Pet-A-Stool

Ever since the day that Michelle showed Angus how to hop onto the 5 gallon bucket to check out the squirrels in the side yard,  he has done so numerous times. He enjoys looking out over his “kingdom” after all!

Yes, ladies, he *does* indeed have such a manly physique, doesn’t he?

Mark came up with the funny idea of naming the 5 gallon bucket a “Pet-A-Stool”….very appropriate, eh?

Birds and Flowers…

My white Christmas Cactus failed to bloom this year, and I was feeling rather let down by the whole thing.  Then a curious thing happened….the plant filled with buds!  Now, there are about 6 or 8 flowers open, with more to follow. I love this particular plant the best, as the white flowers look so pure and beautiful!

Today was a bit of a hurried day with Mark going to therapy in the early afternoon. I still wanted to try to catch some birds in flight, so I positioned myself to do so for a few minutes this morning.  I could only manage about 10 minutes, but I did get a couple of photos.  This really is a fun exercise, as one must focus on an approximate area of where the birds will land, and then try to click quickly!!!

Before we could go out for Mark’s appointment, Mark needed to plow the mess of snow in the driveway.  The snow was probably about 10 inches deep in most spots, but last night, the winds kicked in and blew the snow all over the place! There were drifts in some areas that must have been a foot and a half deep!

After the therapy session, we went to Victor so the kids could do a little shopping.  Afterwards, we went over to the Home Depot to look at a couple things.  As I hopped out of the truck, I noticed this tree near the truck…..

Did you see it? 

I zoomed in on the tiny little nest in the tree. This is a hummingbird nest! What a lucky find this was. Hummers do usually return to their nest from year to year,  remodeling any problems that might occur over the autumn and winter months. I think the bird must have been attracted by the colorful blooms in the spring and decided this was a good home.

Today was a full day for sure and I am soooo ready to spend the rest of tonight relaxing!

So…Whaddaya Do?

 When the weather outside is *frightful*?  Well, for starters, I looked at the photos coming out of Arkansas and Missouri and was thankful I live in the Great Northeast where we have plows and “technology” to deal with bad weather!  One person commented that in Arkansas, they just have to wait it out until the weather breaks!

I did shovel off a few inches of snow this morning, (about 3 or 4) and then loaded the good woodstove and helped Ben with some schoolwork.  With the forecast calling for many inches of slippery, wet, yucky snow, I was pleased as punch at the thought of remaining inside all day today. On the news, the reports were that the roadways were extremely slippery.  That just confirmed that indoors was *the* place to be today.

My sleep was poor last night.  I listened to the Sabres hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers late last night, and I kept nearly jumping off my seat when the Sabres scored….they won 10-2, and it was just so exciting!  When it was time to go to bed,  I was so wired, I could not sleep! I kept waking up all night..I think between the exciting game and the weather forecast, I was too wound up to calm down!

When the day finally brightened to the point that I could take pictures,  we were getting these gigantic snowflakes falling from the sky!

It is generally so difficult to capture falling snow,  so I think you can appreciate these were BIG snowflakes!

I opened the window to shoot some photos and four birds remained on a branch not too distant from the window.  Brave little birds! And, they totally discredited the expression, “Birds of a feather flock together”.  There is one nuthatch, one titmouse, and two goldfinches all sitting in close proximity, after all!

 I love nuthatches…the way they turn their head as though “looking one over” is so adorable!

The snow continued falling throughout the day, although not accumulating too much.  (Easy for me to say…I have not been out to the driveway to check it!)

One of the most curious events of the day was a little mystery to me. How was it that as it was snowing, the snow that landed on the French doors was in the form of “water”?

Early in the afternoon, I set myself up to try to capture some of the seemingly gadzillions of goldfinches at the feeder on the window.  Just as I was getting comfortable, Michelle came over to me and inquired what I was doing.  When I told her, she asked if she could take some pictures.  Well, I am never one to squelch creativity, so I handed over the Nikon.  I told her I was aiming to capture the birds in flight as it is exceedingly difficult to do with a point-and-shoot camera.  She caught on rather quickly!

Her first shot was of a flock of ground-feeding finches.

I love her “Fly-By Finch”!

But wait! What is more charming than a “Levitating Chickadee”?  This is an illusion, of course! The bird’s wings are perpendicular to the window, making it appear as though it is suspended!!!

The grand finale for Michelle’s shoot is stupendous! I nearly giggled myself silly!  “Landing Gear Operational”!

And the snow continued (still) to fall!  The UPS man called from a business not too far away to ask if we had anything going out today.  Our hill is terrible…the plow hasn’t been around many times, and when it did come, the blowing snow just filled it all in once again.

