Weathervanes

Another View of Letchworth State Park

I featured small but beautiful Letchworth State Park here last summer.  We were so surprised to rediscover this gem so nearby.  When we were looking at snowmobiles last fall, we spoke to a dealer who told us that Letchworth is awesome in the winter for snowmobiling.

As Mark is always given to doing, he called the trail coordinator who grooms Letchworth trails and asked how the trails were.  When he was told they were in fine shape, Ben loaded the sleds and we were off!

Letchworth’s “heart” is the Genesee River Valley which runs through the park, featuring steep cliffs and scenic gorges. Letchworth abounds with scenic areas, but to me, they are more outstanding in the winter.  Without the foliage, the cliffs seem even steeper, the evergreens even greener, and everything in general seems more awesome.

We were able to park in a huge unplowed parking lot where a few other trailers had done so previously.  We unloaded and were ready to ride.  The first miles, the snowmobile trails run parallel to the park roads, with some “ditchbanging”. (riding right next to the road, or on the road)

Rather quickly, snowmobilers come to this sign which indicates that the fun begins!

The signs below are designated snowmobile trails, or corridors, sanctioned by New York State.

As one can see, a vehicle larger than a snowmobile just isn’t going to fit through!

Although the park is handicap-accessible,  there are so many places to stop and see the scenery, it would take a day of just loading and unloading a wheelchair to be able to see the scenery.  Some areas are impossible to get a wheelchair in, so this ride was so incredible for Mark; he could see everything we saw!

The ride on the road was luxurious!  The snow was fantastic, the base was firm and well established, and it was so nice! We saw several sleds out,  but they were pretty much few and far between.  There is a section with a huge wall built of stone…as we passed by it,  I loved how the snow had stuck to it, forming a pretty pattern!

It’s fun to take a ride like this because one sees things normally missed! And, I could take pictures! (I did have to hurry, though, as the riders I was with could end up far, far ahead, were I to lolligag!)

At one scenic area,  Mark told me there was this really awesome “blue ice” on the walls of the cliffs.  I said I would photograph it….he and Ben had already ridden around there, so as I went in to take photos, they took off!

I did catch up!  Then we took a ride through the woods!

Mark stopped and turned around to me. Without saying a word, he motioned ahead….

Snowmobilers must be mindful of the deer!  A collision with a deer could be quite detrimental! We went a short distance and this single deer stood, looking back.

Behind it was a group of deer!

We drove past District 12 Schoolhouse.

By this time, we were prety much at the south end of the park. It was getting to be late afternoon, and we needed to travel back to the truck.  Michelle had stayed there with a backpack full of school books and a pair of Scottie dogs!

We arrived back to the truck at about five o’clock.  I was tired and I felt like I had swollen glands, so I was happy to climb into the truck with Michelle and the Scotties.  We sat and talked for awhile, as Ben and Mark drove off “for just a short ride” headed north.  Michelle suddenly decided she wanted to ride, so she hopped into her snowpants, popped on her helmet and goggles, a pair of gloves…..and off she went down the trail Ben and Mark had taken!

I sat enjoying doing a bit of reading and relaxing, when I suddenly began to wonder where they had gone!  The impending darkness was beginning to settle in, and although it is possible to ride in the park in the dark,  permits must be obtained from the park police.  As the sky grew darker and darker, I wondered where my family might be!

Mark had taken my camera from me when he left.  Finally, after six o’clock, the trio showed up once again at the truck! It seems Michelle wanted to ride some, so they had gone several miles with her! Ben and Mark took her to one of the scenic lookouts and Mark took a photo….

Yeah, they do indeed look like ALIENS!!!! You, dear reader, can see that it was getting quite dark, as the reflective tape on Ben’s jacket was reflecting as the flash went off!

This was so much fun. The temperature was actually warm and the ride was smooth! We all had a great day! This is definitely a “we need to come back again” ride!

