An Interesting Find…

As I was driving some back roads today,  I happened upon a small cemetery.  No big deal, except this was a very old one!  The headstones were from the early 1800’s and I found it intriguing. it was also kind of spooky…with a dark and dismal afternoon with drizzling rain, it added a sense of “spookiness” to the whole experience!

I am having issues trying to save my photos in a smaller size to upload to my blog.  I’m not sure why, but it is frustrating!

I’m just going to leave it at this….it is late and Michelle begins her second semester tomorrow.  I need to get some shuteye!

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning….

This morning,  Michelle called out for me to look outside.

I looked out the bedroom window (on the west side of the house) and everything appeared an orange-pink color.  I just stood there, staring, for a few moments before grabbing my camera and racing to the door.

As I walked out the door, looking eastward, I felt nearly breathless!  The sky was simply outstanding for a time.  As soon as the clouds cleared off a little and the sun poked through, the beautiful light show was history….Here is a series of six photos taken at the most spectacular time!

I consider this series to be some of the most awesome photos I have ever taken!  And, they were taken right here, from home! To me, they speak of God’s Glorious Majesty!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Over the river and through the woods….yes, we are off for Thanksgiving Day today!  So, if I am not back this evening, I want to wish you a safe and very Happy Thanksgiving!

When I was at Lowe’s the day I saw the wonderful  blue orchid, I bought a Christmas Cactus.  I had two of them for years and years and they both died at the same time a couple of years ago.  I figured I just wouldn’t replace them, but when I saw this particular cactus, I was enamoured!  After all, it has that incredible “gold dust” look on the flowers!

Have a great day, and if celebrating, don’t eat too much!!!

Vrrroooommmm!

Phew, that is how I felt today.  Got up, got my motor running, and never sat still all day! Yesterday was like this as well.  Last night, when I finally flopped down to sleep, my poor legs hurt and it was hard to sleep!

So…I took a few photos yesterday but was too pooped to blog last night!

When I got up in the morning yesterday, it was snowing.  The snow was coming down steadily, but because the ground was warm, it melted pretty fast.  It did leave its mark on some things, though. Since I get up long before the sun (or lack thereof) does, I love to light little tealight candles and set them in the windows. (in votice holders!)  Look how pretty!

I love this little bit of “alone time” before everyone else gets up.  Murphy and I are the only ones stirring and it is nice to start the day quietly!

And, here are a couple of photos of the remains of the aforementioned snow…

I spent a couple of hours doing errands in Canandaigua yesterday afternoon.  It was a cold day, but the sun was shaining and the sky was blue!  When I came home,  I made some meatballs for spaghetti.  While they were baking,  I made up a batch of cloverleaf rolls.  Dinner was a hit, as Ben and Mark had spent the day outside working.  They were so cold!

Today, Mark and Ben were up and at it once again.  I had gone out to the garage at 6am and made a fire in the woodstove so the garage would be warm.  Mark kept the fire going throughout the day, and when he and Ben finally came in for dinner at seven tonight, the garage was a toasty seventy degrees!  No wonder they took long to get in….early this evening, it began raining, although the thermometer said only twenty-six degrees!

While the guys were out working,  I went to work on cleaning the chimney on the woodstove in the living room.  The stove seemed less efficient than usual yesterday, so I thought a good cleaning was in order.  It doesn’t take long and the result was the stove is burning better now.

After finishing up the stove,  Michelle’s friend came over to the house for a few hours.  I bounced back and forth between the house and garage.  Thankfully, we had some chicken breasts left over from a few nights ago.  I sliced them and warmed them up in my homemade Buffalo wing sauce and served them with homemade Bleu Cheese dressing,  mixed veggies, and potatoes. Once again, I am so tired!

Murphy wakes me up every night, walking around.  I don’t remember him doing this before Angus died, so I don’t know if it is related.  I started feeding him half a meal in the morning, and the other half in the evening, hoping this would help him sleep better.  He actually did sleep in a little this morning, so maybe two meals a day might help.

When Mark came into the house tonight, I was pretty concerned. We had that freezing rain on the steps and handrail.  Ben poured hot water on them just before Mark came up and it worked well. Phew!  Afterwards, I took some more photos….

During my running about yesterday, I picked up a pair of boots!  What better thing to wear out tonight into the miserable weather?

And, I got an umbrella and walked out to show you just how miserable this weather is!

Yup, the car is encased in a shroud of ice tonight!

And, one more photo.  When Mark cut through a piece of 4″ x 4″ pressure-treated lumber today, instead of “heartwood”, what he found left him starstruck!

I don’t think I have ever seen anything like this before!

Of Leaves, Breads, and a Very Smart Girl!

Ben and Mark worked out behind the house today, trying to get some work done on the new ramp.  The weather was actually balmy for this time of year. 

