Finger Lakes

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!

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….

Prime time

Anyone who talks to photographers will discover there are two magical times of the day for photoshoots.  This would be sunrise and sunset, and especially so this time of the year!

Yesterday morning, I was able to actually be in Canandaigua before sunrise.  I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to walk around a bit and get some photos. You will note that I am not the least bit shy about shooting into the sun.  This makes for some interesting pictures!

I love the “sepia” quality of this photo. No, I didn’t touch the photo to alter it….this is how it turned out….shooting into the sun!

As you can see in this photo, the sky was a lively golden/orange color. It was amazing! I liked how these coots were just hanging out on the stone breakwall.

Oh yeah…how could I not photograph the boathouses?  They were so pretty in the sunlight and glasslike lake!

I wandered over to Kershaw Park for a bit and loved how pretty it was there, as well! With all the leaves falling to the ground, it was incredible to see the Weeping Willows still green and full!

The clock was ticking and I had obligations….

I was rather amused to see this…

Somehow, I couldn’t be quite so brave as to take a horse and buggy on a 40 mile per hour road!  Particularly busy 5&20!

Second post tonight!

One thing is for sure and for certain; fall offers the most fantastic array of colors!  No other season has such a wide range of natural colors. And no other season can rival the golden rays of sunshine that stream down! I have not taken nearly as many photos as I have desired, but that seems always to be the case.  Laundry, cooking, cleaning, and (seemingly endless) dishes beckon to be dealt with.  And so I offer some more of my fall photos that warm my heart as the colder weather has begun its nip!

Slowly fading….

Ah yes, the colors that were so vibrant only a couple of weeks ago are getting more muddled and not nearly as pretty.  Of course, that is speaking of the leaves that are remaining on the trees.  Many have fallen to the ground and are now litter on the grass and walkways.

The weather has also changed, with the temperature dropping down to some chilly temperatures.  I noticed a weather alert on my cell phone this afternoon. It was regarding a freeze watch for tomorrow night. The gist of it is that the temperature will fall well below 32 and warns that plants left outside should be moved inside if a heavy frost might damage them.

With the colder weather, we have had some awesome skies! I have been looking upward and totally enjoying all the colors!  The intense blue contrasted with clouds ranging from bright white to threatening gray has been photo worthy and it is just downright fascinating to observe!

So, with no further ado, here are some recent photos.

And so, from Murphy and me, have a great week! I will post another photo entry soon!


Why we live where we live….

Ah yes!  Autumn…..fall….whichever you call it, this is such a beautiful time of the year! As I mentioned in the previous post, we have truly been spoiled rotten this year.  Instead of cold rain and brisk breezes, we have been enjoying warm days with bright sunny skies.  It is unusual, really, but in listening to the weather forecast yesterday, the beautiful weather might be displaced by more typical weather and temperatures in the coming days. That is fine….the woodshed is full and things are fairly well buttoned up and we are ready! (How did that happen?)

Speaking of firewood…we have not had a fire in the woodstove this autumn.  There have been a couple of days that were a little chilly, but not really cool enough to fire up the stove! With Ben now cutting our firewood, we have more than enough.  We not only have the woodshed filled, but we also have several neat piles of firewood stacked in the woods!  I love it!

On Saturday, it was so amazingly beautiful, Mark and I decided to take a ride through the woods on the atv’s.  Of course, I took a camera along….I would not want to miss one picture!  It was so, so beautiful after all!  So, come on along and you will discover why I always dreamed of living in the woods. (especially  this time of year!)

So many awesome, incredible, amazing colors! As the wind begins to blow and the rain moves in, these days are sure to come to an abrupt end.  Although the days like this are far too few, knowing they are short lived makes us only appreciate them all the more!

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!


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!