Stay Wild, Friends

Mini horses by the stream.

Feeling a bit accomplished today. Last night I created a list of everything that I wanted to get through today and I’m pleased to say that I accomplished most of them. I watered the trees (and discovered that the two out front that we placed lights on are white spruce trees), went for a lunch time walk, took a trip to the ATM, did a load of laundry, watched a couple of early season 1 episodes of Hunter (those are so ridiculous and don’t follow the next 6 seasons – they changed it up after season 1, and after watching some of these I’d say that was a very smart move).

I also wanted to grill some burgers today so I did that just a little after 1 pm, when the sun was sparking and it felt the warmest of the entire day.

One thing that I forgot about doing all these lights is when one goes out. I needed to replace a couple already for the icicle lights in the sunroom but now I noticed tonight one of the reindeer is totally out, which is weird because he was totally fine last night. Guess I’ll try to take a alook at it tomorrow.

I got LD’s 8mm from the basement that must have been her dad’s or grandfather’s up and running and we watched some of whatever the heck was on those reels. All still in working condition and with the original box! We got to see her dad when he was 12 swimming in Florida with his family before there was an Interstate at a place called Cypress Gardens and her mom with a big bouffant hairdo with her dad years later for their prom! LD appreciated me figuring it out and working the machine. 🙂 I was happy to do it, I’ve been getting into old tech lately.

The Little Things to Lift a Depression

Started using this “Happy Light” lamp that LD bought to help with my Seasonal Affective Disorder. Hard to tell but I think it might actually be working – especially on these downcast morning cloudy days.

I think we’re sick of turkey now, pretty much made everything you could with it over the past few days: turkey soup, turkey pot pie, turkey enchiladas, yadda yadda yadda. The garlic clove I planted is growing like wildfire – guess the little thing likes it’s new digs, got three leave sprouts shooting skyward. It resides on a windowsill by my computer along with his buddy, the aloe plant (also doing well), and some rocks and shells we’ve collected from our beach outings this year.

Today was also the day for putting up and out all the holiday decorations. I got the lighted automated reindeers all set up on the front lawn and we also adorned the two spruces out front with some colored lights. I hung the lighted wreath up on the front door and we then worked together to put up the xmas tree and get the lights around that. Tring to get all the timers to be set to the proper times. Added add all the ornaments later in the evening. I placed one ornament on the real baby pine tree that we are growing outside in the back. I think this is the earliest we ever put everything up!

Starting the Light Ups

Started hanging some holiday lights late this afternoon. A bunch of lighted trees to adorn the pathway out front, which will also be with the automated reindeer that goes out every year. I haven’t got around to them yet, but hope to before the week is out. Also hung some icicle lights inside the sun room and some adorning the big picture window that looks out onto the patio. I also still need to hang the lighted wreath and bring up the Xmas tree.

We’re getting a jump on it a little early this year you might say. We even already ate most of our turkey, seeing as we cooked it last Saturday. An interesting story in and of itself as to why. Ask and I’ll tell, otherwise I’ll keep mum about it.

Also thanks to whoever bought some coasters featuring my shot of Scituate Light from my shop! Always nice to get a sale!

Tonight’s movie watch is High Fidelity. Figure we’ll watch that and then catch a couple of 48 Hrs episodes left on the DVR. Also every day I try to catch at least one Hunter episode. Working my way through those.

Put a Nickel in the Jukebox Baby

Celebrating National Jukebox Day today.

Today’s National Jukebox Day so I figured I’d reiterate a little history of the one that we have serving court in the sitting room across from the fireplace and add some things from last time out.

It’s not one of the super expensive famous Wurlitzer’s but it gets the job done. This particular model is from a company called Rowe/AMi and it dates to 1982. (Hey, around the same time I was playing basketball with my friend from the previous entry! Man, life is weird.) We actually found this one on Craigslist (this was during a period when I was searching for random things for a man cave – it’s also how we obtained a Foosball table, air hockey table, and an authentic full size Ms. Pacman arcade machine – each one with stories for another day, especially the foosball with the kid having the climb the walls to a window to get back inside his building). I’m not sure now what made us decide to get a jukebox in the first place, perhaps just really feeling nostalgic at the time. Anyways, this guy Dave in Braintree wanted to part with it, so we got it. We were able to haggle him down a little bit from the price he originally wanted. I think he said it was from his mom’s house or something when he was growing up but since was sitting in the garage for a while taking up space. That’s the thing about these machines – they’re actually pretty large. In getting it home we actually had to get movers to move it because it weighs so much – all that mechanical workings are pretty heavy – also due to the nature of the innards they had to be very careful not to jostle it too much because it could get cranky. One thing out of place by just a smidge and it gets messed up. It came with the records as well but I think we replaced most of the selections he had in there, as they weren’t to our particular tastes. I think LD needs to take a picture of herself dancing in front of the machine while wearing a poodle skirt someday.

