Mark’s New Love…

Ain’t me! hahaha

As I was reading on Facebook this afternoon, a friend of mine posted that she was making up a batch of Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup.  My curiosity piqued!  Our family loves Buffalo Chicken Wings. We have even traveled to Buffalo to buy authentic wings.  With about 10 grams of fat per wing, however, this is not a food we would desire to frequent.

After giving up his love of spicy, hot wings, Mark and I put our heads togther and came up with Buffalo Wing style chicken breasts.  These are good and I make them with boneless skinless breasts, so they really are healthy compared to wings!

I began searching the internet for a Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup recipe and several came up.  I gleaned ingredients from a couple of the most appealing to me recipes. Here is what I came up with.

I sauteed 3/4 cup onion  and 3/4 cup celery in about a tablespoon of butter.  (as soon as the juices from the onion began to come out, I covered the mix and turned the heat to very low so they would remain hot) When I make this again, I will up this to almost double this amount.

Into the Crockpot, I placed:

5 cups milk 

1 cup water

3 cups chicken (I used the leftovers from a WaMart Rotisserie chicken)

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of celery soup

Franks or your favorite hot sauce to taste

1 cup sour cream

The onion and celery from above. Mix together well.

Turn heat to low and allow to cook about 3 hours.

How easy is that?  The best part is that if some family members want more spicy soup, they can add more hot sauce.  And, speaking of hot sauce,  the Dollar Tree has a nice sauce that is more tasty than just plain Frank’s.  That said, I make my own hot sauce.  The recipe was given to me by a cowboy as he was breathing his last breath…

1 Tablespoon butter or margarine

8 ounces Frank’s Hot Sauce (Yes, I buy this stuff at Sam’s Club by the gallon)

2 ounces Tabasco Sauce

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

pinch of sugar

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Dash of Worchestershire Sauce

This is a (very) spicy sauce with a more flavorful “bouquet of hot” and sometimes to make it even spicier, we add a tiny bit of Habanero powder! Weehaw!

Well, that does it for the fare on our table this evening.  Oh, I did make some Magic Cookie Bars from a recipe on the side of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk.  They turned out YUMMY! I also made some rolls that will go into the oven in a few minutes and I will add a salad as well.

What better meal on a cold winter’s evening?  So glad my friend, Debbie, mentioned this!!

***Will add a photo in a bit***

Another View of Letchworth State Park

I featured small but beautiful Letchworth State Park here last summer.  We were so surprised to rediscover this gem so nearby.  When we were looking at snowmobiles last fall, we spoke to a dealer who told us that Letchworth is awesome in the winter for snowmobiling.

As Mark is always given to doing, he called the trail coordinator who grooms Letchworth trails and asked how the trails were.  When he was told they were in fine shape, Ben loaded the sleds and we were off!

Letchworth’s “heart” is the Genesee River Valley which runs through the park, featuring steep cliffs and scenic gorges. Letchworth abounds with scenic areas, but to me, they are more outstanding in the winter.  Without the foliage, the cliffs seem even steeper, the evergreens even greener, and everything in general seems more awesome.

We were able to park in a huge unplowed parking lot where a few other trailers had done so previously.  We unloaded and were ready to ride.  The first miles, the snowmobile trails run parallel to the park roads, with some “ditchbanging”. (riding right next to the road, or on the road)

Rather quickly, snowmobilers come to this sign which indicates that the fun begins!

The signs below are designated snowmobile trails, or corridors, sanctioned by New York State.

As one can see, a vehicle larger than a snowmobile just isn’t going to fit through!

Although the park is handicap-accessible,  there are so many places to stop and see the scenery, it would take a day of just loading and unloading a wheelchair to be able to see the scenery.  Some areas are impossible to get a wheelchair in, so this ride was so incredible for Mark; he could see everything we saw!

The ride on the road was luxurious!  The snow was fantastic, the base was firm and well established, and it was so nice! We saw several sleds out,  but they were pretty much few and far between.  There is a section with a huge wall built of stone…as we passed by it,  I loved how the snow had stuck to it, forming a pretty pattern!

It’s fun to take a ride like this because one sees things normally missed! And, I could take pictures! (I did have to hurry, though, as the riders I was with could end up far, far ahead, were I to lolligag!)

At one scenic area,  Mark told me there was this really awesome “blue ice” on the walls of the cliffs.  I said I would photograph it….he and Ben had already ridden around there, so as I went in to take photos, they took off!

I did catch up!  Then we took a ride through the woods!

Mark stopped and turned around to me. Without saying a word, he motioned ahead….

Snowmobilers must be mindful of the deer!  A collision with a deer could be quite detrimental! We went a short distance and this single deer stood, looking back.

Behind it was a group of deer!

We drove past District 12 Schoolhouse.

