Sunday, December 30, 2018


Waiting till the day before Christmas to find good Christmas cards is not recommended. Waiting till the day before for shopping, also not recommended. But again this year I was out wandering, searching for gifts to get my wife who already has her big gifts, wants nothing electronic, no clothing or things that glitter. I needed ideas and help. 

I have asked and she has done her best to help. She did order two things off the net for her present. I said, good get it. It is something you want and will use. I will wrap it when it comes and give it back to you Christmas morning. Sounds weird, but much better than giving something not wanted or will not be used. 

But she has proven that the only one or two small gift exchange on Christmas morning is never that. A lot of little presents for me. Socks, winter wear, "doo dads" or two, a wonderful card. Lots of little gifts. I bought into to that a few years back and said never again. All of this just two little gifts for exchange does not work. Never will. She so loves the wrapping of and giving of gifts. 

A lot of Christmas Cards come with the message where to insert a gift card. Granted there is a pre-cut spot to place the card, but how did we manage cash or gift cards before the need to have a specific place for that to go in the card. It kills the thrill of money or a gift card fall out on the floor when opening.

The photo above shows the end of the December wood pile. It looks like this worked out better than planned. Time can be measured in many ways. When wood is used as a primary/secondary source for heating a home in the winter, wood storage and planning is one way we mark the passing of time. Going into the new year ahead a few days on wood consumption.


Just happened on this young man singing. He is very good, very different and worth the few minutes to watch and listen. Stay with it. 

Marcelito Pomoy sings The Prayer. Sound up and enjoy.



Both the wife and I missed our 18th anniversary. For me this stems from a notion that there is an event to plan for; maybe a week or so away and that I still have plenty of time to plan, shop and purchase. Our anniversary has never been a big "doing something" or "gifting something" for both of us. A day out on the road with a good lunch and saying "happy anniversary and I love you" is all we both seem to need. Add a nice card. It is not that we do not appreciate our years of marriage and the recognition of time. Our anniversary gets caught up between holidays and just maybe a quite recognition w/o more gifting has become a peaceful norm. A gift in of itself. The time I think I had to get "things" done before this years anniversary, vanished in thin air. 

At breakfast this past week, I popped my head around to look at the calendar on the fridge and asked my wife what she might want to do for our anniversary. It appeared that we had both missed it by one day doing other things. Seems like lots of "things" around this time of the holiday season and year end that need attending to. 

So a late card will be in order. An official lunch out. A local road trip. Maybe even a small gift with a post happy anniversary attached. And maybe not. 

These have been a great 18 years. Adventure, travel, gathering of the best friends in the world, family close by, golden retriever dogs and a couple barn cats. Life in the woods, far removed. A lot of good time being together and living. It does not get any better for me. I do not need a gift to cement the recognition and appreciation of grand moments. Just time with my wife doing anything, anywhere. 

"Happy anniversary honey, I love  you."


If you are not a Yanni fan, give this some time to appreciate Van Johnson singing Love is All and appreciate the musicians brought together for this concert. 

Lead Violin Karen Briggs      Renegade 
with Pedro Eustache on Bamboo Sax and Doodook

I have watched this video album several times over years past and have never ever tired of the music and performances. Karen Briggs is a exceptional musician as is Pedro Eustache on the Sax. 

See the credits at the end of this song. 



Goodness sakes no no no. If ever there was a year not to regurgitate much of what has happened, this past year would rank very high on my scales. Let this year pass. Tucking away many lessons learned. I fear they will all be needed starting next week.

My blog is picking up more readers. How and why I do not know. Statistics on this sight indicates over 600 hits this past month and seems consistent. 

I do not think I have shared any grandiose ideas nor life revelations over the past couple years. I chat and talk of a very small window of living a life.  Some food stuff, always fire wood stuff, dogs and cats, getting older, photography, flying drones and moving around on a spec of geological dust on our planet. Some opinions but not life-changing nor intent for my readers to see as I see. In a large sense for me, all of this is selfish for reasons to often clear the cob webs of an ever-changing world. That you come here from time to time and visit is appreciated, never taken lightly or for granted.  

