Stumped!

Last year, I went on a rampage, cutting down several trees in our front yard….they were sick or diseased and really did need to be taken down. I had mixed emotions taking those trees down, knowing it was the right thing to do, but also knowing that part of our shade canopy would be missing in the summer and would take some time to fill back in again.

When I cut the trees down, Mark told me to leave about three feet of stump so we could have an excavator come and “pluck” them from the ground.  Thus, we were left with this….

and this over further towards the west.

This was a source of contention, although I never voiced my opinion!  The thought of an excavator coming into the yard and tearing up everything in its way just really rattled my cage.  Raking and shaping soil is NOT something I enjoy doing.  Not at all!

Apparently Mark decided that perhaps an excavator might be a little too invasive, so he began “greasing the skids”  a couple of weeks ago.  Yes, he told me he was pretty sure the kids and I could do the stump removal ourselves. 

As I took the photos of the stumps this morning,  I was elated to see tiny little leaves beginning to sprout on the maple trees!

I came in the house and told Mark I was ready to begin the tedious task of stump removal.  WHAT was I thinking?

Mark said before working, everyone needed a good breakfast.  So, I made a good breakfast!

My family loves homefries.  I have tried to make them for years, but they never seemed great.  Well, after all those trial and errors, I have found a sure-fire way that rivals the restaurant homefries!  Here’s what I do.

First,  I bake several potatoes. (the last batch was 18 potatoes, to be exact!)  After they have cooled, I store them in the fridge so they are ready at any given time.  Next,  I take out a few potatoes and cut them into small cubes…about 1/2 inch square.  I place them in a large bowl and drizzle just a little olive oil over them, then add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste.  I toss them in the oil and spices until they are thoroughly coated.  I then spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, turning them midway.

Ben and Mark thought this was a good breakfast….scrambled eggs, toast, and homefries!

Michelle and I opted for chicken salad sandwiches on whole wheat bread! ( I am so not a fan of breakfast food)

While they ate,  I went outside and took a couple of photos. Just look at my side garden! The tulips are blooming and the Bleeding Heart is as well!

Excuse the ugly landscape paper showing through. Mark has been “theatening” to raise the grade between the house and garage for a couple of years now.  Somehow, I think this might be the year, so I am not about to mulch around my plants, only to have them dug up in a couple of months!

Oh, and speaking of digging things up….Ben had dug a little around those first two tree stumps out front.  He did such a great job, my work with the saw was going to be easy! (or not…)

I finally began cutting at about 10 this morning.  I had to cut a section off the top, then cut as low as possible without running the bar and chain into the dirt and stones.  That sounds easy enough, but trust me, it is hard.  I wound up muscling the saw, trying to get a good and safe cut.

As I worked, the temperature began to rise once again. The sun came out and I worked for short spurts, taking breaks in between.  I was able to get the stump cut fairly low.

After cutting, Mark had me carefully cut a “checkerboard” pattern in the top of the remaining stump.

Ben then used a maul, hammer, and hatchet to break off the little “squares” left.  We spent about 2 1/2 hours working out in the yard.  As I worked, I could feel myself getting hotter and hotter and several times, Mark insisted I go sit in the shade as my face was getting far too red. 

I left the work area at about noon and went in the house to soak in a tub of cold water.  It felt so good to finally get my core temperature down! 

About an hour after we quit working, a cold front suddenly moved in and the temperature dropped down about 20 degrees. (Fahenheit…from 80 to 60!)  Mark said it was too bad we worked early in the day, but such is life!

I had planned to remove the two stumps that were together, but now, I feel fortunate to have the one done! It took a great deal of work to eradicate that thing!  Hopefully, tomorrow I will level the one behind it and we can rake the soil over both of them, never to see them again!

Elton Park on a Beautiful Afternoon

 Late Sunday afternoon, the kids and I decided we would like to get a sub for dinner.  It was a very pleasant afternoon, and I thought a little ride would be nice, so we went to a sub shop Mark and I frequented a lot when Mark was building the house.

We headed north on highway 64.  As we were coming into the little town of Bristol, Michelle hollered from the back seat, “turkey ahead, turkey ahead”! I had to slow down a bit to avoid hitting the lone bird.  What a strange place for the hen to be crossing!  I told Michelle to take a picture, and I slowed down a bit….

That was through my hideously dirty, dusty back window of the Explorer. Oh, and did I mention we were on our way to get *turkey* subs???

The kids decided that since we were in close proximity to one of their favorite ice cream stores, we “ought to stop”.  So, we ate a backward meal…..dessert first,  main course last!  We ate our ice cream, then drove over to the sub shop where I went in and picked up our dinner.

After coming out of the sub shop,  I decided since it was such an incredible afternoon,  I would wander to the park next to the shop and take a few photos.  The kids and I had already agreed to save the subs until we got home and then we would eat on the front porch.

This little park is called Elton Park and it sits in the town of East Bloomfield right off Route 5 & 20.  (Yes, it is actually *routes* 5 & 20, but because the two run together a good distance, it has become *route*!)  By the way, this particular roadway is very well-traveled, as it offers beautiful scenery as well as many antique and “unique” shops!

Here is the park, looking from the southwestern corner…..

To the east side of the park, across the street, sits the East Bloomfield Untited Methodist Church…..

And I know the name of the church because of this…..

To the west side of the park, across the street, sits the First Congregational Church….

Of which I am likewise certain…..

I have actually seen an angel visiting at the congregational church!

hehehe…In looking at this photo after uploading it, I see there is a conflict regarding the correct time!

There is a beuatiful archway leading to the park from Route 5 & 20.  It is dedicated to one Charlotte Augusta Steele Elton, but in looking on Google, I was unable to find information on her, other than a family tree.

She must have been from a rather wealthy family to have warranted such a lovely and impressive memorial! According to a small pillar at the side of the arch, the memorial was constructed in May, 1904, five years after her death.

There is a lovely little cemetery located just to the northeastern end of the park.  The kids probably would have balked if I suggested looking around a bit,  but I imagine Charlotte Elton is interred there.

That little plaque certainly is an informative little number!

As I wandered around the rather small area that makes up the park,  I was surprised to see a momument to signify this area was once the site of a Seneca Indian Village, and later, a Jesuit Mission was located here.

In the very center of the park is a very tall statue erected in the memory of those who fought  in defence of the Union (North) during the American Civil War.  It was erected through the efforts of the citizens  of East Bloomfield in 1869. (as per the informative plaque mentioned above!)

This statue is such an awesome tribute to one the bloodiest wars the US ever saw…..The names of locals, stating rank and place of death are etched in the base of the statue.

Cannons surround the statue on its four sides….

This fellow does look a bit weary after standing guard 140 years!

There is also this beautiful relief with the term “Excelsior”, (ever upward) which is New York State’s motto.

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I made my way back to the Explorer,  parked just beyond the pretty gazebo.

When the kids were little, Mark and I used to visit this park after picking up a pizza or subs from the shop we went to on Sunday.  We hadn’t been there in years, but the kids remembered it well.  There are also a few picnic tables there, and they recalled eating at them!

Well, it is amazing all of the interesting little areas surrounding us if we just keep our eyes open!