Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Little Entertainment

Alysa much enjoyed the player piano. When I was in Jr High my friend, Judy, had a player piano in her parents living room. Once in a while we would sit and play rolls of music. I fell in love with the player piano possibly because I had finally found an instrument I could play with little practice, a giant music box.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Great NY State Fair

Summer is quickly drawing to a close, so this morning we packed a lunch and headed off to Syracuse and the NY State Fair. I am a cheapie when it comes to spending money at carnivals so we did much walking, little spending, and basically enjoyed the sights.

The sand sculpture is always amazing. This year it was an extravogant shipwreck . This is just a small portion.
Alysa tried on some new clothes.

The girls loved the calves as much as I do. We found a little one, smaller than the one here, who sucked on our fingers. It really feels funny.

We checked out not only the cows, but the other farm animals. The pigs didn't smell too bad today, maybe because the weather was cool and it was still early.

I splurged for some ice creams in the dairy building. If we had stayed around a bit longer, we could have had a nice cold cup of chocolate milk for a quarter.
I picked up some fresh produce to take home. Cute aren't they?

And, we had to find the room with the player piano before we left. A player piano is rather like a giant music box. I guess that's why I find them so intriguing.

It was a busy morning and I think most of us would have liked to wander around a bit longer and enjoy the day, but we had to be back by about 4 o'clock, so we headed back to the van and made our way home.
Apparently Priscilla and her family went to the fair yesterday. Here is Allen's account.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The "List"

For the past week I have been tossing around hopes and dreams, ideas and ambitions. They have bounced about my brain, muddled my mind, and confused my concentration. I have finally come to the conclusion that this "Bucket List" is actually a compilation of possibilities. I thought I should go out on a limb, dream big (but realistic), and have some fun. Here is my "Bucket List".

1. Open a coffee shop- Maybe I'll just turn my kitchen into one and always be ready to serve guests fresh baked goods and a hot cup of coffee. Of course, there will be big, soft cookies for the children and homemade jam to spread atop a slice of hot bread.

2. Own a pottery studio- One day I'll buy myself a potter's wheel and put that little kiln out in Barn 2 to good use. I'll fill my cupboards with turned plates, bowls, and cups, make all sorts of wonderful sculptures and sell them to the locals and tourists. I'll never be seen without a ball of clay in my hands.

3. Design and manufacture toys- I've painted several puzzles in my time, but since my stop at the Fisher Price Toy Town Museum, I've again been thinking about making toys myself. (I used to dream of toys that didn't even exist. This is because I haven't ever really grown up.) Between James or Nathan and myself, we could think up and build some pretty cool stuff.

4. Become a published author- I'm pretty sure I've already "written a book" here on my blog, but I think it would be great to actually write a story and see it on the shelf in a bookstore. I know its a longshot, but anything is possible.

5. Create a "Kidspace"- I think it would be a riot to take a small space in my house and turn it into a play area for children. Imagine opening a kid-size door in the hallway and finding a miniature world inside. It could be whatever I wished it to be... a forest, the ocean floor, a tiny house, a castle... Hmmm, do I really need that walk-in closet?

6. Meet more of my blogger friends- I've met a few so far and its hardly like meeting a stranger. Maybe I'll do some traveling too.

In the midst of my endeavors, I pray the love of Christ shines through, that no matter what He leads me to do I will be a testimony to His love and grace.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Call of the Not So Wild

Its time to start walking more diligently again. The orchards are calling. Last night I took the dogs on a very short walk and by the time we returned home Sofie was looking somewhat green. They cut the grass in the orchard yesterday. She is hardly big enough to make it through the long grass with not much promise of getting significantly bigger, and her longish white hair is quite close to the ground. Good thing she's washable.

I did some ironing this afternoon and find that my neck and shoulder are rebelling. I think some Advil may be in my very near future as we have a Kid's Class to lead at church tonight and I don't think I want to take a headache along with me.

I ♥ Your Blog Award

Thank you to Vicki. (I didn't even realize you were still stopping by. You are a sweetheart also.)

