Saturday, December 27, 2008

Blue Christmas

ROXY- 2003-2008 RIP

Greetings to all and I hope you had a great Christmas. Christmas day was typical for us, company, food, presents, etc. The day after Christmas turned out to be a bad day. We had plans to go to Vermont, and do some work. This was the first trip for Roxy. She had gone in the car plenty of times before but not for such a long ride. Somewhere in Mass, she got sick. We kind of attributed it to car sickness, and stopped and cleaned up, walked around a bit and she seemed fine. When we got up to Vermont, she was sick again. She was having a hard time keeping even water down. After a few hours she was more lethargic, and we got concerned, so we called the vet, and he had us try a few things. She did not seem to get better, so we decided to scrap our plans and drove home so we could have our vet see her, after all she was familiar with him, and sometimes being home settles you down a bit.
We took her to the vet this morning, the 27th, and the news was not good. She had been fighting a battle for the last few months without showing many symptoms. The prognosis was not good. Based on the conversation with the vet, the battle was too hard for her weakened state, she wouldn't be able to win. We had a family meeting and decided to let her go with dignity, and we went to be with her. It was sad, but she would have suffered more had we not made the decision. She was happy to see us, and she passed peacefully. Now she is chasing cars in doggie heaven.

Roxy came to us from the North shore animal league, and Ryan and mom picked her out.

I didn't want a dog, because of all the responsibility that goes with it, but was overruled. She was a great dog, and friend. She was really devoted, and loved to walk, even though she had hip displasia, a condition where the hip socket was not fully formed, and she would be hurting after the walk.
She loved her daddy (Ryan) very much too as they were always laying around together, and goofing around.

She loved her mommy too, always trying to help her with the laundry by swiping at her with a paw, or just putting her head on your lap when you were sitting down.

She was a good sport too. She would lay on the floor and the couch and box you much like a cat does, and would never mind if you did something a little silly to her.

But most of all she was part of the family, and we will miss her very much!!

Rest in Peace Roxy!!!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Finished and Ready for Winter

Greetings everyone! Only 11 more shopping days till Christmas. I personally have gotten my present (for a few years) early this year. After a few days of rough weather along the east coast ranging from 4-7 inches of rain @ home in CT to 7-10 inches of snow at the home away from home in VT, with a light ice coating on top. The ride up saw high rivers in CT and Mass, and snow and icy trees in VT. The roads in VT were amazingly clear considering the amount of snow and ice along the sides of the roads.

We stopped at a rest area close to our exit, and the ice was even thicker on the trees, and the temperature was hovering around 6 degrees. The sun was coming out strong and the air was crisp, yet it was a clear morning, and the blue sky allowed the sunlight to reflect off the icy trees.
We proceeded to the land and this was the first time there was significant snowfall covering the yard, and the driveway got its first plowing. It gave a new perspective to the setting, very clean.
As you can see the metal roof is doing its job. By the time we got to the garage it was after 9:30, and it was approximately 12 degrees, yet a good portion of snow on the eastern side already slid off, and about half of the west side was clear too.
The garage windows had the final trim detail added last week, and the electric service was finished and we had power. We bought a indoor outdoor thermometer, and it settled on a indoor temperature of 39 degrees after running the heater for a bit, and a balmy 14 degrees outdoors. You can see it in the window trying to sync up to satellite.

After unloading some supplies, we fired up the snowmobiles and rode around the yard a little, since the trails don't officially open till Tuesday. Remember folks, don't try this at home :-)

Just following the old adage:

We went into St. Johnsbury, and then Lyndon, looking to see if we could look at heating sources, but it appears everything closes at noon on Saturday. Near one of the lumber yards we saw a narrow, one lane road under the train tracks. You definitely need to sound your horn, long and loud. It was a very narrow road.
On the way home we also saw something we hadn't seen in a while. A checkpoint along the highway being run by the Border Patrol. They stop and check the cars and verify citizenship. Luckily we were legitimate. We had seen this for a few years after 911, but they weren't out the last 2-3 years. Of course it was only about 20 degrees.

