Along the Erie Canal

One of the great benefits of buying our silly little inflatable kayaks is that we are beginning to find all kinds of facts about where we might launch them. Mark, being from the Rochester area, is pretty familiar with many of the launch sites, but when he is in a quandary regarding a location, he hones in on it through using Google Maps. Cool, isn’t it? (have you honed in on your home….that seems *slightly* invasive!)

Mark and the kids decided (as soon as my dripping wet self declared I felt better after a dip in the hot tub) that we should take a trip to Rochester for some supplies. Feeling quite revived after last night’s sweat-a-thon, I agreed.

We had some items to return in Victor, so we did just that, then headed to Henrietta, via route 96. This route runs parallel with the Erie Canal. As we drove, Mark  was looking to see if he could find any launches.  We passed through Bushnell’s Basin, where Ben asked if we could stop at the Hess Gas Station.  Mark commented that *if* (hahahahahaha) I had my camera, I might like to take a few pictures behind the store.

The station is perched high near the road, but down a grassy slope, lies the Erie Canal. I walked down only to be surprised to find many ducks! I didn’t even have to MAKE like a duck here! (quack, quack!)

I smiled, thinking about the expression getting your ducks in a row as this passed before me!

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Since I have very little knowledge regarding ducks (other than I think they are cute as all dickens!) I am not sure what sex all the ducks surrounding me were! I did notice that there was one male Mallard…how could I miss him? So….as I neared this unruly gang, the little females (I think) remained in their places, whereas the single male made off to the canal! Some brave lad he is, eh?

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Looking eastward from behind the station, along the Erie Canal……

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And to the west. Did I mention there were a lot of ducks at this spot?

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As I ambled up the hill, I turned to take a photo…..kind of hard to believe this is found behind a gas station! Looks a lot more like a park to me!

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And, speaking of parks….we headed up the road a little ways to Lock 32 Canal Park along the Erie Canal.

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I love water, especially when it is calm and reflects buildings, trees, and nature so gracefully. I just “had” to capture this natural still life….

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To the east, the water is a much lower level than the water behind the western gates. Here, the open gate is flat against the concrete wall.

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Looking to the west, one can certainly see the difference between the height of the water. (if you look closely, you can see some water leaking through the closed gate behind the white pole)

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Since I did not grow up near the Erie Canal (but did learn a song about it!) I had never seen a boat come through the locks. Truthfully, I had a hard time thinking through the whole concept.

As much as I have always thought how cool it would be to live in a lighthouse or fire tower, I guess the gatekeeper’s house might rank right up there. This one, anyway. (Note: this particular lock is located in one of Rochester’s wealthiest areas. Across the road, we peeked into an indoor rowing center…..it had a huge tank where folks can sit and practice their rowing skills….all year round!!!)

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Near the gatekeeper’s house was a sign giving some elevation stats.

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Across from the gatekeeper’s house was an observation deck! Too bad for us. No boats to lift up or down…..

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Looking down through the decking of the observation deck to the flower beds below…..

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Looking westward….

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Mark told me to take a look around the park before we left.  He mentioned that the parking lot was actually part of the wonderful path that runs parallel to the canal. So, I did wonder a bit. My tour guide was somewht camera-shy….(but all ears!)

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There was lots of seating and some picnic tables dispersed throughout the area. There was also a storyboard with some info regarding Lock 32.

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With a map of the Erie Canal between Buffalo and Rochester.

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The path along the canal is often referred to as simply “the bike path”, although many folks walk, jog, and run it as well. I guess folks take this seriously….see the yellow (no crossing) line to divide the path neatly into two lanes…..

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As I stepped forward to take a photo, I was just within inches of being knocked to who-knows-where by a young girl flying along on her bike. She waited a little long (IMHO) before calling out “excuse me!” as she whizzed right near my right foot! She apologized, as did I, feeling quite stupid. I should have been more careful.

I climbed into the truck and as we were leaving the park, Mark noticed a boat was in the locks! He urged me to hop out for some photos….

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What a treat to see the boat going through the locks. It was so cool to see, even though the water level was quite high by the time we saw it and we didn’t get to observe the entire progression.

After this, we were off on a shopping excursion. Not much fun, but we did get to see some interesting things along the way!  We also found two or three launches for the little kayaks.  The most amazing thing of all about this little park is that Mark had never ever been there!

Argh! I Don’t Wanna Be Sick!

Well, first it was Ben. Then Michelle.

