August 28, 2007

Up the creek sans a paddle, and very carefully

BREAKNECK CREEK, Valois, New York, USA - The creek just up in back of the house is called, appropriately, Breakneck Creek, and it's an annual rite of passage for us to challenge the creek, to climb to at least to one really neat swimming hole a half mile in, where, despite 60-degree water, we usually take a quick dip.

This year we were stopped one waterfall short of that swimming hole by moss that is slippery as, well, that substance that was running out of my nose last week. Even with good water shoes I couldn't make it up without landing on my butt. And so, the intrepid explorers had to settle for lesser swimming spots.

Dangerous crossing
Admiral makes a dangerous crossing

Ironically this year the water is lower - and running slower than in the past - which might account for all the slippery rocks and moss. Last year we were able to bound up the creek pretty easily; this year we walked like we were afraid of breaking bones.

Hmm... Could it be this 5x12 birthday I have coming up next summer?

One member of the expedition who had a great time was Arnold the Wonder Dog, who has been pretty bored around the house, mostly patrolling to keep all the squirrels, chipmunks and occasional woodchucks from having much of a presence.

Arnold got surprised a few times as he wandered up the creek, jumping where he thought the water was a few inches deep only to find that it was well over his head.

Arnold on patrol
Arnold tests the waters

But even without making it to the 'big pool' we did make it to some of great spots along the way, including a small wading pond where, unfortunately, the Admiral slipped on a rock and managed to injure her already injured leg (from the yellowjacket incident). It meant no yoga today for her - but the boat ride to Geneva is still on with Cousin Roger.


Shallow wading pool
Admiral ponders going wading

Very young creek resident

August 27, 2007

Packing up and getting ready for return to Sacramento

VALOIS, New York, USA - The morning was spent putting together a box of clothes and assorted 'lake' things to ship back to Sacramento.

Saturday we fly out of Syracuse, dodge the normal afternoon thunderstorms at JFK Airport, then fly cross-country to Sacramento.

Unlike last year - when I was chair of our faculty senate - this year I have my four classes to teach and no other responsibilities. Well, we are getting ready to go to Mexico to build a house, but without university politics, I suspect my blood pressure will be right where it is supposed to be and my almost thawed frozen shoulders will continue to defrost.

God, please let me boogie board in Mexico in January.

School  days
My academic role model for this year

Another thing that will be different this year, too, is the dress code. In years past, I would don the suitcoat and tie for the first week of class, a ritual to impress the student legions that I was serious.

This year, the standard dress will be khaki shorts, golf shirts, and my ever-faithful Clark sandals. In fact, I bought three new pairs of shorts at the Famous Brands store here in Watkins Glen last week.

Just like the kids, I had to buy some school clothes.

We do have one more major Seneca Lake adventure planned - a 30+ mile boat trip with Cousin Roger to Geneva, weather permitting. We have wanted to do it all summer and Tuesday looks like the perfect lake day to do it.

Given that Roger's boat can do better than 60 mph, it should be a great trip.

Lake view
We will miss the campfires and lakeview this fall

August 23, 2007

The lawn, at least, seems to like these rainy days

VALOIS, New York, USA - The cold spell that has plagued us for the past few days is over, with humidity bumping way back up and temperatures in the 80s.

Tomorrow and Saturday, they are talking about maybe 90 degrees - and 90 percent humidity.

Can you spell s-t-i-c-k-y?

But with the humidity has come some incredible downpours which are making the grass I planted (over the Great Trenching Project) grow up very fast.

New lawn
Two-week-old grass

The colder weather - and now the rain - has also encouraged our outside animal friends to become inside animal friends. And I don't mean just Arnold the Wonder Dog. When we came home from the store yesterday afternoon, we found the fellow below perched in the kitchen. It seems, however, that he had been snacking on what he thought was food under the sink.

It was not food.

Dead mouse
Sr. Mouse passed quietly in the kitchen

I flipped the poor critter's carcass up in the garden, on top of the hole through which the yellow jackets seem to be coming and going. I wanted to give them a little preview of what I have in store for those little biting %&W&$*^()^((**&^%% later this week.

Which reminds me, I neglected to include a shot of the burning piles in my last entry that gives you a little better angle on how hot - and fast - the fires burned.

