One Busy Whirlwind Weekend!

We left our house last Friday, midday.  We made plans to visit with my parents  at the rod and gun club they belong to after we unhitched our camper at Allegany State Park.  We scurried and hurried and were able to meet my parents for a tasty fish fry.

After we finished eating, we went shopping for a bit and then went to my parents’ home.  It is always a treat to visit their house because there are always beautiful flowers everywhere!  I love looking at all the blooms.  I used the cell’s camera to capture some of the beautiful flowers….

I love this photo of the Mock Orange flower.  The flowers are so white and beautifully formed!

Of course, little Fritz found Michelle most accommodating when he wanted to snuggle up with her!

My mom disappeared for a little while and returned with a gorgeous wood carving Randy made. It was so petty!

We went back to our campsite and fell into bed with plans to leave again early in the morning.  Mark had plans to go shopping in Erie, PA.  We stopped long enough to pick Randy up and we were off and on our way! Our Saturday shopping excursion turned into a sauna!  The heat and humidity were so high that day, we took turns waiting in the truck with Angus and Murphy.  They were entertained by styrofoam cups from McDonald’s, and were, in turn, very entertaining!

Angus perforated one cup, trying to get to the bottom of things for a drink of water!

Eww….look at all the hair on the side of the cup!  Yuck! Murphy took his water more gracefully,  making me tilt the cup so he could drink.

We managed to stay hydrated and fit.  After our shopping spree, we called home and Mom said to come on home and she would make dinner!  We had steaks on the grill along with a stir fry and salad.  We ate outside and the food was delicious!

We left to go back to the campsite when we asked if Randy wanted to come along.  Ben has a big tent which easily houses a few campers so Randy came along.  Ben had brought some electronics and he and Randy played games until late! 

Sunday was Father’s Day here in the US, so we planned to grill a meal at the camp.  Mark made some chicken that was tasty and delicious.  My parents visited with us and we thoroughly enjoyed our surroundings!  There were very few campers near us, giving us the feeling of owning the whole woods!  Our lot was very deep with a beautiful little creek behind it.

Take note of that sweet little stream for later….

Mom, Mark, and the kids all played a game of Apples to Apples and laughed and giggled, having a good time.  When it was time to go back home,  my parents were a bit reluctant….it was such a pleasant day!  Randy stayed on and on Monday, we took another little excursion.  I will post about that later.

After Mom and Dad left the campground,  we built a nice little fire and I sat outside by myself, enjoying the quiet.  I think everyone loves just sitting around a campfire and this one felt so warm and cozy, I didn’t want to leave!  I sat, watching the flames moving about and daydreamed about the woods.

I turned around, looking at the camper with its lights on inside. Even it seemed to emit a cozy glow.

Ah, life was good.  It was as I was turning back to the fire that I noticed something moving across the property.  Oh my!  A fat little raccoon was making its way along….I called out to it to “scram!”  and wondered what I might do if the little nocturnal marauder might make its way towards me!

I slowly got up from my chair,  easing my way back to the camper.  Mark asked who I was talking to and when I told him there was a coon outside, he thought I had really lost it.  You were talking to the coon instead of scrambling inside?

Well, thought I, raccoons are known for washing their food before eating!  Perhaps it was *I* who was the intruder, after all. That little coon is a permanent resident, while I was there only temporarily….invading his space and his creek!  It matters not…all ended well!

A Glimpse of Our Majestic Neighbors

We left on Friday to go camping at Allegany State Park.  We have been to this particular park a few times with our camper, but  this time, we stayed at another camping area.  It was interesting and really fun because we got to see a lot more of the park…and how BIG it is! What an awesome treasure this park is.

One of the most amazing sights along the roads is that of Osprey nests perched on top of utility poles….so very close to the road! I have been so fascinated by Eagles, but the Osprey is an incredible bird that is also very impressive to observe.

I took many photos of the birds, and a couple different nests.  If you click on these photos to see them a bit better, they are kind of fun to see….

