Monthly Archives: October 2009

Happy Haunting!

Have a perfectly spooky time today, friends! Here are a few shots from our Frontyard Graveyard. Can’t wait to add a few more lights, music, and the fog machine tonight!

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Sweet, Sweet, Endless Heat

Friends, the bulk propane tanks are in. Sweet, sweet, endless heat.

000_1886Yes, yes – Now you’re saying, “Now all you have to do is pay for it.” True. However, we no longer have to pay an inflated  $4.50 per gallon, and we no longer have to lug the RV tanks to the hardware store.

And I won’t miss the daily dance of do-we-have-propane-or-are-we-going-to-freeze. There’s a brand new 100 gallon bulk tank sitting outside the RV, and I’m glad for it. We’ll be paying a cool $1.99 per gallon, and they come to fill it for us. So you see, it’s all pretty awesome.

000_1884People are often amazed that we have a furnace in the RV. A real one. Just like in a house. I guess folks think that we’re in here with space heaters or something. Of course, I forgot about the fact that the propane guys would need to come inside to check to be sure everything was working properly.

It was a disaster in here! Stuff all over the place, dishes in the sink, and not cleaned in a week. As if that wasn’t bad enough, my sense of smell notified me last night that the (euphemistically named) black water tank needed emptied. I got up this morning and emptied it into the septic tank first thing … but a faint smell lingered. Not a horrible stink, but a stink none the less. This was all made particularly clear when they turned the furnace on. Oops. Ah, well. I take solace in the fact that this could hardly be the worst place they’ve ever installed. Maybe.

000_1889In the cabin, I installed a direct-vent heater that a neighbor gifted me. It’s only a 5,000 BTU model, but the cabin is also only 10×14′. I have it fired up right now. We’ll see how it goes. I still, at this late date, intend to have piano students in there. So, ya know … it was kind of a priority. The cabin and its heater have their own 100 lb tank. That’s the little direct-vent (through the wall) heater on the right-hand side. As I was installing it and cutting a big hole in my wall … I forgot that heat rises. (Duh.) I should have installed it lower on the wall. I’ll be purchasing a fan to put above it. Again, oops.

Now, if I can just get the rest of the planking up in the cabin and that last junk pile in the driveway gone, we’ll be in business for Winter.

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My Old Haunts

I have a Halloween confession to make. I know a lot about ghosts. Or, I suppose, ghost theory.

Ghost LadyI read a lot of these real-life ghost story books. Have read ’em for years. You know – those things along the lines of Haunted Northern New York and Ghosts Among Us. (The latter is by Leslie Rule, the most readable ghost re-teller, for my money.) Most of the American books tend to be straight retellings, however, I find that the British books also include a lot of ghost theory. I’d expect no less from Great Britain, where they take their ghosts very seriously. I’m totally into it. When it comes to particularly active haunts in my home state, I’ve even visited many of the sites. Yep, I’m totally a Ghostie.

One of my favorite theories is the Stone Recording concept, which makes total sense to me. In a nutshell, the theory is that somehow stone (and perhaps other materials) can retain especially emotional moments of the human experience, and can replay these moments when triggered. This is just one type of “haunting.” This theory explains these particular ghostly experiences as really more akin to a movie being replayed, on a constant loop.

For all my years ghost hunting, I’ve had but one single, clear experience. But you’re in luck – It was just a few months ago, and it involves our new Adirondack home. As you might guess would be the case, the Teardown Theory works in tandem with this whole Stone Recording thing. When you tear down an extremely old home, energy from the past is released.

ghost_picture_1I was sitting in the cabin one day, mid-teardown. Sitting with laptop in lap, the front door was open, and I could look out to the backyard and towards the old house. It was unusually calm and quiet, and a bit of movement caught my eye. I usually look up pretty quickly, always wanting to catch a view of a neat bird or a chippy. And right there, in the middle of the space between the cabin and the old house, was a thin older man working on something atop a sawhorse, with a small girl at his side. Her clothes seemed to be 1930s or so, and he had the look of a classic flannel-and-overalls farmer.

