A Wee Break

We are taking a little break today to take a shopping excursion! With Michelle’s birthday around the corner, we need to get thinking about a gift. Hmm…she is so artistic and has told us she would *really* like a camcorder…

I am looking forward to this little trip and am taking the camera along with me. (that is nothing new….it follows me everywhere, even resting next to the bed at night!)

 Hopefully, by this evening, I will have some pictures. The weather calls for a “good dose of sunshine” today, just ahead of days and days of rain! We really need the rain, but I also need to cut more firewood! YIKES!

Changeable Skies and Autumn Activities

This day began as the previous two did.  There were bright blue skies and a warmth in the air that seems so unusual for this time of the year.  In seeking out statistics, that assessment is 100% correct! The temperatures in the upper 70’s today are about 20 degrees higher than the average temperatures for this time of the year!

Being somewhat disenchanted with the piles and piles of leaves in the yard, I decided to try mulching them once again. After all, mulching the leaves into tiny little pieces must be like adding compost to the lawn.  I started the mower up shortly after 7:30 am, and that wonderful little mower proved itself to be worth its weight in gold once again!  Even though the leaves were probably an average of about 2″ deep, that mower chewed them up and spit them out with no problems at all! I worked for about an hour.  As Mark and  I discussed this later, I told him I thought I would have had to rake for at least 2 hours to get rid of the leaves! That mulching machine sure saves some time!

We had some inside work to do during the morning, so we kept busy with the business and  paperwork.  As the day progressed, the skies changed some, as clouds began to move in.

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Rather harmless “cottony” clouds. So pretty against the sapphire blue sky!

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After lunch, we had to go outside to begin gathering the firewood I cut.  The weather forecast is calling for rain, and also a cooldown in the temperatures. Hurrah! It is so hard to work cutting wood when it is warm. My favorite woodcutting temperature is about 20 degrees, when I can pop on a turtleneck and warm sweater and feel quite comfortable.

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I had mentioned yesterday about the tremendous memories I had of little babies and the hammock in the front yard. I wandered out to see the red oak where the eyehook was mounted for one end of the hammock, and sure enough, it is nearly covered some 11 or 12 years later….

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When the kids were really little, we used to rake the leaves into a huge pile near where the hammock hung.  They would run through the leaves and play there for hours.  The memories are so vivid in my mind, I can almost smell the scent of the fallen leaves….

Oh, the many, many happy hours we spent snuggling in that hammock!

Here is the path that leads up into the woods.

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There was a “group” of 5 oak trees that grew here. One of the trees was cut a long time ago.  I cut 3 more of the trees on Sunday as they were dead and leaning precariously. I would have cut down the last dead tree, but it is leaning quite heavily upon a neighboring maple tree.  The only way to possibly take that tree down without getting it exceedingly hung up would be to cut it with a rope tied off to the ATV so Mark could more or less “pull it down” in a direction that it really doesn’t want to go.  We decided to just leave it and it will probably fall on its own within the next few years.

Here is the grouping of oaks that grew in kind of a circle. You can see that I try to cut as far down as possible to use as much of the wood as we can.

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Our woods with some of the firewood I cut.

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I always tell the kids that seeing firewood makes me so happy, and seeing it stacked in the garage makes me think of it as “money in the bank”!

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We worked for about 1 1/2 hours today gathering up wood.  Mark guesstimates that we have about 5 face cords cut. We typically use about 10 face cord per winter, but the garage area where we store wood will hold about 14 face cord.  Last year, we used a bit more than usual, as Mark worked in the garage, and I would make fires for him in the little Jotul stove.  We insulated the old part of the garage, and it is almost luxurious for Mark to be able to do woodworking or even a little work on the cars in a heated garage! Mark’s biggest problem is that I sometimes get it a bit too warm for him!

And, for something totally different, I bought a very simple floral arrangement at Wegman’s last week. The rose was a bud that was far from opening. As I walked past the table this afternoon, I noticed that the bud had opened! The little berries (no idea what they are!) add an almost “Chrsitmasy” feel with their red and green coloration. Gads!  Only two more months until Christmas!

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A Sneak Peek at My Day!

After staying up until nearly midnight last night,  Murphy awakened me this morning at 4:45! No fair, say I! I took him and Angus outside to do their thing, then went back to bed. (very unusual for me…once I am up, I am up for the day!) Imagine my surprise when I opened my eyes and the clock radio was beaming “8:24” at my face! Yikes!

