stopped for dinner at the Covered Bridge Farm Table restaurant in Campton, NH, some of the best meals we've ever had.
02/15/20: Taking Care of Mia and a Note From Chuck
I went over to Marissa's today, Saturday 02/15/20 to take care of Mia. Marissa had called last night saying that Mia was sick with high temperature, and wondering if I could come down and sit with her.
Anytime to see Mia — even when she's not feeling well — is a treat, so after stopping at Aroma Joe's for coffee, I was there just before 9:00 am so Marissa could get to work.
Mia parked on the sofa with her... well, puke bucket — her words!
Mia was parked on the sofa when I got there, and that's where she stayed for the day, except for her nap from 1:00 to 4:00.
It was a perfect day for a movie marathon: 2015 Jurassic World, 2018 Bumblebee, and 2009 Avatar. While I was there, I got a wonderful note from Chuck that so made my day.
As soon as she got to the house, she and Sue were all over the place. They did some water color painting, and then she and I took a short hike with Beau through the woods behind the house. We ended off the afternoon watching a movie until Steve and Cathy joined us for pizza.
Sunday, Sue and Mia were out back on the hill sledding — more than once! — and just having the best time. After her nap, Sue gave Mia a bath, and then Mia helped me cook Sunday dinner.
Because Mia had a gymnastics make up camp to get to Monday morning, Marissa picked her up at 8:30 after a light breakfast. And then... it was quite....
02/29/20: Murder Mystery Dinner Theater
Our friends Steve and Cathy had asked weeks ago if we'd be interested in going with them to a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater event in Rochester, NH at The Governor's Inn. We had always thought that would be fun, and so off we went tonight.
Over 200 folks joined in the fun!
And it was a hoot! It was titled: Saturday Night Cleaver At The Hard Roch Cafe, with a rocking 70s disco theme. It was a wild night at the Governor's Inn for sure. The cast were all dressed in 70s attire, and led groups of us to different rooms of the inn to present clues.
One of the actors sporting a huge Afro playing the character Nicotine dancing past the tables during one of the cast numbers.
03/07/20: Paella Dinner Party
We invited our friends Steve and Cathy over for a special Paella Dinner Party Saturday night, 03/07/20.
I had never cooked paella before, and so this was truly an adventure! I had done most of the prep work before they arrived, and good thing as Sue had concocted a script to read to sort of "mystery birthday dinner" for Cathy as she won't tell anyone when it is.
Sue at work on her script before Steve and Cathy arrived.
Relaxing with The Beau Dog, if that's possible.
Beau demanded attention, and Cathy was more than happy to oblige....
Sue delivering her "mystery birthday dinner" speech for Cathy while wearing her special 'Sassy Sally' hat! What a really, really clever and entertaining — and nice thing — she had done for her friend!
03/12/20: Chuck Arrives For a Visit
Chuck flew in from Chicago Thursday evening 03/12/20 for a weekend visit. He went straight from the airport to Marissa's as he always does.
Peter, Sue, and Chuck
Staying at Marissa's this time would be special, though, because it would be his first time at their new home. I know he was excited about that, and texted how beautiful it was, and that he — like all of us — thought the view they have is really nice.
Friday Chuck was out with Colin for the day. While they were out, Sue and I got the Bolognese sauce cooked for Saturday night's dinner party here at the house. Late afternoon, Sue, Chuck, and I headed off for dinner at The Lodge at Smith Point.
Saturday Chuck came over to the house, and we just had a relaxing day until it was time for some wine, and combat—trash—talkin' backgammon. The Spaghetti Bolognese was soooooo good, I couldn't believe it. And Sue topped off the night with a great mixed berries in yogurt.
Sunday Chuck spent at Marissa's, and then Colin met them to go out for dinner. Monday Chuck came over for an early lunch with us, and then was off to the airport to head home.
Sue and Beau cleaning the snow off the walkway St. Patrick's Day morning 03/17/20.
And then it snowed even harder overnight Thursday 03/19!
We had to go out to the accountant's office late morning, and the roads up here on the mountain were pretty slick. By the time we got down in the "flat lands" there was no snow, but just a light drizzle of chilly rain.
Sue and Beau at it again cleaning the snow off the walkway Tuesday morning 03/24/20 after yesterday's heavy storm.
The day started out beautifully as we got some lovely pictures of Mia playing outside. We then took a drive up to visit Sue's aunt Carol in Ossipee as it was her birthday. Because of the COVID-19 virus evolving, we only stood on her porch and talked briefly with her.
Before heading for home, we stopped off at her brother Alan's and did the same distance visit with him.
Sue just can't wait — she's already out digging in the dirt and there's still a couple of inches of snow over most of the yard!
The link page shows the toy bear we put into our window for parents to drive their kids past, a story and picture of my dad and me sailing in Chicago, and Sue's trip down to the beach to walk with her friend Gail.
03/28/20: Colin Visits and Some "Shelter In Place" Thoughts...
Colin swung by for a visit and we exchanged "distance hugs" just to be safe. It was so good to see him....
He was on his way up to a friend's camp to help clear brush and dead wood. Work has put their "at risk" their staff on furlough, and those remaining, like Colin, are down to 3 days a week. The state has put all fire fighter EMT courses and exams on a 5 month hold, so he's not sure how all that will work out. Difficult times....
On her way back home from the beach yesterday, Sue stopped off at the food store to pick up a few things. She mentioned that she had found some items that had not been in stock for several days. I suspect, though, that with this new shelter in place order that folks will be on a scramble to stock up. May 4th is a month out, and we're fortunate that we have 2 fridges to hold stuff. It's going to be a long haul.
But trust me, I have no intention of filling this site with ramblings of my experiences flushing the toilet or watching the grass start to come up. There's nothing to do but do what you love with who you love, and enjoy the time you have.
Sue and I will be quite happy to torment each other over the backgammon board, and debate which movie to watch without sharing with the world.
She will be out in the dirt working on her gardens and flower beds at every opportunity the weather permits, and I have a ton of projects I'm working on as well as several books to read to keep me busy.
You know, I've not only taught in my karate program, but practiced, that life without passions, without goals, or something to strive for other than getting up and going to work, is so very important.
Being officially old now at 70, I see so many folks my age — and even much younger — who have no real passions in their lives. Some are just so busy with work that they don't
realize when they retire that there's only so many times you can go golfing or fishing or cutting the grass.
I am so blessed that my mother taught me the wonders of reading early in my childhood. That reading has brought to my attention so many different things, many of which have become passions of mine: martial arts, sailing, reading, programming, writing, business, backgammon, cooking, foreign currency trading, history, philosophy, wine, psychology, meditation, and science.
I'm proud of how accomplished I became in each of those pursuits. None came easy; all were wrenched out of life like you would harvesting potatoes. But none of it was work. A passion is not work; it's a joy. And I have truly enjoyed my life, and the pursuits I have engaged myself in.
