Saturday, February 27, 2010

White Knight in Blue Jeans

This morning. Same view.



But, the temperature is above freezing now, and the snow is beginning to fall off of the branches. I have been out shoveling all morning. I was just tackling a path to the mailbox when a white knight in blue jeans, aka my next door neighbor, came over with his snow blower. He told me that my face was beet red and that I should go inside, which I gladly did. He's now out there cleaning out my driveway, so I can get out, if I have to.





We've had a lot of heavy, wet snow out of this storm. This is a standard height bird bath. I haven't made it to that bird feeder yet, but it's a finch feeder, and I haven't seen any there since around November, so I'm in no big hurry.



I did the path over to the big bird feeder all by myself (aren't I wonderful, not)!



Cleared a big patch around the feeder so that the ground birds had a place to land, and put down some sunflower seeds and cracked corn.



And, since Gina is sleeping on the blanket and beadspread that I have to wash today, I guess I'll join her for a bit.

Friday, February 26, 2010

More Storm

Hah, there's more snow out there than I thought. I just got back in from shoveling. We have a good 14 inches and, despite what the weatherman said about quitting mid-morning, it's still coming down at a good, steady rate. I have more shoveling to do, but I needed to come in and rest. It took me over an hour to get the steps cleaned off, and to get over to the bird feeder and clean out around it. The garage is still blocked off, but I have my priorities straight -- critters first, and, after they are taken care of, take care of your own needs.

Here's another view of the stone wall which, at the ends, is about three feet tall.



The road, with very little traffic for this time of day, and a picture of a nice red truck that shows how hard the snow is still coming down.





I have a wonderful plowman, with a big one-ton that can clean out the worst load of snow going. He sent his employee over, this morning, though, to clean me out enough so that I could get out if I had to. The poor guy could barely push the snow. This is what he left in front of my garage, and what I still have to go out and shovel.



And, some more pictures, just because.



Finally! A Real Snowstorm.

Yup, I'm nuts. But, some of us Northerners really love our snow. I have been waiting all winter for us to get a real snow, not these piddling three or four inches that we have been getting.

By the beginning of the week, it looked like we were going to finally get lucky. And, by yesterday, it was a dead certainty. I checked my Coleman lantern, got out my cold weather sleeping bag, and made sure I had plenty of food in the pantry. AOK, I was ready to go.

Yesterday morning the view out of my window looked like this. Just a soft little snow falling.



I waited all day, but it was still just that soft little snow. By evening, though, the snow and the wind had picked up.



All night, the snow picked up in intensity. This morning that same view looked like this.



It's still snowing, but less intensely now. The flakes are big and soft and it's really beautiful coming down. Sigh, not a "blinger" of a storm, but at least a respectable amount. I didn't have to use the Coleman lantern, or the sleeping bag, as we didn't lose electricity, but I can't wait to go out and play in the snow. I have to do that pretty soon, because the birdfeeder is covered with snow, and the birds can't get any seed.

You see, this is why I retired, so I could either sit inside, safe and warm, or go outside and mess around in the snow. I just don't have to DRIVE in it, along with all of the idiots out there.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Becky and the Treat Drawer

Of my four cats, Becky is, perhaps, the cleverest. Today, she decided that she wanted a treat. When her mean Mom wouldn't give her one, she decided that she would get it herself.


video


Sigh, no success, but, as you can tell, she isn't exactly starving, and can do without a treat very well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Miracle of Birth

I spent last night glued to the computer, to a web cam operation called MareStare. I have interacted with the owner of this mare on forums for many years, and I held my breath for about six hours (gasp, gasp, gasp). There were problems, as it was a breach presentation. But, the vet came out, they got the baby straightened out, and, today, there is a beautiful, healthy colt in the stall with Mom. I'm hoping I can link the website here, so you can see for yourself.

http://www.marestare.com/fcam.php?alias=mcdowellracing

While this guy will probably never be a Derby contender (though, you never can tell), here's hoping that he has a long and happy career. At least we don't have to worry about how he will end up after his racing career is over. The woman who owns this guy works very hard to make sure that all of her horses find good homes when they are done racing.

Edited to add that I guess you'll have to copy and paste, but, believe me, it's worth it. He's a cutie.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nanny Nanny Bo Bo

I fit too!



Shame on you, Becky Cat, for rubbing it in. You know you're a shrimp cat anyways.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Bay

It's a gorgeous day today. The sun is shining, the air is crisp and clear and the sky is blue. I decided to take a little drive, down to a freshwater bay near my house. When the weather is better, I'll walk down there, but, last time I tried, I almost got stuck in a marsh. So, today, I decided that all wheel drive, and a road would be a better bet.