It only holds 200 45 RPM LPs. Part of what we like to do is search bargain bins or antique stores once in a while to pick up some. It’s a crap shoot on the quality because a scratched record can ruin the experience, but overall we’ve been pretty lucky, and they’re actually pretty cheap. There’s a antique place in New Hampshire down the road from where we’ve done baby goat yoga that has never let us down in selection or quality. You can also buy some online from some reputable retailers. And yes, an iPod or your cellphone can hold and stream thousands of songs but we like the nostalgia of actually having a real jukebox. It’s always fun having friends over that can dance along it front of it with us, hopefully we can do that again once the pandemic is over. Most of our selections are from the 80s, but we also have 70s and older stuff. LD has a whole collection of records from her mom and dad when they were younger and those are great, and in great condition too. Every so often, in a need of change, I’ll swap out some records and their labels with new songs and get those into the rotation. We finally created a database in Google Docs to keep track of what we have in there, what’s in storage, and their condition, so that when we go browsing again someday we’ll know what we have and what to look for.

It has an electronic selector – you just type the number that corresponds to the number on the song you want to play (I created all the labels myself – there’s an awesome free website where you type in your stuff and customize the look and then you can print them out, cut them to size, and insert them). There’s a mini-computer in this one that supposedly keeps track of what songs were played the most, etc. but I could never figure out how it actually works – I need to look into that a little bit more. Speaking of, when I have the top open, it’s kind of cool to actually see the robot arm select the record you’ve chosen, grab it, and place it on the turntable. Then the needle comes over and places itself on the disc, and the tunes start flowing from the speakers, which are VERY LOUD if turned all the way up. It’s currently set to free play but the coin mech is all there and can be set to accept coins for play, it defaults to 25 cents per song.

Hopefully, it will never need service, because most of folks who actually know how to repair these things are in their late 80s or no longer working!

You might be wondering about the décor around the machine. The large hanging 45 over the machine on the wall was a pick from someplace in Maine on the way back from a trip I believe. An antique dealer dealing in kitsch and stuff. He didn’t really want to part with it but he eventually gave it up. The round mat in front of the machine is a personalized gift I got for LD and me. The label has our nicknames on it with the heading “Making music since 2008”, the year we met.

Basketball Dreams of a Little Kid from Somerville

Future Celtic basketball stars

I was going through some old photos and came upon this gem of me and my best friend at the time shooting some hoops in my back yard. I was so small! Almost seems like my head is smaller than the ball! I’m the same age as the other kid in this photo and he was just average, not tall or anything. Not quite sure why or how I had that somewhat large Chevrolet cap on my head. Also not sure how we played with that Dodge Dart parked in the yard as well, must have made 3-point shots a little tricky.

The bulb arrived at Earth-1 today but I’ll install it next week. Maybe I’ll be able to see my basketball prowess in action.

Getting Over the Hump

Trying to get over the hump, in more ways than one.

Finished replacing all the knobs on the kitchen cabinets. Pretty good makeover – funny how just a little touch like that can make it look like thousands for just a fraction of the cost. Rest of the day was more or less just trying thinking about to hang it there, just doing things around the house after the torrential rains stopped.

Hanging with Tucker

City boy meets country.

Started the day off with cooking some sides to go with our early turkey preps. I prepared the squashes, apples, and parsnips for roasting and baking. The apples were for the apple crisp desert. After that was done we headed to Home Depot to pick up some more knobs for the cabinets and some xmas icicle lights which we plan on putting up later in the week.

After that we did some sanctuary time where Tucker came over to me and we got to bond a little bit. LD hung with a cat that just wouldn’t leaver her side and the goats, as per usual. We also picked up some new calendars while we were there sales of them help support the animals, a yearly thing we’ve been doing since they started it in 2018.

Finished off the evening doing a Zoom gathering with the nephews and niece and made gratitude turkeys, a craft where you cut out shapes and form a turkey. On the feathers you write something you are grateful for. That was fun and actually went pretty well. After that I cooked up some shrimp before it went bad to use in a scampi for tonight (don’t worry – not done with the turkey dishes just yet) and just relaxed into Sunday night.

