friendship

Amazing online friends…

I mentioned previously that I participate in Instagram.  This is a site where you can send photos and other people who have similar interests and such can comment on your offerings. I have met so many people there who go nuts over their Scottie dogs!  (Gee, we thought we were the only ones!) One of the ladies there does painting and she decided to give watercolors a go. She began looking through all the different photos people sent and she painted many.  She would contact the person and ask for their address so she could then send her painting!

Back in February, Sheena asked me to email my address to her. She said she did a painting of Murphy! I asked her if I could pay her for the painting and she said no! She just was loving doing all these paintings and expecting nothing in return! She did a painting of a photo of Murphy’s beard all caked and covered in snow.

This was one of my favorite photos I took during the winter. Murphy enjoyed the snow so much and it was cute seeing his little face packed with snow!

It is cool to think that one can meet such incredible and generous people online!

A Busy Weekend!

It was a busy weekend with much to do, but actually, it was a busy week!

I mentioned previously that we attended a Passover Seder on Tuesday evening.  We also attended another one on Saturday evening.  Our friends, Bill and Carolyn had decided to have two Seders instead of one because they wanted to have music and there isn’t quite enough space to have tables set up and also music equipment. Carolyn is part of the music group, along with Sue and Mark. Bill does all of the food….the man is an amazing chef!

I forgot my camera on Tuesday, but I did grab the camera bag on Saturday!  There was a lovely group of people in attendance.

Our host and hostess, Bill and Carolyn as Carolyn lights the candles.

There were four young adults who just added so much to the event.  They were awesome!

The purpose of the Passover Seder is to remember how God delivered and saved His Chosen People (Israel) from bondage when they were in Egypt.  This is a retelling of the Book of Exodus, relating the hardening of Pharoah’s heart and how God used plagues to finally get Pharoah to release the Israelites.  The final plague was when God instructed the Israelites to slaughter a lamb and paint the sides and top of their doorposts in the blood of the lamb so he would pass over their homes as He passed through and killed the firstborn of the Egyptians.

One fact that I forgot to mention is that Bill was diagnosed with pneumonia in his right lung on Monday morning.  The Seders were important to him, so he carried on with his preparations….and both Seders, even though he was not up to snuff!

The Passover story takes awhile to recount, and as it is told, participants eat various “elements” such as bitter herbs (parsley dipped in salt water),  hard boiled egg, horseradish, lettuce, and *delicious* Charoset (which is apples diced into pieces, with walnuts, raisins, spices, and honey mixed in).  After the story was told, Bill served up a most wonderful meal beginning with his homemade matzah ball soup, followed by roast turkey, mashed potatoes, his homemade matzah (unleavened bread), stir-fried vegetables, and Kugel.  Believe me, no one goes home feeling hungry after this feast!

We had such a delightful evening, and after folks left, the young adults and the music group hung out and played and sang music for quite awhile.  It was a memorable night and one filled with good fun and fellowship! We really appreciate all the work Bill and Carolyn put into these Seders, and also the effort put into Tuesday nights as well when they host a dinner and music practice!

Evidence….

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!

My Goodness……

I have not been here in ages.  I don’t really like making excuses. but I just deleted three separate posts that I began (one, weeks ago!) but left after having problems uploading photos and not being able to edit them.  I’m not really sure why things are happening as they are, but I have a feeling it might be a problem with our web host. I am using WordPress for this blog and I really like the ease of use but they are telling me I need to update. I think our web hosting site is so far behind the times, I cannot update to the newest version on WP. I am suspecting this might be a probable cause of my difficulties publishing my entries.

‘Nuff said!

Winter has been long and somewhat brutal this year! We have endured some long spells of cold temperatures that were well below “normal”.  We didn’t have huge amounts of snow, but the cold temperatures and wind has caused more weather alerts to pop up on my phone than I ever remember.  Thankfully, the cold is diminishing….little by little. We have even had a few days that felt *warm*!

One week ago, we were given a “Winter Weather Alert”, meaning that we might see some rain, freezing rain, and possibly snow.  Why that alert wasn’t upgraded to a “Winter Storm Warning” is beyond me! We actually wound up with about eight inches of snow!  It began with a pounding rain early in the evening, changing over to freezing rain, and by 10 pm, it was snowing like crazy!  And the snow!  When I began shoveling Sunday morning, it was like shoveling water….it was heavy! But….it warmed up on Tuesday and Wednesday, and much of it disappeared!

