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.


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!


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!

So I went for a ride in the country. Hope you enjoy!

Every year around this time, two things happen.  The first is that I want to totally run away from home.  The second is that I feel like I can never take enough photos of the colors to carry me through until they appear again next year.

I had to make a run to BJ’s in Geneva yesterday, so since I left the house long before they would open, I decided to take the “long backroads way”.  The sky. Ha! It was awesome!

And as I progressed, I spotted a sundog!

I didn’t process that photo at all. The colors really were that outstanding! As I made my way along, I rolled the window down, even though the air had a chill to it.  Since I was only wearing a summer sweater, I do admit, I turned the heat on just a bit! As soon as the window was down, I could hear that all too familiar call of migrating Canada Geese above!

I arrived in Canandaigua, then headed onward toward Geneva. I love taking the backroads and was thrilled, as I would be passing through the Mennonite area. I love doing this, as the farms are so beautiful. Not only is everything picture perfect, but most every house is decked out with colorful flowers all around.  The gardens are scenic with their prolific offerings! I passed by one greenhouse that is always so pretty and the sprinklers were up and operating!  Shooting into the sun made for some cool photo ops!

I wonder if the folks inside the house saw me and if they did, if they thought it crazy to photograph sprinklers! It didn’t matter, as no one bothered me, and it was so peaceful just watching the water splashing onto the greenery below. I made my way on down the road and was impressed by the lovely sign at a crossroads.  All of the businesses listed on the big sign are indeed Mennonite.  I am sure the little sign is also a Mennonite sign as well.

And of course the colors in the foliage offered a splendid showing all their own!

The cornfields also offered some surprisingly beautiful colors as well, believe it or not!  The sunlight was so golden and I think everything was glowing! It was interesting seeing the corn in various stages.

Look at those tassels in the sunlight!

I rode on past the Mennonite church.

and thought I would photograph the empty horse stalls. These buildings are huge!  They can hold so many horses and buggies!

This particular Mennonite community would be considered “Old Order” in that they use horses and buggies and bicycles to get around. The more progressive communities do allow dark-colored “not too fancy” automobiles to be driven. I drove on past a Mennonite schoolhouse.

I drove past fields of soybeans covered heavily in dew. (although they look like they are coated in frost!)

I drove on an entered the little town of Gorham where I encountered a couple in a horse and buggy. Luckily for me, there was traffic coming in the opposing lane, so it wasn’t awkward for me to stop momentarily to snap a quick photo.

As I passed this couple, I noticed the woman on the left held a little pink bundle on her lap! It is interesting to note that buggies are driven on the right side….that is, the person guiding the horse is on the right.

I also passed the church in Gorham that was offering a most excellent display of color!!

And as you can see, the sky was also putting on a show of its own!

I kept driving along until I came upon a most wonderful stop! At an intersection, there were large wooden crates filled with pumpkins and squash and the like.  A cart offered Indian corn and pumpkins were also lined in rows. This is where my wildest cravings for autumnal colors were satisfied!

And for one of my most favorite things about autumn!  I love Indian Corn!! It is so pretty.  It reminds me of multi-colored beads. Or the beads remind me of the corn.

So now you have had your fill of Indian Corn?  Not me. Not ever. I love all those awesome colors on each and every ear! And as I turned to go, I noticed this photo op….

Not too shabby, huh? Time was passing and I really needed to get my shopping done.

It is always hard for me to end my little excursions, particularly when I am so enjoying my time out.  I did my shopping and returned home where Mark was playing around with a new amplifier he had purchased for a  friend.  He wanted to make sure it sounded good and was working well before passing it along.  He was having so much fun playing, then he called Michelle and I downstairs….

As he was playing, he said he noticed leaves and sticks moving up a tree in the distance! As he looked more closely, he saw a little squirrel carrying the loads! I walked down to the tree where he saw the squirrel… my dismay, it is very near *my* Shagbark Hickory where I found all those nuts! I hid behind a tree and was able to get this…

Yup. That little hole is just the right size for a tiny squirrel to wander in and out!

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!

A very interesting chance meeting…

I forewarned the family I was going off for a little photo shoot this morning, I was excited!

