I Probably Need Some Professional Help

Yesterday and the day before, I was more annoyed than sick feeling from swollen glands.  My neck hurt when I turned my head or when I touched it.  To add a little insult to injury, I also had a headache last night.  So, when we got back home from picking Michelle up from Jacob’s,  I went upstairs, proclaiming I was going to bed early.

I fell asleep early, alright, but I was awake again in about an hour. 

Someone had left the outdoor light on in the back of the house.  As I lie on the bed wth my eyes open, I turned toward the window; I got so excited, I couldn’t close my eyes again!  Instead,  I hopped off the bed, grabbed my camera, and popped the window open. The world outside was sheer fascination….

The treetops were amazing as the snow fell silently.  What was also fascinating was the accoustics.  This snow added a silencing effect to the world outside. It was as though it was so silent, it left pressure on the ear!  Not satisfied with the photos taken, I turned on the light and placed the telephoto len on my camera. By this time, I was moving so quickly, I must have look like a thief working in the night!

The telephoto proved to narrow the depth of the photos too much. With stark darkness surrounding the world outside, I needed as much depth as I could grab! I placed the original len back on the camera and went downstairs.  By this time, I was helpless…hopeless….I scurried out the door in my nighgown.

I looked around and saw some little brush growing under a tree. Ah, a still life! If you squint enough, I am sure you will see it!

By now, sheer madness had set in.  Outside late at night in a nightgown, flashing photos. Truly, I must have lost my bearings, no?

Yes, I was photographing anything I could find….I even took a closeup of…..snow!

Not yet satisfied, I went back inside the house.  After all, to get from the back deck to the front of the house meant I would have to trudge through about two feet of snow.  My boots are only mabe eight inches tall. Do you think I am “crazy” after all?

I walked to the end of the front porch and just had to photograph the “holiday” wreath that is still hanging on the front of the garage! It really does look rather Christmasy!

As I crept back inside the house, Mark was calling out to me….what am I doing up?  Ugh..caught in the act!

I went back upstairs and sat down on the side of the bed.  There was little hope of sleep coming any time soon.  So, I read for a bit.

Just a few minutes before midnight,  I noticed it was so *bright* outside.  I looked and realized no outdoor lights were left on…what, then was illuminating everything?  I then realized that the snowfall, which had darkened everything, had come to a stop.

I could see the trees outside the window more clearly without all the snow!

I had made the fire in the woodstove a tad too hot, so I left the window open most of the night.  That fresh air was so nice.  I did have to close it at about four this morning,  but it was still comfortable in the bedroom.

So, my Dear, Dear Reader…..what is the verdict?

Seek professional help, or no?

Someone Turned on the Snow Machines!

Michelle had plans to visit with her friend Jacob this afternoon.  Before we left,  we had to move, shovel, and plow snow again.  There really wasn’t a lot, but Mark wants to make sure he keeps up with it. 

As we passed by Woodville on our way, Mark and I couldn’t believe how beautiful the lake appeared. It was as smooth as glass.  Mark pulled into the boat launch so I could take a few photos….and I didn’t even have to ask him!

Those “spots” are actually ice fishermen.  I was surprised at how close they were to the edge of the ice.  Must be the fish like to hang out there!

And here is one looking up the lake towards Canandaigua.

There was what looked like a mist up the lake but in thinking about it, it might have been an area of snow squalls. It was that kind of day, after all.

We dropped Michelle at Jacob’s house and then went to Canandaigua.  Mark and Ben did a little shopping while I waited in the truck with the Scotties.  By the time the guys finished their shopping, it was time to pick Michelle back up once again! As we drove southward towards Middlesex,  I noticed that the scenery had changed from earlier….a wet, sticky snow was “decorating” everything it fell on.  Think in terms of a gingerbread house!

We arrived back home in the dark, but I just had to take a few pictures.  I LOVE this kind of snow. On the way out to the back deck, the roses Mark and I picked up at Sam’s Club the day of the big storm were just calling out to have their photo taken!

Should I tell you, Dear Reader, that those roses sell there for $5.87 a dozen?  No kidding….

