Ice Out

Kathryn and I took a walk through the woods, but found 6″ of snow in several places.  The ice cleared off of two of our ponds, but not this one.

With the help of the dogs we chased the Canada Geese off one of our ponds and then located our evergreen trees in the little triangle lot.  The transplants we planted over the past two years needed to be uncovered and allowed to straighten up.

Eric had an AAU basketball tournament (MVE Spring Shootout) at Accelerate with games against Salt City and Tri-Valley Playerz.  They lost close games to both, but Eric recorded 15 and 10 rebounds respectively.

New Snowshoes

After 22 years of use I finally wore out my Atlas 1033 snowshoes.  I don’t feel too bad about it, in fact, I am a little proud of the fact I have worn them out.  Last year I wore out the deck wrap on the tail of the right shoe and got it repaired at a shoe repair shop.  This year the wraps on the left snowshoe wore through as did the rivets holding the binding and crampon to the aluminum frame.  I shipped them out to Mountain Soles for repair, but they are running 1-3 weeks for repair orders and I expect shipping to/from will likely take another two weeks.  Spring seems to be knocking at the door, so I decided to get a pair of comparable snowshoes and ordered a pair of Serrate 30 Snowshoes from REI.  I opted for the 30″ size as a comfortable medium; I was concerned that 36″ would be too long and cumbersome.  Most of my snowshoeing is in snow of medium depth or traveling over a previously packed trail. Sunday following Eric’s AAU tournament I got to try them out.

One big difference is that single pull bindings have developed in the past 20 years.  My old bindings had three separate nylon straps to tighten while the new ones have a single pull for the front two straps.  My size 13 insulated hiking boots just fit with the heel strap let all the way out; unfortunately  I don’t think the binding will stretch much.  I covered a couple of miles on a familiar trail up Pen Bonc Hill.  It was sunny and felt warm – I ended up wearing a baseball cap for eye shade and just a windbreaker over my long sleeve shirt.  At the top of the hill I pulled on a fleece and sat for 10-12 minutes enjoying the near lack of sounds – only the breeze rustling the leaves of a few small beech trees.  After a bit I stomped home.

Broomstick Lake

Matt & I exchanged emails about our desire to get out for an overnight camping trip.  We settled on Broomstick Lake, about an hour’s drive for each of us.

Our initial plan was to meet Saturday afternoon and camp Saturday night, but with no one else joining our trip we discussed the possibility of meeting Friday evening for the short snowshoe hike in.  We met at the trailhead at 5pm, hiked up hill to a level knoll and set up our shelters and gathered wood while it was still light.  I brought my Black Diamond Hilight tent and Matt brought two tarps which he set up using bent over branch.  In the morning he reported there was more a slope to his site than originally assessed.

We managed to find dry standing wood including a two flat chunks of pine that served as a base for our fire and a dead ash that yielded logs approximately 8″ across.  Matt’s chain saw was handy for cutting the larger logs.  Our fire lasted for hours.

As I got the fire going Matt set up his stove and heated water for our dehydrated meals. The fire, meals and waning light all coalesced around 6:20.  We sat up around the fire and talked until 8pm when we decided on an early turn in time.  We received 2-3″ of snow overnight and I heard it repeatedly slide off the tent during the night.  We were awake a little after 6am, packed up and headed home.  I was back home by 8:30 and had the rest of the weekend.

March Comes In Like A Lion

We got 20 inches of new snow Thursday night through Friday night.  School was closed along with all businesses.

The Dog Walker

Our winter weather has been sporadic for sure.  This past week one of Kathryn’s friends visited with a plan to go XC skiing.  They caught the last two days of snow before rain and warm temperatures melted it all away.  Instead of XC skis and snowshoes it’s rubber boots and trying to avoid the soggy ground as Kathryn takes the dogs for a walk around the pasture.

Camping Room

Our room over the garage was primarily used to store all our camping gear, hence the name “camping room”.  The room is a generous 14′ x25′ / 350 square feet, but unfinished.  We had insulated between the ceiling of the garage and the floor of the camping room, but the walls were not insulated and the ceiling was left open.

The addition of a door, ceiling and insulation finished it off.  I bought a medium size electric heater and I spent two weekends priming and painting the room.  Today we moved most of the camping gear back into the room; still to come is additional furniture, about 6 sleeping pads and some backpacks/daypacks.

There is more organizing to be accomplished and I am trying to discard old and infrequently used gear as I go.  The plan is to leave room for cots / small bed to enable kids and guest an additional room to stay over during 3 seasons.

