Author Archives: Jim Muller

Chipping the Catalpa Trees

We dropped the two Catalpa trees before they started leafing out. Then it was a matter of trimming limbs and blocking up the trunks; about a day a piece for Kathryn and I. I split the large chunks by hand. I broke up the sessions up with the 2nd tree to reduce the strain on my lower back. It also helped that I used the second stump as a splitting platform. Eric transported the roughly two face cord of wood to the shed. Then we resurrected wood chipper. We had to clean out mouse nest and clear the chutes, but it worked great once we had it going. The branches we chopped into small chips which are destined for the trails across the road.

Losing the Catalpa Trees

What a warm, beautiful day, I cut weeds on the pond dam so that we can walk across and view the damage. I used to be able to drive the tractor and brush hog across the dam, but the dam is unstable due to settling, flooding and / or muskrats. Eric and I fertilized all the fruit trees. Kathryn worked on weeding the peonies and then we dropped the two Catalpa Trees. These trees are over 20 years and came from Fran Skelly’s home.

Garden is Ready for Take Off

I started a lot of plants in doors; 4 varieties of tomatoes, broccoli, egg plant, watermelon, and artichoke. In the next week I will move the plants outdoors into a DIY green house to harden up before being planted in the garden. I began to prep the garden by hoeing the garden in phases. It took a3-4 sessions to turn it all over and get it ready for planting. Today I planted some cool weather items: spinach, Swiss Chard and peas. Eric has turned into a spinach eating machine so I am hopeful to get multiple plantings. The Swiss Chard was a gift from BillieJo – I never tried it before. The peas are left overs from previous years, so I am not confident of germination – last year Cullen ate all the peas as soon as they were ready.

Coping With Isolation

We have been very cautious about interacting with others. We try to fill our days with a combination of work (Jim working part time and Kathryn finalizing tests and grades at her last Utica College class, projects, exercise and play. Our projects have included: cutting firewood, planting 50 white spruce trees and 10 Elderberry bushes, starting garden plants, moving a daffodil bed, mowing the lawn – with a flat tire after 1 hour and refinishing a wooden stool that I inherited from my dad.

Kathryn has been doing the most exercise with a daily run using our lollipop xc ski trail to log a run of almost 3 miles every day. Jim’s jog is a much shorter 8/10s of a mile.

To keep us entertained we have played a modified pickleball in our garage, played various card games, held a virtual game night with family friends, watched an assortment of birds coming to our feeder and experimented with a trail camera.

Atrial Flutter

The end of October I had a cardiac ablation to cure my Atrial Fibrillation which was effective from January until the end of April when I developed a related Atrial Flutter.  In atrial flutter, one’s heart’s upper chambers beat too quickly. This causes the heart to beat in a fast, regular rhythm.  Atrial flutter is similar to atrial fibrillation however, the rhythm in the left upper chamber is more organized and less chaotic in atrial flutter than are the abnormal patterns common with atrial fibrillation

After 12 days of recurring Atrial Flutter I had a (successful, we hope) electrical cardioversion.  70 joules of electric current was used to reset the heart’s rhythm back to its regular pattern (normal sinus rhythm). I had a patch applied to my back which I assume was a “ground” and when I woke up I had a rectangular “brand” slightly smaller than a playing card evident on my chest and back. While electrical cardioversion is effective at converting the heart back into normal sinus rhythm, it has a low success rate in keeping it there.. When atrial fibrillation has been present for more than five years, success rates are only approximately 50%.  Keeping my fingers crossed and in addition to sustaining from alcohol I have now added caffeine to the list.

We Saw Painter!

Barb and Joe gave us Painter in May of 2008; 12 years ago. We kept him all summer and winter feeding him primarily fish worms until he was fat. We released him in the pond by our house the summer of 2009. Last fall we (or honestly Cullen) found Painter on the lawn and we returned her (we think Painter is a she). The picture was taken when we released her last September.

