Retreat to the Hills

After spending a few very pleasant hours at Ganondagan last Sunday, when I arrived home, the kids had made plans to meet some of their friends in Naples.  Mark asked if I wanted to ride along.  At first,  I was reluctant.  I was kind of tired after spending time walking around a good part of the day.  When Mark mentioned he wanted to take me for a ride into the hills,  well, how could I resist?

A Glimpse of Some Native American Dance

While at Ganondagan, there were many activities going on throughout the entire day.  It would have been easy to spend countless hours just wandering and absorbing everything!  So much to see. So much to do!

We spent some time watching Native American dance and let me tell you,some of  it was rather lively!  I am not going to elaborate, as the photos speak for themselves! Not all of the photos feature people dancing, but I wanted to show the beautiful vibrant colors of the costumes. They were so gorgeous!

A Walk at Ganondagan

I mentioned in my previous entry that  Carly, Jeff, Sarah, Erin, and I went for a walk while visiting Ganondagan.  Our walk actually began when we went along a path to the Longhouse.

Of course we had to take a look inside!  The first photo is of the “ceiling” structure, looking up!

There are signs located all throughout the park.  Many explain how Native Americans used  various elements found in nature.   I am posting a few of the signs I thought were interesting.

Following are some random photos taken while on our walk.  What an awesome place Ganondagan is…it is as though with just a little imagination, one can be whisked back to another place, another time.  

As though to lend just a bit of an air of authenticity, a Great Blue Heron flew overhead!  There was also a hawk hovering nearby,  but I didn’t get a good photo.

Ganondagan…a really interesting and very wonderful place to visit!

Ganondagan Visit

While we were out for Erin’s birthday on Saturday, Carly told me she and Jeff were going to go to Ganondagan on Sunday for a Native American Art and Music Festival.  I turned green with envy, as I saw signs for this event every time we passed Ganondagan on our way home from Victor.  This was something that really sounded so appealing to me.  When Carly asked if we cared to join her,  I was thrilled!

Here is some info on Ganondagan.

Mark and the kids were interested in the festival, but not enough to attend.  Boy, did they miss out!  I am going to break our visit into a few posts as there was just so much to see and do.  I cannot remember when I enjoyed something so much!

I will begin my Ganondagan entries with one that was one of the main reasons I wanted to attend!

I arrived on Sunday morning before Carly and Jeff and the girls did.  This gave me a little time to survey the grounds a little and visit some of the vendors.  Of course I had the Nikon with me,  hoping to capture some good photos of the festivities.  The last vendor I visited had an interesting man visiting.  He was dressed in a bright yellow shirt and he and the vendor were having a very animated discussion. When the vendor gave him the merchandise he selected, I knew this guy “might” be someone interesting.  It was then I noticed the patch sewn on the sleeve of his shirt….he was a Navajo Code Talker!

Not wanting to interrupt for a photo,  I pulled out my cell phone and opted to take a couple of photos that way.

The man was soft-spoken and just very likable!

Since I had forgotten a lot of the information about the Navajo Code Talkers,  I was happy to find a tent offering some explanation.

After awhile, I went to the main event tent and realized the man I had encountered at the vendor tent was the main speaker for this festival!

Carly and Jeff and the girls came and we wandered around,  checking out merchandise and walking over to take a look at the Longhouse.  We discovered a nature trail so we went for a nice walk.  We arrived back in time to discover we were in time for a parade.  It was a small parade, but it was to honor Mr. Bill Toledo,  the Navajo Code Talker from World War II.  The parade was lining up and the honored guest was going to be ushered in via a golf cart. I spotted two veterans speaking with Bill.  One had the word “historian”  embroidered on his hat, and I suppose he was gathering some pertinent information.

As a young serviceman in 1942,  Bill was a part of the US Marine Corps.  To honor him on Sunday, a color guard was sent from the Marines.

Several people were scurrying about, getting ready for the parade!

Yeah….Carly wondered aloud to me how the fellow with the feathers on his seat was going to sit in the golf cart.  Well, the answer was easy…..he didn’t, but rather, hitched a ride!

At this point, I must make mention of the fact that G. Peter Jemison was the man in charge of all the ceremonies.  (Emcee)  Mr.  Jemison is an eighth generation descendant of Mary Jemison,  the White Woman of the Genesee.  I had talked about her in my post about Letchworth State Park.

The parade began and all eyes were on the beautiful and colorful garb of the veterans participating in the parade to honor Mr. Toledo.

Goodness, as these young Marines passed by, the tears just began running uncontrollably from my eyes.  I thank God for the young men and women who actively serve our country.  I really like the saying, Freedom isn’t Free.

