Last night….

Mark and I traveled to Rochester to see a band I have been wild about ever since I first heard them!  The name of the group is Rend Collective Experiment and they are all the way from Northern Ireland! The concert was held in Chili at a church called The Father’s House.  We had never visited this church before, but it is rather large!

The concert was held with a large amount of seating, but people were seated in other areas as well with large screens so they could see the concert.  Because Mark is in a wheelchair, they had him cut to the front of the line. Wow!  The people working as ushers and security were so tremendously nice. It was an awesome experience the whole way around. We were allowed to go into the room before others so we wouldn’t get stampeded when the doors were opened for seating.  Oh, and this concert was free!

There were two acts that opened the evening.  The first was a band called Bellarive…I had never heard of them before. They were lively and full of energy. A young girl seated in front of us told her friends the lead singer looked like Johnny Depp in The Pirates of the Caribbean and I guess he did!

The second act was a young woman by the name of Audrey Assad.  She is amazing!  I didn’t hear her name when she introduced herself, but once she began singing, I knew right away who she was…her voice is beyond incredible and her range is awesome!

It seemed like forever before Rend Collective Experiment finally took the stage but the wait was well worth it! We were warned they were going to “get all Irish on us” and teach us all about shenanigans and shindigs.  This group is so good and they certainly didn’t disappoint.  I was “warned” beforehand by security that they didn’t want any “professional photos” taken and I made it clear I am not pro!  Even with my telephoto lens with huge glass, it was challenging getting any photos of this group!  Consider photographing Mexican Jumping Beans in a very dark room…..

Here are some photos.  ( The group consists of four men and a woman who is married to one of the fellows)

What a great opportunity this was to hear a fabulous concert!

Two birthdays down…

Oh yes, November is the “big” birthday month for us!  Michelle, Mark, Carly, and my mom all have November birthdays! Thankfully, Michelle and Mark’s big days are at the beginning of the month, while Carly and Mom’s are at the end, giving a bit of a break in between!

Mark had two friends come over on Saturday to play music.  He met a fabulous jazz guitarist/pianist through his drummer friend, Jim.  So Jim and Bob came down for a visit and they played for quite awhile.  The music was surprisingly amazing….it sounded as though they had played together for a long time!  I wasn’t sure how long the guys would be here, so I made a meal ahead of time but I will share that in another post.  We ate an early dinner and Jim had brought Mark a dark chocolate birthday cake with raspberry filling and whipped cream frosting.  How did I not get photos of this day?

Yesterday was Sunday and since we had not “properly” celebrated Michelle or Mark’s birthdays, we decided to head on out to Geneva for Chinese buffet.  As always, the food was tasty and I think we all overate.  Afterwards, we went to BJ’s to pick up a few essentials. I forgot to mention the wind. Yes. The wind. The wind blew so hard yesterday, all day! It was blowing so hard, it felt like my hair was going to blow off my head…

The weather conditions made for some interesting skies!  I love seeing powerful clouds in the sky and there was no lack yesterday!!

 

After Mark and I came out of BJ’s, the kids said they wanted to go over to WalMart for a few minutes. As Mark crossed the road to go there, I nearly jumped out of my seat as I spotted this in front of us!

What an awesome sight this was!  It wasn’t raining where we were, but it must have been off in the distance!  With so many clouds surrounding us, we couldn’t follow either rainbow to see the rest, but I was just so pleased to see this!  By the way, all these photos were taken with the cell phone.  I did absolutely no editing….the colors were really that intense.  A rare treat, indeed!

Ah yes….

I have not been here for a few days….life is busy!  It seems there is always so much work to be done in the autumn….rushing about like the busy little squirrels in the tree….trying to get everything in order before the first snowfall!

The pool is secure and has been for awhile. The camper is winterized and perched in its winter home. Those are two major concerns as we have actually done winterizing in cold rain and even (yes, hard to believe!) snow!  The endless leaves have been dealt with as well, properly taken away and the remaining, mulched.

But.

Oh, that big but!!!! We have talked for years about raising the grade on the west side of the house.  The garage sits fourteen feet away from the house. The little amount of yard between the two buildings is quite low.  To remedy this, Mark has talked about raising the grade about a foot on the house. There is plenty of room to do this, but the work involved always seemed a bit daunting.

Last week, Michelle began digging down along the grade board on the house.  She excavated to expose the board so we could tear it off the house and then raise it up.  In the process, she found the moisture barrier used to keep the foundation from rotting. (When we built this house, Mark built a wood foundation, using specially treated plywood. As we dug down, it was incredible to discover that after twenty-one years, the wood looks in mint condition!)

Yesterday, the kids worked on putting in a new grade board.  This is one of the ugliest renovations that can be done, as it involves dirt and lots of grunt work.  No one that hasn’t observed the process would be the least bit impressed, but it will result in a much better grade between the two buildings.  Instead of a big “dip” in between, the ground will seem much more level.

