Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I Love New York!

Two of my dear blogger friends mentioned in comments on my last post that they hadn’t realized NY has such a beautiful countryside. They pictured it as just a big city. This is a common misconception. When I met my hubby (in Australia) and he told me he was from NY, that’s exactly what I thought…..big city! How wrong I was. I saw our little valley for the first time in July of 1971 and immediately fell in love with it. We are about 5 hours from NY city. The state is a large one and NY city is just a small portion of it.
We have some of the most beautiful countryside in the United States. There’s also plenty of history here with many interesting sights to visit.
The Leatherstocking area is rich in Revolutionary War history. The nearby Mohawk Valley is the scene of a famous book called, "Drums Along the Mohawk"….a fascinating historical novel of that wartime period (there’s an old movie based on the book, which is wonderful). The book is one of a series written by Walter D. Edmonds.
Another famous book, "The Last of the Mohicans", is set in the beautiful Adirondack Mountain area, not too far from where we are. It too was made into a very famous movie, which most of you have probably heard of, and many may have seen.
We have the historical Erie Canal, which goes from Albany to Buffalo. They didn’t have to worry about the price of gas (petrol) back then :) The boats carried all kinds of goods back and forth. Loads of history there!
NY State shares the beautiful and awe-inspiring Niagara Falls with Canada. This is a sight for the whole world to see!
There are many other interesting historical sights and some very beautiful state parks to explore. NY State really is a wonderful place to visit. I think a lot of people don’t realize this and consequently don’t think of visiting our beautiful state. We are an under-appreciated part of the country :)
Our region is a dairy farming area and not too long ago was full of small dairy farms. Alas, they are few and far between now. Many of the farms these days are much larger operations, with cows numbering in the thousands. We sold our dairy herd back in 2000 and both work off the farm now. My husband misses the cows very much.
I thought I’d post just a few pictures I’ve taken recently of our farm to show you a little of what the countryside is like. If we’d still had cows we would’ve turned them out to grass last week. The grass is growing and turning green. The color is coming back after our long, mostly white winter. What a welcome sight!

Taken 2 weeks ago before the fields began turning green. In the foreground is a corn crop that was harvested last fall.

Another view taken 2 weeks ago. These 2 pictures were taken at twilight.

The cut leaf maple with barn and shed in the background, taken just a week ago. The grass is much greener!

Looking towards the hill behind our farm buildings. The cats were keeping me company, as usual.

In the background are the Oz trees I mentioned a few posts back. The sky was so blue that day!

The barn and a machinary shed.

This view was taken from half way up the hill exactly one week ago. You can see the river in the background. Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Host Of Golden Daffodils!

Here's our little fence garden!

I hope you can stand a few more daffodil pictures. I've taken so many and I wanted to show you a small selection. I really had a great time with the camera and had trouble restraining myself :)

King Alfred Daffodils

These daffs with the white outer petals are so pretty against the solid yellows. The blue flowers are scilla sibirica.

Here you can see more of the garden, with some lavender crocus in the foreground. Toby is in the background, sitting beneath the tray feeder, dreaming of catching some birds. He only dreams, he's too well fed to do the actual work!

A view from the other side of the same garden. The sky was so pretty that day, with puffy white clouds against the blue.

One more close-up of the combined whites and yellows nodding their beautiful heads. Posted by Picasa

Muddled Weekend

As it turned out, I was home this weekend after all. Chris mixed up the dates and the show is next weekend. At least she's all ready for it and will have a stress-free week!

Our Community Choir concert was scheduled for tonight and I had been disappointed a while back when Chris told me the dates conflicted. So now I was pleased to think I could sing in the concert after all!!
Alas, it wasn’t to be. Our concert was canceled due to a horrible car accident last Thursday in which 3 of our local seniors were killed…a young man and 2 young ladies. What a terrible tragedy!

Note: I realized after posting this that I need to clarify the term 'seniors'. Here in the US it is used for high schoolers in their graduating year of school......12th grade

The calling hours were today and several of the high school kids who would be attending were to be extras in our concert (there were to be a few drama scenes to illustrate the Easter music). The combined funerals will be held tomorrow. It will be such a huge event that it will be broadcast in the high school auditorium to accommodate the people who can’t fit into the church (which is a large one). Needless to say, this is a very sad time for our community.