But it is sad for me to see so many folks who were never shown opportunities that they could become passionate about. For them, the only things of consequence in their lives is only having an inordinate recall of useless baseball statistics, or an absurd interest in silly, mindless sitcoms, or worse: drowning their thoughts in the cloud of alcohol.
In today's environment of fear of what this COVID-19 may do to our lives, someone with no passion in their life is only left to deal with their inner demons.
We all fear, but instead of stopping there, we must go beyond that fear and think, speak, and act with joy. Just for today.... Tomorrow might not be there for us, so just do it today. And if tomorrow comes: do it then, too.
And don't do it just for yourself. Do it for, and with, someone you love. We may not persist, but our love will. It's as the Dakota Native American Proverb states: "We will be known forever by the tracks we leave." I've long tried to live my life according to the Hopi principle of life:
03/29/20: Progress On My Online Currency Trading Course!
I'm currently finishing up with writing an extensive online course on currency trading in the FOREX market to complement the work I do in my trading company Longwood Currency Trading. The course so far has the equivalent of about 60 typed pages, and will have quite a few videos as part of it as well. I'm also building a YouTube page for Longwood Currency Trading, which will be interesting.
I've done a few of the videos so far, but have not posted anything. The videos are all pretty rough, though I may just decide to use them anyway. The first one I did was totally off the cuff, and unrehearsed.
I just felt like recording, so I turned on my webcam, and did it. It was a wintry day in February, and I had just come in from hauling logs in from the woodpile for the wood stove. Quite an entertaining spectacle....
Speaking of recording videos: Whew! It took me some time getting up to speed in all of that again. I had done a couple of videos for an old business I had at one time, LiveNow Adult Life Mentoring, so I had the basics of that down. Those videos were awful as I was just sitting there talking, and trust me — I truly suck at sitting there looking stupidly at the camera trying to make sense.
So, for two of the three trading videos I've done: I'm up at the white board pacing and ranting as I talk, and — as you know — that's pretty much me in action. Thus my tag: entertaining spectacle....
I do need a better camera and mic, so that's on the wish list to get — though all that has to wait until I'm sure anyone will even be interested in watching them! I can think of a lot better things to do with about $500 than buy a new camera to record videos no one is going to watch....
I do need to get different editing software, though. This Microsoft Movie Maker application that comes free with Windows is awful. Well, not awful, but meager for sure — in not only it functionality, but in its ease of use. Well, yeah: It's "easy" to use if all you want to do is throw some text onto the film, or add intro pages, but to splice efficiently.... that is stupid.
Now that I write about it, maybe I should just get on with it and buy a new app and be done with it. That way I can get proficient in its use before I have to go into full video production mode editing the 14 or so videos I think I'll need for the YouTube page as well as those for the course.
This post is excessive, and borders on being about as interesting as someone bitching about their hemorrhoids....
04/03/20: Kicking Off April
Friday 04/03 as we were relaxing in the living room watching a movie just after dinner, Mia did a video call to Sue. We had quite the laugh with her as she's only 4, and no patience for chit chat.
Marissa had got her to call to thank Sue for getting her the Doctor Seuss book, Fox In Socks. It had just arrived in the mail, and Mia seemed to be excited about that. So, that's a good way to start of the first weekend in April for sure!
Sue was out the door early to take a photograph of a local family. She had read online about a photographer who had started an initiative called The Front Door Project.
It's where local photographers are encouraged to reach out to folks in isolation during the COVID-19 crisis. The idea is that the photographer drives over to the house, and from a distance takes a picture of the family standing on their front steps, or porch as sort of a "We'll all get thorough this together," type of statement.
The photographer sends the pictures to the family, who in turn, if they are capable, send some sort of donation to the local authorities to be distributed to those in need during this crisis. Anyway, Sue thought it was a wonderful idea, and posted herself as available on the local community web page. She, and I think the family as well, enjoyed the process fully, and the family will be sending a donation to a local charity.
But as soon as Sue got back home, it was all hands on deck to get dinner started. I had never cooked raw beans before, and had grabbed a big bag last time we went shopping. So, Sue had soaked them in water overnight, and I was to help her get the rest of the meal ready as fast as we could as she wanted it to simmer for 6 hours.
So, I chopped onion, ham cubes, garlic, and what-not as directed, and got everything to a boil and then down to a simmer just after noon. After that got going, we decided to haul in some wood for the wood stove as it was supposed to be chilly for the next couple of nights. Interestingly, we grabbed the last of the 2 cords that had been stacked between the trees by the driveway, and started into the wood that the guys had just thrown into a pile when they split it last fall.
Sunday 04/05 we took about two-thirds of a mile walk with Beau down the road in the afternoon. After we got back, I got a fire going in the wood stove, poured out some Chardonnay, and we played about an hour of backgammon before heading into the kitchen to fix dinner.
Sue had bought some haddock at the store, and I was tasked with herbs and spices. And that's a stretch for me because I'm not a real fish eater and don't have a real sense of how to season. Sue started crunching up some crackers and told me to get on with it, so I grabbed some parsley, crushed black pepper, and some other spices that I thought might work out.
Toasting to the fish baking in the oven.
It actually came out quite good, but I have no real memory of exactly what I used for herbs and spices.... But it was good! Sue suggested we fix some mixed vegetables to go with it, and that did pair well. Good dinner! And the movie of the night was the classic 1942, Casablanca.
Monday 04/06 was bright and sunny, and of course Sue was outside in the middle of things for quite awhile. We had even sat outside by the barn reading for awhile later that afternoon after Sue got done digging around.
We had bought some fresh beef from a local farm, and thought we'd break the grill out for the first time this year, and grill up some hamburgers for this great Monday 04/06/20. Sue fixed a killer potato salad that was so good, I just felt like I was on a great picnic!
Sue getting the fire going in the grill instead of the wood stove!
By the way, the box you see in the picture sitting on the barn floor is Sue's recent acquisition. She has always wanted to have an outside gas fire pit, saw one advertised online at Home Depot, and bought it. It was delivered yesterday, and she's chomping at the bit to set it up....
Sue and I wishing everyone a Happy Easter during this COVID-19 pandemic crisis time.
Not only was it Easter Sunday, but it was Colin's birthday. We took Beau with us, and drove over to see him.
Sue hid some little gifts and candy for him in the yard, and we watched him retrieve them, and did a distance drive-by hug. Frustrating, but this COVID-19 pandemic requires us to all be so careful.
Then we drove over to Marissa's and did the same with her, Gary and Mia - who Sue had made up a nice little Easter goodie bag for her.
04/13/20: Colin's SUV Totaled
Colin called me Monday afternoon to let me know that though he was okay, his SUV was totaled. Seems a delivery SUV in front of a car ahead of him had made a sharp illegal left hand u-turn. Everyone had slammed on their brakes, but not soon enough. He really liked that SUV as it was just right for hauling his jet ski and snowmobile around.
