A Grand Day, Indeed!

I have been getting up every morning at about 6 am.  That seems to be around the time that Murphy’s “alarm” goes off, and he gently alerts me it is time to arise and shine.  I don’t mind at all, as I have always been a fairly early riser.

After getting up, I took the Scottie boys out,  fed them, then took them out once more. 

We have been having a little trouble with well water…namely, it runs out!  The past couple of weeks, we have been on conservation mode, and we have been doing okay.  We usually run out at about 5 pm, then by 8 pm, the water returns.  Since no one uses water overnight, we have a good supply once again in the morning.  This can be tricky, and even frustrating, but it is working out.  Hard to believe we have shortages when we have gotten quite a bit of rain, though.

Well, this morning, I went to the basement and washed several clothes.  We have a little hand washer similar to this that is incredible…You use the warmest/hottest water you can and just spin the little bugger a few minutes. It really does a terrific job and then I rinse  and throw the clothes into the washing machine to spin dry.  It sounds crazy, but clothes come out very clean.  When you release the pressure off the top, it is not unusual for it to *pop*!  This also uses little water and detergent.  I washed what would be a large load.  It took four of my little loads, but I don’t think I used ten gallons of water.

While the clothes were spinning in the washing machine, I went outside and checked the lawn.  It was dry, so I grabbed the lawnmower and began mowing.  I didn’t do the entire yard…..just where the grass had grown out of control in front of the house and the side yard.  I came inside and looked at the clock and laughed.  After all….it was 7:38 am!

Once I got the clothes from the washing machine into the dryer,  I went outside to the camper and unloaded several armloads of stuff we hadn’t brought in last time we camped.  I vacuumed the camper, then used a carpet cleaner my mom gave me to clean the carpet and a chair in the camper.  I have always cleaned the rug and chair every time we come home, but the machine took far less effort and time!  It also smells so nice!

Soon the clock said 11:30, and it was time to take Michelle to Rochester.  That was great, as by this time, I felt like I needed a nap!  While Michelle was at school (for only one hour!) we went over to Aldi so I could pick up a few things we needed.  There was a Sprint store right next door, so we hopped on over there to check out some new cell phones.  Wow!  Ours look so antiquated! While at the store, Michelle called, asking where we were.

After picking her up, we went to Bill Gray’s for hamburgers.  Oh my, they were so good! We shopped at a couple more stores, then were off to Home Depot in Victor.  Mark took the more scenic route along the Erie Canal and I was so thrilled he did!

As we were driving, we saw a huge older wooden boat just cruising down the canal.  I asked Mark to stop and he did.  As I was getting out of the truck,  Ben pointed to a Great Blue Heron not too far off. 

I got to the canal just in time to see the big boat passing by, creating really massive waves!  Well, okay, maybe not “massive”, but they were very large for the canal!

The fellow on the left waved!  Wow….just boogeyin’  down the canal with not a care. And….

as she passed, we saw she was called Whatever it takes II from Cleveland, Ohio.  Yikes! Cleveland isn’t exactly a stone’s throw!

So, back to the Great Blue Heron.

Would the bird simply stay put as the boat passed, or would it fly off before I could get a decent shot?  After all, this boat was pretty big and it sure was making itself known with those waves!

Hmmm….apparently, the bord has seen bigger vessels before!  Even the big yellow barking dog onboard didn’t bother this feathered observer.

The bugger seemed more annoyed by me than by the fast-moving boat.  The heron crouched down, looking as though it might consider “lift-off”,  so I kept my distance,  but moved closer to the water to get a better view.

I guess coming out into the open, this fellow considered I wasn’t so big a threat, after all. And so,

He just casually, leisurely, strutted off!

We got home and I quickly heated up some tomato soup and a vegetarian dish I made last week.  Everyone ate…I washed the dishes…and by about 7:45,  I headed on upstairs. 

I watched a Buffalo Sabres preseason game in which they played the Carolina Hurricane.  We won, 3:1.  I am so happy to see hockey again!  The fact that our team won, icing on the cake!

And so, a busy, but delightful day with a splendid ending!

A Great Day, Photographically Speaking

Of course!

It certainly was a brilliant day for photography today.  The amazing blue sky…the sunshine, the colors!!  Yes, the colors all seemed to pop today. Unfortunately, though, I didn’t get many photos.  I had an idea, but it just didn’t pan out…

Here are today’s offerings…

I am so enjoying the cooler weather. It is far from “cool”, but much easier to take than the baking temperatures of a couple of weeks ago!