I got a later than planned start, but it was “that kind of day!”.  The skies were bright blue, the temperature, mellow, and the sunshine was generous! I don’t know if everyone feels like I do, but when I get a block of time to take pictures, I am so happy!

I stopped at a graveyard not too far from home to see the marker for one of our neighbors.  Barbara was such an amazing woman!  She seemed like nothing could get her down.  They had built a cute log house across the street from our house a few years before we moved here.  Barbara was always knitting something and she encouraged me to take up the needles!  She got sick a few years after we moved in and they moved to Henrietta.  Barbara began to suffer memory loss and slowly, she became totally at a loss….I cannot imagine her husband without her…..he loved her so dearly.

I didn’t have a huge amount of time, so I was off once again.  I did have to stop at a vineyard to take a photo of the remarkable grapes dangling in bunches like prize jewels!  Oh, how I love grapes!

Once again, I dared not linger, so off I went!  It is a shame not to have an entire day when everything was as beautiful as today!

I knew where my destination was, but wasn’t exactly sure how to get there!  As I drove down the country road, it soon became obvious that all I needed to do was follow “the trail”.  The area I refer to is Mennonite and Amish country.  Many Mennonite families have moved to this area and the houses, farms, and scenery are vastly improving! 

Soooo, you might be wondering,  What is she talking about?

I wanted to photograph this….

and this….

I didn’t photograph the church, but it is a large, plain white building.  It is surrounded on three sides by stalls where families “park” their horses and buggies.  It is so beautiful to see.  As I drove past the building this morning,  the doors were open to let the fresh air inside.  I could see a small room separating the sanctuary from the road outside.  On the dividing wall were pegs and the ladies hung their black bonnets there.

I believe this is a Mennonite church.  I am unsure how the Mennonites are divided.  I know the Amish have many “flavors” as one of my Amish friends says,  but I do think the Mennonites have Old Order and more progressive orders as well. 

I began making my way back homeward, but had made a mental note of a particular farm where I saw some miniature horses in a field.  I love horses and these were so little…they caught my eye and I wanted to see if I could capture a few pictures of them.  The farm where I saw them was a Mennonite farm, so I figured I could snap away without any problems.

As I was taking photos, I saw a figure walking toward me.  I looked up and saw a young fellow coming my way.  I told him I wanted to take some photos and he was agreeable.  As I snapped away, he talked about his little horses and told me all about them.  They belong to him and he absolutely loves them! He even told me about how he used one of them to take his two younger sisters to the schoolhouse up the road.

5 month old Firefly and Chess the mare


These horses are quite tiny….Chess, the older mare, cannot stand more than three feet tall!

As we talked, I could see the young man’s shepherd in the distance.  He told me she had puppies and when I asked to see them, he took me to the pen where they were kept.  OH MY!!!!!

Yeah..CUTE!  There were seven of them, total, but it is impossible to capture all of them together!  They were so sweet!

See that little pup in the center?  She was described by the young man as “comical” with her half and half face!  She was also the first of the pups to be claimed!  They will be going to their new homes this week as they are eight weeks old tomorrow.

The pups were kept in a very nice area near the barn and as I looked around, I saw little calves in pens.  Someone once told me these calves are designated “veal calves”, but when I asked,  the fellow told me no, they are isolated so they will not pick up any sicknesses or diseases from their mothers or any other animals in the herd.  He said they will be turned out with the others in a few months when they are strong and healthy.

My, they were so cute, too!

Two days old!
Five days old.

I had promised to be back home again around ten-thirty. As it was, I didn’t arrive back until eleven.  What a wonder-filled visit….totally unexpected, but so much fun!

Oh, and as an aside….the young man told me the reason he was not in church was because he was minding a cow that was going to calf today!  Ah, life on the farm….

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!

Rumble Grumble!

Naw, that isn’t me rumbling and grumbling….it was my stomach last night.  More on that later, though.

The kids had planned to attend a music show down in Bath last night.  We decided to take them on down, then we would go for a little ride to Corning.  We left the house mid afternoon and after dropping the kids by the music store where the concert was held, we were off on a little ride.

We drove on down to the Corning WalMart where I went inside and got a few things.  We had taken the Expressway on the way there, so when I asked Mark if we could take the “road less traveled” on our way back, he checked the GPS and found another more scenic route.  We had stopped at a Burger King store and I had a hamburger and small onion rings and as we drove along, my stomach began to revolt.