By this time, we were prety much at the south end of the park. It was getting to be late afternoon, and we needed to travel back to the truck.  Michelle had stayed there with a backpack full of school books and a pair of Scottie dogs!

We arrived back to the truck at about five o’clock.  I was tired and I felt like I had swollen glands, so I was happy to climb into the truck with Michelle and the Scotties.  We sat and talked for awhile, as Ben and Mark drove off “for just a short ride” headed north.  Michelle suddenly decided she wanted to ride, so she hopped into her snowpants, popped on her helmet and goggles, a pair of gloves…..and off she went down the trail Ben and Mark had taken!

I sat enjoying doing a bit of reading and relaxing, when I suddenly began to wonder where they had gone!  The impending darkness was beginning to settle in, and although it is possible to ride in the park in the dark,  permits must be obtained from the park police.  As the sky grew darker and darker, I wondered where my family might be!

Mark had taken my camera from me when he left.  Finally, after six o’clock, the trio showed up once again at the truck! It seems Michelle wanted to ride some, so they had gone several miles with her! Ben and Mark took her to one of the scenic lookouts and Mark took a photo….

Yeah, they do indeed look like ALIENS!!!! You, dear reader, can see that it was getting quite dark, as the reflective tape on Ben’s jacket was reflecting as the flash went off!

This was so much fun. The temperature was actually warm and the ride was smooth! We all had a great day! This is definitely a “we need to come back again” ride!

Good Fun, Good Friend, Good Food!

Yesterday, I had a delightful day.  It all began fairly early as I dropped the kids off at school.  I had a few errands to run, so that was first on my list.  It was weird going into the store and not have to worry about the family or Scotties sitting and waiting in the truck.  Instead, I could wander around as much as I wanted without feeling uncomfortable!

After running my errands, I went and got a bagel to munch.  Since the Tim Horton store is located just a short distance from the lake,  I thought I would eat my bagel on the city pier.  I pulled the truck over and began eating when I spotted that Peregrine Falcon once again.  I dutifully set the bagel aside and hiked on over to see the bird again.  This time, however, I did have the telephoto lens on the Nikon!

If you click on the photo below, you can see that naughty raptor sticking his tongue out at me!

Try as I might, it was so hard to crop this photo so it wasn’t so gruesome. I wanted to show this particular photo as it is pretty good of his face.

Of course, there was the typical waterfowl….

and then some….

Of course I did try to get a closer photo of the heron, but when I got to where it was, it was gone.

The was a lot of activity on the lake, though.

There were also several ice fishermen with their little tentlike structures on the ice.  Seeing the great variety of things to do made me think there was a city on the ice!

I sat and looked through the numerous photos I had taken of the falcon and before I knew it, it was time to meet with my friend,   Jeanne! We met at a restaurant that is situated at the north end of the lake,  very near to Kershaw Park. 

Jeanne and I met and we chattered away, laughing and just having a great time! We ordered burgers, and they had to be some of the largest burgers I have ever seen!  What could be more fun than meeting up with a friend and just having some unrushed, fun conversation?  Well….

As we were getting ready to leave, Jeanne gave me the most beautifully wrapped gift!  She said to go ahead and open it when I got home.  Oh my goodness!!!!

Jeanne’s husband is a very talented woodworker and Jeanne gave me this beautiful Zebrawood candleholder he made! AND,  Jeanne made the adorable little card! Jeanne crafts all sorts of lovely cards…so creative! These treasures are being showcased on the table so everyone can see them!

What a fantastic day it was. It is like a breath of fresh air having a day with no great obligations or time constraints!

Jeanne, thank you once again!

Wonderful Wintry Canandaigua

The kids began classes at Finger Lakes Community College today.  Michelle is going to complete her final semester and Ben is taking another class.  It is hard to imagine Michelle finishing her second year this spring….where has the time gone?

Mark and I decided to spend the day in Canandaigua and I was pretty excited about doing so.  One of my friends, Kim, took a photo of Eagles sitting on the ice in Canandaigua, and I dreamed of having such good fortune of maybe seeing some myself.

Mark and I sat in the truck for awhile and then I decided to hop out and go for a walk.  I had tucked my telephoto lens in the truck with us, but when I left for a walk, I decided to leave it behind….the weather was spitting a rainy/snowy mix sporadically, and while I could safely zip the camera with a shorter lens in my jacket, that bulky telephoto would be impossible.  So, off I went….

The boathouses remind me of old westerns…what a ghost town, painted in gloom!

Good thing the buildings are painted in many colors! I think we need a little color on such a dismal day…

This string of broken balloons were snagged in a tree branch. They also added a little color to the day.

I do believe I captured a closeup of these dried up sunflowers when they were bright yellow in their glory, last summer.

