Looking back…

I don’t know where this week disappeared!

It seems like it was just Sunday.  The kids wanted to do something special for Mother’s Day, so we loaded the car and took off for Watkin’s Glen.  It really isn’t too far from our home and it was a beautiful day to be outside! I had been sick for a little over a week.  It seems I had picked up a strain of flu that likes to hang around for awhile.  Although I didn’t feel “sick”, I felt weak and lacking energy.  I spent much of the days lying in bed reading.  So, the Mother’s Day outing was the perfect getaway!

On our way to Watkin’s Glen, we stopped in Penn Yan for takeout Chinese.  Once we got to the park, we walked to a picnic table and enjoyed our meal.  It felt so good to be outside breathing the fresh air!  (Even when I felt really tired when I was sick, I put on my winter jacket and sat outside on the porch swing. The oxygen in the air felt so good!) Even though we didn’t spend a long time out, it was a perfect day!

Mark and I spent Monday doing things around the house, knowing that Tuesday was going to be a very busy day!  We were up and out the door shortly after seven to take our pickup truck to the garage to have a brakeline replaced.  It had rusted through and one day, the brake pedal went nearly to the floor when Mark stepped on it.  He decided to have the garage do the work, so we had to drop the truck off by eight, then be on our way to take Mark’s mom to a doctor appointment. Everything went smoothly and we got home with just enough time to get ready to go out to Bill and Carolyn’s as we do every Tuesday night.

We hadn’t gotten together the previous Tuesday, as sicknesses were making the rounds….bronchitis, bad colds, and the flu!

Bill had made an awesome pan of Lasagne and Focaccia (bread) that was awesome!  Sue brought an antipasto plate and there was so much yummy food!  Afterwards, we were treated to a Black Forest Cake Bill made to celebrate Sue’s daughter, Dee’s birthday.  As we were finishing up, “it” struck.  My oh my!  The thunder and lightening put on a spectacular show!  The rain came down so fast and furiously and all of our cell phones kept making sounds to alert us to a flash flood watch.  We weren’t too concerned, as Bill and Carolyn live at about 2300 feet above sea level.  I did wonder about Naples as the evening progressed, but….

We were finally ready to leave a little after eleven o’clock.  We had had a very long day. But, when we opened the door to go out to the truck, the lightning stretched across the sky, the thunder boomed, and the rain looked as though it had no intention to let up.  We waited. And waited.  Finally, things let up a bit and we made a mad dash for the truck. As we drove off, we were wondering what it was going to be like getting home.  We didn’t wonder too long!  As we drove down the short road to the next road, we passed over streams glistening in the headlights where the roadside ditches were now overflowing onto the roadway. We turned the corner and less than a mile up the road, a large log probably twenty feet long was lying in the road. There was other debris there as well.  I got out of the truck and attempted to move the big log, but it would not budge. The water was over my ankles and I quickly moved the smaller debris and we were able to pass through.

We passed through several more non-intentional streams flowing over the backroads until we finally hit the major route between Prattsburgh and Naples.  We were pretty certain once we were on the main road, everything would definitely be better.  As we drove along, there were a few breaches where the road seemed to disappear under a briskly flowing waterway.  We were determined at this point to make our way home!

As we got closer to Naples, everything seemed much better.  There was no more water covering the road, and it seemed all was well.  Once we got to the other side of Naples, however, the water was rushing like mad off the hill where County Road 12 rises sharply up from the Naples valley.  Lights were flashing and volunteer firemen equipped with headlights on their hats seemed to be everywhere.  We were told Route 21 through Woodville was impassable, so we were advised to take County Road 12.  The firemen told us they had not received any calls about damage there. We drove up the steep incline and the only problems were where higher roads intersected the road and left deposits of dirt and rocks all over the road.  We were so thankful to have the truck!

We got home and were so grateful! There was no damage at our house.  Michelle said it had been a bit hair-raising, but all was well. Murphy was at home with the kids and he was a bit upset, but was fine!

We got alerts on the cell phones that flash flood watches are in effect through Friday of this week. Wednesday, I went out and got groceries.  I have never taken the flood warnings seriously, as we live in a pretty safe place.  After the trip late Tuesday night, I am a bit more inclined to listen! We are all still in awe of the fact that the National Weather Service can alert people via cell phones….

