wandering

Another picnic and choices….

This could easily become a habit!  One of my favorite things to do is to go on picnics! It is so much fun being outside and as my mom has always said, food *always* tastes better outside!

Michelle and her fiance, Jacob, want to have a wedding next May.  Michelle wants to be married in the spring, and she was thinking the weather might cooperate by the end of May. They also have agreed that they don’t want a typical church wedding.  Since they both love the outdoors, they have decided an outdoor wedding would suit them well. Of course, the problem that arises is where such a wedding can take place.  There are venues such as Sonnenberg Gardens State Park in Canandaigua, but it comes with a hefty price tag.  Also, Michelle and Jacob are thinking a more rustic setting is what they would like.

So….yesterday, Mark, Michelle, and I (Ben was working) set off for Letchworth State Park in Mount Morris. We met up with Jacob, his parents, and his two younger sisters to explore the various pavilions that Michelle and Jacob had scoped out previously.

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This was the first (and only enclosed) pavilion we looked at.  It is quite pretty. And here is the opposite end…

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Since weather can be somewhat unpredictable in May, this might be a good venue as it is enclosed.

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Michelle and Jacob really like this field as a choice as well. They were thinking that they could rent a party tent and set it up here.  This is a beautiful setting and there is lots of parking nearby as well.

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This pavilion was yet another choice.  The problem here would be if it was rainy or chilly, it would present problems. 

As we discussed the various areas, we saw why they liked the park.  I only wish it was closer. It might be a bit challenging moving all the necessities there as well as food and decorations. 

There are places closer to home that are nice, but there are issues of restrooms, parking, and size that present problems.  Thankfully, Jacob’s dad is a minister, so he can do a wedding wherever they decide!

We stopped along the way and had a wonderful little picnic. It was a beautiful day and there really weren’t very many people in the park!  It was so enjoyable.  Our picnic table reminded me of the Flintstones!

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We got home a little after nine-thirty and I think we all slept well! We did get some exercise, hiking about to look at the various buildings!

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!!!

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!

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!

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!!!

 

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!

Happy New Year!

Are you getting the same feeling as I am….that last year seemed to fly away like the bird in the photo above?  It doesn’t feel possible that a whole new year has approached us and is lying ahead!

We went to the magical place yesterday to feed the brave birds that came to us.  Brave? Yes, brave!  There were wind chill alerts as an Arctic air mass swooped down upon us, bringing not only cold temperatures, but wind that cut like a knife!  We weren’t out very long, but came back with cheeks that were red as apples! The cold really wasn’t so bad, but when the wind blew, it was brutal!

I am having a really bad time with this blog lately.  When I try to post, it somehow scrambles my photos, making it impossible to properly format.  I tried to upload photos today and they all wound up at the top.  That is not where I wanted them.  So, I will just leave the one above of the fleeing Chickadee and hope there is some way I can fix this problem. The other photos were just more Chickadees, so I guess no one is missing much!

So, I am wishing you, Dear Reader,  a Happy, Healthy, and Wonderful New Year!