Timberrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Unrelated to this entry, but awfully cute is this photo I found on the Nikon. I took it yesterday morning, through my less than clean (ahem) bedroom window. Thus, the blur. I was going to discard it, but when I saw those eyes……

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Mark has been wanting me to cut down seven maple trees in front of the house.  A couple of them have been  attacked by some type of bug that has caused them to deform in their trunks.  One of them was far too close to the porch.  Another has bark literally falling off it.

Since the little camper is still at the RV repair shop, and we are expecting a call any time now to say it is fixed, we wanted to get those trees cut up and removed.  When I got out of bed today, the winds were gusting and I didn’t think it was good to cut.

Mark noticed that at about 9:30,  the winds had subsided. Thus, he said we should take those buggers down! None of them was big…but they were tall!

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One down….six to go.

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What a mess! I never cut live trees.  This was a new and miserable experience! I had to limb these trees and that was a messy and tiresome job.

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You can see that this stand of six trees growing in a cluster just isn’t going to work. Trees need room to grow and spread.

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There is the long and short of it.  Seven trees all down on the ground waiting to be limbed and cut into firewood. (not for this year, but next)

Aha! There is one key element I failed to mention in this caper!  You will know if you read here that I am nearly intolerant of heat.  Well, today the heat was on! The temperature as I was cutting soared up into the 80’s.

We dropped two of the trees onto the driveway, so I limbed those two and got wood off the driveway, but everything else remains. What a mess! However, tomorrow’s temperature is supposed to be much cooler as a cold front passes through.  I certainly hope so! By the time I came in this afternoon, my face was blood red.  It took quite some time to cool off. 

All in all, I am relieved that every tree came down gracefully….no near disasters! I will try to get a photo of the house from the driveway after I clean up tomorrow. It looks so different as the house is quite visible from the road now. 

Such a Random Adventure!

This afternoon, the kids went to a graduation party for one of their friends.  He is the same age as Michelle and was also home-schooled.  He already must have a year-and-a-half of college credits,  as he was attending some college while doing his schoolwork two years ago. This past year, he attended college full time.  He is a very industrious young man and I am pretty sure he will succeed at anything he puts his hand to!

After dropping the kids off, we had about five hours to spend doing whatever we wanted. Mark suggested that we head down to Bath.  We had left the Scotties home, so Mark and I were free to do whatever we wanted.  Mark has been thinking lately that perhaps a toy hauler (basically a camper with storage to carry our ATV’s) might be more sensible than our camper.  We spoke with a salesman and then decided to go on another adventure.

I thought it might be fun to drive to  Hammondsport, a tiny town located on Keuka Lake, another of the eleven Finger Lakes.  As we drove through the business district of Bath, I noticed this beautiful church. It is made entirely of stone….even the steeple is stone. I had never  noticed that before and I think it is rather unusual!

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I’m not exactly sure what the settings are on the GPS, but oh my! Instead of going down familiar highways, the GPS took us on back-roads….we were traveling down some dirt roads and off-the-beaten-path hillsides! We might have been just a bit leery when the last road to Hammondsport was called “Winding Staircase Road”, but we were feeling adventurous. This road was extreme! It wound back and forth like ribbon candy. Mark said out west these roads are called switchbacks. At one point, we were looking out over Keuka Lake and the view was so marvelous!

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And, after what seemed like a 45 degree descent, we were in the village of Hammondsport.

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Hammondsport is right on the water, so we drove over and parked near a little park.  We also found the Keuka Maid was parked there! The Keuka Maid is the boat that cruises the lake, just as our Canandaigua Lady does.  The one BIG  difference is that this particular boat majorly dwarfs the Lady!

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As the afternoon was progressing and it was getting closer to the time we were to pick the kids up, we began our way towards home. Mark decided to take another way that we never travel.  Instead of traversing through long hilly roads, this route followed along valleys. We saw some gorgeous countryside with farms and pretty rolling hills all along the way.

At one point, we passed through a little village called Avoca. We had never seen the village business district before, so we took a little diversion and discovered a cute little place! As the GPS redirected us back onto the highway, we came across the most magical little motel!

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Yes, called the “Caboose Motel”, it is possible to actually spend the night in a caboose. Can you imagine the fun this would be to a little boy? (although I suppose the little fellow would be so wound up, he would barely sleep!)

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We picked the kids up and then headed for home. Mark took the low road that leads past Woodville.  I asked if he would stop at the boat launch.  I wanted to see if the eagle was there.   As he pulled in,  I got so excited by the sight of the eagle….He asked how in the world I could see the bird from the road?

Well, for those of us “in the know”, we happen to know that the eagle likes to sit in the trees at the south end of the lake and just look out over the area! If you expand the photo below and really squint your eyes, if you look dead center (between the cattails) you will see a white “spot” in the colorful leaves of the tree in the distance. The white spot just happens to be the head of the eagle!