Today was Ben’s last day of his first year of college. He has done well and I think he is pretty happy to have it behind him. We went out to a restaurant to celebrate and then wandered over to Seneca Lake State Park for a bit.  It was so windy and people were parasailing on the lake. Water was splashing all over on the breakwalls but it was warm and nearly balmy!  We have a front passing through now that is giving us some more rain and then the temperatures will drop some over the next few days.

Well, if you do come across the time I am missing from this week, please let me know!!!

A most Vigorous Adventure!

I nearly forgot to post this!

On Sunday, late afternoon, Ben asked Michelle if she wanted to go hiking with him.  She declined, and overhearing the conversation, I offered to go along.  Poor Ben. He should have thought some more before accepting my offer!

We live not far from a “multiple use area”,  owned by the Department of Environmental Conservation.  It is hard to even imagine, but we have lived here for almost twenty-one years and have never explored this before!  So we drove on down and parked the car.

As we began our outing, we noticed bird houses and a sign off in a distant field.  Curiosity got the best of me…I knew these houses were Bluebird houses and I wondered if a bird might be taking advantage of the box.  Ben was very agreeable and we walked on over and had a look at the house.  I had not seen a box made where the roof could not be removed;  we had made some of these boxes years ago and they are supposed to be accessible so Barn Swallow nests can be removed as they sometimes try to nest in these houses.  There was no sign of any activity so we walked on. The sign explained the area was intended for Turkeys and it had been so riddled with bullets, it was crazy!

We walked back to the trail and began our walk.  We passed by a pretty little stream…

Before going too far, I began to realize that this little adventure was all uphill.  No, not just a *little* uphill….it was ALL uphill! Of course, Ben took long strides, looking like he was going to greatly outdistance me within just a few steps! I found myself gasping to catch a breath more than once! Of course, I had to stop from time to time (okay, LOTS of times!) to take a photo or two of the scenery.

Like the valley below.

The little pile of stones marker that someone had made along the way.

The view of Bristol Mountain.

The little makeshift shelter someone had fashioned along the way.

And of course, my hiking buddy. (Who more than once grabbed my hand and helped me trudge my way up the hill!)

Ben was so funny. He was so coordinated, he could actually drink his Arnold Palmer Half and Half while walking!  In his other hand was his cell phone.  He decided to call Mark and tell him where we were.  I also had my cell phone, so Mark told us to install an ap to follow our progress. We did so and as we walked, Mark could look at a map and tell where we were by our coordinates.  Ben would give him our latitude and longitude and Mark could see where we were in the woods.  We were actually following alongside a huge ravine.

Did I mention this was all uphill?

I used to think the road we live on is steep.  Not anymore!

At one point, I was so tired, I sat on a log while Ben continued uphill. I figured I would just sit still and rest.  Then when Ben came back, we could go on back down.

I waited and waited.  I would guess more than ten minutes had passed.  I decided to get up, man it up, and just continue ascending!  I walked and walked, not hurrying or trying to keep up with Ben since he wasn’t there!  I called out to him and he answered.  He stopped for me and I caught up.  He was happy I had continued and he decided we should move ever upward! (Would this hill/mountain ever end?)

We ended up walking onto property owned by someone way up the road from us.  It is hard to understand the lay of our road unless one looks at a map.  While it is definitely perpendicular to the main road upon entering, it takes a curve and winds up parallel as one ascends.  So, Mark offered to pick us up on the road and then drive us back down to the car where we parked.

We passed by a pretty pond as we walked. I could not resist its glass-like surface and the reflections….

Needless to say, I was afraid I was not going to even be able to get out of bed on Monday morning.  All that climbing!  The (really!) good news is, I was not the least bit sore by our adventure.  I don’t know why, as I really don’t use my leg muscles that much, other than to climb the stairs!  Well, I’m not going to worry about the why’s.  I will just be thankful for this time together with Ben, exploring a bit and just having an enjoyable evening “hike”!

An Awakening

The other day, I was looking through old photos taken over the last several years.  Wow, the kids have changed so much.  Many things have changed.  Then, suddenly it hit me.  I had been thinking about why I have not blogged much recently.  I think I know.  I think when Angus left us, he took a bit of my heart….

