7th Grade Modified Basketball vs Utica Academy of Science

Eric tried out for the 7th grade basketball team along with 30 other boys.  Coach Scott Parsons kept 14 boys and created two 7 man teams for their competitions.  Dylan, Shane and Dennis form the core of the ‘A’ team with Luke, Michael and Eric the core of the ‘B’ team.  After upsetting Frankfort, they beat Sherburne badly.  Sherburne led in Q1, but had a disabled point guard and their B team was unable to score while HP ran up the score for the remaining three quarters.

Snow conditions forced re-scheduling of Tuesday’s game vs Canastota.  Thursday night the Utica Academy of Science brought a good 8th grade team.  UCS had a very good point guard on their A team while their B team featured an extremely tall center (#12) and a good forward (#15).  HPMS eked out a close win to push their record to 3-0.

2016-01-28 HPMS v Utica Academy



Car Repair Weekend

Our weekend  was filled with basketball and car repair issues.  The 7th grade team had their 1st game on Friday after school and pulled off a stunning upset.  Frankfort has beaten HP every game for the last 3-4 years.  In fact, they have rarely lost to anybody.  They have a different philosophy, usually only putting 8 kids on a team so they have no “A” team and “B” team where all the other schools usually take more kids and have a “B” team.  This is the same group who, this past summer, did a 5 minute time killing 3 man weave  (there was no shot clock at that level) to ensure a victory.  Anyway, so you get there is some history, getting the win very sweet.  Saturday’s game was against Sherbourne and we soundly defeated them, even though at the end our coach had the boys dial it back, don’t pressure the ball etc.  So it’s been a good start to the season and we shall see how long it continues.  Eric is also playing in an AAU team out of Rome, so they had their first practice Sunday.  It will be good for him to play with other guys and  get different coaching.

Eric got to ski some on Saturday.  There may not be much more skiing until we get more snow.  Saturday night Jim and I went out to eat with Helmers and to a concert at the Nelson Odeon featuring Dirty Bourbon River Band.  The music was different – described as Dixie Land gypsy folk – very up tempo and bouncy but kind of raw.  It was good but we were tired and Eric was home alone so we didn’t stay for the second set.

Skip came over for dinner last night to plan canoe trips and to watch the SU game.  He is scheduled to have his knee replaced.  He says he can’t do anything, and is putting weight back on.  He says he will probably try to go to rehab after surgery rather than come right home.

Kathryn is house-bound , as we continue to have major car troubles with both cars are in the shop.  The Subaru dashboard light problem may be related to the transmission (as the lights would come on when going uphill over 50MPH).   The Volvo has been at Ballister’s for close to a month as we debated the parts and method for replacing the gas filler tube.  Being a 1991 Volvo, getting parts (in this case the pipe that goes into the gas tank) and then having someone figure out how to get them in, is an issue.  But  with some outside consultation, they got it done.  Then yesterday, on his way home from basketball he finds he has no liquid in his radiator.  Hopefully that is patched up now, but a major repair and/or new car is likely in our future.

Christmas Holidays

Right now it is 40 degrees with light rain. Eric had a friend stay overnight and sometime during the night they migrated from sleeping on the floor under the ping-pong table upstairs to sleeping bags on the two couches in the living room. Kathryn went to soak in the hot tub and is now reading a book in the bedroom while I closed the sliding pocket doors on the living room, made coffee and settle in to write  a letter. The dogs joined Kathryn on the deck but are now ensconced in the mud room drying off.

We had a couple of the grand-kids (Dakota and Stone – Bella was sick) stay overnight on Wed and Kathryn took them to a trampoline play house on Thursday. BillieJo and Joel came over Christmas Eve afternoon, exchanged gifts and took their kids back. Eric, Kathryn and I went to the Unitarian Church semi-religious ceremony on Christmas Eve. This year it seemed the theme was “Wonder at the Children” – which Kathryn says is a result of having a bunch of grandmothers plan the program. Last year was more a 1st Nation theme, but the music is diverse and interesting every year.

