Sunday, December 31, 2017



Visited with a good friend a few days ago who awoke to leaking pipes on Christmas Eve and worked that problem through Christmas Day. And once again, winter has arrived like a semi-truck at full throttle on a downhill run.

We are prepared for the most part. The cold, though, has a way creeping in through windows, nooks, crannies and on bedsheets turned back awaiting evening's arrival and the shoulders are "enjoying" an increase in overall discomfort as a seasonal side-dish. 

Winter is here. 

Our Golden has these mornings dialed in. 

Snow fall fractures.

Wood stove is at peak heat and struggles to help keep the warm home. Bedrooms, office doors closed and drapes hang over doors to the outside to help heat loss.  Appears not to be a passing fancy of Mother Winter but a trend lasting well into January. 


-5 Degrees Sun Rise


Drone landed under the Christmas tree last weekend. It has had it first flight and all works well but this pilot has alot to learn. 

Expect drone photos, videos and general drone talk this coming year. 



I am trying to avoid much thinking and worrying about the year ahead. 

Probably more alien stories, as if no one ever suspected or knew about any of this since the days of cave paintings and carvings. Nor have there ever been hundreds of thousands of reports and photos from hundreds of thousands people over the history of the world. Then there is the government telling me/us there is nothing here of interest, etc.

There are some accounts of F4 Phantom pilots encountering alien craft while on missions over Vietnam and North Vietnam. One might give a sighting from a pilot or fighter pilot some credence. 

There are believers and there are non-believers. I am a believer. To think we are the only intelligent beings (that is a stretch, huh?) in a universe beyond our imaginations seems short-sighted and closed-minded. But that is me. Might we all memorize "Klaatu barada nikto" just in case. 

Talk of war.

For years here, a theme in our lives has been concern for a day in the future when all hell breaks loose. There are enough tipping points floating around in the world that one shot in the dark might just might be enough to pull the wrong stick from a very tall Jenga stack. 

My last net headline visit over the past weeks is "war breaking out in the next 12 weeks." Maybe sooner, maybe it is longer, but generals putting a real time period on world war possibility gives me serious pause. This will be the front and center elephant in my home this coming year. For years past, these prophecies have been well into the future, ie., years away. To see it now being talked of being weeks away is bothersome at best.

Add the boat-loads of distractions and misdirections on the screens to cloud any long-range vision or plan.  

Not going to go crazy, flail hands in the air and run circles looking for a safe place. But plan to stick to the plan that is - in theory here - a point for blogging. Sharing any thoughts on an after with you (and prepping) is helpful for me to vent some, think out loud, continue to act accordingly and live a life. The more of us that are better prepared means that more of us are better prepared.

I believe that 2018 can be wonderful year of all around growth. As I look forward to this I will continue the tendency to turn around and look over my shoulder. 



Publishing later this morning. Fingers are cold and it takes a few hours for this room to come to comfort. Small fan pulling warmth of the hallway and electric heater on under the table. Coffee cup number two.

New Year's Eve tonight. The wife and I have lobster for New Year's Eve every year. OK, two lobsters. That makes four lobsters. We may watch some of the world festivities in passing on TV. We are looking forward to episode 7 of season 7 Game of Thrones. Most likely bedtime will be "tenish" and we will read tomorrow morning last years New Year's Eve major headlines. The new year will begin quietly for us.

I've been seeking words of wisdom encompassing a year past and old man guidelines to share with all in the new year. Sometimes, trying too hard produces less than loosening the reigns and going with the normal flow. I yield to the normal flow.

I appreciate your visits. The technology these days opens doors that I never ever dreamed of and writing of things that are read by folks around the world, on a daily basis, is beyond my ability to fully grasp. My seventh-grade teacher told me that if I did not learn to write using cursive (instead of printing), I would be a failure in life. I did not believe her then and continued to go against the grain of cursive writing. Printing won out. I was stubborn. 

Communicating like this now is a normal flow in today's world. I will go with that into the new year. 

In keeping: enjoy, laugh, be close, open to learning the new, heads up, look over your shoulders often and continued working on self-sufficiency. 

Happy New Year World.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


"So, don't fly drones in freezing rain. The props gathered ice....lost its aerodynamic proprieties. Could stay flying. No damage, landed in snowy field. Propellers were covered in ice."

"Gotta test those limits."

Son is 37 and has been testing limits all of his life. Puts smiles on his face and in return, time with him is always an adventure. 

He has had his drone for months now and when he gives me a flight lesson, I take it easy and work a comfortable learning curve. I am totally hooked on this. But when he gets bored with me flying, he takes over and in seconds zooms out of sight. Makes me nervous, but I am learning. I have old habits to break and new ways of thinking to acquire. I am just not going to get there like the youngster.  