On Tuesday afternoon, I took Murphy outside and he immediately scrambled up onto a snowbank Mark made with the plow. That pup went absolutely crazy, rolling around in the soft (heated by the sun) stuff.

I was afraid he would roll right off the bank, but the snow was so soft, it conformed to his body!

Things have been moving right along here in the Bristolwood.  Michelle is currently looking for a job. She wants to remain in the area, so she has been searching locally. Ben is attending Finger Lakes Community College and is doing very well.  At this point, we are seeing that home schooling didn’t harm either child. (Although they might say otherwise!)

Mark and I are still getting together with friends every Tuesday night. It is a blessing to have such friends and it is a blessing to be able to get together as we do!  We gather around the table for breaking of bread….and wow!…the incredible meals we get!!!….and then Mark and the “girls” practice music together.  Sometimes there are eight or nine people, other times, twelve or thirteen.  I really look forward to these times!

Now I have a great favor to ask.  If you are inclined, would you please pray for a friend?  His name is Mike and he is needing a miracle. I won’t go into details, but God knows Mike and He knows all about the situation.  Basically, Mike needs a healing touch from God.  Thank you, in advance!

Well, I am getting a bit antsy for kinder weather so we can get outside more.  Right now, the wind is a-howling and it is pretty chilly out there. I think the Beatles summed it up fairly well…….. “Little Darlin’ it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter!” Now…..let’s hope “Here comes the sun”!

Let’s see….

 

Not very much has happened since my last post.  The day I wrote that, Mark received an email from a senator advising constituents to stay at home as the weather was so bitterly cold.  There were all kinds of warnings and advisories on weather sites. It really was very cold and truth be told, people and animals cold easily lose their lives in such weather.  Mark and I did a sanity check and headed out the door that evening.  Seeing our friends was of great value and seeing as our car is relatively new and running great, there seemed to be little danger.  We had a wonderful time!

Since then, we had a very strange incident in our not so new pickup truck!  We went to Canandaigua last week and after parking the truck at one of our stops, when Mark restarted it, a message came up on the dash stating “Reduced engine power”.  That was new to us!  We had some more errands, so Mark left the parking lot only to discover that our usually spunky truck wasn’t!  He pressed down on the accelerator and the truck acted sluggish.  We could drive around Canandaigua fairly easily as there are few steep roads and the truck seemed to do well as long as it could glide along.

When we finally completed our list of tasks, Mark thought a bit to try to discover the road with the least incline to go home. We settled on a route and found ourselves traveling well, cruising at some points, to 50 miles per hour.  Mark had chosen route 64 to head home and as we turned off route 5 &20, we saw a definite incline! The truck slowed down….and slowed down some more….until we were peaking out at about 20 miles per hour.  Mark had the flashers on and people zipped past us as the truck seemingly struggled up the road. Once we reached the top of the incline. we once again glided down with ease. And some speed!

We found ourselves feeling rather like sitting ducks just a couple of times more, then the big test was ahead of us. Yes, we had successfully reached the bottom of “our” road. As Mark briskly turned onto the road,  we could feel the truck slowing down.  We began at about 10 miles per hour and as the road increased in steepness, the truck slowed down further and further.  I sat, praying, asking that the angels push that truck up the rest of the way. By the time we (thankfully) reached the driveway, the truck was topping out at about 2 miles per hour.  The now overworked vehicle seemed to sprint up the driveway  (at 10 miles per hour) and I nearly jumped from it! How thankful we were to have reached home!

Mark did some research on the problem and discovered this is General Motors’ method of reducing risk of loss and injury when there is a problem with throttle control.  Mark bought a device that reads codes via a computer on the truck and displays them on his cell phone. He determined through this technology that there is a problem with wiring or connectors located near the gas pedal. I always giggle at Mark’s Mechanical Engineering skills….skills that keep him from tossing out broken things and skills that cause him to look into problem solving when most of us would throw our hands up and walk away!  I am so thankful for him and his skills! He is going to look at the truck today and see if he can discover the problem.

Since my last post, we have been down to our friends’ house once again for Mark to play music with his friends.  We had another lovely evening and the weather was so very much kinder than the previous week!  We currently still have no snow and had days above freezing. It would seem the weather pendulum is really swinging wildly out of control this winter!

