is Now A Teenager!

This month, this weblog turns THIRTEEN YEARS OLD! It’s seen a lot of changes over the years, not to mention the largest one which was switching from blogger to wordpress when blogger stopped supporting outside domain installs. I can remember when blogger itself was squeaky new, and it was exciting to see what cool themes people were hand-coding for themselves. Ahhh, good times.

Of course, I can hardly believe that the internet has actually been around that long (longer), much less this blog – LOL.

Anyway, happy 13th FoxVox!

Our Dog Merlin

Our almost 16-year old dog, Merlin, passed away on Monday, the 8th. He was a quirky dog, smart, grumpy, and did his best to keep us all herded together, like a good herding dog. He was half Labrador, and half Queensland Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog), and his coat was a gorgeous ‘red merle’ of rusty orange and white splotched and speckles.

This is my favorite photo of him, just sitting there happily, with his tongue hanging out.

It took us a number of years to get him out of his ‘snipping’ phase but in his later years we turned him into a real mush.  🙂

See you on the other side, Merlin!

A Hurricane Sandy Report from Upstate New York

Hurricane Sandy came through Monday here in the Mid-Hudson Valley of Upstate NY. I know we got off so very easy compared to some of our friends that we know down in New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, people who were flooded up to 8 ft., and pretty much lost everything.  We are keeping them all in our thoughts and in our hearts.

Our experience here was one of intense gusty winds that howled all day and night, shook the house and made it creak like crazy.  At one point in the afternoon we heard a giant CRACK sound, and saw through a window that one of the maple trees across the yard by the road had snapped in half, each half barely connected by shreds of trunk.

Then, as I went to a different front window to get a better look, I was in for a surprise.  One of the 70ft. pine trees in the front yard was now horizontal on the ground, when it wasn’t just a few seconds ago. There was no CRACK this time, as the whole thing was simple uprooted (pines have notoriously shallow root systems for some reason). It was like it just layed down and  peacefully stretched across the yard – we didn’t hear a thing.  And we looked at each other knowing that it could have slammed down on the house had the wind taken a slightly different track.

This first photo has the downed tree from the root perspective, also showing its closeness to the house. I know that others experienced trees falling on their houses and cars, but we were still freaked out and relieved with the same intensity at this ‘near hit’. The silence of the fall was even scarier, as there was no warning at all.

This next photo shows the height of the two remaining trees next to the fallen one, to give you an idea of how tall it was.

Another picture, taken near our front porch. Had the pine gone down the other way, it could have blocked the driveway, or landed on John’s car.

And just another closeup of the roots, etc. The top of the fallen tree extends a lot farther than the image shows, but still fell a few yards short of landing on our Cable/Internet/Phone wire way in the back of the photo (can’t see it). Something else for which we were thankful.

We were without power for 2 days and a few hours. Luckily, I had decided that I was going to pre-fill some of the plastic bins we’d put outside to catch rain water, so that they didn’t blow away in the wind, because we hardly got ANY rain (and we needed stored water to flush toilets since we have well water and no power to the well pump.) Some sprinkles maybe. But had it rained, it would have softened up the ground and we would have definitely lost more trees than we did.  (You can see in the photos how surrounded by trees we are – one reason we love this area!)

So we’re mostly back to normal here, except for the horizontal tree in the front yard, the broken maple, and a lot of branches to clean up.  And still feeling the shock of the devastation to friends and strangers all along the coast, just a few hours away.

Happy Halloween and a Hurricane

Happy Halloween, everyone! I’m posting this a little early just in case Hurricane Sandy pulls down a few power or cable wires around here in NY’s Hudson Valley.

The pumpkin was a gift from friends who grew it in their own garden, and it was too pretty to carve. 😉

A Dreidel for Jewish New Year?

First of all, Happy New Year to all Jewish friends and readers!

Also, seems like a good time to show a photo of something I found under the heat register the other day while vacuuming – a tiny toy dreidel!

Found a Toy Dreidel

Yes, usually dreidels are a Hanukkah thing, I know.  But it’s such a cute little dreidel – note the exciting spinning action shot inset in the photo! *grin*

It’s not ours, so it must have come from a previous tennant.  Funny how it took me a few years to discover it, despite other times I’ve vacuumed under the register.  Or maybe I just did a probability shift to a dreidel-infused universe – sounds more likely. 😀


Fallen Walnut Harvest

This photo represents some of the fallen walnuts that I raked out of driveway one morning, but there are many, many more now. Hopefully, they’re mostly out of the tree by now, although it’s hard to tell as the tree is so dang tall!

Each one is about two to two and a half inches in diameter, and most, as you can see, are cracked from impact to the ground. Hopefully, our local squirrels will find this cache and run off with them all as soon as possible.

Stove, Old and New

After almost two months of trying to get our older stove fixed, which included four visits from two different repairmen, a reschedule due to a repairman’s family emergency, a reschedule due to them having ordered the wrong part, they finally came to the conclusion that it would cost more to find the wiring problem on the oven’s spark module than to buy a new stove. So now we have a NEW stove!

Before it broke, the old one had been fully functional, if a bit dated and worn-looking, but the new one is, of course, all shiny, AND has an oven light and oven window!!  (Yes, I am easily excitable – LOL!)

We also learned about having to do an ‘initial burn’ – oven on at 400F for 30 minutes – in order to, some say, ‘cure the insulation’ or ‘burn off the oil coating’ or something.  So we had fans and exhaust and open windows, and it did stink a bit, but not as badly as some of the stories I’d read online.  Whew!  (There’s got to be a better way – you know these kinds of fumes aren’t good when they recommend keeping children and birds away!)

So. Today, I’m going to bake for the first time in two months; am making banana bread as I know how it’s supposed to look and can tell how the oven’s doing temp-wise and all that. Woo Hoo!