Yes, of course…I really did need to take a closeup of the Scottie weathervane.  I love it all decorated!

The lilac bush in the side yard is almost as awesome with its snowy shroud as when it flowers!

When I got upstairs, I opened the bedroom window and took a photo of the trees outside.

The temperature has mellowed to the point where it is staying right at freezing.  This produces that wet sloppy snow that frosts everything! And tomorrow morning?  We will be back outside once again, shovels in hand and ready to go!

Snow Management

Sooo…..conversation this morning.

Me: Wow! There’s a lotta snow out there!

Mark:  Nah, the snow is drifted, but it doesn’t *look* like there is much.  Just drifts here and there.

Ah, famous last words….

What Mark did *not* see was the snow the Scottie boys and I encountered early this morning before the sun came up. We three hopped down the steps only to witness snow that far exceeded the height of a wee-legged Scottie Dog!  I tried to push the snow aside with my boots, but it was so deep and heavy,  I could barely move it!  Seeing the frustration in my companions, I more or less “forced” them under the front porch where there was little snow on the ground!

As Mark and the kids did some things they needed to do,  I took a few photos of visitors to the suet feeder out back. The birds have been visiting with greater frequency the past few days.

This little Titmouse patiently awaited his turn atop the railing…..

And look at the lovely pose he struck just for the camera!

When Mark was nearly done with his chores, I went outside and shoveled off the back deck and part of the ramp.  I convinced Ben to finish the job and we had it cleared just as Mark was ready to wheel out the door.

I teased Mark the other day that the wheelchair ramp looks like a luge course.  Now that we have shoveled, it looks even more so!

Michelle took Murphy out to the front of the garage where she was about to shovel. She set him down and he more or less paddled his way through the snow to me.  He wasn’t the least bit impressed by this massive-to-him snowfall!

Both the truck and the Explorer are relatively high vehicles with a generous ground clearance. You can see that the snow in front of the garage was pretty deep!

Michelle and I worked at shoveling out the front of the garage as well as around the perimeter of the vehicles.  We always hand shovel these areas as Mark cannot get in tight enough with the plow.

The snowstorm last night involved snow that fell very finely.  Were it not for the fierce wind, we probably would have had a much deeper snowfall.  What did fall was not like the light, fluffy snow we had previously experienced this year, but heavy, wet snow.  As Michelle and I worked,  huge snowflakes began to fall.

Before Mark could plow with the ATV, he needed a bit of help to remount the two rear tires on the ATV.  He had removed them because when we had the inspection of the truck done yesterday,  he also had those two tires reseated on the rims as they were having some trouble losing air.

When Mark pulled forward to begin pushing the snow,  I couldn’t believe the snow was almost the same height as the ATV!

That ATV is worth its weight in gold.  It did indeed push through that enormous blockade and handily removed the snow from the driveway!

I tried to take the Scotties in the house, but Angus the Brave would not budge.  He wanted to linger outside, watching Mark plow the driveway.  Poor little fellow….he looked like a frozen Teddy Bear as he observed from the porch!

Murphy, on the other hand, bounded into the house with gleeful abandon as soon as the door was opened.  And still, Angus watched over Mark….

Michelle and I continued to work our way through that nasty pile of snow in front of the garage.

Mark worked on the driveway for a good two hours.  There was so much snow; this was a snowfall more like the “old-fashioned” ones we remember.

We were all thrilled with the mechanical advantage offered by the ATV! The only assistance Mark requires is a hand changing the blade direction on the plow from time to time.

As  soon as we finished clearing out the front of the garage, Michelle went inside the house to warm up.  I stayed outside a while longer, then as Mark was finishing  up, I shoveled the close to two inches of fluffy stuff that fell as we were working outside.

Ben helped Mark get things put away and then they came into the house.  Or, so I thought.

Mark kept hollering for me to grab a camera.

I raced to see what it was causing such a ruckus, only to find the boy like this…

Yup, that is how deep the snow is behind the house.  The disgusted look is because Ben claims he hates the snow.

We got everything secured and settled in to an afternoon of watching Team USA beat Team Finland in hockey.  One more game to go and we are assured at least a silver medal! Of course, we are so excited because our favorite team (the Buffalo Sabres) is represented in the form of TeamUSA’s winning goalie, Ryan Miller! What excitement!