Last weekend, I felt so terribly tired. I kept complaining about the heat and I think my family might have been seriously considering sending me off to cooler climes.  Yes, I was that miserable….

Well, yesterday, “it” hit. I am not as sick as Michelle and Ben were. No sore throat. No sleeping all day long.  This morning when I awakened, I did feel as though someone had placed a vise-grip on my windpipe. It was a struggle to breathe deeply. I did take a Claritin (thank you, Carly!) and that helped immensely. It not only made a difference with breathing, but it seems like the “ropes of goop” I kept coughing up disappeared. Now I am “just” coughing.  Phew!

I am not a good sick person. I get antsy and want to get up and do things that need to be done. Of course, I don’t have the energy….However,  (attribute this to possibly not getting enough oxygen to my brain because of the swelling in my throat) this afternoon, I got up and made a Banana Cream Pie.  Yes, it was necessary. I had cream in the fridge that was getting old and I really needed to use it up.  If I can’t enjoy that pie, perhaps Mark and the kids will!

This morning, when I took the Scottie boys outside, I looked in the Fuchsia plant….two days ago when I looked in on the four little ones, they were so huge, they looked like they were smothering one another! Today, all four are gone. Hurrah! Now, if  I see the Junco pair coming around, I will shoo them away. No more eggs in my plant!!!

We have been having some really wet and weird weather. I suppose our friends in Scotland would say it isn’t so bad, but we are not accustomed to rain each day. Today, as I am lying on my bed, looking out the window, the sun has been out almost all afternoon. So, why on earth am I lying on my bed, feeling blah?

Scoodles of Scotties!

Every now and then, I will pick up a magazine….this seems to particularly happen in the summertime more than any other time of the year. I guess it is because we tend to be waiting in the truck for this or that, and it is easy to just grab the magazine and read a quick article without getting deeply involved. (I have a fit when interrupted while I am reading a book!)

A few weeks ago, I bought a cooking magazine that was filled with all sorts of summery fare. On the cover was a cake, created to look like a sea of water…..little cookie people, dressed in swimsuits garnished the cake and it was just so cute! Michelle said she would like to make something like that for a party.

Well, yesterday, Michelle had this terribly insane idea to put Murphy in the pool with her to see if or how he could swim.  Poor Murphy…..Scotties are NOT designed to swim, and although his little legs propelled him in a doggy-paddle, Michelle immediately sensed his stress and pulled him up to safety in her arms. She swaddled the soggy pup in a towel and told him how wonderful he is!

Afterward, we discussed getting doggy life vests. As Michelle talked about doggy PDF’s , (personal flotation devices) I laughed and told her she should make cookies with Scotties in PDF’s. She looked at me, seriously, and asked me to make up a batch of dough.

I made the dough right away, tucking it into the fridge. After we returned from the great kayak adventure, Michelle rolled out and baked 45 Scottie dog cookies. This morning, she went to work on decorating…..

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Have you ever seen such cute cookies?

Oh, and by the way, Michelle contends she can NOT cook nor bake!

Another Day at the Lake Between Storms

We had made plans to meet my parents and brother, Randy, today,  but the weather forecast ruined our plans.  It was dark and ugly this morning, with bouts of downpours. As the day progressed, however, the sky lightened up and began to look much kinder.  Mark decided we should take a ride to Canandaigua to let the kids have some fun with the kayaks. Michelle had expressed that she really wanted to try her kayak out!

As we drove along the road, it grew darker and darker….by the time we reached Canandaigua, it was grumbling and streaks of light could be seen here and there.  We took the kids to grab a bite to eat, hoping the bad weather would soon pass. While everyone was finishing, I took out my cell phone and looked at the radar maps. It looked like there was going to be some calm weather for awhile, so we headed over to the lake….

I was greeted by this cloud when I looked up. It gives new meaning to the term “Sunfish”….oh, c’mon, the cloud does look like a fish, does it not?

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The kids wasted no time filling up the kayaks and rushed to get into the water. I went over a couple of basics with Michelle.  I wonder if they were necessary…she took to the kayak like a fish to water!

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As soon as she left the beach area, look who came over to see me! I didn’t go out with the kids as I was feeling a little tired and miserable.

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This photo should explain why I was so miserable….it was a BIT humid, after all! Yes, the water probably would have felt good,  but I was just too tired to paddle.

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While the kids paddled about, I decided to do a little exploring on land. There is a terrific footpath along Kershaw Park.  It leads to this area….(with its rules!)