I wanted to fix a hearty lunch for Mark and Ben, so I grabbed some ground beef from the freezer.  As I looked around, I realized we didn’t have any buns for hamburgers. Realizing that the family loved  the Camelized Onion Bread I made yesterday, (to the point where only a tiny piece remained!)  I decided to make another batch with a twist….instead of a big round,  I cut it into twelve pieces for a dozen hamburger buns!  Everyone said they were great!

After lunch, Michelle and I went out to work on the deep pile of leaves on the grass in some spots. We blew leaves and raked leaves.  And, when we were done, I mulched leaves!  The pile shown was taken from the bedroom window.  What you cannot know, unless I tell you,  is that the pile was about four feet high!  That was a lot of leaves on the west side of the house.

I am so tired just thinking about all those leaves!

Michelle and I came into the house and did some little tasks….Michelle was supposed to receive all her grades from college today.  She finally got them late this afternoon and she is over the moon!  Looks like our girl got a 4.0 average this quarter. Yippeee!  Cannot do any better than that!  And, she took a course called Corporate Finance which one of her advisors told her is the hardest course in Business Management.  We are so very happy for her!

Today was kind of hard….our little Angus died one month ago and I miss him so terribly. It seems like everywhere we look, there is some reminder of our handsome little fellow.

Tonight  I am so thankful for Michelle’s great grades. Michelle was told it was easy to get good grades at Finger lakes Community College, but when she entered a four year school, she would see how much harder it is.  Well, RIT is definitely harder, but she treats her education just like a job….working at it each and every day and working hard.   I am so thankful Michelle is able to look ahead to her future goals and work toward them…with great diligence!

Oh my gut….

I was feeling pretty chipper this morning.  Nearly restless!  So, I made a Blueberry Pie. 

Thinking that the guys would be working outside later, I decided to make up a batch of  Tomato Soup. Carly had told me the recipe in the book I have mentioned here (Slow Cooker Revolution) previously was delicious.  As a little aside….that book disappeared from its “home” for several days.  I searched everywhere…through drawers, dirty laundry,  under mattresses, all over the floors, and even the basement and garage.  The book was nowhere to be found.  Totally disappeared.

I was bemoaning the fact that I no longer have a BJ’s Wholesale Club membership as I had let it run out.  I had seriously begun to think that I would have to rejoin so I could buy another book.  Yes, THAT book is THAT important!

Well, as I sat in my favorite chair (rocking) the day before yesterday, there on the floor, next to the chair…..was my book! I immediately asked the kids if they had found it and placed it there.  Both of them got perturbed by my nagging and said they absolutely, positively did NOT put it there.  Nor did they find it.  So, I am now left with the explanation that the Lord knows just how important that book is…important enough to send an angel to place it where I would find it!

Phew…anyway, I made the tomato soup up in the Crockpot and let it cook.  Of course, what goes better with soup than a tasty loaf of bread?  I pulled out my bread machine book.  I never, ever use the machine anymore as I have found there is something therapeutic in kneading bread by hand!   I searched around and found a recipe for Carmelized Onion Bread. 

I love onions!  Mmmm…..Or maybe not! The recipe called for two onions.  The instructions were to cook the onions in butter until they were golden.  Then the liquid from the mix was to be placed in the mixing bowl.  I got quite a bit of thick, almost syrupy-looking liquid.  I mixed up the bread and then after it was almost finished being kneaded,  I added the (mostly dry) onions.  In working them into the dough,  I thought there were far too many onions.  I had used a huge onion instead of two smaller ones and it seemed there was just too much!

Well……let’s just say those onions cooked in butter sure were yummy! Here is how the bread turned out.

The tomato soup was a BIG thumbs up.  The bread was astronomical!  Yes!!! A winner, indeed.  Usually when I make bread, it gets too heavy.  This time, it was light, airy, and delish! I ate a tiny bowl of soup and a slice of bread.  Afterwards, I had a piece of pie.

By about four this afternoon,  my stomach looked like someone had pumped it up!  It was so bloated and let’s just say my “gastrointestinals” were revolting!  Apparently the probably quarter cup of onions I had demolished were now playing with my digestive system.  I am still experiencing some discomfort.  My stomach is making so much noise, it is ridiculous.

Wow….I cannot believe I just wrote about this whole situation….for awhile, I felt genuinely ill!  From now on,  I think I will not use giant onions….they might be just a tad upsetting to the stomach when “overdone”! 

So, tonight, I am so thankful we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  It is so incredible that we were designed to recuperate from our over-indulgings!

Look what I saw at Lowe’s!

We spent a few hours out running around today.  One of the stops we made was at Lowe’s.  I went into the store to recycle some old batteries and heard birds off chirping inside the store.  Well, of course, I had to follow the noise!

I wandered past the Christmas displays….wow!  There sure is a lot to see there!  Even though I don’t care much for all the commercialism at Christmas,  I really do like looking at all the baubles and whatnots!  I love all the bright and cheerful colors. Between the warm and comforting autumn colors at Thanksgiving and the bright, splashy colors of Christmas, this time of the year has it all.  I bumped into a young teenage girl along the way, looking rather spellbound in the aisle. She confided this is her favorite time of the year and I agreed with her.