A Delightful Saturday

Today, Michelle was invited over to visit her friend, Jacob.  Michelle likes going to Jacob’s house because he has two young sisters and a Jack Russell Terrier.   Jacob’s dad is the pastor of a church and they live in a big parsonage next to the church.

This was on our property as we headed down the hill today.

Yes, there is ice there, along with water running. It was so pretty!

We took Michelle over to visit early this afternoon and then Mark, Ben, and I went for a nice Saturday afternoon drive in the country.  We decided to take another trip to Sauder’s (the Mennonite “grocery store”)  The store was so stuffed full of people, wecould hardly move!

Along the way, we saw this cool church steeple.

As you can see, the poor steeple is in need of some TLC.  The funny part is that the church below the steeple is in fine shape.  Only the steeple is in need of help!  Perhaps the problem lies in getting someone brave enough to do the work!

A we passed through the little town of Waterloo,  Mark thought I sould take a photo of the hardware store, where the window was full of highly polished bright copper weathervanes.  Of course, curiosity caused me to walk over to the store and check out the price of that big fish weathervane.  It’s price of  $899 was nearly as hefty as the vane itself!

We picked Michelle up again shortly after dinner.  As we drove past the boat launch down in Woodville,  I asked Mark to park in the parking lot for a few minutes.  I wanted to see if there were any redwing Blackbirds hanging out there so the family could hear the funny sounds they make.  Sure enough, there were many birds there. The fellow below kept opening his wings up and making all sorts of sounds!

There weren’t just blackbirds, either.  I spotted a Hairy Woodpecker working on a tree right near the water as well as the little Robin below, hiding amongst the brush. Shortly thereafter, another Robin appeared and I realized they were courting.

We got home shortly before seven, just in time to watch a Sabres game.  Thankfully, they won the game, assuing them a spot in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup this year.  Oh, how wonderful THAT would be……….

Someone Turned on the Snow Machines!

Michelle had plans to visit with her friend Jacob this afternoon.  Before we left,  we had to move, shovel, and plow snow again.  There really wasn’t a lot, but Mark wants to make sure he keeps up with it. 

As we passed by Woodville on our way, Mark and I couldn’t believe how beautiful the lake appeared. It was as smooth as glass.  Mark pulled into the boat launch so I could take a few photos….and I didn’t even have to ask him!

Those “spots” are actually ice fishermen.  I was surprised at how close they were to the edge of the ice.  Must be the fish like to hang out there!

And here is one looking up the lake towards Canandaigua.

There was what looked like a mist up the lake but in thinking about it, it might have been an area of snow squalls. It was that kind of day, after all.

We dropped Michelle at Jacob’s house and then went to Canandaigua.  Mark and Ben did a little shopping while I waited in the truck with the Scotties.  By the time the guys finished their shopping, it was time to pick Michelle back up once again! As we drove southward towards Middlesex,  I noticed that the scenery had changed from earlier….a wet, sticky snow was “decorating” everything it fell on.  Think in terms of a gingerbread house!

We arrived back home in the dark, but I just had to take a few pictures.  I LOVE this kind of snow. On the way out to the back deck, the roses Mark and I picked up at Sam’s Club the day of the big storm were just calling out to have their photo taken!

Should I tell you, Dear Reader, that those roses sell there for $5.87 a dozen?  No kidding….

Yes, of course…I really did need to take a closeup of the Scottie weathervane.  I love it all decorated!

The lilac bush in the side yard is almost as awesome with its snowy shroud as when it flowers!

When I got upstairs, I opened the bedroom window and took a photo of the trees outside.

The temperature has mellowed to the point where it is staying right at freezing.  This produces that wet sloppy snow that frosts everything! And tomorrow morning?  We will be back outside once again, shovels in hand and ready to go!

More Weathervanes and More

Yesterday morning, Michelle and  I were off early to Canandaigua.  We had some wet, sloppy snow during the night, so we left a bit early,  but the roads were in fine condition.

After dropping Michelle at school, I went shopping for a few groceries.  As I left WalMart,  I drove through the old WalMart plaza and saw this…

I thought it was pretty cool the driver “parked” his horse and buggy out away from traffic and didn’t use the handicapped spaces.  As I sat looking, a man and a boy walked up to the buggy, so I put on my telephoto lens.

