I went into Northfield’s town forest with Penny today. There’s a place at the end of the trail where inconsiderate people like to camp. I do not understand these campers though. They tend to haul in a bunch of gear and then just abandon it. I picked as much of it up as I could in one trip today and hauled it to the trash cans at Sandogardy Pond.

I had it in my mind that that’s what I was going to do on the way. I didn’t have a bag or anything, but figured I’d find something bag-like when I got there. And I did, in the form of a pillow case. Here it is after I loaded it to the point where it began to tear. I took a picture with Penny in it for scale.

Pillow case full of trash

Pillow case full of trash

Here’s some of the trash I was not able to take care of.

Comforter and a heated air mattress

Comforter and a heated air mattress

I picked up all the plastic bottles, as they would take an eternity to decompose. I suppose this heated air mattress (who brings one of those camping?) will also never decompose, but it was too big to fit in the pillow case.

We hiked out again with me carrying the loaded pillow case. I spotted something bright green about 20 yards off the trail. At this time of year, there’s not a lot of bright green out there (save the wintergreen and partridge berry). I left the pillow case on the trail and went for a look.

A Trampoline.

A Trampoline.

I assume someone dragged this out here to dispose of it, but I cannot imagine a reason why. I might have to go back for that. I’ll have to bring the wagon.

The pond was pretty close, so in no time, the pillow case and its payload were deposited in a trash receptacle. Then Penny and I headed back towards the house when some ice crystals in the path caught my eye.

Ice needles

Ice needles

I’ve seen these growing here in the past. I’d like to know how they form some day.

Beyond that, I saw some turkey tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) growing on a fallen log.

Turkey tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor)

Turkey tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor)

Couldn’t leave my readers with a trash-only post.


On Friday when Beth and I went to my Little Cohas Brook cache, she lamented that she had left her snow pants and sleds at school. I told her that if she remembered to bring them home on Saturday, I would take her to the sand pit today. So she did remember.

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I joined her on the sled for several runs, and we had a lot of fun. I also realized that I was standing only 50 feet or so from her geocache (Sand, Sand, Sand!) and that I had a geocoin in my camera bag. I picked it up in Arizona, and its goal was to travel far and wide. According to the geocaching web site, I moved it 2,125.11 miles, which accounts for about two thirds of its total traveled distance. If it’s still there next week I will move it again to a cache that gets visited more often.

We sledded for about an hour and then hiked back to the house (she in her boots, me in my snowshoes, and Penny on her four paws). On the way home, Beth suggested that we go to Dairy Queen to get some Blizzards. She is her mother’s daughter.

When we got home I replaced our mailbox. Last summer some kid went down the road with a baseball bat whacking every mailbox along his path (including ours). Ours was still usable, but on one particularly rainy day this winter (would that it could have been a snowy day instead!) we found that he had compromised its ability to protect our mail from inclement weather. So we bought a replacement. Problem is, I didn’t have daylight available to put it in place.

Until today.

The old one was bolted onto a frame, and I managed to twist the bolts in half while trying to get them off. So I had to go back down to the basement to find some different bolts. Then back out to the mailbox again. In short order the job was done, and I took the family to the Dairy Queen in Franklin for some blizzards.

We had already suggested DQ to Va, and she thought that they were not open during the winter. So she checked into it and found that they are closed through February. This is March. So off we went, all five of us.

Nothing like ice cream on a sledding day. 😀

Today after supper I decided it was time to hay the lawn. Or mow it. It was pretty tall. I’d have cut it days ago except that it has been rainy. In actuality, I cut the front lawn and had Jonathan cut the north lawn. David was to do the south lawn, but it started raining by the time Jonathan finished his segment.

American Toad (Bufo americanus)

American Toad (Bufo americanus)

While I was cutting the front lawn, the mower chased four frogs out of the grass and into the woods. So I shut off the mower and went in for the camera. Frog photography is more important to me than short grass!

Last summer, frogs were conspicuously absent from my place. I used to see green frogs, bull frogs, American toads, wood frogs, spring peepers, and even a pickerel frog on occasion. But that was not the case last summer. I hardly saw any. It looks like they might be making a comeback now.

I think the frog absence was because my neighbor flew into a panic. She and her daughter have both been diagnosed with Lyme’s disease, so she got a pest control company to give all the neighbors quotes for spraying our property. This is the same person who refused to put DEET on her kid two years ago, and now she’s advocating the wholesale poisoning of even her neighbor’s property.

