Cider Press Hill

Lots and lotsa squirrels

Tuesday, 5:57 am

By Kate

Sep

27

2005

sunny

It must be crunch time for squirrels. They are scurrying all over the place gathering food for their winter stores. And it looks as though we have a larger than average population of them this year. I can’t drive more than 20 feet without seeing one, mostly at the edge of the street, thinking about running in front of my car. More than a few do and I slam on the brakes, since I’m opposed to squashing squirrels. That’s not a bad strategy for getting yourself back ended. I’ve avoided that so far, though. Narrowly.

This morning I noticed—well, I couldn’t help noticing—a number of squirrels squashed in the street. It was as if some great magnet in the sky had pulled a third of the squirrel population into the streets at exactly the wrong moment. It was nasty out there this morning.

I guess the small animal populations vary from year to year. The last couple of years we had an overabundance of skunks. This year we have squirrels. I wonder what’s next.



 

Fifteen years in five

Tuesday, 4:32 am

By Kate

Sep

27

2005

light rain

Here we have the official portrait of President Bush
when he began his presidency in 2000.

Bush Official Portrait

And here we have a working portrait of the prez this past weekend.

Bush working portrait

That’s a lot of aging in five years.



 

Terry's unhappy

Monday, 9:43 am

By Kate

Sep

26

2005

light cloud

I’ve been thinking—shoot me!—that a new puppy may be a good idea. I’m just tossing the idea around in my head, of course. This does not mean that I’m going to run right out and get a puppy.

However, it has become quite apparent that Terry needs some canine companionship. Since her little brother died, she has been at loose ends and it’s not showing any signs of abating. While she loves the human side of her family, we just aren’t enough. She is restless and unhappy.

I hope this will pass, but it has been nearly a month now. She doesn’t remember a time being without another dog and she’s not adjusting well to it now. I’ve tried just about everything I can think of to amuse her and keep her busy. But she’s...unhappy. Maybe it’s dog grief. Or maybe she just truly needs a canine companion. I guess a little more time will tell. But I’m not discounting the idea of adopting another small buddy dog in the next couple of months.



 

In praise of

Monday, 7:23 am

By Kate

Sep

26

2005

light cloud

Laundry is not something which normally moves me to rhapsodic elogy, but...I am a happy consumer this morning.

Tee shirts are the staple of the lad’s wardrobe. He collects them from far and wide and then rolls around in the dirt in them during cross country practice. Yes, rolls around in the dirt doing exercise before the running part. So, these tee-shirts are a constant challenge. Usually, I manage to keep them looking pretty white and bright, but then he compounds the challenge by slopping mustard or tea or some other unknown stain down the fronts. There seems to be a limit to what I can get out of the fabric. And so, with a wad of tee shirts nearly relegated to the rag bag, I stood by the washing machine a couple of days ago, idly reading the new box of Biz that I bought last week. It said it would get out stains that nothing else will touch. More or less. That’s a big claim. But, I figured, what have I got to lose except a few minutes of my time.

So, I mixed the Biz with some water, into a thick paste, and smeared it on the stains. I tossed the shirts aside and forgot about them for a couple of days. Last night I threw them in the washer with a bunch of other whites (hot water) and let them swish.

Wonder of wonders, every last one of the stubborn stains disappeared. Not a trace. Laundry hasn’t excited me this much in years!



 

Mars alert

Monday, 6:50 am

By Kate

Sep

26

2005

light cloud

marsBetween now and the end of October, Mars will double in its brightness. It and the moon will be the two brightest objects in the sky. Mars is already brighter than usual during the autumn, but this autumn it is closer to the earth than it will be again for another 13 years. If you can manage it, stay up until midnight a couple of times in the next month—and look up into the sky toward the east and see the bright pumpkin colored planet. On Halloween, Mars will rise just after sunset, so it will be the perfect companion for all the trick-or-treaters. If you happen to have a 10” telescope, you’ll be able to see the blue snow clouds forming over Mars’ north pole. It is a cool sight, by the way. It is bright and startlingly colorful.



 

Yikes!

Saturday, 8:51 am

By Kate

Sep

24

2005

sunny

Massachusetts Electric, my electric utility, has filed plans with the state to raise rates by 27.5%. The higher rates would be in effect from November 1 through April 30. The gas utility has also requested a rate increase of 17%.

"Electricity rates and fossil fuel prices have been linked for several years and the prices on the world market have gone up,” said Cheryl LaFleur, president and chief executive officer for Massachusetts Electric.

The utility said the proposed increase was expected to add $17.52 to an average residential customer’s monthly electricity bill for an increase of 27.5 percent.

Wow. This is going to be a lean winter for a lot of people and a colder and darker one for a lot of other people. Welcome to the cruel new world.



 

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