This is a photo from a trip he took this last week with his fiancee. Ugly weather day with every weather prediction but warmth and sun. 

I just know he was laughing as he picked the drone up out of the icy snow with props iced over. We will not be flying in ice rain conditions. 

Days before Christmas:

Birds disappearing into the snowy limbs and winter nesting.

Birds are out in droves at the two main feeders. Squirrels who dare to romp through the heavy snow, too, but not many. Like the little fellow pictured here, none appear undernourished. 

Dressing for snow removal is like dressing for battle-
Spiral ham from brother-in-law and scrambled eggs-
Wood stove throttle at 450 degrees-
Home nooks and corners cool to cold-
Homemade Christmas gift completed-
Nearly a dozen reports of cars on their roofs-

Tax cuts-

Not a perfect world but I/we feel real hope this season-
Good friends, very good friends-
Many many many folks saying “Merry Christmas”, smiling, happy-
857 blog hits in one day last week-
-1, -8, -9, -1, 2, -2, -6, -4, 0 & 5 degrees coming-
Stockings stuffed, cookies delivered, egg nog, tree trimmed-
Afternoon hot chocolate and good conversations-

Prayers said and prayers answered-
16 five gallons of sand and salt on the driveway-
Bunny, big cat(s), deer, moose tracks, nighttime crisscrossings-
We all know what we are getting for Christmas, for the most part-

White Christmas 2017

Around eight inches of freshly fallen Christmas day snow. Storm came through quickly and left the same way. I had it all removed by noon and Christmas dinner and opening presents hooked up on time with son and his fiancee. 

It was their first Christmas decorating their house and setting the Christmas meal. We were all like kids. Christmas music in the back ground, fresh cut and decorated tree with our presents at the base. Dinner was typical with more side dishes than were necessary but a part of setting any holiday meal for family. 

Stocking stuffer presents first then all the socks, calendars and toys. Not over the top by any means, but long moments together watching each other open presents. Giggles, OMGs and the present that put tears in my son's eyes. We knew it would and we all teared up. A homemade box from dad with a three generation hand me down family heirloom. A brass plaque telling the linage set the stage for what was inside. It was grand. Son said he knew that many old family members hands had held his gift. He was right.


Late post and will blame it on weather and the holiday. 

With Christmas behind us and a few days to re-group before the new year, I am thankful for a million things this past year. Your visits here from time to time is one of those things. 

God Bless and heads up heading into the new year.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


Predictions from the weather folk was 3-6 inches. We received over ten. The northern stretches of the state piled up 17 inches. Light powder which always makes for good photos just about anywhere I point the camera. 

Of course, the whole east coast was blanketed in snow several weeks ago and lots of OMG OMG snow stories. The stories are the same, just a different year. Folks are coming together and so forth. It is apparent to me now, that none of us ever came together in years past, for any reason. 

The little birds were out in droves as heavy snow fall covered a lot of their grazing area. In this sunrise photo, they were up and at it early. I cleared this feeder the night prior and topped it off for them that morning. The other feeders were empty so a town run for more suet and feeder blocks was in order. 

And these little fellows have no fear in this kind of weather. I was shooting snow over this spot for quite awhile during snow removal and they would move off and on the feeding like it was a no-never-mind. 

There is something very heartwarming to see birds hitting the feeders like fish hit a hook. They are just making a living like the rest of us and I believe appreciative of the winter help.

Drone photo of the first snow fall and a swollen creek running through it. Typical terrain and snow cover in middle New Hampshire this time of year.


Rescuing a Bunny

One dingleberry has to jump to the forefront of media to call this racism.  Just another reason why I think it is too late for all of us. The CA wild fires are tearing people lives up. Hell of a holiday season for thousands and thousands. But there has always been unsung heroes in all of the chaos this world has endured and the guy that rescued this little bunny is the heart of who we really are. The racist author of the story: NOT.

Watch the video. I think that little bunny overcame his fear of man and trusted his life to him. This video should be shared with every person we know. When you share this video with youngsters, tell them that this is really who we are.


Take time to scroll down and look at the 69 picture photo gallery. Compelling! 

Fast forward to 50 seconds and enjoy the show. 


My bet is that this service will soon be available in the USA. A little imagination and this too will become one of those "who let the Genie out of the box?" social malfunctions. 


A feel-good video.

A great window into technology and people helping people. I am amazed that this works. I am also refreshed at this young man and folks just like him who use and push current technology capabilities. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year I say!


Stocking Stuffer Idea

Nebo Cryket  $25-$30

I have suggested (tools) here in past posts and only to the purpose for sharing something that works for me.This little flashlight is priced right and well serves me nightly and as a flashlight to have in my truck. 

Three settings. Bright spotlight, floodlight and red light. The head turns 90 degrees and the base has a magnet hold. Fits easy into my hand, pocket and on/off switch easier than the button being on the back end of a flashlight. Spot light is strong enough for all around use and would serve well as an in-your-face light at night for a deterrent.