The snow stopped falling, for the time being, and we were treated to another beautiful Bristolwood sunset.

We are told that the system that blessed us with this round of snowfall has stalled out and will now remain with us the next few days, causing flurries on and off.

Waiting for the Storm

Today, we traveled to Rochester.  Never mind the warnings of bad weather!

Actually, we were advised that the bad weather would probably arrive mid to late afternoon.

We arrived in Rochester to clear roads and an annoying precipitation that felt more like “rainy snow” than anything.  It was just wet and somewhat sticky.  We did our shopping and then Ben and Mark went to the Guitar Center to check out some “stuff”.  Ben got a bass guitar for his birthday, which he is doing well playing. Mark wanted to check if perhaps they might see a better model. Thus, the Scotties and I awaited in the truck about an hour and forty-five minutes while the guys played.

Mark had commented one day that Mendon Ponds Park is located closer to Henrietta than our house.  So, I asked if we could stop just for a few minutes to feed the birds on our way to pick Michelle up from school. 

 Ben and I hopped out of the truck and walked just a few yards away to an area where there were trees and some brush.  We placed a few seeds in our hands and the birds immediately appeared!

Oh, come on, can you *really* imagine a chickadee perched upon your thumb?

I didn’t bring along the Nikon today, as I was traveling lightly.  We had an early morning appointment at eight to have the truck inspected.  It turned out kind of fun as I had to “occupy” the Scotties for about half an hour while the truck was taken in the garage for inspection.  Snow was falling, but it was rather mild and calm, so we walked a good bit, then went back to the store to see how things were going.  The poor Scottie boys had frozen beards and snow all over their skirts.  How happy they must have been to return to the warm and cozy truck.  I wrapped Murphy in a blanket in the back seat and he barely moved all day, sleeping soundly! 

One of the things I noticed right away that was different about Ben feeding the birds was that most people open their hands flat, whereas Ben cupped the seeds in his hand, creating  a sense of awe…As the tiny chickadees landed in his hand, he would raise and lower his hand from time to time, and the little birds would remain perched. 

As I worked snapping photo after photo,  I suddenly distinctly felt two birds land on the knit hat I was wearing.  Ben began to giggle and then I did, too.  It was nearly impossible to continue taking photos with the two of us laughing. Then, Ben did such a funny thing.

Now, remember, a strong storm was on its way.  I know the birds and animals know when bad weather is coming.  As we were feeding chickadees and titmice,  there were cardinals around.  Many cardinals!  They will not come to hand feed, but they surely did make their presence known.  While they were extremely flighty the last time I was at the park, this time,  they seemed not to care as I took photos of them.  They seemed almost focussed on getting their fair share of food before the winds kicked up and the snow began falling heavily.

And here is my favorite photo of a cardinal taken today….

It would have been nice to have had the SLR with me instead of my little Panasonic point-and-shoot,  but I was happy to have gotten the photos I did.  The snow began to come down a bit heavier as we were there.  Ben and I scattered a considerable amount of seeds on the ground as we left.  I am sure they were put to good use by the many birds we left behind!

As we made our way to Canandaigua, the road conditions worsened.  Mark tried his brakes a couple of times and the anti-locks came on and we went much further than he expected.  Many people were driving as though there was no problem whatsoever, making Mark even more cautious!

The wind is howling now and there is snow blowing all over, although visibility remains maybe two hundred feet.  Thus far, I don’t think we have much more than maybe six inches of snow, but it is hard to tell as the winds are terrific! I am so happy we got to feed the birds today!

More Weathervanes and More

Yesterday morning, Michelle and  I were off early to Canandaigua.  We had some wet, sloppy snow during the night, so we left a bit early,  but the roads were in fine condition.

After dropping Michelle at school, I went shopping for a few groceries.  As I left WalMart,  I drove through the old WalMart plaza and saw this…

I thought it was pretty cool the driver “parked” his horse and buggy out away from traffic and didn’t use the handicapped spaces.  As I sat looking, a man and a boy walked up to the buggy, so I put on my telephoto lens.