04/17/20: Drive-by Distance Hugs
Sue and I drove up to Ossipee, NH late morning 04/17/20 to give drive-by distance hugs to her brother Alan, and then to her 83 year old aunt Carol.
Sue had made up a vase of daffodils from her garden for Carol that we left on her porch as we waved at her. It was such a nice day that after leaving her house, we took the long way home up through Moultonboro.
Ethan and his dad came over just after 8:30am to cut some tree limbs down for us, and help out with a couple of other things.
After they left, and I finished my coffee, I headed off to do one of my marvelous dump runs with 5 big leaf bags of leaves, brush, and small winter-fall Sue had been collecting over the last couple of weeks.
The rest of the afternoon was doing the prep work and then monitoring the pork roast we made for dinner. We ended up the evening with the 2018 movie A Star Is Born. A terrific day!
04/22/20: Maybe THIS is the last snow?
We woke up Wednesday morning to about a half an inch of snow. Again! And this is Earth Day!
It'll be gone by noon, but it's just the principle of the thing to have it still snowing this far after Easter! And the start of boating season, which around here is April 15th.
It was really chilly last night, so I got a nice fire going in the wood stove. And that could be the last fire for the season as well, though I think tonight will be cold enough to have one. I really enjoy the wood stove, so I'll probably do some sort of small fire until it's so warm out we open the windows.
Sue caught this great shot of a very intent Beau.
After I thought we had settled into a movie, Sue fired us all up to drive up to the ridge to catch the sunset. It was spectacular.
Sunset from the top of the ridge.
04/23/20: Waterfalls Hike
Thursday was so nice that Sue organized a quick hike for us to take Beau over to the waterfalls off the local Rail Trail.
04/24/20: We Got Served by The Clarks
Sue and I were enjoying our Friday night pizza with our wine as we played backgammon, and so I sent a note off to Chuck that it was Pizza Friday. We got served on that one. He sent the following picture back of their — what appears to be homemade — pizza with the whole crew showing it down.... We got served....
Recovering from being "served" Friday night by The Clarks, here's a shot Sunday night 04/26/20 of Sue's homemade naan bread to go with the Middle Eastern Mujadara — Lemony Lentils and Rice With Caramelized Onions — that I was putting together for our Sunday Dinner Party For Two.
Back at-cha, Clarks!
Sue's naan bread.
Unbelievable! It's snowed pretty good through most of Monday morning up here on the mountain. Big, wet, heavy flakes. But nothing stuck for long because the ground was too warm. But it snowed!
04/28/20: Out Shopping For Plants
We've been waiting for a good day to take a long drive up to Wayside Farms in Sandwich, NH. Sue's had some Spring and other later blooming plants and flowers that she's wanted to get, so today Tuesday 04/28/20 was it!
She's so familiar with that area that she took us on many of the back roads. What a wonderful drive — just over an hour or so. Spring is really trying to break out, but there are still large swaths of snow on the ground in the hills surrounding Sandwich. Beautiful.
Unfortunately, she was only able to find a few of the things she was looking for, and suggested that we drive down to Spider Web Gardens in Tuftonboro, NH to see what they might have.
But before that, she just had to have some ice cream at her favorite place in the world, the Sandwich Creamery. She's taken me there a couple of times, and the ice cream is outstanding. No argument from me on going there!
It was about a 30 minute drive to Spider Web Gardens, but again the back roads are so pretty up here. We walked all around, and Sue did find most of what she was looking for, but it's still so early in the season for some of what she needs that we may just have to organize another trip up here in a couple of weeks!
After we got home and were settling in for the day, 3 deer walked out of the woods and started chomping on some of the low hanging tree branches — they like some tress, but not others and I have no clue. But after Sue got some pictures of them, she shooed them away.
Sue picking some stock at the Spider Web Gardens, Tuftonboro, NH
I think this deer in the yard was startled when Sue took its picture because it sprang off into the woods, taking the others with it.
04/30/20: A Real Down East Day
We woke up to a cold, pelting rain Thursday morning, which turned into a heavy fog by early afternoon. Sue grabbed her camera, and scooped me and The Beau Dog up for a picture taking adventure.
Though the fog was really thick and heavy up here on the mountain, it was lighter down in the valley. Sue thought she might find some interesting shots out at Merrymeeting Lake, and so off we went.
Merrymeeting Lake in the fog.
Sue got this great shot of the trees along the far shore blanketed in the fog.
Sue is all set now, and would have just stayed right there all night if she could have.
05/03/20: Mia Boating Adventure
Marissa had posted these really cute pictures of Mia out on the boat. Too cute for words
05/03/20: Great Dinner Party For Two
Sunday 05/03/20 we had a mah-vo-louse Dinner Party For Two of sauteed garlic pesto shrimp in a light parsley cream sauce.
05/04/20: Seasons First Hike Up Pine Mountain
Because it was such a beautiful day on Monday 05/04/20, Sue wanted to take Beau and me for our first hike up Pine Mountain. What a spectacular view of the lake!
Beau having a sip of water from the flask Sue brought with her.
What a great view over to the harbor in Wolfeboro, NH.
05/05/20: Spectacular Full Moon
Sue caught this spectacular shot of the full moon rising over the tree line behind the house Tuesday evening 05/05/20 just after 8:00 pm.
05/06/20: Beau Has a 'Triple S', and Visit to Ossipee, NH
Wednesday 05/06/20 was a 'Beau Triple S Day', or as my brother Alan called it: "Shit, Shower, and Shave." He took a dump in the woods on his morning walk with Sue, and then we drove him up to Wolfeboro to the dog groomer who gave him a shampoo bath and a trim. He was some glad to get out of there and into the car.
From there we stopped off at the Dunkin Donuts for lunch sandwiches and coffee before heading up for a visit with Sue's brother Alan, and then on to give some bright yellow daffodils to her Aunt Carol.
We took the back roads home, and some of the views were just spectacular. We left the house around 10:30 am, but didn't get back home until 2:30 pm. A long, but fun day. Even Beau enjoyed it after his traumatic experience at the groomers!
After picking up lunch, we pulled into a parking area in Wolfeboro by the river to let Beau out and eat. Gad, he really looks different! He didn't care, and tried rolling around in the dirt. Sue had a grip on him though.
I'm just waving at the camera with my cup of coffee while Alan tosses a couple of doggie treats to Beau.
Spectacular views from the road in Tuftonboro. You can still see snow on a couple of runs over on Gunstock across the valley. Temps today hit 57, and the buds on the trees are popping out everywhere.
05/07/20: Great Dinner Leftovers and Full Moon Picture Road Trip
Thursday 05/07/20 dinner we had leftovers from our Sunday Dinner For Two of sauteed garlic pesto shrimp in a light parsley cream sauce, but with a twist.
Shrimp with a twist: fried dandelion flowers
The twist was a side of fried dandelion flowers that Sue had picked in the woods. She made a tempura batter (flour, egg whites, and water) to which I added (because I can't help myself...) parsley, garlic, chives, black pepper, and just a dash of curry powder. We coated the dandelion flowers with the batter, and fried them up in vegetable oil until crisp.