Photos above do not do justice to the power of this little light due to early morning light and the camera flash. 

There are other flashlights for similar pricing to choose from. Some that can drill a deep hole into the back woods. But for all around "everynight" and emergency use, this little flash light deserves a spot in anyone's flashlight rack. You will wish you ordered two!


Son and fiancee are having us over for the very first time on Christmas Day for dinner. I have this big laughing going on inside of me as they are asking questions about this and questions about that and I hear some pause in their chatting indicative of "the worry" of having parents officially over for a holiday meal and gathering. Little do they know they have opened the proverbial door for the future now as this responsibility is officially passed on to them this year; forever!! 

Next year we will be asking; "What time is Thanksgiving dinner?"...or "Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at your place."  I get all warm and fuzzy at just the thoughts. 

Christmas spirit this week a must. Say it with me now, "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year." 

As always, I appreciate your visit this week. Days will be longer next time we meet.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


I get a kick out of the little chipmunks who freeze in place when I walk up to the feeders. A good defense mechanism if there is some cover. Movement will always give away stealth. I can usually get fairly close, but did put the telephoto lens on for this shot. Jowls full and gone in a flash as I got to close. There must be hundreds of little caches around the out back here for the work of these critters prepping for winter. 



The mall died here a few years ago and will never again be the shopping experience it once was. A few shops leaving at first, then the shut down of the food court quickly followed by the remainder of most of the other shops. 

This past week, there were no Christmas decorations and just half as many center isle kiosks as last year. As irony would have it, the only kiosk we wanted to visit was not open because the worker did not show up for work.

The stores that are still open for business cannot over come the sadness of closed spaces and the coldness of a sinking ship. 

A few older folks were walking the isles for exercise and other sitting around visiting.  I think there is still a small coffee shop open in the back corner.

I walked in silence, snapped a couple photos and tried to envision the times when it was wall to wall people bustling in the comings and goings of the holiday season.

No escaping changing times. 

Weightless...with music by First Aid Kit.

The best six minutes of your day. Full screen and sound up. Enjoy



Well, it is the season and cookie makings are every where here. In some places stacked upon each other. Our place mats are barely available for some cinnamon toast and coffee in the morning. Lunch and dinner fend for themselves as more cookies are in the queue in the days ahead. 

Chocolate chip, peanut butter, hermits, Russian tea cakes and another new addition this season, oatmeal raisin. My wife has bagged up four gifts of cookies for me to start off the deliveries on our list today. Local folk with whom we see often and who have all endeared themselves to us in various ways during the course of each year will get a bag of cookies before Christmas. Handing over cookies always brings a smile and most know that when we walk in the door this time of the year, the reason why. 

We touch base, always laugh and smile, hand over cookies and all wish each other all the good things in life this time of the year. It is good for the heart, the giving of gifts and the sharing of homemade cookies. 



Thursday out driving and hoping to catch the sun at one of the inlets or harbors on Lake Sunapee. These two photos were taken just as the sun is setting over the inlet at Georges Mills. Top photo looking south from the dock landing and the bottom photo is looking east out of the inlet that opens into the larger lake.

I knew the moment I pulled into the small parking lot that I had just a few minutes to get the shot as the sun was quickly setting. With any photo adventure, all is needed is one good photograph to make the time and efforts worth it all. A few minutes later I did a panorama photo using my cell phone, but by then the drama of the setting sun and lake reflections were gone. 

The horizontal lines in the water, bottom photo, upper center left, are a couple ducks that thought it time to go swimming not realizing they were going to have impact on my perfect moment. Actually, they were more than welcome as wonderful moments for photography do not come that often. Wildlife always adds to the outdoors.  



The elephant in the room, for me these days, is the ever-looming and selling of war and end of times. False flags, imploding/exploding and the omniscient blonds selling themselves as hard as they sell three-day old news. The hatred of one half of America for the other half is like nothing I have ever seen nor felt before. And as much as I would like to believe that all of this societal upheaval is limited to "The Beltway" and large left cities, I can feel it oozing from corners and crevasses of our local government, towns and cities. 

Maybe this photo from American Digest, December 8, 2017 is over the top. But the photo is one of many from SoCal fires where over 200k folks have had to evacuate. After photos show complete destruction from raging wind and fire. The "meme-ing" of this photo regarding our entry into the new year is at least worthy of thought.  

Does the photo tell a story? I think to some degree. If so much in media, print and photography these days foretells times ahead, then might we just continue to shore up or lives as best we can? I am not advocating running crazy in circles with hands waving over head yelling "the sky is falling, the sky is falling." I am though thinking out-loud here that continuing a path of self-sufficiency and preparedness still needs to be on our heads up displays during this Christmas and New Years season. 