Yesterday, Mark and I went out and I ran into WalMart.  I was picking up a few things and I saw a Mennonite mom and her young daughter, maybe seven or eight, shopping. They were coming out of an aisle as I was walking perpendicularly in another aisle.  The mother made a turn toward me, and the daughter turned the opposite way, now walking beside a woman in a long coat. The girl’s eyes were looking down and she continued to walk alongside the woman for awhile.  The Mennonite woman gently called “Twila!” when she discovered her daughter was going the wrong way.  I watched and when the girl didn’t respond,  she quietly called out again, “Twila!”. Suddenly the girl turned and looked, surprised she was no longer with her mom. She quickly walked back to her mother and the mother and I both giggled!  It was so cute.

As we left the store to go back home, I took a quick snap of the sunset. That is the photo at the top of this entry. For one reason or another, Word Press isn’t allowing me to arrange photos the way I want! Grr!!!

 

Gingerbread house!

Oh my goodness! I wanted to post this before, but had some difficulty. I’m not sure if it was WordPress or something on our end, but I just could not get photos to upload.

A week before Christmas Eve, we were invited to our friends, Sue and Ed’s house. I knew it was going to be very pretty, as Sue told us she loves decorating for Christmas. She decorated well before Christmas, too, as her daughters used her home as the setting for a photo shoot.  So….be prepared to fall in love, particularly if you like log homes decorated like gingerbread houses!

Ah yes, the heart(h) of the home! A pellet stove keeps this cozy house all warm and snug!

The pretty reds, greens, and golds of Christmas decor look so pretty against the logs.  Isn’t this pretty?

This is a shot looking into the kitchen and dining area. It is so pretty!!! And I love the loft above. I have long dreamed of having a loft…no particular reason, other than I think they are always so cozy!

Sue and Ed built this house with the help of an Amish crew of men. Ed loves woodworking, so he did the interior finishing. Sue came up with this idea to place a ladder horizontally and cover it in wire for a shelf for pots and pans above an island in the kitchen. It works so well!  And, as you can see, Sue even decorated the shelf!

As we sat around the table, gabbing and overeating Sue’s delicious lasagna,  Paco, the little dog, perched on a blanket atop an ottoman and listened to our ramblings….

Look at the stairway to the loft! Everything seemed to be decorated!

We had such a lovely time visiting! This house is located between Bath and Hammondsport andEd and Sue told quite the story about the house!  One night, Ed opened the back door to let the dogs out and was greeted by a bear! It had wandered onto their back porch and was standing just outside the door! Yikes!

As we left, I told Sue if I ever decide to run away from home, I *know* where I am going!  It was so hard to leave this sweet little house. It really did remind me so much of those pretty little gingerbread houses!

 

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!

And What a Fun, Fantastic, and Amazing Day!

Yes, can you believe it?

After my post about yesterday, I just *had* to post about our most fun adventure on Saturday!  I had meant to post this first, but got ahead of myself!!! (yeah, I know…called “disorganization”!!!)

If you read my blog, you will see that my main commenter is Jeanne.  Jeanne and her husband live not so very far away from the Bristolwood, but they also have a wonderful cottage retreat on Lake Ontario! Jeanne has spent many a summer there and after our little visit there, I can certainly understand why she would ever be reluctant to return home.  It is a whole ‘nother world….

Jeanne and Ben invited us to come on up last Saturday. We got up and did some chores and were on our way. As we left here, it was chilly and damp and wet.  The skies were (greatly) overcast with nary a streak of blue in sight. As we drove along, I couldn’t help but wonder if we had made a mistake!  However….the forecast called for clouds in the morning, then becoming partly sunny.  The journey was a three hour jaunt, but we were so excited.

We drove along a rather well-traveled road that was only a short distance from the lake and as we progressed (this was the last 45 minutes or so of the trip there) the sun came out, puffy, fluffy, non-threatening clouds greeted us and accompanied us right up to the cottage. (Which was found seamlessly…thank you so much Google maps and GPS!)  The trip was so pretty and when I saw the cottage vista, I could not believe my eyes!!

Jeanne and Ben greeted us and then we went inside, as the air was still pretty chilly.  Later on, Jeanne took my on a little scenic tour. Oops…I am getting ahead of myself once again.  Out the picture window that overlooks the lake, one can get a view of an island!  From the view there, it looks like there is nothing there, but….

Jeanne and I went for a little ride in her car and I was surprised!

There is a bridge (all manmade) that leads to the island.