They came out really good — surprisingly. Though next time I think I'd let them marinate in the batter for a few minutes as crunching into some of the larger flower buds did have a sort of sharpness to them. Maybe more curry? Or some sherry? Hummmm....
So, after dinner we're in the living room watching a movie, and I notice Sue twisting around on the sofa and peeking out the window. I just knew something was up here. Sure enough, by 9:30 she just couldn't take it anymore, and called for everyone to pile into the car for a photography adventure!
Out the door The Beau Dog and I go to get the car in motion as Sue gathered her camera gear together. And we were off for a short, but wonderful drive chasing the full moon for that perfect shot. But of course, pictures never do the moon justice....
Full moon from across a farm's vast, open field.
05/08/20: Another Great Friday Pizza-pizza Party!
Friday night 05/08/20 we had yet another great pizza party as we sipped our wine and played backgammon. Just had to post it up!
We got over 5 inches on the ground, and the tree limbs were bent with the weight of the heavy snow. And I'm sure that wind knocked a bunch of tress down somewhere. Wow! The 9th of M-a-y....
05/10/20: Bright Mother's Day For Sue
The sun was out Sunday morning for a beautiful Mother's Day. Though the wind was still rocking the trees in the woods, splattering white, billowy clouds across the sky.
Sue had wonderful conversations with both Jill and Lucas during the afternoon. After she finished up chatting with Lucas, I got a fire going in the wood stove, poured out some wine for us, and we sat in the living room playing backgammon and just relaxing until we had to go in and get dinner going.
05/11/20: Drive in The Rain For The Hell of It!
Monday 05/11/20 we had torrential rains and strong winds sweep down on us starting early afternoon. Sue thought it would be fun just to get out of the house and take a drive in the rain before it got too bad.
So, off we went with The Beau Dog hanging out the window. We didn't go to far; only out an hour or so. But by the time we got back it was thundering and the rain was picking up pretty good. Beau beat it quickly into the house and hid!
05/16/20: First Kayak Adventure of the Season
While Sue was out walking The Beau Dog, I got all the gear out and kayaks ready for our first kayaking adventure of the season Saturday 05/16/20. We had wanted to take our first kayaking trip Mother's Day, but with all the snow and cold weather, we decided to wait.
Sue is totally in her element! She could have stayed out there alllll day with no problem, though the wind was blowing pretty good and it got a little chilly out there.
Though a little breezy still, the temperature rose into the high 60s as we pushed off into the choppy water. There were only a few times that the wind was so bad that paddling was really tough. The gusts were sometimes really strong, but I didn't see any white caps on the river or pond.
05/17/20: Garden Shopping
Sue has been working on a small flower garden plan for around Marissa's mail box for her birthday. Because of all the cold weather, we had to wait until today to gather up the last of them. On our 04/28/20: Out Shopping For Plants trip she had only been able to find about half of what She had wanted, and so today was find the rest!
This is the line at Wentworth Gardens at 9:30 this morning! They were only letting a few in at a time, and it took us 40 minutes just in line to start looking for what we needed. Almost everyone was wearing a mask, but there were a few shits that just think it doesn't concern them....
We drove over to Marissa's, and Sue placed the plants around the mail box in somewhat of a suggested order based on when they would come up and what the colors are.
And another first: Sunday Dinner Party For Two out on the screen porch!
05/18/20: Rainbow Sunset!
Once again, Sue kept peering out the window as the sun began to set Monday 05/18/20, finally jumping to her feet and proclaiming, "Photo shoot! Let's go!" So, Beau and I scrambled to get out to the car, and off we went to the top of the ridge. And what a spectacular sunset it was. In the photo, you can even see the green in the sky - amazing.
05/20/20: No Adult Supervision
And this is what happens when Sue gets out on her own without any adult supervision — she had gone over to her friend Linda's Day Lilly business Wednesday 05/20/20 just east of Concord to help her get her gardens ready for the season....
No adult supervision...
05/21/20: Beau's 3rd Anniversary With Us
I took this picture of Beau out on the porch Thursday morning 05/21/20 waiting patiently for Sue to take him for a walk.
Beau waiting for Sue to take him for his walk.
Beau with his foot in his ice cream treat so the container doesn't get away from him.
It's his 3rd anniversary of being with us, and as a treat — other than just going for a walk in the same woods that Sue took him that first day we had him — she was taking him with her on a drive up to see her Aunt Carol and her brother Alan. She was going to leave him with Alan while she ran some errands.
It was such a beautiful day as well! And supposed to get in the upper 70s! I can just see Beau hanging out of the car window with his ears flapping in the breeze.... Too cute — check out what that looks like in the 05/11/20: Drive in The Rain For The Hell of It! post above!
Kicking off Memorial Day weekend Friday 05/22/20 with marinated chicken on the grill
Saturday morning, Colin brought up and installed a new battery for my Cub Cadet riding mower. After he left, I spent the rest of the morning cutting the grass.
Sunday was a busy day for us both: Beau and I did a 'dump run' early, and then the late morning and early afternoon was spent washing some of the windows and dropping the screens for the season. We had a great time fixing dinner, and then watching a movie. But we were pretty tired.
And Monday, Memorial Day, Sue and I went kayaking with Steve and Cathy to see the loons nesting.
05/26/20: Sue With Her Camera
Sue was out again with her camera and caught this really pretty view just after 11:00 am Tuesday morning 05/26/20.
05/27/20: Finally! Colin Sends Drone Pictures of House
I finally received the drone pictures of the house that Colin took back on 08/03/2019.
It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed taking some new back roads that we had never been on — some were really just gravel country roads that wound through some really scenic areas.
We had a great time just walking around. The sun was warming, with only the slightest of breezes. Lovely adventure for a couple of hours walking the trails.
05/29/20: Sue Got a Great Picture of The Presidential Range
On the way out to take Beau for a walk in the woods, Sue got this terrific shot from the top of the ridge on Friday 05/29/20 of the clouds rolling across the Presidential Range far in the distance.
Mt. Washington is just off to the far right.
NASA stock photo: Mt_washington_satfoto_2014
NHpresidentials (ak Lupinelawyer at en.wikipedia>
05/30/20: Fire Pit Visit At Steve and Cathy's House
Sue and I headed over for a short "fire pit" visit with Steve and Cathy Saturday evening at 7:00 pm 05/30/20.
Night pictures are always tough, particularly since I took them with my phone, but wanted to post them up anyway as we had such a great time just hanging out them — and The Beau Dog....
We had been sitting around the fire pit, but the bugs drove us into the screen house. Beyond Steve and Cathy is a view of the fire pit, and beyond their raised pool that they had just completed the seasonal set up and were in the process of filling it.
A little better shot of the fire pit; not so good of Cathy; sorry about that....