I can see by the clean-shaven face, this man is probably Old Order Mennonite, as the Amish married men have beards.

My next stop was at the bank, and I smiled as I saw this sign in the window….

The bank actually has a beautifully hand-painted rock in the gizmo where one places money and deposit slips.  That photo isn’t focussed well, but between the glass of the bank and my hurried “snap”…well…!

I took the lakeside road once again.  I am not sure if I am more “bold” now or what, but because there was practically no traffic on the road,  I stopped and took photos of some more weathervanes.  I even did something I’ve not done before…..I actually took some photos of the weathervanes on houses! The others were taken on garages or beach houses.

I’m pretty sure this first vane is made by the same company as my Scottie vane.  I sure looks similar!

There is a local magazine called Canandagua that I had received a free copy of a couple years ago.  In it was featured a house on the lake that was beyond my imagination! It was gorgeous and I think it belonged to a married couple that are doctors.  Anyway, this is their whimsical vane!

The next vane is on a beautiful old house.  The vane looks like it is also very old. I believe it is made of copper, and look at the cap where it is attached.  It looks like it was made specifically for that particular home’s application!

I couldn’t tell by eye what, exactly, the vane is, but the telephoto lens did a good job of letting me see that it looks like a ship’s mast, billowing in the wind.

The next vane really threw me over the edge.  From the road, it looked kind of like a weathervane that had been damaged.  After uploading my photos, I could see that it was not damaged! It looks like a handcrafted vane and it is a grasshopper!

I love the cupola with the bell!

I got home and Ben called out to see the male Downy Woodpecker on the suet feeder….

This morning,  we are surrounded by what looks like a thin coating of “frosting”!  We had a light coating of sticky snow that is pasted to everything! So, why not show *my* weathervane?

For drama, here it is with the flash on….

and off….

I was so tired yesterday. I had had a fine night’s sleep the night before, but I was so dragging yesterday! I had all my photos resized and ready to upload to my blog (with the exception of today’s Scottie weathervane photos, of course!) but instead of blogging,  I went to bed early!

You’re So Vane…

Yessir….every now and then, especially while I am driving,  I come up with a grand idea for a photo op.  Such was the case this gloomy, dismal, snowy morning!

Michelle and I left the house and the roads were much less than stellar! They were snow-covered, and with the temperature hanging at just below freezing, all the stuff they were putting on the road was mixing with the wet snow to form some pretty greasy slop!  You have no idea just how happy I am to have those brand spanking new tires on the Explorer!  And yes, it is wonderful having windows that work well, too!

I dropped Michelle off at school and as I was driving home,  I wondered what would be the safest route.  I really dislike traveling on fast roads in weather like this, so I once again opted to travel the lake road.  It was a wise choice as there was essentially no traffic and the road was pretty clear!

I drove past the place I had seen the Redhead Ducks yesterday, but didn’t see anything other than what seemed like zillions of Canada Geese.  It was shortly after this that I had that brainstorm moment! As gray and ugly as the sky is, it would be a good background for some weathervane shots!  And so, I slowly made my way down Lake Road. Thankfully, only two vehicles came up behind me the entire trip.

So, for your viewing pleasure….(I wish I would have taken the Nikon, but settled for the tiny Panasonic this morning, instead)

There were a lot more vanes, but these were some of the coolest I spotted. 

As I traveled just a little further south of where I saw all the ducks yesterday,  I saw scads and scads of Coots.  I would guess there were well over a thousand of them bouncing up and down on the open water.  Just outside there group, there were many more Redhead Ducks.  Even though I have no desire to live on the lake and pay the ridiculous taxes those homes pay, it would be nice to be able to observe the waterfowl that shows up there on a regular basis!

When I arrived home, I had to make my way up the driveway which has about 4 or 5 inches of snow on it.  I put the Explorer into 4×4 High and came up with no difficulties at all!