28 December 2007


Well, Christmas is past and it was a lot of fun to spend time with the family. On Christmas day, we decided to record the species of birds that visited our feeders as a scaled-down version of the Christmas bird count. On the 25th, we recorded nine species at the feeders:

American Goldfinch
American Tree Sparrow
Black-capped Chickadee
Blue Jay
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Bluebird
Mourning Dove
Northern Flicker
White-breasted Nuthatch

We've also been seeing Dark-eyed Juncos and House Finches at the feeders, but we didn't see any on Christmas day.

I've been pruning trees in the woods the past couple of days, and I was thrilled to spot a Common Redpoll yesterday. It was the first one I had seen on our farm, and the second that I have seen in this area. They're relatively common in forests, but not our open fields and brushlots.

The Common Redpoll brings me to a random piece of information: the genus Carduelis is my favorite genus of American birds. Among the American birds in the genus is the:

Common Redpoll

American Goldfinch

Pine Siskin

Lesser Goldfinch

I yoinked these images from google image searches - thanks to the authors, whoever you are!

24 December 2007

Deja Vu

In A.D. 2005 December, we had complete snow cover 21 of the first 22 days of the month. All but 2 of the first 22 days had high temperatures below 0 degrees C., and there had been about 20 cm of snow on the ground three days before Christmas. Then the curse struck. Three rainy days at 10 degrees C. first turned the Winter Wonderland to slush, then melted it just in time for Christmas day.

Fast forward to A.D. 2007.

We had complete snow cover 21 of the first 22 days of the month. All but 2 of the first 22 days had high temperatures below 0 degrees C. , and there had been about 15 cm of snow on the ground three days before Christmas. Then the curse struck. Two rainy days at 10 degrees C. first turned the Winter Wonderland to slush, then melted it just in time for Christmas day.

If I hadn't witnessed it I wouldn't have thought it possible. Different years, EXACT same scenario.

On one hand I'm pissed off - this is four Christmases that I have lived here, and four without snow. On the other hand, I've come to expect these turns of events after four years of crappy winters.

In the winter of A.D. 2004/2005, we had almost no snow through the end of the first week in January. After that, we settled in to a "normal" pattern through the end of March.

In the winter of A.D. 2005/2006, the first three weeks of December were wonderful, but, as mentioned above, we lost our snow cover immediately prior to Christmas and didn't regain it until February 06. (the day the we got our youngest pup - hence, I remember the date) February and March of A.D. 2006 were characterized by "normal patters," but we had already lost a week in December, the entire month of January, and a week in February to abnormally warm weather.

In the winter of A.D. 2006/2007 we had the warmest December ever recorded, the least amount of snow ever recorded through January 01, and no lasting snow cover until the third week in January. After that, we experienced "normal" weather patterns through the end of March.

So far this winter we had an excellent first three weeks of December, but, as in A.D. 2005, we have lost our snow cover immediately prior to Christmas. I had been very excited about all of the hockey I would be playing this upcoming week, but now the weathermen are forecasting at least 7 days of temperatures above freezing (highs around 5 degrees C. - 5 to 10 degrees above normal). I can only hope that this current warm spell ends around the turn of the year, because I'll get really upset if it ends up turning into another winter of A.D. 2005-2006...

I know, I know, I bitch a lot this time of year. Well, I have been doing nothing but thank mother nature the past three weeks. Unfortunately, she never seems to give us consistently cold winter weather. Personally, I believe that the underlying problem is global warming. I know that may piss some of you readers off, but that's what I believe. I worry that our living on the historical border between "snow on the ground all winter" country and "snow on the ground off and on during the winter" country is going to go by the wayside, and that my son's winters on the farm will be marked by increasing warmth and decreasing snow cover. That really sucks for me, because a consistently cold and snowy winter is my idea of the perfect season. It's as if my favorite part of the year is slowly being taken away from me...

"Poor me..." Jesus, I sure am throwing one hell of a pity-party. It's time for me to stop whining and end this post. To all of you in colder climates, I envy you. If I don't post again before Tuesday, merry Christmas everyone.

05 December 2007


Too bad I couldn't embed this video. (I'm still a novice at "complex" posting!)

02 December 2007

Great Weather and a Plan for the N.H.L.

We had our first day with complete snow cover yesterday, and last night we received 10 cm to go with the 3 that we already had! I went snowshoeing this morning - it was great!

Warning: If you don't like hockey or ridiculous diatribes, stop reading now.

On a completely different topic, I was driving home on Friday listening to Schopp and the Bulldog on WGR Sports Radio 550 (out of Buffalo, New York) when they started talking about the 2008/2009 N.H.L. schedule. Mike Schopp discussed the possibility of adding a few games to the schedule if it would enable each team to play at least one home game against every other team in the league. I like the concept, but I have a plan to accomplish it without adding games...

