The Weekend’s Off to a Good Start

Ben barked up a storm this morning, which made me look to see if it was the mailman.  Sure enough, it was.  He was dropping off some packages by the front door that wouldn’t fit in the mailbox.  When we were away in MN a few weeks ago, I had the USPS hold the mail.  When it got delivered on our anticipated return date, there was so much of it that it was left by the front door in one of those milky white plastic crates they use.  I’d been meaning to drop it off at the P.O., but my other half had been driving around with it in the back of his truck when he went off to work all week, so I couldn’t deliver it.

Fortunately, I caught the mailman, and asked if he’d mind hanging around while I fetched it.  It took me a whopping 20 seconds to run across the driveway, open the back window of the topper, then the tailgate, scamper into the truck bed, and fish it out.  It had slid all the way up to the cab end.

Although I could have made good use of it for storage, had I kept it, it’s not my property.  The mailman grabbed it, and told me that I could have just hung it off my mailbox out  by the street.  Okay, so now I know.  At least the USPS got its property back, and I’m  not going to get arrested (not that I would have been, anyway).

Other than that, my pellet ammo arrived for my air gun, as did my new omnidirectional ham radio antenna, (which beats the crap out of trying to build a tower for a Yagi, or running a long copper line), and a pair of Merrell hiking boots to replace my old pair that finally gave up the ghost after 20 years.

Also, a guy from the pool company showed up, unannounced, late afternoon, yesterday.  I called the service department to pay the bill, and explained about how the leak at the heater was getting so bad that I can’t run the circulator anymore, because the water level had dropped by 4″ pretty quickly.  Sure, I topped off the water using a garden hose, but it was very slow going to replace what leaks faster than that.  I was told they were a little shorthanded during the week, were behind schedule, and might not be able to send someone out until Monday or Tuesday.  Mostly, that meant I couldn’t run the circulator, which meant I couldn’t vacuum the debris on the bottom.  The water clarity was great, but probably wouldn’t have been by Monday or Tuesday.

Yes, this weekend is off to a good start. 🙂


Honest to god, I thought these things getting into the swimming pool that are about thumbnail sized were frogs.  Nope; they’re baby toads.  It actually makes sense.  Oh, they look like frogs at that size, but if you think about it, tadpoles, or polliwogs (whatever you prefer to call them), are already larger than these things, before they grow limbs.  Today, I fished a dozen dead ones out of the pool, along with a real, rather large frog.  The frog wasn’t quite bullfrog sized, but it was up there.

All the toads were dead.  Evidently, they can’t handle calcium hypochlorite and chlorine.  The frog was alive, and swimming faster than I could chase it with the leaf skimmer.  I finally herded it to the seating shelf at the deep end, where it took the initiative to hop out onto the surrounding patio.  It really wanted back into the pool, but I kept nudging it with the skimmer toward the fence.  When it hopped as far as the fence, it refused to jump through.  By then, I was ticked off, so I whacked it pretty hard with the skimmer.  That did the trick.  Not sure whether it made it back down to the pond, but it did jump through the fence as though it had been hit by lightning.  Perhaps one of the blue herons made a meal out of it.

Last year, frogs would get into the pool after a thunderstorm.  Some were only a few inches long; some were larger.  I had never seen toads outside the foundation plantings by the annex until a couple of days ago.  Toads like damp, shady places, and there is nothing remotely shady around our pool, during daylight, anyway.  This is new, to me, at least.  The good news is that they can’t handle the pool chemicals, so they just float around, dead, for me to scoop out.

It sounds a little disgusting, scooping out dead fauna, along with the flora, but it also means my chemical levels are okay, without reeking of chlorine.  If the pH gets too high, it’s easy to adjust with some HCl.  This revives my chemical engineering training, which makes me think “Hell, yeah, I can do this!”

Triumph TR6

Last Saturday, a New Jersey based band we like (April Mae & the June Bugs) was playing in Riegelsville.  We first saw them do the opening act for Wanda Jackson not quite two years ago, and went to see them a couple of months ago, doing a solo act.  So, we went to see them again.  They’re a mix of rockabilly and swing, with a little roots rock thrown in for kicks.  All three were there, crammed into a corner of the pub room.  When we pulled into the parking lot, we saw the Boogie Bus was there, and knew they had arrived.

That was ~ 6pm.  They weren’t due to play until 8:00.  Dave (aka “Catfish”) likes to work the crowd while he’s setting up, as does April.  During a break between sets, I asked April if she’d let me see her gloves up close.  It’s a really bizarre question to ask someone who doesn’t know you from Adam, but she was happy to let me see them, hold one for closer examination, check out how she had hand sewn on the metal finger nails, and even showed me where she’d worn a hole through the index finger of one of them.  We never did meet their bassist.  He’s not into working the crowd, and I wasn’t about to barge up to him to introduce myself.

What does any of this have to do with a Triumph TR6? Continue reading

Starr Hill Brewery

A representative for our part of the country was at our local beer distributor handing out samples of his employer’s goods.  Starr Hill is a craft brewery that started out in Charlottesville, VA, but has since moved to a suburb, and opened a second location in Roanoke.  Evidently, the samples were good enough that it led my other half to buy a 12-pack sampler, in addition to what he went there to get.  It came with a free promotional pint glass.

I’d never heard of this brewery, but I did like the golden ale we split (it came in 16 oz. cans).  So, I looked up their webiste.  Probably the only things they brew that I wouldn’t like are the IPA and Imperial (aka double) IPA.  Ales are fine, but hold off on the strong hoppiness, as far as I’m concerned.

FWIW, this place sells those pint glasses for $3.50/each, which is less than the typical $5 most craft breweries want for them.  Then again, it wants just shy of $30 for a 2 liter growler.  Those normally go for $10 for a half gallon one, which is minimally smaller.

