Friday, November 24, 2006

Through the woods

We didn’t travel far for our Thanksgiving celebration, just down the hill through the maple grove to our new neighbors. We took pie and champagne, celebrating an outstanding sunset and a couple of puppy romps.

My single friends understand what some others don’t, that holidays can be wonderful even when you don’t travel far from home, maybe especially when you don’t travel far. The heightened bustle of the airport, the holiday higgledy-piggledy stop and go of the freeway are things I prefer to avoid. Instead, I have a series of outstanding home improvement projects that have taken place on holidays.

In my Staten Island house, there was the Easter wallpaper in the bathroom and the Thansgiving diagonal grid stained on the kitchen floor. Painting projects are holiday favorites—they make such an impact for so little effort. Usually the projects are ones that have been long planned and prepared, with all or most of the materials on hand.

Today I took advantage of a beautiful, sunny November day to install wire mesh between porch wall and ground, all in the effort to reduce the wildlife taking refuge in my cellar. I had been thinking about it for awhile, particularly since the unfortunate incident of the rats chewing holds in the dishwasher supply and drain lines last spring. There used to be lattice, but that clearly was not working.

Bright and early, I was off to the hardware store for hardware cloth, staples, and a bit of molding. It worked! I dug a trench along the porch edge, staples the hardware cloth in place and covered the edge with dirt and gravel. Tomorrow if we have a repeat of this beautiful weather, I will cover the whole structure with lattice again.

Fewer small animals in the cellar—there’s something to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What have you been doing?

Well, nothing much. It has been a long summer and fall of moving and moving again. Painting and taking dogs for swims, but those cheery summer projects are long past now.

No, I didn't finish as much of the house painting as I hoped, but then again it was a lot of good work. I will spend the winter looking at a patchwork house, the gable ends still staring white in an otherwise muted color scheme. Very Vermont in its way.

The time for swimming is also past. That first day in August when the temperature dropped, however unnoticed by us humans, was the day that Miss Cassandra let me know that she had no further intention of getting wet. Not this year, no way.

Instead she romping with young Acer, the golden retriever mix who moved in next door. Acer is named for the genus of maple trees, beloved by his owners. She goes for play dates with Lola and Amiga and sometimes with Ellie. Some kind of relative (aunt, half sister, or second cousin--we are not really sure), Ellie and Cassie are well matched. Down to the pond and around, then back up to laugh at slow, stolid humans, they are twin furry streaks. They both love Toby, too, but at ten he takes the run a bit more deliberately.

Tonight we are expecting snow, so it will be time to hunker down, draw in as the days shorten. Feels just like November. The best thing about November is knowing that there is only one more month of days getting shorter, one more month until we can have a little more light to accompany snowshoeing ventures with the dogs.