Keeping Snowshoe Trails Open

We have received some sizeable snow falls that threatened to obscure our previously made trails. And with the temperatures staying cold we have maintained our snowshoe / XC ski trails with little snow loss. We have about 2+ feet of snow laying on the ground. The deeper snow is nice as it keeps Tripp from running around chasing animal tracks. After a few strides into the deep stuff he usually decides the trail is a better option. Cullen usually tracks last.

We made a new loop, Gary’s Loop, to give us an alternative to our 1 mile dog ‘walk’ and worked to keep a good trail on the Lollipop Loop. Saturday Kathryn and I snow-shoed ~3 miles of the ‘handle’ and left side of the loop (6 -12 clockwise on a clock face). Sunday we completed the clock face (counter clockwise) to finish off the trail. It was a great day for a long snowshoe through the woods.; although Kathryn swapped for her skis for a glide back home.

Covid Vaccine and Adding to the Snowshoe Trails

Kathryn and I got the second Pfizer shot today.  So far, no side effects to mention, knock on wood.  In fact, it doesn’t even hurt as much as it did with the first one.    I hope tonight goes well.  They told us NOT to take ANYTHING (no Tylenol, no aspirin, no nothing) unless you “can’t bear it” and “simply can’t stand it.”  They said that several times, and told us both the same thing.  We don’t want anything to interfere with your immune system response, they said.  We want your immune system to go full bore and do it’s job, they said. 

Eric has been working part time at Olney’s Flowers to help with the Valentine’s Day rush. Eric had his first “slip and slide” on his way to work.  It was precipitating very lightly – freezing rain.  He didn’t make the corner by Edwards Road and got into the icy snowbank but missed the signs.  We pulled him out with the truck.  He said “I braked too late.  Now I realize you need to slow down BEFORE you get into the curve.” I told him “Slow the F###down!” but otherwise no yelling.  Lesson learned, we hope.  Minor damage to the front fender, which popped out a little bit.  Major learning experience, we hope. 

Eric is working again this week T/Th/Fr/Su so I guess they are keeping him on for now – even though he was late to work today! (only 30 minutes, and he said he got teased good for the accident).  He said they were pretty busy today.  Last minute shoppers, I guess. We packed a trail from cookout corner across Gary’s hay field, up through the lane connecting to the “Deer Stand Field”, through the pine woods and connecting with our previous trail to the top of Kirkland’s field. The snow was heavy wet and deep but packed down to make a decent XC trail.

More Snowshoe Trails

Kathryn and I (with an occasional assist by Skip), have worked on what we call our ‘Lollipop Trail’.  This is a ~3.5 mile XC ski and snowshoe trail through the woods across the road.  We started expanding by snowshoes back in mid-January and got it flagged and pretty packed down. Almost to the point where Kathryn said it was a little too slick and fast coming down the hill.

I decided to create a new branch to the trail through my neighbors hay field, up a long wooded lane and crossing a final hayfield to rejoin Lollipop at the point where the candy sucker portion meets the stick.  So I strapped on my gaiters and 10×30 snowshoes and headed out.

The snow was deep.  Too deep.  It was one of those – take 10 steps, pause to reflect why one is doing this, and then take another 10 steps.  I got 2/3ths of the trail done.  What I needed were your super flotation, doubles as bush plane pontoons, super long snow shoes like Matt has.  It was perfect conditions for them.

Going back was easy.  Hopefully, I can complete the trail in the next day or two despite the 6″ of fresh snow we got in the past 24 hours.

Late January 2021 Status

We already have a couple of feet of snow and have another 6 to 8 inches this today.  We have been doing a fair amount of snowshoeing and skiing, just on our property and the neighbor’s land.  It’s nice  not having to drive to go skiing.  We have a HUGE puppy (we calls him “Clifford”) who needs exercise, and so it is best to just use our own trails.  Which are lovely, by the way.

Eric drove to school for the first time today, but fortunately was home not long after the snow started.  A huge milestone, to send the kid off in the car, and a little nerve-wracking. The school administration prefers that kids – at least seniors – not be in the building if they are not in class, and since his last class is a study hall, he just came home.  He is back doing in-person classes because of grades.  The deal was if he was not passing everything, he would return when in-person classes started up again.  He wasn’t, so he is.  He doesn’t like it and insists remote students get more attention than in-person students, but he has not raised a fuss at our insistence on living up to the deal.  Summer school may be in his future; although he may yet pull this out of the fire

They are talking about starting up high risk sports, but Eric says he isn’t going to play basketball.  He has realistically assessed that he is too far out of shape, and even if he made the team just by virtue of having been on it before, he wouldn’t get any playing time.

We got the first dose of our Covid vaccine last Sunday.  Scheduling was tough, we spent the better part of one day trying to get appointments on line.  The system often crashed (too many users) or appointments that were listed as available disappeared during the process (competition from other people).  That evening, Kathryn sat with my computer on my lap and logged in every 15 minutes when Lo! Some local appointments opened up and we nabbed them.  The vaccination sight was at the local SUNY and was extremely well organized.  We have had no reactions other than a sore arm for about 36 hours.  We go back on Valentine’s Day for our second dose.  It has been a huge relief to get the shot.  I know people who haven’t been able to get appointments, although I think things will open up soon.