Probably not much to report for a few weeks due to the holiday crunch coming on, so Happy Holidays to everyone who reads this and think snow! Hoping for first official ride in around 2 weeks!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

1 Year Anniversary !

This weekend is the 1 year anniversary of our finding the property. Approximately 1 year ago this weekend, we decided to come up to Vermont, armed with data sheets, maps, and directions to around a half dozen different properties, from Groton to Burke. We covered practically the entire Caledonia County. We didn't really see any property we really liked that much. On a whim, we drove by another property we liked, but didn't work out. Across the street from that property, we spied a for sale by owner sign. We did a little investigation, and several hours later we hammered out an agreement to purchase several acres.

Ever since that day, we have been planning, and arranging, scraping, and saving, coordinating and executing to get to where we are just 1 year later. We started out marking the property, and hiring a contractor to clear slightly more than an acre of land. We ran into some water issues, and added a drainage trench around the cleared acre. We had a driveway put in. We were looking to build a "Big Box Home Improvement Store" garage, and started trying to coordinate with concrete, excavators, and store representatives. At the 11th hour, we found a contractor to do the whole job, and we are very happy with the results!
Over the past week, the dormer was finished,

the stairs installed,

and the transom windows over the garage were installed.
We came up this weekend to check things out, as it had been a few weeks since our last time up. We arrived and the electrician was on site, installing the meter box, and panels. Since we went with the garage first, we ran the electric there first, but they needed to install a power disconnect in the garage, for a future connection to a house if and when we get there. So now the only thing to be done electrically will be the connection from the pole, and that should happen during the week, weather permitting.

We brought a few things up this weekend also, to make it a little more personalized.


On the way home we drove through the center of town, and it was amazing what a few miles could do for snow. Here is a picture of the town green, with 3-4 inches of snow yet we had none on our property.

Happy Holidays! (and only 18 more days till the snowmobile trails open!)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Almost Finished!

Its hard to believe, but they are almost finished with the garage! We went up yesterday to check progress, and it is looking really good. All the windows are in, the siding and trim is almost complete, and there is not too much left to do. I am hoping the electric will be roughed in over the next week or so.

There are still a lot of details to be worked out, such as insulation, heating source, sheet rock, but the builder expects to wrap things up this week. So hopefully next week we can bring sleds up in preparation for winter!

This picture is from the snowmobile trail. The dormer actually faces the trail, so we can sit back and watch the snowmobiles go by or just enjoy the mountain view. Hopefully in the next week or so we will be posting the finished pictures, and then the progress of finishing the inside. Now I can finally pray for snow up north since the building is closed in!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Babbling Brook

I wanted to try and add this to see if it indeed works. Attached below is a short video clip from the "moat" in the back yard. It needs the Apple Quick Time plug in in order to play. If you have problems please leave a comment below. If you turn the sound up you can hear the babbling!

Thanks, Joe

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things are Looking Up!!

Happy November everyone! The past month has been crazy, with everything going on, people getting sick, running around, and the weather and time change. I am very happy to share the latest progress, and be able to see some exciting changes since I last visited 2 weeks ago.
Taking advantage of a day off, I drove the long drive early this morning, which was made a little easier with the falling gas prices. Gas was still ~ 2.50 up north though, but they are slowly dropping. I spoke with Ken on Friday and he told me they had the 1st floor walls were up, and the roof was partially sheathed. Imagine my surprise to see the progress since then! The front windows are roughed out, the shed dormer was built, more than half the roof was done!

The left side and rear side construction are pretty plain. We discussed locations for 2 windows on the ground level, and decided on one the left and right sides.
The dormer is shaping up nice as well. All you see was assembled in just about 1 week. Of course I had to go upstairs and check out that as well. The space is much bigger than I imagined, and with the bump out for the dormer, it adds a whole new space perspective.

By the time I was getting ready to leave, they had 1 of the garage doors up, and were working on the other. I also marked up the driveway for plowing during the winter.

One other sign I saw that reminded me why we were doing this. The snowmobile trail signs were put up in the last week or so!