I award this to Christine and Wanda. (Sorry Christine, I am a little slow today and you are much too quick!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Crossing the Border

So, after our visit to the Fisher Price Museum we headed for the border. We paid the $3 fee and crossed the Peace Bridge into Fort Erie. (No passports, just driver's licenses and birth certificates.) Years ago my husband had several relatives living in the Fort Erie area. We would pack up our one child, drive the two hours and stay with his mom in Crystal Beach, visit Nanny in Fort Erie, or stop to see Aunt Jeanne or Aunt Sharlene. In the past 25 years many of these people have moved on to other places... Yesterday we stopped at the just the right store to buy mint Aero bars (we know where to go now) and then headed over to see if "Grandma" Gail was home. It was about 2:30 and she was gone out, so we stopped at the seemingly abandoned Ridgeway Battlefield Museum. All locked up just like the past several times we've stopped. We're Teals so we always stop to look. (Enlarge the photo...)
I drove to Ridgeway and lost all sense of direction. I am programmed to have a Great Lake to my north. Lake Ontario is my compass whenever I need to know which direction I am traveling, but in Ridgeway the Great Lake, in this case Lake Erie, is to the south. You might think this is just a simple direction change, but it sends me spinning. I wasn't exactly lost, but I didn't quite know where I was either.
We found an access road to Windmill Point Beach and decided to check it out. It is a small rocky, sand and shell covered beach that was all but deserted. I'm sure when the Lakes were clean it was a wonderful place to play. Grandmanita would know and have plenty of stories to tell besides.

When we left Windmill Point I thought we might head for Crystal Beach but as luck would have it, I was still confused and we ended up back in Fort Erie instead. Not to be undone, we decided to look for the "old dance hall". We found it wild, overgrown and full of intrigue and mystery, with a gorgeous view of the city of Buffalo just across the mouth of the Niagara River.
See? Buffalo.

And finally, we went back to see if "Grandma" Gail had returned home. I'm happy to say we found her and had a nice albeit short, visit. She insisted on giving us drinks and feeding us chips and watermelon. She thought maybe we should stay for supper, but the day was wearing on and we needed to go home.

Wanna Play?

Yesterday we took a drive to the Fisher Price Toy Museum in East Aurora, NY. The Little People were always my favorite toys when I was a little girl, so it was a fun place to look around.
Bethany went along with us and even Josh thought it was a pretty cool place, bright, colorful, and full of wonderful stuff. He especially like the playroom where he could crawl around and touch things.

There were cases and cases of unplayed with toys looking lonely locked behind cold glass. It's hard to believe that the rough looking bunch of toys I keep in a bucket in the corner of my living room once looked like that.
It was a fun day out. We didn't go home after visiting East Aurora, but headed north toward Buffalo and crossed the border into Fort Erie. More on that later...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Love of God

The Love of God Frederick M. Lehman 1917

The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled, and pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away, and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray, on rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure, all measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race— the saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Very Vicious Vines

Picking blackberries is dangerous business! These thorns show no mercy and grow not only along each and every stem, but on the underside of each leaf also. It is not possible to pick any decent amount of fruit without being stabbed by at least several of these tiny hooked spears. We have finally gotten a little smarter and decided to wear those rubbery-pawed garden gloves while picking.
So anyway, Ben, Hannah, and I went out to Webster and beyond this morning. We stopped in Joann Fabrics to look for kid craft ideas and then headed over to Target where I picked up a portable crib. Beth needed hers elsewhere and Josh still needs a place to sleep at Grandma's. I think with another grandson on the way, I should have one of my own anyway. We also went to Michael's where I went in to look around and Ben and Hannah waited in the van. Along with a couple craft ideas, I found a treasure, a rocking chair! It was marked down to $23.99 from $99 and I have been thinking about finding one of these for the past couple of days. Now I have to sand, paint and stain, glue and assemble it. Another project to help keep me busy. As long as I finish some of these adventures they will be well worth getting into. Speaking of finishing, I think I need to go make another balckberry pie.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Going to the Beach

Hannah spent the day with a friend, so I decided to take Sara, who wasn't with me last time, to see the Sodus Bay Lighthouse. She was excited to go and, of course, climbed the steps to the top of the tower even though she says she is afraid of heights. Alysa was thrilled to climb the tower for the second time and to show her older sister the sights from the top.

After visiting the lighthouse we drove down to the beach. First the girls looked for shells which are few and far between, and then, after walking back and forth in the shallow water, decided to build some sand castles. Alysa pulled the sand into a pile and packed it smooth and Sara dribbled wet sand into a lumpy tower.

None of us were really dressed for the beach. The girls were wearing shorts and had crocks on their feet, but I was wearing long jeans and my socks and sneakers. I occupied myself taking pictures and looking for a good "bucket shot".

The Bucket List

I heard about "The Bucket List" just a few days ago. The idea of writing one has been swirling around in my head. I am afraid that my list is not all that long unless I include all those things that have already been checked off. I'm not quite ready to die yet (I don't think...) so I am going to think on this a little bit more today and return later with a photo and my own "Bucket List". I think it'll make a good Thursday Thirteen. Anyone else game?
I am finding that I am not very bold or daring, and not very ambitious either... I'm not into bungee jumping or sky diving. Maybe I just need a bit more time to sort through my options. How about I post it next Thursday?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Staying busy is hard work. I'm tired! I think tomorrow, if the weather is nice, I'll spend some time outside.


