I'd much rather read than write so it's not much of a blog...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sun & Snow

We couldn't manage a trip to the cape this month but it was important that I at least get to Massachusetts  to see my oldest living relative, my soon-to-be-97-year-old Aunt Bert. I was there for the first few inches of snow on Thursday but I left before the major storm on Saturday. I dread these early or late snow storms with heavy, wet stuff that takes down tree limbs and power lines and I feel for the people who are dealing with aftermath of this one.

Fortunately before the weather deteriorated I was able to have a good visit with my aunt and cousin. I stayed in the charming Chocksett Inn and we found a wonderful menu and great food at Cristina's.

Unfortunately I did not stop at the Donovan family farm in North Brookfield as I had hoped because my brother, for some unknown reason, still hasn't gotten around to sending me a portion of my mother's ashes to leave there. As far as I know he hasn't done anything with with them so today I'm going to call to tell him that I will be picking up the ashes and taking them to the cemetery myself before Thanksgiving. I will not leave Ohio without making sure this last bit of business is done and dusted.

Monday, October 24, 2011


due to arrive today from Aran Sweater Market

New subject: wool and whatever happened to it. 

I live where it's cold in the winter – and in the late fall and early spring. I live in a house that's old and bigger than two people really need so we try to keep the thermostat as low as we can. We dress for warmth.

I wear wool. I have a collection of wool sweaters but as I've had to retire a few of them in recent years, it has come as a great shock to discover how few wool sweaters are being sold now. It's one of my great regrets that I never mastered knitting so I don't know what I would do if it weren't for The Irish and their loyalty to the wool sweater. (Erin go bragh.)

There's another Irish-American who still seems to wear wool and doesn't he wear it well? I've been watching NBC's "Prime Suspect" in part because of Himself but wouldn't you know it, in this scene, Timoney (Bello) makes a crack about Sweeney's (Quinn) sweater! Arghh.

8:00 PM
The sweaters are perfect! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Roofs & Roofing

The Mister, working off the rent on our first abode, circa 1972

They finally finished the roof on Monday. The roofers understandably are trying to do too much before the weather changes so there are few details to take care of and more clean up to do but the new shingles look very good.

I hope this is my last roof, the last in a lifetime marked by several roofing jobs. 

The Mister was doing roofing the first summer we lived together and then did the roof and siding on the house we rented after we got married. 129½ West Washington Street, Athens Ohio.

After several years in Connecticut and New Jersey we bought our first house in Ashland, Kentucky. It was fairly decent new construction but the roof was put on without any felt and The Mister ended up putting on another new roof by himself while I repainted the siding.

Twenty-three years ago we bought these two acres knowing we would have to have professionals replace the original roof of cedar shakes covered by two layers of asphalt shingles, three layers on the porch. We used our lifetime allotment of landfill with the debris from that mess. I also remember we had an official drought that summer of 1988 until, of course, the roofers started to do the tear off and before they were halfway through we had a torrential storm that forced the closing of part of 81 due to flooding.

Now we've had this one done again and I'm glad to say it's probably the best looking roof we've ever lived under even if The Mister didn't do it.


Although we didn't do the roofing, we did replace the double-hung windows ourselves that first year. The working shutters we removed in the process were in bad shape and for various reasons we put off replacing them – for twenty-three years. Where does the time go?

Anyway, the roof looks so good now and there seem to be so many more replacement shutters available nowadays that we're planning to replace the working shutters in the spring. We'll also be replacing the front door and I plan to finish it a chestnut stain. It's gonna be beautiful!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Buster, October 17, 2011

The saga continues. I suspect that Buster returned to see if the red squirrels were still occupying the attic, to see if the attic was going to be available for the winter. Cindy will keep it in her barn for a few days and then let it come and go, eventually deciding for itself whether or not to join the other flyers on and around the farm.

I'm not sure what we'll do now and Cindy says it's up to us. We don't want red squirrels in the attic for any length of time but as it gets colder the flyers are at risk if they're stuck in a trap for long. I guess we'll keep the traps going for a couple of weeks and then see where things stand. I just wish we could get the red male...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Not Buster

I'm not at all sure how I feel about this but the squirrels we're currently removing are NOT flyers after all, they're just some of the troublesome red squirrels. I don't know what happened to the flying squirrels that were in the attic last winter, I don't know if they left of their own accord or if the more aggressive red squirrels drove them off but none of the squirrels we've trapped in this week (now five) were Buster.

I didn't really look in the traps Thursday for fear of disturbing them but Cindy told me Friday and when I took a close look at the next capture I saw it was indeed a red.