Currently, there are 30 teams in the N.H.L. Quite frankly, that's way too many. In my "if I was commisioner of the N.H.L." scenario, I would immediately get rid of ten teams. Sorry if you're a fan, but there is no good reason for keeping the:

Atlanta Thrashers
Carolina Hurricanes
Florida Panthers
Nashville Predators
Los Angeles Kings
Minnesota Wild
New York Islanders
Phoenix Coyotes
St. Louis Blues
San Jose Sharks

Two teams would be relocated:

Dallas Stars back to Minnesota (where they would become the Minnesota North Stars...again)

Tamba Bay Lightning to Salt Lake City

Now you'd have 20 teams, and I'd organize them in this way:

Eastern Conference:
North Division:
01. Buffalo Sabres
02. Columbus Blue Jackets
03. Montreal Canadiens
04. Ottawa Senators
05. Toronto Maple Leafs
Atlantic Division:
01. Boston Bruins
02. Philadelphia Flyers
03. New Jersey Devils
04. New York Rangers
05. Washington Capitals

Western Conference:
North Division:
01. Calgary Flames
02. Chicago Blackhawks
03. Detroit Red Wings
04. Edmonton Oilers
05. Pittsburgh Penguins
Pacific Division:
01. Anaheim Ducks
02. Colorado Avalanche
03. Minnesota North Stars
04. Salt Lake City Team (former Tamba Bay Lightning)
05. Vancouver Canucks

Eastern Conference teams would play each Western Conference team only twice (one home and one away), creating 20 games on the schedule. North Division teams would play Atlantic division teams 4 times (two home and two away). That would add another 20 games. Finally, teams within a division would play each other 6 times (three home and three away). This would add another 24 games to the schedule, for a total of 64. In my opinion, a signficant improvement over the current 82 game schedule.

What do you think? Is the N.H.L. schedule too long?

29 November 2007

The Red Scot's "Best Places to Live" List

As I was signing in to hotmail today, I came across this article on the United Nation's "Best Places to Live" list. After reading through their rankings, I decided to create my own list.

Unlike the U.N. list - which ranks countries according to life expectancy, real per capita income, and education levels - my list ranks countries based purely on personal perceptions.

Note: Other than the United States and Canada, I haven't been to any of the countries on the list. Also, I have chosen to consider the United Kingdom as four separate countries (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) instead of one big one.

01. Canada - Sparsely populated; temperate, sub-arctic, and arctic climates; a great culture; universal healthcare; a strong economy...the only negatives are the highest per capita immigration rate in the world and very strict gun laws. Still, Canada's positives definitely outweight its negatives.

02. United States of America - The U.S.A. is my home and it would be my number one if it weren't for a massive military-industrial complex, skyrocketing immigration, increasingly restrictive laws, and a nosediving economy.

03. Switzerland - I love the fact that Switzerland is neutral, not part of the E.U., and one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

04. Norway - Fourth for the same reasons that Switzerland is third.

05. Ireland - I'm very high on Ireland. If only they had a little colder climate and weren't part of the E.U.

06. Northern Ireland
07. Scotland
08. England
09. Finland
10. Wales
11. Austria
12. Germany
13. Iceland
14. Czech Republic
15. Croatia

26 November 2007

Random weather fact:

A.D. 2007 November 23 (Friday) was the first day that didn't get above 0º C. this season. The 24th didn't get there either!

25 November 2007

Increasingly Intermittent!

Wow, I have really let my blogging slip. I'm sorry to those of you who check in regularly to read my posts...

A lot has been going on lately. Many Americans - myself included - have been off of work for some or all of last week. We have the Pilgrims - and their wonderful harvest festival that we call Thanksgiving - to thank for that.

The only problem with being off of work for a week is that you hate to go back. Everytime that I have time off I begin scheming about how I can make a living on the farm... (doing something other than dairying)

My wife claims that it got down to 3 degrees F. the other night. I told her that she was reading the thermometer wrong and that it was probably 13 degrees outside. That made more sense since it was 15 at my father-in-law's house and 14 at my sister-in-law's house... In any case, 13 is still pretty chilly for this time of year - I love it!

Still not a lot of snow accumulation, but a lot of snow events. We've had five or six (I forget) different snowfalls. Each left a pretty little dusting on the ground that mostly melts by the afternoon. The weather this November has been very close to the historical average - chilly days, a little bit of snow, and below freezing nights. I've been in hog heaven!

KLA-TRA-SO = the name of the company that made an antler-handled carving set that my in-laws own. I wanted to remember this so I'm typing it...