In thinking about Wee Angus, I think if he would have been able to speak, he would have told us to just “get on with it”!   Now that I have gained that insight, I guess I had better.  Get on with it, that is!

Things are busy here….not doing anything really outstanding, but keeping us doing “something” all the time!

As I am writing this, the chatter outside my window is insane!  I have a Thistle “sock” hanging outside the bedroom window.  This is such a cool feeder for the birds.  It has two exceedingly powerful suction cups that keep it attached to the window.  The Goldfinches were the first to find this sock and appreciate it,  but now a flock of House Finches comes by as well.  When those little buggers are feeding, it gets so noisy!

These are the Goldfinches who seem to eat much more peaceably than the House Finches!

And these are the House Finches!  I took this photo and was amazed at how *dirty* the window was!!! Yes, one cannot hide anything from the camera lens!  I did clean the window off really well after this particular shoot and was a bit more prepared the next time I took photos!

I love these birds….they have the cute little Raspberry Red “cap” as well as breasts.

And this is when it gets really noisy!   I have tried to count just how many birds can fit on that “sock”, but it was impossible!

I have taken so many photos and they are all just waiting to share, so I will try to be more diligent and post!  Oh, and one last photo!

Yup, Ben’s finished project, complete with the sun!  Now, the sides on this are only temporary.  When we purchased the building, we drove to Pennsylvania to pick it up to save some money.  When the crew loaded the package onto our trailer, they used two pieces of scrap to wrap the package in so the metal wouldn’t get scratched.  Ben was not happy to put those pieces on the sides, but it was easier than storing them for now.  We do plan to add wooden sides on the building, then a garage door on the front.  It will certainly look better!

The Next Thing

Life is all about projects, no?  Well, I guess there does come a time when one might relax and stop conjuring projects up, but this one was a bit of a necessity!

Not too long ago, we had a fellow show up with a big (no, it was *really*! big!) bulldozer.  Mark had seen those little carports along the roads nearly everywhere and he thought such a little building would be nice for putting our “toys” (atv’s and snowmobiles, lawnmower, log splitter, etc) away.  He thought about this a long time, researching the quality and specs.  So, the big bulldozer made short work of plowing over five trees and pushing them into the woods so Ben could cut them into firewood for next year.

This is the new project as viewed from the front porch.

Ben and Mark pondered how, exactly, to best anchor down the carport.  We *do* get some powerful “breezes” here from time to time…They decided to have Ben dig six two foot deep holes, three on each side. I forgot to mention that Ben made a nice “strip” that was perfectly level on which to place each side of said building.  You can see this in the photo below.

The orange markings are spray paint where each hole needed to be dug.

I’m pretty sure Ben would disagree, but he seemed to make short work of those six holes! Next, Ben did something not planned!

Aw, don’t worry, Murphy was quickly removed! Actually, he splayed his front legs apart and pulled himself up so quickly, I had to take this shot in record time!

While I didn’t photograph the excavating as it was being done, here are the “waste” products…

There was another pile of stacked firewood, too, and although in the grand scheme of things (or woods!) this doesn’t look like a lot, there is actually about two or two and a half cords of firewood there! Oh, and those stumps….

These also don’t look very big, but if you look at the stump in the previous post, mounted on the small haywagon, you can see that these are NOT little stumps!  The “stump removing project” is detained for awhile….until next spring, says Ben!

I have a few photos of the frosty morning we ventured down to Pennsylvania to pick up the building parts!  I had forgotten about those! I will try to get those up later.  Anyway,  we saved 15% by picking said building up at the warehouse. And, in my mind, any trip to Pennsylvania is a GREAT trip!

Out with the Old, in with the New!

So much has happened since my last post here…we have covered lots of ground. We did lots of running around here and there, mainly because of Christmas shopping and visiting!  So, I won’t bother to comment on what has been, but what we are doing presently.

One project that I do want to comment on is the new ramp that Ben nearly single-handedly built behind the house!  With Mark’s help and instruction, Ben not only built a wooden ramp which is longer than the old temporary one, but he also mixed and poured twenty-two bags of cement to form a beautiful sidewalk at the end of the ramp!