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Oh how I longed to drag that kayak out from the back of the pickup for just one quick trip out to see my friend the eagle…I am sure anyone  standing nearby would never think it odd to see a woman in a sundress kayaking through lily pads, after all….but I would never want to spoil the mystique. I am quite certain that most of the folks launching their boats have no idea about the eagle!

Baptized in the Muck?

I admit it. It was not really a baptism,  but a nasty tumble!

Mark has been enjoying seeing me have so much fun with our little kayaks.  I have been experiencing a small but somewhat annoying problem in the form of hip pain that runs down my legs.  This only happens when we kayak….as soon as I am out of the little craft and walking about a bit, it leaves.  The most frustrating  part of this is that it happens after being out on the water after only about an hour.

Mark also knew that I had really wanted a canoe so much.  So, he drove us up to Irondequoit Bay late this morning so I could try out a couple of different canoes. There is a paddling business located right on the bay that allows perspective customers to try out various canoes and kayaks to see what is best for individual needs.

The first canoe was one I had been eyeing for some time.  The young girl who was waiting on us got it set up and grabbed both a canoe paddle as well as a kayak paddle for me to try. Not remembering exactly how to get into a canoe, she explained it.  She said she would hold the canoe to stabilize it for me as I got in.  I tried so hard to carefully follow her instructions when…..SPLASH!

Yes, I went over the side of the canoe, tipping myself right into the water. The poor girl called out…..was I okay? I laughed, totally embarrassed, and assured her I was fine. Or, was I? As I struggled to get back onto the dock, I felt my feet sinking deeper and deeper into MUCK!  Argh!!! I  plopped myself back up onto the dock and giggled, feeling like such a dope! The girl thanked me profusely.  She told me that once someone was getting into their craft, fell over and grabbed her, pulling her along with them! That helped with some of my embarrassment and if the water had not smelled so terribly, I would not have minded the dousing, actually! As it was, today was dreadfully hot and humid and the wet attire felt some better!

 I did try out that canoe as well as one other.  I then took out a kayak.  When I came back, the salesgirl was speaking with Mark and there was no one around. Just to redeem myself,  I skillfully removed myself from the kayak with no problem.  Because a couple was trying out another kayak and had it “parked” in the only place where craft wouldn’t wander out into the bay,  I had to get out in a different spot.  I couldn’t leave the kayak alone,  so I bent over and lifted it onto the dock with my right hand.  Michelle and the girl saw the bright yellow kayak going over on its right side as I lifted it, and they raced down the hill, thinking I had taken yet another plunge.  They were pleasantly surprised and amazed at my skill! Phew….redeemed, at last!

Thee bay is located only about one mile, as the crow flies, from my mother-in-law’s home. We had planned on going to her house to do a couple of things for her, so we left the paddling place and were about to leave the bay area when I asked Mark to pull into another spot to see if I could see the swan family we had seen earlier as we were paddling.

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While we were paddling, this family came right near us. If only I would have had my camera. They were so close….now I had to settle on long-distance photos!

As I was photographing the swans, a duck and goose came right up to me to see what I was doing!

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While Mark and the kids were doing some tasks for my mother-in-law, I wandered around her yard with my camera.  I stood for a good fifteen or twenty minutes in front of her impressive Rose of Sharon bushes watching bumblebees and honey bees working away. It was so funny watching, as they would enter into the flowers, work their way deeply into the flower and then reappear with yellow pollen covering their entire bodies!

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We didn’t get back home until nearly seven.  I had received twenty-one boxes of supplies for the business, so the kids and I brought those all in and then we ate a bite.  I finally trudged up the stairs,  anxious to remove the Irondequoit Bay muck from my body.  As I disrobed, I could not believe the color of my white (?) underclothing. They were now gray! 

Ah, a good bathing never felt quite so good!

Okay, Katya, Sit Down and Calm Down

If you have read this blog with any regularity at all,  you know that one of my great passions is photography.  I have always loved taking pictures.  I remember when I was eleven years old,  I was so disappointed when I didn’t get a camera for Christmas.  That is, until my dad came into the living room with a load of Christmas presents that he and my mom had hidden away!

I was so totally thrilled when I opened the yellow box with a Kodak Instamatic Camera with the neat little “cube” flash!  I loved that camera and it really whet my appetite for photography.  I only wish I would have pursued my love in spite of what my guidance counselor in junior high school told me.  Why did I not stand up and prove her wrong? Why did I recoil like an injured animal and retreat with no “spunk”?

Well,  I am now satisfying my passion via this blog. Here, I can take pictures and put them up for all to see! Even if they are bad, everyone is so polite, they tell me they are good! And, while I am at it, I can write to my heart’s content….another passion squelched by a misguided (or, misguiding) counselor.  While I am at it, why did the junior high school have an elderly frustrated old maid working as a guidance counselor, shaping the future of youngsters, anyway?  And, yes, I can say that now because this is my blog, my platform, and my party!!!

