Vacuum Breaker

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I spent a good portion of the day repairing various items around the house.  Pictured above is the vacuum breaker for our lawn irrigation system. The most challenging aspect of the job was locating a replacement  washer for the now discontinued valve.  Happily the repair was successful. Regrettably, it was not the only source of leaking in our system and I now need to look for the next one.  Other repairs included replacing the electronic ignitor in our outdoor grill, replacing a visor retention clip on the Audi and various other small projects that needed attention.

House Sitting

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The bird houses at the edge of our property are home to a pair of Bluebird families.  I think it is fair to say that they will be spending the day indoors as long as this rather large hawk remains in the immediate neighborhood.

Hopkins Mountain

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Although we had no particular plans to do any mountain climbing, Jeanine and I found ourselves in Keene Valley and decided to hike to the summit of Hopkins Mountain which offers a stunning panoramic view of the Adirondack Mountain range. We completed the 6.4 mile climb to the 3183 foot bald peak in just over 4 hours returning to our car as it began to rain heavily.

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Usable Chasm

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When I was a small boy my family visited Ausable Chasm, the “Little Grand Canyon of the East.” The 2 mile long sandstone gorge begins at Rainbow Falls and eventually empties into Lake Champlain. My mother tells the story of my brother Mark who crawled under the railing to drop leaves into the chasm and how she snatched him back from the edge of the cliff. Only now can I appreciate how terrifying that must have been. Jeanine and I got an early start and took the ferry from Vermont to New York arriving ahead of the Memorial Day weekend crowds.

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The Pink Lady Slipper orchid below is one of two Jeanine spotted while hiking along the chasm trails. They have become very rare in this part of the world. After completing the gorge trails we ventured upstream to investigate Rainbow Falls.

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In the afternoon we visited Lake Placid, home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics and one of the more pristine lakes in the Adirondack Mountains. A boat tour of the area provided a wealth of information about the lake and close views of the “summer camps” of the rich and famous who flock here during the warmer months.

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Jeanine located a primitive campground adjacent to Taylor Pond where we enjoyed my rudimentary camp cooking, a nice fire, and the company of three loons.

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Burlington Stop Over

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On a whim, Jeanine and I decided to head off on a road trip.  Our first destination was Burlington, VT where we dined with and spent the night at Jeanine’s sister’s house.  Before arriving we went for a leisurely stroll on the town’s boardwalk/bike path which borders Lake Champlain.  There, preparations were underway for the Vermont City Marathon and Relay to be run on Sunday.  We encountered what appear to be the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz and a litter of baby Rottweilers which could not have been more adorable.  Good thing we left Maya at home with Nicolai and Johnny, otherwise we would have been returning home with another dog.

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Vintage Coleman

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I purchased this camp stove some 30 years ago.  Today I sold it on Craig’s List for a profit.  It really pays to take care of your equipment.  The stove can run on unleaded gas, kerosene, or white gas.  I am replacing it with one that runs on propane which is a much easier and safer fuel to work with.  Still up for sale is a vintage Coleman lantern which I also expect to sell at a profit.

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Dandelion

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Regrettably, one man’s miracle of ariel seed dissemination is another’s source of perturbation in a sea of uniformity.

Big House 4

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When my new Tesla X arrives I am looking forward to some serious cross country travel and car camping.  I currently have a 1 person ultralight tent for solo backpacking, a 2 person tent that Jeanine and I use when flying to a destination where we will be car camping, and a giant 6 person tent that we used as a family for car and backyard camping.  Today I picked up a 4 person tent that will be used by Jeanine and I for road trips. It is tall enough to stand in and has room inside for a pair of chairs and small table.  Our 6 person Marmot is now up for sale on Craig’s list.  All initial tent testing happens in our master bedroom.  If I don’t like the dimensions, setup, tear-down or features it goes right back to REI without getting dirty.  This one is a keeper.

Q5 Inspection

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It has been a long time since I paid any attention to the Audi which has been complaining about a failed side marker light bulb for several months.  Realizing last week that the MA vehicle inspection had long since expired, I decided to take care of numerous minor issues and take it in for inspection.  Accessing the bulb required the removal of a fair number of large components in the engine compartment but in the end proved to be a fairly straight forward.  A small plastic clip which holds the sun visor in place needed to be replaced.  The dealership wanted $35 for the $1 piece of plastic.  I found an identical replacement on eBay for $2.89 including shipping from China.   I also took time to document 3 dents on the car for a repair estimate.  If the quote is reasonable, I’ll have these taken care of as well.

Meatballs and Fava

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My nephew John contributes to the household by cooking dinner on Sunday nights. He has become quite the proficient cook and we look forward to what he will select each weekend.  This evening we enjoyed meatballs with fava beans and spinach/date/sourdough bread salad in addition to a delicious tomato soup prepared by Jeanine.  I had quite an appetite after my morning soccer game in which I played 80 minutes.  We managed a 1-1 tie despite the fact that we had only one sub to our opponent’s 6.

Niece’s 19th

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We celebrated my niece Rachel’s 19th birthday this evening with my sister Alissa, her husband John, their son Johnny and the rest of our family. Rachel is in her freshman year at Babson and seems to be enjoying college life immensely. In addition to being an excellent scholar she is a highly accomplished ballroom dancer who competes with the Harvard dance team.

On the Water

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Jeanine joined me for a 5 mile paddle on the Sudbury River after completing a 22 mile bike ride earlier in the day.  A more perfect day for kayaking I cannot remember as we enjoyed numerous wildlife sightings and the serenity of being on the water.  Meanwhile, Nicolai had a speaking gig in Great Barrington, MA and was joined for the road trip by cousin John. The pair continued on to spend the night at my sister’s house in Slingerlands, NY and will return tomorrow.

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Master Quinn

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My nephew, John Quinn, has settled nicely into his new Product Manager job at Nielson. He continues to live with us and is a great addition to the household. Today he prepared an enormous batch of home made granola to bring to the office and left a portion at home for the family to enjoy.  He prepares exotic dinners every Sunday night which take half the day to prepare only to be consumed in a matter of delicious moments.  We chat on topics from technology, entrepreneurship, and management to SUVs and politics.

Kids Take Note

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Flossing is an important part of dental hygiene except when it results in the dislocation of a filling. Such was the case this morning and will require a trip to the dentist for repairs. Note to children: You can avoid all this hassle by taking better care of your teeth as young adults.

NHS Inductee

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Maya was inducted into the National Honor Society during a ceremony this evening at the high school.  Inductees must satisfy requirements in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. Both her mother and I were members of the NHS and could not be more proud that she has also been recognized with this distinction.

Ruby Throated Hummingbirds

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The hummingbird feeder outside the bay window over our kitchen sink has seen a lot of visitors over the past few days. I decided to try and capture a few this afternoon.  It was both cold and windy so I bundled up before taking up a position on the deck with a long telephoto lens.  I don’t consider these to be very good photographs and will try again with better lighting and more interesting background.

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