I did not want to have our place sprayed. I like observing (and photographing) insects and frogs. I figured that spraying would put a damper on that. So I told her I wasn’t going to do it.

Then I heard from the kids in the neighborhood that the pest company had indeed sprayed our property when we were not at home. I do not know how reliable that information is, so I said nothing, but I think she paid them to spray our place.

Then this spring we got a renewal notice from the pest company, which raised my suspicion even more. I called them and made it clear to them that they were under no circumstances to spray my property. They insisted that they had not, but could not explain why we had received a renewal notice if there was nothing to renew. I was pretty irate.

After I hung up I noticed that the address on the renewal notice had the wrong address on it. Our street skips numbers, and this was a number close to ours, but non-existent. It’s the same address that our neighbor uses when she sends Christmas cards, etc.

I called the pest company back and told them that I think they had our address wrong. By then, there was no way they were about to admit having sprayed our place without proper authorization. And honestly, if my neighbor was less than truthful with them, it was really not their fault. Too much (they should check these things!) But I guess business is business.

Of course this is all conjecture, and I’m not a litigious person. But all the same, I’m pretty sure I know what happened, and I’m not happy about it. Other than this incident, we have been on good terms with our neighbor, and I wish to remain on good terms with them. So I will not pursue this.

Then we had another neighbor move in (different house). I stopped and chatted with this guy last month, and he asked about the catchment pond. He was sure that it was causing his yard to flood. I explained that the city had built the pond, that they had a right of way to do so, and that they come and remodel it every couple of years. Therefore, there wasn’t much I could do about it, so if he wanted something done, he should contact the city.

Instead, he came onto my property at night with a flashlight strapped to his head, and dug a ditch, draining my pond! This didn’t make me any happier than when my other neighbor had my yard sprayed. This pond is where the green frogs and bullfrogs live, and without water, they pack their bags and move out.

I assessed the situation from an engineering standpoint. Fact: the city’s catchment pond is uphill from my neighbor’s place. Fact: draining a water body uphill from a flooded area is unlikely to reduce the flooding – instead, it adds more water to the area. Ergo: this guy is an idiot. I filled his ditch back in. If he comes back onto my place to re-open it, I will have words with him. I’m pretty sure the law is on my side on this one.

So with all the rain we’ve had the past couple of days, the pond has been refilling. And since the pest control company has been strictly enjoined from spraying my place, maybe the frogs have a chance to make their comeback. The four that fled the wrath of my mower are a very good sign.

Va has some very particular tastes for foods, and sometimes, that can get me into trouble. I seem unable to predict when those sometimes are.

A few years ago we were travelling far from home and stopped along the way at a grocery store. She saw some canned, beanless chili – something that we never see here. She has always preferred that very brand of chili because it is available sans beans. She likes chili. She does not like beans. Chili with no beans gets an A+ in her book, so she bought several cans and we brought them home.

Yes, we all know that homemade chili is far superior to canned chili of any variety, but sometimes you’re in a hurry and can’t spare the time to make a batch from scratch. It is at times like that when canned chili is a good thing to have on hand.

Several months elapsed after this trip, and I found myself feeling somewhat peckish. I started digging through the pantry to see what would hit the mark. I found the last can of her beanless chili. I like chili and beans, so I kept digging until I found a can of kidney beans. I opened both cans, dumped them in a pot, and stirred.

That’s about when Va came around and saw what I had done. She was not happy. Nevermind that the chili had been forgotten in the pantry for months. If I had eaten the whole 15 oz can all by myself without adding beans, she would have been just fine. If I had eaten all the chili and then ate the beans separately, she would still have been fine. If I had heated them both up and served them to myself side-by-side in separate dishes, there would have been no trouble there either. But no. I mixed them together in a pot, thus rendering them into an abomination in her sight. The horrors!

Tonight I found myself feeling peckish again. Va was eating some maple-flavored oatmeal squares – a breakfast cereal. Like all cereals, she prefers this without milk. It looked pretty good to me, so I poured a bowl for myself,emptying the box. It was the last of the oatmeal squares cereal. I like my breakfast cereal with milk, so I turned towards the fridge to get some, and that’s when synapses began to fire. I remembered the chili.

Just to be safe, I asked if she would mind if I ate my bowl of oatmeal squares with milk. She could not figure out why I would even ask such a question, so I reminded her of the beanless chili. Apparently, milkless cereal plus milk is not a problem, even while beanless chili plus beans is most definitely a problem. Perhaps this is because we can go to the grocery store and get more cereal tonight if we so desired, but we’d have to drive some 600 miles for beanless chili. In my opinion, this is a very subtle distinction!