Our nearest neighbor (across the street) died last week of the virus; she’d been in the hospital with it for 3 weeks.  Her husband, home alone, was very sick.  Kathryn was calling him every day because she was afraid he would get worse, and no one would know.  However, he seemed to pull out of it – two days before his wife died.  Both in their mid 70’s (which no longer seems old to me), both had some chronic health issues but nothing life-threatening.  She had broken her wrist in the autumn which required surgery and she had been in rehab for that; she was discharged and home only a couple days before she developed symptoms.  There seems no doubt she brought the virus home when she was discharged from rehab.  Though we weren’t extremely close, we’ve been neighbors since 1981 and that is a very long time to live across the street from somebody. 

The neighbor next to these folks died in the fall from pancreatic cancer.  She was Kathryn’s age and would occasionally ski together.  Kathryn said to be nice to because the wives around here don’t seem to be doing very well [a feeble attempt at humor]. 

On a more positive note, Kathryn has been swimming quite regularly at the Rome “Y”  and it makes her very happy.  She has played some pickleball there too which has been fun.

Kathryn is in the midst of the very large job of stripping off the wallpaper in the bedroom, which turns out not to have been very “strippable.”  Then to spackle, prime and re-paint/re-wallpaper.  It seems it is taking forever.

The puppy is 90 pounds and is looking quite huge (which is why Jim calls him Clifford).  Kathryn tries to get him out a couple times a day, if only for a mile or so (which is just enough to warm him up, certainly not enough to tire him out).  He is a good dog, though a bit rough with the older dog. 

Snowshoeing January 2021

We finally got a snow base and a couple of inches of new powder made for near ideal snowshoeing conditions. Today Kathryn and I took the dogs and snowshoed a trail to the turn around log. Tripp ran around in the deep snow while Cullen followed along in the packed trail. We managed to get a good trail packed for about 1.5 miles of the lollipop loop.

December Lock Down Activities

We are hanging in, staying home and limiting our exposure.  Eric has been struggling doing remote learning and now HP is going 100% remote for the next 100 days.  He has been accepted at three colleges (Hilbert is his 1st choice (near Hamburg ), HCCC and Canton.)  He played on the HP soccer team a little bit which we supported as it was the only socialization he was doing. On Friday Eric finally had success passing his driver’s license test. A nearly perfect score and he nailed his parallel parking this time.  He is quite proud of himself. He took advantage of his new freedom and drove to an outdoor basketball court where he and 3 friends chatted and played basketball.  We did take out for dinner Friday night and he drove into Holland Patent to pick up our food.

Kathryn has been working with her new dog – a 6 month old, 79 lb, Newfoundland / Golden Retriever cross.  She has been taking Tripp to dog obedience school once a week and they are doing great.  Mainly Tripp gets distracted by people and events near him so Kathryn takes the dog out to socialize and experience new environments. At home, Tripp does the exercises perfectly, but puppy (and owner) struggle with the distractions of multiple dogs/owners in class.  Kathryn is trying to get him out into busy situations, to practice.  A couple classes ago, the dogs were given time to “socialize.”  The next thing , Tripp and two other dogs are tearing around the room and one is growling!  It is Tripp! Mortified, Kathryn separates him.  The instructor does his little assessment thing, bringing each dog to approach the other.  His conclusion: Jennie thinks she is alpha dog and was picking on Willow and Tripp decided to put Jennie in her place.  Tripp is not, he assures, an aggressive dog. 

Kathryn and I are still running every day – either outside or on the treadmill. We have been playing pickleball outdoors when the temperatures are above 45 degrees and it isn’t rainy or windy.  Out of our group of 12 seniors that play there are about 6 die-hards that will show up.

The picture below shows Eric and I cutting our tree, the decorated tree and a centerpiece that Kathryn’s brother sent us.

Walking the Burgine Disc Gold Course

Mark, Matt and some of their friends designed and established a disc golf course on land owned by the county. Mark invited us to visit and walk the newly established course. It was decent weather (for mid-November) and a good opportunity to visit with Mark, his daughters Molly and Kate and sister Jeanne.

Last Home Soccer Game

Shout out to varsity Boys Soccer Seniors (Thomas Breil, Josh Dzeikan, Colby Germond, Dean Kousouros, Eric Muller, Jack Schroth, and Jonathan Tolpa) on their final home game tonight! And what a game it was – HP boys varsity soccer advanced their season record to 7-2 with their 1-0 win against Herkimer. Dylan McQuire got the lone goal and HP senior goalie, Jonathon Tolpa, had six saves for the shut out. Boys Varsity soccer team has two more Away games. Unfortunately, they entered this pandemic season knowing they were not being permitted a championship game and yet – they still played their hearts out, simply for the love of the game!