It seems so quiet lately…

We haven’t been doing to many things lately. Now that Michelle has begun classes at RIT,  she is spending a good deal of time on her studies.  We purposely decided to take things slow for a bit, so she could  get an idea how her workload might pan out.  She is so organized, writing a schedule and sticking to it.  She really is a good and disciplined student.

Yesterday,  I spent some time outside, photographing bees.  It was such a warm and balmy day and the bees were putting in overtime!  They were working so very hard!

Those bees are pretty smart.  With the temperature so warm yesterday, it was hard to comprehend how the temperature would nosedive rather abruptly and plummet to the point that “light frost” is predicted in some areas tonight!  I don’t mind…I am so ready for cooler weather!

As I was snapping away, I realized my favorite fall flowers are out right now!  I love the purples and golds.  So regal and elegant!

Today, Mark took Michelle to school and Ben traveled along as well.  They had some errands to run today and I just wanted to stay home and chill.  I was so glad I did.  I ddin’t accomplish a great deal, but it was nice to hear the sounds of silence!

Looking at Murphy, I got inspired to give the laddie a grooming.  He was less than thrilled, but having a quiet house with no noise and no distractions really made the job go more smoothly and quickly.  Although he tried to run off once or twice, Murphy really did a great job sitting still for me.  I had groomed Angus yesterday and although it would probably be easier to clean up once from this job, I have a hard time doing both boys in one day!

Yes, poor little Murphy…lying there trying to avoid eye contact with me.

As hard as I tried to coax the little fellow to sit up proper for a photo, he just stewed and turned his cute little face away! Ah well.  As I said, he was so good about the clippers and all.  I had done his nails last night and he dislikes that more than a clipping!

I will leave you with another photo of my beautiful Begonias that my father gave me for my birthday.  I just cannot get enough of them!

A quick post

This barn is one I have wanted to photograph for so long, but could never seem to get a good angle on it.  Today, I stopped along the road and was totally in awe of the blazing yellow goldenrod.  How could I not get a quick capture?

I had a busy day today, although some in the family would say I wasted my time.  Ah well. Such is life.

I would love to have captured a pretty Monarch I saw dancing through the field of gold, but I know the nature of those little “flutterbies”!  As soon as the camera is produced, they scoot! So, we shall settle for the poor broken barn!

Too tuckered!

Well, I was last night! 

We went out late yesterday afternoon….a drive to Sauder’s (the Mennonite store in Seneca Falls) was in order to purchase some freshly-picked apples.  When we got there, Mark was a tad disappointed that the selection was a bit meager.  We did decide to try several varieties.  I even picked up six 20 ounce apples to try for a pie.  In looking at them, I think six might be too many for a pie…those apples are ginormous!

Mark has been trying to resurrect one of our computers for Ben.  Mark’s (ancient) Dell laptop seems to have finally given up the ghost and although Ben would like another laptop,  Mark is on a NOMORELAPTOPS binge.  My three year old Dell EXP recently decided to become a bit cantankerous and is now sitting and waiting for Dr. Mark to diagnose.  Yesterday, Mark was looking for a keyboard with a PS2 (I think that is right, anyway?) adapter so he could boot up the computer…..we looked in a couple different stores to no avail.  The adapter is passe…gone….argh.

Ben asked to stop at a thrift store as we were passing by. Mark pulled in and as we waited, Angus, as always, perched on Mark’s lap to look out the window.  Angus is such a funny little Scottie….always keen, alert, and wanting to see everything that is happening!

Even to the point of watching passing vehicles!

I have a terrible time sitting still in the truck.  I started looking about to see if there was anything “picture-worthy”.  At the end of the parking lot was a stack of huge crates.  I am thinking they look like those used for shipping apples, although the one with writing that says “crisp and spicy” kind of threw me off.  Cannot think of an apple filling that description!

Yes, although that golden “honey” sun was illuminating the crates, I favored this photo in black and white.

We began our westward drive home in debilitating, blinding sun.  I cannot even imagine how Mark was able to see!  It was terrible; a band of bikers (about six bikes) pulled over to the side of the road and hopped off.  Mark wondered if perhaps the sun had become too strong for them.  We made it the fifteen miles from Geneva to Canandaigua where Mark stopped at McDonald’s as per Michelle’s request.