Christmas is exactly one month away. I've been attending area Catholic churches the past month to see if any of them appeal to me. I've been agnostic for the past 12 years or so, and lately I've been feeling spiritually unfulfilled. I know that my beliefs make me a Deist, but I've been yearning for some structure in my spiritual life. I am attracted to Catholicism despite the fact that I disagree with some of its fundamental tenets. (When I say "fundamental" I mean the whole "Jesus was divine and the son of god" thing) Am I horrible for seriously considering joining a church that I have such a major philosophical disagreement with? (If you're wondering, I keep my philosophies to myself when I'm at church!)

Okay, it's getting late. I hope that I gave someone something to chew on. Again, thanks to everyone who still checks in every once in a while - you're awesome.

19 November 2007

A little snow and a few deer

We received our first "official" measurable snow a couple of Fridays ago. It only amounted to about a centimeter, but it was beautiful. Since then we've had a couple more dustings. Currently, we're up to about 3 cm of snow so far this year...

Two Saturdays ago was the opening day of the regular hunting season for white-tailed deer in our area. I shot a big doe immediately after daybreak. The following day (Sunday) I shot another big doe in the early afternoon. This past Friday I shot another big doe. Thankfully, we almost have enough meat to supply all of the members of our family.

Weather statistics though A.D. 2007 November 25:

First snow: A.D. 2007 October 28
First snow accumulation of at least 1 centimeter: A.D. 2007 November 16
Days with snow cover: 008
Days with complete snow cover: 000
Total snowfall: 3.0 centimeters (1.2 inches)

13 November 2007

Harry Connick, Junior is awesome.

The title has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

We had the first instance of snow sticking on Saturday morning. It snowed during the late afternoon and evening hours on Friday, and there was a thin layer of white on the deck, cars, and in the driveway the next morning. It was gone within a half an hour of daybreak, but it was still good to see it while it lasted.

The snow didn't count as the first snow accumulation of the season since it amounted to something less than 5% total snow cover. Still, it was the first day with some snow cover.

On Sunday morning it got down to -5.6 degrees C. (22 degrees F.) So far, that's been the coldest morning of the season. ...Not a bad start for early November.

...The rifle hunting season for White-tailed Deer begins Saturday. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to put some meat in the freezer. This will be the first year that we've been allowed to use rifles to hunt deer in a long time (more than 50 years). I'm hoping to break in my new Ruger Model 77 (.270 Winchester) with a nice Odocoileus virginianus...

I've been processing other things, but I'll wait to post my thoughts on another post.

29 October 2007

Still thinking about the bear...

I'm still thinking about the bear - that was really cool...

Incredibly, it snowed a few times during the day on Sunday.

We finally had a frost cold enough to kill the tomatoes. It was -1 Celsius on Monday morning - the first sub-zero weather of the season. It was the latest first frost ever recorded in our community, beating 2005 by one day.

From the last hard frost of spring (2007 May 14) to the first hard frost on Monday, we had 167 consecutive frost-free days. That's 16 more than 2006, despite the fact that this year's last spring frost occurred a week later than last year's!

Autumn 2007's weather statistics are as follows:

First light frost: 2007 September 17
First hard frost: 2007 October 29
First snow: 2007 October 28
First snow accumulation: ????

2007 growing season: 167 consecutive frost-free days.

2006's information:

First light frost: 2006 September 29
First hard frost: 2006 October 06
First snow: 2006 October 29
First snow accumulation: 2006 November 02

2006 growing season: 151 consecutive frost-free days.

2005's information:

First light frost: 2005 October 20
First hard frost: 2005 Octoboer 28
First snow: 2005 October 25
First snow accumulation: 2005 November ??

26 October 2007

Quick Weather Update

We had another light frost on A.D. 2007 October 25, Thursday. It was about 2 degrees Celsius when I checked the thermometer at 06:00 - tied for the second coldest morning this autumn. I was surprised to see that my windshield was covered in frost, because it hadn't iced over on either of the other two mornings that it was near freezing.

Though it was warmer than "normal" the past week, it was much cooler than it had been. Highs averaged 2 to 5 degrees Celsius above normal instead of 5 to 10.

We're (finally!) supposed to get a hard frost (0 degrees C.) next Monday morning. Right now, the weathermen are forecasting lows around 0. On our farm, the standard deviation is to subtract another 2 degrees from the forecast temperature. With that said, I'm hoping that I awake to a world of white on Monday!

If we don't get a hard frost before Monday, it will be the latest first frost ever recorded, "beating" A.D. 2005 by a day.

A BEAR!!!!

I saw a bear today!!!! It was the first time that I have ever seen a bear outside of a campground at a national park! (and those don't count, they're half-domesticated!) It was one the coolest things that I have ever seen.

