Clearing the air….

That’s what I did this afternoon!

I left the house with no husband, no children, and no Scottie dogs.  It was me and my camera.

I had no real destination in my mind.  I was just out looking to see if there was anything to photograph!  It is quite common to see large groups of Canada Geese near water.  It is also common to see them in corn fields after the harvest, gobbling up kernels that weren’t caught in the machinery…but these geese were just enjoying a lush green field….

geese in field.small

I decided to head due east.

Too bad the rain began falling as I travelled east along Route 5&20!  I just kept driving on and as I passed a small place I had seen before, something caught my eye!

I had kept going eastward, but stopped and turned the Explorer around to check out this tiny little wetland located right near a very busy road!

wetland site.small

Please excuse the terrible quality of these photos.  It was drizzling rain which didn’t thrill me too much.  I didn’t want my camera to get drenched, but I did want to get some photos.  I trudged out of the Explorer and through mid calf deep wet grass to get as close as I could.  I was a little unclear as to where, exactly terra firma ended and swamp began, so I decided to err on the side of firm turf beneath my feet!  Thus, I was a great distance from the subjects!

heron crane and ducks.small

When I took the above photo, I had *no* idea the Heron was there! I had spotted two Cranes wading about and later saw a Heron fly off, but it was only when I enlarged the photo that I actually saw it!

crane.small

cranes 2.small

If you click on the photo below (twice to make it really large!)  you can see a turtle sitting on the rock to the right of the crane!

two cranes.small

and a turtle or two on the stone to the left of the crane….

crane and turtles on rock.small

This little wetland area appears more like a wee little swamp, but it was cool seeing these birds and turtles!  If you expanded the photos, you might have even seen ducks sitting on the rocks as well.

You just never know what you might see…

Of course, as I turned around and headed home,  the skies began to clear!  Ah well.  There will be another time. And perhaps there will even be more birds or different birds!

Saved by the Bell. (on my phone….)

 Michelle’s (and ours, too!) day began with arriving at Finger Lakes Community College at eight this morning.  Michelle had to take a placement test so the school would know that she is literate and can do math…that we haven’t just kept her home twiddling her thumbs these past several years!  Even though we were required to keep extensive records on her schooling as well as having her tested to see where she stood compared to public school students,  she received no diploma from the school district stating that she had successfully completed all required work.  School districts do not seem to look kindly on homeschooling.

We arrived at the college and Mark, Michelle, and I hopped out of the truck to begin a day of orientation.

finger lakes community college.small

As we walked towards the school,  I could hear the buzzing of bees in a hedgerow of fantastic rosehip bushes.  But, there was no time to dawdle taking photos as more important business was at hand. 

Mark had thought that perhaps Ben would like to see the school, but he decided to stay in the truck and wait.  The weather forecast had called for thunderstorms throughout the day,  but with increasing heat,  haziness, and humidity.

We raced along the pathway and up to the doors……

finger lakes relief in concrete.small

I love that relief map in the concrete of the Finger Lakes.  Very cool.

welcome signs.small

And little welcome signs greeted the new scholars and their families.

We went inside and while Michelle did her testing (she said it was very basic “stuff”)  we joined the other parents for an information session.  The college is small with only about five thousand students.  Each classroom has about thirty students,  making it very nice for Michelle’s first step into the world of higher academia.

We listened and learned about many things,  including the library and many services that are not only available to the students,  but their families and community members as well!  Very informative.  But, as we sat,  my cell phone began to vibrate.  Ben was getting restless and wanted to go for a little walk.  We told him it would be okay,  and set some guidelines.

A while later,  the cell phone vibrated once again.  As I looked down at the phone,  I saw a little message flash at the bottom of the screen that the main battery power was getting low.  At this point,  it was after lunch time, and I thought perhaps Ben was getting a little hungry.   I left the meeting and drove over to pick him up from a store.  I then took him for lunch,  thinking the cell phone might get charged enough to last the rest of the orientation.  Unfortunately, it didn’t and I was forced to leave it charging in the truck.  Ben said he would stay in the truck until we were done, so I left.