In this photo, the chick is seen to the left side of the nest.

The adult Osprey was sitting not too far from the nest.  As I was standing perhaps a bit too close, the adult called out to me.  Seriously,  I would never want to fight against those enormous talons on birds of prey, the Osprey included.  Here is a photo I was thrilled to have captured

It is  strange to be able to get close enough with the telephoto lens to capture some fairly good facial expressions on these birds.  You might have noticed that the landing adult did not have any food gripped in its talons….only a branch! The nest of this family looks very much on the sparse side!  Looks like the family jumped the gun,  laying eggs and hatching them before the nest was built!

This last photo is of a nest that is very close to where we camped.

I didn’t get many photos on this trip, but I will post some again.

Right now,  I think we are all very tired!!

The Wonderful World of Cell

Cell phones, that is!

I got a new HTC Touch Pro 2 awhile back and have recently been experimenting with the camera on the phone.  The one drawback to the camera is that is has no flash on it.  Interesting concept,  but thus far,  I have not missed it at all.  I love natural lighting and I believe sometimes it can be used to cause the casual observer to look more intently, drawing said looker in!

I have been posting  my mobile photos in Facebook, as it is so incredibly easy to do.  After I take the photo, I merely poke at the screen a couple times with my finger, and voila!  My photos appear on Facebook!  I can probably do so here on my blog, but I’ve not figured that out….quite yet!  I am having a great deal of fun using my phone, though!

Another cool feature of the phone is that when I am talking to someone,  I can place the phone face down and it automatically switches to speakerphone, meaning I can use it hands-free.  And, (I found this so fascinating!) while it is in this mode, if I pick the phone up and pull the stylus out of the side,  up pops “Notes” so I can onveniently write down notes as I am talking.  Come on…how cool is that?

Okay, so those of you with Facebook,you have seen these photos and I apologize.  For those *not* on Facebook, here are my photos taken with my wonderful cell.  Oh, and guess what,  I get to use this tiny gadget to upload the photos from my cell’s mini SD card. (I set the key next to the card reader to show just how tiny it is!)

I know this phone will never take the place of my cameras, but it sure is fun playing with it!

Ah, Relax and Enjoy….

Yesterday afternoon, we (fortunately, for me!) needed a few items from the store.  Life was getting a little overwhelming for me, so it was a good escape.  I went to Naples and got the things we needed and on my way home, I stopped in Woodville.  The water, nature, and surroundings just seem like a healing balm for me.

I sat a good while, thinking there was nothing to see.  Ah well, I just enjoyed seeing the water glistening with the sun’s rays hitting it!  We have been rather missing the sunshine lately!  Clouds, gray skies,  showers, and downpours seem much more prevalent in the forecasts, as well as reality! The flowers and weeds growing lakeside were so pretty. The abundant rainfall has not only raised the lake level,  but has provided lust, thick greenery.  Every now and then, a gust of wind would blow and the bowing reeds would look so lovely.

Suddenly, something caught my eye….I watched as several tiny ducklings scooted over the top of the water!  Their mother, looking as though she was moving in slow motion,  pulled into the shore behind them.  This set of photos might be best enjoyed by clicking on them to see the tiny baby ducklings. Also, the colors and reflections in these photos are so nice.

Okay, the next photo is disgusting, I admit it!  But, this is why people so dislike the Canada Geese!  I realllllly had to be careful where I was walking!

Mrs. Mallard enjoyed preening herself as her children played in the shallow water.  Then, as quickly as they came ashore,  the duck family was heading back off to deeper water again…

Ceili Mor!

Okay, so if you aren’t familiar with the Gaelic language, you are wondering….is this someone’s name?  What does it mean?  Well,  this past Saturday afternoon, we attended a fun dance party, or Ceili Mor! (pronounced kay-lee more)

Carly’s daughter, Sarah,  has been doing Irish dance for seven years now! (she will be fifteen this September)  Carly said that every year, she thinks she might like to take up a different interest, but when signup time comes round, she is all set to do Irish Dance once again!  She is very good at the dance and it is obvious she enjoys it….we often see her doing little dance steps randomly!