So to all of you, from the far corners of this world to include "unknown regions" who come to visit, "Thanks!" I include all of you in my New Year's wish.

"I wish for all of us good health. My parents always said that if you have your health you have everything. I wish life and times of old, simple ways of living. This is naive, but I wish. 

I wish you and I pleasantries in passing. I wish for all of us to see the good side of life and people. I wish for more laughter, hugging of good friends, family and love from family dogs and pets.

I wish for God to hear all of our prayers and for God to know he is not forgotten. He lives alive and well in the deepest recesses of all of our beings. Maybe his visibility is clouded due to the times we live in, but he is there doing what God does. These clouds will lift in the hearts of all people. I  wish you and I get to witness that miracle.

See you again in the New Year.

Sunday, December 23, 2018


Oven baked at 425 for a half hour or so. 
No mess, no fuss but takes more time. 
Planning ahead, it can be what's for breakfast



Tis the week before and I am waiting for the spirit of Christmas. We have been out shopping, making a few gifts and baking cookies galore. But that Christmas spirit has yet to arrive for me.

The spirit usually sets in around the 23rd or 24th. It will not be a white Christmas this year. Rather, snowy, spotted landscapes, icy driveway, grey skies, shades of cold cold, oh, and this morning before publishing, the weatherman talks of a lot of sunshine. A Christmas for a good book, fire set and snugs to curl up in on the couch. Maybe a few feel good Christmas stories from the Hallmark channel to break up the days. 

It will be prime rib for Christmas dinner with close family and presents shared. Then our anniversary a few days after, followed by the new year and our annual lobster  dinner. Just her and me with 4 large lobsters cooked fresh from our local market.  Two small bowls of warm butter and yumming. Ending the year and starting the new year the lobster way!!

As wonderful all the good eats are this month, I am already looking forward to down-sizing and eating simply and sensibly.



The History Channel just completed a series on going to Mars while interjecting current technology, philosophy and willingness to go there. "In our life time" according to Elon Musk. 

If the storyline presented by The History Channel of our near future of exploring, living on and inhabiting Mars is any indication of exactly what that would look like, I will say that their presentation lacked greatly in hope and excitement for the experience. I might even surmise that the group of folks and corporations going to Mars (as depicted by the HC) take with them a lot of the worst of humanity. The political complexity and mad corporate desire to turn a dollar out weighed the idea of permanently expanding the human species  for all the right reasons. Sad!! Not a great sell. 

The upside of watching this mini series was the hour programs ahead of the episodes. The one about Elon Musk, the success of Falcon Heavy lift rocket and the technology to bring back, land and reuse rocket engines. Turns a 60 million dollar rocket launch into a $60,000 rocket launch. Watching them launch his Tesla into orbit (it was a test flight to successfully launch a pay load) was a treat.

We are heading back into space now because of private money and the desire of folks to do so. 

Keep an eye out in 2019 for further flights. 

Another video that proceeded the last episode on History Channel of Mars, was The Challenger Disaster: The Lost Tapes.  

I wondered while I watched if the youth of today have any idea how our country and world eagerly watched Christa McAuliffe's journey and the flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger. 

That moment in our history tore at the fabric of our nation. Do the youth of today have any real idea of the greatness of so many people who have gone before them and the contributions to the building of this country? I hope so, but I also doubt it given the social poisons we are currently living in.

"and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."  

If ever our country needed a President of the United States to speak to and for all of us, President Reagan did just that when we needed it the most.


The Ocean Maker       A very good short film


DJI Mavic  Pro Drone Night Flight Test Photography


It seems we have had every kind of weather imaginable here. Single-digit temperatures and teens at night with the days no warmer than the 20's and 30's. Yesterday morning awoke to 50 degrees with temperatures down to freezing by bedtime. 

The driveway has gone from dangerous to walk on to all melted away as this past week ran on. 

Some help throwing down sand and salt by an optimistic sand man on the shortest day of the year. A sense of humor is always appreciated.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas 2018. Thanks for the visit this week.