Here’s some more pictures from the weekend:

Making the Most of a Day

I followed my heart and it lead me to the beach.

Stupid embeds on Instagram don’t work anymore because they changed the API (thanks again Facebook for screwing more things up) so you’ll just need to click this link and watch to see some of my work that made the local news:

Did a little yard work this morning – finishing cleaning up the last of the fallen oak leaves from the yard and by the gutter spouts and other areas such as the patio where they clump up that had been bugging me over the last couple of days. Thankfully this should be the last of it as most of trees back here look pretty bare now. Also did some generous watering of the baby sourwood and pine trees. Really want those to do well. Maybe it’s me but I think the pine is actually growing already, it definitely has little pine cones starting to grow out of it in various places. You need to give them 10-15 gallons of water daily ideally which is a lot but I’m doing what I can. I also planted a garlic clove in a pot in the house just for fun and it’s already got two green sprouts shooting up from the dirt. This one is more of just a fun experiment for myself just to see it grow.

We hit Rexhame Beach in the early afternoon for some exercise, sun and nature time, especially since today is the last nice warmish day especially this late into November. It’s also the best beach for it’s selection of colorful and special looking rocks, at least in my opinion. It’s where I found my heart rock – a one in a billion find if you ask me and I feel very lucky to have found it. It currently sits on the windowsill next to a table where I do my web work.

The aforementioned heart shaped rock find of my lifetime.

We collected a bunch more rocks for our collections – a colorful selection of geology to adorn the windowsills.

Finally it was off to cook a turkey – we had defrosted it a little too early and today was the last day it would keep until cooking and so in it went. I basted it every 45 minutes until the bird was done. I think we did a pretty good job, not everyday we cook a whole bird. Needless to say we’ll be eating turkey all week and making various meals out of it. So we’re a little early, NBD!

Missing the Teenage Years

Scituate Light in the sun.

Well I ended up purchasing that bulb anyway, figured what the hell, should arrive by next week sometime so then I’ll be able to continue to maybe catch some more glimpses of my very young self. For some reason I can’t seem to find many photographs of me as a youngster although I know they exist somewhere. You won’t find many photos of me in my teenage years however because back then I never wanted to be in any photos and would always shun away from them. Then one day my attitude changed on all that when I realized I should capture moments from my own history for remembrances. Taking photos is much easier nowadays as well.

Me and Me

Ended the day by cooking some filet mignon steaks and some marinated chicken outside on the grill while catching up on some DVR’d shows.

A Cold Day for Old Things

Gooseberry Island (click for larger version – it’s worth it)

Looking through some older photos I took this year and played around with this one from the time we visited Gooseberry a couple of months ago. Sometime in the future I would like to just spend the day there exploring all the terrain and rocky shoreline. Maybe next spring.

General consensus is that this particular 8mm bulb I’m looking for does still exist, but the vendors I found that carry it want a hundred bucks for it. Not sure if I’d be willing to spend that much for such a little bulb, but then I think to myself, can I put a price on watching the memories? I know there’s places that will convert the old film to transfer to CDs and other media and whatnot, but like some old codger I’ve come to actually like to putter with these old technologies. I mean, all the songs in our jukebox times ten can all fit on a tiny microchip, but there’s just something about the couple hundred pounds of mechanical behemoth that appeals to me.

I feel it was really too cold to do much of anything today dealing with the outside. I’ve started reading a book on the iPad that LD got through the library so that’s my current read: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary Trump. Nice family and childhood, no wonder the guy’s whacked. Also would someone please tell him the train has already left the station. Pul-eeeze!

The Day the Bulb Blew Out

Headed over to Earth-1 today and ended up catching at least some of the old 8mm films. Unfortunately after going through about 6 of them, the 60 year old bulb finally blew. Figures, I just recently marveled to myself about how long this thing lasted the last time I played around with it a few weeks ago. It had the original bulb in there still and seeing as the earliest films date to the early 1960s the bulb has to be at least 57 years old! They don’t build them like that anymore! 2020 just keeps on rolling. Guess I might try to search the net to see if I can find a replacement but it’ll be hard and I’ve no intention of spending a lot. The important thing is that the rest of the tapes were found in the basement of all places. One thing I did notice while watching what I could, was me as a kid, and my grandparents (which made me well up a bit) but especially the fact that looking at the backgrounds everything was all dilapidated and run down.

