Sunday, February 27, 2011

On the buses

I entered a giveaway on the Pond Parleys website at the beginning of the month for a set of pictures from Miniature Picture Cards and was delighted when I actually won! That's the third prize I've won online in the last six months out of five contests I've entered. If only I had that kind of success rate in buying lottery tickets!

The Miniature Picture Cards site is based in the US, but owned by an expat Brit, Roger Penycate who brought his business trading in miniature pictures and reproductions with him when he immigrated to the US in 2002. Roger has  large collection of cards portraying many different subjects, not all British. I said that if I won I would like a set of pictures of British buses. One of my grandfathers was a tram driver, and then a bus driver when the trams were replaced by buses, so although there are no Birkenhead Corporation buses in the selection Roger sent me, the set is still meaningful to me.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's spring somewhere

That white stuff outside the window? 18" of snow and ice :-(  Thank you Trader Joe's - $3 was cheap for a little bit of spring!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Images of winter

Stop the snow! This is the end of our street. There's a road under there somewhere! (More snow forecast for Feb 21st - at least it's a holiday anyway, so we don't have to have a 'snow day' from school!)

Waiting for the bus. Climbing the snow pile is a necessity so the school bus driver knows you are there and doesn't drive on by . . .

My neighbor is not going gray. She walked her son to the school bus stop with damp hair and her hair froze!

 A sign of spring on its way - signups for Little League baseball have started! Summer camps are advertising too.

Got summer?

Shoveling snow off a school roof - why they put up so many buildings with flat roofs in the northeast of the US is beyond me!
Ice sculpture downtown

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What else can I tell you about Britain?

Every year thousands of American students spend some time studying in the UK. Most are participating in exchange programs, but a select few are participating in elite programs such as the Rhodes Scholars program or the Marshall scholarships.

Dominick Chilcott, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy, Washington said to Marshall scholars leaving the USA last fall to study in the UK:
What else can I tell you about Britain? There is beautiful countryside to explore and places of historical interest on every corner. Even our food is winning plaudits these days. In comparison to the United States, we have (pretty) efficient public transport, and you won’t have to worry about health care. I am confident that if you can navigate the classic British characteristics of self-deprecation, ironic understatement, and traditional reserve you will form some lifelong friendships. And if you like soccer, public sector broadcasting, damp weather and warm beer, there really is nowhere better to be.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

Loooking at my blog stats . . .

. . . I noticed this entry for last night:

Maybe someone at the Department of Homeland Security was just bored at work on a Sunday evening? No returning visits (yet!) and they didn't stop around for long!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Ice sculpture downtown this weekend
Not everyone in the world celebrates St Valentine's Day, although Hallmark is working hard at changing that. Despite the word Saint in its name, it's yet another holiday with pagan origins. I had heard the story of a man called Valentine who was put to death in Roman times, but didn't know some of the other details. Women lining up so that men can hit them, believing that would make them fertile?? I'll take the Hallmark version of the holiday, thank you very much!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Such a thoughtful child!

DS suggested this evening that we might like to celebrate Valentine's Day on Sunday because it's not a school day and we won't be so rushed in the morning. He shared with me that he is giving his sister $2 as a present, and is giving his father $5 "because sometimes you and Daddy are a little short of money." I've already got my present - a piece of artwork he did at school this week.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

What's that beep?

There's nothing quite like being woken up by an insistent beeping, realizing it's not your alarm clock and then figuring out it is some kind of alarm. My first thought was that it was the carbon monoxide detector. We've had that go off a couple of times in the past - although that was at the last house where we had a wood stove. One time I arrived home from work and could hear the alarm going off before I even got in the house. I called DH at work, who said it was probably a malfunction and I should ignore it. Instead, I called the fire department who arrived promptly and headed into the house wearing their full respirator gear. They didn't come out until they had opened every window in the house and the basement hatchway - in the middle of January, mind you - because the carbon monoxide levels in the house were lethal, even on the top floor of the house!!

So when I realized it wasn't the alarm I was hearing, my first thought was that it was the carbon monoxide detector. I sent DH off to investigate. He returned looking confused and said it was the house alarm. Something electrical had tripped and thus set off the alarm. (The house alarm has a battery backup - when the power to the alarm goes off the battery backup kicks in and the alarm beeps until you unplug it or the power comes back on. Very annoying when the power goes off in a thunderstorm, which it often does.) Anyway, DH unplugged a few things and then tried resetting the breaker, but nothing seemed to work - every time he plugged the alarm system back in, it eventually started beeping again.

