Weird Day, Photo-wise!

The past few days have not been stellar for photography here in the Bristolwood…I have been so busy lately.  We are still getting things cleaned up and put away from our mini-vacation. The bug I had seems to finally be leaving for good….the coughing is beginning to leave….finally! Hurrah! There is nothing more discouraging than getting sick. But, getting sick in the heat of summer is horrible!  However, I digress….

This afternoon, we had to run to several stores for this, that, and the other thing.  Mark rarely goes up our hill to head out, but today, he did.  We got up to the top of the hill and there was Mrs. Turkey, standing in the center of the road!  She just stood there for what seemed like minutes,  staring at us, before she decided she had better hoof it!

outta-the-way-mrs-turkeysmall.jpg

With all due respect to Benjamin Franklin, *why on earth* did he want the turkey to represent our national bird?

We  finished some of our chores, then we stopped by Wegman’s so I could return soda bottles and cans.  When Michelle and I came out from the store, she told me to take a look at the Jelly Belly truck. I thought she was kidding, but nope…here it is in living color….

jelly-belly-bean-trucksmall.jpg

I would have gotten out to get a better shot, but someone else was in a hurry and couldn’t be troubled to stop.

We still had a few more stops to make, so off we went towards the mall.  We were out for a few hours, and the sun was beginning to fade off into the western sky…..

sky-at-sunset-this-eveningsmall.jpg

How is that for a pretty evening sky?  

As you can see, my photos today were so random and dispersed! Ah well, then, perhaps tomorrow will be better!

One Last Stop….

was at a place called Onoville Marina. Onoville is a small town located off the Southern Tier Expressway. (now called Route 86) It is located not too far away from the Allegany State Park, as well as Kinzua (pronounced Kin’zoo) Dam.  The Kinzua Dam was constructed from 1960 until completion in 1965.

Kinzua Dam was a very controversial construction, as it displaced many Seneca Indians (Native Americans).  The land where they were living would be flooded and become part of the Allegany Resevoir, or Kinzua Lake.  Many little ranch homes were built in the Onoville area that would house the displaced Indians. Country singer, Johnny Cash, recorded a song called As Long as the Grass Shall Grow, which dealt with the Kinzua Dam, specifically, and is the first song on his album entitled Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indians.

The Kinzua Dam was built to help control both the Allegany and Ohio Rivers. In 1972, New York was pounded with rains which were the remnants of Hurricane Agnes. The waters rose, and the dam came to within three feet of its capacity! Needless to say, it saved a great deal of damage to those south of the dam, as well as possibly countless lives.

I must mention that I grew up just a short distance from the dam, and as a child, witnessed the construction, as my father was in awe of the enormity of the undertaking. (Kinzua is the largest dam east of the Mississippi River.)  I remember many stories that were told during construction, regarding rattlesnakes, which abound in the area….

So, enough of the history lesson! The reason we came to the marina is because when Mark purchased the inflatable kayaks for the kids and me, he also purchased one for my brother, Randy, in case he wanted one as well. We wanted Randy to try the kayak out before he bought it from us, as we were not able to use them in the state park. We were unaware they weren’t allowed until Mark saw a sign. He called the park police who informed him that if the inflatable kayaks were spotted in the water, a “hefty fine” would be levied…

This whole incident caused Mark to do a great deal of research (yes, from his laptop and cell phone, while we were out camping) He called the New York Parks numbers until he could get to the top to try to figure out this mess.  He spoke to one man who is in charge of 20 parks in downstate New York who said he had never heard any rules where inflatables were prohibited from parks. After sorting through all he had been told, Mark came to the conclusion that it seems that if a park is situated in such a way that a lake is fully contained within the state park, and the park offers canoe/paddleboat/rowboat rentals, all inflatables are prohibited. If the park is located along a public waterway or lake, inflatables are allowed.

At this point, I must make mention that the inflatable kayaks we bought are not “toys”. They are incredibly durable and the top of the kayaks are covered in a rugged nylon fabric.  The kayaks are made with two separate bladders…..one is located inside the other. In the event that the outer bladder fails, the inner one would provide enough buoyancy to float the kayak to safety.  Also, New York state law requires the usage of life vests in all boats.

Having said all of the above, we four kayakers headed out into the deep dark waters of the Kinzua Lake! We paddled around from about 2 in the afternoon until nearly 5! The kids, Randy, and I all had a ball and agreed that we had to do this again!

onoville-marina-2small.jpg

onoville-marina-1small.jpg

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take my cameras onboard with me.  I would love to take photos from the kayak, as life is different witnessed at water level! I saw a fish that seemed quite large jump up from the water a short distance from me. I know I never would have caught that shot anyway, as I was paddling at the time, but there were many other shots that would have been so beautiful! A few times, we were able to “catch the wake” created by power boats and it was a ball, bouncing about on the waves!

The memories of this outing are ones that I will cherish….it was so much fun paddling with my brother and my children!

The Getaway…

We left our home on Sunday to meet up with my parents and brother, Randy.  We hitched up the little house on wheels and packed our bags for a couple of days’ worth of adventure. I took both of my cameras along, but in all honesty, I was too busy to stop and take many pictures!

