Thursday, April 25, 2013

Grand Maple Farm

It is the intent, I gather, of a blog that the blogger post on a regular basis. Using that criteria I am a miserable blogger. Please forgive.

So, with not much to say, I am posting.

Tonight we worked in the front yard. Something odd happened this spring: baby maple trees sprang up EVERYWHERE! I don't mean one in this bed, another in the side yard. No, We have 10-20 of them per square foot all over. No idea what happened, but suddenly we are Grand Maple Farm.

The mower dispatches them easily, of course. How many mowers can say they mowed down a forest? Ours can, although I have not mentioned this to the mower. It is full enough of itself to be going on with. No need to further inflate its ego.

Why would a mower be so self impressed? Well, we bought a battery powered one, and are very happy with it. Yeah, it is not as environmentally friendly as one might hope, as we are pretty sure a coal plant generates most of the electricity we consume, but it is still quite a bit better than the old four-stroke Briggs that we used to roll out when bagging or especially long grass negated the usability of our manual reel-mower. The battery powered unit is quite nice, though. It does a great job in mulching mode, and picks up clippings well when we need material for the compost pile way out back.

So, not much meat in this posting. More of a vegetarian entry, perhaps good for you, but does not leave some feeling full.

Go Royals!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stickiness of the Mind

As Jeanne labors to prepare the pancake mix for tomorrow I take a moment to contemplate the finer points of maintaining a joyous and happy marriage of 22 years. Not that ours is that - at least not for both of us. You see, I am quite content, and happy. I fear that my happiness may not be shared.

Before you hotline us with our priest (we are Episcopalian and therefore cling to that title, priest, almost as hard as we cling to communion wine) I should say that we are not in any trouble - well, we are not both in trouble. Sadly for Jeanne, one of my recreational pass-times is being a bit of a pain. For instance, I discovered that if I posted a comment on her Facebook page it makes her smart-phone ding. If I post two, it dings more. If I post a whole heck of a lot it makes her, umm, testy. I might have posted too much.

So being the perpetual twerp that I am I invited her friends to make her phone ding also. I need to send the wag from the west coast who proclaimed that he would make it his mission to post well into the night (on into the morning here in the land of Oz) a message stating "you complete me." Well, maybe not in the way Tom Cruise did for Renee Zewilliger, but you know...

So then this devolves. I have known for a long time that the lovely Miss Jeanne is susceptible to getting a song stuck in her head. For some cruel reason this amuses me as much as making her phone ding with Facebook posts. So I sing Johnny Appleseed. And post about doing so (ding!).  At which point west-coast wag one ups me with "Put another nickle in..." (click on it if you dare).

So there you have it - I love Jeanne terribly, and the pancakes are ready. I hope tomorrows guests don't mind if they were mixed with love and a bit of tension...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Alpha Geek

Being a geek has its ups and downs. For example, if you work with geeks (I am in the Information Technology department of a large company) then the social rules are much as they are for wolves. There is an alpha geek, and beta geeks. The alpha does not take kindly to being challenged - you must submit to their authority on Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Unix, and C-# or risk being bitten hard.

At one time I may have been an alpha geek, but I no longer even pretend. Oh, sure, my kids bought me a Darth Tater (Mr. Potato Head as Darth Vader) for my office, but I am in no way ready to challenge the alpha with his complete Star Wars Action Figure collection, Super Girl poster, and LOTR chess set. When he walks by I lay on the floor and show my belly. It is easier that way. Really.

So despite not competing at work for the alpha position, I am most definitely the alpha around the B&B. Yes, the boy has designs, but like any good cub he defers when it is time to decide the next back episode of Star Trek to queue up on Netflix. As alpha it just felt RIGHT to decide we needed the latest iPad. I had no real reason, just instinct. So we bought.

And then, lo and behold, we found that we could get credit card processing on the iPad. There is a little device we plug into the headphone jack to swipe the card, we type in the amount, and then hand the iPad to the guest who can sign with their finger. We can even email them a receipt if they like.

What does all this mean to our guests? Well, not a lot, other than they are allowed to touch our iPad for a moment. But it is still kinda cool. Not LOTR chess set cool, but we do what we can.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Miss Beatrice Joins the Family

Apparently once bitten by the "bug" to own old things, the disease spreads and you start buying even more old things that need even more attention. Which led us to buy a 1974 VW Beetle Convertible. I know - it is just like our house, and about as old in "car years". But it is so cool!

When we bought the B&B we inherited a pool with the place. We didn't know what to do with the newfangled "cement pond" out back, but were pretty sure that the lovely emerald shade of the water was not right. Then we learned about Pool Dude. His real name was Dennis, but we dubbed him Pool Dude and it stuck. Pool Dude had a ruined voice that must have come from years of packs a day, but was delightful to listen to in a strained, will he make the end of the sentence or will it give out sort of way. Pool Dude helped us navigate the murky waters (literally) of pool ownership, to the point that now, years after his passing (will tell that story in another blog) we are able to spot algae bloom in its infancy.

All that to say, when we bought the VW for our daughter, we needed a "Bug Dude" to go with. That would be Tom. Tom is in Avilla, MO (pronounced "Aviya", because it annoys Jeanne when I say tortilla phonetically and I needed a way to extend that annoyance.) Bug Dude has not quite turned out to be the gem that Pool Dude was. He is a bit smoother, although just as crusty in his own way, and that smoothness makes us wonder.

It all leads to this: I am shopping for a timing light, tachometer, and dwell meter on Amazon because I have come to the conclusion that Bea (short for Beatrice, the name that was given the VW by Sarah upon purchase) needs to come under my direct maintenance, and no longer be a steady revenue stream for others. I anticipate making a purchase in the next 20 hours in order to qualify for free shipping to be here by Thursday! I love Amazon, although it can never replace Pool Dude, whom I miss terribly. I am planning to start missing Bug Dude soon, albeit voluntarily.

Beatrice is suffering from excess gas, I suspect. She does not idle smoothly, is a bit rough when first started, and gives off a rich odor of gasoline at idle. Unbecoming a lady of her years, and correctable, I hope.

What does all this have to do with inn keeping? A lot, I think. I love old muggle things, and love making them work as they once did. I hope to drive Bea in the Maple Leaf Parade one day, and will do so with pride. Provided, at least, that we can solve her little gas problem.

Visit us at We hope to post pics of Miss Bea soon.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Getting started...

Today we decided to make a commitment to start documenting the projects we do towards the renovation of our 1893 Queen Anne Victorian home/bed & breakfast. It's been an ongoing project for 12 years already, but we've never been very dedicated to keeping good records and before and after photos. My goal is to be able to post a photo of some progress we've made every few days, even if it's small progress! Today I really had fun because my 10 year old son and I decided to start polishing the brass door pulls and doorknobs in the front entry of the house. It's something I've been meaning to do for years, but I never seemed to get around to it. My son enjoys projects like this where you can work on it and really see some immediate results (and so do I!), and we were surprised to find that all the trim pieces were not brass, but were a mix of brass and copper! The photos were just taken with my phone, so the clarity probably won't be great, but we felt like we'd discovered a treasure! Have a look and enjoy what we found.