The parade participants moved into the huge main event tent and we sat for over half an hour as Mr. Toledo explained the inception and workings of the Navajo Code Talkers.  He is 86 years old and I can testify he had no need (other than to honor him) to be driven in a golf cart!  He is very capable and sharp as a tack!

Mr.  Toledo told stories of the war,  explaining that to keep the Japanese from breaking US code,  Navajo words were used as code.  He told us a hand grenade was called a potato.  He also gave insight into how the code was used and how each code talker was not allowed to discuss their mission or service; they could only say they were involved in communications. 

I think the bulk of people could have listened on and on for hours, but Mr. Toldeo ended his dissertation with a beautiful rendition of the US Marine theme song sung in the Navajo tongue.

If anything, this man really made everyone’s day! What a terrific speaker and we cannot thank him enough for the very vital part he played in service to the United States and the war effort!

Erin’s Birthday Adventure!

On Saturday, we were off on quite the adventure.  Erin’s birthday is on this Wednesday, but she will be attending a hockey camp, so we celebrated a little early.  We met Carlyand Jeff, along with their kids (Kyle, Sarah, and Erin) and Jeff’s parents, Madeline and Cy, at Corning Glass down in Corning, New York.  Carly had planned this trip and for her birthday, Erin was going to get to make a pretty little pendant from glass!

We met in the parking lot and let me tell you, it was an astronomically *HOT* day.  The heat was enough to make one break out in a sweat doing nothing at all,  but the humidity that accompanied it made breathing labored!  You cannot imagine how wonderful it was to walk into the air conditioned building for the next few hours!  It was like instant relief.

As soon as we entered, I was thrilled!  My Google desktop has been customized to include work by glass artist, Dale Chihuly.  I love his wild sculptures composed of blown glass in bright colors.  I could not believe that within just a few feet of me was a Dale Chihuly creation!

This was a spherical glass that distorted what was in front of it.  (Cy on the left and Sarah upside-down!)

After being inside the lovely air-conditioned facility for awhile,  I am afraid I was getting quite warm.  Even though the temperature was cool compared to the miserable weather outside,  I was getting so warm!  And so, I am afraid I refrained from shooting as many photos as I normally would.  There were also many people and as time progressed, so did the crowds!

The “egg” shaped structure below was interesting. Jeff and Erin sat on one end and Sarah on the other.  They could whisper very quietly on the one end and the other(s) on the other end could clearly hear what they were saying!

A periodic table of elements made of glass! Very cool!

We all got a bit hungry walking around, so we wet to the cafeteria and grabbed a bite to eat.  We walked around some more and then it was time to head to another building for Erin’s appointment.  This area has several Corning Glass workers there to assist visitors in making treasures.  Most of the glassware must be left there and will be shipped to the receipient later.

The following ornaments are offered for adults to make.  Once a visitor is ready to make a piece, they are all suited up with protective gear to keep heat away from skin!

The area where we waited had cases where items could be dislpayed….

The following are just a few of the items that caught my eye.

We got tired sitting and waiting so we walked around behind the area where Erin was working.  There were two glass studios there where people (students?) were working, creating glassware.

After Erin made her piece, we walked over to the gift shop where we looked around.  After this, my neck was tired from carrying the Nikon, so Michelle and I walked back to the truck to put it away.  This time, when we walked outside, the heat and humidity was nearly overwhelming.  When we opened the door of the truck, the intense heat that shot out at us was insane!

Of course, *after* dropping off the Nikon, I would see what else?

Yes, another Chihuly! (taken with my phone!)

We weren’t there much longer and we headed to our house, as did Carly’s family, and Madeline and Cy.  We had sanwiches, crackers, cheese, birthday cake and various other goodies while the skies grew darker and darker outside. That was when the thunderstorm let loose causing the damage shown in the previous post. 

Near my hometown, there were at least two tornadoes.  One was in the small town of Randolph, where Carly spent her life from 2 years to age 11.  The damage there was extensive….the tornado encompased a path1/2 mile wide by seven miles long.  The town is currently under curfew in a state of emergency!  People are told not to leave their homes after 9 PM.  The other tornado was in the Chautauqua County seat of Mayville. 

Oh, and for those who are reading from European or other foreign regions, the Corning Glass Center in the Finger Lakes Region!

Getting a Bit Ahead of Myself!

I was going to post about yesterday, as we celebrated Erin’s birthday, but am switching gears to advance to today.  I am hoping Carly and her mother-in-law, Madeline, are able to see this soon.  The reason I wanted them to see it is because when they left our home last night,  they were redirected by the fire department to divert on a detour as the downpours we had did some damage.