Eric got lots of clothes as he continues to grow like a weed. He just broke 5’4” mid-June and when Kathryn took him to get new skis (because nothing from last year fits any more) a couple weeks ago he was measured at 5’7”.   ½” inch / month !!! The growth, plus his habit of mis-placing clothes, made him a candidate for bargain fleece jackets, Bass Pro hoodies, etc. Eric passed his UofO sweatshirts down to Dakota who is rocking the Duck in Dolgeville. She has little competition on the PAC-12 attire.


I gave Kathryn a day trip with a birding guide (http://www.adirondackavianexpeditions.com/) for her and a friend to be fulfilled in May. I also got her the complete Cornell Ornithology collection of bird songs and calls. She got a bunch of golfing stuff to feed her new passion including a rug/putting green for in the house so she can practice her short game over the winter. I think I may be building a golf hole / driving range this spring so Kathryn and Eric can hit golf balls from the lawn out into the pasture where our riding arena used to be.


I got new choppers and mittens, a fleece pull-over, and two wicking tops.

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Our weather has been unseasonable warm, with record high temperatures in the 60s (and even 70!) being recorded. The wood stove has handled a lot of the heating so far this year. I have been throwing the football in the yard with Eric on a lot of nice days. Yesterday I took a long hike through the woods across the road. The last time we took that walk we lost the trail from the old house/barn foundations homeward. I re-discovered the trail to/from the old house foundation and flagged it with surveyor’s tape and tree blazes so hopefully we can enjoy it this winter when we snowshoe and XC ski.

Holiday Countdown

Friday Kathryn went to Rochester for her HS reunion, staying with Kathy Marsh and returning on Saturday.  Saturday evening we went to Harrod’s Holiday Party.  Sunday I made 84 more fire-starters, fixed squeaky doors, glued the broken kitchen chair and we retrieved the dog house from the woods.  I put a new bottom on the dog house, tore off the roof and put on plywood and new shingles.

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Dakota’s Christmas Cookie

A meticulously decorated cookie by Dakota. It took 15 minutes using a toothpick to position each colored sprinkle.


Pickup Basketball

Saturday Eric organized a pickup basketball game at Trenton Town Park.  The weekend after Thanksgiving Eric, Trevor and I went to Trenton Town Park on Saturday and Eric & I returned again on Sunday.  Both times we mentioned how lucky we were to get another chance to play outdoors with temperatures around 50 degrees.  This past Saturday Eric recruited Trevor, Jon, Dylan and Shane. They were joined by Tom and Morgan for full court games playing from 1 – 2:30pm.

Jockeybush Lake

Matt, Mark, Rick and I were yearning for a trip in the woods and selected an easy trip into Jockeybush Lake for an overnight camping trip.  With temperatures in the mid-40s our hike was pleasant.  Jockeybush Lake is a 1.1 mile hike up a 200′ grade with two small stream crossings.   Access to the trail head  begins across from Lake Alma on Route 10 with parking is adjacent to yellow and brown trail sign. The trail follows a stream ith several small waterfalls that flows from the Jockeybush Lake into West Sacandaga River.

We celebrated seeing a Unicorn – Mark finally participating on a winter camping trip-  we took pictures of the waterfalls on our hike in, and observed a “Joanie loves Chachi” tree carving from a previous trip that went bad.

Hiking In

The south east end of the lake has a log jam across it, allowing one to cross to an area of large, flat rocks.  We used trekking poles for balance and safely crossed dry on the way in.  In the morning on the way out, however, it was a different matter.  The logs were covered with frost and slippery.  Matt got his boots wet at the start of the crossing and then plunged his foot into the water after slipping on the frosty log.

Log Crossing

The view of the lake from this end is wonderful, however we found it devoid of wood and being cooled by winds sweeping down the lake. We followed an unmarked, but easy to follow trail around the north shore of the lake to another camp location where we deployed our various shelters.  I used my Black Diamond 1st Light tent, Matt used his tarptent and Mark and Rick used hammocks; Rick’s 4th attempt and Mark’s 1st use of a hammock for winter camping. Mark added a festive atmosphere by hanging holiday lights around his hammock.

