The three days following Thanksgiving were unbelievably warm. Temperatures in the mid-50s and low 60s. The days dawned sunny and clear. On Sunday morning two deer grazed below the pond as the sun came up.
Saturday we had a cookout and saw an ermine that was living in our wood pile.
Saturday I picked up our lawn mower and managed to mulch leaves and mow the lawn.
I got multiple coats of waterproofing on the pine stair in the garage leading to the camping room.
I managed to open up the deck on the south side of the house for the dog to use in bad weather. We had to close off some potential escape avenues.
Last week my tractor blew hydraulic fluid all over. It took 3+ gallons to get a minimum reading, but at least my power steering is back. I put the double link chains on – always a heavy chore.
Previously Eric had been in conversation with Trevor about hunting and ended up chipmunk hunting, to no avail. This past weekend when Trevor visited he brought his hunting bow and extra arrows. Before they left the house to go hunting Kathryn teased them by saying she would return the burgers and hot dogs to the freezer if they were going to be getting meat.
After a short talk about hunter safety I accompanied the boys on their chipmunk hunt. After 45 minutes with no success we were stalking our way back when the two boys isolated a chipmunk in a small apple tree. Trevor’s shot struck it’s target and he was ecstatic, yelling “I got it! I got it!”. They returned home proudly carrying the chipmunk and informed Kathryn they brought home lunch for our cookout.
Kathryn told them she wouldn’t clean it so we headed outside where Trevor gutted the chipmunk and a group effort got it skinned. We washed it out and took it over to Cookout Corner where it got grilled and eaten. The boys ate ‘drumsticks’ and pronounced them as ‘filling’ and ‘tasting like chicken’.
Afterwards a short game of “I Doubt It” was held on the tent platform.
I have long been planning on building a tent platform at cookout corner. I planned on re-using the pressure treated lumber from the east side deck after it was removed due to re-modeling. There were two 12′ beams made of 3 2×8’s nailed together; lots of 2×8’s for joists and an assortment of decking boards of various lengths. I pulled nails and sorted the wood out by size and dimension.
I bought 8″ concrete blocks for footings along with joist hangers and nails. I decided on the 8″ blocks because I wanted the front of the platform to be raised enough to serve as a seat. It took one evening session to clear an area to the west of and in front of the fire pit and get the frame roughly level.
We had an afternoon cookout on Saturday following Eric’s and Trevor’s soccer game. It was a good opportunity to fasten the frame together, tweak the footings and hang the joists. I managed to get the frame roughly level.
I spent 5 hours on Sunday nailing down the re-cycled decking boards. The platform is 12’1″ in width and I pre-cut 10 boards that went on quickly. After that the work went a little slower as I had to cut two boards to span the width.
The finished platform is a little over 12′ by 12′ and suitable for overnights and some winter camping. A little work remains to bolster the footings.
Hip Replacements. There has been a lot of press about FDA requiring analysis of metal on metal hip replacements due to concerns of metal wear and/or metal leakage into the blood stream. I had been experiencing a slight burning sensation in my left thigh. I have been concerned about playing volleyball (3xs/week) and it had been a few years since I had my hips checked so I scheduled a check up with Dr. Zahn. They took lots of Xrays. Dr. Zahn was really happy to see that bone wall has actually grown thicker where the tapered pin encounters my thigh bone. It is very healthy bone mass. The burning session seems to be due to a pulled ligament; treatable by over the shelf medications. A reassuring visit.
Garden. We have been eating asparagus 2-3x a week. I have a row of peas that we are just starting to eat. I recently planted a 2nd row that I expect will be ready to eat the end of July. The end of June I will rip out the row we just started to eat and do one more planting that we will be able to eat in Sept. I planted 12 tomato plants. I tried starting some from seed, but started too late, so I ended up buying transplants. I have cucumbers, yellow wax beans and some acorn squash. I am trying pole beans for the 1st time. Supposedly the vines grow to 12′ so I have this 9′ teepee structure in the garden for them to climb. It looks awesome and the beans are coming up nicely. In theory it allows a lot of plants in a condensed space. We will see. I planted brussel sprouts. Last year I did transplants and they were fantastic late growers. This year I did seeds, but they have come up yet. I will give them one more week and then I will try to find some replacements.
Frankfort AYSO Soccer Tournament. I took a team of 8 boys to participate in the U8 tournament in Frankfort. There were 5 teams: 2 from Holland Patent, Frankfort, Mohawk and Ilion. The tournament ran from 1am-2pm. We played all other four teams. We opened with a 4-2 loss to Frankfort. I don’t think the boys were ready for the intensity of the other players and I was unfamiliar with a couple of players and may not have had optimal line-ups in play. We had two quick goals scored against us before the team got going and pretty much played them even up from then on. We blew out the next team 9-1 with Dylan going crazy scoring – they had no match for his speed. We scored big again in our 3rd game and then broke for a 30 minute lunch break. In our final game we played the other HP team and needed a win to secure 1st or 2nd place. We were down 0-2 in the 1st half and according to Thomas “it was a disaster!”. I told the kids to keep their heads up and play hard. We rallied to a tie, and ended up in 3rd place in the tournament.
1st row: Charlie, Kalib, Thomas. 2nd row: Ryan, Trevor, Eric, Dylan, Sawyer. 3rd row: Jim.
Cookout. After the tournament Trevor stayed at our house and we had our 1st cook out of the year at cook out corner. Kathryn and I checked out the wet spots in Kirkland’s pasture to assess when I could brush hog the perimeter. On our hike back we played a modified ManTracker. The boys tried to ambush us from the hay pasture and we managed to get ahead of them and ambush the kids on the return trip.
Bella’s Birthday. Sunday afternoon we drove to Syracuse and met Ed, Phoenix and Izzabella for a late lunch at Hoffman’s Hothouse. Afterwards we went to a park where Eric and Bella played, Phoenix showed off his latest codes and we chatted with Ed. We had Carvel ice cream and returned home.
Lacrosse. Eric is signed up for youth lacrosse this summer. He and I practiced throwing and catching in the backyard for him to get the feel of the stick.