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Even though it is a “carry in-carry out” park,  some things do not need to be carried out…(thankfully!)

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That large puddle at the base of the waste receptacle indicates that there was a slight downpour earlier! Along the path, there is a long dock that goes out into the water. I decided to walk out on it to see what I might see….

A different perspective, looking westward, towards the city pier. (and yes, there is a little fountain there along the park)

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Since the length of this dock was incredibly long, I was sure the water must be very deep. It is actually about 2 1/2 feet deep!

One of the reasons I went out on the dock was to get closer to the kids in their kayaks. Ben just couldn’t stay IN the kayak! Oops, we forgot to cinch him in tightly before he set out!

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He did snug his jacket up a bit.  I am not so sure what he was doing, but whatever it was, the water he was splashing made for a pretty cool photo!

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The Canandaigua Lady docks over behind the pretty restaurant overlooking the lake.

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Yes, you read the rules….no feeding the waterfowl. But this mate aboard the Lady was definitely throwing something out to that gang o’ ducks!

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I forgot to mention….as I was taking these photos, it was nearly impossible to keep the camera steady. The wind was blowing very hard! I saw a man taking his heavy plastic kayak out of the water after shoving off only a few minutes earlier.  I talked to him a little and he said the kids were doing far better than he. He said paddling was very difficult in those winds. Those winds did not stop my kids. No way!

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The kids passed under two bridges and I followed them….they wound up at a lagoon park behind Wegman’s. I would have loved looking around some, but I was watching two kayaking kids and wandering about!

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This park is quite “natural” and the only other soul I ran across was a young lady, jogging. Oh, and a bunny. I almost took a picture of the bunny, but it got away.

Below is a map of the compact area….

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Shortly after returning home, we were graced with a torrential downpour.

The kids will sleep well tonight! I am so happy they are pleased with the little kayaks. Michelle told Mark how much fun she had and the kids are already making plans for some little “journeys”….

Staycationing?

This is the time of the year that those of us in the northern hemisphere often find ourselves in strange places, trying to enjoy ourselves and spending large sums of money in so doing!  Yes, this is “vacation” time for those in the US, and “on holiday” for Europe.

This year, it seems like everywhere I read or turn, there are stories about the “staycation”. With the price of fuel out of control, many people are looking to their own regions or even hometowns for sources of entertainment and relaxation. What a novel idea!

When we moved down to the Bristolwood from the craziness of Rochester, I remember thinking so many times…..pinch me….I am actually living in a place where people spend tons of money to enjoy themselves!  Somehow, it just seemed as though we were doing something so remarkable….so amazing,

When the kids were tiny, Mark went out and bought a small above-ground swimming pool. He wanted the kids to learn to swim, but it seemed so incredible that right off our back deck was this swimming pool where one could immerse in cool water whenever one so desired….

A few years later, we purchased a no bells-and-whistles hot tub to place on the back deck. The kids and I have sat in that tub during blizzards outside, as well as when the sun felt so scorching, we thought we would melt! And, each time, as I stared up at the sky in utter delight, I thought to myself that it was just too much….how could we actually be living here?

We bought a small camper…it is nice, but has no slides or”frills”. We love to pack our clothes and just take off. When we go “camping”, we are generally looking for a site with a tree to shade the camper, but also a nice grassy or paved place.  And, every time we return home to the Bristolwood, we ask ourselves, what were we thinking, leaving here?  Our campsite wasn’t as nice as here in our woods!

As I thought about the radical idea of staycationing, I realized that while we have never gone on an elaborate vacation,  I really would not mind remaining right here in the Bristolwood instead of wandering off to faraway places….We are so fortunate to live in a region that is blessed in so many ways.

Although there are a few countries I would really enjoy visiting, I guess I shall be quite content to remain in our little “neck of the woods” for now. Living in the Finger Lakes region has been such a blessing.  We  can go on a “day trip” and visit just about any region in the entire state with no problem. And, although our taxes here in New York seem outrageous, our benefits are “awfully good”!

Staycationing….as I think about it, it does remind me to do one important thing….count my blessings!

Another Colorful Day!

I will begin this entry with a photo taken yesterday by Ben.  Ben and I went for a little ride late yesterday afternoon. We headed to the west and ended up off the beaten path (our beaten path) at Honeoye Lake. We found a new pizza place in a rather unexpected area, so we ordered dinner and went for a little ride while waiting. We passed a home with a rather grand entrance….

