Garden Wrap Up

Just three artichokes

This year I planted Brussel Sprouts, peas, tomatoes, broccoli, artichokes, pole beans, pumpkins, acorn squash and kale. New this year is the attempt to grow artichokes – I have never tried them before and use of hog panel fence for the pole beans. Cullen ate all the peas. The pole beans were old seeds and never sprouted. I had a minimal return on the acorn squash and kale. We had about 10 medium pumpkins and some cucumbers. I did, however, have a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes – mainly the heritage ones that BillieJo gave me. They were slightly larger than regular cherry tomatoes and had more flavor. We had lots of broccoli all year long. The artichokes grew healthy plants, but only yielded three small buds.

October End of Month Odds and Ends

We have been visiting colleges with Eric.  So far, his favorite is Hilbert College in Hamburg, a small private school started by – you guessed it – the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph.  We visited St. Rose but that wasn’t a good fit.  Eric liked SUNY Canton; HCCC is the “safe bet” school but does have an agreement with Hilbert so he could start at HCCC and transfer.

Eric’s grades this year are promising.  So far, actually very good.  He took one road test and didn’t pass so has his second try at it this week.  He has not been doing much about going to the gym, and basketball tryouts are coming up. 

Jim has been struggling with heart issues (a fib and now also “flutter”) for a few months and is pretty depressed about it, since when his heart is acting up he has zero energy and can’t do anything.  He is scheduled for an ablation on this Thursday and we are hopeful it will resolve the issue. 

On top of that, his company lost a bid for a major contract, and so there is not work for many of the staff in this area.  Jim will be RIF’ed 12/15.  He does not seem ready to retire and is bummed…he really liked his schedule and current job description.  He is talking to a couple of companies.  I figure we will be OK no matter what he decides.  Either he will get ready to retire or he will find something else.  But between his heart and this, he is not in a good mood.

Kathryn returned from 10 days in Utah for a seniors’ tournament.  Her team sucked big time – even worse than last year, and they were already describing themselves as “not very good” when she joined them then.  It was quite demoralizing; we sometimes looked like the 3 Stooges (only 6).  The good news is they treat Kathryn like a rock star because she can move and they can’t.  But she didn’t have much fun playing with them.  However, she managed to take some significant hikes : up Cassidy Arch in Capital Reef National Monument, to Zebra Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase/ Escalante National Monument, Navajo Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park, Angel’s Landing Trail in Zion National Park, Trail of Sleeping Rainbows in Utah Petrified Wood State Park, Anasazi Petroglyph Trail in a local park.  So it wasn’t a totally wasted trip.

Billie Jo just had a “Haunted Campground” day at their place, so Kathryn went out there to help out this past weekend.  She is having some health problems, most likely due to Lyme Disease.

I have no idea what is likely to happen at Thanksgiving here.  However, Kathryn has booked tickets for her, Billie Jo and Dakota to go to Seattle the first week of January.  That should be fun.

Ablation, Again

Since July I have been plagued with irregular heart rhythms: Atrial Fibrillation and Atrial Flutter. Medication helped for a while, but the re-occurrence increased until it was a daily event by late September. We scheduled an ablation for the end of October. I checked in early Thursday morning, endured a 3+ hour surgery and spent a day in recuperation. This was my 3rd ablation – the last one (a mini-maze procedure) was effective for 11 years. Dr. Berg cautioned there would be a ‘settling in’ period. Hopefully, this will facilitate a return to activities I enjoy.

SCS 1971

Schoharie Central School class of 1969 held their 50th year reunion and along with a planned parade (rained out) and formal dinner, they had a “Meet & Greet” for all class years. The class of 1971 was represented by Susan, Mike, Ellen, Margo and Martha, in the front row. Bob, Jim, Bruce, Darlene and Claudia in the back row. We started plans for our 50th year celebration.

Mowing the Pasture

The pasture didn’t get mowed this year. The beginning of the summer was too wet, and then I had some health issues, followed by the need to get firewood cut and stored. Finally in September I mowed the lot just south of our house and a couple of looping trails around the outer boundary of the horse pasture. Below are the before and after pictures.

College Visits

We have a series of colleges we plan to visit now that Eric believes he wants to pursue Criminal Scene Investigation as a major. We visited NYS colleges including St. Rose in Albany and Hilbert in Hamburg.