And once we were on the island, there was an amazing KOA Campground!  Wow!!! Can you imagine camping right along the shore of Lake Ontario….on an ISLAND? The campground is a gated community!  In order to enter, Jeanne went inside the office (where there is also a store) and had to give pertinent information “for insurance purposes”!

The campground is rather large and believe it or not, one can not only camp there, but they also have a marina!

Hmmm…..not too many boats in those slips! But, we were there after Memorial Day when many people traditionally put away all the summer pleasures and begin looking forward to the fall and winter months.

There were many campers there. The lady at the desk told Jeanne there was an event going on so it was busy.  There were campers of every shape and size.  The best sites were located on the lake.  I guess one can choose from sites with a glorious sunrise or glorious sunset.

I think it would be tough to decide between a sunrise or sunset!

We headed back off the island, but I took a shot at the harbor where Jeanne and Ben’s cottage is located. Look how beautiful everything looks!

Jeanne also took me for a ride around the area where she often drives her scooter.  As I said before, it is a whole different world and culture.  It was such a beautiful day and I really enjoyed the mini tour!  As we drove, we spotted a big bird sitting in a marshy area.  I took a photo of the bird, but I am not sure what its identity is.  It had a large bill, though.

We went back to the cottage and Mark and Ben were still talking at the table where we had left them.  Ben fired up the grill and made delicious sausages and chicken breasts for everyone.  He had also made a fabulous Mexican type dish with beans and corn that was so tasty along with potato salad.  Everything was so good!

After eating, Ben showed Mark some of his guitar equipment and Mark sent me to the car where he had tucked away his traveler guitar and amp, hoping the two of them might play. And play they did while Jeanne and I visited.

We talked on and on until Mark and I looked at the clock!  It was getting late and we had that three hour drive ahead of us! We had also taken Murphy along with us and he spent the day snoozing in the car! I would check on him from time to time, but he is pretty content just knowing we are nearby.  It was nice and cool and we left the windows down most of the day, so it was like being outside for the wee Scot!

I realize now that I never took a photo of our generous host and hostess!  I am so bad at taking people pictures!  But, I did get photos of their sweet little “babies”. They are Bichons and they are so adorable with their fluffy little poofy heads!

This is LadyBug.

And this is Chloe, sleeping away in her little stroller!

Thank you, Jeanne and Ben!  We had such a wonderful time visiting!  As we left, Ben advised us of the route he follows to go back home.  It was so cool as we passed nearby Adams, where we go snowmobiling in the winter!  Awesome. Awesome day. Awesome friends. Awesome visit!

I must add….I was about to publish this, when I thought I would comment further.  Mark is a trooper about driving and he seems to never tire!  When he felt like he was weary, he pulled over at one of the rest areas.  I had fallen sound asleep previously and didn’t even notice the stop!  When I awakened, I asked Mark where we were and we were only a short distance from home. mark pulled away and off we went once again.  As we traveled close to Canandaigua, we saw lights flashing ahead.  Two volunteer firemen were diverting traffic along another road.  When we drove down the road, I realized we were close to where Ben and Jeanne live!  One fireman had told us there had been a terrible accident ahead and thus the diversion.

We learned the following day a young man had gone through a stop sign on a small side road.  Another young man ran into his car, spinning it on the main road, where it was hit by yet another car. The young man who ran the stop sign was killed in the accident.  These things happen so sporadically…..one just never knows….

Plans for today changed this afternoon.  We had several tasks to accomplish, so we decided to go ahead and do them, so off we went to Rochester. After finishing up, we went to visit our friends at their house.  We had a really great time. The sky was blue, the wind was blowing like crazy, and the temperature was much more comfortable than the past couple of days.

Our friends ordered a pizza and wings for dinner. I could not believe my eyes when their daughter, Sarah, and Michelle returned with the pizza box….

That pizza box filled the entire width of the picnic table!  They had told us the pizza is twenty-seven inches across, but it is hard to imagine until one actually sees it! Half of the pizza had Italian sausage on it, and the other half was “veggie”.  It had peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, and broccoli.

So, it is still hard to imagine just how BIG this pizza is, so I will give you a better photo.  This was Michelle and Sarah serving up pieces. I think this photo will definitely give an accurate depiction.

I have seen sheet pizzas, but they are rectangular. This is such a huge round pizza!  And was it tasty? Oh my goodness, YES! What a treat!