After going through the drive-thru,  I asked Mark to stop so I could grab a photo. I walked around the store, trying a couple different angles before settling on this one.

I really liked this photo, using it in my daily journal as well.  Michelle favored it in black and white, saying it was “more dramatic”….hmmm, what do you think?

Wow! Today, we saw sunshine!

Yes! After days of rainy and wet weather, we saw that bright yellow orb in the sky late this afternoon!  I heard on the radio things are going to dry out a bit for folks in flooded eastern New York.  My heart goes out to those who have lost so much.  I heard the weatherman say yesterday that the flooding was “historical”. 

Today, I went shopping for groceries.  I have not done that in ages.  It is so hard to find time to get to the store!  We are always rushing here or there, making it hard to shop.  I really need to concentrate when I shop and going in and out of stores in a hurry just makes it hard!

So, today, I took a little time.  And, afterward, I took just a few pictures by the lake…

Whether the sunshine or the fact it was Friday…doesn’t matter….folks just seemed so chipper today!

What a book!

The other day, I had to pick up a few things at BJ’s.  I was drawn to the book section where I found a book called Slow Cooker Revolution.  I looked at the photos and suddenly felt hungry, but put the book back, thinking I really don’t need a cookbook.  I finished my shopping and headed toward the checkout.

As I walked past the book section once again,  I just grabbed the book off the table, placed it in my cart, and went to the checkout!

Yesterday,  I made Honey Mustard Drumsticks. The recipe began with a rub for the chicken,  then a blend of honey and mustard was put on the drumsticks as they cooked in the crockpot.  When they were done, they were brushed with the honey/mustard mix and placed in the oven for several minutes.  Wow. The family went ballistic! 

Today, Mark took Michelle up to Rochester for her classes, while Ben and I stayed home.  I looked through the book and found a recipe for Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings.  The recipe was a little involved, but as the aroma permeated the house this afternoon,  it was almost magical.  Before the meal was done, Ben took a snitch of chicken.  It was then he named me the Queen of Chicken.  hahaha

I was on a roll…..I got my little GE pot and made up a Chocolate Pudding Cake.  YIKES!

Let’s just say I am well loved by the family tonight! If you like cooking with a slow cooker, but would like some “gourmet” style recipes, this is THE book! As I said, the recipes call for some more prep than just tossing ingredients into a crock, but,  these recipes are fantastic!  Mark commented that this evening’s dinner reminded him of a Thanksgiving meal! (and it was nowhere “that” complex!)

It is rare that I would take a cookbook to bed at night to think about my next recipe, but…..hehehe

Our Wednesday diversion….

Wednesday was designated as “my day”.

When I was a little girl, my mother had family living in State College, (my grandparents) and Clearfield, (great aunts and uncle)Pennsylvania.  I remember traveling the roads along the way…..through Warren, then Sheffield, and into the Allegheny National Forest.  (Don’t ask me why it is spelled Allegany in New York State and Allegheny in Pennsylvania!)

I remember riding through the woods just past Sheffield in the winter during Christmastime, and the trees would be snow laden, creating a beautiful canopy above us.  In the spring and summer, the canopy was truely amazing, bright greenery hailing the entrance into what I believed was one of the most magical places on the planet.  Don’t even get me started on the fall….I can recall as though it was yesterday that we drove along the roads, oohing and aahing over the bright gem-colored trees in their autumal majesty as streaks of sunlight shone down upon them making them even more spectacular.

As we made our way through the woods, there was a tiny spot called Russell City.  This wasn’t even big enough to be called a village or a town.  There was just a business or two there and a few houses.  That was it.  And, Russell City is where I dreamed of one day living.

God plants dreams and ideas in each of our minds.  I cannot imagine the why’s and how’s of the workings, but we are created in His image and we each have a dream.  I have always loved the idea of living off the land…an independent lifestyle.  When I was little, I used to look in books about how to survive in the woods.  The woods called out to me and to this day,  I love them.  Although I love people and being around them,  deep inside, I have this longing to return to the woods.