We had plans for today and those included some firewood cutting and gathering.  Knowing we would need a little “fuel for the furnace”, I made breakfast sandwiches for the family, then served myself something a bit lighter.  To me, there is nothing quite like eating a big breakfast and then bending over with the chainsaw, only to experience the flaming sensation of heartburn!

So, I settled for a more sensible breakfast with some good protein. Ritz crackers with a smidgen of cream cheese, topped with a teaspoonful of “Turbo-charged jelly”. (the jelly is comprised of pineapple juice with habanero peppers….Wheeeeee Haw!) For a bit of relief from the afterburn, I had some cheese curds and a nice Cortland apple! And no, I don’t get heartburn from the jelly!

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As I walked outside, the sunlight was playing on the glorious golden leaves…

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And on the hill behind the garage, the trees have begun their annual display…

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Yes, the Bristolwood is becoming ablaze with color.

We went up into the woods, and I began cutting. I cut down five dead trees that looked like they would come down relatively well. A couple of them got hung up, and Mark was able to yank them down easily with the ATV.  Our workday didn’t start until about 10:30, and one of those ornery trees that hung up wedged my chainsaw, bending the bar a bit. Mark said he would fix the bar and redress it, so I decided to take a little journey to the dump to get rid of the oceans of recyclables we had collected.

I pulled up to the recycle area and look what (who?) was in the dumpster! I tell you, it is the time of year you see the strangest things!

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Just as I was about to turn into the driveway,  my eyes caught sight of this incredible color display! It looks fake…the red Sumac and bright yellow/gold of the Hickory behind it look too brilliant to be real! (if you look closely at the wires on the pole, you can spot the big ole paper wasp nest I blogged about previously)

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We worked in the woods until about 4 o’clock, and by then, I was beginning to drag! The temperature went into the 70’s today, but with the colorful canopy above us, we were shielded from the heat of the day. I was surprised that I was able to fell all those trees and cut them up all in the same day.  We certainly made good headway on our firewood supply.

As we finished, I told Mark I was just too tired to prepare a meal, so he said he would take us to Canandaigua for a little something. I was thrilled because it was about all I could do to crawl into the truck!

I got a Philly sub from Arby’s and it was SO good! It really hit the spot! AND, there was a little surprise awaiting us at Arby’s as well! Behind the store, there is a giant pond that stretches behind several businesses. And, the pond was filled, and then some, with Canada Geese! I suppose these are migrating birds or perhaps geese that came to Canandaigua to spend the winter.

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If you click on the picture above, you can see all the geese in the background. As I was taking the picture of the geese, I heard a duck.  I looked to the left, and there was this female Mallard, squawking and quacking. Her quacks sounded more like a cackling laugh! I chuckled to myself, because she sounded as though she was scolding all the geese for being in “her” pond.  What a troublemaker!

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After taking “Cackles” picture, I turned and walked away. Something caused me to look back once more, and to my surprise, apparently two males found her noise alluring, as they made their way towards her! I would have walked back and taken more photos, but I was just too weary from the day’s activity!

Mark obliged me by taking the longer route home, but it really was not too spectacular, as the road was somewhat darkened as the sun had pretty much set behind the hills…

As we drove down the road to our house, the sky almost took our breath away! Mark even stopped the truck so I could hop out and take a picture! Yes, just another perfect day…..

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Enjoying Some Autumnal Colors!

When my mother and I made plans to meet today,  the weather forecast was calling for some rain and cloudy skies.  We would rather meet on such days, as we must scurry like busy little squirrels over the next couple of weeks to gather our firewood for the winter!

The weather ended up being nothing less than spectacular, and the drive was so enjoyable.  The only problem I suffered with in this (too brief) visit was that my trigger finger (as in, the one that actually activates the shutter on my camera) was itching the entire trip down and back. I figure that if I could just wander about the next couple of weeks, I could have a grand time getting some quality photos! However,the reality is that there is much work to be done and it must be done quickly. So, I am pretty much bound to stay right here….

Surely, I digress.

The restaurant we so dearly enjoy is snuggled in the “Enchanted Mountains”.  To see them in their Autumnal glory, it would certainly seem that the moniker was well given!

After meeting little Fritz, we placed him securely in his little carrier and went inside the restaurant. It sure seems strange the people they hire for hostesses these days….

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We ate our meal and then dispersed back outside to enjoy the dear little Dachsie, as well as the glorious weather!  As I was taking photos of Fritz, I was also taking a few of the restaurant’s scenery.

The skies were so impressive and bright!