It was interesting to watch the dancers.  As I went through my photos (there were over 100 taken),  I noticed a couple of things.  I hate to admit it, but I did miss some of the dance because when Sarah was out on the stage, the camera was up to my face! 

The first observation I noted was that when I looked at the photos in their full size, before shrinking them,  in looking at the faces of the dancers…that is, their upper bodies,  one would never come to the conclusion that they were dancing!  Most of the dance is vigorous and the dancers appear very sober…or, maybe “somber”!

The second observation was that this dance attracts a wide range of dancers, varying not only in age, but also size!  It was incredible watching everyone dancing at the very end of the “recital”.  There were little people as well as women who were probably in their forties!

I loved Sarah’s beautiful wine-colored dress, with the sprinkling of glitter and gold trim.  I felt it was by far the prettiest of the dresses the girls wore.  So, without further ado, I will show some photos.  Oh, and one more comment!  I have never photographed this type of event before.  It was a real challenge!  The lighting in the room was very dark, with the stage lit up.  Since Sarah’s class was the first presentation, I had no opportunity to figure out lighting, speed, or any other settings.  I was just happy to get some relatively “okay” photos!

After the presentations by all the dance classes, the instructor asked her students to grab some family members so they could participate in some dance.  Sarah grabbed her brother, Kyle, sister Erin, and Ben and Michelle. The dance that ensured was quite humorous as it looked as though there were now hundreds of dancers on the floor!  They did rather well considering it was their first class, however!

This gave me an opportunity to capture Sarah unaware…

After all the fun, Sarah was presented a beautiful bouquet of flowers by her Grandfather Edmunds, along with a kiss on the top of her head!

She and a classmate posed with their flowers….

What a treat it was to see Sarah dance. 

Afterwards, we went to the home of Carly’s in-laws, Cy and Madeline Edmunds.  Carly and Jeff and their kids were there and it was such a pleasant visit for everyone!  Madeline provided the most awesome spread of food and after we ate, we sat and talked for hours!  The kids had a great time together as well and we left far later than we had anticipated!

We arrived home after eleven and spent yesterday just lounging around basking in all the good fun we had enjoyed the day before!

Knock, Knock!

Who’s there?

Of course! It is the beautiful male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, reminding me that the window feeder needs more seeds! Yes, this little fellow is very demanding and he knows how to grab my attention.  More than once, I have heard him tapping on the window, only to discover that the feeder is empty! Smart little fellow, he is!

Please excuse the messy windows….birds have a tendency to wipe their beaks on the windows!  Don’t you just love the bright red “bib” this grosbeak sports?  It is so colorful.

And, sspeaking of colorful!  I bought some plants down at the market in Naples.  They are called Gazania and I don’t remember seeing these flowers before.  They are so colorful and cheery. The only downside is that they refuse to open in dreary overcast conditions! We had some sun today, so I scurried out with the camera to catch them open.

Wings!

This morning, the sun was shining and the skies were much more favorable than yesterday! There were breaks in the clouds and bright blue sky poked through, letting the sun’s warmth fall down on  planet earth!

As I washed the dishes at the sink this morning,  I noticed the weir on the pool looked a little “funny” so I went outside to inspect it.  It turned out to be more of an optical illusion than a problem,  so I headed back to the house.  As I was walking in, a most beautiful butterfly speciman came near me, as though teasing me to catch it!

I  made haste to the house to grab my little Panasonic camera.  This butterfly was so pretty and I didn’t want to miss it! My Nikon camera bag was upstairs and I had no idea how long my winged friend would linger so the Panasonic sitting on the table was a better bet…As soon as I returned outside, the butterfly was sitting on a leaf on the lilac bush.  I spoke to it, imploring it to come closer so I could photoraph it.  I had no idea the little darling would be one of the most awesome models I have ever photographed! As though on command, the butterfly took flight, landing first on the rail of the swimming pool,  then resting on the cover of the hot tub.

