Our Place

Changing the octane rating of the gas we buy

I’ve been having problems with the fuel systems in both of my chainsaws and while I have them serviced regularly every now and then one of them needs its carburetor cleaned.

Unfortunately both of my saws were in the shop when the big storm hit us so I borrowed a neighbor’s saw to do a bit of the cutting I had to do and then got my big saw back for the bulk of it.

When I picked up my saw the mechanic who fixed it asked me what kind of gas I used in it and I told him regular (87 octane) with the 40:1 mix gas:oil. He recommended that I try 89 octane, the mid grade of gas at most stations.

So, I dumped my 87 octane gas (and some old mix) into my truck and went to the station and filled the truck up with 89 octane and filled my gas cans up too. Anne filled her Jetta up with 89 octane too.

My report is that it makes a significant difference: the saws are running better and the truck and VW are running a lot better.

I’ve run nothing but regular through every car I’ve ever had except my first car which was a Triumph TR4A and it took premium. Today I stepped up to 89 octane and I feel better already.

Seriously, I’m concerned about my power tools working well and not needing carb work all the time and I may have found a piece of the reason they’ve been tough to start at times. A season or two will tell.

A hummingbird told me Irene is over

You know the storm is over when a hummingbird hovers in front of the living room window glaring that his feeder isn’t up yet.

All bird feeders back up, our stream is down a foot already, the yard is littered with tree detritus but hey, the trees are still standing so a bit of cleanup is no problem at all.

Many roads in our town are still flooded and closed and some big trees came down but they’ll get it fixed. Snow plows are going by pushing branches off the road (genius).

May all of our hurricanes be this easy.

Our Stream in Irene

Our stream pre Irene

Warren, Connecticut. Standing on the bridge I made out of telephone poles and 2x pre-Irene (yesterday). Stream running from recent rain but nothing big yet. This stream’s entire drainage is less than a mile before it joins another stream 1/4 mile down from this.

This is 3/4 of a mile of watershed drainage.

Our stream morning of Irene

Standing on the bridge this morning. Stream getting fuller, making a lot of noise.

The eye of the storm won’t hit for another 6 hours so the stream will most likely top our bridge which I’m standing on as I take this (getting soaked).

Bridge over stream pre Irene

Standing near the bridge yesterday, pre-Irene.

Bridge over stream morning of Irene

Standing near the bridge today, during the beginning of Irene. Water will most likely top the bridge, shouldn’t wash it away (telephone poles are heavy) but who knows?

The day of Irene

Our stream is almost overflowing. Not going out to shoot it, rain a bit too hard and the wind is picking up. The eye won’t be here until 2 pm EST (it’s now about 7 am).

We should be clear of the storm this evening but if we have no power it may be a few days. Oh boy, camping in the living room.

I think we’re about to lose power… Sigh.

Flags in blizzard

Flags in blizzard

Warren, Connecticut. The snow is almost over but the wind continues to howl outside. These days people make a huge deal out of storms like the one that just hit the East Coast (the Weather Channel effect) but in fact, this storm has lived up to the hype: we have about 20″ of snow on the ground here and more in drifts.

The driveway will be no fun to clear but we’re going down the road to dig Dave out and he’ll come up here to help Gary and me get things cleaned up at our place. We’re putting that off as long as possible.

The good news is that we never lost power throughout the entire storm (yet) and so, have been able to stay connected to the outside world through the internet. What was life like pre-net? Probably better but hey, it makes for great entertainment during a big storm.

Hope you’re warm and dry wherever you are.

Prayer flags in early morning light

Prayer flags in early morning light

Warren, Connecticut. I’ve been collecting these Tibetan prayer flags for many years now and our backyard is starting to look a bit like Everest base camp. Our cat, who died a year ago is buried right under them and hopefully the flags and her spirit will keep the rodent population down in the backyard while at the same time bringing peace to the world.

I hope you’re warm and cozy wherever you are and may your world be as peaceful and rodent free as my backyard.



Warren, Connecticut. Last month this young possum started coming to our bird feeder every day to dig around for seed. Very cute guy and I have a new found appreciation for how enjoyable possums are to watch. This guy was a real character.

This was shot through a rather dirty double-paned kitchen window last month when we had a lot of snow.