Carly had called me earlier and told me about a terrible accident that had happened near Penn Yan. It seems there were thirteen Amish people in a van being driven by an “English” (anyone who is not Amish is called English by the Amish) driver.  The group had been invited by their county’s co-operative extension to visit some farms in Penn Yan to learn about ways to improve productivity.  The group had stopped in Penn Yan and had lunch in a park, then were heading north to visit another farm.

The van was driving along as a large piece of farm machinery (a piece that looks two stories tall) was approaching in the opposing lane.  It was moving slowly and a car behind it began to pass on a curve. (a definite no passing zone)  The car sideswiped the van, causing it to lose control as the driver tried to swerve, and the van ended up beneath the farm machinery.  Five of the Amish people were killed on the scene…reports were so heartwrenching about several ambulances and four helicopters arriving at the scene where firefighters worked for hours to free bodies from the wreckage.

This was such a sad accident…but then again,  isn’t an accident when something goes wrong or is miscalculated?  Well, the news today is that the driver of the car who caused this (and incidentally escaped unscathed) was arrested for Driving While Intoxicated.  Today, a sixth person passed away…this was one of a couple who now leave behind thirteen children.  Thirteen orphans.  Would it be too much to demand that the man who caused this to happen pay child support for those children? Surely he would have to work many hours a week to do this and hopefully, would have less time to imbibe. His conscience will bring to memory the evil deed he committed, but to hit his pocketbook would be a stark reminder that he will never drink and drive again.

The news about this really freaked me out and made me upset.  Add to that the heat.  And the fact that perhaps the food I ate didn’t agree with me.  I had stomach cramps and was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Here are photos I took…

I love old barns and this one, with the golden grass in front was just beautiful!

As we pulled into Bath, we were greeted by a beautiful sky…the sun was playing peekaboo, hiding in and out of clouds!

We approached the little park in the town square and there were several old cars parked along the street there.  I got out and looked at them. One really caught my eye…

A 1957 Ford Fairlane!  My parents had one of these cars!  Ours was black and white.

Wow, as I looked inside this car, it brought back some memories! As I was taking pictures of the car,  the buildings in the background caught my eye.  Bath is located in Steuben County, and the old buildings are part of the county complex.

The kids finally called after ten, and we went and picked them up.  Mark stopped at McDonald’s so the kids could grab something quick to eat, then we headed home.  Although I felt horrible,  the ride home was not unbearable.  I was having some difficulty breathing, along with the stomach cramps, and then I began to get heartburn as well. 

When we got home, I headed right upstairs, feeling really sick.  I finally wound up vomiting and then felt better right away. Both of the kids came into the bedroom to tell me not to sleep on my back in case I got sick again.  I was fine and thought perhaps what I experienced was food poisoning since the symptoms left suddenly. 

Today was so hot, I could barely stand the heat.  Tomorrow is supposed to be even worse.  Oh, how I long for shorter days with chilly nights!

Creative Ventures

My kids have been doing the most creative and awesome things lately!

Michelle asked us for a Babycakes cupcake maker for Christmas, but I just could not do it.  Instead, I looked and looked around until I found a nice Wilton cake decorating set.  I thought Michelle might get more use from the set than from the cupcake maker that makes small cupcakes.  I thought perhaps I made a mistake at first,  unsure if she was going to use it.

Michelle is cut from the same cloth as I am.  Obviously, she has trouble getting projects started, or maybe just getting motivated, when there are people around.  So…yesterday, while we were getting new tires installed,  Michelle decided to get creative!

She did much of the decorating today, but as I opened the refrigerator last night, I was greeted by pink roses and a bag of green frosting!

There were little flowers on a tray on the counter!

As if this was not enough, our little baker went to town and made this today, as well. (She said it is a kinda Alice in Wonderland  theme!)

Michelle says that fondant on the cake must be kneaded, then stretched to fit over the cake.  I think she has done a pretty great job for her first two cakes!

Ben has been spending some time in the garage under Mark’s guidance, building a new bed for his room.  Since his room is very tiny by today’s standards,  he must really economize in his room.  The funny part of all this is that when friends come over for a party, they always seem to congregate in Ben’s tiny room.  So, we came up with a fairly slick arrangement!