Since I was alone and no one could/would grumble about me taking just a few photos,  I snapped some along my way back to the building.  I don’t think I have ever seen this many rosehips, ever!  (thinking about all the jam that could be made from this harvest!)

tons of rose hips.small

There were few flowers left on the bushes, but the ones that remained were a haven of yellow pollen for passing bumblebees.  And so I indulged……

busy busy bumblebee.small

magnificent colors.small

watch out kittle beetle.small

I just saw that this last photo was mistakenly named….”watch out kittle beetle”…it should have read “little” beetle.  I was especially pleased with that particular photo.  I love the way the bumblebee is hovering!

Thank you one and all for the birthday wishes.  It was a different day, but Michelle is all registered and ready to begin her courses September 8th.

After Michelle’s orientation, we came home to grab the Scottie boys.  We took the kids to visit with their friend Jonathan one last time.  Jono leaves for college tomorrow morning.  So the kids went on a little hike for an hour.  We picked them up and then wandered over a few towns to a Kentucky Fried Chicken store for dinner.  I really like their grilled chicken.

Then it was back home to the Bristolwood.  And what a relief to be back home.  The temperature and humidity reached really almost unbearable heights today but  the temperature dropped several degrees as we got closer to our house!

Another day in photos….

Before taking a trip to Canandaigua this afternoon,  we went down to Woodville to visit my friend, the eagle.  I hadn’t been by to visit in a couple of weeks and I really wanted to just get out for a few minutes.  In the end,  I threw out many photos because as I poised the camera to shoot,  the currents in the water would move me along, causing my camera to struggle to stay focussed! Ah well…..

eagle this afternoon 1.small

eagle this afternoon 2.small

waterlily.small

geese resting in the shade.small

three geese.small

inquisitive.small

young goose.small

I bought some yarn so I can knit a sweater for the fall.  I brought the yarn up and placed a couple of skeins on the bed to photograph them.  These skeins were taken from a plastic bag, so they haven’t even been handled by people.  Murphy, however, smelled *something*!  Little bugger wouldn’t leave the yarn alone!

yarn for sweater and nosy scottie.small

snoopervisor.small

Today was Mark’s and my anniversary. Tomorrow is my birthday…Michelle has orientation for college, so we will be busy a good part of the day.

Back to the Norm

Or, kinda!

hot tub in the woods.small

On Friday, Mark and I worked together,  lightly sanding the hot tub to get it ready for a coat of protection.  I brushed the oil on and we all “ooohed and awwwwed”  at how much better it looked once done.  We left it in the garage to dry and on Sunday morning, Mark and the kids hauled it off into the woods next to the house!

On Sunday, during the party, some kids had talked about meeting up at the mall.  Jonathan was going to do some school shopping and the kids realized they might not be seeing him again for a couple of months once he leaves. Mark agreed to take Ben and Michelle to see Jonathan and his cousins, Cole and Katherine.

The kids were at the mall a couple of hours when Mark said we needed to pick them up as he had an appointment.  I went in to see if they were coming out and took my camera along…

cole on carousel 1.small

Cole was simply hysterical as he rode his little horse. (ever hear tell of a “toothy grin”?

ben on carousel.small

Ben seemed to look a bit stunned.

katherine on carousel.small

Pretty Katherine gave me a most excellent smile.

cole on carousel 2.small

Cole?  What on earth?

michelle on carousel.small

Michelle was busy taking pictures.

cole on carousel 3.small

Okay Cole.  Do you realize just where the horse’s head is located?  Ummmm…….

jonathan on carousel.small

Jonathan just looked like he was chillin’ on the swing.

cole on carousel 4.small

And Cole, now accustomed to his (backward) stance, decided to stretch out!

jonathan on carousel 2.small

And as the ride came to an end,  Jono looked shocked!

The kids got off the carousel and said their good-byes.  They hugged Cole and Katherine, telling them they would see them in a year.  (Cole came down and stayed with Jonathan’s family for five weeks)  It was a little harder saying good bye to Jono,  but he told the kids he would be home for Thanksgiving in November.