I was driving home from work when I looked up at the fields on the north side of Interstate-86. I immediately noticed something out of place. Whatever it was, it was big and black. Still, I couldn't think of what it could be. Then, all of a sudden, it moved. At that moment, I realized that it could be a bear. Excited, I continued to stare at the object until it turned broadside and started walking. Euphoric and stunned, I watched the bear until I had driven far enough past that I could no longer see it. I couldn't believe it. Though there are a lot of bears around here, they're not something that people usually see. To be honest, I had never considered that I would ever see one here in New York. ...but today, this glorious day, I not only saw a bear, I got a GREAT look at a bear. To say that I am excited (still now, 8 hours later!) would be an understatement. I called my wife, my father-in-law, and my dad to tell them. Even they couldn't believe my dumb luck. Whatever kind of luck it was, it was a minute of my life that I will never forget...I saw a bear!!!!

19 October 2007

Quick Post

Another week flies by.

The weather has been awfully warm around here. The past few days have been between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. The weathermen tell us that it will be cooler next week, and I hope they're right. We haven't been below 7 or 8 degrees since we had that light frost last weekend. The next sub-5 degree weather is forecast to arrive sometime in the middle of next week. We continue to inch closer to that "latest ever first frost (0 degrees)" date of October 28. I think 2007 will give it a run for its money.

In other news, the autumn foliage of New York's Southern Tier exploded in the past two days. It was amazing, because the trees were only about 40 percent turned on Wednesday. What's more interesting is that the colors seemed muted mid-week, but, this afternoon, I saw hillsides as bright and colorful as I have ever seen anywhere.

The foliage in the Finger Lakes is still unimpressive. I'm not sure if it will pan out this year, because most of the trees that are changing are turning a burnt orange or brown. The next week should show whether we'll continue to underachieve or put on our own display.

14 October 2007

Oh, what a beautiful morning...

We had our coldest morning of the season on October 13. I got up at the crack of dawn to see if we had received a good frost. Though it had been right at 1º C. (34º F.) the previous evening, it was a little warmer than that by morning (35º F.). Consequently, we avoided a hard frost, but we did have our second light frost of the season (almost a month apart!).

I decided to take a walk up the hill to search for patches of white. At the same time, I wanted to get some pictures of the sunrise across Seneca Lake. On cold mornings in autumn and early winter, the warm lake water produces a bank of clouds overnight. It's a beautiful sight, but one that I had never photographed!

Here's a view looking east across Seneca Lake. I'm standing at the edge of the woods and a large wheat field.

After taking a few pictures of the sunrise, I found a decent patch of frost in a small hayfield near the highest elevation on the farm.

As I returned to the farmhouse, I took a few more pictures of the lake clouds, with my pup in the foreground!

10 October 2007

Finally...a change!

In the past 23 days, we've had...

2 days where the high temp. was 2 degrees (Fahrenheit) below the historical average
2 days where the high temp. met the historical average
19 days where the high temp. was at least 10 degrees above the historical average.

During that time, we've set more than 10 record highs. Many of those beat previous records by 3+ degrees.

For someone who loves Autumn and cool weather, it was horrible.

The good news is that a change is in store...

Tomorrow is supposed to mark the start of at least a week of temperatures near normal. In fact, we might even begin having light frosts in the morning - about that, my father-in-law says that, prior to 2005, he can't remember not having a hard frost by October 10. At this point, it looks like we'll be without one until at least October 20.

In any case, thank God that the weather is improving. There is only so much 80+ degree weather a person can take in late September and October. I continue to try to convince my wife that it's time to move north, but she continues to tell me I'm crazy! :-)

07 October 2007



New blogs...

There are a couple of new blogs that I've been reading (when I've had the chance). The first is written by members of the U.K.'s 2007 Antarctic Conservation Summer Team. It chronicles life in Antarctica and, being the nerd that I am, I have really enjoyed looking at the old posts.

The second blog I came across is Kate Smudges in Earth, Paint, and Life. I really enjoyed reading her posts, and I think it will become one of those to which I keep going back...

02 October 2007

Into the clouds...

Note: I wanted to post three more pictures, but, for some reason, I've been unable to upload them for days! I hope you enjoy those that are here.

On A.D. 2007 September 28, I hiked up Mount Mansfield, the highest point in Vermont. It rained at times, which made for a unique hike into the clouds. I believe that it was the fourth time I have hiked to the top of the state. Mount Mansfield reaches an elevation of 1,339 meters (4,393 feet).

I was surprised to see this Grey Squirrel at the very peak of the mountain, some dozens of meters above the treeline!

The peak of Mount Mansfield supports about 100 hectares of alpine tundra.

This is the view looking back toward the summit as we descended.

Lowbush Blueberries were abundant at and above the treeline.

As we descended the mountain, we left the clouds and were blessed with a gorgeous view across Smugglers' Notch.

I wanted to take a picture of Mount Mansfield from a distance. This one was taken on route 104A between Georgia and Fairfax, Vermont. The highest point of Mount Mansfield is the section of mountain brushed with clouds.