Hot, hot, hot
Hot, hot, hot

August 22, 2007

To start a fire, you need the right accelerant

VALOIS, New York, USA - The first day my cold hit me, no likely under the influence of the Sudafed, I decided that it was the ideal day to burn the three piles of cut brush, trees and dried seaweed that had been collected on the beach early in the summer.

Much of the beach cleanup work had been done by Dan and Lorraine Olsen who, as special thanks, contracted some poison ivy poisoning - at least Dan did. Sorry Dan. But the beach looks great!

Beach cleanup 2
Lorraine adds to the pile

The delay in the burning was largely because of that poison ivy. Burning it is fine, breathing the smoke (or worse, getting it in the eyes) can be nearly fatal.

But by last week - and with plenty of Sudafed to cloud my judgment - I went to the beach armed with a bottle of charcoal lighter fluid, a shovel, and a bucket to throw water if the fire got too rowdy.

Any good lake resident will tell you that charcoal lighter fluid is pretty lousy stuff for lighting large piles of brush. And they are quite correct. So after attempting to light one pile (and creating enough smoke to raise the dead spirits of the Seneca Indians) I grabbed some 87 Octane accelerant from the deck of the Spirit of Louise.

Here's the result:

A little accelerant helped a lot
What 87 Octane will do...

Throwing matches and hoping for ignition
Middle pile didn't want to light

When all three piles were burning full blast, you could feel the heat 200 feet away and I noticed the leaves curled in the nearby treetops. But we were lucky that day and the wind never did come up, the piles instead reduced themselves gradually to nothing but ash and because of the Sunoco 87 Octane fuel, barely a wisp of smoke, once they got burning.

Next summer, the beach will be ready to level and for installation of whatever structures & docks & hoists we need to make it, well, more beachy.

Maybe we should import a few tons of sand?

Smokey ruins
Nothing but ashes

August 21, 2007

Z-Max is kicking in, must be time for a hot tub party

VALOIS, New York, USA - Sometime around 4 p.m. the Zithromax began to kick in and suddenly I had the urge to go out and rake and dig and cut and...

But, like W.C. Fields, I took careful stock and calmed down.

Fields once said that anytime he had the urge to exercise, he simply parked himself on the sofa until it went away.

I didn't go quite that far, cleaning up the driveway, planting another round of grass seed and eventually burning a bunch of scrap wood in the front fire pit.

But even after that activity, later in the evening, I was even awake enough to enjoy the company of cousin Ruth, her daughter Kate and Kate's husband Steve who came over and bribed their way into the hot tub with a piece of blueberry pie.

They could have jumped in without the bribe, but I'm not going to let them know that!

Ruth, Kate & Steve soakin'
Ruth, Kate & Steve soaking in the hot tub in Valois

We also had a dinner visit from brother in law David and his son Nate who are up for a week or so before Nate goes back to school - about the start the 9th grade.

All of our sympathies are with him.

The weather forecast for Wednesday is somewhat iffy for boating, but after a week of taking drugs and being largely housebound - ok, housebound since Saturday - I'm ready for some lake adventures.

The coolers are ready and if the drugs continue to do their magic, I'm ready to go out and overdo tomorrow big time.

I mean, get outside for awhile.


August 20, 2007

So how is it that a damned insect can break your leg?

VALOIS, New York, USA - The second day of Zithromax was less fun than the first, though by 5 p.m., I decided that I should be at least mildly industrious and burn some trash and some of the huge mound of scrap wood that has to be gone by the time we leave Sept. 1.

For those Californians reading this, yes, we take out the papers and burn them in a firepit in front of the house by the lake. If it is windy at all, we have a backup (read: Protected) spot behind the house. Wildfires? Not often around here, given how much rain there is.

It was such a beautiful afternoon, that I had just decided that it might be worthwhile to build a real campfire and drag out a couple of glasses of Hazlitt's Reisling for the Admiral and I to enjoy when I heard a shriek from the area above the driveway where the Admiral was soooo industriously pulling weeds and trimming.

With one loud "Michael!!!!" and a shriek that would send your average Irish Banshee hiding in the closet, she bounded off a four-foot bank down onto the driveway and ran full tilt to the house - the shriek continuing.

