Monday, April 30, 2007

In a Jam (again)

Jam, strawberry jam! It's all cooked up and sealed into jars. I added eight new jars (from today's batch) to those already in the cupboard. I checked the freezer and found I can make another batch or two of strawberry and a batch of blueberry too. I think I had best get busy and do something with last year's fruit before I start collecting any more. Maybe I'll even make a blueberry crumb cake or something yummy like that... I also have a turkey, two loaves of stuffing bread, a bag of tamales (homemade), and several bags of chile. Maybe I'll have to plan a dinner and invite my friends!
I'm also playing catch up with laundry. Monday's have become one of my bigger laundry days now that I don't have to wash clothes every day. The sun is shining bright and the wind is blowing. It looks like a perfect day to hang the clothes out on the line but the wind is so cold that I'm throwing it in the dryer instead. Not only is it cold but the wind wraps my hair around my head til it covers my eyes and I can't see where I'm going! I don't want to get lost and fall in the swamp!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

An Afternoon Walk With Rachel

It was a good afternoon to take a walk in the orchard. Rachel called and then came over and we walked together. We took a nice long walk, too long maybe for Hannah, but it was nice. I guess it was a little long for Jasmine too because she disappeared halfway through and we found her laying in the yard when we got back home.
After the walk we took a ride out to see Beth and Adam. They moved yesterday and Rachel wanted to see their new house. It's about 10 minutes from here and very neat and clean. The house is about 25 years old but everything inside has been redone, even the appliances are new. They have three bedrooms now, one for them, one for an office, and one for the baby that is due in late October. How fun!

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Little Bit Different

This has been a slightly out of the ordinary week and so I decided to rearrange my schedule a little bit more and I took Troy grocery shopping this morning. Now I don't have to go tomorrow. Neither do I have to clean at church because there is a church clean-up day and there will be plenty of others there to do the Sunday school rooms. (Pastor Roger said I didn't need to worry about it.) Tonight was our last "Kid's Club" meeting for the year and I am ready for the break. I also learned that I have just three weeks left to babysit before Troy's daddy is off for the summer vacation. Things are about to change a little bit around here.

My lilacs are starting to bud. I don't know if they'll be out in time for the Lilac Festival but we shall see. I don't mind having a lilac festival of my own right here at home. The parking is always good and I never have to use one of those public porta-potties. The lilacs usually bloom at about the same time as the apples, so the Apple Blossom Festival will be running at the same time. I'm hoping for warm weather this year!

Jasmine is still loving springtime. Every time I go outside, she has to come along. Can't say as I blame her.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

My Kind of Fish

This kind of fish makes a great pet. He comes in a wide variety of colors, is quiet, doesn't eat much and rarely needs to be cleaned. I never have to change the water in his bowl (he doesn't have one) and I don't have to worry that he might die on me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bird Watchers

I was out cleaning some trash out of the drainage ditch on Monday and saw this red winged black bird guarding his territory. He has been hanging around for the past several summers often sitting on a cattail. Sometimes the patches on his wings are brilliant and easy to see and other times I have to look a little closer in order to spot them. I never realized that only the males are black with red and yellow on their wings. The females are brown with white streaks. Little Cat finds the wild life down by the ditch rather interesting also. She came down to watch and visit for a bit. Maybe she was hoping to catch a frog or a nice fat mole.
We had our meeting with the town drainage committee on Monday night and they will be looking into our drainage problem a little more closely to see if they can determine what should be done. We are hoping for a good solution that won't cost us too much money. In the meantime the toads continue to inhabit the puddle.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Martha's Day Out

Today I met my friend Cindy and we went out to lunch. We spent hours just talking, laughing and reminiscing. Cindy's parents were neighbors of my parents when we were very small. In elementary and jr. high school we attended the same church, and once we went to summer camp together. Then somehow we drifted apart. We've missed out on so many years that our kids don't even know each other. My kids were asking me where I knew her from and I've known her all my life! Anyway, it was a wonderful break from my usual routine and we're looking forward to getting together again. Maybe next time we visit that little diner on Main Street here in town.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Check out Hannah's goose egg on "Kid Stuff".

Toadally Ridiculous

Okay, so on closer inspection today, we have come to the conclusion that our backyard friends are not "frogs" but toads. We have loads of toads! Mating toads. Anyway we caught a few this morning and then put them back. They are icky.
Toads come in brown and green and have ugly bumps on their backs. The like to live in our gardens in the summer. Sometimes they live under a rock or in a "Toad House".