Ah, yes.... Try turning the f'n flash on, Peter....
All I can say is that was really something for the City Boy....
06/01/20: Spectacular Full Moon Forming
When I went to put Beau out Monday 06/01/20 for his 'bid-ness', I saw a spectacular moon rising over the peak of the house. I raced in to tell Sue, and she rushed out and captured this amazing shot.
While we sat in the backyard, I spotted an owl flying through the trees. Of course, the girls jumped up, grabbed their cameras and scampered across the lawn and down the hill with Beau in hot pursuit.
They did manage to get some nice pictures of the full moon as well, and the pizza was great. Good time!
06/09/20: Birthday Visit For Marissa
Sue and I stuffed Beau into the car to do a 'socially appropriate distance' Birthday visit for Marissa 06/09/20.
Gary, Marissa, Mia, and Sue
Should have left Beau home as he was a real pain in the ass most of the time....
But we all had a great time, spaced out in lawn chairs at the top of the driveway.
06/13/20: Kayaking On Brindle Pond
We had asked Steve and Cathy if they wanted to go kayaking on Brindle Pond with us Saturday 06/13/20 as they weren't familiar with it.
Sue caught this amazing picture of a Loon that let her and Cathy glide so close to.
They met us with their kayaks loaded on the back of their truck just off Route 28, and we drove over from there. We were so surprised at the huge number of Dragonflies swarming around the parking lot as we unloaded the kayaks. They were just everywhere.
The wind was quite sharp, and caused a damp chill to the air as we set out onto the pond. Though no whit caps, the wind was driving some fairly good short swells against us as we paddled out. Coming back a couple of hours later was challenging because the wind had picked up to the extent that the chop kept pushing the kayaks off course.
It was tough paddling against it during the last run toward shore. I was totally pooped, and my back ached. Steve said his back was really sore as well. But it was still fun to be out on the water, gunkholing along the shoreline.
06/13/20: In memory and in celebration...
Early Saturday morning 06/13/20 I sent out the following note to Abbie, Dean, Scott, Colin, Marissa, and Chuck in memory of my brother Alan's birthday:
Mia in the kitchen helping me with the dinner prep.
Sue started her day tie-dying a tee shirt, then we all took a walk along one of the local streams set back in the woods, and pretty busy for the rest of the day.
Monday Sue took Mia and Beau for a hike up Pine Mountain, and fixed a lunch for her that they ate up in the tree house. Later after finishing up doing some watercolor painting, Mia helped me grill some hot dogs that we then ate out by the fire pit.
I drove her back home Tuesday morning after we had breakfast. What a nice but too short visit.
It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the low 80s. After Sue got back from her walk with Beau, we had some lunch, and then jumped in the car for a scenic drive, and then came home to fix a wonderful dinner of scallops in pesto sauce.
They were out in the woods on one of the trails when Beau started yelping loudly. He came flying over to where Sue was, and she said he just howled in pain.
She helped him back to the car, and when she got him home, we could see a huge hole in his skin exposing the muscle on the inside of his back right leg by his belly.
Sue trying to comfort Beau as he struggles with the pain, and having the protective cone around his head.
He must have run full force into a stick laying on the ground to cause that bad of an injury. After I called the emergency line at VCA Capital Area Veterinary Emergency and Specialty we helped him into Sue's car, and headed off to Concord, NH.
The wound was bad enough that they had to knock him out to do the repair surgery. When we got him home, he was in really tough shape, whimpering every time he even tried to sit down. It was a long day for us all, so I just grilled up some hot dogs for dinner.
Parts of the grass had been browned out, but other parts had grown so much that I decided to get out early after a nice breakfast Sue prepared, and cut the grass before the temperature got as high as they were predicting. I was soaked and beat by the time the grass was done, and couldn't wait to cool off in a nice shower.
Other than taking Beau for a cooling walk up through the woods behind the house, the day was a comfortable, and peaceful day. Just right!
06/23/20: Beau To Vet To Pull Drain Tube
I took Beau over to the vet today to have the drain tube removed. He goes back in a week to have the stitches out.
It was a fairly quick procedure, and we were back home just after 2:00 pm. But, man was it hot. It was in the upper 90s but the 'real feel' was 103!!!
We decided to grab some wine, books, and take Beau up to the Adirondack chairs by the screen house to see if there was any breeze up there.
Afternoon reading up by the screen house — for awhile....
That didn't last long! I threw a flag on the field after only about 10 minutes it was so hot in the sun. We retreated down the hill into the Adirondack chairs in the shade by the fire pit. That was a little better.
We didn't really get much of a breeze until really late in the afternoon as we were sitting in the screen porch playing backgammon. Tough day for The Beau Dog as he just lay there curled up on the deck in the corner.
For dinner, Sue just made up some great mixed greens, mushrooms, cucumber, cheese, etc. salads for us.
Just before we went to bed, I slipped the protective cone onto Beau's neck so he couldn't lick the wound. He was basically pissed off about that. But I gave him some drrrrrrrugs to smooth his little brain out so he should be circling the rim anytime now.....
Sue dropped me off at the shop so I could put Mia into Marissa's car, and we drove up 108 to the Willand Pond Park lot where Sue was waiting for us.
We had a really nice time with Mia, and enjoyed our little lunch on a bench just off one of the trails by the pond.
06/26/20: Take Out Dinner Party
Going just a little stir crazy here not being able to go out to dinner, so Steve and Cathy suggested we have a take out dinner party at their house Friday evening 06/26/20.
Texting Chuck as he sent me a picture of him wearing the birthday socks that he had sent to me that I had sent back to him for his birthday - which is Sunday.
Steve and I drove down to Alton Bay to pick up our take out meals from Shibley's At The Pier.
After dinner, Sue and Cathy drove up the road to the ponds to take some pictures of the sunset, and Sue caught some spectacular views over the pond. A really nice evening with good food, and friends.
06/27/20: Pine Mountain
Sue and I loaded Beau into the car to come with us for a hike up Pine Mountain Saturday morning 06/27 to see the views.
Beau was pretty good about not haul-assing around the area. Sue even got him to pose slightly with the lake and mountains as her backdrop.
When we got home, Sue and I did some yard work, I hauled some crap off to the dump, and we finished off the day with a Pizza Party out in the screen porch while we finished up a set of backgammon.
06/30/20: Beau Gets His Stitches Out
I drove Beau over to the vet today to get his stitches out. Pretty smooth, though he had a real face on him. The vet came out to the car, flopped him onto his side, and gently removed them all the while getting the evil eye from The Beau Dog.
On the way down the mountain to the vets, the clouds and fog just obliterated the mountains across the valley. So, as I came back up, I called Sue to get her camera out, and meet me to see them.
Thick fog and clouds obscure the mountains across the valley.
Not much of a picture from the top of the ridge, but that's how thick it was. From there, I drove us down through town, and out Merrymeeting Road to the boat ramp. Sue wanted to see if the fog was low in the valley, or if there were any eagles to photograph.
