Saturday, November 30, 2013

A mite chilly this morning ...

At 6:30 it was barely 8°F with a soft, chill 5MPH breeze. The exhaust from the generator and furnace are great billows of steam, but it is so dry they're transmogrifying directly into the air, rather than freezing and condensing as snow. I am up so early as the furnace has been giving us fits since last night when the fuel bottle decided to freeze. That necessitated restarting by hand many times until flow was restored.

I am really not an early morning person -- witness my sleeping through two alarms Friday morning to put the trash out for pickup. No, not door to door. But all of us down on the water put barrels out on the corner where the big compressor truck can still turn around. Best be out by 7AM, too. So my 9:30 crawl out from beneath the blankets didn't cut it in the pick up department.

I braved the Black Friday crowds to pick up my wife's paycheck, but was singularly unimpressed with a line at the drive-up at Dunkin Donuts that extended out onto the main road for a hundred yards. No coffee for me ... grumpity grump grump. Rushed home without making a deposit because my phone said SWMBO had a doctor appointment. My phone lied. Monday is the appointment, according to Her Nibs.

Today will be spent depositing check, buying generator gas and LP, obtaining some goodies at the grocery and, to borrow a phrase from Barney, the OFM, trying to have too much fun.

And So It Goes.

Winter cometh...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Fwd: The Life of Ice -- Redux


Begin forwarded message:

From: Wil Mosher <>
Date: November 29, 2013 at 1:41:51 PM EST
Subject: The Life of Ice -- Redux

Taken this year in the morning on Friday, November 29. Sent via Adobe Photoshop Express (App Store | Google Play Store | Windows Store)

Ice - true 70mph ice boat/speed skating ice. The cycle begins, anew.


Ice Redux - 2

Taken this year in the morning on Friday, November 29. Sent via Adobe Photoshop Express (App Store | Google Play Store | Windows Store)

And so it begins, again.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

There Be Ice Bergs

I happened to glance out the window on my way by and to my surprise, a "growler" appeared. You can't really see it in the photo, but there's sheet ice attached as big as a sheet of plywood just below the surface.

Here. I blew it up using a photoshop app on the iPhone:


I hope your turkey day is going to plan. It's 26* F with a steady 20mph breeze from the West out there. No birds seen today. I think they've all left for warmer climes. 

The Life ( & Death) of Ice -- Reboot

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ice Day 3

One of the major threats to continued ice life is rain. It's in the low 50's outside (Tuesday) and a couple of inches of water is sitting atop the ice on the lake. The open strands of water between here and Moose Island are growing and the wind is gusting in the mid-thirties. Not looking good for survival of the ice; if it does survive it'll be rougher than a cob. Ice skating and ice boating won't be smooth going, let me tell you. You try skimming atop a washboard at 60MPH while your sphincter tries to eat the seat cushion to keep from dragging on the ice three inches below. Exhilarating, for sure. And, not something these old bones will go out of their way to experience again anytime soon. I have fine memories of ice boating on Mallet's Bay on Lake Champlain in Vermont, but it was as smooth as a baby's bottom and speeds into the 70's were barely more rugged than sunbathing on the Cape.
Anyway, we will just have to wait and see. We are only half way through this particular storm. A lot can happen between now and the end of rain and wind. I am hopeful that I can get the BBC moved before it freezes in place like last storm. And I hope y'all have yourselves a happy Thanksgiving. Try not to hurt or be injured this holiday weekend -- leave that for the professional football players on the idiot box.
And So It Goes...

UPDATE: As of sunset, the ice is still intact.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Boondocker Hot Water Heater

Setting up for SWMBO's morning ablutions before work...

The Life Of Ice


The life of ice is surprisingly tenuous, given the steadiness of the building blocks involved. Here it is day two, and a seemingly innocuous event which would be beneficial under other circumstances, threatens the very existence of the ice. The threat I refer to is snow. The ice is barely a couple of inches at it's thickest. Temperatures are forecast for 20's & 30's today, overcast this morning with some clearing mid-day. Perfect conditions for melting the ice. While snow provides insulation, it also traps atmospheric dust within. The dust acts like a solar collector, warming the ice from above. The ice will thin. Tomorrow's weather will provide the coup de grace. . . Two to three inches of rain. What little snow we have will hold the rain in place to aid melting. Late Wednesday as the front pushes through a brisk northerly wind is forecast. Wind will be the death knell for the ice. It will be Friday before conditions are right to allow the ice to form anew.

And So It Goes.

Open Water!

So, not completely covered, it offers wind an opportunity to tear up the ice when the temps rise.

