Monday, February 23, 2009

Fall Sailing Trip Revisited

This video is a little snippet of the sailing Parker and I did last October on Cape Cod. In this particular clip we are sailing around Pleasant Bay in Chatham. It's a little outdated at this point, but what the heck. For the most part we had great fall weather and got to experience some pleasurable sailing without any serious mishaps. The boat held up just fine and we left feeling excited for the next adventure.

Our original plan was to actually sail around Cape Cod, but as the time arrived, it was more and more clear that we'd be biting off more then we should. In the end we did lots of little sails that included sailing up through Woods Hole against the tide. The passage through Woods Hole is famous for it's powerful currents; being in a small boat with a good wind we were able to sort of skirt from nook to nook and sort hopscotch across currents and plan our next move. It took about two hours to travel the 1/4 mile through the hole. The fun was in the unlikeliness of doing what we did.

The one regret is the anxiety we put Nancy's parents through. They were our hosts and were reasonably concerned for our welfare given the season and the short days and such. Its one thing to know you are fine despite the fact you are still sailing in the dark, its another thing to communicate that to your worried hosts! Next time I'll do a better job of that.

Parker and I have always bonded around this sort of adventure, and our experiences last fall only whet our appetites for more, be it on bikes, in a canoe, or on a sailboat.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


When my little sister Anna was still a kid she got a puppy, who she named Motion. That was back roughly 14 years ago. Anna is no longer a kid, and Motion is no longer a puppy. He is now a benevolent elder in and around our home. Strictly speaking he lives next door at my parent's place, but he spends copious amounts of time up at our place. We've come to love him completely. He's a sweet dog and it is bittersweet kind of love because he is quite an old man, though he still has the spirit of a happy teenager.

We have a littany of names that we seem to call him. They vary by the day, the mood and the season, as well as any particular activities or events. These include Moesh, Smoesh-Dog, Super Dog, Moe, El Moe (said with a deep Spanish accent), Super Moe, Moesh Dog, Super Smowsh, Moeshfoot, Mudfoot, Snowfoot, Snoweater, Super Sniffer, Happy Dog, Bomb Dropper, Scratchfoot, Super Sleeper, Waterdrinker... you get the idea. 

All Hail Lord Moesh!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

One Car

Nancy's old Subaru bit the dust a little over a month ago while we were traveling on our way back from Christmas/New Years on the Cape. The Subaru was a great car that served us well, but it didn't add up to put in the repairs, so we had it hauled off to car heaven.

That means that we now have one car, my trusty 1990 240 Volvo wagon. (Pictured with Nance amidst the splendor of the Nebraska praire about 6 years ago.) It has 287,000+ miles and it and it still runs just fine. It looks pretty rough these days with missing bits of trim and rust creeping about, but it runs reliably.

That means we are now a one car family. This situation has worked out well so far since I've been mostly focused on house stuff and Nancy frequently commutes with a regular arrangement to work. Not having a car at hand all the time has encouraged me to do a bit more cold weather biking then I'd otherwise do, which is great.

It'll always be a fascination of mine to envision that we could live without a car. I read about folks who do it in urban areas and I feel envious. Living in a rural area with steep terrain and serious winters tends to work against that possibility, but it is a compelling dream nonetheless.

When the Subaru died we had a discussion about whether only having one car could work and in the end it we concluded that just because we might have two cars does not mean we have to use both of them, but the option is there when we need it. While this is true, having two cars encourages the temptation to avoid creative solutions to getting around, and its those creative solutions I'm curious about.

I'm not sure what we'll do in the long term, but for the moment, one car is working pretty well.

No car? Well, that's another story.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bees in Winter

Like most living creatures, bees need to go to the bathroom, at least occasionally. In order to do that they need to leave the hive. In order to leave the hive it needs to be somewhere in the range of 40-45 degrees. 

That can be a tough set of criteria here in Vermont.

Yesterday was the first day that temps had moved above the 30's since Christmas and the bee's took advantage of it. You can see in the second photo the little yellow splats. Well,  that is what you think it is - in bee colors.

When it is cold the bees cluster in a ball shape in the hive in order to maintain a temperature in the upper 80's. Its amazing that with minimal-to-no insulation a bunch of bugs can huddle together and keep themselves warm and healthy when temperatures can reach as low as the 20's below zero. 

We have 7 hives, and it is always an anxious wait to see how they are doing come the early warm spring days when they start to fly again. From walking by and listening close with our ears we can hear that all the hives are well with one exception that seems to have died. Thats unfortunate, but not unexpected. Come a warm day, we'll take the food reserves (honey in the comb) from the dead hive and parcel it out among the remaining hives.