There was no fog, but she did get a cool picture of a mother duck and her little ducklings at the shore.
A mother duck and her ducklings at the Merrymeeting River boat ramp.
It's unfortunate, but this whole area won't be available again this year for use due to contamination from invasive plants, and from run-off from the Powder Mill NH State Fish Hatchery.
Sue thought the rain might hold off for awhile, and that it would be a treat for Beau if we took him for a short hike over at the Coldrain Pond Wildlife Management Area which has "...an 18 acre pond with a shoreline made up predominantly of floating bog that transforms into red maple swamp.
Sue and Beau heading for the Coldrain Pond trail.
The black flies were fierce, and Beau spent most of the time snapping at them, though he did get quite a bit of running up and down the trail. But it was really muggy in the woods, so we just headed back home. Nice mile or so hike, though.
Steve and Cathy were meeting us up there, and they drove into the parking area just as we were setting up to launch. After paddling around for awhile, we stopped in a shaded spot for lunch.
Steve and I headed back early, with the girls joining us at our house later just as Steve and I were finishing up a deserved beer.
They went home for dinner, but came back later to sit around the fire pit with us while the fireworks popped all around us.
07/05/20: Drive to Northfield
Late Sunday morning, after I climbed out of bed from kayaking yesterday, Sue and I took a leisurely drive over to Northfield, NH. It was such a lovely day for just getting out we couldn't resist it.
Farmers market just outside of Gilmington.
We stopped at a nice farmers market just outside of Gilmington on our way home. We met some nice folks, and picked up some fresh Swiss Chard at one of the stands.
07/08/20: Beautiful Sights
Sunset from the top of the ridge —
Sue got this terrific shot toward Mt. Washington from the top of the ridge.
But a dense fog had settled in through the night into the morning of the 9th.
07/12/20: Relaxing Sunday Dinner
Nice weekend finishing off with a great dinner out on the screen porch!
Bottle of Apothic Winemakers Blend with wine and herbed marinated slow cooked ox joints over parsley mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.
Distorted 'Through The Looking Glass', but having a great time!
The orange day lilies in the front of the house are starting to give way to the next bloomers.
It was such a beautiful, but hot, day that we had just hung around the house trying to keep cool. After fixing hamburgers on the grill for dinner, we headed up the mountain on the other side of the valley from us to the ponds to see if we could spot the NEOWISE comet.
07/19/20: Bookcase Antiquing Project
Because it was such a lovely Summer day Sunday 07/19/20 Sue decided it would be a grand time to do her Bookcase Antiquing Project.
Starting in on changing the look of ugly black bookcase we had bought.
07/24/20: Full Bloom Day Lilly
One of Sue's day lilies in full bloom
07/25/20: Smores Over Fire Pit Party
David and Lainey joined us Saturday night 07/25/20 for a 'Smores Over Fire Pit Party'.
The set up...
And the finish!
And this spectacular shot of the Big Dipper over the house she took on Saturday night 07/25/20
07/26/20: Hunt For Day Lilies
Sue wanted to check out a day lily business in another town west of us, and so off we headed just after lunch.
We took the back roads as it was such a beautiful day that we just wanted to enjoy the drive over. In fact, we stopped off at the same outdoor farmer's market in Gilmington during our 07/05/20: Drive to Northfield entry.
Sue just wanted to check out one of the vendors for information, so I stayed in the car keeping it cool as the temperature was well into the 90s.
We only picked up one day lily at the place because he had sold out of just about every currently blooming plant. He might have a batch of late bloomers later next month, so perhaps another road trip then....
It was so hot that neither of us had much motivation for anything when we got home, though Sue did go out to take care of the new plant, and do some simple garden work. We got together out on the screen porch just after 4:00 to play some backgammon before we went into the kitchen to fix dinner.
I cooked up my best yet Shrimp Fra Diavolo, a wonderful mix of stir fried herbs and shrimp in petite diced tomatoes served over couscous, and a side of cardamom steamed asparagus with a pretty nice bottle of Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc.
07/26/20: Sun Set Fire Sky Across the Valley
Sue couldn't stand it, and swept me and The Beau Dog into the car for a picture shoot up on the ridge Sunday night 07/26/20.
Nothing more needs to be said....
07/29/20: Blueberry Picking In The Woods
I was interested in checking out a new area Sue had found to pick wild blueberries. Off we went Wednesday 07/29/20 with The Beau Dog in tow.
It was not only hot, but it was really hot. Beau just kept wandering off the trail to roll around in the cool grasses under the bushes shaded by the trees. I picked some, but stooping over is not my strong suit, and so I "watched" the expert gather enough blueberries to fill as many containers as she could stuff into her back pack.
We're going to have blueberries all winter for sure — unless we eat them all up with a pie she's going to make, blueberry ice cream, muffins, and all sorts of goodies. We'll see....
07/31/20: Kayaking the River
Friday afternoon 07/31/20 Sue and I loaded the kayaks onto the top of my car and headed off to the river for some kayaking fun.
Temperature was really nice, but the sun did get a little hot later in our trip on the long part of the river.
08/01/20: Full Moon Over The Mountain
Sue caught some great shots of the full moon rising through the trees behind the house Saturday night 08/01/20.
08/03/20: Massive Storm Sweeps Over Us
A massive wind and rain storm swept over us 08/03/20. It was the tail end of Hurricane Isaias that had plastered the southeastern coast before slamming inland.
Though the bulk of it hit west of us, the seacoast area still took a hit, as did we. The wind was so strong up here on the mountain that it somehow knocked over one of the square stacked corners of my woodpile!
08/07/20: Looking For Loons Kayaking Chalk Pond
It was supposed to be a beautiful day snuggled between either very hot or rainy days, and so Sue and I loaded the kayaks on top of The Tank to look for loons on Chalk Pond.
Shot I took of Sue paddling past the loon preserve area.
We had a couple of encounters with a baby loon being hustled around the pond by its parents, who made a lot of squawking noises at us to try to distract us as we passed by.
We had a great time playing backgammon late that afternoon, sharing a bottle of wine that Chuck had sent me a picture of that he and Denise liked. Special trip to the liquor store to check that out; and it was a good buy.
For dinner, I did an off the cuff seasoned chicken sausage, and Black Trumpet mushrooms in a sauce of herbs and spicy doctored up can of Progresso Cream of Mushroom soup mixed with noodles cooked in a pot of fresh garden parsley infused water.
08/11/20: Cook Out At Ossipee Lake
Sue and I headed out early Tuesday afternoon 08/11/20 for a Cook Out At Ossipee Lake.
View of the lake off the deck.
We had a really relaxing day, but were pretty tired by the time we got home around 9:30pm.
On the way up, we stopped in Moultonborough to visit Sue's uncle Ronald, and to check out his vegetable gardens that he was complaining the turkeys were feasting on.