I went to Vermont this past weekend, and there are three things that I want to talk about:

1. Rosie's Vermont Beef Jerky
2. Second Vermont Republic
3. Rampant Development

Rosie's Vermont Beef Jerky is the second-best jerky that I have ever had. (Garven Store has the best jerky in the world, period.) I always buy some of Rosie's jerky when I go to Vermont. The stuff is simply great. I highly recommend it to all conoisseurs of fine jerky.

The Second Vermont Republic is my kind of political movement. It is paired with Vermont Commons to peacefully advocate for seccession from the United States of America and the establishment of an independent republic. The Middlebury Institute is another fine organization.

Vermont is a really funny place. On one hand, it is populated by proponents of rural living that include New England farmers, hippies, "progressives," and regular-old middle class folks. This is juxtaposed with yuppies and urbanites who have flocked to the state to escape the city. In doing so, they have not only brought high taxes and land prices, they have brought the city as well. I was amazed at how much development is occurring in north-central and north-western Vermont. Three-thousand square foot houses are being built on old farms and formerly wild hillsides. In my opinion, it is killing the character of a truly unique state. If such movements as the Second Vermont Republic are ever to succeed, they need to halt the influx of foreigners as quickly as possible.

a whirlwind week...

Is that how you spell whirlwind? It looks funny to me...

Well, a lot has been going on since I last posted:

The weather has been consistently warm - near record warmth almost every day for three weeks. It's still pretty dry, but not as bad as it was. We made it up to 31 days at or above 30 degrees Celsius.

My Buffalo Bills won a game! Trent Edwards is awesome! (at least he was last week!) My poor in-laws have had to deal with two straight Penn State losses...

Hockey season starts this week - go Sabres!!!!

23 September 2007

I swear I'm still here!

I seem to be saying this a lot lately, but thanks to everyone who is still checking in during these prolonged absences.

Things are hectic at work, I've been a little under the weather, and I've been busting my tail doing farm work during my free time!

...but I am still here!

Unless something really unexpected happens this week, I will be headed to Vermont on Thursday night. I'm very excited about seeing my old buddies and maybe doing a little bit of hiking...

By the way, it's been a while since I've posted any pictures. If I do end up hiking next weekend, I'll be sure to post the views for you.

...My beloved Buffalo Bills still stink (0-3), but I don't hold it against them.

...My wife's beloved Penn State Nittany Lions lost to Michigan, blowing their chance at a national title.

...As you can read at
Croit Coille na Dragan, the weather has been bloody awful.

...I've been listening to
Sean Hannity on the way home from work. Can anyone say Rush, Jr.? They both drive me insane. There is a major void in American politics. I do not know of a party or candidate that represents middle class, anti-immigration, anti-runaway-development, gun-loving, tax-hating Americans. The G.O.P. represents big business, globalization, and illegal aliens. The Democrats represent those who wish to control us, minorities, urbanites, "progressives" (synonym for socialists), and a variety of other "colorful" groups. It's rather frustrating.

Wow, I have a million other things to talk about, but I really need to get to bed. Quickly:

I went to the
Finger Lakes Fiber Festival two weeks ago. It was wonderful, as usual.

I saw this super cool magazine called "Wild Fibers." You can check out their website

The Canadian dollar (CAN$) began trading equal the U.S. dollar (US$) on Friday morning, even exceding it at midday. I don't know if the Canadian dollar has strengthened, the American dollar has weakened, or a little of both. I also heard that the U.S. dollar hit a new low against the Euro. Probably not a good sign for the United States of America...

Okay, time to hit the sack. I will try to shorten the time between posts, but I make not guarantees. I wish everyone in the blogsphere well. Until next time!

11 September 2007

A Trip to Vermont???

My best friend is supposed to get leave from the Army in a couple of weeks, at which time he'll go home to Vermont to visit his family. I wanted to go, but my wife wasn't keen on the idea. (It's a 7-8 hour drive to his place) I last saw him in January when he was headed out west to his new station.

It's very very odd, but I've been thinking about high school a lot the past week. It obviously has to do with the fact that I'm in a high school all day, but I didn't think about it back when I was student- or substitute teaching.

I'm seriously considering going to Vermont - despite my wife's objections - and spending a day with my friend. I really haven't had any male companionship since he went into the Army, and that was three years ago. I'm thinking that sometimes you just need someone that knows where you're coming from - someone who isn't your wife. I feel guilty about it, but there are some things that I don't feel comfortable discussing with her. They aren't important things, just stupid things from my younger days.

It's been one week since you looked at me...

Wow, it's been a week since I've visited the old web log. Teaching sure has cut down on my posting, not to mention my blog reading.

Things are going well at work. It's awesome to be back in the classroom; I feel like a new man-child.