On a brighter note, the hyacinths are blooming brightly and smelling oh, so sweet! Added to the daffodils they make a very pretty picture. I thought I’d show you some of the photos I’ve taken lately.

We’ve had rain for most of the weekend and much colder temperatures, so we’ve been stuck inside, feeling like winter is back. However, it stopped this afternoon and my hubby worked outside constructing yet another small section of rustic fence. He intends to plant some American bittersweet by it. This plant produces lovely red berries in the fall. The birds will love it!

This morning in church we were privileged to listen to an amazing fellow named Jason Nightingale. This gentleman has the awesome ability to memorize whole books of the Bible. I can’t even imagine having a memory like his!!! He recited the book of John word for word, as if he were telling a story, complete with all the characters and feelings. It was a truly remarkable experience to see and hear him do this.

Jason and his wife, Sharon, travel around the country in a huge motorhome. He performs his recitations in churches all over the US. They’re based in Washington state and their mission is to support a large group of orphans and widows in Monrovia, Liberia, as well as church planting. They’re an amazing couple. Perhaps some of you out there have met them too, and seen Jason speak.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, April 21, 2006


My hubby is making a new garden in the background with another little fence. It's a work in progress.

The tiny blue flower are scilla sibirica. I know them as windflowers. they're a small bulb.

Today was a perfect weather day! The sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky and the temperature reached about 70º. I worked in the gardens this afternoon and soaked up some sun. The cats provided plenty of help and more cuddles than I needed at the time. They’re good company :)

Cleo hiding in the daffs

I wanted to post a few photos I’ve taken lately, BUT Blogger has just ruined my perfect day by refusing to post any photos!! Frustration reigns supreme! I'll post some on Monday if Blogger feels like letting me.....
Anyway, the daffodils are truly magnificent this year.

Update: I had a few spare minutes this morning and miracle of miracles, Blogger cooperated! So I've added a few of the promised photos.

I want to say thank you all so much for the wonderful comments and all those good wishes you left on my last post. You helped to make our 35th anniversary a truly special occasion and I’m very grateful to you all.

It’s hard to explain the connection we feel with our blogger friends, don’t you think? Who would’ve thought that one could feel such affection, affinity, and friendship for people we’ve never met or seen for the most part? It’s easy to understand why we like this blogging so much. There are so many interesting and wonderful people to ‘meet’ out there, and we can visit as often as we want to, or have time for. I find myself wondering about this or that one during the day, thinking about things that are happening in each of their lives.

Today, among other things, I was wondering if ‘
Motherkitty’ in Kentucky is still in a lot of pain after her knee operation last week. I hope and pray her recovery is progressing well, and that she’ll soon be able to get out into her garden again, minus the knee pain!

I wondered too, if
Alice and Richard were able to pat those friendly kangaroos she took a photo of yesterday and sent to me this morning in her lovely email. Thanks Alice….you are so good at feeding my nostalgia :)

My husband and I talk about our ‘virtual’ friends as if you are ‘real’ friends, even though we may never meet any of you face to face. And to me, you ARE very real! I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to know you all! Thanks for popping in to see me so often and for sharing your thoughts with me. I hope you continue to do so for years to come!

I want to say welcome to my new visitors and Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be over to ‘meet’ you after the weekend!

I’ll be working at a craft show this weekend out near Buffalo with my friend, Chris. We’ve been working together for 12 years now, selling pretty scarves that are her own unique design. I’ll tell you more about them in another post. We leave tomorrow morning. It’ll be a long and busy 3 days !

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Thirty-five Years Ago!

On this day, thirty-five years ago, my dear husband and I were married. Wow! That’s a long time to put up with each other!
Isn’t it amazing how quickly the years go by? We’ve grown together over the years and are enjoying each other’s company just as much now as when we first met. Probably more, actually. It’s certainly true that you get wiser as you age (well, one would hope that we learn as we grow). How thankful I am to have such a patient, good-natured and loving man to spend my days with. Life is good!