During this process, we have continued to go to the home of our friends, Bill and Carolyn, every Tuesday evening. What a fun time this is…Bill (a most talented and awesome cook) makes a meal and then Mark, Carolyn, and Sue practice music. There are usually several other people who come as well, so we sit and chat as the musicians do their thing.

It was at Bill and Carolyn’s home that we met up with their neighbors as well.  The neighbors actually live a few miles away, but Bill works for them and oh, what a treat it was to see Mike’s woodshop last Tuesday before we went to Bill and Carolyn’s!  Bill had told us about Mike’s “barn” before and when we talked to Mike about it, both he and his wife, Stephanie, invited us to come for a visit!

We left home a couple of hours earlier than usual on Tuesday and arrived at the barn. My heart sank when Stephanie was gone….she had to take her mom to Canandaigua to the doctor, as she was having some pain in her shoulder and arm.  She has had some heart problems in the past, and Stephanie felt she should make sure her mom was okay.

We went inside the barn and I only wish I could send the scent of freshly worked wood through the computer!

Let me back up some…Mike worked with computers for years and years before retiring. He and Stephanie, along with Stephanie’s parents lived in Chicago. They found a piece of property for sale in Prattsburgh and bought it.  It had a small modular home on it, along with 110 mostly wooded acres of land. They would come and visit the property and stay a bit before heading back to Chicago.

Mike has loved timberframe building since he was a young man. And so, after buying the property, he had a vision to build a timberframe barn. Oh, but this is no ordinary barn! This barn has been a work in progress for the past ten years! This barn has radiant heat in the floor and is quite a work of art! I took a few photos inside, so come have a stroll.  You won’t see any nail heads, but you will see wooden pegs throughout, used to hold members together!

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I  didn’t photograph it, but Stephanie set a lovely table for us and had a carafe of coffee and brownies!

We visited with Mike and Mark and I were both so impressed! What a wonderful barn!!! Stephanie told us she would love to move out to that barn, but Mike’s next project involves a house. A timberframe house!

Birdwatching. Again.

Yes, today I just could not help myself. Imagine three cameras, assorted lenses, and numerous SD cards strewn about.  Yes, that was me for a couple of hours late this morning.  I am so thrilled by the new feeder I have in the window, I just couldn’t help myself!

Please click on these photos to enjoy them in a larger size.  As you can see, the most frequent and least frightened birds to the feeder are goldfinches.  I was getting rather antsy to take photos, so I used the flash and the finches didn’t seem the least bit concerned!  They are such cute little birds.

The finches weren’t the only birds at the feeder. I had a few titmice come as well.

These birds are so easily frightened!  They come momentarily, then fly off like rockets!

I also had chickadees. I am hoping as the weather gets colder, I will see some more varieties of birds.

Oh, and one more thing!  I actually cleaned this window this morning…..birds are dreadfully messy!

 

Gone to the birds…

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The feeder I have hanging in the living room window is getting so old, the wood looks rather disgusting. I was trying to think of a new feeder when I ran across this wire mesh type feeder at WalMart. The mount I got has two large suction cups and is supposed to hold five pounds. I had been using it for a thistle sock and I think this feeder might even be lighter. The birds have been feeding like crazy so we shall see.
I did rather like how this little goldfinch sat on top!

Way overdue….

Well, it was almost two months ago that I had a few hours on my hands to wander around the Canandaigua area. The weather started out in a most spectacular way!

The sky was fascinating and as the day moved along, more and more blue began showing.  I drove on up to the city where major construction on the sidewalks has been underway all summer long.  It was rather unsightly, especially since Canandaigua has to be one of the most attractive cities I have seen.

In thinking through my options on how to spend my time, I thought about Sonnenberg Gardens and how it might be nice to visit.  The last time I had been there was about five years ago!

Such pretty flowers contrasting the white picket fence that greets visitors!

The following are some of the hundreds (yes, I think I took almost 300) of photos. Sonnenberg is such an incredible adventure. To think that this huge mansion with its seemingly endless acres of gardens, statuary, greenhouses, and the house, was merely a summer home built during Victorian times just seems incomprehensible. A “summer home” containing forty rooms doesn’t register….

I didn’t take many photos of the house itself, so I will just post pictures and you can stroll alongside me. I am always awestruck by the numerous water features dispersed throughout the property.

I didn’t remember the lush displays of greenery exhibited in the greenhouses. They were amazing! I took so many photos in the various houses, but I shan’t bore you.

Another awesome area was the Japanese garden! Oh my…it is so picturesque!

New York State has taken over the property and it is now a state park.  I was so impressed to see some improvements throughout the grounds.  One area that sadly remains in ruins is the Roman baths.

The gardens….ah, the gardens!

One thing that I noted was that the pillars along this pergola were all in good shape. The last time I visited, many were in bad shape, rotted, and with holes in them.

I love this stone building, which was the aviary. The red brick building in the background is the Veteran’s Hospital which is built on the original estate’s property.

Of course, there was so much more to show, but I did not want to bore you!!! So, we will end once again where we began….