April 30, 2012

Plant garden, replant garden, repeat as necessary

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - Last night the temperatures here dropped to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Twenty degrees. Twenty degrees!

So much for my early planting and all those seed pots.

Still, now that that bit of frost is past (all the cars have a nice crust of ice on them), it appears warmer weather is on the way, complete with some rain. Today it is supposed to hit near 70 degrees with no frost ahead.

I'm heading out to buy more vegetable seeds this morning to see if I can my crops going this time.

The days haven't been quite as cold as the nights, and so Sunday Admiral Fox and I took a walking tour of Watkins Glen, winding down off our hill to the downtown area, past the high school and back past the Village Marina where the bar and restaurant are reopened.

The place was doing a brisk business Sunday when we dropped by, though the wind off the lake was still too cold for anyone to be brave enough to sit outside. The restaurant has a new menu that looks great - much simpler than in other seasons and has added a number of vegetarian and vegan offerings.

And the beer and wine list? Great as ever.

Some boats are in the water already, and when we walked through the dry storage area at least 10 captains were busy taking off the covers and getting ready for launch. There was also a decided smell of fiberglass wax in the air.

The Valois Point Yacht Club is firmly closed for the present. I haven't had the time - or weather been good enough - to even start to clean the path/stairway down to the water. Still, the first warm (and non-raining) day and I will shuffle up the lake to get ready for summer.
Seneca Lake, April 29

April 23, 2012

From summer to snow and then some more snow...

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - The forecast said there was a chance of snow, but I pushed it aside.

Come on, it's April 23, fer Chrissakes. Even here in Central New York, snow capital of, well, Central New York, snow on April 23 would be downright weird. Last Monday it was 85 degrees, people were boating and I was buying a new outboard for our sailboat, Crimson Tide. Today everyone is sweeping snow off their cars and nervously looking at the latest forecast.

It says we are likely to have several more days of snow. More days.


Neighbor's house with damaged tree

Adm. Fox spied the snow out the window in the middle of the night and shortly thereafter - in quick succession - I heard the snowplows out running and then a decided crash. I was pretty sure my hot tub enclosure had taken a tumble in the high winds that were making the trees all sway.

But no! (Gracias Dios!)

The crash was a big branch detaching itself from a tree across the street, landing smack across North Glen Avenue. Lucky for our new neighbors their cars were not parked there. They had been earlier in the day while they were moving furniture and other stuff inside in the cold rain that preceded the snowstorm.

Then an hour later, I heard someone out with a chainsaw clearing the street. From the looks of the tree, it's hollow inside the trunk... Might be some more chainsaw work in the next week or two.

The snow is coming down steady right now, not heavy, but steady. Sure wish I had put up a cover over the hot tub. It would nice to take a little dip in it this morning.

Hot tub needs some dusting off before we jump in

Plans for mowing, raking and doing outdoor work here at up at the Valois cottage are on the shelf until at least mid-week, unless the forecast changes - again - and summer returns.

My in-the-house to-do list has plenty of items to keep me quite occupied until the weather goes back to whatever passes for normal at Latitude 42.

Oh! And I just heard from the Admiral that it has stopped snowing, for the moment... Just time to don some snow boots and walk to the post office. But only if  I can find my snow boots, which I safely tucked away in some box, somewhere in the house about a week ago.


April 19, 2012

Springtime-about-to-be summer in Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - Admiral Fox and I arrived here a week ago, bleary eyed from a red-eye Jet Blue flight from Sacramento but happy to be home after a three-plus month absence that included our Mexico adventures and then a wonderful two weeks in Sacramento visiting daughter Anne and granddaughters Sami and Kami. We stayed with and amigos Pam and Steve, who were kind enough to put us up at their house.

We also got in a short visit with Scott and Jen Noble, who are heading here to NY this summer.

At first here in the northeast, we were greeted with sort-of normal weather (highs in the 50s), but since then, we have had full-on spring that seems to shift to summer for a few hours nearly every day.

Monday, it was 85 degrees and people were out on the lake in their boats.


It put the pressure on me to get cracking on gardening sort of stuff, and so Wednesday I rounded up some seeds, fresh soil, and a bunch of those biodegradable pots that you plant right in the garden as soon as the seeds sprout.

So here's a question: I planted cilatro, pear tomatoes, eggplant and squash yesterday afternoon and there's not a single plant sprouted yet.

What's up with that?

Not a sprout in sight - yet
In the meantime, I am struggling to make time to write as I constantly hear the siren's song of the lake calling.

We have a spectacular view of Seneca Lake now - thanks to tree-cutter extraordinaire Paul Mapes of Elmira. He chopped down a street across the street (our neighbor said it was ok) and suddenly we can see the other shore quite nicely.

And then there are our kayaks, patiently waiting for me to put away my iPad or computer keyboard and head down the river south into a swampy area filled with wonderful birds and wildlife. And not a single crocodile like we had in Arroyo Seco.

But for now, perhaps I should either go outside and catch a few rays of sunshine (another gorgeous day it seems) or I can finish a story I started last week that just needs a few touches.

I think outside is going to win.

My comfortable chair for catching some sun

April 9, 2012

Last days in Sacramento - heading back to NY

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - I am not at all sure where the last two weeks went.

We arrived late on a Tuesday and tomorrow night will leave late for NY. The rest in-between is kind of a blur.

Part of that is probably due to my being sick with a stomach flu for four days. One day was the onset of the flu, the others recovery. But it put a kink in what we wanted to do. And my stomach is really just now back to normal.

Even at that, I was able to do one project that daughter Anne really wanted/needed at her Rancho Cordova house - a pergola.

Before she mentioned it, I wasn't really sure what a pergola is, but now I have built a custom version for her house that only needs some bamboo blinds to complete it.

The custom part is that it is probably one foot higher than the plans called for... But because of the way the sun hits the house - and a desire to hang all kinds of flower pots, bamboo shades, hummingbird feeders, bird houses and God-knows-what-else - I opted to boost the roof beams.

Even boosted high, it gives great shade, or at least it did for the Easter soiree that Anne hosted.

But now that I have built one, I can see great possibilities for the lake cottage or even our house in Watkins Glen.

Custom designs, of course.

In between setting posts and banging nails, we did squeeze in visits with Jen and Scott Noble, Sanders and Pat Lamont and our gracious hosts and friends, Pam DiTomasso and Steve Lovotti.

Not enough time to visit with anybody, but we will be back in October on our way to Mexico for the winter...

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