I can see by the clean-shaven face, this man is probably Old Order Mennonite, as the Amish married men have beards.

My next stop was at the bank, and I smiled as I saw this sign in the window….

The bank actually has a beautifully hand-painted rock in the gizmo where one places money and deposit slips.  That photo isn’t focussed well, but between the glass of the bank and my hurried “snap”…well…!

I took the lakeside road once again.  I am not sure if I am more “bold” now or what, but because there was practically no traffic on the road,  I stopped and took photos of some more weathervanes.  I even did something I’ve not done before…..I actually took some photos of the weathervanes on houses! The others were taken on garages or beach houses.

I’m pretty sure this first vane is made by the same company as my Scottie vane.  I sure looks similar!

There is a local magazine called Canandagua that I had received a free copy of a couple years ago.  In it was featured a house on the lake that was beyond my imagination! It was gorgeous and I think it belonged to a married couple that are doctors.  Anyway, this is their whimsical vane!

The next vane is on a beautiful old house.  The vane looks like it is also very old. I believe it is made of copper, and look at the cap where it is attached.  It looks like it was made specifically for that particular home’s application!

I couldn’t tell by eye what, exactly, the vane is, but the telephoto lens did a good job of letting me see that it looks like a ship’s mast, billowing in the wind.

The next vane really threw me over the edge.  From the road, it looked kind of like a weathervane that had been damaged.  After uploading my photos, I could see that it was not damaged! It looks like a handcrafted vane and it is a grasshopper!

I love the cupola with the bell!

I got home and Ben called out to see the male Downy Woodpecker on the suet feeder….

This morning,  we are surrounded by what looks like a thin coating of “frosting”!  We had a light coating of sticky snow that is pasted to everything! So, why not show *my* weathervane?

For drama, here it is with the flash on….

and off….

I was so tired yesterday. I had had a fine night’s sleep the night before, but I was so dragging yesterday! I had all my photos resized and ready to upload to my blog (with the exception of today’s Scottie weathervane photos, of course!) but instead of blogging,  I went to bed early!

One of my Favorite Things

During the winter months is fresh snow that has been untouched.  I love it when the sun hits it just so and makes it sparkle like a field of diamonds!

We have had some pretty wild winds here and there and the snow is now nicely “burnished” with a crusty topping!  This afternoon when I took the Scotties outside,  Angus picked up the scent of a squirrel as he walked along the driveway.  Since the Scots are on sixteen foot long flex-leads,  they can romp out fairly far.

Angus suddenly decided to hop over the snow mounded up on the side of the driveway and sniff his way to the rodent. Over he went, only to find that the weight of his body made the crusty snow on top cave and give way to the soft snow underneath.  I cannot decide if he was embarrassed at his antics or if he truly did not care,  but on he scurried, sinking all the way up to his little Scottie shoulders! What a sight!

All the while, Murphy was….well, being Murphy.  He was not the least bit aware of Angus’s behavior.  But then, suddenly he caught the scent and off he went!  As if the proverbial lightbulb went off,  Murphy realized he didn’t like the crusty snow jutting into his body, so he made a mad dash back towards the driveway,  crashing his long face as he plummeted downward! Just like a little child, he looked up at me as if to say Save me!

Ah, the life of two Scots….

I often wonder if they are as fond of the winter months as I am!

Sunshine, Blue Skies, and a Road Trip!

My parents called yesterday and wanted to know if we might like to meet at Sprague’s today.  (Sprague’s just happens to be one of the best restaurants here on Planet Earth!)

We had been wanting to get together for Ben’s birthday for some time, but since my parents  live in the snowbelt…

The weather today could not have been any more spectacular if we had special-ordered it!  It was an amazing day filled with plenty of sunshine and blue skies!

We met at the restaurant and enjoyed good conversation and a good meal, as always!  Afterward, my mom, Ben, my brother Randy, and I all went for a little walk.  We were curious if the sugaring production had begun, but not yet.  The lines are all up and ready to go, though!