I honestly think a better job could not have been done.  Ben is very shy about me sharing about this project, but to see him mix one eighty pound bag of mix after another, then pour it and begin again was incredible!  I think most men would have been slowing down after ten bags, but Ben just kept right on going!

Our weather has been very strange this winter. While the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicted a colder and snowier winter than usual, we have had precious little snow and the temperatures have been mild.  We are supposed to be getting some snow over the next few days and I will welcome it!  The warmer temperatures we have had, along with the rain, have made me feel so chilly!  Better freezing temperatures with snow than warmer temperatures with rain and drizzle!  The dampness seems to get into one’s bones!

We are missing riding the snowmobiles this year.  Last year, we were able to have had several outings by this time, but with no snow, it has been impossible.  There was some snow up on Tug Hill, but Mark read accounts where the warm temps made nasty riding conditions with puddles. Yuck!

I have been in cleaning mode the past couple of weeks, wanting to thin out stuff we don’t want/need.  It is crazy how stuff piles up on us while we aren’t paying attention!  Michelle has been feeling the need to discard old junk as well.  We need to make a trip to one of the Salvation Army Stores soon!  I think this is the closest I come to making a New Year’s resolution.  I have just become restless looking at all the stuff that has been building up over the years.  We even have things from Mark’s dad who passed away seven years ago this month!

How about you?  Have you made any resolutions?  Do you usually stick with them, or do they fall be the wayside?

The “missing Murphy” Files!

I had mentioned a few days ago that Ben, Murphy, and I hiked off into the woods that day.  It was a really beautiful day, painted in all the colors of Autumn and feeling warm and cozy in the woods!

Murphy has always been a bit on the “camera-shy” side….leaving all the glory and glamour of photography to his older “brother”.  Well, since Angus has been gone, things seem to be subtly.  Murphy now takes his place in a more prominent area most of the time, rather than hiding in some silly submissive mode!  And, on the day these photos were taken,  I think he was actually enjoying having the attention.

Here are my most favorite photos of my little Murphy.

And so, on this November Autumn day when the temperature has been warm enough to be unusual,  and the sunshine was poured out so wonderfully,  I am so thankful we have our Murphy.  It is so tough saying good-bye to Angus, but having Murphy does take a bit of the sting away….

Funny how things come round…

Mark was thinking about getting a shed and thought he would do a little comparative calculating to evaluate whether it would be worth it to buy premade or to build.  One of the componants needed would be trusses.  Mark was at a bit of a loss where to find some locally made trusses.

I thought about this for awhile, then told him he ought to contact the Mennonite company that builds and sells lots of sheds in our area. He agreed this might be a good lead, so he called.  The nice girl on the line answered a couple of questions, then said she needed to talk to one of the guys that works there when Mark asked about trusses.  She came back with a business name and telephone number for Mark of the guy who builds their trusses.

Mark dialed the number and I sat in the room with him.  As the man spoke, Mark said he sounded like….but I couldn’t hear who he thought the guy sounded like.  As I listened, I thought he sounded like the guy who we hired to add the large addition to our garage in 2005.   The funny thing is, it was him!  Apparently, he is no longer doing building, but is now building trusses!

When the fellow asked for Mark’s name and telephone number, he said he did some work for him several years ago….Yup! It really was him.

I took a few photos of Murphy today with my little camera.  He went for a walk with Ben and I up in the woods and was so cute!  He must have picked up a zillion leaves in his “skirt”!  He also had them dangling off his nose.  We had taken along some treats for the wee one and he posed so nicely for the camera!  Problem is, the camera isn’t here at the moment, so perhaps I will post the photos tomorrow.

Today I am thankful for the beauty that surrounds us! God has given us such an incredible world, filled with so many blessings.  Today was a fantastic day full of sunshine and warm temperatures. It is hard to actually believe it is November!

Allegany State Park, revisited

I had to chuckle as I read the title of the last post.  Busy?

Last Sunday, we had planned to take a little trip as Michelle begins college soon.  Tomorrow soon!  Yes, tomorrow is Labor Day and the United States of America rests and pays tribute to its laborers.  However, Rochester Institute of Technology begins their fall classes on Labor Day!  One of life’s mysteries, I guess….

But I digress.

Michelle went with her boyfriend, Jacob, to his church picnic last Sunday at the county park located just a couple of miles from our house.  She came home early at four,  and off we went on our little adventure. 

