Wishing you were here…..

so you could experience the fragrance that is filling the entire downstairs of our house!  Our Lilac bushes suffered from the severely cold winter.  Instead of being filled with loads of flowers like last year, the flowers made a sparse showing this year!  In fact, I also lost my two Butterfly bushes in front of the house over this winter.  I decided since there weren’t that many flowers on the Lilacs, I might as well clip them and bring them inside to enjoy!


that is coming.

Forget the fact that it was 12 degrees this morning when I got up at 5:30. I grudgingly trudged to the garage and gathered kindling and wood to make a fire in the woodstove.  Yes, for the past two or three days, this wasn’t necessary and I had already resigned myself to the fact that I might no longer need to build and maintain fires in the stove.  Ah well…

We do know that warmer days are coming no matter what the thermometer says today!

I am a sucker for flowers. I love having flowers in the house. They are cheerful and add so much color!  I couldn’t resist this Spring Cactus as I was walking through Walmart last Thursday.

We have had some temperatures that were so warm, I actually grumbled a bit because I got overheated doing my work around the house! We had the windows open and one night, we ran the whole house fan the entire night to cool the house! With all this warm weather, the tiny Crocus plants I had uncovered from a deep bed of leaves practically flowered overnight!

I always had problems in the past….it seems the bulbs I planted for some spring flowers would disappear!  This year, however, it seems as though the crop of springtime harbingers has multiplied immensely! I have so many pretty Crocuses in purple, white, and stripes! As I photographed some on Sunday, I noticed another sign of spring in the form of a Bumblebee working away to gather pollen!

I did save the best for last, though.  As I was working in the bedroom, a Goldfinch caught my eye. I could see that the vibrant yellow coloration was returning to a little male sitting on a branch outside the window.  I walked over and grabbed a camera, but when I returned, the little bird had flown off.  Disappointed, I was about to walk away from the window when something else caught  my attention……

Yes, this beautiful little male Eastern Bluebird sat and posed so nicely for just a few seconds! What a treat!

Today, the temperature is to remain only in the 30’s, but then it is supposed to warm up into the 50’s the rest of the week!

Last night, we attended a Passover Seder at the home of our friends, Bill and Carolyn.  Mark has been practicing with Carolyn, Sue, and another Carolyn for music for not only last night’s Seder, but another one on Saturday night.  Bill is such a tough guy….on Sunday night, he got the chills, then became a bit “out of it”. After reducing a fever, he went to the doctor on Monday morning. The doctor ordered an x-ray and found Bill had the beginnings of pneumonia in his right lung.  When he told me on Monday when I spoke to him, I asked if he would still be able to have the Seders!  He replied that of course he would! He had already done lots of his preparations on Sunday.

The Seder last night was wonderful.  Bill made a fantastic meal to follow the reading of the Haggadah.  Please pray for Bill. Although he is a tough guy, even tough guys need some rest!  The music was awesome as well.  The only downside to the night was that it was bitter cold and the roads were slippery! Thankfully, our trip home was non eventful.

Although it is chilly outside today, the sun is shining and we are cozy and warm inside!

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….

We’ve become so spoiled!

Our weather this past week (and more) has been incredibly nice, particularly for this time of the year!  It seems that usually by now, we have had severe “mood swings” in the weather.  This year, it has been very calm and quite nice.

Yesterday, rain moved in for the first time in a long time! And it has rained quite a lot. Our autumns are known for unpredictable rain that sometimes lasts for what seems like forever.  In looking at the weather forecast, we are due for rain today and tomorrow, with several days of sunny weather to follow. But enough of the weather!

I *love* asters! They are so beautiful!  Their awesome purple petals are so cheerful and appreciated with all the changing of colors in the fall.  I bought this plant last year and never figured out where to plant it! I kept it in the garage over the winter, watering it a bit now and then.  My mother-in-law told me she often keeps mums alive this way, so I thought I would take a chance with this plant.  I am so glad it survived! I finally planted it on a slope where Mark had the driveway expanded.  I am hoping to have a bit of a wildflower garden there and thought this would look great there… fact, I have two more Asters to plant there that I recently purchased!

I really cropped the photo above and even though I am not inclined to fiddle around much with photos, I did put a filter on this one called kaleidoscope. I love this!