Things at home are well...but hectic. I think that our oldest pup had a stroke tonight. (She's 14.5 years old) She was fine, and then all of a sudden she jumped up (she hasn't jumped in about 2 years) and started running around the house, peeing all over everything, and barking her head off. Aside from the peeing all over everything, it was way out of character. We let her out, figuring that if she was going to let everything go we'd rather it be in the yard. Well, she proceeded to run around one of the barns - in a gear that I'd thought she'd lost - five consecutive times. Then she decided to run away, and I had to chase her down before she could make the brush. I was able to catch her and calm her down, but she was still a little nuts. I brought her back inside where she trotted around the house until we put some food in front of her... She seems "okay" now, but she obviously experienced something major.

I'm thinking stroke because one of her ears looked "paralyzed" in a position farther back than usual, but I'm certainly not a veterinarian and it could have been anything.

I had already made peace with her inevitable departure (she had a very different, but equally frightening episode more than a year ago), but the whole thing is REALLY hard on my wife. The two of them have been together since Lady was born, and my wife was only 10.

04 September 2007

The Weather Outside

Somehow it managed to get really dry without me even realizing it. I'll chalk it up to the fact that I've been preoccupied preparing for September 05 (tomorrow!). Even though it felt like it rained half of the days in August, we never got more than a couple of millimeters at a time. Combine that with the fact that we had a number of days above 32 degrees Celsius (about 90 degrees Fahrenheit) and all of a sudden it's really dry...

We're up to 27 days at or above 30 degrees Celsius. This Thursday and Friday are supposed to be about 32, and Saturday is going to be right on that 29/30 divide. If the weathermen are proven correct, we will get to at least 29 days at or above 30. If Saturday makes it to 30 we will have been a full heat zone warmer than normal this summer. As it is, we've already had about 50% more days at or above 30 than usual...

...Global Warming? It depends on who you ask.

29 August 2007

A quick wetting of the line...

On Sunday I had a brief opportunity to wet a line in a Steuben County, New York stream. Catching this beautiful wild Brown Trout (Salmo trutta var. fario) was the reward after about a half an hour of fishing.

23 August 2007


A lot of my recent posts have been rather pessimistic. Basically, they've been a reflection of the frustration I've been experiencing at work. I'm sure that many of those who read this blog (if anyone does, in fact, read this blog) have been lamenting my journal-entry-like postings. Know that their days are numbered. As I begin to settle down into my new surroundings, the enthusiastic, playful, and mischevious me will come storming back. Until then, thanks for hanging on.

Finally Leaving

Tomorrow will be my last day at my current job. I will be moving on to a new job that I am extremely excited about.

For the past 14.5 months I have been employed at a public sector non-profit organization. During that time I have worked in a 10' x 6' cubicle in (what amounts to) a secretarial position. I wasn't hired as a secretary, but it quickly became apparent that I was simply going to be assigned the stuff that other people didn't want to do. Consequently, I have had no direction in which I could focus my energies.

Despite the fact that I have been working for an "educational organization," the institution that I have been working for has demanded unconditional support for its policies. Unfortunately, the underlying goal of those policies is to bring "modern economic development" to Yates County, New York. By "modern economic development" I mean franchise-based sprawl ("a Starbucks on every corner" etc.). To me, the most cherished aspect of the area in which I live is its rural character. That rural character, and the land-rich/money-poor people who make up that rural character, will be destroyed by modern economic development. In short, I was working for an organization that was dedicated to destroying what I hold most dear.

You might ask why I didn't leave sooner. The reason? Student loans. I finished my Master's degree in June, and it left me with many thousands of dollars of debt. I could not have continued to support my family unless I had another job to go to.

Now I have found that job, and I can not wait to start. I will look back at the past year with fondness for my fellow co-workers, but with frustration and mistrust toward the organization that is spending my tax dollars in an attempt to destroy my lifestyle. I believe that I know more about government after working here, but it's information that I almost wish I'd never learned.

"Everyone benefits from tourism and development (but the locals)."

16 August 2007


Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch. Mein großvater ist von einer deutschen familie; meine großen Großeltern sprachen nur deutsches. Sie wohnten in Texas.

I speak a little German. My grandfather is from a German family; my great-grandparents spoke only German. They lived in Texas.

Dieses ist wirklich wundervoll. Texas German Dialect Project.

13 August 2007

Watkins Glen

Yesterday I attended the Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen International. It was the best sporting event I have ever attended.

I took a number of pictures of the action, and a few of them turned out pretty well...

#01 - Mark Martin

#7 - Robby Gordon

#12 - Ryan Newman

#21 - Boris Said

#24 - Jeff Gordon (my favorite driver)

#99 - Carl Edwards

The Goodyear Blimp (I didn't think to take a picture when it was close!)

My view from the Green Grandstand:

After the race, I made it home in 22 minutes. To say I was lucky would be an understatement; some folks waited two hours in the parking lot!