Late in the afternoon, a foursome of deer wandered down the road.  For all intents and purposes, they looked rather displaced by this latest round of wintry weather.  They usually do not walk on the road!

I am thrilled we didn’t have to go out today.  It really was a good day to be on the inside looking out!

Ah, Some Warmer Temps Headed Our Way?

The weatherman says we have some warmer temperatures headed our way.  Warmer means they will still be freezing, but higher than we have had the past several days.  The bad news is that with the warmer temperatures, we also get *bonus* precipitation!  We are under a”Winter Storm Watch” again, meaning they aren’t sure what we will be getting, nor how much!

For now, the sun is shining and it is just beautiful out!  I love the “diamonds” in the snow!

I have never bought “quilted” toilet paper before, but have seen it on the grocery store shelves. Very interesting, it is.  And when I saw the footprints in the snow, it reminded me very much of that TP!

The above photo makes me think I will be raking up a lot of sunflower seed husks from the lawn this Spring!

As I looked out into the woods, I think it is obvious the little critters are coming from far and wide to visit the feeder!

Since the temperatures have been so frigid the past week or so, I have been filling the feeder twice each day. Trust me, that is a whole lot of sunflower seeds!  I just cannot stand the thought of the little birds not getting enough nourishment….to say nothing of those fat grey squirrels that seem bigger than ever this year!

Touchdown!

That is a football term, isn’t it?  Okay, just kidding! 

Before Mark’s dad passed away, Mark and the kids would travel to his apartment every year for the Super Bowl.  My father-in-law played football in his high school days and he had a deep love for the game.  Mark was never as enthusiastic about the game as his father, but he enjoyed spending the day watching the game and viewing the commercials shown during the game.

Mark still watches the big game every year and this year, the kids asked if they could have their friends over. I said yes.

This afternoon I made up another batch of tiny sugar cookies.  As Michelle watched me, she asked if she could “reshape” some of the cookies.  Not sure what she was going to do, I told her yes, then watched as she worked!

Yes, Michelle plans to serve up little football cookies during the game! I think I will never fail to be amazed at this child’s creativity….

Early to Rise….and a Hillbilly Vehicle!

Mark has now been to physical therapy a total of three times.  While I have always been one who loves to rise before the chickens,  Mark is a bit more of a sleepyhead.  Thus, he made all of his appointments for the afternoon.  However, today, he had to take an early morning appointment.  He was a bit nervous, as he had to be there at 7:30.   That meant we had to leave at 7:00, so I (of course!)  was up at 4:00 to make sure we got there on time…

As we got close to Canandaigua, I nearly screamed for Mark to stop! The sun was rising in the sky….but we were late.  So, I snapped a quick photo at the stop light….

The sun was growing larger and larger by leaps and bounds, and although I longed to stay outside and take photos, Mark asked me to come into his appointment with him so I could observe the therapy.  I agreed to come with him, but my poor heart….to say nothing of my trigger finger.

After Mark’s (rigorous!) therapy, we decided to do some shopping for a few things we needed.  When we finished, the kids asked to stop at a plaza to look in a store.  Mark pulled over and we waited while  they went into the store.  When they were done, we were just pulling out when look who pulled into the parking lot!

I had never seen this car before, and I told Mark it was mandatory that I get a picture! After all, how often does one run into a self-professed, genuine hillbilly vehicle?  The sides were so rusted, I wondered how the thing even passes inspection! Even the license plate is tattered and torn!

So, now I am making yet more notes to myself.  I knew Canandaigua had beautiful sunsets, as I have featured them here from time to time.  But now, I must get out and see the sunrises! Oh, and hillbilly cars!

Around the Finger Lakes…A Little

Yesterday, the kids went to their friend’s house for a little sledding party.  It was so bitterly cold, but the sun was shining gloriously and the skies were brilliant!  It was just an outstanding day, all the way around!

Mark and I dropped the kids off and then went for a drive.  Since the price of gas to has dropped down, it has made it more feasible to take some day trips. I told Mark I really wanted to travel a bit between Keuka Lake (pronounced like cuke-uh) and Seneca Lake.  These are both part of the eleven Finger Lakes.  I know I have bragged about the Finger Lakes region before, but in these photos, I think you will see why!

We drove from Midlesex, near Canandaigua Lake, to Penn Yan, located on Keuka Lake.  We stopped at a Chinese restaurant, as Mark hadn’t eaten all day!  I remember one night when Michelle was a wee little one.  Mark had come home from work (at about 6 pm) and I asked if we could go to this same restaurant. (The restaurant is located about 35 miles from our home.)  It was winter and the roads were atrocious! We went anyway, as the food was just that good!

