Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I thought I saw snow on my way home from Farmington , but decided I was mistaken- too early in the season, too warm....
A little later, once at home, we glanced outside to see a few small flakes drifting around the yard- obviously not all that warm and not all that early in the season.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Being There"

Monday Night is Movie Night

Richard signed up for NetFlix- a pretty good deal, really. While we may still travel to Waterville to see films at RR2, we like the flexibility of choosing the viewing time, and we REALLY like staying home and conserving fuel. The selection makes it pretty easy to find something we both want to see, rather than choosing from the four that are currently shown in a theater. That being said, RR2 has some amazing films and we know there will be occasions when we just "have to see" something, or just want to get out for a special date night :)

We didn't time the return of last week's NetFlix selections, however, and didn't have a DVD to watch last night but, NetFlix has an option where you can view movies on the computer. Now, this would not be much fun on my little laptop, but Richard has a large monitor - necessary for doing his site evaluations - and, with comfy chairs pulled up close, it made a nice alternative to a theater or the living room. Now, on to the movie....

We watched a 1979 film called "Being There" with Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine and I have to say that I really liked it! A little quirky, not much drama, but as Richard calls it, "pretty cerebral." While we have plenty of opportunity to do things together, it's easy to get caught up in studying or chores, or work of some kind so it's nice to have a designated evening that we choose something together!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


After a pretty busy month of September, there's a nice, slower rhythm to life these days with some time to really enjoy doing chores (stacking firewood, pulling stuff out of the garden) and spending time with Richard (movie nights) and the grandchildren (they're amazing and changing so much). I've had more time to spend studying also - not just for the grades, although that is a strong motivation for me, but also to really understand how things work (as opposed to simply memorizing a list of formulas or functions). Good thing because there are tests coming up over the next couple of weeks in Botony & Chemistry. There's a lot to learn, and to be able to apply to classes down the road.
As hard as it seems sometimes, I keep remembering the Chem professor's words "Keep working at it and it'll get easier" which didn't seem true at first, but after almost two months I can see that it does make a difference. Things like moles, for example, seemed so obscure and now I realize it doesn't take much mental energy to slip into that frame of thinking. I have to remind myself of that as I now work my way through gravitational analysis and titration equations. Add to that the microscopic work we're doing in Botany, and I'm even more thankful for the chance to balance the tiny numbers and cells with the big picture chores like stacking firewood, scuffing my feet through the fall leaves, and making little Paige laugh while Avery and I play beside her.
Tempest is a tune that goes along with an old-time dance... the tune can be found in the New England Fiddler's Repertoire.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Flowers of Autumn

My dad asked me to identify a tree behind his house so I set to sleuthing with some newly developed observation skills. What I saw was a tall shrub/small tree with the following features:

Dull purplish berries covered with small warty splotches that make the skin a little leathery. The berry stems are silvery white. A large seed occupies the juicy, fleshy center.

The twig is a purplish brown, smooth textured and splotchy. The pith is brown (not pictured). I think just one bundle scar. The terminal buds are long and narrow.

The leaf is narrow and pointed, not toothed, slightly undulate, green above and silvery smooth beneath with small dots visible under a magnifying glass.
So, what is it?
I identifiied this tall woody shrub as the Autumn Olive, Elaeagnus unbellata. Although this species can have spiny leaves and some thorns, they weren't observed in this sample. The Russian Olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia has some similarities, but the leaves appear to be more narrow and the fruit is green.

All photograps found on the internet - just search for "autumn olive" and you'll find these and more.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

So, I got to thinking...

It always takes me a little while to really understand (if I really every do) some of the political and financial deals that make the headlines - I usually have it oversimplified, and such may be the case with the current bail-out of bad mortgages, but listening to reports got me thinking.

  • Homeowners who cannot make their mortgage payments are going to get some sort of assistance to refinance their loan AND in the process they'll get their property re-evaluated so the loan will reflect the new lowered value.
  • Lots of people will be doing this, and supposedly they will then be able to keep up with their payments, including insurance and property taxes.
  • What about the rest of us who are making their payments? Will we get our property values and mortgages lowered also? Doesn't seem likely, but wouldn't that create a multi-tiered housing system? And what would the true value of properties be at that point?
  • Who would set the value on property being sold? Seems like property owned by those of us who pay our mortgage would be priced quite a bit higher than that of someone who got bailed out.

I'm sure it can't possibly be this simple, and I'm sure that it will be an equitable housing market... I'm sure all that has been accounted for....


Monday, October 06, 2008

Movie Night

Quite a few weeks ago, we claimed Monday evening as "Movie Night" and for the most part, we've maintained a commitment to spending a few hours together viewing something we've thoughtfully chosen. Monday night is $5 at Railroad Square in Waterville - they have some very interesting films that you don't see at the mainstream theaters. We try to get up there whenever there's something that catches our interest. On those evenings when there isn't time to go or we don't see anything listed that we want to drive for, we rent a DVD and watch it at home. We've seen some really good movies over the past couple of months, after a LOOOONG time of not making an effort to see anything. It's fun having "date night" and intentionally watching something together that we can have a conversation about.
A couple of weeks ago we went to RR2 and saw Burn After Reading by the Coen Brothers - we loved it. Not quite as gruesome as Fargo, and a lot funnier but still dark. Tonight we decided to rent No Country For Old Men (another Coen film) and it made up for the minimal gruesomeness of BAR! For those of you who have watched thrillers with me, you can gauge the film by knowing that I made many, many trips out of the room during this movie! But, it was good. I think I liked it, but I might have to watch it again to be sure (maybe next time I can watch the whole thing). I like the kind of darkness and humor that runs through films made by these guys even when I can barely stand to watch them!
Let me know if you've seen these movies, and what you think of them.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


We've been seeing deer in the yard almost every day now, grazing in the gardens and poking around at the edge of the lawn. This morning we saw a young deer with small antlers (not shown in this photo) and as we watched him go around the house, we saw three more! Last winter we watched a group of 4-5 (depending on the day) deer that regularly came to the back yard... I'm guessing this is the same group! We love living in the woods!