The bay is completely frozen over. This is looking almost across the bay. It's about 1/2 mile across there.



To the North. That's a six lane bridge.



To the South. The little black dots that you can just barely see are ice fishermen.



Here are the frozen footprints of someone brave (or stupid) enough to walk out onto the ice.



You can see, here, how the ice is darker in some places. I think that's because there are currents running under there, and the ice may not be frozen as thick as it is other places.



Duckie footprints. I can't get away from them, no matter where I go.



The Bay is about four miles long. In the summer it is full of all kinds of boats, from kayaks to cabin cruisers and sailboats. Most of the undeveloped shoreline is now protected by the various towns that surround it, so, hopefully, we won't see too much more development.

Hope you enjoyed the little tour.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Camera

video

I got a new camera today, a Flip. I'll use it primarily to take videos of the horses that we will be listing this season for the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program, but you'll see some occasional videos here too.

Man, though, I wish I was more electronically oriented. It took me the entire afternoon to figure out how to do this.

Sigh, I have to work on my vocal presentation.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Leon Speaks

Hi, Leon here. I'm taking over the blog today, from my servant, to tell you about MY new bed. My servant went out and bought me a brand new bed to replace the old one, that wouldn't get warm any more. It was beuuuuutiful! It looked like she did a good job.



But, before I could even get myself into it, that darn female, Gina, was in there. Just because my servant calls her "Gina Bobina, the Queena the House," doesn't mean that she can take MY things.



I'm a smart guy, though, and I thought I'd just sweet talk her out of the bed.



It worked, and I was in there in nothing flat!



But, I'm too big. It tips, and my handsome self isn't comfortable in it. Oh well, I didn't want it anyways. Phooey to the whole thing!



You know, it just goes to prove that if you want something done right, you don't send a servant to do the job.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter Promise

I'm getting anxious for Spring. I want to get my hands into the good, rich earth and start gardening. But, I still see signs around the yard of what will be there soon. Last year's blossoms, preserved so that you can see where this year's beauty will be.

This



Will become this year's New England Asters



This



Will become this year's Butterfly Bush



And, this



Will become this year's Hydrangeas



I love the seasons here. There is something good to be said for each one. And, I'm glad I live in a place where we get to see four distinct ones. I think that it makes you appreciate each one more. But, I'm always especially glad to see the Spring come, and with it, the promise of a new flowering of life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

She Knows!

He looks so innocent, doesn't he?



But, look what raising him did to Leon's Mom.



Tomorrow is my birthday, and, yesterday, a friend gave me a lovely kitchen towel, full of cats. But, I think that the best part of the gift was the bag that it came in. She wrote "Leon's Mom" on that cat, and boy, I think it fits. He's a goober. Though, he has been a pretty good boy lately. Uh Oh, knock wood!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Greatest Generation

More about my Aunt, who was such a wonderful influence on my life. She was part of what Tom Brokaw rightly called "The Greatest Generation."

My Aunt was the youngest of nine children. Seven of those children were born two years apart. Then, there was a gap of eight years to my Mother, and another six years after that to my Aunt. My Grandmother died in her fifties, when my Aunt was just a kid. Here is the only group photo of most of the family that we have. My Aunt is the shorter of the two little girls in front. The other girl is her niece. My Mother is the second from your right. The picture was taken in the '20's, in Texas, where my Grandfather had a citrus farm, and is a picture of a picture that I had to tilt to avoid a reflection, so, excuse the quality.



My Mother and my Aunt were the only two still living at home at that time, along with the niece and a nephew whose Mother (another Aunt) was off trying to earn a living. Mom tried for a while to take care of everyone, but the Great Depression hit, and Grandfather lost the farm. My Mother went to Rochester, NY, to live with an older Sister who was already there (the short one on the end at the right). My Aunt went to live with another Sister in Philadelphia, PA, (the tall woman in the hat next to my Mother). She lived with that Aunt until she went off to college.

My Aunt was very bright. She went to college in Philadelphia on a full scholarship. When WWII broke out, she was studying for her Master's degree in PHYSICS!! She was the only woman in that discipline, and was in the top of her class. She was also a teaching assistant, and, again, taught mainly men. But, she decided that she should serve her country by enlisting and became a Wave. Because she was so bright, she was immediately singled out for special training.

It was while she was doing that special training, in Washington, DC, that she met her future husband. He was serving as a Marine, was also very bright, and had also been singled out for special training. He made it a point to meet her, because he liked smart and pretty women. They fell in love and were married. My Mother was the Matron of Honor, and my Father was the Best Man. Another picture of a picture here. This is their wedding portrait.