Growing up can sometimes be so hard to get adjusted to……

A Day to Remember

My parents and brother Randy arrived at our house late Saturday afternoon.  Mark and Ben had gone to Rochester for a couple of reasons.  On Friday, I thought I should check the chlorine in the pool and discovered it was in the low acceptable range.  Since the kids would be using the pool heavily for Michelle’s party,  I decided to add some tablets to the chlorinator.  Upon trying to replace the cover, I realized the “o” ring that acts as a gasket was broken and in need of replacement.  So, Mark and Ben were going to pick up a new one.  They also had a very concise, albeit small list of food items to buy for the party.

Michelle and I stayed home to clean the house and get everything in order for the party.  When my parents arrived, we sat on the porch and visited for a long time, just enjoying the little lull!

We stayed up until eleven on Saturday night, chatting and laughing.   I got up at six Sunday morning, ready to take on the tasks at hand.  I made some Apple Spice muffins for breakfast, and we ate out on the porch.  As soon as the dishes were done, it was time to get started on decorating for the party.

We worked together and cleared out the garage….Michelle thought the kids would enjoy just hanging out there.  As we worked,  the temperature kept creeping upward more and more!  After decorating was done,  my parents, Mark, and I all sat in the garage where we had a fan running and the cement floor seemed to generate some cool refreshment!

My dad and Fritz sat on a chair relaxing until the guests began to arrive…

dad and fritz.small

Michelle had a total of thirty guests.  Many were young people and many drove to our house.  I was just amazed at how the kids parked on one side of the driveway, leaving the rest of the driveway open  in case someone else had to leave. 

guests in the back yard.small

hangin and having fun.small

When the kids began filtering in,  Mark was sitting in the garage with his guitar and amplifier.  Two of the kids approached him (individually) and talked to him about guitars, and evenually played his guitar.  Mark was in awe at how relaxed the kids all were when it came to talking to the adults present.  They were all very polite and the entire party was just so much fun.

intense conversation.small

I am not sure what Jono and Casey were discussing, but this made for an interesting photo op!

don't pick your noses boys.small

Michelle’s employer, Cindy (the terrific piemaker) and her husband, Jon, came!

cindy and michelle.small

Of course, there were those who were “camera-shy”…..

camera sensitivity.small

And those “treasured friends”.

jonathan and chris.small

Jonathan will be leaving our area on Friday, as he is going to attend college near Philadelphia. Gosh, we are going to be missing him at our little get-togethers. We will look forward to seeing him every holiday, though!

jono the tough guy.small

Jonathan’s cousins,  Katherine and Cole, from Canada came to Michelle’s party.

the canadian guest.small

And, we were even graced with a visitor, Sho, from Japan!

the japanese guest.small

Old friends Alex and Jeffrey stayed on top of things….

alex and jeffrey.small

Wait a minute! How are those guys gonna get *down* from on top of the swingset?

alex slides down.small

Well, Alex kid of slides down one of the “a frame” members……

and jeffrey hangs and jumps.small

While Jeffrey hangs and drops!

coming down,small

And once down on the ground,  the two of them discuss their next escapade….

contemplating the next challenge.small

I am afraid I didn’t take as many photos as I would like to have taken.  I had to keep an eye to replenish meat for sandwiches and such.  I also enjoyed socializing with the adults and the kids.

Many of the young people went into the pool to cool off as the heat was nearly oppressive! The heat was accompanied by humidity and that made things really *hot*!

Michelle asked if I would make a small fire in the pit, so as the sun travelled across the western sky, I did light a small fire.  The kids went up and sat and talked,  having fun.  They roasted some marshmallows and Michelle’s friend, Jonathan H.,  sat and softly played his acoustic guitar in the background.  What a cozy time this was!

enjoying a small fire.small

Everyone had a good time (I pray!) and many people left around 8:30. When there were only a few guests left,  the kids wondered where Alex and Jeffrey had gone?  After several minutes of contemplation,  they decided to take a flashlight and look for the guys! 

After awhile and no success at finding the guys,  guess who emerged from the woods?

Alex….

alex in camo.small

And Jeffrey!

jeffrey in camo.small

The guys had been close by, watching over the kids and also walking about in the woods. (I had an idea where they were, as they had asked me earlier about whether our woods had poison ivy in it, or not!)   Michelle told me this morning, she had actually tripped over Alex as he was lying on the ground, but she thought he was a log or leaves!