It’s no wonder men cannot understand women!

Last night some guy was caught on surveillance video at Concord’s parking garage next door to where I work. He was recorded carrying a TV to the elevator. Nothing wrong with that. Then he was recorded running across the lot at the top of the parking structure, still carrying the TV. Nothing wrong with that either. The next thing he did was not recorded by the cameras, but was reported by someone pulling out of the garage – he heaved it off the fifth floor to the entrance of the garage. Something wrong with that for sure!

It landed on the car, causing what I imagine is some serious damage. Luckily, no one was injured or killed. That was at 5:15 last night. Jonathan pulled out of the same garage 10 minutes later, so when he found out about this, he was pretty shaken up.

Some people – are morons.

Here’s a link.

We have no Internet service at the church. Since I’m in charge of that, I stopped in tonight to see what the problem was. It’s most likely related to Thursday’s wind storm. We did lose power at the church, but it came back pretty quickly from what I can tell.

Tonight was our annual church talent show (which is always a lot of fun), so we went early so I could check things out and so Jonathan could set up the PA system downstairs. All of my equipment checked out though. I tracked the problem to the satellite modem, then I called HughesNet which is always a joyful experience.

I won’t go into details, but the technician’s suggestions didn’t make sense. I did them anyhow, knowing exactly what the result would be (and being right). But those guys won’t proceed down the script until you do what they ask. The short of the matter is that he got to a point where I was required to plug a Windows PC into the modem, but I don’t have one of those (and am very pleased about that). By then I had been on the phone with him for forty minutes and was about to miss the talent show. I told him I was going to let him go and we’d give it another shot tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes, but I am not hopeful.

Beth playing in the dishwasher box

Beth playing in the dishwasher box

Tonight I looked up and saw Beth playing in her new “house” and had the idea that I should take a picture. This one came out best. She had rigged up a flashlight to shine through the gap in the top. That gap was actually a little too wide and the flashlight would slip through, so she found another box with a narrower slot. She stacked that one on top (open side up, slot down), lined up the slots, and placed the flashlight over the smaller slot. Yay! Engineering at work! Or at play.

I took a few shots of the yard tonight when I got home. These days the sun isn’t quite up when we get out of bed, and it’s not quite down when I get home from work. There’s still about an hour of daylight when I do get home, so it makes for a nice walk outside. This shot shows part of the path I made through the woods last summer:

My path through the woods

My path through the woods

This path is along the western border of our property. There’s a small beech tree right in the middle of the path. I was going to cut it down, but Beth asked me to leave it. I did trim the lower branches off though, so we could walk by it without getting slapped in the face.

When I got to work this morning, I found an inch of water on the kitchen floor. Normally that would be somewhat alarming, but we’re lucky in that our building doesn’t have any level floors in it anywhere. Last year they “levelled” the kitchen – or tried to. The south end of the kitchen is level now anyhow, but the north side slopes away to the south. That leaves something of a valley in the middle, so the inch of water was “only” about four feet wide. It did, however run the length of the kitchen and beyond into one of the offices (where my office was in fact, when we first move to NH).

This is apparently the last straw for our company founder, so I’m thinking we can expect some action. I had taken a picture of the floor as one of the VPs was mopping it up, and that photo has been turned over to the company now (by request). I asked if maybe they could do something about the window in my office while they were at it, and was assured that that would go on the list too. If it’s the last straw, after all, it’s the last straw.

When I moved out of the now-flooded office into the one I’m in now, there was a day when the downstairs tenants were cleaning the floors or something. Whatever they were doing involved plenty of volatile liquids which came wafting into my office and just about overwhelmed me. I made the foolish mistake of trying to open the window. I have one of those completed idiotic windows consisting of narrow slats of glass that louvre open with a crank. When they’re closed, they block about 60% of the wind. It was covered over with a storm window, but only barely. I had to remove the storm window, and to do that, I loosened the screws holding the clips down, rotated them out of the way, and began to pry on the window frame. It was stuck tight, so I pried harder. With all that prying, I managed to torque the frame, and glass does not like to be torqued. It shattered. Our landlord was called, and he “fixed” the problem by removing the glass. Done! At that point all I had were those idiotic slats with their 60% wind rating. So I covered the window with foam padding from a shipping box, and covered that over with cardboard. It has been like that for three years.

Hopefully that will change soon.

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