Ben wavered some between wanting a loft bed and not.  As he worked on planning his room, he soon realized a loft bed would give him some more bang for his buck.  Mark and Ben went to work on building a solid bed that would hold the weight, but not overwhelm the room.

We all helped get the bed up into position so it could be mounted to the walls. Since Mark built the house, he was confident using the studs in the walls for mounting the frame of the bed.  The bed will be taken down and painted soon, but  Mark wanted Ben to give the new bed a whirl tonight.  Also, Mark is going to build a small headboard with shelves and a door for little things he would like to keep up there with him, like his Ipod and speakers for it.

Mark bought the futon under the bed so friends can sit on it to watch videos and such.  Ben is still trying to figure out what color he wants to paint the bad. He originally thought black, but is wondering if a charcoal gray might be better. He wants burgundy highlights, such as the sheets, curtains, and pillows.  I cannot wait until his room is complete. He has been waiting for this project for a long time.

After getting Ben’s bed up late this afternoon, I needed to take a package down to be picked up by UPS.  I thought since I was out, I would try out Mark’s new tires on the truck by going for a little ride.  The sky was glorious with clouds, but patches of blue and sunshine sparkling through.

Canandaigua Lake is just so beautiful, no matter what the season! I decided to take a jaunt to Woodville, so I turned down a little side road.  I have shown this barn before, but I really like the green wreaths and the sled added for Christmas.  It is so pretty!

I stopped briefly at the boat launch and marvelled at the beauty…yet again!  I would love to spend a day down here, as a  fellow from the marina just a stone’s throw away told me that the eagles come down and feed on the ice from time to time.  He said it is an awesome sight.  I have not seen the eagles since fall, but they do overwinter here.

I knew I could spend hours in Woodville, but needed to get back home.  I smiled as I passed by the garden in the side yard.  Everything is pretty buried under a mantle of white!

I looked back as I walked up the ramp behind the house…

The Jotul stove in the garage has a catalytic converter, which means it is smokeless, but some smoke does appear when it is reloaded.  I admired those blushing clouds above.  The moon was out too, playing peekaboo, hiding behind the clouds, then reappearing!

What a nice day this was.  Both of my creative kids are quite well-pleased.  Ah, the sense of satisfaction!

Country Roads and Barns

As Michelle and I were traveling toward Canandaigua,  I just had to pull over off the road to take a quick photo of this particular barn.  Everything was so perfect, after all. The lighting.  The colors of the trees.  I love this falling down barn. It is along Route 21 and this road is so narrow, there is little allowance for stopping.  Since it is a major road leading to Canandaigua from the south,  it is heavily traveled and vehicles rarely go slowly.  Thus, I was thrilled we were early enough in the morning that I was able to stop even momentarily.

After dropping Michelle off at school, I decided to take a drive east.  Oh my, to say the sun was brilliant is a major understatement!

Uh, that shot was made entirely with the camera propped on the dashboard!  I merely snapped! In order to get to the farming communities, I needed to travel along some interesting roads!

Of course, all along the roads I journeyed on,  there were orange orbs of all sizes and shapes! There were also signs selling said decorations. I really like this next photo, as the sun was playing so brilliantly on the leaves on the trees.

As I drove by, it seems many barns were the new lower variety instead of the two-story gambrel style. I thought this barn was incredible.  Do you think the animals seriously enjoy the view?

Well, perhaps the farmer does as well, since the barn seems to be missing generous portions of its sides! (Nice gate, though!)

At one point,  I saw a large truck coming out of a field;  it was a truck that carries large quantities of product and apparently, it was loaded with corn.  The corn that fell off was lying in a thick line across the road.

I was enjoying this little excursion so much.  It is rare that I take the time to wander off by myself with no agenda.  I saw all kinds of farm machinery and cattle and views so awesome, there is no adjective colorful enough to descibe them.

I did begin to wander back home since Ben had an early afternoon music class at the college.   This barn isn’t too far from home…

And although this is not a barn, I have often pondered  where I might find the story behind it.

What a cool trip out this was.   The autumn rays from Mr. Sun were just perfect for shooting colorful photos.  As I drove home, however, the skies changed from bright and sunny to foreboding!  By the time I got home,  there were raindrops scattered over the windshield!