I looked for information on identifying butterflies and am fairly confident this is a White Admiral.  The only problem I have with that is that all the images I have found show the five upper spots on the lower wing as orange instead of blue.

Since I have entitled this entry “wings”,  I must show you the nest I found this afternoon as I was entering the Canandaigua Wegmans store.

Lucky little sparrows hatched out in the “A” of the Market Cafe at Wegmans!  Those little birdies will probably never lack for tasty bits of food to fill their bellies!  It you click to enlarge this photo, you can see a sparrow sitting on the bottom of the “R” next to the A!  You can also see how big this nest is!

So…I Just Know You are Curious….

as to *how* cold it was here in the Bristolwood yesterday!

Well, I shall give you an idea.

Yes, that is the Jotul woodstove with a nice warm fire and the screen placed over the front, rendering it as a fireplace.  It really was that cold yesterday!  Just a few degrees colder, it could very well have been s-n-o-w-i-n-g instead of raining! And speaking of rain…..have we had enough rain?  Well, mercy sakes, YES!  But I will not complain about the rain. Not me!!

The above photo was not taken early in the morning!  It was actually mid-morning and I turned the flash on the camera off just to let you see just how dark it was outside! Like a moth drawn to the light, so was Michelle attracted to the warmth of the hearth!

Murphy’s Paw (as opposed to) Murphy’s Law

I mentioned here a week ago last Saturday, as we were getting ready to go out for the day,  that Murphy somehow cracked a toenail on his right rear paw.  I had spent about half an hour applying ice and cold water to get the nail to stop bleeding.  We met up with Carly who happened to have a first aid kit in her Jeep….I then used a narrow strip of waterproof  bandage tape to tape the nail together.

Two nights ago, I realized I had not removed the tape from Murphy’s toenail, so I tried to unravel as much as I could.  I got about one and a half inches removed, then Murphy began to get nervous and I decided to leave it alone. 

Yesterday, while sitting in the truck,  Michelle thought she would try to remove the rest of the tape from Murphy’s nail.  She turned him upside down on her lap and hummed to him, seemingly making the wee fellow relax a bit.  She gently worked and was able to slowly remove the rest of the tape.  She did have to snip at some hair as it had been wrapped in the bandage as well. 

As Michelle removed the last little bit of the tape, she disgustingly proclaimed that the thing smelled terrible!  At first, I felt pangs of guilt streaming over me, but then I realized it was *only* his toenail.  I had been extremely careful NOT to tape any flesh on the toe.  Examining the nail, Michelle was concerned as the breakage was so far back….about midway between his toe and the end of the nail. This caused Mark to call the vet once again.

In the meantime,  Michelle and I went into WalMart.  We bought two different types of bandage tape, along with hydrogen peroxide to wash the nail.  We had formulated a plan to keep the nail taped, but to change it often. As soon as we got home,  I was going to have Michelle hold the nail,and I would trim it back as far as I could, hoping the shorter it was, the less likely it would be to catch on things and tear off.

We got home and I took Murphy down the yard to do his business.  Michelle was worried about the nail ripping loose, but for some reason, I was not as concerned.  Murphy bounced along, just like normal, without a care in the world!

Finally, it was time for the moment of truth, and I nervously hoisted Murphy up onto my lap for a closer look.  As I looked at the toe with the cracked nail, I was puzzled….I grabbed the nail and tried to wiggle it, but something had happened!  The cracked upper part of the toenail was…..gone!   YES!  Happily, I was able to use the Pedipaws (a small “grinder” that is used to “file” pets’ nails) to smooth out the sharp edge left behind.  Murphy didn’t fight or get anxious. Hurrah!!!

For once,  Murphy’s Law (Anything that can go wrong will go wrong) did NOT apply to our wee Murphy!