Photo Hunters…Dirty

Dirty? Did someone say “dirty”? Of course we aren’t dirty!  We are “comfortable”!

ps, If you have a moment to click to enlarge this, it is rather humorous, as the beady-eyed pig on the left really DOES look as though it is speaking…..




Ah, yes…the quiet this morning is so wonderful! Mark and the kids stayed up late last night, watching a movie.  So, earlier this morning, I enjoyed a cup of tea and a piece of toast out on the front porch. The only sounds were those of birds in the trees. The temperature, although a “tad” chilly  (54) was so refreshing! Of course, I was wearing a jacket!

I have shown pictures of my porch before, but in the photo below, you can see how the high end of the porch appears to almost be nestled in the trees!  It is such a cozy place to just sit and read and reflect….


The begonia on the table that once flourished with flowers is now looking forlorn with only a few of the beautiful rose-like flowers blooming.


This weekend is Labor Day weekend, and although we usually don’t make any elaborate plans, I *do* have a couple of things up my sleeve! I have been looking online for details and trying to get some ideas to present to Mark and the kids!

I am all set for the day….I have even drafted up my entry for Photo Hunters this week!  I was clueless about what I could use for the theme “Dirty”.  As I was speaking with daughter Carly, I suddenly remembered a picture I had taken at Genesee Country Museum that I do believe to be quite appropriate. I will be putting it up before we leave later in the day for what I am hoping will be a quite “colorful” event….a chance for some nice photos!

So, with my ducks all in a line, I think am ready for the day ahead!  Now, off to awaken the sleepyheads!!!

While Out and About…

This evening, I took Michelle to Canandaigua; the community Bible study she participated in last year had a sign-up for this year and she wanted to go.

As we pulled into the church parking lot, we were greeted by many, many Canada Geese grazing on the acres of  lawn. The noise was overpowering, and they walked about as though they owned the place! I have no idea why they picked this particular area, as the lake and water are a good distance away. It was obvious they feel quite at ease on the premises, as many were huddled on the ground as though ready to sleep!


Since I had spent so much time at the Sonnenberg estate last Sunday, I thought perhaps I would take a quick spin through the cemetery where the Thompsons are interred.  Little did I realize that the cemetery is huge! From the road, it looks rather small. I drove around and was unable to find the Thompson monument. I figured it would be a towering, grand memorial, as they lived “larger than life” in this world!

I did find the family marker for the Clark family….Mrs. Thompson had been Mary Clark before her marriage to Frederick Thompson.


Somehow, I always feel as though I am trespassing when I visit a cemetery. Perhaps it is because I have no loved ones buried there.  There was not another soul (well, alive!) in the cemetery besides me….that is, until I spotted this little hooligan racing through the monuments! (click on the picture to see the face on this little one…almost looks as though it is laughing!!!)


After I picked Michelle up and came home, I looked up the cemetery to see if they had information online.  I was surprised to discover they have a photograph of every marker in the place! And the Thompson monument is not that grand….Well, some of the fun of an adventure was diminished by seeing the monument. Ah well, I had better spend my time with the living!

Unexpected Kindness!

Last Friday,  I entered a post on my blog about 4 Amish ladies showing up at our home quite unexpectedly.  I really enjoyed their visit, and we spoke about many things.

This afternoon, I went to the mailbox, and there was a large envelope there with the name of one of the Amish ladies on the return label.  As I walked up the driveway, I wondered what she could possibly have sent me.

I opened the envelope and inside a plastic bag was a beautiful quilted apron! 


 Here is a closer look at the quilted “pinwheel” design on the top.


I was so surprised, and so blessed to receive such a wonderful gift.  I happened to feel something more inside the envelope when I picked it up. I looked inside and found a smaller envelope.

Inside was the most beautiful heart-written letter, beginning with “Dear new found friend,” . As I made my way through the letter, reading aloud to Mark,  I found myself shedding tears as she shared from her heart with me!

Sometimes we just never know who the Lord will send our way, do we?

Wordless Wednesday…Sonnenberg

This past Sunday, my son and I ventured out to Canandaigua, New York,  to visit Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion, a goregeous Victorian Estate. (many pictures and a “tour” in my Arts in the Gardens entry,  two posts ago)

I took well over 200 photos and would have done many more if I had been alone. I have two photos that are my favorites, so I submit them as my Wordless Wednesday offerings.


 And you thought *your* camera was bulky?


A bumblebee gathering pollen in this beautiful rose in the rose garden!

A Short Journey to Another “Finger”

Today was a rather quiet day for a Monday.  As the day progressed, the kids and I were getting a bit antsy.  It was such a beautiful day and we know that days like this will soon be coming to an end.

We had three propane cylinders for the grill that needed to be filled,  so Mark suggested that we take them and get them replenished.  It didn’t take much to convince us, so we got ready, and raced out the door.