Monday, December 17, 2018


Several months ago, son flew his DJI Mavic Pro full-speed, low-level into the ground. He complained that there were problems after propeller replacements and next flight. He came across a friend who had taught himself drone repair, especially DJI drone repair and offered his services. Apparently, the kid knows what he is doing because after running diagnostics and some fine-tuning, son's drone was repaired and is as good as new, maybe better.

This past week, he suggested we get out of our houses (being winter and cold bound) have breakfast out and then find a place to fly. So, we did.

Photo above is his entry back to our take off position on a nearby lake. He has just completed two low-level video passes around the island shown in the photo below.

While he was doing that, from the comfort of his warm truck, I had opted to fly to altitude for a few photos and then return. Flying five minutes outside in teen temperatures cuts flight time. No finger feelings left. 

I had lost connectivity on my last flight and after new USB connecting cables and paying closer attention to proper antenna positioning on my controller, returned successfully mission accomplished. 



The kitchen here at home is a mess. That is ok, but a mess is a mess. Bagged cookies in the queue for delivery, two hand-made presents in the build and daily meals are a conglomeration of snacking from the fridge and counter tops. 

Some of my favorite times with my wife are road trips, sight-seeing, a little shopping and quiet lunch out with good food. And this past week, we also had a mission incorporated into our trip. Find gifting ideas and presents at KAF.

KAF is about an hour's drive for us through back roads into Vermont. Landscapes and hillsides spotted with left-over snow falls and cold enough outside that the car heater stays on a constant output of warmth.

If you like baking and cooking, regardless of your skill level on any of it, walking into KAF must be like walking into a chocolate factory. There are islands selling any and every kind of baked good, warm out-of-the-oven to include a breakfast and lunch menu. I was turning circles in awe and have taken break/pasta making classes. Maybe because it has been a few years since my last visit. 

There are little "kitchens" where part-time bakers are making KAF cakes, doughnuts, muffins, etc., right off the shelves. This gal who did not want her photo taken 'cause of her hair (a mess) was ok with me photographing her hands working as she prepared one of the products. She said she works three days a week and not one of those days goes by where she does not learn a half-dozen new things. Everyone I watched working there was happy at work and outgoing. 

Several working test kitchens and bread-baking bays are set alongside walls or tucked into corners. Here, the mixer of full of flour, a recipe book is open, the gal making this recipe said this one was new to her. Others were in and out of the fridge, opening, adjusting and inspecting inside ovens. 

Fresh breads lined up on one wall. 

All the wall spaces along with a myriad of islands baking goods and baking tools  are covered with baking gadgetry. 

Biscuits and sausage gravy (in my opinion) are either excellent or fall short. My bet that this breakfast item would be worth the drive.



Full screen and sound up.


Thank you for the visit this week.

Sunday, December 9, 2018


The last living chicken. Named by our neighbors 3 year-old granddaughter, how could I not share. I broke out laughing at the name and then looking at the chicken. I had heard last weekend that there was only one chicken left now. Harmony ....looks healthy!

Thirty turkey traffic jam leaving their farm. I have tried to capture local turkeys like this in the wild. They are common but tend to run and blend in with the woods by the time I get in position to take a photo. Our neighbor tends to have all the stars aligned when she is out and about with iPhone in hand. Thanks to FhF.


RUSSIAN TEA CAKES   the beginnings

Her is chopping, mixing and baking this past weekend/week. Seven dozen Hermit cookies completed and tested like the ones below left. Nuts on the chop above for another 7 dozen of Russian Tea Cakes early this past week (below right). They, too, were tested for quality control. Several dozen each will be on their way to Texas by week's end. 

Dozens and dozens of chocolate chip cookies for local friends and family will be baked throughout this week too. We will start delivery the week after this posting. There will be lots and lots of constant testing of all Christmas cookies. 


A week of cold weather, no moisture and looking out the kitchen window at barren trees does not fit the winter model in New England. Partially melted snow, snow/ice patches on the driveway and all looks like some kind of transition. It is a holding  pattern, though and offers me nothing. Going outside for any reason is a pissy, moaning moment and I think only for the habit. Easier to piss and moan than find another view. The cold goes through me these years easier and faster. 