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The owners of the restaurant own a pair of Golden Retrievers.  On top of the restaurant are cupolas with retrieverweather vanes.

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If weather can be “intoxicating”, this is the kind of day we had today! All the colors of everything just seemed to scream out as the sun played hide and seek. The lamp posts appeared so interesting when framed by the colors of Autumn and the intense blue sky with cotton-like puffs for clouds….

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I know that psychologists suggest that colors cause various reactions in our human body chemistry.  Is there a more peaceful time than Autumn?  If I had a hammock, I know that I would be spending time in it during these days. In fact, when the kids were tiny, we did have a hammock stretched out in the front yard between a white oak and red oak.

When the kids refused to settle down to rest during the day, I remember I would grab a blanket and we would snuggle together while I read books to them as we gently swayed back and forth on that hammock.  It is hard to reconcile that time has passed so quickly, and the eye hooks that held that hammock in place became embedded in the trees. 

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Our area is not this pronounced as far as color goes yet, but as we traveled, I noticed that in some areas, the trees were past their color “peak” and many trees were already “naked”.

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Intoxicating….it was just that kind of a day….

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Meet Fritz!

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Today we traveled to meet my parents at our favorite restaurant *and* to meet the new Dachshund puppy…

As soon as Mark parked the truck, I was out in a flash to meet the little fellow. I love dogs so much, and this little fellow is so special!

My parents and brother announced that the puppy now has a name! They began calling him Fritz yesterday!

I took many pictures of the new lad, but was sadly disappointed when many turned out to be mere blurs of a rambunctious little puppy! Trying to photograph this little boy was certainly a challenge, as he never stays still for more than a second or two.

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Look how *tiny* Fritz looks walking through that “field” of tall (not!) grass!!!

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My brother, Randy, had no idea whatsoever that they were getting the new puppy. You cannot imagine Randy’s delight when he came home from work last Friday to find little Fritz sitting in the dining room. Randy’s face tells all…Little Fritz will never lack love living in his new home!

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Photo Hunters…Practical

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 Well, I *almost* submitted a photo of ME, because, like Mary Poppins, I am “practical” ly perfect in every way. Okay, so that is a “slight” exaggeration….

 The cabinet above which houses much of my very practical Scottie collection was built by my (practical)  husband after I accidentally backed our truck up and scratched it up on the tree the cabinet is made from!  Tis a very practical piece, especially since it saves me from dusting all the tiny components!

As I dug around, I also came across a (very) practical sign which was mounted in an old caboose…..

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Practical advice, eh?

Scottie Tales…

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This morning, I decided I had enough of my Scottish “Teddybears”.  I set up my new grooming table about 3 or 4 feet away from the bed. I decided to groom in the bedroom because it has hardwood floors (for easier cleanup afterwards) and is also probably the quietest  area of the house. Add to that the fact that the bathroom is only a short distance away for their bath, and it was the perfect place!

Since Angus looked the most pathetic, I decided to start with him. I placed him on the table, and had just gotten the “loop” around his neck, when the table began to collapse on one side, becoming a big sliding board. Since my hand was still on the loop, I released poor little (very dignified) Angus and he slid to the floor.  Immediately, as soon as his paws could offer some traction, he was off to hide under the bed.

I opened the “cookie jar” and offered him a tasty morsel….being one food-driven little man,  he snaked his way out from under the bed, only to be humiliated when I grabbed him and placed him once again upon the table. (after making sure the legs were secured in place!)

It took some time to carve out that handsome Scottie look. Angus abhors the clippers and makes no bones about it! It takes a great deal of patience and a bit of coercion to get him through a clipping.  In his little mind, the clippers represent nothing more than time spent wriggling and trying to escape from under my hand!

I finally had to call Michelle into the room to hold Angus’s head still while I trimmed around his ears with a pair of safety scissors.  He refuses to allow clippers on his head. Best I can figure is that the buzzing of the clippers on his skull creates a feeling he cannot tolerate! Violent vibrations!

As soon as we finished the clipping, I took Angus into the hallway to sit down with him to trim his toenails. This is a real treat.  He has learned a technique that frustrates me to the point that I want to scream, but I don’t.  He watches the nail clippers get near his toenail, then he kickboxes! I kid you not. He thrusts his 20-something pound (muscular) body into a contortion that causes me to struggle to keep hold of him!  As soon as he relaxes (well, somewhat relaxes) I grab him and hold him tightly. This usually means I end up getting so overheated, I feel as though I am going to just tumble to the floor. However, in the world of Angus and me,  I always come out victorious! ALWAYS!