The guys had taken “cloaks”of camo to enshroud themselves, making themselves virtually impossible to see in the dark shadows of the woods!  Once the duo came out,  the other remaining kids wanted to try out the cloaks to see if they could also become  “invisible”!

jeffrey dresses michelle in  camo cloak.small

The photo above is Jeffrey dressing Michelle in the cloak.

Our last guests left the house at about eleven o’clock and we had enjoyed a terrific day.  Before leaving, Jeffrey and Alex helped put Mark’s tools all back in their places in the garage. ( carts, dust collector,  and some woodworking tools)

All of the guests who attended were awesome!  Thank you, each and every one! 

This was certainly an event to remember and a day I am certain Michelle will cherish and carry the memory of for many years to come!

Perhaps Ben was Right!

Just the other night as Ben and I were getting out of the Explorer to go into Lowe’s,  I told him to hold on a minute, as I needed to take a picture or two.  Ben looked at the sunset, shrugged his shoulders and explained there are always nice sunsets in Canandaigua!  However, the couple who pulled their car in next to me looked at the sky as they saw me taking pictures….they stood silently gazing upon the sun-streaked pallette and finally, the man exclaimed it was “awesome”!

Early this evening,  Michelle got her huge list of party supplies/ foodstuff  for Sunday and wondered aloud if we could do a “little” shopping?  Mark declined,  so I had the honor of accompanying her and laying out the plastic for her expenditures!  Michelle really is a thrifty shopper, so neither Mark nor I could complain as we perused her list.

Michelle had to make a stop at the Dollar Tree,  but something caught my attention….

balloon above canandaigua.small

Yes, the sky was beginning to darken a bit,  but we finished up at the dollar store and moved on…

To Wal Mart.  Home of some of the most awesome sunsets I have ever seen!

canandaigua tonight.small

canandaigua tonight 2.small

canandaigua tonight 3.small

Now, I need to admit,  I spent a good deal of time on my hands and knees today, scrubbing the front porch.  Then I had the pleasure of breathing in chlorine (well, chlorine was in the mix, anyway)  while removing the mo(u)ld from the back deck. In complete and total honesty,  I am tired and a little achy! (yeah, I never thought I would ever admit that!)  I was not in much of a mood for running around to the gas station, then four more stores.

But, seeing the sunset made it all worthwhile!  I know one thing….one could never say if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all regarding these skies. Each begins with a fresh new canvas and ends with something more spectacular than the one before!

Someone….please relieve the PRESSURE!

Pressure cooker life.  That is the life we have been living this past week!  Everyone is on edge and annoyed at one another….We took on too many tasks at once and  decided that we would install the hot tub in its new home  *after* the party on Sunday.  That certainly released some of the pressure!

We are tidying up a bit and doing things we don’t typically do, like washing the siding on the house on the front porch and back deck.  We have done it before, but it certainly isn’t one of the “high priority” jobs.  Today, both siding and porches were washed and are looking good and spider-free!  No bird droppings left on the railings!  And no more green mold growing around where the hot tub called home!

I was going to post these photos before, but forgot.  So, here are some I took the other night when Ben and I went to Canandaigua….

beautiful skies 1.small

beautiful skies 2.small

beautiful skies 3.small

Canandaigua must have some of the nicest sunsets I have seen, but you have to be at Lowe’s or Wal Mart to see them. Both of the stores are elevated and have large parking lots with no trees…perfect for seeing glorious sunsets!

The night after the above photos were taken,  we were once again at Lowe’s and another terrific display of color graced us!

more beautiful skies.small

While we were working out behind the house one day, I spotted a Monarch Butterfly fluttering amongst the milkweed. (I won’t allow Ben to weedwhack the milkweed as that is where Monarchs lay their eggs!)   I ran and got the camera and as I was trying to get a picture, I got scolded so badly,  I returned the camera to the house.  I was surprised to see that I *did* get a bit of the butterfly!

monarch butterfly leaving milkweed.small

Yesterday I talked about the murder trial in Canandaigua.  The jury heard final statements yesterday and within just a few short hours, the verdict was handed down that the man charged was guilty of two counts of first degree murder, two counts of second degree murder, and two counts of kidnapping. (for not allowing the children to leave while he was at the house)  I never read all the details of the trial until the night before last, as  I knew the trial was finally coming to an end.  After reading,  I was so stirred up,  I couldn’t go to sleep. And so….

hummingbird solar light.small

The above photo (taken at about 1:45 am!!!) is a cute little hummingbird solar light.  It turns from blue to green to red, with varying shades in between.  I bought it at Lowe’s the other night and Mark thought it was so silly.  Until he sat down and looked at it! 