Yesterday Kathryn and I were planting Elderberries on the bank of the pond when we paused to look for fish cruising in the pond. I saw one large catfish, but even better we spied Painter swimming. She looked graceful – like a big green sea turtle. I read that Painted Turtles can have a life expectancy of 25-30 years – very cool, eh?
We put the tree planting shovel to good use yesterday planting 10 Elderberry bushes and 50 white spruce trees. The planting shovel is ideal because it has a narrower blade than a regular shovel and that’s important because we are planting in very rocky ground and the fewer rocks encountered the better. We have been planting trees for many years – the large spruce trees on the west side of the house were planted by Ed and I and are now 30+ feet tall. But I think we are running out of places to put additional trees. Most of the plantings this year were replacement trees for previous plantings that failed.

Obituary for Dr. Charles Joseph Waring

Dr. Charles Joseph Waring was born in Ballston Spa, NY, on September 11, 1933, to Charles Raymond and Aileen (Shaeffer) Waring. He passed away peacefully at the age of 86 from natural causes at the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Center in Albany, NY, on April 13, 2020.
He graduated from Saratoga Springs High School in 1951. He proudly served as a medic in the United States Army, in France, before earning his BS in Geology from Harpur College of Binghamton University. Following a year of additional study at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, he returned to New York in 1961 and began his teaching career as a high school science teacher in Schoharie Central School. In 1965, he was awarded a Master of Science in Education from The State University of New York in Oneonta. In 1966, he began a 25-year teaching career as a professor in the physical science department of Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) in Glassboro, NJ. During his tenure there, he earned his Doctor of Education from The University of South Carolina. Also, he was a
founding member of the New Jersey Marine Consortium.
After his retirement, he moved back to New York and married Barbara Muller (Waring). He later became active in volunteering as a member of the Duanesburg Ambulance Corps. in Duanesburg, NY, and as a guide for the Aviation Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY. 
He is predeceased by his brothers, Douglas and Winston Waring. Surviving are his wife, Barbara Waring, of 28 years, his sisters, A. Patricia Kohn, and Nancie Tyler, and sister-in-law, Judy Waring. Also, he leaves behind 3 sons, Charles Cabot Waring (Stacey) and their children Andrew and Melissa; Clayton (Linda) and their daughter Lydia; and Christian and his sons,
Christian and Nathan. He is also survived by Lodema DuBois Jenkins, the mother of his children, as well as several beloved nieces and nephews. 
A private graveside ceremony for family only will be held at Greenridge Cemetery in Saratoga Springs, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that a donation be made to the Nature Conservancy at Arrangements under the direction of the Tunison Funeral 105 Lake Ave. Saratoga Springs NY 12866. Online remembrances can be made at

Trillium and Cardinals

We have several cardinals feeding during the winter and this spring we had a female cardinal attacking her reflection in our windows. Despite the cold weather we put screens on our windows and patio doors in an attempt to reduce the number of reflections.

Also depicted are my initial seed beds and the first trillium of the spring.

Isolation Activities

During our lock down we have mixed work responsibilities with increased TV time, work out routines and home projects. Our home projects include:

  • Painting Eric’s bedroom
  • Took chains off tractor and unhooked snowblower (never used this winter)
  • Cleared painting supplies and hardware from basement shelving, cleaned and re-stocked
  • Started 43 garden seeds: 4 varieties of tomatoes (Roma, Early Girl, Heritage cherry and regular), broccoli, artichoke, watermelon, egg plant
  • Waterproofed raincoats
  • Eric held a telecon with Hilbert College Forensic Science / CSI faculty
  • We had a video conference with Hilbert admissions to discuss acceptance criteria
  • Got the basketball hoop up and played a couple game of horse
  • Changed the water in the hot tub
  • Cut firewood from fallen fence line ash tree
  • Took a run – 1st in years
  • Tick-proofed a subset of clothing we wear for wood cutting or trail hikes

Finish to Eric’s Painting Project

For the past week of isolation Eric Muller (17) has been painting his bedroom with a theme of his favorite NBA basketball team – The Phoenix Suns. This entailed white ceiling paint and multiple colors on the walls: gray, purple and orange. Additionally LED lighting and a Fathead logo decorated the walls. Multiple images show more of the visual impact one encounters upon entering the room. Today we move his furniture back.