At least the beer is good, and is reasonably priced at ~$19 for a 12-pack of 16 ouncers.

We’ve stocked our bar with glasses primarily from promotional freebies like this, or buying them from our local pub, which will sell them for a couple of bucks to customers who ask, when they get served a pint in a really cool looking glass they want.  The wait staff double checks with the owner, if necessary, then just adds it to the bill.

There was one time that a local bar/restaurant’s adjacent deli had a promotion for Stella Artois, with the coolest looking gold rimmed glasses.  I asked the woman who works the checkout during the day what I had to do to get one of those.  “It’s free if you buy a 12-pack.”  I did, because I like Stella, and she really wanted to get rid of the rest of them, so she gave me all three Stella glasses they had left.  Those have to be washed by hand, rather than run through a dishwasher, but so what?  They’re lovely.

Eton Radios RAWK

I love listening to radio.  My circa 1970 Panasonic transistor radio that my dad bought me still works, and got us through a few snow storm related power outages.  Its reception and speaker quality are okay,  but not fantastic.  Better are some Sonys and Emersons from roughly the same era, for portable radios.

Nothing beats an iCom IC-R9500 with a multi-directional antenna, and a long line one, but it’s a serious rack model for a radio shack that gets every frequency that’s legal, including but not limited to police, fire, marine, aviation, etc. (0.005 – 33335MHz).  I have one, but in no way is it portable.  You don’t just toss it in your suitcase or duffel bag.

What is in between is Eton.  They’re really good quality radios.  Initially, I got an Eton field radio, which is not particularly large, but comes with a shoulder strap, which gives you an idea of how portable it is.

It’s portable, which is the whole point of being a field radio, but I wouldn’t want it getting accidentally kicked over on the pool patio.  It’s sort of tabletop sized.  So, I got a baby Eton model.  Tuning in FM stations isn’t much of a test, but AM and the weather bands are.  This little thing passes with flying colors!  I did not get it from the Red Cross, but it’s the same model:

Hey, it serves my purpose.  It’s roughly the size of a handy-talkie transceiver.  It’s not waterproof, but if it does get damaged, it’s expendable.

Nature Takes Its Course and Other Things

Last weekend, we left on a shopping run, and returned ~45 minutes later.  Along the roadside by our property was a roadkill deer that was not there when we left.  It wasn’t a stiffie yet.  We looked up the local laws for removal, and found out that in this particular location, it’s the state’s responsibility, and there is no charge to us.

At least it wasn’t up to us to drag it into the woods, or pay the town $75 to haul it off.  Where we used to live, people would hit them, then drag them onto our property because the cost of removal would not then be theirs. Continue reading


I’ve finally gotten the pool water nice and clear,  so that I can see all the way down to the bottom of the deep end, clearly.  It took a while, which is normal.  I am the pool maintenance staff.  Chemical addition,  and balance is up to me for the next three months.  Haven’t had to fish out any frogs after a rain storm yet, but that probably will become necessary if the herons fishing by the pond for them miss a few.

Hooray!  I had to order a replacement part for our automatic vacuum.  So be it.  It’s a lot cheaper than replacing the entire thing, plus, it still works w/o thepart, and I can use the manual vacuum I have in the meantime.

Hello, skirtini!  That exposes as much flesh as I am willing to.

On another topic, I fired up my 3300 psi  Ryobi pressure washer that has a Honda engine.  Very nice piece of equipment.  It really does get the job done.


No, not I.  Who knows what the certifiably cuckoo Nickster is up to nowadays?  I fixed my German cuckoo clock today, and got it reset to the minute.  Of all the clocks in my house, that one’s my favorite.  I really do prefer hearing one “cuh-coo” for each hour to a a series of bing-bong-bing-bongs, and an additional bong, two, or three, depending upon which quarter hour it is.

I love antique clocks.  There’s nothing wrong with an 1800s Seth Thomas grandfather clock, other than it has lead weights that are a pain to rewind.  They’re lovely clocks.  I have one.  It’s a pain in the ass to move 3″, let alone from one house to another.  Still, I prefer my cuckoo clock, and my 1800s schoolhouse clock, because I don’t have to wash my hands every time I have to rewind them, and adjust lead weights.

Herr Cuckoo is working again.



Pool Opening

Holy guacamole, Batman!  A couple of months ago, I scheduled the pool opening for today.  As the woman at the pool company I use told me over the phone, “it’ll be in the morning, before noon, but I can’t give you a tighter time frame than that.”  I was thinking maybe sometime between 8:00 and noon, depending upon whether we were their first job of the day, or further down the list.  They showed up a little before 7:30.  My other half woke me up by announcing “they’re here.” Continue reading

Niagara Cave

For at least six years in a row, we’ve been going to Minnesota over Memorial Day Weekend.  It’s a good 2700 mile round trip for family get togethers for one or another celebration.  My husband’s cousin drives up from NM, so we’re not the only ones who drive there, rather than fly, and rent a car.  This time, it was for our niece’s college graduation.  I much prefer swinging through Iowa and up to the ‘Sconsin, and across route; there’s much less traffic that way, since it avoids Chicago, Madison, and the Wisconsin Dells.

We had most of Saturday to ourselves, so we drove to Niagara Cave.  It was well worth the trip.  I have no issues with claustrophobia.  Overall, I preferred Cave of the Winds, in/near Colorado Springs, but this one is very different, and very cool — both literally, and figuratively.  On a 98F day, yeah, a cave is a nice place to be.  I was feeling the quad and glute muscle workout the next day, though, after the long, steep climb out of there.  The admission fee for a one hour guided tour is reasonable.

I’d love to go see Laurel Caverns, too, but it’s one of those things that I wouldn’t do unless I was staying in the area; it’s not a day trip.