nature

Hummer Fun

This afternoon, I had to clip you-know-who’s nails.  He really isn’t thrilled to get his nails clipped, so I have to muzzle him.  After doing his nails, I got my camera and sat on the floor for a few minutes with him.  I had placed a hummingbird feeder outside my window, and as I was on sitting there, a bird came to feed!  I quickly snapped away! Unfortunately, this was far away and also through the window, but I got a photo!

 

 

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!

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!!!

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!

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!!!

 

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!!!

 

We are so in the deep freeze!

It is sooo cold outside!  This is a good time to check on the elderly to make sure they are warm and safe inside their homes.  It is also important to make sure our pets are warm and have plenty of water to drink.  It has been so very cold at our house all day.  The sun made an awesome appearance this afternoon, but even its bright rays and relatively cloudless skies were no match for the cold.  The cold prevailed in spite of itself!

As I was looking out the window this afternoon,  I noticed something very unusual.

This little ice formation was on the window.  I thought it looks a lot like a tiny maple leaf!

Mark plowed the driveway, getting the last of the snow tucked away where it no longer impedes movement of the vehicles. When he finished, he was so cold he was happy to be inside!  This is the time of year when we are so grateful to see firewood stacked in the garage.  The house has remained warm and cozy!

When Mark was done plowing today, I went over to the new neighbors’ driveway and did a little clearing off their driveway.  My skills are nowhere as fine as Mark’s, but I did make the driveway a bit more passable.  I love plowing, but am not real sure about where to pile the snow.  Not knowing exactly where boundaries are is a bit scary, particularly in the dark.  I basically just improved a small area and Mark said he could fix it later. Since the people live in Canada, they aren’t here all the time, so what I did was probably okay.