Sue got a couple of day lilies at the garden center in Sandwich, and we stopped at the Sandwich Creamery for ice cream before heading for home.
08/15/20: Dinner Party For 2
Because Sue has a very early appointment on Monday morning, I figured we'd have our Dinner Party For 2 Saturday instead!
We had decided earlier in the week when we went shopping what I'd fix so we could get all of the ingredients. There were quite a few things we didn't have in stock that I needed for the Moroccan Chicken With curry steamed Broccoli and Naan Bread that we had decided to have.
Moroccan Chicken with a nice bottle of Zinfandel
Before dinner we sat out in the screen porch playing backgammon with some cheese and crackers, and another bottle of that 1000 Stories Bourbon Aged Zinfandel that Chuck had recommended. I had opened it an hour before to let it breathe because the first bottle was just a little sharp for awhile after opening.
This did smooth the wine out a little, but it did continue to hold just the slightest bite to it. It's fine for under $20 (and we got it on sale for $16), but zins, like Pinot Noir, really do need to be priced around $25 to get what would be called 'good'. Under that, they're more like 'fine', but just don't have it to be 'good'....
For desert, Sue had made earlier during the day, a mah-vo-louse 'Peach Puddle Pie'. Not sure why 'puddle', but there were just a ton of great peaches covered over with a really nice hatched crust. Anytime, Sue.... Any... time.
Peach Puddle Pie
08/19/20: Fast Recoup From Cataract Surgery
Monday 08/17/20 Sue had cataract surgery early that morning, and just wanted to come home and chill out, though on the way home she was reading signs 200 feet ahead that on the way down couldn't even tell it was a sign....
Wednesday 08/19 view of the lake and distant mountains.
And by Wednesday, she was all fired up, and wanted to go back to Pine Mountain, and hike up to the top.
08/23/20: Spanish Paella Dinner Party For Two
Sue thought having fish for our Sunday Dinner Party For Two 08/23/20 would be nice. So, I dug around in the recipe folder and found this great Spanish Paella suggestion that I hadn't fixed in years. Boom! That's what I fixed, and it was great!
Our exploring goal was to go as far as the Route 202 bridge as Sue thought it would be about an hour paddle. Well, it took longer than an hour because the river has so many dead ends that are easy to get confused with because there is so much overgrowth river vegetation that it's tough to determine in many spots where a branch will take you.
If you're not as persistent a Sue is about ferreting out stuff like this, you'd probably have given up a long way back. But because she persisted, it was a great day for us!
We followed the river north about an hour to the Route 202 bridge.
08/28/20: Finally, Dinner Out!
Marissa had been asking us to go out to dinner with them, but with the current COVID-19 situation we've been hesitant to do much of anything — mostly because of crowds.
But Marissa had mentioned how much concern one of their favorite places, The Roost, in Dover had about all of this by only taking reservations, not allowing walk-ins, mask, and social distancing that we agreed.
I'm glad that we did as it was not only as she had said, but the food was outstanding. It's a little pricey, but if you're a little more discriminating in your taste than a chain spot, or general local fare, then it's well worth the extra price for the value received. And it was soooo nice to see little Mia who, unfortunately, we won't be able to see again now for awhile because she will be heading back into her preschool classes soon.
Thinking about that on the drive back home that night, Sue suggested that maybe we could grab her for a quick overnight next week before she goes back to school. But after being more objective the next day about the current situation, we, unfortunately, decided that would not be a very wise option at this time.
Though it was nice sitting outside by the fire for awhile, it didn't take long after the sun began to drop over the tree line that we all got bundled up, and moved closer to the fire.
Cathy cooked the entire chili and corn bread dinner over an open fire out in the back yard. That was something to watch. Very cool.
09/05/20: Chuck Comes Out For Quick Visit
Chuck came out Saturday 09/05/20 for a quick visit over the Labor Day holiday.
09/09/20: Beau Visit to Vets
Ran Beau over to the vets for check up, oil, lube, tire change - all that sort of thing. They don't let you come in because of virus protocol issues, and so I caught this picture of Beau peeking out of the exam room window.
Beau peeking out of vets window.
09/12/20: Kayaking On Lily Pond
Saturday 09/12/20 Sue got a lunch packed up for us and we headed off to go Kayaking On Lily Pond over in Barnstead, NH.
We had a nice paddle around the pond, and then later that evening joined Steve and Cathy at their house for smores roasted over the fire pit.
09/13/20: Great Sunday Dinner For Two
Just had to make mention of the great Sunday Dinner For Two that I fixed for us 09/13/20: Sweet Sausage with sage and parsley mixed into spaghetti squash with a nice bottle of Apothic Red Winemakers Blend. Yup. That's the way to do it!
I managed to snap a couple of pictures of it before it scampered up the back hill. It turned to look back at us from Sue's flower garden up by the rock wall. It just stood there until getting spooked by The Beau Dog who had just become aware of the intruder, and was going berserk at the end of his chain.
For this trip, we went up again to the Moultonborough area, but we got there by driving up over Ossipee Mountain Road. What a lovely drive that was. Even The Beau Dog enjoyed it!
09/22/20: Dense Fog Over The New Durham Valley
As Sue and I were headed off for early morning 7:00 am 'senior hours' at the local food store, we stopped on the ridge so Sue could take this great shot of the dense fog that had settled over the valley during the night.
Dense fog over the valley.
09/23/20: Beau To Vet
Beau had been acting very strange for the last few days, but by Wednesday 09/23/20 Sue felt he should go to the vet to get checked.
Just as she was getting ready to head out, a tech from our oil delivery company showed up for an appointment to evaluate some work that we wanted done. So, while I dealt with that, Sue drove Beau over to the vets.
It's a good thing she took him over. The poor guy had a temperature of 105 degrees, and some sort of viral infection, most likely based on an upsurge in a light trace of Lyme that he had been treated for last year. She brought him back with several medications that we have to give him over the course of the next week or so.
By mid afternoon, the weather was so nice and sun bright that we thought we'd take Beau for a short foliage drive. We ended up going over Halls Hill Road. We'd never been on it before, and it was really nice and scenic. But so far, not very much foliage change in this area as yet. We'll probably take a long day trip up around the White Mountains sometime next week as I suspect that area will be going into pretty good color by then.
Oh, and by just Thursday morning, Beau was acting much better. We're hopeful that he'll have a smooth recovery. Actually, we hope it will be a fast recovery as trying to squirt this medication down into his throat. This is an exercise in Wrestle Mania where both Sue and I have to grapple with him, pry his jaw open, and squirt the stuff far enough down his throat that he doesn't spit it out. To say he doesn't like it is a gross understatement...
09/25/20: Autumn Foliage Colors Begin
It seems as though in just the last couple of days the autumn foliage colors up here on the mountain have begun.
09/26/20: Kayaking and Fire Pit Dinner
Well, 09/26/20 Sue and I had a very busy Saturday. We first washed all of the windows, and then got the storms pulled down. After lunch, we met up with Steve and Cathy to do some kayaking, and then headed over to their house for another open fire pit dinner.
