Fun in the Snow!

Ben and Michelle invited their friends over today, hoping to do some sledding.  The snow we have gotten lately has really compressed to almost nothing, but we figured the situation might be a little better over at the park, as it is located at a much higher altitude.

We drove over to the park and it was like a winter wonderland!  If only there was a way to convey the bitter cold wind blowing across the fields and the way it stung our faces!  We trudged about the park for quite some time, seeking out the perfect sledding hill, though, and the conversations along the way were light and good-natured!

We had so much fun, and yes, I did indeed go down the hill a few times.  I had no idea that little plastic sleds require one to “lean” to steer, however, and I nearly laughed myself silly as I raced down the hill entirely backwards!

Pictures are from our adventure.  My poor camera was shivering, so I had to poke it into my coat to keep it warm! I think the cold did diminish the quality of the photos!

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For my Celsius scale readers, the current temperature now is -8 degrees Celsius. The wind chill factor is -12 degrees Celsius now, but I just bet that over on that hill where we spent some time this afternoon, it is *much!* colder!

We came home to a dinner (clever me…I had prepared it ahead-I just had to bake everything!) of Oven-Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Broccoli Cheese Casserole. As the kids sat at the table, the golden glow of the Jotul, the red cheeks on the faces, and the overall feeling of having some good clean fun was just so satisfying! I do love winter!

Let’s Go Grab a Sub for Lunch!

That is what I told the incredible Miss M this afternoon when she said she was starving!  I was craving a sub yesterday, but as the snow came tumbling down from the sky, I just was not inclined to go out and clean the Explorer off to make the trip.  Instead, I made cheeseburgers for dinner last night, and Michelle made the most delectable delights of Baby Bella Mushrooms stuffed with spinach dip.  T’was a memorable dinner for the family!

As we were about to rush out the door, I asked Michelle to grab the Panasonic camera from upstairs. She, of course, rolled her eyes!  But, I had it on good authority that snow was being made up the road, as I could hear the distinct drone of the machines at work!

As we neared the mountain,  I got so excited….as I pulled into the parking lot, I grabbed the camera and began taking photos. Poor Michelle. She thinks her dear mother is crazed. Ah well…

Me: “Michelle, I really, really need one of these machines!”

Michelle: “Mom, that is so weird!”

Me: “But Michelle, we could have snow any time it is cold outside!!!!”

Michelle: “Some of us do not like snow and cold!”

Me: “BAH! HUMBUG!”

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Well,  I do love snow. And cold. And furthermore, when I spoke to my mom yesterday, she confided that she also prefers the cold weather over the heat and humidity of summer! So there, it *is* a genetic thing!

I pulled out of the parking lot, wondering to myself why I never learned to downhill ski, anyway!  Well, I do have a clue. Namely, my cousin who decided to learn to ski.  Silly Carol. She was learning the finer art of skiing when she decided to head on down a more advanced slope than the “bunny hill”.  She spent several weeks teaching her high school English class from a wheelchair! Oops! 

I took a safer route and ice skated! No, not those ridiculous figure skates! I took up skating on racing skates! I think most every night of my early teens was spent skating outdoors at the rink! I so loved skating and just couldn’t get enough of it.  Even when my friends were not able to attend, the fresh air, the feeling of sailing, and the invigorating exercise was just the most wonderful experience and I am so happy to have skated!  I still do have skates, by the way, but they are hockey skates. 

My mind filled with memories, I saw a helicopter pass overhead.  I told Michelle to quickly photograph it! She hurried getting the camera removed from the case, but just couldn’t get it.  Then, the most incredible thing happened! It swooped around behind us, pulled up parallel to us, and began descending!

Michelle took a photo as I pulled over off the road…..

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I lowered the window and grabbed the camera. I got lucky!

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All the “fogginess” is snow being whipped about on the ground from the blades.  The helicopter is a Mercy Flight copter, used for emergencies.  The copter never landed, so I think Bristol Mountain just made this pad for it, and it came to assess whether it was suitable for landing.  It ascended to the sky, and headed over the hill across the valley. Unfortunately, there are some rather serious accidents (including death) at the mountain.

I was so psyched by this time, Michelle expressed fear for her very life! I explained to her that if, in my lifetime, there was one thing I so wanted to do in my earlier years, it was to learn to fly a helicopter!

We continued on our journey, picking up a sub and chips, then returning home. I did settle down, and Michelle was relieved when we returned safely in our own driveway. What an eventful trip this was!

Deep Satisfaction

The weather is certainly the topic of many conversations here in western New York.  It seems like so many people say that they are so not ready for snow yet, but the kid in me is screaming out “Yessssssss!”  When I went upstairs this morning to make the bed, (after daybreak!) the snow began to come down like gangbusters!