In all, it was an excellent day. (despite Gordon spinning out of the lead with three laps to go!)

07 August 2007

London Calling

"The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning and I live by the river"

At certain times, I find comfort in music. Today is one of those days.

06 August 2007

Mini Mountain Lion

Looking through the files on my computer, I came across this picture of our cat. He has many nicknames, and this photograph brings to mind one of my favorites: "Mini Mountain Lion."

Why I love August

Four of the past six days have been above 30º Celsius. Three of those have been above 32º Celsius (90º Fahrenheit). Desipte the fact that it has been bloody hot, August isn't half bad. Why? Because the nights are wonderful! In the middle of July, a 30º day will often mean a hot and sticky night. That happens occasionally in August, but it's not the norm. Instead, hot days are followed by pleasant evenings and cool nights...

Other reasons why I love August:

Some trees begin to show their fall foliage (the cottonwoods are really early this year)
The days themselves, though still warm, get cooler
Autumn is just around the corner

It's a good time to be in Upstate New York.


Reading Mike's posts on Tamanawis lets you feel fishing.

01 August 2007

A.D. 2007 August 01

July sure went by quick. Not that I'm a father, will it be like that from now on?

...I'm still counting down to when the days start getting cooler - only one week left.

...Did I mention that hunters in Yates County, New York will be permitted to use rifles during the upcoming big game hunting season? It will be the first time since I-don't-know-when. I grew up hunting with bolt-action rifles in Georgia, and I am looking forward to setting aside the old shotgun.

ESPNsoccernet Premier Fantasy

ESPN's "soccernet" is offering a fantasy league for the upcoming season of the F.A. Premier League. I rarely participate in fantasy sports, but my buddy dragged me in to this one. If you're a soccer fan, give it a try.

30 July 2007

American Hurling Company

I want to leave a huge plug for the American Hurling Company. I recently purchased a hurley and sliotar from them and am very pleased with both the quality and customer service. If you're a North American looking for a hurley maker, this is your company.

Regarding the weather...

Well, July was a heck of a lot better than May and June. In general, the weather was relatively cool (mostly in the 70s ºFahrenheit) and we received between 3.5 and 4.0 inches (90 to 100 millimeters) of rain. The latter figure is at or slightly above the historical average, which is a great improvement over the terribly dry May and June that we had.

Currently blooming flowers include Rudbeckia 'Indian Summer' (Gloriosa Daisy), Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), unknown Rosa cultivars (Roses), Buddleja davidii 'Black Knight' (Butterfly Bush), Hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso' (Double 'Common' Daylily) and a number of wildflowers. I'll try to get some pictures up in the next couple of days.


At the risk of ticking some people off, I'm with Fred.

***20 minutes later***

I've thought about it and I want to make something clear. "I'm with Fred" because, in my opinion, he is the candidate least likely to expand the power of government. I may be wrong in this belief (if he's anything like George W. Bush), but only time can tell.

Let me preface the following paragraphs by saying that ALL politicians are out for themselves.

As an American who believes in limited government, I generally vote Republican. However, I also believe that human activity (namely our reliance on the burning of fossil fuels) is the primary reason for global climate change. This scares the heck out of me, and I strongly support legislation to reduce our impact on the environment.

That being said, you can see my political predicament.

If I vote Republican, I (used to) get representatives who favor small government, individual freedoms, personal responsibility, and the destruction of our environment.

If I vote Democrat, I get representatives who are more likely to do something about the environment but want to tax the heck out of me and make me dependent on them.

What I want is a party that promotes small government, individual freedoms, personal responsibility, and environmental protection. I understand that my preference for small government is at odds with the notion of environmental regulations, but I guess we'll just have to live with that contradiction...

Now wasn't that fun!?!?

22 July 2007

20 Days

Wow, it has been 20 days since I last published a post. The reason for my absence is the birth of my first child, a son, on 2007 July 04. He is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

On a completely different note, I purchased Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yesterday afternoon. After reading for most of the night, I finished it late this morning. To avoid spoiling the plot, I'll just say "wow."

I'll be back at work tomorrow for the first time in two and a half weeks. In the next few days I'll try to catch up on things.

02 July 2007

A View to the Heavens

This late afternoon "sunset" was mesmerizing. I felt like I was gazing at the heights of the Himalaya.

Black Sunday

To Buffalo Sabres fans, yesterday was "Black Sunday."

...Despite our losses, I'm sure that Lindy will keep the ship on course.

29 June 2007

Tryon County Bookshop

A plug for threecollie's dad's bookshop. If it's half as great as it looks, it's the coolest bookstore I've ever seen.