So, let the party begin!

This afternoon, Ben and I went out with our little inflatable kayaks.  Yeah, that is probably another “funny-ism” people could laugh at aboout me. After all, how many women are out riding about on a little “blow-up” toy with their kids? Ha, ha! The joke is on them, because I am seeing things I only dreamed of seeing! And, because Mark has encouraged my photographic addiction interest, I am now toting my little Panasonic Lumix very carefully with me on my outings. Such was the case today…

(trying SO hard to remain calm here…..)

Here are my offerings, and possibly one of my finest and BEST sets, EVER! Do remember that I am using a  little point-and-shoot camera. The Nikon is too heavy, too expensive, just too “too” to carry out with me!

Please enjoy, and I would LOVE to hear your comments…….(I am so excited!!!) I will shut up now and won’t say another word until I see the comments! (I promise!)

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Scenes from the North End of Seneca Lake

 After looking at the Extreme Home Makeover site,  we drove down (a very short distance) to Seneca Lake.  The downtown business section of Geneva is located just a bit north of the lake.  This small city has to be numbered amongst the prettiest in the US.  It is also home to two small colleges.

The hotel shown in the photos is a Ramada Inn.

No further words are needed.

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An Extreme Birthday!

The day before yesterday,  Mark heard a story on the news that a family in Geneva, New York,  was getting an Extreme Home Makeover! I was so excited and when Mark asked what I would like to do for my birthday, I said I would love to see where this was being done. Geneva is only about thirty miles from our home,  so we decided it would be a fun adventure!

The family receiving the makeover is a husband, wife, and four children.  The husband was training to be a boxer several years ago, when an accident left him with a broken back, ending his boxing career.  He attended college and went to work as a  high school counselor where he met many kids with lots of problems.  He then decided to teach boxing as an encourgement for some of these kids.  From there, he has trained many kids, including some olympic hopefuls! In an effort to help repay this family who has given to their community, their 150 year old house was completely leveled, and will now be replaced with a brand-spanking new one, complete with a small boxing gym in the backyard!

This bus was evidence I was “in the neigborhood”!

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Trucks were lined up everywhere with building materials ready to go!

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This fancy restroom was located a short distance from the home site……

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And of course, the restroom was “decorated” complete with white lights on artificial plants.

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I was unable to get very good pictures,  as there were so many people watching! Hate to say it, but as an extremely short person,  it seemed (as usual) all the tall people were in the front, blocking those of us who are height-challenged (please realize I am teasing here!) making it really hard to see much of anything!

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There seemed to be a “sea” of blue Extreme Home Makeover tee shirts, waiting to spring forth into action!

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I was told by one spectator that the green walls below are part of the boxing gym….

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I only watched for a few minutes,  as Mark and the kids were waiting in the truck. It was amazing, though….there was such an air of excitement and anticipation!

This morning, while looking for information about this makeover, I came across a site where information was given and people were allowed to comment.  As I read through the comments,  I couldn’t believe the things people were saying. Some of the comments were downright shameful. 

I have such a hard time watching the show on ABC, as every show, I break down and cry. I guess that is one of the reasons why I don’t watch television. I get so emotionally involved…too much so for my own good, I am afraid. I also have a hard time, as I wish there was someone doing “mini-makeovers” for a small cost. We have so many issues with our own home,  which Mark built about seventeen years ago with some help from my brother, Randy, and my dad.  Unfortunately, a family of four living on a meager income cannot afford many repairs and “fixes”. But, that is another story!!! I am pretty able-bodied, and am grateful I can do much of the work and that the kids can help!

Congratulations to the Hill family in Geneva. They have been sent to Cancun, Mexico, for a week while their new home progresses. I cannot wait to see the completed new home!

A Little Overwhelmed!

First of all, thank you to those who dropped by and left good wishes! I really appreciate it!

It is well after midnight and we just returned home a short time ago.  We had a very busy day and I had a good birthday.  We did a good bit of wandering and ended up fairly far from home.

While visiting the north end of Seneca Lake,  I came upon this interesting family of ducks. The day was not chilly, but it was the sort of day that the warmth of the sun felt good. As I walked past these ducks,  I suddenly realized that the duck farthest out on the culvert was the mother. If anyone came near the walk above their little refuge, she would squawk and cause the youngsters to stir.

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I will post about my day later on…I am so tired right now!

Another Kayaking Journey!

Today was the last day that my  brother, Randy, had off work.  Since tomorrow is my birthday, my parents wanted to come visit to celebrate and they would pick Randy up as well.  We got up this morning and got ready to go kayaking since we have been having so much fun going out.