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While we were out running errands yesterday, Mark and the kids went into the store for awhile. I stayed out in the truck with the two Scottie boys, and enjoyed the grand minutes of (nearly) solitude!  When Mark and the kids reemerged,  Mark handed me a gorgeous bouquet of autumn flowers!  If you know me, you know that I love flowers on the table!

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As always, there were many little tasks calling out my name, and I attended to them, one by one.  This afternoon, I called my mother, who informed me that their region got about a FOOT of snow!  We only have about perhaps half that amount, and it arrived today! The sky was as changeable as could be….one minute, snowing, the next,  sunshine and blue skies!

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The little songbirds are happy with the full feeder on the window! I did have to reprimand one naughty little Junco that kept sitting inside the feeder and flapping its wings to frighten all the other birds! When I took this photo of a little chickadee,  the Nikon struggled to focus, because of the movement of the falling snow!

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As the sun began to head over the hills across the valley,  the colors in the sky were so pretty.

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I noticed a couple of blogs where people were mentioning that in the autumn, particularly this time of the year, they are inclined to do more cooking and baking.  There is just a sense of “hominess” in the air.  I have been gleaning my recipe stash, making note of cookies I would like to bake as gifts.  Of course, the woodstove, even though not useful for cooking, adds a warm ambiance that makes me feel so good inside! (especially with the woodshe filled)

I remember even as a little child, it was hard to think about Christmas shopping until a proper snowfall….though it is a little early, I find myself getting into the holiday mood!  I bought some “pine” garlands to hang up and this morning, I fashioned a bow for one of them.

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There are so many things that I want to accomplish each Christmas and many of my aspirations fall by the wayside, but each year still brings more ideas! It really doesn’t matter that everything doesn’t get accomplished, as there is just such a deep satisfaction doing what I can.  This year, the snow in the forecast and on the ground just adds a little more to that feeling….

Tis the Season!

We had some paperwork that needed to be delivered in Canandaigua today.  Mark worked all morning and he kept asking me what the weather was like outside.  I assured him it would snow for a bit, then stop, leaving no traces of accumulation.  Just before he was ready to go out, he looked out the window to see what looked like an awesome snow storm! Once again, I told him that the snow would likely melt right away before accumulating.

We left home in the afternoon and this is what we encountered on the road to Canandaigua!

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It certainly doesn’t give one warm and cozy feelings seeing the road enshrouded not being able to see the snow-covered road! Happily, this was not a long-lasting squall. As we proceeded onward, the snow lessened and lessened, until there was little snow falling at all!

We stopped by Rossi’s Music so Ben could purchase a few guitar picks.  Darryl Rossi, the owner of the store, always decorates for Christmas, and I love his “Snowman Mountain” that he sets up.

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The snowmen were looking especially spiffy this afternoon, with a fresh, light coating of snow sprinkled upon them!

As you can see, we did see more snow along the way. This time, the snowflakes were falling the size of demi-tasse saucers!

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As we drove through the city, we were passing the Canandaigua City Hall, when I captured this photo of the pigeons high atop the bell tower.  Yes, the photo looks out of focus, but it was snowing like crazy, once again!

I read a brief summary about the city hall, and discovered it was built in 1824. The building was originally the county courthouse, and has housed town, county, and city offices in its history, until 1988, when the city acquired sole ownership.

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I also read that the bell tower  contains clocks that have been retrofitted with  automatic winders, replacing the 1200# weights that were originally part of the clock! The clock is also one that was manufactured in New York City, and only twelve are known in existence today.

One of our errands today was picking up a bag of dog kibble.  As I played about  shopped in the store, I found a cool display of “unstuffed” toys for dogs.  After digging around for a while, trying to decide which “skinned animal” to purchase,  I grabbed the skunk and headed for the checkout.

Murphy took a shine to the lifeless, skinned-looking skunk. It has a squeaker in the head and tail, so Murphy will enjoy that.  I was so surprised to see the little lad with his toy this evening….

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The town plow came up our hill shortly after 7:30 this evening.  That is highly unusual, as it seems our typical last grooming is about 5:30 pm.  The forecast is calling for some accumulation of snow, but I will believe it when I actually see it! 

Definitely is “the” season!

Tribute to One Industrious Young Woman!

Cindy, the piemaker, wanted to know if Miss M would come down and fill in for her while she and her husband went to church.  Of course!  I tagged along to observe the young lady, and to say I was impressed is a big understatement!

Within minutes of her arrival, she mixed up three batches (each batch makes about 25 full-sized pies) of dough and began rolling out pie bottoms.  As she rolled, Miss M suddenly decided that she needed to make up some baby pies. These are smaller pies.

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Miss M worked so rapidly, my eyeballs began to spin!  Look at these nine baby pies! Five have a piecrust top and four have “crumb” tops…flour, butter and sugar….my favorite!

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I watched this young lady work, and it really hit hard at how quickly she has grown up. 