On Sunday evening, I made up “hamburger packets” like the ones I remembered making so many years ago as a Girl Scout.  These were made from hamburger,  potatoes, carrots, onion, and some seasoning. (the veggies were all cut into bite-size pieces)  We made a fire, then allowed it to burn down to embers. We then placed the tightly-sealed foil packets containing the goodies listed above on the embers for about 25 or 30 minutes. At first, I was beginning to wonder if the packets were going to cook, but we could soon hear the sound of simmering food…..then, a while later, the scent of the packets began to permeate the air! As the packets cooked, Michelle assembled a blueberry crisp she had made ahead and then baked it in the camper oven. (yeah, we really rough it…) Everything was amazing! (and we even pulled the vanilla ice cream out of the freezer to put on the crisp!)

My parents left, and then came back the next day. We had so much fun just talking and laughing! Mark and I aren’t big fans of all the campfires that sometimes cause the heavy smoke-filled air to nearly gag one, but this time, we burned our own little fire. The temperature dropped quite a bit when the sun sunk in the sky, so the fires were so cozy and the air wasn’t bad at all.

On Tuesday morning, I went off to take photos by the beach area, as I had no photos at all! We were going to be coming home later in the day, so……

I was at the lake shortly after seven, with both cameras in hand.

How could I resist taking a photo like this? The water was reflecting everything so beautifully!

sunrisesmall.jpg

As soon as I stepped onto the dock to take some photos, a gorgeous blue dragonfly caught my attention…

blue-dragonflysmall.jpg

There was a haziness in the air. It had been quite humid, but the lake was so beautiful. I was surrounded by lots of geese and not much else….Notice how the lake reflecting the sky was crystal clear….no haziness there!

asp-1small.jpg

I was nearly mesmerized by a beaver, slowly moving back and forth across the water. Try as I might, it was nearly impossible to get a clear shot. The fact that the beaver coming up for air was sporadic and the mist lingered in the air, made for some fancy photographic footwork!  Add to that, the beaver was a great distance away! I was able to catch some part of the busy little fellow! You can see him just above the water in the lower center of the photo….

asp-2small.jpg

And, of course, everybeaver has to have a place to call home…..

asp-3small.jpg

What could be more serene than water, distant hills, and only the little “splashing” sound of fish jumping up to catch an unsuspecting insect hovering overhead?

asp4small.jpg

Later in the day, these rowboats would be getting a workout as guests rented them for a little fishing or explore….

asp-5small.jpg

As I walked across the sandy beach, I spotted a little one’s treasures he or she left behind the day before.  I couldn’t help but think back to my own childhood days when my grandparents would go with us to the beach and we would linger there until well into the night. I remember one time specifically, when I tagged along after my uncle Gerry, picking up driftwood that had been beached. Later in the night, we built a bonfire and roasted hotdogs and marshmallows…..all in such good company. Those days are long gone….now, no public beach would allow fires like that!

asp-6small.jpg

Sure, you would never consider that a goose….a silly goose!….would be doing yoga on the beach early in the morning!  But, I witnessed it, firsthand! Okay, so…let’s see YOU stand on one foot and stretch your wing! er, I mean arm!

asp-7-yoga-at-beachsmall.jpg

This was the “sleepy segment” that apparently had not yet taken in their morning java!

asp-8small.jpg

While  the early birds were out grazing and taking advantage of the early morning sun!

asp-9smalll.jpg

I also came across Cinderella’s wee little slipper……..

asp-10small.jpg

And the beauty of nature seemed almost to envelope and swallow me….lost in thought…

asp-11small.jpg

King of the Beach’s throne………….

asp-12small.jpg

And the boats standing ready if needed for an emergency run out for a rescue!

asp-13small.jpg

I called out Adieu to my little early morning friends as they wandered away….

asp-14small.jpg

I relied upon my cameras to accurately record this splendid morning.  Ah, the scents, the tranquility…these cannot be captured by any camera.  But the beauty seemed just so awesome in the quiet and peaceful setting…..

asp-15small.jpg

asp-16small.jpg

asp-17small.jpg

asp-18small.jpg

As I looped back around from where I had begun, I could not help but bring to mind the verses of Scripture where God was creating….and I looked at the hills and proclaimed that “God said it is good”!

asp-19small.jpg

And, back to the reality of life here on planet Earth…Every evening, after dinner, we drove the few miles to deliver our trash to the park dump. I never saw such elaborate raccoon/bear deterrents!

asp-20small.jpg

Yes, stockade fencing complete with electrification!!!!

It was only a short time after my morning outing that we were hitching up once again to go to one more destination before returning home!

A Clue!

I have been without internet and cell phone since Sunday.  Did I have severe withdrawal? No. 

Can you guess from the photo below what we might have done?

campfiresmall.jpg

I will try to catch up on things….everything has been so busy!  And, I am still coughing from that lousy bug  I had last week.  But feeling just fine!