We drove to Allegany State Park where we stayed until Friday. Although we had planned to relax, we were busy every day! It was very nice, though! The weird thing in all this is that I really didn’t take many photos.  This was our little niche in the world from Sunday night until Friday noon.

I always end up chuckling about us spending time at campgrounds because of the fact that we live in the woods.  Most of the folks I have met at campgrounds are city dwellers who are so appreciative of the fact that they can escape to the sanity of a less stressed and hurried lifestyle, only if it is for a couple of days sometimes!

On Monday, we explored the park a bit.  Ben remembered how we visited Thunder Rocks this past winter on the snowmobiles and he wanted to return to see them now.  I am not sure we have rock formations like this around our area, so I forget how massive they are until we visit them again! (Hoping you don’t mind seeing our kids over and over!)

Fly Tweetie, fly!

After our stop at Thunder Rocks,  we passed by Science Lake.  Not sure how the lake came to have that name, but it sure is pretty. There were a couple of young men fishing there….the lake has trout in it. Please forgive so many photos…I could not choose which to show.  As you can see, this was a day of perfection, weatherwise!  It could not have been a nicer day!

Science lake is a manmade lake, thus it has a spillway to keep it from getting unruly!  That was quite a drop!

After visiting Science Lake, we were on to see the bear caves.  Yes!  There are many black bears living in the park, although I saw n’ary a one. Drat!  I would love to have some bear photos.  There is an area where campers take their trash that is filled with several dumpsters.  The area is surrounded by electric fencing to discourage said bears from pillaging!

I remember as a child seeing bears at a dump area of the park.  People would drive there in cars and throw food from their windows to feed the bears!  Yeah, hard to believe. 

That little hike to the bear caves was pretty strenuous for this “picture-taker”!  I was getting tired! We had to take out Little Bear (Angus) along for the walk, as Mark refers to him as a bear cub!  He enjoyed the cruise through the woods, too.

On Tuesday, we went to visit with my family.  It was another beautiful day and we really enjoyed the time spent together until dusk when the mosquitoes came out for their bloodlust fest!  These days were so much fun, but passed by much too rapidly….

Front: Mom, Dad, Mark, me and Fritzie   Rear:Randy, Ben, Michelle

Think “Green”

hahaha…you will hear why soon!

Ben and I decided to take a little kayak adventure this morning.  Instead of just paddling along on the lake,  we decided to head on down the river.

As we passed by the Eagle tree,  we looked, but no Eagles to be seen. I did find this little bird seeking food while sitting on lily pads rather amusing!

The little bugger actually placed the lily pad in its mouth and picked it up, looking underneath for food!

We paddled out into the lake and turned into the river. There sure was a lot to be seen there.

Ben called out to me about a Great Blue Heron ahead.  He hung back while I paddled ahead, hoping to get close enough for a good shot.  Well….

That bugger lifted off! As Iwas photographing it,  I heard the strangest noise…Refusing to lower the camera, it was only after I had finished that Irealized the dreadful sound was the Heron!  Wow, could that thing make noise!

We passed by so many, many turtles! They seemed to be “hanging” off every floating thing in the water!  Some were very shy,  immediately going overboard as soon as the kayaks approached,  while others held their ground,  seemingly undaunted by me and the camera!

As we paddled along,  it began to grow hotter and hotter!  The hat on my head had to be removed as I thought I was going to explode from the heat!

We passed by some pretty awesome “still life’s”.

We had a good time, but as the heat increased,  I was anxious to get out of the water and to remove my life vest.  We paddled some more and even though we weren’t exactly sure we were on the right path, Ben assured me he was 85% sure.  Not that the 15% worried me….too much! 

As we moved along, the green algae increased.  I made a comment that it felt more like we were in a Louisianna bayou than the river and Ben smiled….he had the very same thought!  As we approached the launch where Mark agreed to pick us up,  we needed to paddle down a fairly short “corridor” of waterway.  We moved along at a pretty good clip..the algae was so thick, I can only liken it to porridge!  The stench was enough to propell the paddles at a nice rapid pace!

All in all, the scenery was lovely, but we shan’t repeat this adventure until some of the “green” disappears!