One of my favorite modes of capturing photos is reflections off water.  I really like the way this turned out.

There were lots of Canada Geese out walking about on the ice close to shore.

There is an inlet of water between the marina and Kershaw Park where the water still is open and running.  The north end of the lake is frozen as far as the eye can see, except for where the water runs into it.  I had to walk over to the water’s edge to see quite a large flock of Mallard Ducks.

Wow, these Mallards were walking on the water!

I had never seen this monument before….

I watched the geese walking on the water and then something else caught my attention!  ***If you are squeamish, the next photo might be offensive!***

This “mystery” bird was enjoying a meal of fresh goose.  Even though I felt a bit grossed out, I just had to photograph the bird.  As I snapped away, it didn’t seem offended by my presence.  (Oh how I wished I had that telephoto lens! Drat!)

Eventually, the bird flew up into a nearby tree where it made some animated poses for me!

like scratching its face….

and then waving to me! (or was that a t-h-r-e-a-t!)

I took over 100 photos and was gone about a total of thirty minutes!  What a little adventure.

When we got back home tonight, after bemoaning leaving my telephoto lens (oh, and monopod, as well!) in the truck, I cropped the above photos some to have a good look at the mystery bird.  In looking through my Audubon book, I am pretty sure what I was seeing is the somewhat rare Peregrine Falcon.  The yellow strip above the beak, the yellow eyes, the black stripes across the breast all lead me to believe this was a Falcon!

Not too shabby!

The Weather IS the News

Yes, indeedy! We are having weather!

Yesterday afternoon, we trailered the snowmobiles to another snowbelt region a little more than an hour away, to our east.  Mark had called the trail coordinator and talked with him; it seemed the trails were in great condition.

We stopped at an orchard and bought a trail map so we were all set. The most unique part of this experience was that we could unload the sleds in a shopping plaza.  Before this, it seemed like the only places to unload were in the boonies. Right next to this plaza was a Pizza Hut, too.

We headed on out and had a short jaunt “over the river and through the woods”. After hitting one of the main corridors, the riding was awesome.  We passed scenery similar to the last ride and there were lots and lots of open fields.  I always enjoy reading the signs the local clubs install along the ride….Stay on the trail, or stay home!  and This is a privilege, not a right!

Just a few photos.

We rode a good distance bur something very strange happened for the first time to me on this ride.  My fingers and toes felt like they were frozen!  The hand warmers, which usually keep the digits toasty warm were failing me!  I was downright uncomfortable, but didn’t want to complain!

Along the trail, the map I bought split in half while Mark was looking at it, so when we passed by the orchard, I stopped to exchange it.  When I went inside, the man who was there earlier was not there.  I asked the lady there about trails and she said she doesn’t sled, so was clueless.  She mentioned the man who was there before had just left on his snowmobile, as he had to make an appearance at a sled party.  Then she said something curious! She told me he had waited as long as he felt comfortable in leaving as it is so very cold outside!

We went back to the truck and I helped Mark take off the snowmobile clothing while Ben loaded the sleds.  I helped Ben a little in securing the sleds and putting on their covers.  By the time Ben and I got into the truck, I felt so cold, I could hardly stand it.  I know I have been equally as cold before, but this was really, really on the verge of painful!

On the drive home, we stopped to grab supper and that helped warm things up a little. As we drove along, the temperature kept going down, down, down, to the point of -5 at home.  Oh, that was cold!

The last time I looked at the clock, the time read 8:46.  I awakened again at about 3:30.  Since I hadn’t loaded the stove before heading to bed, it was beginning to chill in the house.  I loaded the stove and then, instead of going to bed, I was up for the day.  Oh my!

The temperature did eventually bound up into the teens today.  Tomorrow, the temperature is forecast to climb above freezing.  Oh how fickle…New York weather is so amazing!

Ugh

Late this morning, Mark and I went for a little ride.  Mark was wondering about some snowmobile trails near our house and wanted to check them out. 

We wound up wandering on over to Honeoye Lake and Mark decided to drive on down to the beach there.  As we drove along, we saw a spot of open water that looked loaded with Canada Geese.  They were everywhere, and many of them were sleeping. 

I had left the house in a bit of a fury.  I was not in a pleasant state of mind, merely because I felt somewhat overwhelmed by life.  Since I was feeling so miserable, I intentionally  (oh, I cannot believe I am admitting this!) left all photographic equipment at home.  Yup, I was in such a state of mind, I guess I decided to punish myself!

Fortunately, (or otherwise!) I just happened to have my cell phone on me, so ….

As I perused the huge flock, I spotted one bird that didn’t seem to quite fit in!

As I approached the side of the water, the scaredy Canadians made haste to leave the premises.  But notice the swan.

The swan just drifted along, preening itself, seemingly lost in deep concentration!

