Sunday, January 1, 2017



January 1, 2017: 2016 was a "challenging" year for almost everyone we know. As we look back on our blog, we are reminded that we had a lot of happy moments and fun with friends. But renovation-wise, finishing the fence around the pool was the only major improvement made for several practical reasons. THEREFORE, one of our resolutions for 2017 is that we will accomplish a LOT more home work to share...even if we have to resort to magick!

In numerology, 2017 = a "1" year, the launch of a brand new 9-year cycle (globally speaking), so our New Year's wish to all our family, friends and followers is that whatever seeds you plant this year will blossom into a magnificent tree!

 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

December 17, 2016:  Explaining snow to a southern dog isn't easy. Though this is Sweetie's 3rd winter with the cold white stuff, she is still bewildered by it. After all, the first 7 years of her life were in San Antonio and Miami.

 She likes the pretty pink sweater Godmother Barbara made for her, but seems to be saying, "I do NOT need to go that badly. I'll just wait until I see grass again."


But today's snowfall is already over 6" and still building so, she may have to compromise... at least until Joie takes a break from her classwork to shovel out a few feet of the lawn.

The following was Marilyn's positive thoughts post on FB first thing this morning:

"I'm enjoying a perfect moment. Heavy snow gently falling over the field outside my window, turning the world into a winter wonderland, but because it's Saturday, there's no need to hurriedly shovel walkways and stairs. Sweetie-Pie and all the housemates are still asleep, hot coffee's on my end table, and the only sounds are the new furnace humming and the occasional drag of the snow plow passing. Plus, it looks like we'll all be able to go sledding later today!"

By noon, she was grumbling "Bah, humbug!" and it isn't even Christmas yet. Looks like this will be a long winter.




Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 23, 2016 Winter is coming! Winter is coming! FYI, we do realize we sound like alarmists over something as normal as snowfall but remember, we've spent most of our lives in South Florida, so we haven't yet become blase` about below-freezing temperatures or seeing a winter wonderland in our back yard. (The photo to the right was actually taken last winter by the remarkable Jake Campbell.)

Maybe next year we'll be indifferent, but this year we're still amazed at all the unusual things that happen at the change of each season. Of course, the animal activity is always worth noting...as is the late Fall sound of rifle shots in the woods beyond our property. We try not to think about what that means.

A couple weeks ago, we posted photos of the annual brush hog mowing. This week, the ever-efficient Sokoloski Landscaping team performed the annual Autumn clean-up of fallen leaves and pine needles, which involves a whole crew with a gigantic vacuum and a trailer to haul it all away. Obviously not something we ever witnessed in Florida.


Hello down there Jerry!


Bye-bye leaves of 2016
















Another thing we definitely never saw before we moved to New England was the annual placing of temporary posts to let the plow driver know where the driveway is when the snow is too deep to see it. Whirlwind Fine Garden Design, a local landscaping and stone contractor, is our team of choice for getting those posts set in advance and keeping our driveway and parking areas clear through the winter. Word is we'll be seeing a lot more of them this year than we did last.
This happened yesterday, 11/26.

Sigh. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


November 20, 2016:  How many grad students does it take to connect a treadmill to the internet? The answer is 3 + a mom. In this photo you see Joie adjusting the tread, Chloe following the on-screen instructions and Marilyn donning her reading glasses to give Chloe the passwords to make sure all our favorite channels can be accessed for maximum distraction value. Before snapping the photographic memory, Katherine was interpreting the paper manual.

Actually, it didn't take much time or effort and now no one in the house has an excuse for not getting in some exercise no matter what the weather is like outside Chateau de Joie.



And since Katherine wasn't in the group photo, here she is doing the final quality control test while the rest of the group checked the noise level throughout the house.
If you ever doubted what running can do for you, just take a look at those calves!


By the way, all the product placements in the pics were completely coincidental, but you're welcome to see how many brand names you can identify.


Another pretty thing that lightens the days before winter's arrival is the blooming of our Christmas cactus.


Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31, 2016:  HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Though we didn't move into an area where children go trick-or-treating, we have two housemates --Chloe Spinks and Katherine Fecteau-- who managed to "carve out" some time from their busy academic responsibilities to host a pumpkin carving event for the graduate history students at the University. Joie was unable to attend, so she didn't expect to reap any rewards.

To our extreme delight, Ms. Spinks returned at the end of the day with a reward for us both. Not only did she bring home a carved pumpkin for us to enjoy, she managed to do an amazing job of incorporating the symbol of Joie's favorite super-heroine!

 Surely, The Great Pumpkin will be granting one of her wishes this year for being so very, very good!

Friday, October 28, 2016


October 28, 2016: Signs of Fall coming to a close ... The Sequel.

We ended the last post with a note that there was a chance of snow showers on Thursday (10/27/16). However, Thursday morning's forecast suggested that it might only be rain after all but even if a few flurries came through, no accumulation was expected.




Thus, we were taken by surprise when the flurries started a little after noon, quickly thickened into flakes and continued falling into the evening. Considering what Marilyn took pictures of through the living room window, we're officially labeling it the first snowfall of the 2016-2017 winter.







Fortunately, it all melted within 24 hours.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to give the houseful of students a snow day.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

October 24, 2016:  End of Fall signs -- more leaves on the ground than on the trees, night temps dropping below 30, birds binge eating and...the return of the BRUSH HOG! No, that's not a variety of boar, though the way it tears through the wild is pretty ferocious!

This is our second experience with mowing down the thick brush in our back field but it was no less fun to watch! Again, Mark of Sokoloski Landscaping, did a very impressive job of maneuvering the heavy equipment around trees and marshy areas. The icing on this cake was that he was also able to remove the pile of deadwood that was once a fire pit in the middle of our Viewing Circle, a chore that Marilyn has been trying to get done for two years without success.

The process does tend to disturb all sorts of little creatures, which then tempts the larger ones to come out of hiding to take advantage of the buffet. A very scrawny coyote has been hanging around waiting for just such an opportunity. He's out there hunting as this is being written.

To Marilyn's delight, an osprey took a moment's pause close enough to the house for her to see it without binoculars, but, of course, it flew off before she could get a picture (this one is borrowed). She has seen it before in flight or perched atop the radio tower to the far left. Wing span in flight - about 5 feet across!


Left field


Unless the coyote has a major objection, we will be hiking the perimeter later today, if anyone wants to join us...
Center field
Right field with labyrinth















One more little sign of Fall ending that I probably should mention - the weather forecast for Thursday is snow.