Now, I'll be frank: Flying insects - particularly the biting kind - are not my favorite bit of nature. And here in Valois, we have these huge black bees - about the size of a Brown 'N Serve sausage with wings - that dive bomb you from time to time. The only saving grace about those bastards is they are soooo slow, so if I am working with a shovel or leaf rake, I can usually dispatch them with a single swing.

I never feel bad when I kill one. I was stung by one three years ago and it hurt for a week.

So I didn't rush to the house right away to follow the Admiral, as I was pretty sure one of those Brown 'N Serve bombers was waiting at the front door, until I heard the next set of shrieks.

Arnold the Wonder Dog and I sprinted to the house, where the Admiral was in the shower - completely clothed and reasonably completely covered in a lot worse insect than the Brown 'N Serve bees: Yellowjackets.

Yellowjacket at rest

Yellowjackets are not bees, though they look sort of like bees. These critters can bite and sting over and over and will do so, particularly if you disturb the nest.

The Admiral had, pulling up some wisteria vines and earned herself about a dozen stings before she could get her clothes off. Running into the shower was a good idea, because the shower floor was littered with Y-Jackets.

She had, we quickly ascertained, about a dozen sting/bites, one of which was bleeding rather profusely, the others just getting bright red and swelling alarmingly. A quick call to brother-in-law & paramedic Dan reinforced what I had learned before taking off on Sabbatical cruising years before: Severe reactions happen fairly quickly - usually with a half-hour or so.

So by the time I had her piled in the Buick and on the way down to Watkins Glen, I was pretty sure she was fine. If not, she would've waited for the ambulance. We bought benadryl to have on site and then drove slowly home, back to the scene of the attack.

Scene of the yellowjacket attack
Scene of the attack(s)

Oh, so what's the deal about the headline and the 'break your leg' reference?

This morning, after twisting and turning for hours at night - and telling me that her leg hurt - the Admiral decided to seek medical assistance at the same time I was going in to get a checkup to see how the Zithromax was working. (Slowly, very slowly...) We both were pretty sure she had twisted her ankle in the leap of the bank and in her run to safety.

But it seems that she did fracture one of the two bones in her shin - the smaller of the two, thank God, and the X-ray of her leg was, the doctor said "unremarkable."

That translated into no cast, no Ace bandage, just keep the leg up in the air and stay away from yellowjackets.

We were provided with one yet-to-be-solved mystery through all this, however.

After I had an X-ray done of my throat (to make sure something weird wasn't going on with this infection/cold), the X-ray tech told me that my X-ray was likewise "unremarkable," noting that only my very pronounced tonsils caught the doctor's eye.

Indeed they should, I thought. My tonsils were taken out when I was 7 years old.

But before you dismiss the idea as simply X-ray-technician (or doctor) incompetence, be advised that my late mother had her tonsils reappear when she was in her late 30s - after having been removed when she was very young.

August 19, 2007

If a tree falls in your backyard, you will hear it

VALOIS, N.Y., USA - While I have been battling my cold, the work and projects have continued including dropping a 60-foot pine tree in the backyard that was mostly contributing to, well, it wasn't contributing much at all.

But, the best laid plans of mice, men and guys who make a living dropping such huge trees sometimes go astray. Wildly astray.

In the photo below, look at the line that is being used to keep the tree from falling south - into our neighbor Mary's yard. On the other end of it is a fellow keeping tension while our tree cutter does his work at the bottom.

Tree to fall north
Tree is supposed to fall north - to the left

But, after cutting it at the bottom, it was clear this old pine wanted desperately to go in the other direction. So, our intrepid tree cutter went up on a ladder to make another cut to give the tree a little incentive to fall where it was supposed to.

Tree needs some help
Encouraging the tree to fall properly

Sometimes enouragement is not enough and after a minute or so of cutting, there was a lot of yelling, flying ropes and the woodcutter and tree fell down in a wild heap, south, not north.

Whoops, tree fell south
On the ground. Note where the ladder ended up

The woodcutter was ok: youth, spryness and a heavy dose of luck kept him from ending up atop his ladder, but under the tree.

We're ok, having only witnessed - though it convinced me that my late-in-life aversion to chainsaws and dropping big timber serves me well.

Instead, my job is to plant grass seed where such trees once stood.

That's tomorrow's project.

August 18, 2007

No Toronto trip, no chanteuse, but hello Zithromax

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., USA - The two planned major social events of this summer were a trip to Long Island and New Jersey to visit with all my relatives there.