I slept way too late this morning. I hate when I am wakened too early and then sleep too long. It always feels like half the day has been wasted, even if its really only a couple of hours. The apple sprayers were going early this morning and woke us up at 5 o'clock. We scrambled to close our window and then I tossed and turned for a while before falling back asleep. When I next looked at the clock, it was well after nine.
I am into jammin' these days. Last night I made a wonderful batch of blackberry/peach jam and today I made two batches of plain blackberry. I am working on filling up that jam cabinet and its looking good. We also had a nice big, bag of elderberries from my very kind neighbor, Bob. Ben and Hannah helped me pull them off the stems and I made two pies. One is in the oven and the other will be wrapped and frozen until Jim comes home from Minnesota in a week and a half. I have noticed that there are some elderberry trees out by the rock wall, but the birds have eaten all but a few of the berries. Maybe someday I will beat them to it. For now we are more than happy to cook up the berries Bob brings over each summer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another Berry Nice Day

"'I don't keer w'at you do wid me, Brer Fox,' sezee, 'so you don't fling me in dat brier-patch. Roas' me, Brer Fox,' sezee, 'but don't fling me in dat brier-patch,' sezee."

I didn't get enough punishment from the blackberry brambles yesterday. Nope, I had to go back out there with my daughter this afternoon and fill my fingers with more prickers before heading off to the grocery store. (I checked the price of blackberries at Wegman's and found them to be insanely expensive, 2 tiny containers, maybe half a pint, for $6.00. I guess I know why they cost so much!) Last night I made a batch of jam and, while we were over at Bethany's house for supper, I made a pie. Yummy!
So, this afternoon Bethany and I headed back out to fight the ferocious fruits. We braved not only the thorny vines but the not so stable (or visible) stone wall where the blackberry canes are growing. Bethany is a stout and sturdy soul. She fought her way though the prickers and picked a nice big basketful. Yes, I braved the rock wall also and my feet are letting me know they are not appreciative. But, I have another basketful too and while I was at the store, I picked up plenty of sugar, Sure-Jell, and another pack of jelly jars. And... my neighbor also brought me another bag of elderberries. Looks like my family will be enjoying another pie!

Sleepy Morning, Busy Day

It was a deliciously sleepy morning. Thick clouds darkened the sky and a cool breeze rustled the leaves outside my open bedroom window. I pulled the blanket up over my shoulder and moved closer to my warm husband. I longed to relax and fall into a deep slumber. It was the perfect morning for sleeping, but I had to get up. It was 7 o'clock and I had two little boys coming at 7:30 am.

I think that Tyler and Troy have played with or at least asked for every toy in the house. We've had the Fisher Price out, the dishes and McDonald's going, blocks, cars, Lincoln Logs, and Play Mobile. They've been in and out of the house, playing "doggie" with Sofie's leash and checking out Hannah's Place, running around the barn and making a lot of noise. I am not used to two loud little boys. When Sara and Alysa come I barely see them. They look for Hannah and disappear with her for hours or play a quiet game of cards. I rarely wonder what they are getting into. It's a different kind of day. The girls are not here, just the boys and Josh. Poor little Josh is sleepy but his portable bed is not here and he is having trouble sleeping with all the commotion. (Actually, he just went to sleep on Hannah's lap.) The boys will be going home around 1:30 pm and Bethany will be here by 3 pm. I need to do some shopping. We are out of milk, sugar, shortening and other essentials. It will be a late afternoon grocery run today.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Berry Nice Monday

I have determined to stay busy, but not too busy for a friend or two to stop by for a walk in the orchard. This morning I was honored by a visit from Gudl and her friend, Heidi, from Germany. They were on their way to see Lake Ontario and came by to say hello. We walked through the backyard toward the orchard and at the corner of our property found a wonderful patch of blackberries. From the hill we saw the lake and, of course, plenty of apple trees. They soon headed off to the beach to soak up the sun on this beautiful day.

