Posted by: David | March 29, 2011

A Spring to Remember

It’s been a while. Sorry. Found myself dumbstruck by the horrifying events in Japan. Before that sank in, pun fully intended, video after video of house-carrying  waves seeping into my dreams, a special birthday occurred. Today, my daughter and granddaughter sat on their futon, watching CNN, well the baby wasn’t really watching. Continuing video from Japan, ongoing disaster, now the workers at the nuke plants who are literally working to exhaustion, not allowing themselves time to grieve over their own losses. The report then segued to end on a hopeful note, with some newborn Japanese babies filling the screen. Rays of hope.

Our grandbaby getting her first bath last week. 1 day old.

Discharged from hospital, heading home. 3 days old.

These are the granddaughter’s cats, Gus and Maverick. They seem to like the baby.

What’s not to like? Our bowls are still full and our litter box clean. Yawn.

Winter’s icy grip is slowly letting go. The snow is receding but still very much with us, and it would be a mistake to put away the snowblower and shovels. The cold nights and above-freezing days make the maple sap run, and they’ve been boiling steadily at the college. They do a nice job of incorporating a few study disciplines into the process, and the syrup is wonderful, of course. The business majors market it, the graphic design students design labels for the bottles, and the environmental studies majors learn about the history and impact of maple production and maintenance of the ‘sugar bush‘.

Isn’t this the cutest sugar shack you’ve ever seen?

Regardless of the cold, it is officially spring, and the plant table does have some plants started. The onion seeds didn’t germinate so well this year. We’ve learned that the hard purple onions really store a lot better than the yellow ones. We still have some in the root cellar.

Onion seedlings left, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers right.

I invested in a new garden tool. Invested I say because it was almost $200. It’s a human-powered tool called a “broadfork“. There are several models and sizes available from Johnny’s Selected Seeds of Maine. It arrived in two shipments and assembled easily. I can’t wait to try it out, but the soil is still frozen, and will be muddy as it leaves the frozen state. I chose the 20-inch wide model with 9 tines. It’s marketed as a harvesting tool, but I’m hoping it will work to till up our nice, mature, garden beds with much more speed than the standard turning fork I’ve used for years. We’ll see.

The yellow thingies are just protector caps, to be removed. The tines are sharp.

As you may know, I make a living in the IT realm. I call myself a “desktop technology specialist”. Which means I help people use computers and also spend a fair amount of time setting up computers for people to use.  Just telling you that so that the next image makes some sense. If you’ve been keeping your computer up to date, then you’ve hopefully upgraded your web browsers. I have done and have been noticing how similar the 3 most popular Windows browsers look. Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 4, and Google Chrome 10 are all 3 very nice, clean looking, and fast browsers. Try them all, even if you already have a favorite. It’s interesting how much the software designers and developers influence each other, and we all benefit from good software design.

Screen capture of the top menu and toolbars pointed at Google. Favorites bars are turned off, but are available on all 3. Click on image to see it enlarged.



  1. Oh, your grandchild doesn’t know the rules of the world yet, does she? She’s happy getting a bath! 😀


    Thank you Nimish. You’re right, she knows no rules yet. Only eating, sleeping, pooping, etc. It’s amazing that we get anywhere at all after we all start out this way.

  2. Thank you for posting more shots of Lydia. I checked the blog today because we are getting our April Fool’s dose of snow (at least a foot!) I hoped you might be posting. I love the sugar shack. Can’t quite figure out that new tool. It looks like you could drag it behind a horse or something but I would imagine you would win Dancing with the Stars if you could ever deftly hold those handles and move it in front of you.

    You’re welcome Carol. Thanks for visiting. WordPress played a cute little April fool joke on us bloggers today. In the stats section of the blog’s dashboard there is a chart showing daily visit numbers. Today the graph show visits multiplied by 10.

    Ya got me WordPress!

    Regarding the broadfork, it’s used to aerate garden beds or previously planted areas. See this video: It’s very easy to use.

  3. The broadfork appears to be a dangerous tool and should be used under supervision. Please be sure not to let your wee granddaughter use it without your help.

    I would quite like to convert that sugar shack into a place of my very own to use for writing, reading, and alone time. Imagine it in a woods. Ahhh… cozy paradise! (so long as it has Internet that is)

    It’s not dangerous at all although the tines were rather sharp once all the protective yellow caps were removed. It’s very easy to use on previously prepared soild. Even Withnail could use it. It ain’t for bustin’ sod mind ye. See this video:

    The sugar shack was a disused building until just a few years ago when some enterprising folks in our Environmental Studies program purchased a used sap boiler and started planning. The roof was modified to let out the billowing steam of boiling maple sap. Not sure what it’s original purpose was, but I could probably find out. I bet your husband and son could build you one in a weekend or two.

    • We haven’t nearly enough rocks to build that, sadly.

      I reckon Withnail would either stab somebody with it or kill a chicken. “I want something’s flesh!”

      Withnail would put his eye out, along with the eyes of Danny and Presuming Ed. None of them would feel a thing.

      • Oh, and “Gus” looks just like George Bofur.

        Actually I think George looks a bit smarter than Gus. But Gus is VERY friendly.

        • He isn’t. Believe me. He is also friendly. Too bloody friendly. He’s annoyingly friendly.

          We’ve never had an annoyingly friendly cat, but we’ve seen them. Gus could become on of those.

          • …and stupid.

  4. I can remember lying on the couch in a sleep-deprived state with newborn Abby watching Hurricane Katrina footage. Natural disasters are not good things in a postpartum state.

    Anyhow, love the bath picture of baby Lydia. And of the cats that don’t look like they’re too bothered by the new arrival.

    I thought of you today. I took my bike out for my first long ride of the season (uphill and against the wind the whole time, I tell you). Anyhow, I hope you get good (outdoor) riding weather soon. I miss your bike route photos!

    What a nice comment, thanks Allison. The cats don’t seem to mind baby Lydia. Yet. They certainly like many of her accessories, e.g. her little sleeping basket or whatever it’s called.

    That bath picture was taken by grandma. She certainly looks happy though we’ve not yet seen her smile much since then. Mom says she smiles in her sleep sometimes. We wonder what she might be dreaming about …

    Nice that you’ve been out for a bike ride! My blue Fuji is all cleaned, lubed, tires at operating pressure, etc. But the minimum riding temperature has not happened at the right moment yet. Soon!

  5. Your granddaughter is gorgeous, David. I’ve seen a lot of newborns, and they never look that cute. She’s going to be a heart breaker.

    I’m glad you explained that the pronged apparatus was a garden tool. It looked like something from the movie “Dead Ringers”.

    Thanks bschooled, we think she’s pretty cute too.

    I’ve used that broadfork since, and it’s going to save me many hours of fork turning, and a fair amount of back strain. Looks like it was a good investment. It was kind of expensive- $189 USD. I can’t imagine and gynecological applications and don’t really want to. I saw that movie, it was super creepy. Jeremy Irons plays great bad guys!

  6. Lydia is a such a beautiful little girl. I’m sitting here admiring her picture — with a huge grin on my face. Love her little pink cap. Did mom or grandmom crochet that for her?

    Thanks Pi! That smile on her face is hard to resist. She wasn’t so happy for her next bath. The pink cap was given by the hospital, we think.

  7. Congratulations, grampy!

    Love the grandbaby, love that photo of her getting a bath. Brilliant, just brilliant.

    Thank you ghetto girl! She turned 5 weeks old yesterday. Those smiles are rare still, but will be more frequent I’m sure …

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