Frogs, which seem

to be much more intelligent, live in the drainage ditch. This is a frog. Doesn't he look wise?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Swamp Friends

It is another day of sunshine and it feels even warmer today than yesterday with no cold breeze off Lake Ontario. The birds are happy, the frogs are happy, Jasmine is happy, and I'm happy! Today I opened my windows to let the fresh air in. It feels and sounds wonderful!

I caught a frog today and the best part was I didn't even get my feet wet! This little guy was singing his song in the swampy part of my neighbor's yard and I just walked out on the rock wall between our yards to have a look. I hear frogs on our side too but couldn't find any.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Man the Pumps!

More flowers! They are popping out all over the place and I am cleaning out the gardens as fast as I can. Soon it will be time to put in another vegetable garden. Mmmmm, yummy!
The last two days have been absolutely gorgeous! Sunshine definitely gives me some extra ambition and I feel so much better! I'm so glad the Lord sent us plenty of sun this weekend.

We have been pumping water out of the backyard for the past couple of days and our lawn is slowly emerging from the depths. The grass is surprisingly green after months of being submerged. Good bye Teal Lake! (I probably should have dubbed it Teal Swamp, maybe that would have given a better discription of what it would become if we didn't pump the water.) I can hardly wait to get out the lawn tractor!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Signs of Spring

The time has come to start pumping the pond out of the back yard and into the drainage ditch. It will probably take all weekend with several trips out into the water to refill the tank and restart the pump. Soon we will once again have a backyard and the ducks and geese will move on to another more permanant pond to raise their families. Hannah actually found a goose egg out there yesterday but it was cold and alone and likely already dead. It would be fun to watch baby geese but with a dog and three cats the geese would be much better off up the road or back in the orchard.

The weather has been much more pleasant the past couple of days. We still have a cold wind here by the lake but the sun is shining and its actually enjoyable to go outside. I think spring may be here to stay! I hope so. My daffodils have decided that it is safe to bloom and the hyacinths and tulips can't be too far behind.

I have been feeling rather sluggish lately and am looking for something to do. Maybe this afternoon I'll get out my rake and start cleaning leaves out of the gardens.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cold and Wet

The weather has been just plain cold and wet. Almost all of our snow has melted but we have more than enough water to go around. Troy and I decided to try sailing a boat in the "lake" but the wind was blowing the wrong direction. Guess we'll have to try again another day.

Not too much has been happening here and the days seem to drag on. Keeping a good attitude is an effort when things aren't going your way but there's nothing any of us can do to change the weather so we have to make the best of it. James and the kids have watched several old Roy Rogers films, I read a couple books by Dale Evans (Angel Unaware, and Dearest Debbie), we've drawn some pictures, and we are still plugging very slowly away at school work.
Every day I look for a little bit of sunshine but somedays I have to find it somewhere other than the sky. This morning I dew a little paper bag on a piece of paper. Troy took it, made a little scribble and said, "I give you some fries." Then he drew a little line and said, "and a burger." He had such a cute little smile on his face and looked so proud of himself.

Wishful Thinking

April 2006

Monday, April 16, 2007

April Snow Showers

Nobody wants a snowstorm in April but I guess we can't complain too much. We didn't get the worst of it and it will soon melt away again, right? I hope right.

My daffodils are just about ready to bust. They look like miniature ripe bananas waiting to be picked. This bunch is somewhat sheltered by a little rock wall next to the barn.

As the Crow Flies

This is a bird's eye view of our house back in 1994. I put a red dot on the house because the roof blends in with the trees making it hard to see. The white buildings are the barns and the road that you see up close to house now goes straight from the orchard out to the road. Hannah's little house sits about where you see it curve out into the orchard. All those "spots" are apple trees. They go on and on and on... Pretty cool, huh?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Get Up and Walk

