Blessed!

Our weather has been delightful.  No, it has been absolutely stellar!  This is the autumn weather that people love…..warm days filled with bright blue skies and puffy clouds. Days that are warm when the sun is shining (and it has been…a lot!)  but chilly as the darkness closes in.  Days that please those longing for summer to remain, and for those like me, longing for summer to come to an end!

We have been working a bit in the woods. Actually, it is the kids more than I, working with Mark.  Ben cut firewood and then worked on clearing trails in the woods.  Last year, we had an excavator come through the woods with his dozer to cut a new trail.  The dozer really made a bit of a mess, overturning trees and tangling saplings into piles almost impossible to drag out without cutting them.  Ben worked to cut the pieces so that Michelle can load them into the wagon and we can cart them off.  This work is so tiring!

Today, I talked Mark into going for a ride.  And what a ride!  We rode on roads (I use that term loosely!) that are somewhat precarious and discovered some awesome sights.  Well, I was enjoying the ride.  Poor Mark….I think the drive was unnerving.  But hey, we survived!

I always love seeing the Mennonite farms on the east side of Canandaigua Lake. These folks have been buying so much farmland and taking it from useless to looking like a million dollars! I have talked about the Mennonites here on my blog before, but I just love seeing their farms.  Talk about turning a pig’s ear into a silk purse! So many properties that were run down are now producing and not only have the homes been redone, but even the land itself looks different and new.  While the Amish tend to stick to themselves more, the Mennonites are more open to outsiders and even work alongside them, joining in volunteer fire companies.

We didn’t travel into the country much today, but I thought I would share a few photos regarding these blessed people!

This little cart was in front of us on a busy highway as we went to Penn Yan the other day.  As we passed it, it was two young Mennonite girls driving a pony cart.  The girls looked like preteens,  either delivering or picking up produce.

That day, we also passed by a vineyard of young Mennonite women working. The ladies were all smiling and talking as they worked, picking grapes amongst the vines.

My regret this day was that time was short. There was so much activity in the fields, I could have spent an entire day just photographing everything.

Today, we had to take a slight detour as we drove back to Canandaigua, and we passed through an area where Mennonite farms are located.  I caught a glimpse of one home that was so pretty against the blue sky.

As you can see, everything is in tip top shape and the setting….well, you be the judge!

The “horse and buggy” Mennonites are not supposed to use modern rubber tires on their tractors. Instead, they use metal tires. Some of the neighboring counties have outlawed the use of these tires on roads, as they dig them up. Here is a tractor sporting the non-rubber tires.

Once again, I could have spent the entire day wandering and taking a million photos.  But responsibilities call out my name and remind me my time isn’t necessarily my own.

But as you can see, one needn’t be a starry-eyed dreamer such as I to delight and bask….it was just that kind of day!

Autumn Scenes from the Finger Lakes

It occurred  to me today that one of the reasons that people love this time of the year is because of the gorgeous lighting. I never would have noticed this except that photography has helped me discover so many properties I would have missed! As the sun sets lower and lower in the sky, it really does turn into a warm golden-yellow glow that really accentuates all the colors of autumn. Unfortunately, between the price of gasoline and work that needs to be done around the house,  I am missing my little adventures to just take photos.

I do have some pictures to share, though, that I have taken recently…

And my favorite picture…

The story behind this photo is that Mark and I took a ride to Penn Yan one day so I could pick up some specialty bread flour. On our way home, we passed by a little restaurant that sells not only chicken and hotdogs and such, but also ice cream cones.  It wasn’t really a hot day, but it was warm.  I told Mark we should stop for a cone.  As we pulled into the parking lot, this dog was lying in the back of his “people’s” van.  They left the tailgate open so the dog wouldn’t overheat.  I was so amused by this sweet dog’s delight to just “hang out” while the humans ate!

And What a Fun, Fantastic, and Amazing Day!

Yes, can you believe it?

After my post about yesterday, I just *had* to post about our most fun adventure on Saturday!  I had meant to post this first, but got ahead of myself!!! (yeah, I know…called “disorganization”!!!)

If you read my blog, you will see that my main commenter is Jeanne.  Jeanne and her husband live not so very far away from the Bristolwood, but they also have a wonderful cottage retreat on Lake Ontario! Jeanne has spent many a summer there and after our little visit there, I can certainly understand why she would ever be reluctant to return home.  It is a whole ‘nother world….

