Constructed During the Heat Wave

Our purty new firewood pile! Previously located in our once-shabby, now-dandy (aka renovated) screened porch, the firewood was temporarily moved to the yard, haphazardly rotting away in a messy heap, and quickly being inhabited by voles and chipmunks. 

After researching proper outdoor firewood storage, we used some extra picket fencing and hemlock stumps to build the base. (Elevating your firewood prevents water soaking in.) Then we made careful criss-cross stacks, which again encourages water drainage. We’ll likely cover it in the winter.

The left side is for freshly chopped wood, which needs to get more air so it can dry out. It’s also conveniently located next to our chopping block, which is another hemlock stump.


Species Identification Ain’t Easy

I may have horrified some of you by posting this giant spider photo. And really, folks, this is nearly life-size — they make ’em big in upstate New York. So, sorry for any heeby-jeebies I just interwebbed over to you.

However, when you own a place in the country, you quickly learn that spiders (for the most part) are your friends — they eat all the other vastly more annoying insects flying in your home, and they basically try to stay out of the way. They’re WAY better to have around than ticks, mosquitoes or flies. I feel really guilty whenever I smoosh a spider, and I say a little “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” each time I flush one down the john.

Most of the time, whether scooping up one to meet its maker, or admiring one in more wild environs, I have no idea what sort of spider I’m looking at, like this big fellow above. Some of you may be tempted to say “Well, it’s a daddy long legs!” Yes, it probably is. But there are more than 6,400 species of spider in that order that encompasses “daddy long legs.” Yeah, so…for now, the mystery will remain, until I locate a really good local insect book. (We did buy books for birds, wildflowers and mushrooms.)

Other photos of flora/fauna that remain nameless to me:

Random mushrooms growing on a tree trunk. We want to know more about our all many mushrooms. Well OK, we really just want to know about our edible mushrooms.

We got all excited when these popped up along our creek in the early spring, thinking they were delicious ramps. But no. We’re just not sure what they are (click to see larger pic).

This is probably a slimy salamander. He flew out of a wreath my friend Connie was making in our front yard. While she screamed in terror, I ran for the camera.

New Skill: Shooting a Rifle

My coworker (and ex-Marine Mark) organized a trip to the only rifle range left in Manhattan. I can now say I’ve shot a rifle on the Isle of Manhattan, much like our forefathers. Oh, and, heck yeah it’s fun. Kinda like chopping wood, actually.

New skill acquired. A deadly one. Squeee!

A Double Kick Drum by the River in the Summer

I’m all tingly because I managed to get tickets to my favorite band, Wilco, for their CENTRAL PARK SHOW. Central Park, y’all! Wilco concert tickets tend to sell out within one minute of going on sale (no kidding), and having been burned in past years by not being able to get tickets, this time I watched the World Time Clock online, and hit refresh on the Ticketmaster site as soon as the clock ticked 12:00:00. Boom, mine!

A late summer Wilco show in Central Park, ahhhhhhhh.