My great aunt had a small cabin in the woods in a state park in Pennsylvania and although rattlesnake and bear stories were sometimes heard,  I loved visiting that cabin.  There were many campfires shared there with hotdogs and marshmallows roasted on sticks. Behind the cabin was a stream with chilly water…the water was cold enough to be used for refrigeration. A little bridge crossed over the water to where an outhouse stood.

My great aunt was a tiny woman who never married.  I remember when I was just a young girl of maybe eight or nine, I was nearly as tall as my great aunt.  I loved her so much and always called her “my Pal”.  Aunt Vera also had a house in the city of Clearfield.  The house was built by my great grandfather and was quite the house!  My great grandmother was also small in stature, so the cupboards were hung low.  It was always incredible to be able to reach right up into the cupboards as a child to grab a glass!

Now that this information has been shared,  perhaps you, Dear Reader, will understand why I tell people that my heart is buried deep in the hills of Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday,  Mark got out his GPS and asked me where it was I wanted to go. I replied immediately, Russell City.  He punched the name into the unit, then asked if he had misspelled it.  Nope. I told him the highway Russell City was situated on, and as he scanned the map, there simply was no Russell City.  As much as Mark advised me I was wrong, I could feel my dander rising and insisted I knew where Russell City was!

Scary scarecrow!

 As Mark worked on his GPS along the side of the road, I saw this scarecrow in a nearby garden!

Finally, Mark began driving and I finally convinced him to just head on out toward where the ATV trails are located in Allegheny National Forest.  Secretly, I knew that Russell City was directly on ATV as well as snowmobile trails as I had seen it on the forest website last year!

We drove on for quite a while, until we came to Kane, Pennsylvania.  It was there, on Route 6 (a famous for its scenic views highway) that a sign stated Russell City was nine (I think) miles away.  I nearly jumped out of my skin!

As a girl, we used to travel to Kane to see the Lobo Wolves.  The wolves lived on a farm and were brought there to save them from extinction, by a doctor named McCleery. People traveled from far and wide to visit the farm.  When I spoke to my mom about this, she couldn’t remember where we saw the wolves, only that they were in Kane.

The wolves were sold several years ago and relocated to Washington.  Their memories and fame still lives on in Kane, though.We looked around the city for awhile, then made our way toward Russell City.We finally came to the village and there it was.  There are several more houses, still two businesses, and pretty much nothing more.  We passed through heading north, then turned around and headed south.

We stopped at one ATV trailhead, then another.  The trails are a hop, skip, and jump from…..you guessed it….Russell City!  I walked along one of the trails for a ways, and surprisingly, the kids followed.

As I walked along this trail, I was surprised at its composition.  The “trail” was more like a road than anything, and it was all a light colored sand with rocks.  The trail was level and beautifully groomed. Surely it would become more rugged as I walked on.

The two trails in this area connect and one could spend a day just riding around!  The maps are posted and from what I saw along my walk, the trails are well marked.

As I made my way along,  it was obvious that there was work being done along the trail.  A lot of undergrowth had been cut out, making the area look more parklike!

I continued on until I came to this crossroads. You can see the tire tracks in the loose sand.  I still cannot believe these beautiful trails and their fantastic condition.

The photo above this one is part of the scenic loop shown on the sign above. The scenic loop is a very short ride and it runs parallel to a gas line on the ride back to the crossroads.  You can see the trail on the right side of the photo.

This is the trail opposite the scenic loop at the crossroads.  I have never seen trails in such perfect condition!

I walked back to the truck, astonished by what I had seen and anxious to tell Mark all about the trails! I even grabbed a handfull of the sand so I could show him!  What a remarkable system this is….I am hoping we will be able to ride it. Soon!

When I got back to the truck, a Jeep drove in with a small trailer with an ATV on it.  I watched in awe as a single woman hopped out of the Jeep and began to get ready to unload the ATV.  At Mark’s urging,  I went over and spoke to her.  She works and lives in a small town a short distance from the park.  She was coming, all alone, at about six o’clock, to ride.  I asked if she was nervous about riding alone and she said she wasn’t.  She said ATV people are great people and someone always shows up on the trails sooner or later.

One of the trails has a little area designated for camping.  There were a couple of campers parked there.  We were just beside ourselves seeing all this!  I felt as though I had discovered a whole new world! And all this because I had this dream of someday living in the national forest in Russell City!

As we were getting ready to leave my little “haven”, Mark pulled into a road and there along the road were two or three beautiful Monarch Butterflies!