It made me realize that we really didn’t have much, but that we were happy.

“The Year’s Last Loveliest Smile”

A lone heron sits watch between the autumn trees.

You never know what you’re going to find, or what’s going to find you. After going to Wellesley to pick up some things, we ended up taking a side street that paralleled a waterway. LD headed down the street which ended basically in someone’s driveway, but as we turned around she caught sight of this heron just hanging around. So I jumped out and took a few snaps, and this is what we saw. Must be pretty nice to live at a location where scenes like this are basically at the end of your driveway! On the way back we also discovered a forest in Natick and went for a hike where we saw some majestic pine trees and a nesting swan couple. The pine trees made us think of what our little guy we planted could turn into someday decades from now, quite impressive to be sure. We also collected some leaves from the ground because for some reason these looked like some of the biggest maple leaves we have ever seen, and they were this cool green and yellow color. We’re flattening them out now. We were also feeling pretty accomplished after climbing up a somewhat large hill but the view looking down from above was worth it. We never knew a place of this majesty is just a block from a Route 9 intersection. Going to have to go back there and explore it some more in the future. Also there was hardly anyone there today which was also nice.

Wondering About Lost History

I remember my grandparents up in their attic had this old machine which I always thought was cool because it had this big microphone which was wired into it. It played 78 records but it also recorded on them. It was basically a machine where you could make your own recordings on blank 78rpm records. It must have been from the 1940s or so I imagine. I remember it never worked, at least since I was a child. But it must have worked at one time. I wish they had kept it and the records. I remember it had these big vacuum tubes in the back too, probably impossible to get parts for such a machine nowadays, plus where would you get blank 78rpm vinyls to record on? The needle arm and the turntable looked like they were made out of lead or some other really strong metal material and always looked rusted. I remember hacking it up finally a few decades back because it was just taking up too much room. I feel bad about that now.

“But in that moment I understood what they say about nostalgia, that no matter if you’re thinking of something good or bad, it always leaves you a little emptier afterward.”

Even if I couldn’t get it to work it would be a cool piece of nostalgia and possibly a conversation piece. The back piece was missing so you could look inside and I remember seeing those two large tubes which were probably burnt out by that time. I think it also had a radio tuner on the front. I tried googling around to see if I could find the machine but nothing I saw looked like the one that I remember. Might have been some sort of Stomberg Carlson model. The saddest part to me are the recordings themselves. I wonder what was said on them. Sadly, those are now also long gone. It would’ve been cool to hear what was said, even if nothing earth shattering.

I got to thinking about this after seeing some videos from some vinyl collectors and it must have jarred my memory. Also I found out that the “lost” family 8mm tapes have been found, so I’m planning on going over them next week sometime. Hoping to find some gems of my younger self in them.

A Morning Photoshoot

The calendar folks came down this morning and I did my little photo shoot with me posing by the shot I took that was selected. They were supposed to come on Monday but scheduling and all, so this morning it was done. I imagine I’ll be on their social media and advertising at some point, so I’ll be looking out for that. Then I got back into my everyday clothes because we had the last of the planting to do. We are hurting puppies right now for all the digging and watering and mulching (another trip to Depot!), but finally the last of the tulips, muscari, another rose bush and a Japanese holly are in the ground. The pine tree and sourwoods require a lot of watering so I’ve been out there daily drenching them.

Gametime: Slimoban II. Fun little puzzle game, I remember playing the first one a couple of years back – currently about halfway through – took me a little while to get the hang of it, but I’m digging it now.

Brotherly Love Bonds

Cat brothers.

My mom’s two cats are brothers born seconds apart. They will be 4 years old in January. When I saw them sitting together like this I knew I had to try to take a picture. For the record they’re names are Laurel and Hardy. Hardy (on the right) has a little bit darker markings whereas Laurel is a bit lighter but Laurel is also somewhat bigger (the big brother!) and loves to eat. They both are polydactyls which means they have more than the usual number of toes on one or more of their paws. Basically they have thumbs and their paws look like mittens to me. Just the front paws though have this anomaly. Although these two cats are somewhat of the larger variety than a usual cat (I believe they may be descendants of an F1 or F2 type cat hybrid) they are really loveable and sweet, as evidenced by this picture. They fell asleep together like this but were kind enough to remain in this pose as I got on the floor and took some quick cell phone snaps.