We walked back to the car and saw the most amazing thing!  There was a man walking a West Highland Terrier and a big Scottie!  I nearly jumped out of my skin!  I began talking to the man  and he was very friendly, as all Scottie owners are when it comes to their four-legged companions! Why I didn’t get photos, I don’t know.  I was too taken by the dogs, I guess!

The man talked at length about where they got their Scottie.  She is a big girl, weighing in at about 37 pounds.  The lady they got her from is from Scotland and she breeds them.  Of course, Angus and Murphy were in the truck and they got so excited seeing the girls! What a treat!

The man’s wife came out a little later and we chatted with them both for probably a good half hour! We found out that they had driven further than we from Waverly, New York.  They said they enjoy just taking “their kids” for a ride!  We just looked at each other and laughed, because Mark and I thought we were the only ones that ever do that!!!

I did take a few photos, but they were poor….taking photos from the back seat of a vehicle moving 55 miles per hour is a recipe for disaster!

What a(nother) fun day!

Nothing in Particular!

This morning, Michelle and I went to pick Ben up in Middlesex.

As is my custom, I carried the camera bag to the Explorer with me. As we drove along, the sun began to shine.  This made me realize that this morning,  I actually heard birds singing!  They weren’t merely “chirping” to communicate….they were singing!

We drove along the same country roads we frequent.  As we passed a tree near the road, I got so excited to see a big ole Hawk sitting in it.  I stopped the Explorer and by the time I uncinched the clasps of the camera bag,  the big ole Hawk was swooping off in the distance…..drat.

I turned onto a side road and as I drove along, the sun poked out and added such a glow to this awesome rd barn.  Just how *Americana* is that?

We picked Ben up and I headed back on the same route we traveled to get to Middlesex.  I really thought just how much I liked that red barn seeing it once again!  And on the way home, I saw these hay bales in a field behind the red barn.


I really liked the snow *frosting* on them!

Once home, Michelle and Ben thought I should make them pancakes.  Hahaha, said I!

I told Michelle she could make them and she kind of gave me “a look”. It was then I produced something I had never seen the likes of before!  I had picked it up at Wal Mart the other day for $1.50. 

Michelle took to this splendid product like….well, like a duck to water! She added the 1 1/2 cups of water, shook the container,  heated the skillet, and away she went, just like a pro! Now, Michelle is not a fan of cooking and she had not made pancakes before.

Be impressed.

Be very impressed!

The end result was pretty tasty and now I will pick up some more of those little mini-milk bottle looking jugs for Michelle!

While I was at the table….

That boquet looks almost every bit as good as it did last Sunday on Valentine’s Day!

Our back deck was downright treacherous this morning.  The temperatures have been romancing the freezing zone the past couple of days, and the snow and ice has been melting off the roof.  The gutters are filled to capacity and beyond with ice, so water drips all over the deck.  Walking out the door could break one’s neck!  I chopped a good deal of it off, then used hot water to eliminate the rest.  Yeah, that sounds crazy, but at least it isn’t two inches thick any longer.

I did leave the icicles on the railing for decoration, though!

Mark and Michelle took a look at the truck blower this afternoon and Mark found a little connector was bent, causing the blower to not work.  He bent it back and Michelle put it back together.  Tada! It works once again without replacing any parts!  Phew,  a cheap fix for once!

Out for the Day…

Yesterday was another one of those days….busy, busy, busy!

The kids had to be at the YMCA by eleven, as Michelle had reserved a racquetball court for two hours.  She is taking racquetball at school this semester, as there wasn’t another level of fencing offered.  We dropped Michelle and Ben off and we had to run over to Advance Auto to grab a part for the truck. 

This is the Ontario County Courthouse as seen from across the street at the YMCA parking lot.

I went into the store and a woman offered to help me.  Wow!  She was simply amazing.  She asked how the blower fan quit working, saying that the motor on the fan might have seized up.  I asked her if she could wait a minute while I went out to get Mark so she could talk to him.   She offered, instead, to grab her coat and go outside to talk to him. 