The caption under the photo in the local newspaper read:


We met at the wedding of friends of mine, as I mentioned in an earlier post. Ross was on R&R (rest and recreation) leave from Vietnam, where he was serving as a US Marine. I was bridesmaid for my school friend, Pat, and her English husband, Alan. Ross had met a girl named Glenda during a cruise on Sydney's picturesque harbor (one of the many activities set up for visiting G.I.’s). She had introduced Pat and Alan to each other and she needed a date for their wedding, so she invited Ross to accompany her.
When we were first introduced I thought he looked about 15 and must be Glenda’s younger brother. His hair was white blond and his eyes a very clear blue. Glenda was explaining about how they met and we began discussing the planned events for the G.I.’s (member of the US armed forces). She was telling me how much fun they were and said she’d give me a call to let me know when the next one was scheduled. I wrote my phone number on the place card at my table and she gave it to Ross to hold for her, as our pocketbooks (handbags for you Aussies and others out there) were stored in another room. This may sound too detailed, but that’s an important part of the story, which I can’t leave out!
The wedding was at a wonderful restaurant called ‘The Rocklily’ and the dinner consisted of seven courses, with wine and finally champagne (for the toasts) served with each course. Then there was dancing! Ross and I ended up dancing one dance together. How this came about is a funny little story of it’s own, but I’m trying not to add too many details (this is hard for me, as you can probably tell).
On the way home Glenda asked Ross to give her my phone number so she could call me as promised, and that wicked young man told a fib….he said he’d lost it! Now, remember, he and I only danced one dance, and not much conversation took place between us, but somehow, there was an instant attraction. Just a spark, you know?
I received a phone call from this young man the next day asking me out on a date :) My mum and I had planned to have dinner at the local surf club so we invited him to accompany us. Those of you who have read some of my previous posts will know that we lived at beautiful Whale Beach (near Palm Beach, just north of Sydney, part of the ‘north shore’ chain of beaches in NSW). So Ross caught the bus out from Sydney, where he was staying, and went to Moby Dick’s surf club for dinner with us. We had a lovely night and he and my mum fell in love with each other :)
There were two more dates after that first night before he had to return to Vietnam. After that we began writing a series of letters that just didn’t stop! Ross extended his tour of duty in Vietnam and was given 30 days leave. He spent that 30 days in Australia and that’s when we really got to know each other, spending all of those 30 days together, seeing some lovely sights and talking endlessly. By the end of his leave we were talking about marriage :)
He was scheduled for another R&R in February and we planned to be married at that time. We set the date and sent out the invitations, but the Marine Corps wasn’t cooperating. They seriously discouraged this kind of thing. Ross did finally make it back to Australia, but not until April 16th, and this was only because he told his commanding officer that he was going, with or without his orders, and headed for the airport. The CO was a compassionate man and a good friend. He followed Ross to the airport and handed him the necessary papers.
I was working in Sydney at the time and talking to my friend, Susie on the phone (yes, I did work, but I just happened to be on the phone at that particular moment) when Ross walked into my office. Imagine my surprise…(you’ll have to, I can’t find words to describe it!)…I had just been telling Susie that Ross had said he might not be able to let me know when he was coming…that he might just ‘show up’. And suddenly, there he was!!
That was a Friday. My mother’s birthday is April 17th, and she had remarked earlier in the week that it would be funny if Ross showed up this weekend and we could be married on her birthday.

Well, we were…and the rest is history ! Happy birthday Mum! Had she still been living, Mum would be 89 today. She died in 1996 and I still miss her.