Last Mother’s Day, Carly brought me a Gerbera Daisy.  The plant seemed to thrive in the bedroom window, but when I placed it outside, it just had lots of greenery! I moved it to a brighter spot on the porch and it seemed to pick up some.  I am wondering, too, if this plant likes cooler weather like I do!

Isn’t that beautiful?  The color is so autumnal and the flowers last for a very long time!  No wonder this is a favorite with people!

How about this? I photographed the pumpkin and Aster as the late afternoon sun created shadows from the porch balusters.  I just cannot get enough of the colors of autumn! And speaking of color….while I was walking around with the camera, photographing this and that, I decided to take a picture of a Queen Anne’s Lace.  As I was about to snap the shutter button, a teeny tiny, itsy bitsy spider crept up on the flower!

And how could I not photograph the Bumblebee working so diligently in the Fleabane?

All of the photos above were taken just before yesterday’s rainy day appeared.  Because we have had no rain for so long, our well has been a tad temperamental! We got a load of water on Friday and yesterday, one more. We live on the hillside and must travel in the valley to get water.  The scenery was awesome!

The clouds were so low!!! Bristol Mountain’s ski runs seemed to disappear!!!

After getting a load of water, I got down to business! I had planned a somewhat work-intensive meal that really began Friday morning.  I had bought a beef brisket. Using a recipe from my crockpot cookbook, I created a rub for it and wrapped it in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  Early yesterday morning,  I removed it and began cooking it on the stovetop instead of my (tiny) crockpot.  As the day progressed, the house was filled with quite an awesome aroma! I threw some potatoes in the oven late afternoon and began working on dessert.

While visiting our friends Carolyn and Bill for Shabbat one Friday eve, Bill served a blackberry steamed pudding.  I was in love!  I searched around online for something similar, but couldn’t find anything quite like it.  But I did find a recipe that sounded awesome. It was a Martha Stewart recipe for Caramel Apple Steamed Pudding.  Yes!

The first (of a few) steps was to caramelize sugar.  At first, I couldn’t figure this out.  Then I thought to turn up the heat just a tad, and voila!! This was so incredible and I was awestruck. Perhaps that was how I managed to accidentally get some of the boiling hot liquid on my forefinger and thumb. Without thinking, I tried to peel the burning syrup off with my teeth.  In the process, I burned the inside of my lower lip and the tip of my tongue. Thankfully, these were very minor. But my finger!

I kept putting ice cubes on the finger and after about eight, the pain finally subsided.  I did keep working on the dessert and was so excited when I unmolded it!

The rainy weather today lasted through the morning. Later in the day, the sun came out here and there and all I can say is, we really are so spoiled by the beautiful weather we have been enjoying!  Oh, and the forecast for the next few days?

Did I mention we are spoiled?  Rotten!!!

There have been Octobers in the past when we virtually worked in freezing cold rain, winterizing the camper, closing the pool, getting firewood and just doing all the pre-winter tasks.  Our woodshed is filled to the brim and the pool is all set to button up. We put that off as we worked on firewood and cleaning up a new trail in the woods that messed some of our other trails.  The camper will be next and we will still be enjoying warm weather!

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!

I Bring You Some Spring!

(since it seems to have taken leave for the time being….)

Baby ducks and geese are a sure sign of spring!  I just love the little goslings.  It is interesting to watch them with their parents. I love how the parents use “sign language” to direct the little ones where they want them to go.  And it is cool how the little ones obey!

Of course, how could I have a blog entry without Mr. Murphy?  He is becoming more and more of a ham….reminds me so much of Angus, although he really is an entirely different personality!

And the Lilacs! Ah, they are so awesome.  I love it that I can sit on the front porch on the swing and actually smell the Lilacs gently wafting their fragrance upwards….

And I will end with this sweet little Robin.  We were in Rochester and the little bird serenaded us while we were stopped for a long red light!

It seems ironic that the beginning of May was warm and it seemed there were endless sunny days.  The weather became suddenly very wet, then it cooled off.  I will never complain about the rain as the earth did seem to be getting quite dry.  The best news, though, is that I spotted a tiny male Hummingbird at the feeder yesterday and today. Definitely a sign of spring!