She went out and it was incredible hearing this woman talking about all the various parts in the blower fan and offering her advice. She said she has a Chevy Malibu and her fan actually stopped working as well.  She then went on to advise Mark about how to troubleshoot the problem.  Of course, Mark was already aware of the things she suggested, but he enjoyed her enthusiasm!  As I thought about it later, I think she must be a store manager, as her winter coat had the store logo embroidered on it.  She also offered to look up the pricing on the replacement wire harness which we had been told by others was unavailable, except through the Chevy dealer.  Surprise, surprise, she found it and the cost was $31.00.  I don’t know for sure, but I am speculating the price from the Chevy garage would far exceed that….

After our great visit to the auto parts atore, we were off to pick the kids up again.  They came out and we went to grab a bite to eat. Once again, we were off and running…this time to Middlesex. 

It was a blustery,  windy day and in unprotected areas,the winds carried snow like a snowblower, across the lanes of traffic,  greatly reducing visibility!

 The kids’ friend, Jacob, was having a birthday get together.  I guess he is too old for birthday parties now as he is no longer a teenager.  There were going to be several kids there and they had plans to go sledding and then have dinner.  Jacob’s friends got together and bought him a game box, controllers, whatever hookups were needed, and a few games for his birthday.  Boy, was he surprised!

Mark and I left the kids in Midlesex, then I suggested we go on over to Penn Yan to pick up some goods at the (no longer) Mennonite store.   Jacob told us the Mennonite couple that started the store had sold it to some non-Mennonites,  but all the employees are Mennonite, so  who knows? 

Mark went into the store with me and he was fascinated by all the variety of offerings.  We looked intently at each aisle, scanning over everything!  I usually buzz through the store, not really being so attentive and just picking up the items I have used in the past.  I love that store, because even though it is very modern,  it has such an old-fashioned “feel” to it.  The girls working there are knowledgeable and willing to offer assistance.  It seems like those values are so hard to find in stores anymore,  to say nothing of not even being able to *find* employees in many stores!

By the time we got out of the store, it was after four o’clock and Mark asked what I wanted to do.  I couldn’t think of anything in particular, but when he said he had a Christmas movie we hadn’t watched yet on his computer, I thought that would be a great way to spend some time.  We had already planned to pick Michelle up at eight and Ben was going to spend the night. 

We started back towards Middlesex, stopping for a couple of photos….

Gotta love this frozen waterfall in the woods.

Mark asked where we could sit and watch the movie, then he suggested Vine Valley.  Of course!   Mark wanted to park in a parking lot, but  I told him I always parked in front of the boat launch when I took the kids to Awana.  He decided that sounded like a good plan, so….

Up Vine Valley Road we ascend….

Then, after reaching the top, we descend, down towards Canandaigua Lake.

We finally arrived to a very choppy and windy lakefront!

As you can see, the sun had already gone over the hill across from us.  And, as a side note, if one were to cross the lake striaght across and up the hill on the other side,  one *might* just arrive at our house in three or four miles!

We sat lakeside,  watching the waves roll in. It was awesome, calming, unnerving, amazing.  It really was all these things.  And Mark looked at me and asked How is it possible that we are sitting here on the lake, in February?

As we sat, a flock of ducks seemed to appear from nowhere, bobbing up and down on the waves.  They looked hysterical! And a few times, they seemed to disappear, only to reappear a few seconds later!

Yup. That is one of those silly “cold water kills” signs,  stating it is a law that life vests be worn from November til May. Looked like it was going to sail away…….

These photos were all taken from the warm and safe environ of the Explorer!  I had my long and heavy telephoto lens mounted, and to have gone outside to take photos, the camera would have been waving in the wind like a flag!  The focus is terrible, but when one considers just how briskly everything was moving around us,  I felt fortunate to get anything that even resembled ducks in the water!

The darkness settled in and the ducks mounted up and flew away.  It was then that we realized we were going to watch a movie!  I did catch the “aura” glow from Bristol Mountain(ski area) from Vine Valley….

We started the movie late and only got halfway through.  We need to finish watching it this afternoon! 

This was such an awesome day.  We enjoyed relaxing and the Scotties were just thrilled to be out with us! As soon as we arrived home,  we unloaded the Explorer,  I started a fire in the woodstove,  then we all headed off to bed.  I have no idea who fell aleep first, but we all passed out quickly after a pretty satifying day!