Planting Trees and Advertising

Upon further review, our impulse buy yesterday ended up being an Eastern White Pine. They can grow up to 140 feet tall and can grow up to 2′ a year, but I don’t care – it’s ours now and I like the little bugger, just have to figure out where we’re going to put him. Also going to try to get some tulip bulbs in along with some holly shrubs and some items we didn’t get around to last time. Luckily our friend came by, with the sourwood trees in tow, and helped us out plant them and the pine tree! Raked up some more leaves today, including out front by the sewer drain – don’t need any surprise floods coming by due to blockages. Better safe than sorry. We ended the evening by the fire and with a BBQ.

The author with a donkey - happy days.
Just a pair of donkeys.

I got an email last night from the calendar people that chose one of my photos for their product and they want to take a photo of me with the calendar open to my featured month. These photos will be used to advertise. So I told them let’s do it on Monday. I’ve confirmed the appointment for the photo shoot tomorrow afternoon, so this’ll be interesting. More details as they develop!

My sister’s dad passed away last night so she was heading up to Maine in the early hours of this morning. I was young when my mom got divorced from him and I never really saw him all that much, in a situation similar to my own father. But my sister did so I feel bad for her right now.

My Heart is Glad!

What a wonderful day – I feel so optimistic and genuinely happy! In celebration had to get some things at the home improvement store and ended up getting a lot of plants, 1/2 off, including a big pine tree! Probably plant them tomorrow – it’s going to be the start of a new era! Also spent the afternoon with a socially distant hang with some friends. Today was a very good day!

Horses Make a Landscape Look Beautiful

The author with a horse named Belle
Hanging with Belle.

Finished splitting up various Hosta and Hyacinth and Chives species and planting them all around the perimeter. Looked more into the storing of the tubers I removed yesterday, will probably split them up more and plant those around in the spring.

Took a break midday and visited the sanctuary. Sadly no news on Blossom, might have to assume the worst at this point. Sad. On a happier note, I got to hang with Belle a little bit. “Belle is a fourteen year old Hafflinger horse. The first four years of her life she worked as a plow horse in the Pennsylvania farm country. She was worked hard and because she was so young she developed tendon issues in her fetlocks and was sent to a slaughter house. Belle was then saved by a 14 year old young man who eventually out grew her. Belle has had nine homes in her 14 years of life. She is a very sweet horse and a beautiful addition to the herd.” She’s really a beautiful horse. So smart too.

A large and liquid eye… the swirl of dust around pounding hooves… these, then, are the images that move us.

Earlier this morning I updated the iPad is iPadOS 14.2. Supposedly a bunch more emojis and some bug fixes. I generally use my Android phone which is still sadly rocking Android 6 (they’re on 11 now, I really need that new phone) and runs slow as molasses. The other day I visited my nearest carrier location but they didn’t have the phone I wanted in stock. Could do it online but I’d prefer not to. Well, I still have some time.

Finishing the day off by making dinner consisting of some shrimp rolls, watching a Hunter episode, and watchinh election results.

Fall Cleanup

Dawning of a new day

Spent the morning being busy taking advantage of the nice weather we are currently having. Bagged up about 7 leaf bags full of leaves and lawn cutting, which I also did. I did it mostly to clean up and make the place look nicer but also for the exercise as I was to able to get over 160 zone minutes and climbing (cardio workup) and burning calories, which is good because I plan on eating some lasagna my sister made for me.

Still finishing up planting some leftover chives and hostas that we split up on Tuesday. Hopefully everything will take and this yard will look amazing around the perimeter fences and ultimately less for me to mow and hiding places for bunnies. Also finally dug the tubers and stored them for replanting in spring. Feeling a little sore but feeling good about what I accomplished in a day.

Election Day 2020

Can’t believe the election is this close. Actually maybe I can, since the country seems so divided, but still. Half the population must be garbage for voting for a candidate so utterly unsuitable to be president. All people care about is taxes? Really? What about everything else that needs true leadership, nevermind all the corruption and lies. I never realized that there’s a significant part of this country that just doesn’t want things to change and I find that really sad and distressing. I don’t like leaving the decision to these swing states but still holding out some hope. It’ll be what it’ll be, we’ll get whatever we deserve. The real question is, can we live with it?

Gametime: Magnetic Blocks. I enjoyed this little brainteaser.

We spent the afternoon planting and landscaping the lawn by splitting hostas and digging and planting various plants around the back so that hopefully come spring, things will really be looking good. Seems like a good way to spend today.