Ice - Day 2

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ice In

Morning dawned, bright, clear and cold. Only 17°F, with a -10°F wind chill, bone snapping cold. Over the whistles and groans of the 30 to 40 MPH zephyrs blowing around and through our fiver, the low growl of the Honda e2000i generator and the wail and snort of my aging Black and Decker coffee maker was the absence of the sound that has been a constant backdrop since the end of June. Gone was the sound of water. No waves crashing the shore. Wavftelets gently lapped the shore no more. Loons no longer warbled insanity to the rising Sun. No plop! of a perch rising to snatch a mosquito from the mill pond smooth surface. Nope. Just the eerie groan of wind waves driving the weight of a seven mile long sheet of ice into the shore accompanied my coffee pot this morning. And So It Goes...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

If It’s Sunday It Must Be Gale Day

Woke this morning to a high in the LR of 49*F. Outside, the wind is blowing in the 25 to 30 MPH range with gusts to 50 MPH and the temps are in the 20’s. With the “wind chill factor” the feels like is around 5*F. Sitting here at the table with my back to the slideout wall, I wear three layers on my torso, two on the bottom over underwear. Still cold. Furnace still won’t fire. This is now supplemented by a frozen or blocked LP line, so it’ll be Papa John’s pizza for supper tonight as the fridge is running off the generator and nothing LP fueled is working. The wind gusts are such the TV antenna is whipping about in the wind. Locking-in digital TV signals is futile, so my wife’s football games (read: nap background noise) keep cutting out and disturbing her enjoyment (waking her up).

So, off to town for genny gas and LP for our Lil Buddy heater, pizza to gas us up (heh, heh) and something sweet for dessert. Hope your Sunday was better, but looking at the weather in the SW and elsewhere it doesn’t look like today was suitable for much of anything. Wind has friends tied up in Tampa Bay with small craft warnings forcing three anchors (two forward, one aft), Dizzy Dick is hunkered down hiding from a cold rain and the Bayfield Bunch and others in the desert are hiding from rain, wind and mud. Chinle is fighting a soggy wet snow in Northern Colorado. Rick is dodging typical Vancouver Island winter weather and family in Maryland face rain and cold on Chesapeake Bay. Be a good day to make a beef stew and watch football. Oh yeah, I’d need an LP stove for tha

And So It Goes…

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ice Cycle

Ice embraces in a cruel womb,
Choking life from leaf and heart,
All the while preserving that green, vital spark
I will need to rise anew, come the THAW.

Jewelry sparkling in a January morn,
Encased in Winter's cloak
Upon the frozen land I stand,
Lonely sentinel to life's potential,
While Summer's grasses slumber under icy branches.

All the while, the mice tunnel through my roots,
Seeking last year's corn.
Yet even that tiny life sustained comes with a price,
As Coyote and Crow starve and Owl awaits the heavy snows
That allow a safe pounce on frozen ground.

And great Northerly winds do howl
In concert with my tender buds
Struggling to sustain life within
While frozen lens penetrate to my core
Crackling deep as branches flail.

All hail, the Ice Queen cometh,
Death her constant squire.
Surcease, her lover, astride the throne.
And at her side the frozen shaft, my limb ...
It does Her bidding, Now.

Ice has me in its talons,
A death grip upon my soul.
Will this Winter never end?
Must I endure the indignity of shredded bark
And broken bough as ice rends the life from me?

What light is this, green and blue,
Singing in the skies of life and warmth,
Sizzling in its electric potential,
Sun spot red, yellow, gold. A terrible solar flare
Fortells the death of Ice itself.

Borealis, bringer of light, life and warmth,
Banishing ice from the tundra of my mind
and surface of my twigs.
In company of Spring, Ice cannot sustain.
Her reign abridged, once again.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

More ice forming

Here you can see the impact of the wake from a duck hunter's motorboat as it meets the ice in the cove. Sounds like faerie harps after a Bachanal.

Ice in the cove

DizzyDick asks when the lake usually freezes ... sometime during November or, rarely, December. Ice fishing season begins January 1st; perhaps 3 years in 5 the ice is strong enough to support trucks and the shacks we call ice houses. It has been blowing hard for a few days, two where temps went just barely above freezing. Now, as you can see, no wind and the supercooled water is trying to freeze.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cold, Clear, Autumn View.

What am I still doing here in Maine in November?

Good question. Second day of gale force winds and sub-freezing temps. Still with a busted furnace. Just a little "Mr Buddy" convection heater keeping the interior sorta tolerable. Not the regulator. Bought a new ignitor board last night for $120. Guess there's no coffee in my immediate future. Still too cold for these arthritic hands to attempt an installation.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Damn! Winter arrives with a howl!

Subject: Damn! Winter arrives with a howl!