More to come very soon!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall- All Over

Fall is definitely here. There is a nip in the air, and leaves are dropping everywhere. This week we went up to check things out, and now the slab has been poured, the foundation back filled, and the drainage installed. I also found out I was doing something wrong in posting, so now if you click on the picture, it will give you a larger view.(That helps me because the pictures are too small for these eyes lately)

I also was playing with the camera, and found I have the option to create a panoramic picture, by taking 3 pictures and the camera "stitches" together. Takes a little getting used to but works fairly well. This shot was from behind the garage looking north.

This shot was from the road facing south looking into the lot.

Just another different perspective.

The other thing that is different is the color. Gone are the leaves from the birch, and maple, except for a few stragglers, but vibrant in color were the tamarack trees. They are one of just a few species of pine that lose their needles in the fall, changing color much like a maple tree. You can see the yellows starkly contrasted against the standard green pine backdrop.

On the way up, we stopped at the normal breakfast place, P&H. It was kind of disturbing in a way to see a truck load of Christmas trees there already, as it was just October.

We took another ride down the road after stopping and towards a town called Marshfield, where there were some spectacular views, including Molly's Falls Pond, with Hooker Mountain in the background.

We saw a large group of turkeys in the field next to the road on the way back as well

And we saw our first moose this weekend in Vermont, but unfortunately not the way we thought we would see one.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Birds Eye View

Today we view things from a different perspective. A good friend is part owner in a small plane, so I was able to "hitch" a ride from him and fly up to Vermont to get some pictures from a different angle. Sunday was such a perfect day for flying, hardly a cloud in the sky. My first encounter was with a Hot Air Balloon, as I left the house and headed toward the airport. As you can see the sky was clear and deep blue.

We met at the hangar, and Ed went through his checklist, while I tried to stay out of the way.

We took off ~ 9:00, and set a course north, flying pretty close to parallel to I-91. We quickly were into Massachusetts, flying past Westover Airfield, where the "big" planes were.

Continuing north, we passed into Vermont and New Hampshire. As we went further north the colors grew more extreme. The hills seemed to pop with color everywhere, with bright oranges, yellow, and reds sharply contrasting with the dark and light greens.

Flying definitely gives you a different outlook on things. As you look straight ahead, it seems like time is suspended, and you are hardly moving. When you look down to the sides, you see things go by, but it still seems like a reduced speed. At one point we were doing ~170 knots, which translates to ~190-200 mph, but yet it seemed like much less than that. We flew over the Connecticut River many times in the way up, as it twists all along the border of VT and NH. In a different aspect, you could see the fog that we often drive in on those early morning, hugging the river, covering it like a blanket.

Although there was a slight head wind, we made it up to our property in about 1 hour and 30 minutes. This was about 2 hours quicker than it would take to drive. Had the winds been lighter it would have been much less (as witnessed by the 1 hour return trip) As we got closer we were able to start picking out familiar landmarks, most of which stood out, some however , because of the different angle, it sometimes was a bit tough till the last minute. The following picture is the farm and field from above the scenic outlook in last weeks blog, with the St.Johnsbury dam in the top of the picture.

From here, we knew we had to head slightly northwest to the property. Shortly after banking left, we were able to start spotting familiar landmarks again, including the house with a tee pee in the yard. I missed a shot of that but will get one from the ground next time I go up. Seconds after we passed the tee pee, we were over the property. We several good shots of the foundation and fields nearby.

From the south.

From the east

From a distance

In this picture, if you see the big red barn at the tip of the wing, and then the large clump of trees slightly above that, we are to the left of that on the other side of the road. After a quick stop at the Lyndonville airport....

We took back off for home. The colors up this far north were pretty spectacular too.

We flew over the Vermont corn maze and then headed south towards home.

What an awesome trip! I even flew the plane a little bit. You definitely gain respect for pilots after that, with all the things you need to keep aware of, winds, speed, direction, attitude and so much more. I found I lean to the left a bit for some reason. Once on course, we would start drifting a little bit left every time :). Still it was a great experience, and I thank Ed very much for going up and taking me on a weekend day, when he probably could have been doing something else more important.