I got up this morning as usual, but asked Mark if we could take a little ride to see if we could see any damage.  Last night, while our company was visiting, we had one particular clap of thunder that was so loud and close, I thought the house was rocking!  It was followed by a ridiculous amount of heavy rain.

The first leg of our little outing took us north up state route 64 to Bristol.  While we love living in the hills, there is always a concern for water coming dowm the hills.  The Finger Lakse Region features deep ravines running through the hills  which generally safely steer rain to lower ground.  Sometimes, however, we receive more rain than normal and some problems can arise.  A couple years ago,  the state must have spent a great deal of money on repairing the small bridges passing Mud Creek as it crosses route 64 back and forth several times.  Thankfully, the bridges are doing a fine job but the ravines caused some problems!

The road was basically littered right near Bristol with debris ranging from silt and gravel to large pieces of trees!

The photo below shows how the dirt and gravel washed down from the hill and completely clogged the pipe which is supposed to carry the water under the road!

As we headed back south our of Bristol,  I told Mark that Madeline said there was a problem along state route 21 as well.  We decided to travel up Dugway Road over to 21.  My oh my!  Dugway Road is rather “rustic” to begin with, but last night’s rain caused quite the “washboard”  effect! 

The big surprise was when we reached 21 near a road we frequently travel to get to our house.  Mark thinks a downdraft caused all this damage. It was basically limited to two houses….

Kudos to those who worked to clear the roadway.  It was in great shape and I am sure there had to be a lot of activity involved to get it passable in some places. 

We drove on down to Woodville to see if they had any damage down there. Thankfully, everything was okay!  As we sat near the boat launch for a bit,   we saw three eagles land in the tree where they frequent.  We watched for awhile, then we headed on home, feeling  all was well!

I’ve Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

We seem ro have such a bumper crop of wild sunflowers this year, even those members of the family who fail to notice the native flora are making comments about how pretty those “yellow flowers are”! 

Taken with the cell. (with a bonus of a couple of bugs added!)


Our weather has been so incredible lately with frequent fast-moving thunderstorms producing copious amounts of rainfall!  We’ll take it, of course, but what storms we’ve been having!

A Bit of a Change!

I get up well before everyone else each morning to take the Scottie boys outside.  I don’t mind as they are my Scotties! (I cannot imagine life without a good little canine friend! )

This morning,  I popped out of bed and fed the boys.  I was getting ready to take them outside after they ate, but my summer pajamas,  consisting of a short sleeved top and shorts, would not offer much protection from the downpour! I quickly slipped on a big zippered sweatshirt hanging near the door.  The sweatshirt was so large, it came down to my knees! (Okay, I have previously established I *am* very short!)

The boys and I hopped out the door and down the steps.  We were outside a total of maybe ten minutes and by the time we were heading back up the stairs,  I was shivering!  WOW!  I haven’t felt that sensation in ages!  It felt so good to feel cool.  My flipflops squeaked from the wetness as I walked across the front porch and the Scotties shook and shook, trying to shake off the excessive moisture on their coats!

Yes, it is cool and wet and I am loving it!  I heard on the radio that it is supposed to warm up and be very humid today, so I am totally enjoying this comfortable break while I may!

Yesterday morning,  I was standing on the porch looking at the flowers and bushes below. I noticed movement on the Butterfly Bush, and sure enough, the little Hummingbird Moth was back once again.  I had mounted my longer lens on the Nikon, so I went upstairs to grab it, hoping the little moth wouldn’t fly away.  I did manage a fairly good photo of the little bugger at work amongst the flowers on the bush….

If you enlarge this photo, you can see the little moth pretty well. This photo is much better than the ones I took a couple days ago with the Panasonic.   I wish I could get closer and get a better shot, but this moth is quite timid.  Even standing several feet above and away from it,  it moved rapidly, trying to get away from me and the camera!

I also got a rather grungy shot that I cropped just to show the moth as it flew away, its proboscis coiled….

I have been taking photos and playing around with my camera on the cell a lot.  The day before yesterday, we had the strangest weather I’ve seen!  The skies were an intense blue with puffy white clouds of the harmless variety.  Suddenly, the sky would darken and we heard awesome thunder to the northwest.  As the storm grew closer, we found ouselves in such downpours, it was hard to imagine so much rain coming down so rapidly!  The rain stopped abruptly and the blue skies once again appeared!  This played out several times throughout the day.  Carly said they had hail in Rochester, but we didn’t have that.  I captured the sky in a cell photo that can only be described as “changeable skies”!