What’s Going On?

It seems like spring weather.  We heard red-winged blackbirds for the first time Sunday evening; they are usually the first arrivals.  They have been singing like crazy since then.  Our snow is mostly gone; just patches left scattered around.   Which means we had to engage in the first round of the annual spring pick-up-dog-poop-in-the-yard ritual.  Kathryn’s friend Gaie and her friend Pat Wegman came out  Wednesday-Friday.  We had planned to have them come ski, but the weather has been uncooperative.  Gaie and Pat went up to Egypt Hill where there are free, groomed trails just north of here.  They said it was beautiful if a bit icy.  On Thursday we went  up most of my main trail across the road and the snow was pretty good but not deep so we had to pick our way around wet spots and sticks.  But it was still pretty good.  Kathryn and her friends did a lot of sitting around talking and hot tubbing.  They a lot of fun and it was nice for Kathryn to have sustained time to visit with Gaie.  Pat seemed very nice.

Kathryn has been communicating with a woman who has a senior women’s  team out of Victor.  She went to Victor on Friday to play some with her on just a pick up basis.  Although Kathryn thought she played really well, the woman, Audrey, is really looking for a hitter (which Kathryn am not).  The primary focus is on qualifying for a national tournament.   Kathryn is disappointed as she had gotten my hopes up.  There still might be some opportunity  and it is likely they will be fielding an over 65 team for the Empire Senior Games.

Eric has to have his tonsils out, although we are going to try to wait for that until school is out, since he has missed so much time already.  He also has to have his wisdom teeth out. High school basketball has ended.  The season for him, was mixed; he missed so many practices and games, he was solidly on the 2nd string and so only played about a quarter a game.   Eric did a 5 day intensive basketball camp over spring break and came away with a certain determination to put more into basketball which lasted about 1 week.  Try-outs / practices for his Mohawk Valley Elite AAU start tonight with tournaments to start in about 1 month.

2017-18 JV Basketball Season

Eric finished his 2017-18 JV basketball season.  As a freshman he was usually the 2nd player off the bench and got a reasonable amount of playing time.  He missed some games and practices due to recurring strep throat, but pushed through at the end.  Overall the team had a successful season with losses to Cooperstown, Sherburne-Earlville and Whitesboro.

Following conclusion of the HP JV basketball season he participated in a week-long basketball game run by Doneilous King and prepared to join a Mohawk Valley Elite AAU team.

Seattle

Kathryn took Stone and Eric to Pacific NorthWest for an 8 day vacation.    They spent 2 days in Seattle (indoor rock climbing, Seattle Center, Science Museum/Planetarium, Seattle Aquarium,  the waterfront and oversized Ferris Wheel, Pike’s Place Market, and up the Space Needle.

They spent 3 days in a beautiful condo (with an outstanding ocean view) on the coast.  Several of Tom’s friends had condos there as well, so it was like a big party, complete with cards and games and wine.  The condo building had a pool table, so the boys played a lot of billiards.   The highlight of the trip  was razor clamming which we absolutely loved (and the weather cooperated).  It was an absolute blast.  With help, we cleaned, cooked and ate the clams too.Kathryn had a lovely birthday Debbie bought a 90 minute massage, then she got to do some laps in their community pool while Tom took the boys to the Museum of Flight.  We all then had a lovely dinner (Kathryn had trout).

We were all amazed at the traffic.  Everywhere.  All day and all night. Expressways just packed with cars.  Strip malls and congestion.  It was such a relief to get back to the New York State Thruway!  And so much development.  Tom just moved back to the general area in which he lived during the 70’s. It was “country” but it is no longer….the outskirts of Seattle is literally one city (suburb) after another with no space in between.

The boys got a long very well.  Stone was a little overwhelmed and maybe a tad homesick at times, but overall did well.  Debbie went above and beyond making sure we were happy, busy and well-fed.   The red-eye flight home was tough.  Re-entry into the real-world is tough.

Tractor Chains

Since the temperatures were a balmy 20 degrees I decided to put the chains on my tractor. I brought two loads of wood into the garage and then parked the carry-all; probably for the winter…. My tractor chains are the double link and super heavy. I hang them on the side of the barn when not in use so that when I want them I can loop them over my shoulder and stagger to the nearest tractor tire, I attached my snow blower, so I guess I am ready for winter now…..

I took the dogs for an hour long snowshoe through the woods and up the hill. 1st time out on snowshoes for the winter.