Tenting at Jockeybush Lake

After setting up our tents we gathered firewood for cooking and an extended evening chatting around the fire; one of my favorite aspects of winter camping.  As the wind died down it actually felt a little warmer as the evening went on and we managed to stay up until 9pm before turning in.  Matt and Mark cooked brats on a stick over the open fire.  Rick used his alcohol stove to cook pasta and I boiled water from the lake over my Solo Stove.


The solo stove consists of a main burn chamber, for burning the twigs, and a separate pot stand which a metal ring with three feet and a gap that lets you add twigs and small pieces of wood – roughly finger sized. Rising hot air pulls air through the bottom vent holes. This air movement fuels the fire at its base while also providing a boost of preheated air through the vent holes at the top of the burn chamber. The double wall Solo Stove is a natural convection inverted downgas gasifer stove. The air intake holes on the bottom of the stove channels air to the bottom of the fire while at the same time, channels warm air up between the walls of the stove. This preheated oxygen feeding back into the firebox through the smaller holes at the top of the stove causes a secondary combustion.  There is also a heat shield between the ash pan and the bottom of the stove which protects the ground under the stove from scorching.

This was my 1st time using the Solo Stove which I intended as a winter camping backup stove.  It worked well for one person, boiling 20 oz. of water for my freeze dried dinner in ~10 minutes.  It used 3-4 handfuls of twigs.  For an optimal burn it requires constant feeding, but it burned well with a mixture of dry and damp sticks.  The stove balanced well and I did not feel a need for a separate wind screen.  The usual issues with soot covering your pot exists – just like cooking over any wood fire.


Overnight the temperatures dropped below freezing, causing the lake to freeze over with interesting ice patterns.

Frozen Lake

We encountered “Frost Flowers” on our hike out; something I had never seen before.  These are one of the stranger ice formations found in the woods; crystallofolia  are delicate ice formations that form from water emitted along a stem during a hard freeze in late fall/early winter. From Latin crystallus for ice and folium for leaf these are commonly called “frost flowers” or “feather frost”.

A typical example looks like a small puff-ball of cotton candy, a few inches across, made up of clusters of thin, curved ice filaments.   The petals of frost flowers are very delicate and will break when touched. They usually melt or sublimate when exposed to sunlight and are usually visible in the early morning or in shaded areas.

Frost flowers usually grow on a piece of water-logged wood.  It’s something of a rare find with conditions having to be just so before it will form. The formation of frost flowers is dependent on a freezing weather condition occurring when the ground is not already frozen. The moisture in the plants or dead wood expands when frozen, causing cracks to form in the stem. Water is then drawn through these cracks via capillary action and freezes upon contact with the air. The capillary action pulls moisture up from damp ground which continues to freeze and adds to what’s already frozen there. As more water is drawn through the cracks the thin ice filaments are essentially pushed out from pores in the wood as they freeze.

It’s something of a misnomer to call this frost since it freezes from liquid water, not water vapor. None the less, they were beautiful to see.

Frost Flowers

Thanksgiving 2015

On Wednesday I drove to Albany and picked up Barb and Joe while Kathryn cooked.  We ate our traditional Thanksgiving Eve dinner of pizza.  We ended up making an emergency trip to the RiteAid Pharmacy because Ateria didn’t send all the necessary medications.  Thursday morning Eric played pickup football in the Barneveld Turkey Bowl.  The basic strategy was to have everyone go long and throw the bomb.



Kathryn made a Thanksgiving Dinner that couldn’t be beat.


Accelerate Basketball Team

The boys had a silly picture taken after practice.

Accelerate Basketball Team

Niagara Falls, Water Park, Butterfly Museum

Kathryn took Bella to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls where they played in the water park, visited the falls, and toured the Butterfly museum.   They stayed at a hotel with a package that got them into the Fallsview Waterpark.  It was about a block away  but it was a great deal. They got about 2 1/2 hrs in on Friday night and another 2 1/2 on Saturday. It was a great indoor waterpark; the slides were big enough for us. We counted 8 slides, plus a kids’ section plus tidal wave pool plus outdoor pool. After lunch they went to the butterfly conservatory. They got to walk along the promenade to see the Falls, which Bella hadn’t seen before.  Oh and the black squirrels too :)

2015-11-15 Niagara Falls