Saturday Snapshots

Nothing extraordinary today….just some shots from around my own yard…..

natural-beautysmall.jpg

black-eyed-susans-beginning-to-opensmall.jpg

blackberries-behind-poolsmall.jpg

Oh, how I wish I could find the time and energy to plant some Blackberry bushes on the hill behind the pool. The wild ones grow there just fine…the only problem is, there are never ENOUGH!

And, while taking the photo of the berries, I was joined by something I had never noticed here before….

green-dragonfly-on-stepsmall.jpg

I think I must have seen five or six different varieties of dragonflies this year! I have never seen a green one before! Pretty wild psychedelic green that fellow is sporting. Hmm…wonder if he glows in the dark?

Can you see the dragonfly in the last photo? I love the way the light was playing on its wings, causing an almost “prism” effect!

brown-and-yellow-dragoonfly-in-weedssmall.jpg

A Bit of Humor….

I just couldn’t resist telling this little story regarding the previous set of photos. (I had forgotten about it until Mark brought up “the incident” last night!)

The day I took these photos, I was on my way to pick up a pizza for dinner. I had left late and it takes about 15 minutes to get to the pizzeria.  Did I care that I was going to be late? Did I care about rushing?

Nope.  As I passed Woodville, I decided to pull over at the boat launch and see what was happening.  As soon as I pulled over, I caught a glimpse of that blue “bug”. Try as I might, I could *not* see its wings, so I am uncertain as to whether it is a damselfly or a dragonfly.

Well, one thing led to another. To another. I walked around the area for a good ten or more minutes before the reality set in that I was late! I hopped back into the truck and made off for the pizzeria. Picked up the goods, then went to the grocery store to pick up some soda…

Mark had been reading on the internet about people who are addicted to Pepsi and Coke. Why, he asks, do these companies need to add caffeine to their colas? Answer: to make them addicting! So, Mark challenged me two weeks ago to quit the Pepsi “addiction”.  (after being referred to {teasingly, of course} as a drug addict, I felt perfectly capable of living up to this challenge!)

Before leaving the house, I had asked Mark if there was anything else I should pick up? He, being the tease that he is, suggested perhaps I would like a two-litre of Pepsi. So…..when I went into the grocery store to grab some soda, you, dear reader, had better believe (yes, I am stubborn as a mule at times!) it was not going to be Pepsi I was bringing home with me!

When I arrived home, much later than anticipated, with a cold pizza and Sierra Mist,(lemon-lime soda)  Mark formulated a theory…..

He told the kids I was probably sitting in Woodville, guzzling PEPSI!!!!!!  Gee, you think he would know by now that I have TWO addictions….Pepsi AND photography! And, I am not about to give up the second!

Oh, and for the record?  Nope. No  Pepsi. JUST photography! I promise!

Truly, *Someone* Jests!!!!

This morning, after taking the Scotties out and all, I went into the hot tub. I was hoping that the magic of yesterday would be re-created. Nope.  I got out feeling just as miserable as when I went in!  Yes, I awakened today feeling somewhat worse than yesterday. Yes, I know….I probably overdid it yesterday.  Today has been a day filled with sneezing like crazy.  I do not like sneezing. Not at all!

I was talking with Mark, when suddenly, this amazing downpour began.  We have had downpours before. But this one….it was unique! The rain looked as though it was falling like ribbons from the dark sky.  Mark looked out the window, Angus by his side.  It was not like rain we have seen before! And, it did NOT want to stop! After probably half an hour, it DID begin to slow up some, but what a MESS!

Michelle said the water on the little stone steps leading to the swingset looked like a fountain. She was not exaggerating.  Not at all!

water-coursing-over-stairs-to-swingsetsmall.jpg

I could have lightened these photos to show more/better detail, but I wanted to leave them to show just how dark it was!

This is a stone drain that runs along the base of the hill behind the house.  It is about 2 feet deep, and has a 6 inch drain pipe running in it. The thing was so overloaded, the water was sitting in puddles!

more-water-than-our-gravel-drain-could-handlesmall.jpg

 There were three terrific benefits of all this rain:

1. The well will certainly be refreshed and replenished!

2. All the creosote that was on the outside of the chimney has been power-washed off! We had a friend who scrubbed all the creosote off about four or five years ago, but it does build up again. I was wracking my brain, trying to figure out how I was going to be able to remove it this year, as it was getting pretty bad.  Now, it looks shiny and wonderful!

3. The swimming pool is FULL!  I didn’t want to use our water to refresh the pool, as it was getting to be so dry this summer, and I didn’t want to have to buy water!

the-full-poolsmall.jpg

The non-existent stream in our front “yard” sprang to life and even went over its edges. That enormous “puddle” at the end of the photo is where a culvert drops the water down several feet. Needless to say, the culvert was of little value in this “spritz”!

water-overloading-culvert-and-spilling-oversmall.jpg

The culvert that feeds the little stream in our front yard is 24 inches in diameter.  It did handle the water very well. Just to give you an idea of how “fast” this water was coursing, here is that 24 inch culvert with the runoff going through. If you expand this photo, I think I captured the velocity of the water rather well!

water-rushing-through-culvert-under-our-drivewaysmall.jpg

So, Mark tells me tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warm.  He guarantees that I will be feeling better then…..