Four inches maybe; powder and beautiful. Dog and cat made their first season prints at daybreak this morning. Single digit temperatures in a few days and the game is on. 

Thanks again for the visit this week and go bake some cookies.

Sunday, December 3, 2017


Sugar Shack that has seen better days. Folks made maple syrup here a time ago.

An old barn, nestled next to one of our local roads, that has all but collapsed.
Maybe the history for the owner is more important than a complete tear down and renewal?



I picked up the camera this past week, hopped in the truck and took off to find something of interest close by. Often is not necessary to look very far for things worthy to photograph or write about. Our backyards are full of life and sharing / story telling that just might feed the restlessness inside of me. Readers may also enjoy some change here. Hell, there may even be a point at the end of these blogs to boot. 

I found the lower photo above over a month ago. Happened on a local "townie" we met years ago but our paths had not crossed in quite awhile. I was out driving back roads when I came across her and her dog working in the yard. We chatted while and her dog seemed nervous at someone new on the dirt road near their home. I told her I was out looking for things to photograph. As I was leaving, the bottom photo (above) passed by my driver's door. I did not get out because of her dog's discomfort with my presence but the old building grabbed me. I have a big fondness for photo stories like these. 

Our paths crossed again last weekend at the dump and we chatted. She said I could come by anytime and photograph all I wanted. She also mentioned that there was an old sugar shack further down the narrowing country road. "You might like that to photograph" she said.

How right she was. The sugar shack above was textbook perfect for some history and local color through photography. I love the photo.



Her was out with the girls teaching classes yesterday which left me home alone and to my own devices. I had the kitchen to myself and a plan. Chex Mix, which I can over dose on, but have never made. Check.

Peanut butter cookies which we both love, but never take the time to make. How hard can it be? Check.

A whole bucket of pre-mixed chocolate chip cookies from a local chain store cooler. No reason to ever have to mix these at home any more. Check.

Dutch oven-braised beef spare ribs in a red wine sauce. Pioneer Woman recipe. Ree Drummond is my favorite chef.  For dinner tonight. Check.

BUT it is peanut butter cookies I want to talk about. 

I tried three different recipes under the delusion that peanut butter was peanut butter and the thinking that most all recipes were similar in content and all would yield a wonderful cookie. 

Son's finance says that she always uses Crisco in making PB cookies because the cookies taste so much better. I agree, now and have a hint of memory of others saying that Crisco in some baking is better than butter. 

Peanut butter is not peanut butter. I believe that some brands are better than others, or maybe the jar that has been sitting on the storage shelf for a year has lost it flavor on the bedpost overnight. 

In the photo above, which is the best peanut butter cookie? And you would be right!

Here is the recipe I found in a fogged overlay from the net. Some sites want you to become a member of their "family" before they will share anything. Silly folks. 

1/2 cup of Crisco
3/4 cup of Jiff peanut butter (creamy)
1 1/4 cup of light brown sugar packed
3 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla ( I used some gifted vanilla from down south)
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup of flour. I will use a little less next time; maybe 1 1/2 cup.
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda

I mixed all dry ingredients hand-stirred them; then all ingredients into a mixer for about a minute or two. Let it cool overnight in the fridge because it was the end of the day and I was tired of cooking. 

First cup of coffee this morning, third recipe and 40 cookies later, this is the cookie we were looking for.

And just now before posting, I pulled down Mom's hand-me-down Betty Crocker Cook Book and found what I was looking for on page 206. It appears that Betty Crocker is the heart and soul of most all internet peanut butter cookie recipes. The reason to use less flour from the recipe above is that in the olden days,  flour was sifted onto a sheet of wax paper and then added per recipe requirements. Flour packed into measuring cups directly from the flour bin tends to be more that what it is; ie., a cup of bin flour is more than a cup of sifted flour. 

Regardless, we have our cookie recipe now that works and will tweak it some in the cookie making season ahead.

I think all any of us really need is a couple old hand me down cook books that have history smudges on some of the pages. The good old days are called the good old days for a reason.   



"...don't know if we can blame the dogs in this case."

Third time a dog has discharged a gun in that area? Seriously?

If ya gotta tell a hunter to "safe" his/her gun, then might that hunter seriously re-think hunting as a sport. Maybe golf, dominoes or a yo-yo. 



..and snow is officially forecast for next weekend. Her will start her cookie baking for family and friends after breakfast this morning. The wood stove finds the dog on the hearth behind it and the cat is still in her heated bed in the garage. 

Seek the spirit early this season. The shortest day of the year is on a close horizon and we head into spring before we are really even ready for winter.

Here in middle New England, we have three months to do, like it or not. But that the days will be getting longer by one to two minutes per day heading into the new year adds up. 

Thanks for the visit this week and go make some cookies!!