28 June 2007

It's official

With no rain forecast for the remainder of the month, our rainfall statistics for May and June are as follows:

Average precipitation: 2.88 inches (73 millimeters)
2007: 0.4 inches (10 millimeters)
Departure from the historical average: -86%

Average precipitation: 3.45 inches (88 millimeters)
2007: 1.6 inches (41 millimeters) of precipitation
Departure from the historical average: -53%

Two-month total: 2.0 inches (51 millimeters)
Departure from the historical average: -71%

I know I'm whining, but, at this point, I've got to do something to stay sane.

26 June 2007

Light Pollution

Really interesting information about light pollution.

Now that's thinking outside of the box...

What a creative mother!

25 June 2007

China #1 in greenhouse gas emissions

These links will get you to the same story - choose your source:


Fox News

22 June 2007

Very Cool


Nice website for Rosa fans


Adios, Señor Sol

Yesterday was a good day.

The weather was nice.
I handed in my last assignment for graduate school.
The sun started its march back to the southern hemisphere.

As some of you may know, I'm no great fan of summer. Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons, followed by spring. Summer is the season of lawn care, heat, and a million chores.

So yesterday, when the sun apexed for the year, I celebrated the coming of autumn. The weather even cooperated and gave us an autumn-like day. Though we still have 6 weeks of increasingly warm weather, the days are now shortening and summer's engine is beginning to idle down.

20 June 2007

A little more rain

We received just under a half an inch (12 millimeters) of rain yesterday. That puts our May/June total up to about 2.0 inches (50 millimeters). Average for that time period is 6.33 inches (161 millimeters); we've got a lot of catching up to do in the next 10 days!

14 June 2007


This is heartbreaking, and happening all over the world.


I just looked at the extended forecast from intellicast.com. It appears that our dry weather will continue for the foreseeable future. Precipitation on June 03, 04, and 08 amounted to a total of 1.1 inches (28 millimeters), which was great at the time. Unfortunately, we've still only had 1.5 inches (38 millimeters) of rain since April 29. That's a severe drought for our area. Normally we would have received about 4.5 inches (115 millimeters) during that time period.

This extremely dry weather comes during the year that I planted a bunch of conifers. What luck, huh?

Living in South Texas led me to cherish rain. When I moved up here, I decided that I wanted to live in an area of high rainfall. Ironically, my new "wet place" was one of the driest areas in New York. In four years, I've experienced both Texas- and Scotland-like weather. 2004 was an extremely wet year. 2005 was one of the five driest years ever recorded. 2006 was another extremely wet year, and 2007 is shaping up to be drier than 2005.

It's impossible to know which of these patterns will become standard. It's entirely possible that the pattern of extremes will continue. I hope that's not the case, because it puts a lot of stress on the plants and animals, and it makes it extremely difficult to plan for tree plantings and forage production.

Whatever happens, I'll continue to roll with the punches.

13 June 2007

In the woods...

Here's the second set of pictures from my walk to the woods the other day...

The view through the pines as I entered the forest.

Upon entering the hardwoods, the understory becomes much more open.

Looking west at the edge of the woods.

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple) is a very common plant in our forest.
I thought that the shadows on this Fagus grandifolia (American Beech) were breathtaking.

As I returned to the farm, I walked down this unmowed path. The grass was chest high and I was flanked by Hawthorns (Crataegus spp.), Apples (Malus spp.), Damson Plums (Prunus domestica var. insititia), European Buckthorns (Rhamnus cathartica), and Amur Honeysuckles (Lonicera maackii). I couldn't help feeling like I was in Tolkien's "Shire."

It was a very pleasant couple of hours.

12 June 2007

To the woods...

Last Sunday, I took a couple of hours and walked up to the woods with one of the pups. The following pictures were taken on my way to the woods.

My home is surrounded by old vineyard, and right now it's covered with blooming Rosa multiflora. (I know it's pretty now, but you don't want it. Trust me.)

Here's a Populus tremuloides (Quaking Aspen) that I planted in my "reforestation area."

An Acer platanoides (Norway Maple); one of the banes of my existence.

There is a small area of our farm that has apparently never been plowed. It is less than an acre in size, and has been spared because of its rockiness and situation between two streambeds. Incredibly, this small area is one of the most biologically diverse places on our family's land. It has a number of plants that we've seen nowhere else.

There is a very small Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) growing there. We were thrilled when we found it a couple of years ago.

The leaves from below:

Here's a fern that's growing in that same area. It's the only place on our farm that ferns can be found.

Another exciting find was this Ribes cynosbati (Prickly Gooseberry). If you click on the picture, you can see the spines on the fruit.

The last picture from that area of the farm: looking up from the creek bed.

The rest of the way to the woods is through fields. This cornfield is at the eastern edge of the woods. Quite the view, huh? You're actually looking across Seneca Lake. The ridge in the distance divides it from Cayuga Lake to the east.

In a little while I'll post the rest of the pictures from my walk.