Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dog Chase

1-27-07 VERMONT: It has been extremely cold. The night before last it was 20° below zero. This morning it is up to 20° above. That is a 40° rise just as though it went from 30° to 70°. We also got an inch or so of dry powder, maybe it’s time to test the snow.

The other night, when it was at the coldest, crazy Sam, the black dog, went out with the rest of the pack at eight or so. The others, Fanny, Nick and Chloe, couldn’t wait to get back indoors. At eleven, with no sign or sound from her, I was concerned that she was in some sort of trouble. When I went out on the deck with a flashlight and called for her, there was no response. Reluctantly I bundled and booted up, took the high- powered flashlight and trudged out through the pasture flicking the light on and off to save the battery and sweeping it back and forth. About half way out I caught a glimpse of an eye reflection from the flashlight and then saw a running dog. It was she, but she was running away from me. When I called her, she ran faster. When I got to where she had been, no dog. I walked toward the road and then toward the woods, but saw no more of her. It is very bright at night with a first-quarter moon and snow cover even without the flashlight. When I got back to the house, with frozen hands and feet, exhaling icicles, she was curled up in front of the fire.

Last night, when she out until after one am, we didn’t worry, just went to bed and then let her in when she knocked.

We saw wild turkeys three different times yesterday. One sighting must have been about forty in a corn field.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


1-25-07 VERMONT: It’s wintry now. It was zero this morning. We have about six inches of snow. We came up yesterday, and I shoveled snow and filled the bird feeders before dark. The fireplace flu closer was frozen to the top of the chimney, which I discovered only after starting a fire. What a mess. This morning a smoke alarm, which didn’t go off yesterday, started beeping and needed new batteries. Country life.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


1-18-07 SHORT HILLS: We went to the social meeting of the Medical Club of NJ for the first time in several years. It was great seeing folks not seen for a time. The gathering was the same as ever.

It has been cold for the past few days, but only in the twenties. We are unused to it so it feels colder than usual. Today we are getting a bit of snow, the first of the year.

Tomorrow is my first class this year at Newark Rutgers in Structural Geology, and tomorrow night we see the first installment of the Tom Stoppard trilogy at the Beaumont. That is four “firsts” in three paragraphs, sorry if it sounds repetitious.

Friday, January 12, 2007


1-12-07 SHORT HILLS: Over a week, how time flies when you’re getting demented. Sorry dear readers for my silence. Who said that I’ve got a lot to be silent about. Time for a few new rants.

An Op-Ed piece about slugger Mark McGwire in the NYT prompted this letter to the Editor:

"When Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in 1927, he totally dominated the baseball statistics. The second and third highest totals in the American League [AL] were Lou Gehrig's 47 and Tony Lazzeri's 18. The National League [NL] was lead by Hack Wilson with 30 homers. The rest of the AL hit 379 total homers, averaging 1.895 per player. Ruth hit 14% of the AL homers and more, as an individual, than all the other teams in the AL. The NL hit a total of 483 or 2.45 per player. Five of the NL teams hit less than 60 home runs.

Just as a random comparison, the AL in 1987 hit 2634 homers. Fourteen percent of that would be 369 homers.

McGwire's 70 is paltry in comparison with what Ruth did in his era, even longer seasons, juiced balls, juiced players, more teams, etc all considered."

I forgot to mention in the letter that the stats came from the Baseball Encyclopedia and that the occasion was McGwire’s being passed over for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Regarding the weather, the applogists for administration are blaming the hot January on El Nino. While El Nino does affect our weather by lifting the Jet Stream northward and giving the East Coast of North America a warmer and wetter winter, the effect is superimposed on a warmer baseline temperature from the green house gases spewing out of our smoke stacks.

It is pleasant to work in the yard wearing only a light jacket. I just finished spreading the second truck load of wood chips on all the muddy patches of what used to be the lawn. Between four big dogs and a lot of shade, the grass doesn’t have a chance. Now what goes well with chips?

New Blooms: Vinca minor, Snowdrop. I guess the first day of spring is now New Years Day.

Last week with the very warm weather, many insects were swarming that disappeared with the colder spell, now flowers are opening. Are the pollinators and flowers going to be out of sync?

Chips and Culprits.

Snowdrop, or Snowlessdrop.

Before its time.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Wintry Mix

Pix of Winter in Short Hills, NJ

Eat your heart out, D.C.

Soon, Santa will make his rounds on a surf board.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Warming Again.

1-4-07 SHORT HILLS: Global warming is again obviously present. The first two weeks of January are typically the coldest of the year, but we have spring-like weather. Pansies are in bloom and cherry trees are opening. December was snowless in the NYC area for the first time in over one hundred years. This weekend the forecast predicts 70°F, in January.

The plains have had severe snow storms. I wonder if higher atmospheric temperature, putting more energy and more moisture into the atmosphere, causes more or more severe storms.

I’ll get some pix of the flowers.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Country Xmas, City New Years

1-2-07 SHORT HILLS: No sooner had I written that last entry than the snow began. The 27th and 29th were snow days so I got to shovel twice. Actually, the second time the snow was so light that I used the leaf blower and cleared all the doorways in a few minutes. There was about eight inches of snow by the time we left on New Year’s Eve to return to Short Hills. Usually we do NYE in VT but were afraid of driving in the ice/sleet storm predicted for New Year’s Day. At the peak of the holiday week we had fourteen relatives in the house. After eight of them left, including the ones who had to be towed up the snowy road in their Volvo, we took down the tree and packed up.

If it was winter in Vermont, it sure isn’t in NJ. We got all rain here followed by sun and mud.

For the snow lovers, here are a few pix. The shots with white snow, white sky, black trees and almost no color really draw your eye to the colored object.