The art of keeping a perfect fire in the stove is working. A medium-sized piece of wood, about every hour or so, is an "X" on the smaller piece that has turned to orange coals. Flames immediately and the stove temperature hovers at 450F degrees.

By late morning, the house - to include the office here - is comfortable. Actually have to open a bedroom door or two plus pull the large quilted curtain aside at the office door to act as a heat sink for an overly warm living room.


I have held to my promise, of this past week, to eat most of the frozen soups I have made last month before making any more. Each lunch now is a leftover turkey rice bowl of soup or, my current favorite, beef barley vegetable. 

Beef barley vegetable, plus a slow cooking beef stew, is set for this weekend. Her is gone all day Saturday teaching outdoor classes and then a girls' get together Sunday. This means I have the kitchen to myself and can experiment. My wife will come home to a couple of hot cooked meals waiting for her.  

I get my wantings to make soups from my grandmother. I spend more and more time thinking of those early years visiting on the farm with my grandparents and can still see the pots simmering on the wood stove and the family-style meals served to family and friends. Always friends over for a meal. Always!

All the fixins for any soup or stew was there at the ranch. Soup beef or chicken bones in the broth and any kind of fresh root vegetable. Grandma's pots always had chunklets of flavor adding bones, spice balls and meats. The soup bones of those day had a considerable amount of meat on them. I was always told that meat on the bone had the most flavor. It is true. And nothing was ever thrown away that did not go through some pot or pan on the stove.

I see many recipes of soups and stews on the net today. But the photos are not of the cooking chunklets of those days gone by. Sitting down at my grandmother's meals and dishing up always meant moving around a bone or two to get a helping. And be careful not to eat the small black peppercorns that settle at the bottom of the bowl. I only did that once. 

The very dregs of a beef stew or pot of beef soup went to the dog for dinner. I never ever saw nor heard anyone at the table or the dog complain. Never! There was also fresh, warm bread out of the wood stove oven. To this day, warm bread or rolls out of any oven always trump the main course. Always. Never ever any exceptions.


And I proudly leave you with this. 

Watch and listen to the prayer. Fast forward if you wish from 01:37 to 02:35 and then let your heart remember days of old when the National Anthem was sung before the start of a football game. Also, notice the many many fine young men and women representing this country. God Bless.

Thank you for the visit this week.

Sunday, December 2, 2018


 Halfway and looking up the driveway

Looking down the driveway to the position where the top photo was taken.

Both photos taken by my son Tuesday morning with a Samsung S7 cell phone. He titled the sending of these to our home email as "WINTERFELL", a reference to "Game of Thrones".

He was headed our way to help with some snow removal and found this wonderful winter sight greeting him as he headed up our driveway.  Notice the orange driveway edge marker on the bottom photo. 

The young birch trees are easily bowed with a little heavy snow. With a heavier and wetter snow fall the night before, they seemed to be taking a respectful knee to Mother Nature. 

Had it not been for the availability of always having a camera with us everywhere we go with a cell phone,  this morning winter treat would have gone by the way side. 

These deeply bowing winter trees are a first for us here in the past 18 years. 


THE SENTIENT MACHINE: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence

I found this book in my quest to find something of interest to read this winter. AI interests me and scares me. From initial readings, I am not alone. Regardless, this ".....genie is out of the bottle."  It makes no difference of any emotion or notion any of us apply to what is coming. "It" is coming and life as we know it is going to change profoundly. Profoundly!!

I have been in the book now for a few days. Easy reading and material that is out of my easy understanding is being presented in a fashion that holds my interest and curiosity while helping me with terminology and insights of current and future AI. 

You and I (worldwide) are already in the AI program. Some folks are diving in taking hook, line and sinker, while folks like me - the low end of this technological food chain - are  testing these 0s and 1s from a distance. I will also take a wild guess that anyone reading my blog is light years ahead of me in dabbling and understanding of this new technological world and everyday usage of current developments. 