The second was to travel to Toronto for a concert featuring Leigh Graham, a Canadian singer who has a marvelous voice. I have every song she has recorded (well, at least the ones available thru ITunes) and I love her rendition of "Hernando's Hideway," and "Perfida." They always seem to show up on my Ipod list of top 20 songs played.
  • Leigh's website

  • As far the trip to downstate, Mission Accomplished. (Sorry about that image!)

    But yesterday I emailed Miss Graham to let her know that her No. 1 California fan would not be showing up at the outdoor concert after all. The Admiral and had planned a rendezvous with she and her husband and child Jasper before or after the concert. I've already invited she and her family to come to Valois next summer for what I am billing as my "5x12 party."

    I just cannot say 60 years old.

    Leigh Graham
    Leigh Graham

    Leigh Graham

    The decision proved to be a good one.

    Last night the temperature dropped here at the lake and I woke up with a bad case of chills and fever - an outgrowth of the damnable cold I have been fighting (unsuccessfully) all week. ZiCam spray, sinus rinses, Sudafed, Bayer Aspirin - they all helped with the symptoms, sort of, but after a day of working outside (I know, I know, I heard all about it here from the Admiral...) I would get coughing fits at about 7 p.m. and spent most nights in feverish dreams.

    Today (a Saturday) I drove to Watkins Glen to see my regular doc (yup, he works Saturday mornings) who said: A. You are sick & B. Take an antibiotic...

    Years of such problems have led me to ask for the nuclear option when it comes to antibiotics: either Cipro (which I took for an intestinal problem in Mexico) or Zithromax. I once had to take two full courses of Z-Max to break an infection loose. My Sacramento doctor was only a day from putting me in the hospital that time.

    I got the big Z prescribed and already the first two doses are kicking bacterial butt in my body. I hope.


    Besides the doctor being available on a Saturday (and my doctor no less), when the Admiral went and filled my prescription, the pharmacy only blinked for a second at the out-of-state medical card. They expedited getting it approved and by the time the Admiral had purchased my minestrone soup, ginger ale and various other health-giving products that I crave when I have a fever, it was ready.

    There are some advantages to this small town life.

    August 17, 2007

    From Long Island to New Jersey - no big deal, right?

    SHREWSBURY, New Jersey, USA - After two wild days with the Kearney clan in Hewlett, we ventured out at about noon to drive from Long Island, across New York City, and down the Jersey Shore to brother Tony's new house.

    The weather was stunning - a perfect beach day. So perfect in fact, that most of Long Island was heading to the beaches at precisely the same time as we were trying to escape across the various bridges to New Jersey.

    It was not a good sign that we ran into a massive traffic snarl about six blocks from sister Anne's house in Hewlett.

    For those Californians reading this, I need to tell you that New York traffic (and New Jersey traffic, more on that later) is not California traffic.

    It's worse. On our way across Staten Island, we were forced to detour off a perfectly clear Interstate onto city streets with stoplights, local traffic and a few of those guys who want to wash your windshield for a $1. A dollar to wash your windshield? Hey, it's New York. It took 40 minutes to go about 10 miles.

    But we did drive by several familiar sights from my youth - Coney Island and a huge parachute tower that I was never allowed to ride when I was a kid. Now, my fear of heights would keep me away from it anyway.

    Coney Island turnoff
    Turnoff for Coney Island

    Parachute drop
    The famous parachute drop

    We finally broke loose of the New York traffic and crossed over to New Jersey just in time to get tied up in massive traffic snarls with the beachgoers in the Garden State. Going to the beach was very popular.

    But the reward was finally getting to my brother Tony and sister-in-law Marion's house, about three hours after we started out. Nephew Brian said that he has made the trip in slightly under an hour and a half. Of course, that might have been at 3 a.m.

    Michael & Tony - the brothers

    My brother Tony is the oldest living Fitzgerald male, living, like me, in the shadow of a father who died at 46 and a grandfather who we believe died in his 30s. Such data makes you want to go ahead and have that extra donut with coffee in the morning. But Tony (and me, too, I suppose) are actually fairly careful about ourselves. I gave up donuts years ago and coffee, too. Try to take away my Earl Grey tea, however, and you will have a fight on your hands.

    Tony & Marion's children are all successful financial professionals, whose collective groans echoed on the beach as we read the New York Times about the housing market declines, stock market problems and other financial hiccups.