He was clearly entertaining the child, or explaining to her what exactly he was doing. It’s very difficult to explain exactly what this all looked like. Yes, it was sort of filmy and washed out, and I do believe I actually saw it, but at the same time, I felt like it was more of an impression. It lasted the five or eight seconds that I was focused on it. At the point when my rational brain asked itself, “Am I really seeing this,” it was gone.

Do I think I saw a real “live” actual pair of ghosts? No. Not at all. Do I think we triggered a replay from the past? I sure do.

There are a few stages in the area on which I might like to do a show next year. I’m considering writing a score for a new play based on diaries from tuberculosis patients at Trudeau’s old Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium. These three spaces I have in mind? Totally haunted by my way of thinking, and built during the era specifically to serve TB patients. They all have that sort of thick, dusty atmosphere that makes you totally think, “Well, something’s going on around here!”

We’ll see if the spirits are with me.

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Egg on My Face

Or, a lack of it.

My Red Star hens are now 20 weeks, and my Buff Orpington is 24 weeks. And not a single dang egg. Generally, they start laying eggs at about 20 weeks. Granted, that’s more of a guideline than a rule, but I mean honestly … Let’s go, girls! They’re fed a good quality laying mash. They get grit and calcium. Their wattles are nice and red. They get some extra protein in the form of treats now and then. I mean, c’mon ladies! I’m doing all I can here!

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Dear Diary

Busy day here, and that’s an opportunity. I thought it might be fun to present the day’s news in a slightly different format. Today I’m totally “Dear Diarying.” Only you’re the diary. And I’m hoping that it might be vaguely interesting to see what exactly it is I do around here all day. 

7am –  Unseasonably warm in the Northern Adirondacks – 50s and sunny. All the same, I didn’t feel much like playing with the chickens this morning – maybe I didn’t sleep well. Felt unusually tired. I let the hens out into the run, filled food bowls and changed their water. They seemed happy enough with just that. 

8:00am – Went to fill the water tank on the RV (one of my morning chores), but … froze hose. Set the hose out in the sun for a while. Grabbed a cup of coffee at the store in the time being. The Sun did the trick. Must remember to get one more length of heat tape and pipe insulation. 

9:00am – Walked up to the post office to get the mail, and noticed a pair of dogs roaming around out back of my friend’s antique shop in the old grange hall. I stuck my head in the door of the workshop to see if he knew anything about ’em, but he wasn’t there.  By the time I got back, the dogs were in my yard! They were gone soon enough. Don’t know exactly where they went. 

10:15am – Had an awesome cup of coffee and good-natured chat out on the porch of the store with my friend from over Onchi. It’s a morning ritual (as you know), but today was especially nice. 

stones11:00am – I discovered last night that I had placed my Halloween graveyard too far from the road – couldn’t see it tucked back in the trees. So000, I took it all apart and moved them ol’ styro-stones near the road (and even grabbed a few old chunks of rock from the foundation to make a few extra headstones). Got the floodlights hung and bolted in, and we’re all set for a week of Halloweeny goodness. The pic isn’t our yard, but it’s close – gives you the idea. We have the stones, skeletons, fences, and all. It’s not a remarkable display, but respectable. I’ll add the fog machine and some lights in the trees on Halloween night. 

11:30pm – My awesome friend (who was also my teardown guy) came by, and we whiled a way an hour or so sitting on the remains of the foundation chatting about this, that, and the other thing. I don’t have a lot of friends in my age range or specific peer group, so I think of this particular pal as my reverse-friend. That is – twelve years younger, rather than twelve years older. He brought me some earthworms for my chickens. Predictably, it took us 30 minutes to get them to even peck at the stupid things. We’ll see how that shapes up.

Photo_102109_0101:00pm – Quick peanut butter sandwich, and time to move the trailer (pulled by the neighbor’s big red tractor) over to take another load of house-chunks away. I have grown to absolutely loathe this task. The chunks of house are, on average, about 6 feet wide, and 8 feet tall. I guess I don’t even mind the work so much, it’s more that I have been doing it for a month. Today … a reprieve! A neighbor from around the corner was walking by and we had a nice chat. And in the lady-power department, she totally climbed up in the junk pile and helped me flip a huge chunk onto the trailer that I couldn’t lift by myself! Awesome. 