We had a feeling it probably had something to do with the ice dams on the roof, especially when mid-morning we found water pouring down the front of the house from the porch roof - water was clearly coming through the roof.

It wasn't until this evening that we finally figured out what had actually tripped the breaker. I wanted to take a photo for this blog of our Christmas lights, which are still on the bushes outside the front door because with all the snow and ice we haven't been able to remove them yet. DH had finally unplugged them this morning. I plugged them back in, but no matter how I fiddled with the timer they would not switch on. We unplugged them from the timer and plugged them directly into the outlet. Still no lights.

We think the voles that killed one of our trees last year by chewing off the bark all the way around have chewed their way through one of the wires for the lights. It will be some time before we are able to remove the lights from the bushes though to find out.

At least now that the lights are unplugged DH has been able to reset the breaker and the alarm is plugged back in! And if we make it through this winter with nothing damaged other than one set of Christmas lights, we'll be doing better than our next door neighbor who has over $1,000 worth of damage to his garage walls because of the ice dams on his garage roof.

2 to 4 more inches of snow forecast for tomorrow night.

Now where did that compost bin go?

Following up to the last post . . .

I went out to the compost bin yesterday.  I followed the path that DH had snowblowed across the lawn and into the woods.

Where I found this:

There are three compost bins under there somewhere. Yes, what's in the bins does stay frozen for much of the year, but we keep adding to it anyway. The currently 'active' bin is the one in the middle and I couldn't (be bothered to) get to it yesterday. I picked the one closest to me and cleared just enough snow to be able to open it. Amazingly, it wasn't frozen shut.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Serious about recycling

We try to be good about recycling as much as we can - we have several containers in the garage for paper, plastic glass and so on and most of the 'trash' that I take to the dump n a Saturday morning is actually recycling. The town requires it, we are perhaps more conscientious about it than many, everyone here is supposed to recycle. Recently they started a composting program, which they charge an additional fee for. You can take compostable food scraps to the dump and they use them to make  . . . compost. We haven't signed up for that program because we do our composting at home.

We have a shoebox-sized tupperware-type box on the kitchen counter and all the food scraps get put in there. (Not meat or stuff that is greasy - just things like fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds and tea bags.) It usually takes about a week to fill the box, and then it gets dumped into the compost bin at the far end of the garden, just on the edge of the woods. It's not huge chore - though the children hate to do it because they are scared to go out to the compost bin by themselves in case there are bears around. We haven't seen any bears, or any evidence of them being around in a long time though. It can also be difficult in the winter to open the compost bin as the lid often freezes shut.

More of a problem this coming weekend, when the box will fill up again, was going to be the fact  that there is a layer of snow over three feet deep on the ground. So DH decided to make sure we could get to the compost bin. As usual, once the snow stopped, he had to clear a path from the front to the back of the house so that we can get heating oil delivered. (The oil guy will leave without delivering rather than trek through snow and we definitely don't want to run out!) He decided to keep going with the snow blower and headed all the way out to the compost bin and back around the house!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Raking the roof

One of the things my husband was hoping to avoid when we moved house was having to do too much raking in the fall. Our old house was surrounded by trees and the raking took forever. This house has plenty of trees close by, but because of the prevailing winds and a lack of fences or hedges, most of the leaves just blow away.

This year is the first year ever though that he has had to rake the roof! Not for leaves, obviously, but snow. Usually there's enough of a break between storms, and the temperatures are warm enough that the snow melts. This year the snow has been building up. Looking at our neighbor's house, I would guess they have 18 inches of snow on the roof right now. Getting the snow off the roof is important for two reasons. 1) If there's enough of it, it can actually cause the roof to collapse.  2) Heat from the house causes snow on the roof to melt. The snow and ice in the gutters does not melt as fast, so the water coming off the roof has nowhere to go and it can end up backing up under the shingles and into your house.

I was surprised to find that there is actually a blog that is about nothing but roof rakes! I have to say, having tried to use ours this afternoon, I'd rather rake leaves. For one thing, the weather's usually a lot pleasanter when I'm out raking leaves!
Related Posts with Thumbnails