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This morning, as I was looking out the bedroom window, I spotted some bright color down on the lawn. At first, I thought it was perhaps a ball or pool toy that had wandered onto the grass…..but no!

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Hmmm…now that I think about it, those toadstools, mushrooms or whatever…would go well with those wizards in the first photo!

As I passed the side garden, I was happy to see that my Cone-flowers had finally opened and were in living color!

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I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but as the heat and humidity increased today, Mark and I decided there was only one route of escape…..

Let me interject here….Michelle contracted a miserable cold-like virus last weekend. Well, she didn’t contract it then, but she became sick then. With each passing day, she kept telling me perhaps she would feel better “tomorrow”.  I don’t think I have ever seen her sleep so much all her life! She just would come downstairs long enough to eat, then would retreat to her room once again.  Today, she was feeling some better, so we decided to escape!

The week before last, while the kids were busy with their friends, Mark and I went shopping in Geneva at BJ’s. While there, we looked at their kayaks, but couldn’t find what we were looking for. As we finished shopping, we wandered down the seasonal aisle.

Mark nearly jumped for joy when he spotted some inflatable kayaks. I didn’t really share his joy, as I just couldn’t quite grasp the idea. Well, before we grabbed the kayaks, Mark told me that he wanted to show me something….

He had done a great deal of research on kayaks. He really didn’t want to commit to the big ones that require a roof carrier unless or until he knew that the kids would like going out. We left the store and went to the truck where he had his laptop. We got online and I couldn’t believe my eyes…..

Mark had bookmarked a great little inflatable kayak that had many, many good reviews from people who purchased it. He had considered buying one, but it was fairly costly. As he showed me the photo, it looked very similar to the little kayaks for sale in BJ’s!  At this point, we went back into the store and grabbed up four of the little boats! 

Upon inspecting one of the kayaks at home, we discovered that it was made by the same company as the one that Mark had contemplated buying….in fact, the contact in the event warranty repairs might be required was indeed the very same company! What a find. We paid less than half  the price of the other one!

So. we have been waiting and waiting to take the little inflatables out, not really wanting to do it without Michelle. Today, with the heat so overwhelming, Mark asked if I wanted to go out. I gave the thumbs up and the kids got ready. Michelle declined trying the kayak out, as she is still a bit tired from being ill.

We went to Canandaigua, where there is a nice little beach area for launching non-motorized watercraft.  We pumped out little kayak up in the grass, then carried it over to the launch area. I went out first….Mark had visions of the little kayak tipping over or turning in circles, going nowhere….

I took it out and Mark was exceedingly pleased as I paddled about with no problems. The little inflatable looked just as much at home on the lake as did the others.  When I got out after a brief spin, I asked if Ben might want to give it a go……

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Ben paddled about for a good forty-five minutes or more!  It was so cool watching him working that little kayak on the water.  As we watched, he tipped it over on purpose and then flipped it back and climbed up inside. Almost as though incredulous to the discovery that such a feat was possible, we watched Ben tip it over once again! He repeated his previous actions….tipping the kayak upright and climbing in once again!

While Ben was out on his maiden voyage, Ellie, the pretty retriever, and her human came over to play. Ellie’s human commented that Ben was doing a great job and having so much fun! Ellie also had a ball…..literally!

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Ellie’s human and I watched as a beach ball zipped over the water….many motor boats were anchored in the water and apparently, one of them lost their beach ball.  Ben skillfully paddled his way over to the ball, but it kept slipping away. Ben must have watched the direction of the current, as he went ahead of the ball and it came right to him. He scooped it up into the kayak and came ashore with a big grin on his face!

The kids had been invited to see a movie with several of their friends. They were going at five. Michelle wanted to know if she and Ben could go as the theater was only about five minutes from the lake.  We snatched the little kayak from the lake and deflated it, grabbed the kids a bite to eat at Taco Bell, and then dropped them off with their friends.

Mark asked what I would like to do and I told him it would be fun to take a ride to Geneva. And so we did. The next time I go, I am going to get out of the truck and take a foot tour, as there is so much to photograph there!

As we entered a restaurant, this butterfly bush greeted us. It was so pretty!

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We also saw another opportunity for a day trip…

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We drove back to Canandaigua and picked the kids up. We returned home at about eight and as Mark was about to pull into the driveway, I asked him to drop me off….I had one last photo to take for the day…..