    Brian, Megan and Mark
    Brian Fitzgerald, his wife Megan and Mark Fitzgerald

    It was Brian's swimming with his children that convinced me that I should plunge into the Atlantic Ocean - in huge surf - to go for a swim.

    Remember how the traffic in New Jersey is different from California? So is the ocean which seemed, well, a little nasty, thank you very much.

    With my twin frozen shoulders I ventured out into the 8-foot breaking waves, only to have my feet yanked out from underneath me. Undertow - Hello! I hadn't felt a strong undertow like that in years. Next thing I knew, I was outside the surf line, crashing about and wondering how I would surf in without being able to do the crawl, or even a passable breast stroke.

    The first wave I caught going back in answered that question quite nicely, lifting me up in the air and depositing me - head first - into about 3 feet of water. I was pulling seashells and sand out of my ears from the rest of the weekend.

    Meghan and Marion Sr.
    Megan & Marion Sr.

    The family all gathers around the cabana at the beach club a few miles from Tony & Marion's house - children, grandchildren and friends. With a short summer season, every decent weekend the cabana gets a workout and both days in New Jersey could not have been nicer. I can't remember the names of the grandchildren, but they are a healthy, fun-loving lot.

    Marion Jr. - who is starting at NYU this fall to get her master's degree in social work - had her amigo Peter along Saturday night, who did yeoman service on the barbecue.

    Outside the cabana
    Marion (center in white top) talking with Peter

    We came back to Valois pooped out from all the fun but already planning a long weekend - or two - next summer here at Seneca Lake with all the brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren and friends.

    Next summer? What happened to this summer?

    Indeed, where did this summer go to? Something to think about when I am teaching again in three weeks.


    August 16, 2007

    Projects done - off to New York City & New Jersey

    HEWLETT, N. Y., USA - The great water pipe project was completed last week and we loaded up the old Buick and headed south and east for New York and New Jersey.

    Taking in a Broadway show? Visiting museums? Peeking at Times Squares?

    Nope, better...

    We visited with my sister Anne and brother-in-law Bill - and a cast of many - in Hewlett (on Long Island) for two days, then braced for a trip across the city (on a beautiful summer Saturday!) to the beaches of New Jersey to visit brother Tony and sister-in-law Marion and their children and grandchildren.

    The trip to the city included a stop in Pine Valley (Very bucolic sounding, isn't it? Pine Valley...) where the Admiral stocked up on country corn for our first stop on Long Island. The corn - when to shuck it, how long to boil it, whether to put butter on it - was the topic of an afternoon's worth of debate and laughing. The Admiral staked her reputation on the seven-minute-rule (boil the corn for seven minutes) and to hold off on shucking the ears until moments before they were to take the plunge.

    Her reputation remains intact - the cityfolks loved the corn.

    Shopping on the way to NYC
    Admiral looks over the Pine Valley produce

    The visit was one of those great coincidences because nephew Michael and his wife and son were visiting from Florida. They got there early enough to get some of the good corn and to jump into the photo below of the whole gang. I had started trying to get just my sister and brother in law and their kids - Anne, Michael, Jeanne and Jim - in the photo, but all the little ones all started jumping in.

    So here's the result:

    Kearney clan
    Kearney clan, August 2007

    At one point, I found myself with a baby in my lap and no idea which of the nieces or nephews it belonged to (She turned out to be the latest foster child belonging to niece Anne who now has four children in her charge). But she was so serene and quiet - compared to the rest of the chaos - that it was a pleasure. In another month, I hope to be holding my latest grandchild (soon to be born in California).

    Michael with a new baby
    Michael holds the newest baby in the clan

    The bad news from the trip is that I caught a head cold somewhere along the line that is so severe that today I am seriously considering using a sinus rinse to knock all of the, well, stuff, out of my sinuses. It's as if someone poured in cement and it expanded.

    Yes, I have taken Sudafed and yes, I can type 150 words per minute right now (Woo-hoo!) but the speediness hasn't helped with the damn cold at all... though I have gotten a lot done around the property, even with the malady. Maybe I should cut down a few trees today, rake the beach and then polish the boat...

    But then what will I do after lunch?

    Sudafed - for when you really need to move fast...

    TOMORROW: The beaches of New Jersey and the Fitzgerald clan.