Yesterday was bright and sunny, but quite warm.  We left the house in the afternoon as we had some running around to do.  We had to go to the county treasurer’s office,  the DMV,  the bank,  Finger Lakes Community College, Lowe’s, and Wal Mart.  After finishing this up,  we took the kids to the mall so they could support their friends’ band who was playing at a store there.

Mark and I went to the mall before the show with Michelle, as she is thinking she might like to get a cell phone.  Yes, our children seem the only ones on Planet Earth who have managed to age well into their teen years sans a cell phone!  Michelle has been given Mark’s phone when she attends classes at college and that worked well, but she is thinking she would now like a phone of her own.  My, sometimes it is hard seeing our children grow up, isn’t it?  And yes, she really isn’t a child anymore,  but a young lady….adult….with ideas of her own!

Michelle never did decide to go with a particular phone.  Very much her father’s daughter, she ponders and logically thinks things through before making a decision.  Very rarely will one find Michelle acting on impulse. 

After looking at phones and hearing the details of the various plans offered,  Mark and I visited with the mom of one of the kids in the band.  We had a really nice visit,  then Mark and I went out to the truck.  As I walked out the mall entrance,  I had to snap a photo of a pretty pink Hibiscus flower.  The Eastview Mall in Victor has the most lush and beautiful gardens I’ve seen in any of the local malls.

Once we were headed toward the truck,  we spotted the new LL Bean store,  located across the parking lot from the mall.  Mark and I both wanted to check out this new (sporting goods and outdoor) store.  We wandered on over and enjoyed looking around the store for a few minutes.  Before entering the store,  I really did need to capature a photo of the giant boot outside!

It was a busy day and I think my brain was smoking after hearing so many numbers and facts at the DMV and the Sprint phone kiosk!  I was shocked that in order to simply take the driver’s test in New York, kids under 18 need to pay $100 for a five hour course.  Fees seem to have surpassed anything I would have imagined!  As far as phone plans, well, that’s another story.  Mark made the comment that many people would probably pay their cell bill before eating if push came to shove.  As I tought about it,  I think he might be right.  Sad.

We didn’t arrive home until after ten o’clock and I was dragging!  The Scotties were so thrilled to see us and by the time I took them outside and gave them a treat, it was nearly eleven!  This morning,  Michelle called out to me to come and see….

Yes, Michelle informed me that little Angus was cold, so he hopped up next her and snuggled against her, thus causing her to cover him up from the chill!

Kitchen Adventure!

After our totally awesome experience eating at Aladdin’s the other day,  I have been thinking about goodies to make at home.  I get tired of making the same old stuff all the time, but ruts get rather comfortable sometimes!

I had placed some chicken and veggies in some Teriyaki sauce that I  I wanted to make into  some shish-kabobs. I tried to think about something that was “light” to eat with them and was having a tough time trying to come up with something.  Suddenly, I thought…pitas!  Not that I *had* any pitas.  Well, living in this great technological time,  I looked online and found a recipe to make your own pitas! Terrific!! Or, maybe….

I whipped the dough up in the magical Kitchen Aid food processor.  Ah, so lovely to have a machine that will knead dough on command!  There are times when kneading dough is therapeutic, but with my stomach growling and three others looking for something to eat,  I opted for fast!

As the dough was proofing in the oven,  I put together the shish-kabobs to grill outside.  When the dough was ready, I was truly amazed at how easy making the pitas was.  They bake for a grand total of only seven minutes, so they are quick once the mixing and proofing part is done.

So, using the camera on my cell phone yet again,  how do you think I did?

This is my Greek Salad with lettuce, onion, black olives, tomatoes, and feta cheese topped with my own dressing made with Balsamic Vinegar.  The salad was certainly a hit!

Yeah, my shish-kabobs got a tad charred and Mark said the chicken was overcooked.  I didn’t think mine was, but a little blackening on my food doesn’t bother me.   The chicken was less than dry, so Michelle and I gave it a thumbs-up!

The pitas?  They were fabulous!  Ben decided he loved them so much, he cut one in half and made a turkey sandwich with it.  He claims he doesn’t like shish-kabobs.  Well, I know he isn’t fond of peppers and mushrooms, so I guess that’s just Ben.  I made a total of ten pitas and now, there are three left.  I guess the pitas were indeed a hit!

We ate a late lunch and now that it is almost dinner time, I am far from hungry!  No one else seems too interested in eating either.  So, I guess this adventure would be rated a success!