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This really was a colorful day! And, a full one, too!

More Canandaigua Shots

I had mentioned that I took some Canandaigua photos that I didn’t show a couple of days ago. I have this habit of resizing my photos directly on the SD card, then uploading them to my blog. Once they are uploaded, I delete my resized photos.  I do this working remotely, on a laptop….I don’t store any photos on the laptop.  If  I forget to delete the smaller photos, it drives me to distraction, trying to figure out what I did. So, all of that to explain that I wanted to remove these photos from the SD card. So, here they are!

I will begin with two photos I took the day I was wandering downtown. The first, I didn’t use as I thought the shadows were too dark and deep. In revisiting the photo, I like it better than the second one….this one depicts the “busyness” of the city better!

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I really was excited about this photo, the flags being whipped about in the breeze…but didn’t know if it was appropriate as the edges of the flags look quite tattered! I do like the clouds behind the flags. Oh, and just for the record…the flags are, left to right: Ontario County, MIA/POW, American, and New York State.

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The following are photos taken the next day when the humidity was beginning (who am I kidding….beginning???) to build.  The photos speak for themselves…the blur is NOT from yours truly!

The sky did appear a little foreboding, but the colors were nice……

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And people were *everywhere*! This lake is so accessible, everyone wants to enjoy. Even on the hottest of days the breezes there are pretty refreshing!

There is a designated non-motorized area for launching watercraft.  Three young teen girls were having a blast, playing with a couple of kayaks. The couple to the left arrived just as we did.

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To the southwest,  the folks at the yacht club were having fun with what looked like a regatta…

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And just a hop…skip…and jump away from the kayaks, ducks were bobbing about like corks in the water! Not sure what “variety” these ducks are, but they were NOT mallards!

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As I walked around, taking photos, I was startled by a voice over a loudspeaker…I turned around to see that the Canandaigua Lady was alerting folks that it was almost time to shove off for their evening tour of the lake. (note to self: WHY have I not done this yet?)

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Mark, the kids, and the Scottie boys were awaiting me in the truck so I needed to hurry. I did catch one last photo..

Those who own boats on the lake enjoy motoring up to the head of the lake to just hang out. They drop anchor, throw the “pull toys” out, and just lounge about…sure looks like some good clean fun!

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Just after taking these photos, a gully-washing, wild storm appeared! The rain poured down and everyone scurried about to get out of the rain!  The storm cell that dropped here was a very localized cell, as we got no rain at all in that bout!

The Colors of Summer

I had the strangest encounter with one of our tiny hummingbirds this afternoon.  I was sitting in the hot tub, not yet in a reclined position…Suddenly, a wee hummer flew up about 18 inches from my head. She hovered, her little eye looking straight into my face. She then advanced a bit closer. By this point, I was beginning to wonder if she was going to land on top of my head! Egads….I felt a tad uncomfortable,  when she dipped down, then made off for the feeder!

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Amazing….these tiny birds!

One of the pleasing elements of summer is the colors that surround us.  It never fails to amaze me at how I will see a “new” color in the palette and must then go off to explore what it is that is so drawing me in!

Although not especially colorful, I love seeing Queen Anne’s Lace growing alongside the country roads….

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I do love that intensely deep purple flower in the centers of the Queen Anne’s Lace…

How about the beautiful golds and yellows?  Whether Wild Sunflowers or Black-Eyed Susans, it matters not. The yellows and bright greens are so attractive.

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Since we all know about my attraction to the most wonderful color of all….(that would be blue, of course!) how about this little Indigo Bunting that called out with a “whistle” this morning and caught my attention?

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A fantastic live bouquet! (of rich color!

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One of my favorite scenes along the country roads is wild chicory mixed with Queen Anne’s Lace. The texture….color….everything, calls to me and causes me to stop for a quick photo!

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Yup, even with the heat blazing and sun shining, there is a secret world, waiting to be discovered. All we need do is look for it!

What to Do, What to Do!

The discomfort level intensified today to the point where I was not alone in calling out, “Uncle”!  Mark, who often is perplexed by my discomfort when the temperature arises found himself asking if we wanted to go for a little ride. This would indicate that another victim has fallen to the evil summer twins better known as heat and humidity!

I had taken several photos near Canandaigua Lake, and while they are nice photos,  I decided to give myself a break today and just post my one favorite picture of the day.

The sun was setting low in the sky and I was fortunate enough to be there at the right time…..Hope you enjoy!

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