"OK Google", what am I trying to say here?

An example. I have lived my life and been used to making lists. Shopping, reminders and things to make sure I get done on any given day, no matter what. That is the way it has always been. Habits deeply ingrained inside of my human 0s and 1s. It works, is cumbersome and time consuming. Forget the list and I have to rely on memory and therein lies the reason for list-making. 

I have noted here of past that I have a new S7 phone. New tech, connectivity and new stuff that wants to be more of a part of my everyday living. I can do many things with this phone that I feel are beyond my scope of full understanding. Download an interesting App and within minutes, there are hints of wanting more personal information from me to fully be allowed to use all that the App is. So I delete it as best I can. I do not believe we can delete anything anymore, but I try and when in the company of a good friend and geek, get more help on these kinds of things. 

My phone has a memo app and I have just started to use it. The phone is always with me, thus the "list" is now always with me. Even the voice recording has promise. See how far behind I am? 

I wrote the titles and authors of three AI books I want to read. I typed in; The Sentient Machine by Amir Husain. Hit save. I found a very nice young lady at the big book store. Pulled up my memo information and while looking at the memo information, read to her, "The Sentient Machine by Amir Husain."

There it was, new technology at work in my everyday life. A wow moment for me. Proud of myself! The  young lady took my phone, set it by her computer and typed in "The Sentiment Machine" while saying the title out loud. I said no, "The Sentient Machine." I looked at my phone memo and sure enough it said "The Sentiment Machine." And there it was, AI "helping" me because I do not know what I am doing and the phone knows better what I want. Made the decision for me. "Always read the fine print" came to mind. 

I have seen the phone trying to help me write notes and text. I have not paid attention and that has now changed. (I think I have disabled it, but really do not know for sure) This ranks right up there with someone else finishing my sentences because I pause in the completion of the thought or statement. 

I did not know what that program was. How do I ask Bing how to disable if I do not even know what it is that is typing for me. So I asked Bing the question and sure enough, "Auto Correct or Auto Fill." Are they the same? I do not know. I recently purposely made a spelling error only to see that it is still correcting for me. I need a geek.  

The author talks of three phases of "IoT", the Internet of Things. Phase one, Measuring and Tracking. These are embedded sensors inside technology. Example on the personal side might be information on our daily walking activity. On the business side might be sensors embedded into flight control systems giving pilots warnings.

Phase two. Modeling and Predicting. The author says we are "on the cusp of entering this phase." I think that Auto Correct or Auto Fill just might be a good entry example of this phase. This program is trying to predict what I want to say or spell ahead of my typing and thinking activity. 

My mind is always ahead of my fingers and writing for me is a constant fluctuation of starting, stopping, re-reading, re-thinking and searching for grammar that best fits. I would like to ask my S7 to stop using this program. Just stop it. 

Phase three. A Trillion Fully Autonomous Devices. "This is where the human starts to leave the loop." 

Having lived a life, I do not think I will cope well in Phase Three.

**Nearing the end of the book this morning as I prepare to publish. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in how AI will continue to impact all facets of human life on earth. And sooner than you might think. 

I have tried to open a few conversations with my wife on some of the ideas presented in this book and have tried to conceive how life is going to change. But she stands steadfast to the point of cutting me off mid-sentence. "It is going to kill us in our sleep." With a wave of her hand - - end of story!! 


I will be back to the book store with memo cell phone in hand to look for Our Final Invention by James Barret and the series of three books by Kurt Schlichter: Peoples Republic, Indian Country and Wildfire.  

Did you know that there is a whole new world out there in books? Who knew? Spread the word!!


Friend sent a couple photos from the last snow fall taken with her iPhone. Looking through a small apple orchard and a sunrise and sunset. 

Days start getting longer in a few weeks.

Her is mixing meat loaf for dinner tonight and then will be working Christmas cookies for the remainder of the day. I am here for her to taste and perform any and all quality check requirements.

Some ugly wet snow outside this morning. Have a wonderful week and thanks for stopping by.


Her will never know one is missing!!