Well, two more days until Michelle’s party.  Ah, then we can relax.  Not.  Firewood. Firewood is next on the (unending) list!

Things that drive me *batty*!

Yeah, sometimes it doesn’t take much! 

Yesterday was a busy day.  After cleaning up the hot tub,  we went to Canandaigua because Michelle needed proof that she has lived in our county for at least six months.  Gads, she has lived here since she was born.  Of course, she had to go to the county treasurer’s office with a load of documents. 

The people at the treasurer’s office were very nice.  Michelle hasn’t learned to drive yet, so she has no photo ID.  She had several other documents to prove her residence and so was granted a “proof of residency”  without much ado.

While we were at the county building downtown, there were news satellites set up and Ben wondered what that was about.  Mark said it is all to do with the murder trial of a Canandaigua couple last Valentine’s Day.  I had mentioned on this blog briefly regarding this.  I read news articles late last night regarding the trial and it would seem the man charged has “gulilty” written all over him.   The saddest part is that the couple’s two teen children were present in the house when their mom and step father were murdered.  Reading the details makes my blood boil and although everyone is entitled to a fair trial,  this whole trial is sickening….In the end,  the man cannot be given a sentence of capital punishment (death) because New York State has proclaimed this unconstitutional.   Perhaps in the end,  given a life imprisonment,  (at the expense of state taxpayers) he will wish capital punishment was reinstated…..(The man is also charged with murdering two other people in another county the same day, as well as shooting yet another who survived.  He will have to stand trial for those incidences in that county, separately.)

Truly, I digress…

After the treasurer’s office,  we were off to Victor.  We went to the Home Depot to buy some parts to rewire the hot tub. Oh,  I forgot to mention.  Michelle is now being trained as an electrician!  Yes, under her father’s watchful eye, she has worked on the wiring for the tub thus far.  (Remember that the two sources of electricity for the tub have been both disconnected!)  Mark has advised her to treat every wire as though it is “live” and she has already learned quite a bit!  The funny part is, she asked her father yesterday if he would consider buying her a pink drill and her own set of drill bits.  I laughed when Mark told me,  until I saw that Michelle was totally serious.  She actually is enjoying building and wiring! (and my grandfather was a general contractor…perhaps it skipped a couple of generations?)

As we passed through Victor, we came upon the weekly Farmer’s Market.  Mark saw a sign for chicken barbeque dinners, so he pulled in…knowing my affinity for these.  Oh my, it was good with half a chicken,  salt potatoes, coleslaw, a roll and butter,  and a choclate chip cookie!  I, of course, shared my plunder and everyone had some!

After the trip to Home Depot,  Mark went back towards Canandaigua.  As we passed a Kentucky Fried Chicken store, Mark pulled in.  There were a lot of people there for a Wednesday special.  As Mark and Ben ate,  something else caught my eye…..

some kind of bust.small

Yes, this doesn’t look “too” peculiar.  Unless you click to see it larger!

When we arrived at KFC, there were two state trooper cars pulled over,  along with the white unmarked truck.  The car (that is being lifted onto the flatbed)  had been pulled over.  We saw the driver being placed in handcuffs,  then the entire car was searched.  Yet another state trooper car pulled up.  Several minutes later, a border patrol car (the last in the line) pulled in.

state troopers.small

Oh how I wondered what they were discussing!

Well, I have searched the news and cannot seem to find any information about this arrest! This is the type of thing that absolutely drives me nuts!

After our “busy day out”,  (and we were only out for maybe four hours, tops!)  I was happy to retreat to our little home in the Bristolwood!  Enough excitement for one day.  Or a week.  Or, even a year!