Jeanne and Ben invited us to come on up last Saturday. We got up and did some chores and were on our way. As we left here, it was chilly and damp and wet.  The skies were (greatly) overcast with nary a streak of blue in sight. As we drove along, I couldn’t help but wonder if we had made a mistake!  However….the forecast called for clouds in the morning, then becoming partly sunny.  The journey was a three hour jaunt, but we were so excited.

We drove along a rather well-traveled road that was only a short distance from the lake and as we progressed (this was the last 45 minutes or so of the trip there) the sun came out, puffy, fluffy, non-threatening clouds greeted us and accompanied us right up to the cottage. (Which was found seamlessly…thank you so much Google maps and GPS!)  The trip was so pretty and when I saw the cottage vista, I could not believe my eyes!!

Jeanne and Ben greeted us and then we went inside, as the air was still pretty chilly.  Later on, Jeanne took my on a little scenic tour. Oops…I am getting ahead of myself once again.  Out the picture window that overlooks the lake, one can get a view of an island!  From the view there, it looks like there is nothing there, but….

Jeanne and I went for a little ride in her car and I was surprised!

There is a bridge (all manmade) that leads to the island.

And once we were on the island, there was an amazing KOA Campground!  Wow!!! Can you imagine camping right along the shore of Lake Ontario….on an ISLAND? The campground is a gated community!  In order to enter, Jeanne went inside the office (where there is also a store) and had to give pertinent information “for insurance purposes”!

The campground is rather large and believe it or not, one can not only camp there, but they also have a marina!

Hmmm…..not too many boats in those slips! But, we were there after Memorial Day when many people traditionally put away all the summer pleasures and begin looking forward to the fall and winter months.

There were many campers there. The lady at the desk told Jeanne there was an event going on so it was busy.  There were campers of every shape and size.  The best sites were located on the lake.  I guess one can choose from sites with a glorious sunrise or glorious sunset.

I think it would be tough to decide between a sunrise or sunset!

We headed back off the island, but I took a shot at the harbor where Jeanne and Ben’s cottage is located. Look how beautiful everything looks!

Jeanne also took me for a ride around the area where she often drives her scooter.  As I said before, it is a whole different world and culture.  It was such a beautiful day and I really enjoyed the mini tour!  As we drove, we spotted a big bird sitting in a marshy area.  I took a photo of the bird, but I am not sure what its identity is.  It had a large bill, though.

We went back to the cottage and Mark and Ben were still talking at the table where we had left them.  Ben fired up the grill and made delicious sausages and chicken breasts for everyone.  He had also made a fabulous Mexican type dish with beans and corn that was so tasty along with potato salad.  Everything was so good!

After eating, Ben showed Mark some of his guitar equipment and Mark sent me to the car where he had tucked away his traveler guitar and amp, hoping the two of them might play. And play they did while Jeanne and I visited.

We talked on and on until Mark and I looked at the clock!  It was getting late and we had that three hour drive ahead of us! We had also taken Murphy along with us and he spent the day snoozing in the car! I would check on him from time to time, but he is pretty content just knowing we are nearby.  It was nice and cool and we left the windows down most of the day, so it was like being outside for the wee Scot!

I realize now that I never took a photo of our generous host and hostess!  I am so bad at taking people pictures!  But, I did get photos of their sweet little “babies”. They are Bichons and they are so adorable with their fluffy little poofy heads!

This is LadyBug.

And this is Chloe, sleeping away in her little stroller!

Thank you, Jeanne and Ben!  We had such a wonderful time visiting!  As we left, Ben advised us of the route he follows to go back home.  It was so cool as we passed nearby Adams, where we go snowmobiling in the winter!  Awesome. Awesome day. Awesome friends. Awesome visit!

I must add….I was about to publish this, when I thought I would comment further.  Mark is a trooper about driving and he seems to never tire!  When he felt like he was weary, he pulled over at one of the rest areas.  I had fallen sound asleep previously and didn’t even notice the stop!  When I awakened, I asked Mark where we were and we were only a short distance from home. mark pulled away and off we went once again.  As we traveled close to Canandaigua, we saw lights flashing ahead.  Two volunteer firemen were diverting traffic along another road.  When we drove down the road, I realized we were close to where Ben and Jeanne live!  One fireman had told us there had been a terrible accident ahead and thus the diversion.