We had a decent trip out to Hamburg to visit Hilbert College.  It felt like a long drive though it was under 4 hours, even stopping for a quick dinner.    Hilbert college is a very small (950 students) college founded by the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, which I is a cross between the Franciscans and the St. Josephs, same Sisters of St. Joseph who founded St. Rose in Albany.  While St. Rose seems to have distanced itself from their origins, Hilbert embraces them.  Though there are no nuns on staff (except as something of an advisory “CEO” ish kind of position), there is still an emphasis on Charity, social consciousness, community, character foundation.   It impacts the curriculum some in that everybody has to do 10 hours of community service before you can graduate.  Being small, they emphasized how they know every student by name.   Eric said he liked the CSI program.  Most of the instructors worked in the field, and apparently still have strong connections.  We heard a lot about internships and employers coming on campus and seeking out Hilbert graduates and a 96% post graduate placement rate.  The dorm rooms were HUGE and doubles have their OWN BATHROOMS! It seems very unlikely there is a drug problem on campus.  On the down side, it is about 50% commuters, which means the campus was VERY quiet on Saturday.  

Next up are SUNY Canton, Herkimer Community College, SUNY Morrisville and Alfred.

Painter Returns

This afternoon I heard Cullen barking with his “I have a snake or something unusual: treeing bark. It was a painted turtle who had left our pond and was trapped against the dog fence. I brought the turtle inside and offered her (I think) a large night crawler. When Eric and Kathryn got home I showed them the turtle – which I believe is the correct size to be our previous Painted Turtle, Painter. She looked healthy and we decided to return her to the pond.

A close up of Painter.
Painter returning to our pond.

The Back Story about Painter.

Last week Barb and Joe found a Eastern Painted Turtle hatch ling – probably only 2-3 days old.   He was tiny and likely destined as a food source.  They asked Eric to raise the turtle until he was a little older and had a better chance at survival.  Eric named the turtle Painter and after a copy of fretful days he/she has started to eat.  Painter ignored the fruit: blueberries and strawberries but took tiny bites of soaked dog food and a bite of an orange.  Yesterday while Kathryn was working home alone she said she could hear the faintest sound of smacking and looked to see Painter eating a mouthful of dog food.

In the picture above Painter is in ‘basking’ mode.  At night Painter hides under the vegetation. May 16th, 2008


Painter, the baby painted turtle, was confined to a large tub in the basement where he happily dug into the mud and hibernated until this past week.  The mud in his tub dried up and he awoke to investigate the problem.  After re-hydrating his ‘pond’ and covering him with a damp cloth Painter dug in somewhat and went back to his snooze.  We will continue to monitor his slumber and plan for his move to warmer floors within the house. February 11th, 2009 |


Our painted turtle, Painter, has quite an appetite and has been visibly growing.  He prefers fish worms to almost all other food and will eat them from a hand if you move slow and dangle the fish worm where he can see it.  A measure of his growth is evident in the wide light gray areas between the scutes on his carapace.

July 1st, 2009

Kathryn’s 2nd Solo Canoe Camping Trip

Kathryn completed her second-ever Solo (+dog) canoe camping trip. Positioning a 100lb dog can make one a little nervous especially if she won’t lay down in the canoe, but other than that she was a perfect companion for 24 hours of wilderness and quiet. Kathryn had a fabulous time and pledges to do this more often. Jim and Eric came up today for lunch and escorted us back.

AFRL RIEB 2006 Staff

Amish Horse Collapse

Thursday night I picked up Eric from playing basketball at the open gym. On our way home we saw a horse and buggy way ahead of us and I commented to Eric that they were going a fast clip. We began to catch up just before our four corners and I noticed my speedometer tracking between 20 – 25 mph. As we caught up the horse and buggy swerved into the left lane and then made a sharp turn back into the right lane. The horse fell. We pulled our car over to the side, turned on the emergency flashers and I asked Eric to watch and signal to any approaching traffic. The horse refused ignored the urges of the young driver and remained down, sweating profusely with rapid breathing. I helped unhook the horse from the buggy and rolled it back out of the way. The horse remained down and a small pool of blood was forming under his mouth; the horse was biting his tongue. The driver said the horse had been running away with him and indicated this wasn’t the 1st time he had done so. A pickup truck approached with man who asked how long the horse had been down and if he had been drugged or gotten into green apples. He tried to calm the breathing of the horse by slightly constricting his nostrils. After about 10 minutes the horse stood up – unsteady and still sweating and panting. The horse was led to a nearby house to get water. Eric and I left.