Well, the Weather Weenies forecast cold temperatures as a large Arctic high dropped down from Hudson Bay. At 2AM, I'd dozed off watching TV and reading your blogs and awoke to no heat coming from the furnace. I knew I had installed a full bottle the previous evening, so what could it be? Troubleshooted the furnace and discovered it was failing to ignite, despite the gas valve actuating. Couldn't find anything wrong at the furnace so delved into the system deeper. It appears the regulator is failing to pass sufficient fuel to run anything more demanding than the two burners I have going, heating cast iron fry pans to radiate some heat into the room. It had dropped from 60* to 40* by 5AM in the living room and I started having serious concerns about the state of affairs in the piping and tanks down below. It was about 20* with around 15mph of wind hitting us side-to. I was chilled to the bone and damn frustrated besides as nothing I tried fixed the problem. Finally curled up next to SWMBO as my legs felt wooden from the knees down. Up again at 6:30 to drive the boss to work. Grabbed a cuppa Dunkin Donuts and a coffee before landing at the local RV parts place. Thirty minutes, a couple of tall tales and half a century lighter I departed for the barn where I keep my stuff to pick up a catalytic space heater. I brought my treasures out to the Lake and set them up. No, the Fixers^1 hadn't repaired the furnace in my absence ... It still failed to fire despite basking in the dawn's chill light for two hours at 18*, thank you very much. Soon the inside temp had outstripped the exterior by 30* so failed attempts at firing the beast yielded some warming in the cellar and fears of frozen and burst plumbing slowly crept to the back of my mind, as did conciousness (I am too old to try to get by on an hour's sleep). I awoke with a start about noon, pleased I hadn't burned up nor asphyxiated from the catalytic heater and/or the jury-rigged frying pan heaters. Found the fridge had faulted off, so it too wasn't getting enough gas either. Refired the furnace multiple times until obstinacy was clearly fruitless. With that conclusion, the furnace declared unilateral victory and finally cycled on the way it is supposed to, with fire in the chamber and no more fault codes.
Enough - I don't know why it failed and there is no guarantee it won't fail this evening, but right now it is 72* inside and my feet aren't cold nor blue. It's 32*F outdoors and the wind is keeping everything frozen ...
This boulder (below) is about 3 cubic yards big - you'd need an excavator and dump truck to move it, even if you could get all the local, state and Federal permits required. And, you will note, completely sheathed in ice.

And So It Goes ...


That time a garbage scow crashed into a space station - Boing Boing

For Dizzy Dick, contemplating his own mortality, a little Space history:

That time a garbage scow crashed into a space station - Boing Boing

shared via

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Murphy is bugging me...

We had to make a run to town Saturday evening to pick up some prescriptions ready at the Wal-Mart pharmacy. SWMBO went inside to collect them while I sat in the truck (usually a cheaper trip that way). Once the boss was safely ensconced in her bucket seat, the key I did turn, but nada, nyet, and no joy. So I got out and wiggled a few connections to see if I could cajole the old gal into turning over, and all I got for my trouble was a glare from the old lady.

One hour, two trips to the back of the store and a few nitros later, I finally have the _@_)_;?/#!!!?/!! thing installed and we proceed home, a two hundred dollar hole in our budget, a bag of lousy Chinese take out for supper and a very bad mood.

Sunday saw both the wife and I down for the count with a case of autumnal grippe. Between us a box of tissues was consumed for the continuously running noses. I sneezed some seven hundred times. Kidney stones started to bother the Missus, so a jug of cranberry juice was cracked. A grand time was had by all.

Monday morning came earlier than anticipated as Iggy tried to crawl under the covers with yours truly. It seems the air temperature inside was at 42° F. and headed lower to match the 27° outside. Being sick isn't conducive to keeping track of the LP tank fullitude status. Empty. Big time, two 40 pound bottles empty. So, I cannibalize the BBQ tanks and fight with the regulator until sufficient fuel is flowing to fire the furnace, crawl back under covers and wait for heat. Sadly, the dog was of the opinion that breakfast ought be served, right away, followed by chase the bone and walkies, before any settling in would be allowed to commence. By then, SWMBO was awake and demanding food and attention, too. I never did get back to bed...

Comes this morning. Cold. Ice in the cove, 21°F. Air temp cold. The truck starts ok, but the boss is so discombobulated that she left her wallet and water bottle behind. It's the equivalent of a Monday morning as she had yesterday off. So, all of Murphy's Monday Morning Madness after the start of Standard Time happened this morning. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, dontcha know.

And So It Goes...

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Raking, Anyone?

View from the "throne room" during Friday's inch and a half of rain.

The Calm After The Storm