    August 3, 2007

    Lake days and work days in August - Part Deux

    VALOIS, New York, USA - The heat broke last night with a fabulous thunderstorm, but this morning the great plumbing project was still there, and still waiting for another afternoon/evening of work.

    The big job - tunneling under a concrete walkway - was yesterday's challenge, which brother Dan was already attacking when we came back from a few hours of scooting around in the Spirit of Louise.

    Dan in the trenches
    Dan in the trenches

    It was definitely not a one-man job and so the Admiral and donned our trenching outfits and, well, dug in. Earlier in the day, I had spent three hours with cutters, electric saws and other implements of destruction, ridding a section of the ditch of tree roots that would make laying pipe dicey. And I had looked at this section of sidewalk, hoping, (Hoping!) that Dan had a secret plan for getting under there without, well, crawling on our hands and knees and digging like prison inmates in a 1940s B movie.

    He obviously did not have a secret plan, so we talked like George Raft and Humphrey Bogart while we dug.

    Tunnelling thru the concrete
    Tunneling under the sidewalk

    Sawing thru the roots
    Sawing through tree roots

    What makes all this work worthwhile is the other part of the day - the part spent out careening around on the lake, stopping at various docks to see folks and getting into the increasingly warm water. Yesterday the water seemed a few degrees warmer than it had been even the day before. Granted, we were in closer to shore tied to a dock, but still... I stayed in for at least a half-hour, bobbing around and enjoying an escape from the 90+ degree temperatures.

    On Ruth Bills' dock
    Admiral and Ruth staying cool in the shade

    Enjoying the lake
    Roger takes a bikini-clad crew out water skiing

    It's back to the trenches this afternoon, but not until we take another spin on the boat, perhaps up the lake this time along the cliffs where the water is so deep you can drive you boat (or a pontoon boat anyway) practically right up on shore.

    Cliffs of Seneca Lake
    Unbuildable here, but in California, there would be condos

    August 2, 2007

    Combining those work days and great lake days

    VALOIS, New York, USA - The dog days of August (Where did that expression come from, anyway?) have come in with a combination of work that needs to be done before we jet back to California in September, and some of the best lake weather we have seen. Light winds, about 85 degrees and barely a cloud in the sky.

    And the lake water has even warmed up to about 75+ degrees, making swimming a pleasure again. We took the Spirit of Louise out the center of the lake and simply drifted for an hour, joined after a short time by Ruth Bills in her new boat. We rafted up the boats and drifted around with them for awhile. For the first time in years, I didn't have to worry about the currents or tides while swimming.

    Oh, or anything biting in the water that was likely to see me as food.

    Ladies of the lake
    Ruth Bills (right) and her amigo, Cece, enjoy a dip

    While we were drifting, cousin Roger Beardslee roared by with a tubeload of teenagers in tow, with the screams echoing across the water to the boat, where our foster dog Arnold stood guard to make sure no seagulls would come near the boat.

    Plenty of them seem to have found the boat when it sits in the boat lift in front of the house. Arnold belongs to a friend staying in the guest house on the property. During the day, when Brad works at Hazlitt winery, Arnold stays with us. He likes the boat, but so far hasn't been willing to help me with the gardening or shovel work. Perhaps its the lack of opposable thumbs.

    Arnold watches the tuber
    Arnold on guard

    But while the lake days are great, the projects around the house remain and as absurd as it seems, the deadline clock is ticking loudly with what needs to be done. A lot of it is small items, some large and already we are paring the list to make it fit the time we have left.

    And in among the projects, we have a three-day weekend in New York City and an overnight sojourn to Toronto planned. (Let's see, one month minus five days, minus two days travel time, minus.... Gawd...) And yes, we are going to use the 1992 Buick to get us both places.

    Workin on the farm
    Sylvia practices driving while Dan practices digging

    The last major project (Who am I kidding?) we hope to finish in a few days involves the plumbing to the guest house, a repair job that required the above tractor work. Although the tractor looks like a lot of fun, I have stayed away from it, except for short spurts of moving it from place to place. I get carried away when using such things and would likely start to knock down the small trees on the property I have wanted to clear out.

    But we could sure use the machine in Mexico when we go to build our house this winter.

    Hmmm. Perhaps we could trailer it down behind our new Isuzu Trooper?