We learned the following day a young man had gone through a stop sign on a small side road.  Another young man ran into his car, spinning it on the main road, where it was hit by yet another car. The young man who ran the stop sign was killed in the accident.  These things happen so sporadically…..one just never knows….

Awesome

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Sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be a word strong enough, descriptive enough, or just “enough” to describe a day or event. Yesterday was just such a day.

While the day wasn’t special, it really was just a great day.

Michelle, Mark, and I gathered some firewood from the woods. It was chilly so the work seemed much easier than when it is warm out.

Afterwards, I sat a good while resting and just enjoying the beautiful huge pot of Mums shown above. The late afternoon sun was hitting the flowers in such a way that they appeared to be emitting light I really like the little welcome sign with the squirrels on it…very fitting at our woodland house!

There wasn’t a lot of time for lollygagging (how is that spelled, anyway?) because our friend, Ralph, drove down from Rochester. We then drove him on down to practice music with our friends in Prattsburgh.Ralph is an amazing man. We figure he is about 84. That in and of itself isn’t amazing, but we returned home at midnight and he had an hour drive ahead of him. He insisted it was no problem!

We had a lovely time while the musicians practiced. Bill and Carolyn, the host and hostess, prepared a meal of chicken and biscuits that was so delicious! Sue, one of the singers, brought a terrific relish tray and I brought applesauce I made early in the morning. After the musicians finished, we were treated to pumpkin cake and ice cream.

Yeah…awesome might just be a good way to describe such a nice autumn day!

Ah, September….

The year is (already) quickly fading away; it is hard to believe we are in the second half of September.  Although many folks are sad to say good bye to the summer, I am happy for the changing season. The leaves are beginning to show color here and there and the air has a nip in the evening.  In fact, tonight, we have a frost advisory.  I suppose the leaves will be showing even more color after a frost!

This time of the year lends itself so well for taking photos. It seems the air has a magical element when the humidity is gone. Although we have seen quite a bit of cloudiness, even the clouds are fascinating!

I enjoy driving a bit and looking for some cool places to snatch a photo. I really like this one with the corn field and barn.

But, of course, one needs not travel away from home to find beauty!

I just am so totally liking these mums!  The colors are perfect autumn colors!

And the colors are amazing even after a shower!

Talk about pretty!  These are petals from my incredible little miniature rose bush.  They seem to blush from a lovely shade of yellow near the bottom, to a rosy orangey-red at their tips.

Our little boy Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds have left.  Only the little ladies remain and I am thinking they too will soon be gone to retreat to warmer climes during the winter.

The cold weather makes one long for some hot food!  I am finally happy with my homemade pizza crust!  When I make one of these, it disappears pretty quickly!  Good thing they are fast and easy to make!

I have so many photos to share from the summer while I was absent here.  Perhaps I will just throw some up from time to time.  I really needed a break from the internet and computer.  It seems things were getting so heavy and I needed a chance to catch my breath!

Back to Blogville

I have taken some time off from blogging.  One reason is the loss of a friend I met online and also because we have been so busy and I found myself quite stressed.

I thought to atone for my absence, I would give you a delicious and very easy recipe. That’s a pretty good deal, isn’t it? The recipe is for Chocolate Carrot Cake.

 

1 package Devil’s Food Cake mix

1 package chocolate pudding

4 oz. Cream cheese

1 cup milk

3 eggs

1 tsp. Cinnamon

3 cups grated carrot

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. (F) Place walnuts on small cookie sheet and bake in oven for 5 minutes. Remove to cool. ! Meanwhile, place  cake mix, pudding,  cream cheese, milk, eggs, and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until blended, then turn to high speed for 2 minutes. Add carrot and mix until well-blended. Divide batter into two well-greased cake pans and bake about 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pans for 20 minutes, then remove.

For icing, the recipe calls for:

12 oz. Cream cheese

3/4 cup  butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 cups powdered sugar

*NOTE: I made the icing as given and it was  far too much. If you cut the recipe in half, it would probably be enough.

After placing cake on plate, spread some frosting on, then place the chopped walnuts on the frosting. Place the other layer on top and frost cake. Refrigerate until served.

This recipe is so easy because of the cake mix and pudding. The carrots add texture and moisture that is unbeatable!