Lots of steps in open fire meals, even for a simple beef stew that she was making. But the timing of adding ingredients, and keeping the sauce at the correct thickness is an interesting process when you're at the mercy of an open fire. But everything came out just grand. Great time, and The Beau Dog even got a few pieces of the beef. He was equally impressed.
09/27/20: Sunday Foliage Drive
Sunday 07/27/20 Sue and I took a long looping foliage drive along the western border of Maine up from Acton, ME around the lakes through Newfield, and then dropping back down through East Wakefield, NH.
We started the trip heading east over Route 75 through Farmington, NH to Route 125 north, and into Acton, ME where's Sue's friend Gail used to live. That's such a pretty area. The roads were secondary, and so not busy with traffic.
We then headed south on Route 109 for a short distance before swinging north on Shapleigh Corner Road, around the east side of Mousam Lake, and through Shapleigh, ME. Shapleigh is, again, such a pretty little town, that we enjoyed just wandering along the road.
We took Goose Pond Road off of Shapleigh Corner Road which cuts between Square and Mousam lakes. That led us to Route 110 which we followed until picking up Route 153 in East Wakefield, NH. We stayed on 153 all the way through Middleton, NH, and into Farmington.
Long day, but such fun! We finished the day off with cooking herb sauteed chicken, with spiced squash and tomatoes over linguine boiled in parsley water.
Sue caught this shot of a beautiful Blue Heron as it swooped across the road in front of us and off into the trees.
Great colors in some of the trees, but again, because of the drought conditions, most of the leaves were rapidly going into rusts and light browns.
Ah! A nice bottle of wine, and dinner to cap off the day!
09/28/20: Smokey Haze From California Wild Fires
The sky still had smokey haze to it late afternoon Monday 09/28/20 from the wild fires still raging out west in California.
09/29/20: Foliage Day Drive To North Conway
Tuesday late morning 09/29/20 Sue and I headed off for a relaxing day foliage viewing drive to North Conway. Check out the link as there are some nice pictures showing the state of foliage at the time.
Swift River Bridge, Conway, NH
We started out making a deep arch through southern Maine to see how the foliage was developing there. We drove through Sanford, ME, Alfred, Lyman, and Dayton where we picked up Route 5 through the beautiful small towns of Limerick and Cornish Maine.
From Cornish, we picked up 113 which we took into Fryeburg, ME, and then into Conway for lunch. We drove through town, and then took River Road out to Cathedral Ledge before heading back south along West Side Road.
We followed the more scenic route home through Moultonborough and into Wolfeboro, arriving back at the house around 4:30 - about 7 hours.
09/30/20: Local Area Fall Foliage Explore
Sue and I took just a couple of hours to combine running out for a couple of errands with some local foliage viewing.
Some of our local back roads provide just a wonderful backdrop for the changing colors of the leaves. We can't get enough of it!
One of the places we enjoy stopping at is the small Oxbow Lake in Farmington, NH. It's particularly interesting to us as every time we hike up the back side of Blue Job Mountain, Oxbow Pond glistens up at us from below down along side of a stretch of Meaderboro Road.
Beau following Sue along the bank of Oxbow Pond as she creeps up on a plant or something to take a picture of. But I caught her in my own shot this time!
Part of the outing itself was to go to the liquor store. We had heard that because of the devastating wild fires in California that the Josh Winery had been severely damaged. Because we love the Josh wines, we wanted to lay in a few bottles in case either prices became outrageous, or the winery takes years to recover.
Completing the journey with a quick stop at the liquor store.
10/01/20: Harvest Moon Over The Tree Line
What a spectacular Harvest Moon tonight!
Sue's terrific shot of the Harvest Moon
Followed the next day by a rush of full fall foliage colors splashed across the trees in the back yard where just last night the full Harvest Moon had risen. Wow!
10/04/20: Apple Picking At A Local Farm
Sunday 10/04/20 Sue and I drove over to a local farm to do another round of apple picking.
We had been out to Butternut Farm during Chuck's visit 09/05/20 to do some picking, but Sue wanted to make more apple sauce, pies, and other things, so off we went to get a couple of bags as well as a container of fresh maple syrup.
We both wanted to try one of our local farms, and so we drove down the mountain, across the valley, and up Birch Hill to Miller Farm.
Wood pile at Miller Farm
We were surprised to see a neighbor, Geno, there also picking apples. He and his wife own a small upscale bed and breakfast not far from us.
Me and Geno picking apples.
Sue has been getting fresh eggs from them for quite awhile, but the inn has been so busy that they keep most now for their own use. Geno was stocking up on apples but we had a nice short chat with him.
Thursday 10/08/20 Mt. Washington had its first snow of the season! We took a special drive up to the ridge Friday 10/09/20 so Sue could get this really spectacular picture.
10/13/20: 3rd Anniversary
Though it had rained all night, the view out back to the woods was just spectacular. A wonderful way to start off our 3rd anniversary celebration.
10/14/20: Fall Views From Library and Kitchen Windows
Just a couple of pictures of what my beautiful view is from out of the library windows. Maybe I'll blow them up and hang prints there when the snow starts to fly....
Library side window.
Library front window.
Kitchen view out to screen house.
Kitchen view to side.
10/15/20: Demise of The Tank....
So, according to Dr. Colin Rose, auto mechanic extraordinaire: The Tank has run it's course, and come to its demise. Repairs on such an old car at this point don't make sense when I have the capacity to get something nicer without constant issues. Makes sense....
I've sort of tied my identity to The Tank, and so moving on to another vehicle will be interesting.
Have I mentioned how I absolutely hate car shopping? Yeah, well... I do.
M'be git me one-a dem pick-um-up trucks with-a gun rack in t'back, an' loud pipes like all t'other assholes runnin' their rigs 'round here. M'be... jus' m'be dats jus what Ah'll do fer sure.
10/17/20: Saturday Night Dinner Party For Two
It's sort of a chilly, overcast night after a day of drizzle over the mountain and so Sue and I decided to have a Saturday Night Dinner Party For Two. Why wait until Sunday! Wine was a really nice Trader Joes Merlot Charles Shaw Blend. Cheap but very smooth....
The dinner was an on the fly creation: sauteed chicken marinated in fresh garden parsley, garlic, chopped Jalapeno pepper, and specialty olive oil served over a bed of spaghetti squash with a parsley, butter, garlic, basil, dry sherry, and oregano cream sauce and side of sliced tomatoes splashed with parsley, basil, and crushed black pepper.
BOOM! [mic drop]
10/21/20: Sue's Birthday
Sue and I had a wonderful day celebrating Sue's birthday with not only a couple mile walk through the woods, but also a nice scenic foliage drive over some of the back roads around here.
We topped off the day with a marvelous Double Mustard Sauce oven baked ham dinner that I cooked, and a fun movie.