In the fall of 1938, when he was just 6 yrs old, my father fell ill with polio. He was very sick and therefore hospitalized. His physician, Dr. Walker, did everything he could to help.
Many children in that day died of polio and many treatments were attempted. One of those treatment ideas was to give the child a blood transfusion. It was hoped that healthy blood would give him enough energy to stay alive until he could get better.
Al Sigl was a news reporter on the radio every day in Rochester, NY. It was Al Sigl who made the plea to find a blood donor for a gravely ill six year old boy. A Mrs. Sacrider (?) stepped forward to help the child and made a blood donation. My father was the first recipient. The transfusion was enough to help Dad hang on and he slowly began to get well. After spending approximately three weeks in the hospital he was taken home by ambulance to continue his recovery.
While sick in the hospital a cast was put on Dad's severely affected left leg and this cast was still on his leg when Dad went home. Dr. Walker told his parents there was no hope of their son ever walking again. My grandmother was not one to give up easily. She had heard of an osteopath whose treatments included massaging the legs with oil in hopes that the nerves and muscles would regain feeling and strength. Grandma told Dr. Walker of her plan to take Dad to one of these "doctors". In those days osteopaths and chiropractors were considered to be quacks and Dr. Walker told Grandma that if she took her boy to see one of them he (Dr. Walker) would quit. To Grandma Dr. Walker had already quit. She called Cr. Camp.
The first thing Dr. Camp did when he came to the house was to cut the cast off of Dad's leg. Dad couldn't move his leg and it had no feeling. The treatments began and continued week after week. Finally one day when they poked Dad's toe with a pin he said "Ouch!"
Little by little the feeling came back and Dad learned to walk again. One day Grandma called Dr. Walker and said "I have something to show you." When Dr. Walker came to the house Dad was sitting in a chair. Grandma told him to get up and walk across the room. When he did she told him to turn around and walk back. Dr. Walker called it a miracle.
One day when Dad was up and walking, there was a gathering in the park. Al Sigl was there and Dad was able to thank him publicly for his help in finding a blood donor and saving his life.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Clifford the Big Red Dog

This is my sister's beloved dog, Sherman. He is big, he is strong, and he is very excitable. Once upon a time he was just a little guy but he has grown to great heights. I like to call him Clifford, Clifford the Big Red Dog. He has also been referred to as "Sherman Tank". He can be slightly intimidating if you are not used to dogs and his tail is deadly, but he really loves people and can't wait to meet new friends.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dad's Birthday

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Since his birthday falls on a Thursday this year, thirteen things about my favorite dad...
1. He is seventy-five years young this year!
2. He gave wonderful piggy-back rides when I was a little girl and he could also turn me into a "sack of potatoes" and throw me over his shoulder.
3. He had just one brother but 46 cousins.
4. His grandpa taught him to play the harmonica when dad was a little boy.
5. He not only plays harmonica but guitar and banjo, and he also has a jaw's harp (Jew's harp?) which he used to play on rare occasion.
6. He is a polio survivor. The doctor said he would always be crippled but his mother took him to see an osteopath who helped him learn to use his legs again.
7. Dad took us camping every year when we were little girls. We usually camped not far from home often in our own hometown.
8. Dad grew a weedless vegetable garden.
9. Dad instilled in me a love for country gospel hymns and bluegrass music. Oh yeah, and a little bit of love for folksongs too!
10. He bought one house in his lifetime and still lives there today.
11. He's a great storyteller, book reader, and picture drawer.
12. He would do almost anything for his children. Once he drove all the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico just to bring James, Jimmy, and me back home to NY state.
13. I wouldn't trade him for the world. He is the most loving, dedicated, and devoted man I know!

She's Buggin' Me!

I drew a bug this morning. Alysa drew a bug too. So did Sara.

We've gone buggy!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Big Puddle, Little Boats

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to find a couple of toy boats to float on our "lake". (Yeah for K Mart!) Today it was finally warm enough for maiden voyages on the pond. The wind was blowing stong enough to push the boats across the water and Hannah was brave enough to don a pair of waders and venture out into the deep when the little vessels become grounded or stuck on a "reef". It was still a little chilly out there but the sun was shining and it was a great day for sailing. We have to enjoy the water while we can as James will be starting the pump as soon as the weather decides to stay warm. Think that's gonna happen any time soon?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lost at Sea

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5&6

I have been feeling a little bit lost these past couple weeks, like I'm not quite sure which direction to go or what path to take. The end of winter and beginning of spring are good at bringing out the melancholy side of me. On one hand I am eager to accomplish big things and on the other I feel an inability to follow through with that desire. I'd like to blame it on something other than myself but that isn't really fair when I am the only one able to do something about the problem. I feel a bit like a child who, after spinning herself around in circles until absolutely dizzy, takes off running at a sideways tilt. "Look out walls, here I come!" What direction am I headed anyway? Perhaps I am just tired from my week of fighting colds and allergies. Maybe I need nothing more than a good nap... or another cup of coffee.

...or a daughter to call (immediately after I finished this post) and ask if it was a good day to go for a walk. Thanks Beth!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Dangerously Fun Playground Equipment

Not wanting to post any new snow photographs, I went searching for something unrelated to today's weather.