After lunch, in the heat of the day, I returned to the blackberry vines with my little white berry basket and began to pick. I quickly learned that blackberry vines are quite vicious. I did manage to fill my basket, but not before being stuck by a myriad of tiny thorns. Blackberry picking is not for the fainthearted but rather those whose determination urges them on. I was determined this afternoon to fill my basket with the sweet dark fruits. I cried out in pain only a few times, dropped not too many berries, and bled only a little. Every once in a while I would have to stop and use my teeth to pull a sticker out of my finger. I don't think it possible to pick berries with gloves on, so if I am going to have blackberry pie or jam, I must endure the pain. (There's an analogy in there somewhere, but I won't be going into that right now.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cousin Camp Slide Show

We pulled it off without much planning this year. I hope the kids had fun.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Hidden People Game

Looks as though Hannah is taking a break from all the action and getting some alone time out on the tire swing. It is a great place to unwind and have a few quiet moments. )Before Bethany got married, she and I would head down to the tire swing after supper on warm summer evenings and spend a few minutes together. It was good mother/daughter time.)
But Hannah wasn't really alone, she was swinging with her cousins, Audra and Alicia, who are still small enough to fit inside the tractor tire. I think I would be sick to my stomach if I swung around inside there, but kids seem to think its a great place to be.
They didn't know I was taking pictures. They were just being kids, building memories, and having fun.

Cousin Campers

Last night I stayed overnight at Rachel's house with "the cousins". They had supper together and went for a swim in the pool last night, ate too much sugar, and then stayed up much too late eating popcorn and watching "Lemony Snicket". This morning Rachel made pancakes, the boys had scooter races, and they all jumped in the pool again. Now lunch is over and it is almost time to go home where maybe I will go to bed early and catch up on some of my sleep... or maybe not.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Elderly Berries

Thus far the day has produced plenty of dirty dishes and one elderberry pie. (Also, for my German speaking friends, known as "Holunderbeere".) I have held the telephone with my shoulder one too many times and am suffering the consequences. Advil has been consumed to help alieviate the symptoms so perhaps I shall yet accomplish something else great and wonderful before the day is done.
Well, I have managed to clean out, also known as "rearrange", all the junk I have collected as "craft supplies". I am looking forward to having a neat computer room, if that is at all possible. This little room also serves as an entry way when people who don't know enough to use the back door show up at our house. When we hear a knock on the front door we know it is- a.) someone trying to sell something b.) someone looking for a donation c.) the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses or d.) one of our kids being a smart alec. In any case, it would be good to be able to open the front door without having to move a pile of boxes, yes?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Running Errands

It was a busy day of running errands. Hannah went along to keep me company. She doesn't talk too much and sometimes makes me wonder what she's thinking. We stopped at three different banks to cash a check, pay the mortgage, and deposit some cash. We dropped off some letters at the post office, made returns at Target, Sears, and the hardware store, and filled the gas tank. We walked around Walmart and also hit the grocery store. We were gone for several hours and I was still able to bake some cookies and get supper on the table before church tonight. The cookies never would have happened if we hadn't dropped the carton of eggs.

The other day I was talking to Shelly on the phone and she happened to mention it has been said "If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it." This has been bouncing around in my little brain for the past week. Why is it that one day I can get so much accomplished and another I feel as though I have done nothing? It is also said, "If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it every time." I suppose the challenge is to find some goals and fill up my dyas instead of wondering how to clear out the schedule. Hmmm... the question is, what do I want to accomplish and how can I get it done?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Little Brother!

When James and I got married 27 years ago, I inherited something I'd never had before, a little brother! I used to be amused by the fact that Darius would follow his older brother around copying everything he did. If James jumped over a log, Darius jumped over a log. If James spit on the ground, Darius spit on the ground. Darius was almost nine back in 1981 and today is his 36th birthday. So today I want to wish him a Happy Birthday and tell him I miss him. Through the years we have not been able to see each other often but I have always enjoyed the time we do spend together. I am greatful for the family reunions that have given me a chance to know my husband's family just a little bit better. I love to watch, listen, and laugh as my husband and his brother tell childhood stories. Each time they are embellished a little more until I can't tell truth from fiction but they are always funny. Hmmm... maybe I really do need to take a trip to the Pacific northwest.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Sidewalk's End

I am still trying to determine whether or not I have accomplished anything at all today. I slept much later than usual and then decided to tackle a huge job. Years ago I am sure there was a very nice flagstone type of walkway going from the driveway to the back porch, but through the years many of the stones have sunk into the ground or become covered by dirt and grass. It is not a big issue in the warmer months, but in midwinter as the snow begins to melt the sidewalk becomes a small pond. When refrozen, it becomes a sheet of ice (as does the driveway). My fear is that one Thanksgiving or Christmas Day either one of my parents, my Aunt Margie, or some other unsuspecting soul will step out onto the ice and fall on their rear end. Even I do not bounce back like I used to, so I don't even want to think about one of them falling. I decided I need a new sidewalk. The job will never be completed until it is started (profound, yes?) so today, with the help of Ben and Hannah, I started the project. I'm not sure My Darling is appreciative of my efforts. It just looks like more work to him. So, Uncle Dave, do you have any advice on putting in sidewalks?