Still neither The Mister nor I will forget watching Buster glide from the top of one chair to another one evening last winter before we ushered him/her out the front door. I hope there are flying squirrels gliding around somewhere nearby and I get to see one again.

Meanwhile I haven't checked the attic this morning but we will continue to trap what we can until spring when we'll remove the end-wall of the closet and critter-proof the vents.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Page Wildlife Center

I just can't believe the flyers squirrels stayed in the attic through all the roofing and I can't understand why I didn't trap any for a week or more and then yesterday, two! This morning I heard noises while I was still in bed and when I went up to check there were two what-look-to-be youngsters eating the seed that's scattered around the trap. This may take a while...

At least it seems flyers are a favorite of rehabilitators including Cindy Page and she will be eventually releasing these squirrels on her beautiful farm near Delphi Falls. Thank you Cindy and all the other dedicated people who do this kind of thing.

As for the attic, I don't think the squirrels are showing up in the traps because the they can no longer get out. I'm embarrassed to admit it but I think I finally figured out the most obvious entry point yesterday.

I had been focused on the driveway end of the house because of the dilapidated chimney. I knew the screen on the vent next to it had rusted away but the chimney ran inside the house and there wasn't purchase for critters to get to that vent. I completely overlooked the fact that the situation at the other end is an entirely different matter.

Unfortunately previous owners built a simple but useful closet at the other end of the attic and in doing so they eliminated human access to the two vents on either side of the fireplace chimney, the chimney that runs on the outside of the house giving the flyers an excellent climbing surface. It's one of those features of, as people often point out, an Amityville Horror House.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Buster's Back?

Damn. I was trying to beat the rain yesterday and didn't check the traps before I scrambled out to the garden. Since the work started on the roof I'd had two traps set in the attic but when the days passed with no sign of the squirrels I'd figured they had moved on. Anyway this morning I found a squirrel in one of the traps and I don't know how long the poor thing has been in there. He seems okay and now I'm just hoping I can keep him alive until I can get him to the rehabilitator this afternoon. Damn.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wicked Good Quince

I still haven't made a galette but I did cook up the first of the quince on Saturday. The week gave them a chance to ripen further. By the time I cooked them their fragrance filled the house and the cooked fruit is proportionately intense in flavor, absolutely wicked good.

The weather has been spectacular and should continue a few more days. I'm trying to use every moment to do what didn't get done the past couple of months for various reasons.

Today I head to garden where several of those reasons wait to be relocated. Halfway through my reconstruction of the garden beds I ran into a cache of debris that must have been buried when the flagstone walkways were constructed at the back of the house. I take these rocks as a particularly nasty insult because I really dislike the flagstone...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Cradle Will Rock

We had a lovely evening out last night. We had a nice Chianti with my paella (a delicious, very rich version, more like a risotto) and The Mister's jerk chicken at Dolce Vita before we walked over to the theater to see SU Drama's "The Cradle Will Rock".

Rodney Hudson and his students staged another top notch production and fittingly ended it with no curtain calls. There are occasions where I often find curtain calls unhappily break the spell created by the performance and especially with works that have real dramatic impact, I prefer to hold on to the experience as long as possible. Sometimes I don't even want to talk about it too much.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


The truck arrived at 8. I think they should have waited until the roof dried off but they're hoisting the shingles up and slowly moving around as they unload them. Everything is very wet this morning from a very heavy dew. The neighbors' roofs look like there was some frost but the vegetation I can see from the house doesn't look like it was cold enough to kill anything.

So we're gettin' 'er done. The old shingles were still okay but like so many things they were going to have to be replaced while we're still here and only likely to get more expensive over time. There's also the happy prospect of not having to look at the shabby old, stained, faded, moss covered roof any longer but I'm not sure exactly what the new one will look like. Picking out the new shingles was a bigger chore than I expected.

I looked at brochures, samples and online photos and I swear no two looked the same for any of the colors I liked. We finally dragged home full sheets of several colors and I ended up holding them from a window while The Mister took pictures.

It was worth the trouble I think. The color we first picked turned out to be almost as light as the old faded shingles so we've ended up with the darkest of our choices, Driftwood.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


It was a dreary morning so I putzed around and got to the market late. I knew it was my only chance to get quince and I knew I was probably too late to get any of the small crop that's usually available but, lo and behold, there were five baskets left! And I took them all!

As the dozen I have in the kitchen have warmed up, I've been able to catch a whiff of their lovely fragrance. First I'll make a galette to follow a dinner of Canada goose breast with porcini and polenta. In my book that makes it officially fall.