We went down to Woodville…we saw that the wind was a little brisk (and it was downright *chilly*!) but we decided to go on out, wind or not! We paddled our way across the lake and then began our way down East River. You can see the wind generators from the mouth of the river……

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Making our way down the river, we could see how the foliage is beginning  to show a bit of color…

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The views surrounding us are so fantastic. Every direction is beautiful. We did see  a couple of Great Blue Herons, but I could not get the camera out fast enough.  The herons seemed a lot more timid today than when we saw them last time.

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Randy and Ben are much stronger paddlers than Michelle and I. They wanted to keep on going down the river, but Michelle and I decided to take another branch of the river back towards the lake.

BIG mistake!!! Michelle and I began our adventure to the west. Then we made a turn and headed north. This is when *it* began….*it* being wall-to-wall lily pads. If I never see one of these again,  it might be all too soon!

Michelle, being the forever optimist, began humming the theme song for Indiana Jones as we w-e-d-g-e-d our way through these tangled messes of frustration! We came across a very interesting structure….perhaps a duck blind…which Michelle went forth to explore.

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As we worked (emphasis on the word WORKED) our way through the pads, the muscles in my arms began to burn like irons. “Michelle,” I managed to get out between gasps for air, “we need to turn back!”

Ahead of us lie hundreds, thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of thick lily pads!

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At this point, I was fortunate that my Michelle tends to be of good cheer….otherwise, I think I might have been smacked right in the head with a paddle!

We worked our way back and it was much easier, as the wind was working with us.  As we headed to the eastward turn, we entered water smooth as glass! We were able to make some good headway, and as we were getting closer to the northward leg, we heard Randy and Ben.  The four of us worked our way back toward the lake.  Since the river zigzags, we found ourselves tormented by wind and rough water when heading north, but calm, smooth water when heading east or west. 

Michelle had a bit of trouble with sore arms, so we told Randy and Ben to go ahead and we would catch up. I was getting very tired and was glad to slow the pace a little!

I was so disappointed that I hadn’t been able to capture a heron. I had taken my little Panasonic camera along with me and just felt so crushed…..

It was as we entered the mouth of the river at the lakes edge that Michelle yelled for me to look up.

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That, dear reader, happens to be  an eagle! Yes, we had an eagle swooping and soaring so majestically above our heads.  Frustration began to mount again as I stopped my kayak and tried so hard to photograph this fabulous bird. (Michelle told me later that she felt so bad as I was nearly reduced to tears because the bird moved so swiftly and the waves in the water were bouncing me about like a fisherman’s bobber)

The eagle dove low and landed in a tree right at the river’s mouth. I zoomed in all the way and when I stopped my kayak, the waves began spinning me around.  I twisted around and aimed as best I could…..the white spot near the center of the photo is the bird’s head.

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The water was choppy and the current was taking us southwest. We had to fight against this to actually go west.  Here is a perspective I have never done before…looking northward from the south end of the lake, ON the lake!

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And here is the little community that is called Woodville. From the lake….

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We got back, after  spending about two hours paddling. We loaded up our boats and equipment and headed home. At home, I had a message that a customer wanted to pick up an order, so Michelle prepared it while I took a quick bath to warm up and then we got it ready to go.

My parents arrived with a pizza and wings a short time later.  My customer came and grabbed his order, then we all went up on the porch and ate and had a great time visiting! It was a chilly 60 degrees, but we had so much fun just talking and laughing.

After eating, my mother brought out a bundle of gifts. Today is Mark and my eighteenth wedding anniversary, so we opened a gift of beautiful bath towels and dish towels. Then I opened  a blouse (one of my favorite colors!) and the most terrific antique butter dish….

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I also received some money from my parents and Randy. Yes, color me spoiled! We visited until about 5:30, when my parents, Randy, and little Fritz (who turned one year old yesterday!) left for home.

What a most excellent day! The weather was my very own made-to-order variety. I have spent many of my birthdays feeling so overwhelmed by heat, but this day…..ah, what a grand one!!!!

Just Popping in….

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To say “hello”!  This little squirrel played a game of “peekaboo” with me this morning!

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Randy showed me this fungus growing on the lawn…when I mowed on Monday, there was NO sign of this growing. Wow….it surely came up quickly!

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We all got ready to go out kayaking this morning. We decided to stop at a county park located not too far away. We got the boats out, inflated them, then went out in the big pond.  We went paddling into the wind, and it was fairly tough!

The pond we were in is 100 acres and it became a real challenge paddling there! When we began, the wind was blowing but not too wildly. We went around the pond and as we went, the winds began to increase in velocity. Although the wind wasn’t that powerful, we began to have some trouble moving in the water. Add to the wind the fact that the pond had seaweed all throughout….

We got out and went to another place to check it out. The water was not smooth, nor inviting. We decided to do a bit of shopping instead! We are hoping for less wind tomorrow!