We headed into the bathroom after the toenails were done, and poor little Angus sat in the corner of the tub, looking so sullen!  As soon as his bath was done, he rolled and ran about, trying to rid of that wretched feeling of being wet!

Murphy was next on the table, and I was glad I saved him for last!  I had no need to place the loop around his neck. Murphy is my compliant “child”, often relaxing while the clippers pass through his thick brindled coat!

I turned around for a second, and as I turned back, Murphy’s slender body was sailing off the grooming table and landing on the bed! Little tufts of hair flew off his body, and as I yelled, he playfully thought we were having ourselves a little game of run away from Mum! Michelle finally arrived on the scene, giggling and enjoying the activity, but eventually grabbing my little charge and placing him back up on the table!

Murphy is very opposite Angus…although he doesn’t like getting his toenails clipped, he tolerates it rather nicely. That is, unless I accidently go a bit deep. Then, he snarls and growls at the nasty toenail clippers! He is doing much better, because when I first got him, I had to put on his “mask” (muzzle) as he lightly bit me a time or two, while snarling to the point that I was (nearly!) frightened!

Murphy had his bath and then romped about the house, acting as though he was rather grateful for the new improved feeling!

This evening, I came upstairs to rest for a few minutes. I heard a little sound outside the door, and guess who was sitting there, waiting for me to open the door and let him in?  Murphy is so different from Angus. Angus doesn’t trust me at all. He is sure that my hands will “produce” the dreaded blasphemous clippers if I even pet him. He only comes willingly to me when he hears his food being dished up! Murphy, on the other hand, forgives me for my silly transgressions, and just wants to be loved!

Murphy’s cute little “Scottie-sculpted” head.

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 Murphy and Angus were bred by the same breeder. The difference is that they both had the same father, but Angus’s mother was a wheaton Scottie (off white to cream-colored) and Murphy’s mother was pitch black! The result is amazing..the boys look like twins, although Murphy is “slight” and a bit lighter in weight.

Mark has found this grooming a bit stressful, as he cannot tell the two Scots apart! But, there is a way to tell….Murphy wears a “special” tag….

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Poor little fellow. As he *tried* so hard to just snooze, I kept taking pictures of him and annoying him with the flash on the camera. But, he is a good-natured little fellow….

 Just look at that face!

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A Walk in the Bristolwood

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This year, our Autumn weather has been quite a bumpy ride. We had a few days of cool weather this past week, and now, we are looking at highs of near 80 on Friday!  This makes for interesting decision-making. Kind of hard to decide whether to wear a cotton sweater or wool! I have made a couple of fires in the woodstove so far, mainly to take the dampness out of the air!

Early this morning, at about 4 am, we were awakened by the loudest clap of thunder! It was so loud, I think anyone sleeping through it must have been deaf! It was one of those rare events that makes the entire house feel as though it is going to leave its foundation.

We allowed ourselves to get behind this year in our wood-gathering. Two years ago, I cut so much firewood, we didn’t need to cut any last year. This year, we still have about 2 cords left. (ours are actually “face” cords)

Today, I thought perhaps we should get out into the woods to do some cutting, as if the weather turns dramatically, and suddenly, we need to have this chore completed.  Mark sharpened the chain for the saw, I filled the gas and oil, and we were off!

I met this little fellow who is a harbinger of Autumn, for sure!

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And it seems like October is the month in which we experience the “invasion of the Ladybugs”!  Although I didn’t see them in full force, I did spot many of them. And, speaking of spots, where iare this bug’s spots?

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We are getting a little more color on the edges of the woods, but deeper in, there is still much green.

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Most of the wood I cut is already down on the ground when I get to it.  Because our woods are mostly on a hilly grade, we find that many of the trees that die eventually just tumble down to the ground. I love these trees that have no bark on them. It is as though they have been seasoned on the stump,  falling to the ground to produce what I call “magic wood”. This wood needs only to be split and stacked…it is then ready to use immediately!

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If you look closely at the trees in the woods, you can see that some have no bark. They are already dead, and throughout the course of the winter, the weight of ice and snow will bring many of them down to harvest for next year’s wood supply!

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Wow, I remember when Mark and Ben put up the lovely Scottie weathervane that was given to me by another Scottie friend early this Spring. I remember taking a picture with the brilliant greens framing the vane. Now, the colors have changed quite a bit!

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Just a little walking tour through the woods…. Hope you enjoyed this bird’s eye view!