holidays

Balloons over Letchworth!

Sunday was a rather remarkable day. I had discovered that hot air balloons would be launching at Letchworth Park over a period of a few days during the Memorial Day weekend. I love hot air balloons and I especially like photographing them!

I spoke to Carly on Saturday and asked if she and her family would like to go, too. They did! Since the balloons were launching at 6:30 pm, and Carly wasn’t available to go until afternoon, we made plans for an impromptu picnic.  We had grilled chicken breasts, a broccoli salad, and a lemon meringue pie.

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That doesn’t sound like a lot of food, but I think we all were full at the end of our picnic!  Oh, we also did something different….we ate at one of those stone tables!  It reminded me of something from the Flintstones!  It was wonderful, though, as we had a scenic view of the gorge.

After our picnic, we headed off for the balloon launch. It was fascinating. The ad  said there were thirty balloonists invited and although I didn’t count, I know there were lots of balloons there.  It was amazing as it seemed like the field would never contain many of these aircrafts! The public was allowed to sit and watch very close to the actual balloons.  This made it even more fascinating. I never realized they used a generator and fans to begin the process of filling the balloons.

As the first balloons began being filled, there were some breezes that would move them about!  I left everyone and went a bit closer to the first batch.  I met a young lady there with her boyfriend who sometimes rode in the chase vehicle for one of the pilots.  She told me all kinds of information.  She said the pilot has to get permission to land….I had never even thought about that before. She said that some people absolutely refuse to allow a balloon to land on their property, so the pilot must lift up again and go on until they can obtain permission from another property owner.

This was such an exciting adventure!

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We actually saw some of the baskets (with people inside!) tumble to one side as the wind blew and caused the balloon to sway!  People from the balloon crew quickly hopped to the rescue and held the basket upright! Some looked as though it took a great deal of effort!

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This was so awesome! The balloons just seemed to hang in the air over the gorge!  It was so beautiful. I am so glad we were able to do this!  I plan on making this an annual event!!!

Resurrection Sunday!

We hadn’t been back to visit my parents and Randy in such a long time!  With such a cold winter, we hadn’t gone out much at all.  When we saw that the weather was going to be warm and sunny yesterday, we made plans to visit!

The morning started out a bit chilly, but we saw the temperature outside climbing as we drove along.  I had picked up some pretty yellow Tulips for Mom and Dad and couldn’t help snapping a photo of them against the blue sky as we drove along! Of course, they looked beautiful once Mom placed them on a table in the house!

We went out to eat at the rod and gun club and as usual, the meals were out of this world!  When Mark, the kids, and I discovered prime rib was on the menu, we all ordered that.  Afterwards, we went over to the house. Mark, the kids, and Randy went to a park where they fiddled around flying remote-control helicopters and Michelle walked Murphy. Michelle told a funny story later….seems a foreign woman at the park saw Murphy and thought he was a goat! Poor Murphy….

At dinnertime, we were still pretty full from our large lunch, but Mom had a beautiful veggie tray. Since the sun was shining and it was such a beautiful day, we ate our veggies (along with carrot cake for dessert) outside at the picnic table! We laughed later, knowing full well if we had planned anything like this, it probably would have rained.  Or snowed! We also knew if we told anyone we ate outside on April 20th, they most likely would not believe us!

So….a picture tells all!

We had a great time visiting and as always, it was hard saying good-byes. All in all, it was a beautiful day, well spent!

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!

Well, blow the man down……

Yousers! The wind outside has been tremendously noisy yesterday and thus far today! The trees are swaying and there are big branches everywhere! I guess this is one way to prune back trees!

I got up this morning much later than usual. I was awakened at 3:30 by a young person who was concerned I should load the woodstove so we wouldn’t freeze! I wasn’t very excited about crawling out of bed to do this task, but I did it anyway.  It was still warm in the house, so it wasn’t vital, but it was nice to have the house still warm when I got up this morning. The outside temperature said -13 on WeatherBug, but our thermometer on the front porch was reading closer to -16.  With the wind so brutally blowing,  the wind chill is crazy low!

We still had the Christmas tree up and so one of the first things I did was disrobe it after I bumped it and thousands needles fell like rain to the floor! That tree has been up for over a month, so it really was time to take it down!  The house looks strangely empty now and as I look around, I would love to paint the living room and maybe even more.  I am thinking I am kind of tired of buttery yellow walls!

The little birds outside are visiting the feeders so much, I have to keep refilling them.  It is rather incredible that their tiny bodies can endure this wicked weather.  Somehow, they just fluff up their feathers and keep on going. Amazing little animals! The good news is that the sun appears to be making an appearance today and perhaps things might “feel” a bit warmer. The wind is supposed to subside somewhat as the day progresses and that will be good.  We have not gotten any new snow throughout this event and I heard that some areas were getting blizzard conditions.  We hardly have any snow left from last week and by the end of this week, the weather is forecast to be well above freezing once again.  This is such strange weather!

I took this photo of Murphy before Christmas and it is really a test to see if I can post pictures again. The verdict is, yes!  Looks like Word Press is cooperating once again! Hurrah!

We are supposed to go to our friends’ house tonight for music. We have missed the past couple of weeks because of the holidays, then Carolyn’s mom fell and was hospitalized for a few days. It will be nice to be getting back into the swing of things once again.  Mark just loves playing music and I think he has missed it.

One more aside….When I plowed the neighbors’ driveway, I did it as a “neighborly” thing to do. We had seen the people over there with shovels and Mark and I thought we should help out. Well, on Sunday, the fellow came over and paid us. I felt terrible but he insisted.  Anyway, I found out that the fellow who owns the house is a Buffalo Sabres fan!  Wow!!! I am hoping he and Mark can get together sometime and talk hockey!  How cool would that be?  When I spoke to the man who bought the house last summer, he told me he worked for Bauer..the company that sells sporting equipment.  How awesome it would be if he and Mark can talk serious hockey!!!

 

The last of the Christmas photos!

When I was little, I remember we used to drive around the streets of my hometown, looking at the pretty Christmas lights.  I still enjoy looking at lights, although I guess a lot of displays have become more complex than just stringing lights on coniferous trees or highlighting one’s house.

And so, this particular display in a driveway in Canandaigua made me chuckle.  Canandaigua is located on the lake, after all.

Now, if you cannot quite make out what you are looking at….this is a power boat parked in the driveway, filled with plastic Santas.  I did notice that if enlarged, one of the plastic figurines way in the back is a Mrs. Claus.  Anyway, this made me smile.  Hope it makes you smile, too!

And….the reason I am showing these photos instead of photos taken today is because I am whipped!  It has snowed and snowed all day long.  I don’t imagine we had anywhere near the amount that fell in my hometown (in the snowbelt) but we have at least twelve inches.  I was out shoveling early this morning and again this afternoon.  Even though the snow was fluffy, it wore me out!  And…..I am not taking anymore snow photos for now!

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!