Cindy and her husband arrived back home and Cindy was thrilled by Miss M’s progress. She confided that she rarely has to tell M what to do, as she surveys what is happening and just jumps in. 

Here is her reflection in one of the enormous stainless bowls they use.

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My mother always had a distaste for parents bragging blatantly about their children, and truth be told, I guess I do, too.  I must say, however,  I was quite proud of this young lady as I sat quietly across from her, watching her move about with such confidence!

Oh, and I certainly know who can now help ME roll out the crusts for the pumpkin pies this Thanksgiving!

Contrast

It would seem the weather report from yesterday was pretty accurate,  although we missed out on the thunderstorms.  We did get some rain, though.

After the sublime weather we had yesterday, today was certainly a contrast!  It was a great day to stay inside and relax, watch television, and just unwind.  And that is mostly what we did all day!

Michelle grumbled a little when she discovered we hadn’t bought Chinese for her at the restaurant yesterday,  so guilt overwhelmed me and I made her a batch of beef and veggie lo mein for lunch today.  She was so thrilled, she chopped up all the veggies for me! We discovered that one of the big advantages the Chinese restaurants have is that the woks they use are super-heated.  The jets on the gas stoves they use are like blow torches! So, I found that I could use my cast iron dutch oven with good results. I heat it up really well, then add the oil and ingredients.  It stays so hot and the food is amazingly good!

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Sorry for the “foggy” appearance.  The dutch oven really does stay hot, so once the food is cooked, I need to get it out of there pronto, lest the veggies loose their crispness!

I carried my camera down to the mailbox when I went for the mail, and I was surprised by the fog! Yes, it really was a bit of an ugly day!

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Looking at the scenery, I thought how drab and brown things looked. Then I spotted one lonely little Aster!

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Most everything else around it was brown, but the flower stood, head hanging a bit low from the weight of the rain on it! As I was checking email on my computer, I decided to check out slickdeals.net. Mark and I both have this site bookmarked, as it is useful for finding bargains from time to time.  I found my Kitchen Aid food processor there last year, and Mark has used the site for some great deals on computer needs and electronics.

I was shocked at a little “headline” across the top of the page. It informs readers that a major rebate processing company has gone bankrupt today! Good grief!  Mark and I happily don’t have outstanding rebates, so we were relieved, but for all the many folks who buy goods with rebates, this is just inconceivable! Amongst some of the major companies using this particular processing firm was Canon!

It seems so hard to imagine all the big companies falling into bankruptcy lately…..

Glorious, Delightful Day!

This morning when I took the Scotties outside,  it was very dark out.  Later, at daybreak, this was what I saw as I stepped onto the front porch! Uh oh, red skies in the morning…..

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We had some plans to run around this afternoon and when Cindy called to ask if Michelle could help her this afternoon, it worked out perfectly! We drove down to Naples and then headed south to Bath.

Michelle and I worked on arranging the Christmas  boxes we were sending late this morning….one of our errands was to drop the boxes off at The Family Life Ministries Center. We discovered we were actually early in dropping the boxes off, as the big national drive begins next week, but the boxes were graciously received.  For once, we were ahead of the game!

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It was getting late and we were hungry. I told Mark we ought to stop by the local Chinese restaurant. We picked up a menu…

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and ordered! The food was fantastic, although far too much for one meal!

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I got out of the truck and walked about a bit, trying to work off some of the delicious meal! As I walked along the parking lot, I got a little reminder of home under my feet!

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The rest of the photos are random shots taken here and there…..

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Sorry to interrupt, but the skies were indescribable today. I kept hopping out of the truck to capture “just one more sky shot”!

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It was a bit hard to begin making our way back home. It was the kind of day that one wants to go on forever. The temperatures were so mild, no jacket was even needed! It was simply an amazing day. A wonderful day!

We came home on a road we don’t often take, but there were two barns  I wanted to photograph. The first has the most incredible old silo made from wooden boards banded with metal bands.  The silo was more what caught my eye than the barn, in all honesty, although the setting was very pretty!

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The second barn has the date 1876 (I think that was the date) formed from white shingles on the front of the barn. I was unable to get a photo of the date, but this barn….or whole series of buildings….is just so beautiful!  Just look at the hills in the distance, and the spectacular skies!

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Well, I guess the sailors and shepherds needn’t worry about the red skies this morning.  This day was like a precious treasure, from beginning to end!

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Tomorrow, we are supposed to have “widespread” thunderstorms passing through the area, and then the temperatures are going to plummet downward.  With all of our firewood neatly stored in the woodshed, we are ready for any and all temperature changes!  In the meantime, I am just so grateful for this day and the chance to spend much our time outside in the amazing weather!

The Seagull Escapade!