3:30pm – Finished raking up the remaining rubble from where the pile was (I’m particular), and I’m exhausted. But today’s assignment is done. Probably one or two more loads, and the site will be clear. Friend that owns the antique shop in the old grange was coming back from a walk with his dog, and we visited for a few minutes. We chatted about the town nay-sayer – who quipped that “those two boys will never get that house down by hand!” (And then we did.) And that I had no business building a rock wall, and couldn’t do it. (And then I did.) Made me laugh. 

4:00 Dead tired, and I have a hankering for a brown bottle with Mr. Labatt’s name on it. I was never much of a beer drinker, but oddly, I really do find that at the end of a hard-work day, I feel a little less beat-up after a pint. So, I grabbed a beer and headed across the street to another neighbor’s house for a visit.

000_18515:00pm – Still at the neighbors. Funny story – My friend’s toddling daughter went home last night after being across the street at her grandma’s house. Mom noticed something on the little girl’s shoes, and after she got home called Grandma. “Mom, is there crap on her shoes?!” Grandma replied, “Not from my house there isn’t.” Mom takes the little girl to daycare the next morning, and the leader says, “What is that! Is that crap on her shoes?!” And then she smells the shoes. “That is crap! She has crap on her shoes! I’m gonna have to go scrape that off with a knife.” Mom says, “I’m so sorry! I don’t know where it came from!”

The little girl had been over at my house with her grandma, chasing chickens in the chicken yard … running around in chicken crap! 

Which reminds me of a compliment I was paid on Saturday night. A student that I know from the local college mentioned that he hadn’t been around when we were tearing the house down, and wanted to know if we used a backhoe or a bulldozer. “Neither,” I replied, “We used a sawzall, a steel cable, and a jeep.” Impressed, he said that I had officially graduated. I asked him what he meant. He explained, “Tearing down a house with a jeep and a rope? Dude. That is so redneck.”

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Beholding the Cozy

Sometimes, one is so wrapped up in what one is wrapped up in, he or she forgets to look around and appreciate what he or she has. I think we can all agree on that.

I like to think that I’m the type of person that remembers that while our Adirondack Lunacy live-in-an-RV plan may be a little inconvenient at times, we really have it pretty good. There are many, many folks who are plenty worse off. Anyhow. You’re likely familiar with these sentiments. In a nutshell – Our petty annoyances are pretty much insignificant in the grand scheme of things. That part of my gratitude landscape is well-trod. However, yesterday I discovered a side trail on that particular topo map. I posted a Facebook update yesterday that made me realize something. Here’s the post –

” … had coffee with the chickens, hauled junk, lunch with a neighbor friend, and a rum toddy with another neighbor in front of a woodstove. Awesome. Now off to night-time work for a few hours.”

img_17741A year ago, I might see a country friend post something like this, and I would think, “Cool. I wish I could do that. Maybe someday.” I guess I have been so focused and busy with the vaudeville of tearing a house down by hand, I haven’t stopped to think about how the curtain has been raised on a new act. As I look back at that post, I feel like I am analyzing a script that turns out beautifully at the end of the second act. The chickens. The work on my own property on my own terms. The lunch at the little diner. The woodstove and rum toddys in the neighbors cabin. It’s totally all there. 

(He crosses to the RV. The lights dim. Curtain.)

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The .04 Acre Wood

I was chatting with a friend yesterday. We were talking about how here in the Northern Adirondacks, the time between Summer and Winter is nice while the leaves are turning … and then it seems pretty grey and dull until the snow comes. I decided I needed to take a walk to change my perception. 

There’s a little copse at the back corner of our property – so tiny that it’s really more of a little thicket than a “wood.” Still, I love it back there. It connects to my neighbor’s big chunk of woods, and it’s a favorite walk. Especially yesterday morning. When I came back out onto our front lots and houses along the road, it felt like I had been in a whole different world. 

Can we call this “the entrance?” This is the old fence (featuring an old bird feeder) between us and the neighbor. We can’t bring ourselves to take it down because we like it so much. Take a right past the fence, and you’re in. Welcome to the wood …

 

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