Off I trotted to the garden center, where all the bird activity was happening.  My, oh my…..those birds are certainly chatty!  If one happened to have a headache, their noise level would be enough to throw one over the edge. I watched as what seemed like tens and tens of Sparrows zipped down from the top rafters of the building, diving into the Christmas displays and garden supplies.  It was incredible!

Then, “it” caught my eye…..

I have never been attracted to Orchids, really.  But these beauties, called Blue Mystique nearly took my breath away!  I just stood there, staring, for a very long time.  At forty dollars a piece, there is no way one of these would come home to live with me, but they are the most beautiful plant I have ever seen! 

Did you know that BLUE is my very most favorite color? I am so thankful for eyes that are able to see all the beautiful elements in this world!

A little afternoon visit

Michelle has finished up this quarter of the school year.  Rochester Institute of Technology does things its own little way. Instead of the typical semesters, the school does quarters.  Each quarter is made up of a ten week (intense) session.  This will be changing, but only after Michelle has already graduated next year! The following year, they will begin doing semesters.

Michelle is now awaiting her final grades, which will certainly be good ones.  She has studied and worked hard and it has paid off.  So, I wanted to do something a little different and fun today as a bit of a celebration.  I asked and Michelle thought taking a ride to Bath would be fun.  We planned to do a bit of shopping, pick up some Chinese, and visit with Eunice, my Amish friend, on the way home.

We did the shopping and then the Chinese, then headed off to Eunice’s house.  Upon arriving there, they had just gotten home from attending a wedding.  It was so much fun to see little Chris (3) dressed in his white shirt, black pants with suspenders, and a little black coat.  He is such a cutie and Michelle was so impressed by how much he knows!  I bought him a book that has pictures that you place stickers on and as he looked at the pictures, he called out the name of the animals!  Amish kids typically speak Pennsylvania Dutch (a corrupt German) at home and the kids don’t learn English until they begin school at age five. Eunice began getting High Five Magazine  (a publication of the same company that produces  Highlights Magazine)  and Chris is learning so much! Michelle said he also called out the names of letters as he pointed to them. Very impressive for a three year old!

Little Susanna is now about fifteen months old.  She has grown so much and is about the size of a baby her age. She sits on the floor on a blanket and watches everything going on around her. She was wearing a pale blue dress with a pretty white apron and white kappe. She also had on black stockings and little knitted black booties.  She was so adorable to watch….she is happy as a lark and kicks her little feet in excitement.

Eunice was baking up “just seven dozen”  cookies.  She has a woman in Bath that sells them for her.  I was so surprised to see her using a recipe for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies that I had given her!  She baked as we chatted away. She wasn’t using a timer for her cookies…she would just pull them out from the wood cookstove and then rotate the tray and place them back in the oven until they were golden brown.  Eunice moved here two years ago and before that, she had a bakery in Michigan. She said she baked tremendous amounts of cookies, pies, and bread back then!

As always, I so enjoyed our visit.  As always, it ended too soon!  It was beginning to get late and the sky was getting dark. Michelle and I said our good-byes and went outside.  As we left the house, it was pouring down snow.  I quickly opened the door and called for Chris to “come!”  As soon as he saw the snow, he threw his curly little blonf head back and let out a tremendous burst of laughter! Then he went over to a piece of equipment sitting outside the door and “tasted” the snow.  He was so funny.

The family buggy was still sitting outside the barn, so I asked Michelle to snap a photo of it.

Between the dusk setting in and the snow falling, this photo looks out of focus, but  you can see the trails of snow against the black buggy.

I drove home and was glad I did!  As we headed north, the snow got progressively heavier as we traveled. I could keep the high beams on the Explorer on for awhile, but had to dim them most of the way home.  This was scary, as this is the time of the year when deer are a bit giddy and have a tendency to run out onto the road. 

By the time we finally reached Naples, the center lines and white outside lines on the road were totally covered in snow.  There had to have been at least three inches of snow on the roads and there wasn’t a plow anywhere in sight!  I drove so slowly and opposing traffic all came toward me with their flashers on.

We reached our hill and I stopped at the bottom to place the Explorer in High 4 x4.  I am so grateful for the tires on that vehicle…they are wonderful, even on snow-covered steep hills! Here is what we came home to…

The snow has stopped now and the wind is picking up. Thus, the fickle weather continues with Saturday being warmer once again.  We just never seem to know what is next!

I will leave you, Dear Reader, with this.

When my dad gave me the planter filled with Begonias for my birthday back in August, he made a comment that the flowers ought to last at least “one more month”.  How about *three* months!  Although the flowers on the front side of the planter were killed by frost, the ones facing the house are still continuing to bloom!

Tonight, I am thankful for friends! It is always so wonderful to get out and visit with Eunice and Noah.  I miss so many other friends…it seems like my friends are mostly located long distances from my home!