While packing an order today, I came across the receipt  for Mark’s Seagull Guitar he bought a few years ago.  I mentioned this guitar the other day on my blog.  As I looked at the receipt,  memories of the day we got the guitar came alive!

Mark has been using computers and the internet forever!  He worked for the Swedish-based company, ABB, for several years,  using his innovative computer savvy to connect with his Swedish counterparts without ever leaving US turf.  He loved setting up tele-conferences and dazzled his employers with the ability to communicate without actually flying to Sweden!

Mark used the internet just like a huge set of encyclopedias! If he wanted information, he dug online until he found what he was looking for like a bloodhound on a trail!  And so it was, in November of 2002,  we went on a “day trip” to Toronto, Canada, to look into buying a Seagull guitar!  He found high ratings amongst guitarists and was convinced the trip would be well worth the time and effort.

The day began like any other day, but the weather forecast was calling for an accumulation of snow. I was feeling a little more than uneasy,  as we had a rear-wheel drive Volvo at the time that was incapable of getting us home if there was any measurable snow on the road.  Mark looked out the window and threw caution to the wind. We were going, forecast, or not!

We began our journey heading towards Buffalo. For my European and Australian readers, Buffalo, New York is the brunt of every sick joke about snow in our region.  You might say that Buffalo is sometimes considered the “armpit” of New York, simply because it receives some pretty large amounts of snow from time to time.  Since I grew up south of Buffalo, getting many of the same storms, I love snow and don’t think of it as a detriment at all.   I even love winter!

As we got closer and closer to the city of Buffalo, the weather deteriorated quickly! The snow was falling horizontally, and it was beginning to build up on the sides of the highways.  My nerves were getting a bit stressed and I kept asking Mark if he was sure we should continue on!

We passed through Buffalo and on through customs, entering Canada.  After leaving New York, it seemed like the weather was getting somewhat better.  We drove on and on,  stopping along the way at a guitar store. I cannot remember where it was, but it was a good distance from our ultimate destination in Toronto. Mark spent what seemed like forever at the store, trying out many different guitars until he finally felt it was time to move on.

By the time we arrived in Toronto, (I think it was about 3 pm) Mark was in good spirits as he tried out even more guitars! I do understand passion….I lose track of time whenever I venture out with my camera….but Toronto is about five hours from our home!  Mark must have tried over a dozen guitars that day, and he finally settled on a beautiful guitar made by Seagull, a Canadian company.  Mark found a guitar with a blemish that sold for far below retail! As we looked, we were unable to find the blemish, until a salesman showed Mark a teeny spot under the bridge of the guitar!  Add to his find the fact that the US dollar was worth about 20 or 25% more than the Canadian dollar, and Mark  rolled out of the store feeling as though he had just robbed it!

We left the guitar store and began the long journey home at about seven o’clock.  We passed through customs, presenting our receipt, with no problems at all. 

As we got nearer to Buffalo, I felt myself gripping the door handle, expecting to move like a snail along snow-covered roads.  Much to our surprise, Buffalo was completely snow-free!  We found ourselves making such good time!  There was no snow whatsoever as we made our way home.  This was so great!

We arrived at the bottom of our hill….did I mention we live on a S-T-E-E-P hill?  After traveling over one hundred miles with beautifully groomed roads,  our road was covered in an inch or two of snow.  Mark gunned the gas pedal and tried to zip up the hill, but the Volvo just sat with tires spinning,  as though laughing at us! It was nearly midnight and we were all tired after our adventure.  Mark finally decided after a couple attempts, to park the truck off the side of the road at the bottom of the hill.

The kids and I grabbed the new guitar and walked up the hill, giggling and hoping we wouldn’t get lost, as it was so dark out! It takes some time to climb the hill, as it is rather steep, but we hurried as much as possible, not wanting to leave Mark too long.  We made it to the house, and the kids both headed off to bed.

I, on the other hand, fired up Mark’s ATV and ventured down the hill. Mark got out of the Volvo, transferring onto the ATV. I got on behind him and we rode into the dark night, up the hill, to the warmth and safety of our home!

Even now, as I tell about this adventure, I smile, as this is one of the adventures our kids are likely to never forget! We have had many fun times, but this particular adventure stands out on its own!

Here is a photo of the Seagull Guitar….

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And the logo,on the neck…..

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Mark went out today…the first time in over a week.  He drove his mom to a doctor’s appointment. When finished, he drove his mom home, then headed to the Guitar Center….

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where the little Martin Backpacker went back.  That’s okay…I really expected it might, and there are no hard feelings! He did order a couple of different guitars to check out online, so when they arrive, he will see if they are acceptable. If not, they will also go back! In the meantime, King Angus anxiously awaited Mark’s return….

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Yes, Angus makes like a parrot, perching himself on the back of the seats, surveying all activities not only in the truck, but also the parking lot!

Happily, Mark is on the mend, and we will hopefully, have a few more adventures soon!