As Mark ate, I thought about where to go, and took photos! What else?

Chris in Scotland had inquired about the Amish population here in our region.  Penn Yan has a large Amish, as well as Mennonite community.  It is very common to see horse-drawn buggies along the highways. The horses are kept moving at a very brisk pace.  The horse and buggies belong to the Amish.  The Mennonite community is much more progressive, driving  cars, minivans, and trucks. The vehicles are generally black or dark colored, so as not to appear “flashy”.  Also, young Mennonites in their late teens and early 20’s are often seen riding bicycles along the hilly countryside.  (We once saw a huge group of them in Penn Yan at about 10 pm)

After Mark finished eating, he set the GPS to take us for a little jaunt over to Seneca Lake.  This was such an enjoyable drive and it seemed more and more beautiful as we went.

Driving from our home in hilly woodlands, this area of hilly farmland is quite a contrast.  The views are spectacular and very memorable.  The farms appear to be well-tended and lucrative. Many of these farms do belong to Amish and Mennonite people.  In every direction, there seems to be….farms!

This farm was perched on a knoll and overlooks Seneca Lake. It was just amazing!

As I mentioned, the sun was remarkable…the terrain was sparsely covered with snow, but what was present was wind-burnished and glistened in the sun’s rays. Mark was even getting into the photo-taking session, calling out, “take a picture of this!”

As we made our way towards large Seneca Lake, we passed this little building which I am quite sure is an Amish schoolhouse.

If you click to expand the photo, you can see pairs of Wellies hanging on pegs on the front porch of the building.  Homemade curtains appear in the windows. Outside the building, there was a small swingset, a volleyball net, what appears to be a baseball diamond, as well as two outhouses. 

Our ride took us past many more windswept fields sparkling in the sunlight….

and more tidy picturesque farms.

We finally got to the route that runs parallel to the lake. We stopped at a small marker, giving a short historical account….

As the sign notes, there are vineyards everywhere. There are also seemingly hundreds of winerys and micro-breweries,  many offering free tastings.  I do know that in the summer and autumn months, there are all sorts of offerings for tours of many of these businesses.

Mark and I drove up the lake, stopping here and there to look around and take some photos. We discovered a tiny village we had not known about along the lake and saw some breathtaking sights.  I saw many things I would love to photograph, but our time was growing short, as we had committed to picking the kids up at 6 pm. 

We pulled over in Geneva alongside the railroad tracks for a few minutes.  As we sat there, we noticed a huge flock of crows! Mark rolled his window down and took a picture of the large birds, and thus, stirred them up, causing them to fly about in a frenzy!

It was getting late in the day, and as Mark checked something on the GPS,  I took a couple of train photos.

This second photo was taken between seizures of laughter….

Mark called that orange machine a “rail sweeper”. Funny thing is, he probably is right, but my take on it just kept me in stitches! “Mark!” I exclaimed, “That thing is made from pieces of sheet metal and rubber hoses!”

We giggled as we pulled away.  We had spent a few hours in this region, in the most wonderfully relaxing and awesome way.  The Scotties were content to lie on the seat and sleep and it was so much fun just wandering about with no “real” destination.  We stopped  for a bite to eat, and as the sun set low in the western sky, the temperatures fell mercilessly!

What a refreshingly glorious outing! I would love to wander the Finger Lakes Region in the four seasons, and write a book with photos, of the area….

Watch the Birdie!

This morning, I filled the bird feeder and sat down for a few minutes to watch the activity.  I soon realized I was not the *only* one watching!

My poor family looks on with such distaste at my decorating, or lack thereof.  You see, I keep the bird seeds in a five gallon bucket.  What could be more convenient than keeping the bucket below the window where the feeder is located?  Oh, and….I keep a geranium I saved from the past summer on top of the bucket.  Come on…it is in the window, loving the light and it (kinda) detracts from the (ugly) bucket.

This morning, Michelle discovered a NEW topper for the bucket! (look at the FIT!)

Of course, Angus discovered that if he turned around, he could look right out the window!

To be totally honest, Angus could care less about the birdies! Yes, he is more interested in the SQUIRRELS out there.  This next photo had me laughing so much….look at the NERVE of that bird!!! It looks like it is looking Angus in the eye and challenging him!

But this photo proves Angus isn’t really interested in the birds.  It’s all about those squirrels on the ground below!

And below…Murphy’s take on the whole thing!