After getting the tanks filled, Mark and the kids decided to go to Long John Silver’s for some fish.  This meant a trip to Geneva.

Geneva is another small town about 15 miles to the east of Canandaigua.  It is a college town located at the north end of Seneca Lake. Seneca Lake is one of the two largest Finger Lakes, and it is so beautiful!

Here is a little map showing the Finger Lakes.

I won’t do a historical presentation this time….just random pictures shot at the Seneca Lake State Park early this evening.

I will mention that I ran into a boat dwelling fellow who was cooking his steak and corn on the cob dinner as I passed by.  He told me that there were a couple of other guys who lived on their boats all summer long. He said that come Friday nights,  the boat slips are a lively place to be.  He told me to think of it as recreational vehicles on the water! He also confided that many of the boats never leave their slip all weekend…AND that the guys all get together and LIE to one another!!! hehehe (think about all of those fish stories about the one that got away!)











Arts at the Gardens

Yes,  Arts at the Gardens was what the little sandwich signs propped up along the city streets this week said.  Being curious as to what this meant, I went home and searched online for Arts at the Gardens .  Surely this would be a wonderful excursion on a beautiful Sunday afternoon!

The arts were the very fine works of many artisans, and covered the gamut of things from jewelry to photography to handmade furniture to paintings. There was an area designated for all of the vendors.

Benjamin accompanied me to Sonnenberg today.  As we drove down the street leading to the Sonnenberg Mansion,  I became a little stressed at the traffic, so we opted to park on a side street and take a healthy little hike. As Ben and I meandered down the street,  I was simply drawn back to another time….the majority of the homes are Victorian “ladies” that have been rather meticulously cared for.

As we neared the gates, we had to dodge traffic; it seems everyone was in a hurry to get inside!  The horse drawn buggy,  framed by beautiful Sycamore trees that lined the streets, seemed strangely in place,  even amongst all of the shining modern automobiles!

Please remember that all of these photos will enlarge if clicked on!


After paying the admission fee. we walked along ponds on the side of the roadway. I, of course, could not resist the ducks, but when Michelle saw the picture, she immediately spotted the little turtles resting on the rocks with the ducks. Ah, the beauty of a telephoto lens!

On we went, ready to explore the 52 acre estate located in the City of Canandaigua.


A tiny brief history about Sonnenberg….It was one of five homes owned by a couple named Frederick Ferris and Mary Clark Thompson.  Frederick was the son of a wealthy New York City banker, and Mary was the daughter of a governor of New York state.  They married in 1847 and often visited the farmhouse that was  Mary’s childhood home in Canandaigua.

In 1887,  the farmhouse was torn down and Sonnenberg (German, meaning Sunny Hill) was built. It was a grand Victorian home complete with 40 rooms. Although the Thompsons had other homes, Sonnenberg was their favorite “summer” home.  They resided otherwise on Madison Avenue in New York City.

In 1899, Frederick passed away, and Mary moved to her beloved Sonnenberg.  Both of the Thompsons were known for their philanthropy, and even after Frederick’s death, Mary continued this tradition,  giving monies to various organizations in the Canandaigua area. She passed away in 1923.

During the Great Depression, Mary’s nephew, who now had possession of the estate, sold the property to the federal government.  They, in turn, built a veterans’ hospital on what was farmland. The home was then made into a residence for hospital employees.


It was in the 1970’s that the Friends of Sonnenberg was formed to try to restore the home and its gardens to its past splendor.  They were given possession of the home, and the gardens began to take on their previous glory.  The home was a labor of love, restoring it to a museum from apartments.

I think it was last year that the state of New York took over  Sonnenberg  after the estate was in jeopardy of going under when the CEO was found to have embezzled much of the foundations’ funds.

Ben and I toured the house, which is breathtaking….this is a view of one of the gardens from a porch near the master bedroom of the mansion.


Upon leaving the mansion to view other areas, we were so impressed with the massive trees that abound on the property. Many of the trees were groomed in such a way that the lower branches sweep on the ground,  forming “rooms” underneath them.  Notice how tiny the van parked nearby appears!


Even though it is evident that much work needs to be done on the grounds, the house remains a resplendent reminder of those glorious Victorian homes of the past!


And, of course, a grand Victorian mansion must have grand porches…..


The grounds abound not only with beautifully themed gardens, but also with fountains and water features of all sorts! This little building is located rather near the house….


It is an example of the owners’ luxurious tastes! It is made from a beautiful white marble and has withstood the test of time quite well. And, here is a view of the backside…


The paths and walkways throughout the estate carry visitors from one rather breathtaking area to the next. I cannot remember when I have been at a place where views in every direction are so stunning. 


The gardens are marvelous.  They are so gorgeous, although Ben made a comment that they might best be observed from an aircraft! The brick tower located to the right top of the picture below is part of the veterans’ hospital. (which is so beautiful as well, but has been slowly closing down)


The tall purple plants below are Russian Sage, and oh my! Their aroma filled the air as we passed by.


