April 2014

Of Mice and Tomatoes

Brother Harold has mouse troubles – they love his tomatoes. He sent our group this note yesterday: “It seems I’m always (re)learning something that was self-evident truth to my great-grandparents. “In all the years I’ve been gardening, I’ve never had a problem with my plant starts. I got wicked awesome germination this year on 30 tomato plants – 28/30 blocks sprouted in just 3 days. 2 days later every single one of them was dead: eaten by mice. I have […]

The Mocking Tree Strikes Again

OK, maybe it is the squirrels that are mocking me: As I was clearing some saplings next to my driveway last night before dinner, I spied another black walnut, this time wedged into a crook on a yellow birch sapling. There’s nothing above the sapling except some hemlocks, so this either was dropped by a squirrel from said hemlock, or placed there lovingly if somewhat misguidedly by the critter.

I try really hard to leave work behind at the end of the day. If I find myself thinking about work after hours, I give myself a mental correction and get back to whatever it is I’m doing. I’m not exactly a career man. But occasionally, despite my best efforts, work intrudes on my real life, and I figure that if you’re going to spend a third of every day working, you’d better bring something home besides a paycheck, and the occasional […]

Fuel Fail and Recovery

We had a stretch of glorious weather going there for a while – sunny, warm, breezy. Perfect spring weather, and perfect for long-deferred outdoor work. Rainy and cold now – it was nice while it lasted. While it was nice, I decided to finish harvesting a tree I felled back before the snow flew. On Saturday I fired up the tractor and started loading the bucket with the tools of the woodsman’s trade. I broke out my chainsaw and as […]

Labor Savers Hall of Fame

The title of this post comes from a sign that was on the wall of the back room at the theater I used to work at when I was in college. Attached to the sign was a cheap adjustable wrench that had broken during use, no doubt barking someone’s knuckles when it gave out. The guy who posted it had a wicked (in the New England meaning) sense of humor – he had a file cabinet where the four drawers […]

The Mocking Tree

Brother Harold sometimes comes up to my place to hunt squirrels. He hasn’t been very successful, much to the relief of Mrs. P, a squirrel aficionado. It’s not that the woods lack for squirrels – he sees them in abundance. But they always appear where he’s not looking, or when he’s not ready, or in a direction that would result in an unsafe shot. And they seem to know they’re getting away with something, with their chattering the laughter of […]

Omni-directional Antenna

Last October, Mr. Paranoid cut his Cable TV cord. I cut my cable/satellite cord back in 2011. I’ve been through 3 major power outages with my over-the-air TV antenna and have not lost TV communications. In addition to that, the equipment I bought long ago paid for itself in the $90/month cable bill savings. In fact, I even covered the cost of a significant Home Theater PC, which acts as our DVR (I might discuss the prep aspects of this […]


What with all the predator pressures lately, my big, productive flock of Barred Plymouth Rocks has been trimmed down to a cozy six hens. I kind of enjoyed having a bigger flock – getting nearly a dozen eggs a day can be a challenge, but it’s a nice problem to have. I was always giving eggs away to my mom, friends, and the local food bank. I like being able to share the abundance of the homestead. So I decided […]

Bear Trapping

Behold the latest in functional and fashionable lawn ornaments: Much to my surprise, the wildlife division of the state Department of Environmental Protection took my phone call about a nuisance bear very seriously this morning. I told them that the bear had ripped up my coop and killed two chickens – alas, the wounded bird died overnight – and within a couple of hours, a wildlife biologist rolled up the driveway with this contraption. My tax dollars at work – […]