My Uncle served in the Pacific. He became a specialist in what was then a very new, and experimental tool -- Radar. He later also served in Korea, where he was wounded and got the Purple Heart.

My Aunt stayed stateside. She became one of the first women ever to command men in active service. Granted, it was a small observation post on an island in the middle of Chesapeake Bay. But, still, a first is a first. She was later transferred to oversee a procurement operation, responsible for seeing that ships were supplied on schedule. All that was done with the greatest secrecy, so that the enemy didn't learn where the warships were. She served all through the war.

After the War, my Uncle got a job with Kodak, and they moved to Rochester. My Aunt eventually got her master's degree, though she switched to Art History. She settled in to live a socially active and giving life. My Mom and Dad were still there. So, altogether, three of the nine brothers and sisters ended up in Rochester.

She became one of the greatest influences for good in my life. But, more about that in another post, as this one is getting kind of long. She has been pretty and smart her entire life.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Dear Aunt


My Mother came from a family of nine. They are all gone now, except for the youngest. She is 90 and, unfortunately, suffers from senile dementia. But, she is in a very good assisted living facility, where she is well taken care of. She has no children, but, she and I have always been very close. So, now I look after her affairs. I live in New York State, and she is in Virginia. I don't want to move her up here, because she is content where she is and, many times, old people don't take to being uprooted well. So, I thank the powers that be, every night, that she is safe and happy.

I got a call from the head nurse last night. She told me that my Aunt had been going around telling everyone that her niece was sending her flowers for Valentine's Day. I'm not a big Valentine's person and had, frankly, not even thought about it (bad Louise). But, because this nurse was caring enough to let me know, I was able to go on line last night and order flowers for her that will be delivered today.

So, I wanted to give a special thank you to that nurse, for looking out for my Aunt in this way. The people like her, who work in this facility, make my mind rest a heck of a lot easier.

The picture is of my Aunt, taken a couple of years ago, before the dementia got so bad, when she was still living on her own. Someday, I'll have to write about her life. She is a truly remarkable woman.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wanderings

It's a beautiful, sunny day here in Western New York. I decided that it was entirely too nice a day to stay inside. So, off I went with my trusty walking stick, and my camera.

I didn't even have to get out of the yard, before I saw the cutest set of little mouse tracks.



I took the easy way into the woods. Back in the '20's there was a house way back in the woods, very near the Bay. The only way to get back to it was by a wagon trail that they cut into the woods. Most of that trail is grown over, but the beginning parts of it still exist. Makes walking a lot easier.



After the wagon trail ended, I followed the deer paths. I came upon these tracks. Unfortunately, they were filled with a dusting of snow. They're about the size of a man's hand. We're not supposed to have bear around here, and, what would he be doing out in the middle of the winter, anyways? I suppose it will remain a mystery.




Some green still remains in the woods in winter. I was pleased to see this fern, under a coating of snow.



Oh dear, look what I found, a hunter's stand. All this land is posted. I have permission from both land owners to walk back here, but there aren't supposed to be any hunters. I'll tell the land owner about it. He's torn them out of the trees before.




I don't worry about putting water out for the birds. This little stream runs from just behind my house, all the way to the bay. As other little streams join it, it gets bigger and bigger.



Uh Oh, no further.


video

Next time, I'll reverse my comings and goings. The land slopes down dramatically to the bay, and, climbing back up was not nearly as easy as going down. Every hill seemed steeper. I did see some interesting stuff, though. I'll just go down the hills, and up the deer/wagon trail next time.

Way back in the woods, I came upon this track. I don't know if it's a coyote, a fox or a dog. I'm leaning towards fox, because there was only one set of tracks, and coyotes travel in packs. There is a leash law around here, so dogs aren't supposed to be running free.



My friend in Washington State will like these next pictures, not only for the lichens, but for the history of the region. This part of the country was once under Lake Ontario, back before the last ice age. You can actually tell where the lake ended because the soil changes from sand to clay. Boulders like this lichen covered one exist because the land was under the glaciers. These boulders are glacial drops, carried along hundreds of miles from where they originated, only to be dropped here, when the glaciers retreated.





Mr. Squirrel got lucky, and remembered where he buried this nut. Looks like, maybe, he found a sprouting skunk cabbage, also.



I was finally getting near the end of my hike. I have to get into shape. I'll sleep well tonight, but I'll definitely need some Aleve. Just before I came out of the woods, I came upon "Turkey Road."



And learned something new about them. Apparently they like to scratch through piles of old leaves. Looking for insects and seeds, I presume.



I'm tired, but, I'm glad I went. I plan on going again, as the seasons change. Until, that is, the poison ivy sprouts. Then, I stay strictly out of there.