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Thursday, September 1, 2016

August 2016

I finally finished moving all our stuff and fixing up our old house.  It's for sale here:

It's been a hot, dry summer, but we finally got some rains, nearly 3 inches one night.  So I had to mow the grass at the new place.  The previous owner probably mowed 3 acres of surface area.  I sure wasn't going to do that! A lot of the tree-filled area will go back to natural woods, with a little help.  I started with a zero-turning-radius mower that I had gotten from Lowell.  It's a Bad Boy brand, and he's had a lot of trouble with it.  It was working well for me until I nearly put it in the pond.  It doesn't like to turn uphill.  I stopped it, then pulled it back up the hill with my truck.  Then I was mowing the dam and it stopped responding to the controls.  The belt had broken.  So I switched to pulling a Swisher finishing mower with Lowell's little ATV.  That was working even better until I looked back and saw it smoking (and not mowing).  I had burned up another belt.  Fortunately, I was able to borrow Lowell's riding mower and finish the job.  It was still 4 hours, including string trimming.

While we have become accustomed to the presence of deer in the back yard, the appearance of a big buck was quite a pleasant surprise.  I'm not normally a very patient photographer, but I stood at the tripod (which I keep in the sun room at all times) for quite a long time waiting for him to come out from behind a tree.  It was raining and the light was so dim I had to use a very high ISO.  Consequently, the images were not the best ever, but at least I got the shot.

My brother Mike and his son Racin drove out from California.  He brought me an old bike I had been storing in one of our barns.  We aired up the tires and I rode it for a minute before they blew out.  It's a restoration project.  He helped me fix up the old mowers and organize my workshop.  We hiked the property and swam in the pond.  We went to Palmyra one afternoon and I bought a vintage bar to go in the family room.  We squished up all the blackberries and started a batch of wine.  We went up to Hamilton, IL, and dug geodes for one morning, which was kind of fun.  There was an auction down the road and we went to that.  I got a few good deals, but was outbid on some others.  On his last day here, we moved Racin into the dorms at QU.

While they were here, we received a bid on our old house.  It seemed reasonable, though they wanted the old mower with the house, and we accepted.  We'll be happy to not be paying two mortgages for long.

The fall semester approached with the usual series of meetings, followed by the onset of classes.  i have two new preps this semester.  One is the Biology of Dogs, which was my own idea.  The other is QUC, which used to be FYE.  It's been years since I've taught it, and it no longer resembles what it once was.  Classes are now in full swing, and I am enjoying taking the Entomology class out.  They are very motivated and seem to appreciate the skills they are learning.

On my first check on the blackberry wine, it smelled bad, like vinegar.  I was quite worried.  After I racked it, I found that the liquor was developing into a nice wine, the smell attributable to the cap of decaying skins and seeds.  The fermentation was going strong, and I have reasonable certainty that it will be an excellent vintage.

I had a spare moment and got the old Honda CT-70 running again.  I had switched out the carburetor and added fuel filters last spring, so I just added gas and it fired up without much trouble.  Naturally, I rode it all over the new place, and even used it to go over to Lowell's to pick pears.  Stacey and I have been chipping away at the unpacking.  We got all the artwork hung on the walls and have emptied many boxes.  The house is almost in the shape that we ultimately want it to be.

Savannah got a new job as office staff at a Quincy manufacturer.  It's part time, but at least it has normal hours.

Indigo and Gretchen have been taking Canine Good Citizen classes.  Both are very close to being able to pass the test.  Isabel has been still taking agility classes for about a year.  She's still a novice, but very accomplished.  She may be competing this November.

Picasa has gone extinct, so I can no longer embed slide shows in this blog.  At the moment, it seems the best I can do is provide the following link, which you can click through to see the photos.

Photo album