***Note to self: No matter what the frame of mind, take the blamed camera from now on!!!***

Today’s Ride

Cabin fever has flamed up rampant in our home.  Being stuck at home for a few days with the truck in disarray really strained things, if you know what I mean!

Mark has been wanting to load the snowmobiles on the trailer and head due north toward Lake Ontario.  He has talked about doing this for a long time, so this morning, he called the president of a snowmobile club there and was informed the trails are in great shape.  That was it!

We loaded up the snowmobiles and all our gear and were on our way!

Mark printed out maps of the trails and we made our way around fairly well. The trails were very nice; we met up with a groomer within five minutes of our ride! I had never seen a groomer live before.

Our ride included all sorts of scenery…we drove through orchards, woods, into a state park,  past a tiny campground, and even on the shoulders of some secondary roads. We were out for a few hours and it was certainly fun.  The strange thing is, though, one is surely warm enough while riding, but when one stops and goes inside a restaurant or other building, it is COLD!  Truth is, snowmobile gear is so well-insulated,  it can withstand some pretty chilly temperatures. When we stop, we always slip into other coats and we remove the cumbersome snowpants.  I guess that would explain it!

Here are photos of some views today.

Stopping to interject that Mark was in awe of this view! It is nearly impossible for him to travel here in the other seasons as this is a long hike from the parking area. He was thrilled to get a look at Lake Ontario from this vantage point. A real treat….

This ride was fun. There was so much to see and it really was a pretty nice day for it.  Personally, I really like riding in Allegany State Park better.  I guess I am just more attrated to secluded and rustic beauty!

Yesterday’s Cold is but a Memory

Yesterday morning, when I took the Scotties outside, one of the first things I noticed was that it was cold.  Not “just” cold, but more like bone-chilling cold!  The Scotties and I were out before daybreak. When the light of day began to unfold a new day, the temperature dropped even further!

Since the cold has no ill effects on me, I decided I would take my little camera and go for a walk.  The only thing that might impede such an adventure was the fact that I was heading up the hill.  This is not too much of a problem, albeit a very vigorous walk,  but yesterday’s temperature caused one’s nostrils to stick tightly against the septum in the event of inhaling through the nose too deeply!

I was able to get a few good shots and I will share them….

The hoarfrost coating everything was amazing.  The trees were still and everywhere I walked, it was silent.  It was so silent, it felt as though there was pressure against my eardrums.   As you can see, though, the sky was blue, and as the sunshine made its way over the hill,  the hoarfrost slowly began to recede, then faded entirely!

I slipped out last night to try to get a shot of the full moon.  It was so beautiful and the temperature once again made everything feel “frozen in time”…literally! This last shot is best viewed if you click on it to enlarge it.

Today was almost an entire opposite of yesterday.  I awakened to the sound of strong winds blowing.  When I looked at the thermometer on the front porch, I was in shock, as the temperature was over twenty degrees warmer than yesterday morning.

Our weather remained beautiful the entire day. We had blue skies, warm springlike conditions with the snowpack melting down to only a few inches.  While to our east, many were getting rain and sleet, we were precipitation free until this evening.

Tomorrow, the temperature will settle back down to below freezing once again and we will be back to winter mode!

The Waiting Game!

Michelle had been invited to meet with friends this evening  so Mark, Ben, and I  ran to Canandaigua.  We picked up some dinner and then went to WalMart jus to bide some time.  It is incredible how slowly time can pass when one is in “waiting’ mode!

After spending considerable time in WalMart, Ben and I decided to have a look in Lowe’s. I have to smile when I go into this store, as it has a sizable “flock” living there!  The flock definitely leaves its mark there, too!

Yes, this store has a flock of birds that are self-feeders!  When Mark and I walked into the store a few days ago, the sound of chirping was somewhat alarming!  In the chill of winter, it really is unusual to hear such cheerful, chipper song!  I asked one of the employees about the birds and he said they are so annoying! He then went on to explain that the store cannot kill the birds and in order to evict them from the premises,  a great deal of effort would need to spent. The net result is that the birds stay!  He advised us the flock is over two dozen strong, and they do indeed breed while in such a warm and conducive environment!

Personally, I would think the birds would encourage folk to “think spring”  and I would put out all manner of spring items!  Plus, one cannot help but feel uplifted by the cheerful birdsong.  Well, I do, at least!

While we were out this evening, I heard at least three people complaining about the cold and snow falling.  As I have said previously, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth before I complain about the winter!

As you can see, this day was so uneventful….rather dull, actually! So, before I go, I will have to show you the very cool app Mark installed on my phone…it tracks wherever I go, giving the local weather forecast.  Since it was chilly and snowing…

the snowflakes appear and eventually “pile up” on the phone!

Isn’t technology so much fun?