Fall is here

With widespread night-time freezing throughout the state, we can “say goodbye to the growing season”, as one news reporter said. The euphemism or politically correct term for all your plants will turn to mush. It is sad to see summer and fall come to a close, so soon after such a horrible  summer. We are once again puzzled why so many trees have already lost all their leaves, while some are still turning colors and others appear green. Here’s what the capital looks like right now from across the river.

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Mother and two baby moose

Yesterday evening, while returning from our cabin, we saw a mother and two baby moose. A first for us. After a couple minutes, the mother walked into the woods with the kids in tow. Being dusk with a small point and shoot camera, from our roadside vantage point, we didn’t get any spectacular photos that do the experience justice … but we still have a couple worth sharing, I thought. It is literally one of those lucky moments, where we got to see them just as they were near the road, but wildlife being wildlife, they were out of view minutes later.

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Summer summarized in one photo

As the days get shorter and the website & blogging bug started biting, it is easier to slip behind the computer in the evening and high time to share some of this summer’s news, which was intentionally kept a secret ’till family visited (so it would be a surprise). Rather than getting into a lenghty post (and carrying on about the absolutely  horrible summer weather), I thought this snapshot might reveal some  changes in our life: Yes, that is a different car in front of a different garage, which is of course attached to a different house. So, yes :) we bought a new car and moved into a bigger  house. We’re pretty excited. A super comfortable and safe all wheel drive vehicle for when winter hits. The house was not as easy nor quick a decision, but we after some negotiating, we bit the bullet.  We’re still getting settled, but you can look forward to a house tour soon.

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Where is the icerabbit

Good question! Once again history repeated itself with a blogging hiatus. Mea culpa. It starts out with extra work, some garden duties, another project or two … doing stuff for other people and ends up being “where did the summer go?”. I’m actually typing this in tropical 90+ degrees Fahrenheit Florida. Just landed yesterday and I think this is the first day in over two months I am actually sitting down and doing absolutely nothing (right now). Thanks to the wonders of mobile broadband en netbooks I can post from a bench in the shade under some live oaks & palm trees, watching all kinds of wildlife (buzzards, herons, woodpeckers, …) with the adopted wild cat Perdu by my side.  It’s good to see her healthy after she had been lost, abandoned and neglected. Things are good. Busier than ever and more complicated than ever as well because of the extra responsibilities.  Two remodeling projects have been on hold, due to some changes in our life (more on that in a next post) and other things creeping up as priorities. We had a horrible summer weather wise. Plants died because of too much rain and lack of sun. We didn’t even pull the boat out of storage ’till a few weeks ago and somehow managed not to go out on the water or even have a barbecue! That’s how crappy the weather was and how busy we’ve been. I’m still not sure how we’re going to fit everything we need to do into the next three months, before winter kicks into high gear up north, but time will tell and there’s always next year :)

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Who turned the oven on?

I thought it felt a little warm out yesterday. Especially since this is the end of April and we’re in Maine, so I put two thermometers in the shade on the patio table. It was >90F (>32C) in the shade! Quite a departure and historic heat record in Maine, considering the previous record was 73F, according to wunderground. 

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Early spring

Our first flower has been blooming for a week now, with a dozen more just days away from unfolding.  Spring came a good two weeks or so early this year. We haven’t had snow since the beginning of March, which is exceptional, and the snow cover is practically entirely gone. Apart from some little shaded corners, you would not know we had quite a hard winter with high snowfall and record breaking cold temperatures. The other weekend we were finally able to put our outdoor christmas lights away. No, it is not that we’re lazy! That’s what happens in a northern climate when the stuff gets covered by many feet of snow and wiring gets encased in a thick ice layer on the ground as the snow melts.   While it is still to early to do anything in the gardens, we were able to start the first remodeling project of 2009: creating access to a 100 year old unused attic and converting it into storage space. It feels good to hammer  something together.

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Out of hibernation

Positive temperatures have returned. The snow is melting and since I can step outside in a t-shirt (I am pretty cold tolerant), spring must be around the corner. Finally! Though, I shouldn’t say it too loud. While spring may come next week, according to the calendar, we are looking at another month and a half before it will stop freezing (crossing fingers). The past winter was the coldest and strongest we have experienced. Record cold temperatures – as cold as -50F or -45C is a new state record – and back to back snow storms really make you wish at times you were in a tropical place instead of the Maine foothills and mountains. One is almost a prisoner inside his/her house. Absent a january and february thaw, today is the first day I can start pulling up our outdoor Christmas decor, now that the last bit of snow & ice is melting. It looked great for about two weeks, until it was entirely burried under snow. A few people have asked how things are, since I haven’t blogged in way too long (mea culpa). Things are good. We can’t complain. 2008 was an odd year, and a busy one too. I don’t know how many trips we made and miles I drove, off the top of my head. Looking back it feels like I was somewhere else every few weeks and didn’t get anything done, so to speak. The year started out nice and quiet, spring came, we started gardening and prepared for some DIY projects. Then extra family responsibilities cropped up … and time flew. We ended up not doing much remodeling, besides a total redo of the TV room & closet under the stairs. I had planned  to work on the cabin, but we were just too busy and pre-occupied with work and family matters.  I did learn a thing our two about cars, trailers and boats though. There is a Jeep in the family now and I am the captain of our boat :) But, more on that in a short while.

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DNS vacuum – no email for me?

Or maybe I should say DNS hell? If you have tried to email me in the past week, you will have received a 550 Relay Prohibited automated reply. Which is unfortunately not fixed yet. This 1and1 domain now points correctly to mediatemple (not .mac or wordpress.com), but it also ate my email settings. 1and1 Support said that shouldn’t have happened and has given me instructions on how to solve it. Basically you revert Basic DNS Settings back to 1and1 and then switch back to My Name Server, add mediatemple again as your own name server, save, wait for updating. You see the web domain go down … and back up. And, you still don’t get email. Wonderful. A second call. Followed the instructions on the phone. Wait. Still no email. To me it seems there is an issue with their setup where Basic and Advanced DNS don’t mix. With the Default Basic DNS you get access to the MX mail server. Strangely enough once you point to your own DNS server – as per their instructions on how to do it – the MX server disappears from Advanced DNS. I think their support suggestion of applying settings under both Basic DNS settings doesn’t work. To me it seems like a clear selection from a pull down menu for a reason. Which ever you have selected in Basic is what is retained when you hit Save. Time for call #3. I sometimes really cannot understand how something so simple can be so hard with large companies. I can’t be the only one, let alone the first one, having this problem. Can I? I’m also trying to get some input from MediaTemple (mt). I have recreated my mailbox there, but neither the old mailbox at 1and1 nor new one at (mt) is getting any mail. Hopefully things will be back to normal shortly. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to fix something you don’t have control over. Update: Fixed! Now, why didn’t any of the smart people at 1and1 tell me that after changing the DNS setting, the record is actually controlled by (mt)? Rooting around (mt) moments ago I just found I could edit my own zone file which contained my new MX server setting. And, (mt) just informed me I had created my email account correctly, but not activated it in another screen. Eh? All right. My bad then.

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