Remember the day when every playground had it's own unique set of climbing equipment? This giraffe climber was at Ellison Park and looks like lots of fun. Imagine riding on the back of a giraffe! The campground at Webster Park had an Indian Teepee and an old stagecoach. What a great place it must have been to play cowboys and Indians! There was also a firetruck which we all took a turn or two driving. I remember a train at one of the schools and a covered wagon somewhere out there too.

Where did they all go? I suppose they were long ago deemed dangerous and removed from playgrounds all across America. I'm sure there were several kids who managed to break bones falling off them but I didn't know any. I do vaguely recall getting the wind knocked out me a time or two. It taught me to be more careful and hold on tighter. Now I'm just curious where all these wonderful creations ended up.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

If You Don't Like the Weather...

If you don't like the weather, wait a minute.

The weather here is liable to do just about anything. This morning we woke to a snow covered Easter, not just a dusting but several inches. It has been below freezing now for about a week and the flowers, which were thinking about blooming a few days ago, are looking rather droopy and sad. I'm beginning to wonder if the daffodils can survive such a long cold snap. (Good thing I have plenty of pictures from last year.) Today the temperatures have finally gotten back up to freezing and the warming trend is forecast to continue.
So, today was Easter Sunday. We don't typically do Easter baskets with our kids but we had a very nice ham dinner after church this afternoon. Our kids and my parents were here, only Leta was missing as she had to work. We had some fun drawing together and Mom and Dad played the marble game with Beth and Adam. Now the boys and Hannah are watching old Roy Roger's movies with James while I sit here and write. My parents have gone home and so have Beth and Adam. Looks like it will be a quiet and relaxed evening. Mmmmmm.... time for a nice cup of tea!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dude!

I love you!

Cold and Wintery

April 2006

It's April and I am feeling eager to get outside in the sunshine and do some yard work. I'm ready to rake all the old, dry leaves out of my flower gardens, clean up the yard, and set my chairs out on the back porch. Maybe it will happen next week if winter decides it has had enough of western New York for the season. The past few days have been blustery and cold with snow flakes flying through the air. Troy wanted to go outside yesterday but I thought it best to stay inside especially since I wasn't the only one with a terrible sounding cough.I'm feeling much better today and sleeping at night too. This is good. I hope Troy is doing okay.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wishful Thinking

This morning I woke to snow on the ground, not a lot, but
snow none the less. It was not totally unexpected but I would much rather be seeing daffodils. I can hardly wait.

My cold is getting better, I think. I am now the proud owner of a rather hoarse throat and a terrible barking cough. The kleenex are never far away and I am constantly washing my hands. I think I have consumed enough tea for all of England these past few days as well as several Tylenol Sinus pills. Yesterday I took a nice long afternoon nap and, now that the moonshine is gone, I can sleep at night too.

Teal Lake seems to be here for the long haul. We have sent a form into the town drainage committee to see if anything can be done other than starting up our portable gasoline pump. Pumping the water means days of wading out into the pond to refill the tank on the engine and who knows how many gallons of gas. And then, if it rains hard again the water just comes back. I think our neighbor is a bit disgusted with it too as part of the water is on his side of the property line. One guy we had look at it suggested we buy some ducks and enjoy. Not funny!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring Vacation

Spring is leaving upstate for a short time. The next several days are forcast to be cold with "snow showers" likely. The snow won't stick around long and I highly doubt there will be even enough for snowballs. This is not the weather we had hoped for but we will have to make the best of it and find some great things to do that don't include working in the yard or walking in the orchard. The warm weather is slow arriving but so very much appreciated when it finally does. I am really looking forward to open windows and fresh air!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Today I feel yucky. I don't know whether its allergies or a cold but I just want to lay down and go to sleep. I am stuffy, achy, and tired. Time to find the Tylenol and Robitussin and my pillow.

Tomorrow is another day...

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Foolin'

My computer has finally caught up with daylight savings time, in fact it almost fooled me this morning when the time said 10:00 AM rather than 9:00 AM. We had set it for Atlantic time rather than Eastern these past two weeks just so that it would read the right time. Silly, I know...
Allergy season is settling in and my sinuses are acting accordingly. I am rather stuffed up and feeling slightly sneezy also. I suppose I will adjust eventually or else remember to take my antihistamine on a more regular basis. A little inspiration is always helpful. In the meantime I need to keep a box of kleenex handy and remember to cover my mouth when I sneeze!