Although much work has been done in restoring the estate to its former condition, the sad fact is that there is much work to be done here. Many areas are run down and we saw many of the structures lying on the ground, pieces laid out in the hopes of being rejoined together again.  The pillar below is an example of repairs that must be made.


Another view of the grand mansion.


With its impressive structures located throughout the grounds, it is quite obvious why couples love to have a garden wedding on this location!



The pictures above and below are birds’ eye views of the wonderful rose gardens!


And this “little” (as in much larger than most city homes yards!) area below is the “secret garden”.



I do suppose that every Victorian mansion had greenhouses.  Yes, I did see one greenhouse marked that it was for winter propagation,  and another had a sign declaring it was the “melon house”.

Below was another water detail on the way to the Japanese Gardens.


This is part of the Japanese Gardens. The water details were beautiful, frogs hiding just below the surface of the water, and Water Lilies in bloom! (although I forgot to picture them!)






Not too far away from the Japanese Garden area was a large brick building. Ben told me to come take a look.  My heart wrenched a bit as I viewed a beautiful indoor swimming pool that had fallen to ruin. I could only imagine what it would have been like to have gone swimming there when it was in its prime.

Upon Mr. Thompson’s death, all of his wealth was transferred to his beloved Mary. It was stated his assets totaled $3,000,000. That was in 1899……

If You Promise NOT to Laugh


I shall tell you the rather humorous circumstance I found myself in this morning.

I had spent over an hour yesterday morning vacuuming out the pool.  Being an above ground pool with a plastic liner, it is prone to collecting gritty little particles in the seams and in little divots.  It takes a good deal of patience (and time) to carefully clean each area without stirring up all the particles and sending them swirling about in the pool.  I thought I had done a good job yesterday, but this morning, there were pockets of dirt on the bottom.

Since I am fairly good at not putting things off,  I decided this morning, that I would clean the pool again, trying to make it really clean.

I climbed up on the rails,  poolside, and began working slowly and methodically. I was being so careful to take my time and do a great job.  I have not been in the pool since Mark had the spinal cord injury eight years ago this past May. You see, Mark loved that pool and he bought it with the intent of teaching the kids to swim and appreciate the water.  To this day, I feel like sitting down and crying when I think about going into the pool. We spent many a happy time bouncing about with two toddlers in that pool….

 As I worked my way along the bottom of the pool, I would move my pink Crocs clad feet along the rails.  I was impressed that the pool was looking quite nice.  Suddenly, one of those ill-begotten horseflies swooped down in front of me, teasing me as I swatted at its slow-moving body.  It seems the more agitated I got, the closer in it flew near me.  I was so aggrevated, telling it to leave me alone!  Frustration was arising quickly on my behalf. I was not about to become a victim of its drill-like bite. The blasphemous fly then landed on my leg. This was what threw me over the edge.  Quite literally!!!

I had managed to gracefully (or otherwise) tumble into the water while hanging onto the pole used for vacuuming.  Fortunately, I was properly attired, as I had earlier enjoyed the hot tub.  And, my darling pink Crocs managed to somehow remain on my feet!

I climbed out of the pool thoroughly heated to the point of blowing my top! I raced to the skimmer to disconnect the vacuum when what should appear, hoping to drill into my skin while I was preoccupied?  Faster than greased lightening, I reached out and slapped that miserable fly into the water.  Not satisfied that it was now destined to a watery grave, I took one of the tools in my hand and brushed it into the skimmer. The helpless insect was left floating upside down in the whirlpool….

Needless to say, I have no photos of this event! And, might I add, we (very thankfully) have no neighbors close enough to have enjoyed this ante meridium antic!

The Unlikely Quartet

Let me preface this by saying that this post will have no accompanying photos.

This afternoon, I heard a “slight” knock at the front door. With temperatures romancing the 90’s,  I was not humored as I went to see if it was Ben teasing me. As I looked out the window on the door, I was somewhat shocked at what I saw!

 Four Amish ladies appeared on my front porch! I opened the door and one stepped forward, asking if I knew where they might find Olive Tree Soaps! I do have a few customers who travel to pick up orders from me to save on shipping, but this was a most unexpected surprise!

I invited the four ladies inside and discovered that I had spoken to two of them previously on the telephone when they called to place orders. You see, once you prove to be a good vendor, your name quickly spreads throughout the community, which is very large….I have Amish customers from Missouri to Michigan to New York!

The ladies were almost as surprised as I. They surely thought they might have lost their way, not expecting Olive Tree Soaps to be a “house in the woods” , but instead a “business”!

We visited, I packed two orders for two of the ladies,  and it was a very wonderful little visit.

You just never know who might come a knocking at the door, eh?