May 4, 2010

Summer? Not quite - but we will be ready if it arrives this year

VALOIS, New York, USA - We landed safely at Elmira Airport Thursday, drove straight to the lake (thanks to loan of a truck from Brother Dan) and immediately dove into getting the Seneca Lake house opened up, and, por supesto (of course), launched into several projects.

The house was in fantastic shape, thanks to Cousin Brett Beardslee and also amigo Brad. Between the two of them, the place was clean, operational, and even had some beer and wine in the refrigerator.

Chena and Chon (our neighbors in Arroyo Seco, Mexico) would approve.

Sylvias 2010 plants
Sylvia's flower pots

Admiral Fox said that she will take over the flower gardening duties this summer (Gracias Dios!), which fine by me. I'll still struggle with a few vegetable plants - the struggle being keeping the deer, squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits from chewing anything I plant.

I have two tomato plants ready to go into outdoor pots. I have some wire and plans to make some cages that would make the guards at Folsom Prison take notice.

Overlook project at start
Overlook project, midway through completion

Last summmer we cut down a small forest on the hillside in front of the house that had been blocking almost all view of the lake.

Why live next to a lake if you can't see it?

After the trees went down, I took a shovel, rake and other implements of destruction to make a small overlook where we spent many evenings toasting the sunset last summer. My project today (and last night) has been to expand it and put in some steps up from the path.

I call this particular style of architecture, Hector Classic. I used almost all free materials that the lumberyard was going to throw out.

As I finished the project an hour ago, a big thunderstorm snuck up behind me and dropped about 10 minutes of monsoon-strength rains. The water flattened out the dirt nicely and the sun has come back out. (Gracias Dios, again.) Maybe I'll go sit on the overlook before getting cranked up to do the next job.

Overlook project, complete
Overlook project - almost completed

Today's second project, in anticipation of a likely May cold snap, is to clean out the wood stove. Two days ago we had a face cord of wood delivered, which I hope will be good insurance against any more cool weather.

But who knows? It snowed two days before we arrived. And the day we arrived the wind was blowing 30+ knots and the temperature was about 45 degrees.

Even if I knew it was going to stay warm (it's 72 degrees right now and sunny), I have to remove the carcass of a gray squirrel who thought the stove would make a swell condo for the harsh upstate New York winter. Unfortunately, once he got into the stove, he couldn't get out.

Hmm. Better check the overlook and gaze at the lake for awhile first.

Squirrel in the stove
Rocky the Flying Squirrel could have escaped

Lake View, May 4, 2010
Lake view, May 4, 2010

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