We had a lovely, albiet, brief honeymoon at a beach further north before Ross had to return to Vietnam. It was just a few all-too-short days together, but we had the time of our lives! And we are still enjoying each other's company! Of course, we’ve had our ups and downs, but here we are 35 years, and 3 kids later, and we’re still blissfully happy. I can honestly say I’ve been truly blessed. When our grandchildren are old enough to appreciate it, I’ll tell them this story :)

Happy Anniversary to us!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Easter Blessings

At long last the daffodils are blooming, nodding their bright and beautiful heads in the sunshine and breezy April weather. These are just the first, with many more to come. I love them!! Those hills are still a grayish green, but soon they'll be verdant and glowing with the spring rains. Speaking of which, (rain, that is) we had some today. It's actually been quite dry for this time of year, so we need it. I'd much rather have the sunshine and warmer temperatures though. We were back to being chilly today. I know Alice and other blogging friends in Australia are wishing for rain, and I sincerely hope you get it! I think Sue in California sent their rain over to us to get rid of it. They've had more than their fair share lately. Thanks a lot Susie :)

Motherkitty, just want to let you know we're thinking of you and praying for your rapid recovery after you knee op. Sorry you're having so much pain. I do Hope it's much better very soon. We're missing you!

Sandy, thanks for keeping us posted with the updates on Motherkitty.

Jelly, thanks for that cute Koala picture that you posted to feed my nostalgia. How sweet is that?

Val, I hope you're not wearing your slippers to the footy...well, it's OK if you're watching an away game on the TV :) I hope Carlton wins!

Tanya, wear purple! (a pretty pastel shade for Easter).

Kylie, (my dear daughter) write something! I miss reading your posts. I know, I know, you've been busy...but you need to relax, and write something! It's not about's about us! Do it for us!

Dear Marion, I hope you'll soon be free from that awful neck pain and feeling better. We're all missing your lovely posts.

I'd love to link you all, but I need to stop now...I'm getting carried away!

To each and everyone of my dear blog friends, may you have a very happy and blessed Easter with your family and friends!

P.S. Jelly, you got me started with this link thing. You shouldn't give me ideas! I did refrain from using any alluring alliteration though :)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Colorful Crocuses

The crocus flowers have been especially bright and beautiful this spring….a refreshing splash of color after the drab shades of our long winter.
On cloudy days they remain closed, but when the sun shines they open their pretty petals and smile at the world.
Seeing color in the garden again is a feast for the eyes, a joy to the senses and a blessing for the soul.

This last photo was taken late this afternoon, just before we had a little bit of rain. As you can see, these daffodils are about to burst open. We have a few open and loads more to come. I'll be busy with that camera!

Our temperatures have been perfect for the past few days....about 70ºF (21ºC) today and a little warmer yesterday. Hope you all had a wonderful day!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bad Cat!

Some of you asked if our cats bothered the birds. Not often, surprisingly. We find a few bird feathers, usually from a starling, in the barn occasionally. That's most often when a mother cat has been hunting and is feeding kittens.

Zoey, Toby and Alice

Some of the cats like to spend a little time sitting on the porch or the railing, in the hope that a bird will come close enough for them to 'reach out and touch'. But the birds are much smarter than that.
Yesterday I got out and did some tidying up in the garden, and of course a few cats had to 'help' me.

Toby is a great helper :)

That's always fun, pushing them out of the way every couple of minutes. They love to be 'up close and personal'.
I had my camera in my pocket just in case an opportunity arose for a good photo. The birds were singing up a storm in the big maple and busily visiting the feeders.

I decided to snap a few pictures of an unusually friendly red-winged blackbird, but of course, the cats followed me. I think there were three at my feet. Therefore, I had no hope at all of capturing a decent picture of any bird with this entourage following. But....surprisingly, the bird stayed right there on a low tree branch and continued chattering at me. I thought r-w black birds were shy. Not this one!

It even flew to the tray feeder and helped itself to some seed while I stood nearby snapping pictures. A real dare-devil!

A friendly little chickadee flew down to pose as well, and to scold the cats while he was at it.

But, this is not what I started out to tell you. The original thoughts I had for this post concerned this black devil, Tuxedo,

who I recently caught in the act of trying to pilfer the birdies' suet from the front porch.

If he can't eat the birds, then he'll have their food!

I banged on the glass door trying to dissuade him, but he ignored me. So I snapped his picture for evidence, instead.

Finally, he turned and looked at me. "What?" He said. "Do you have a problem? Can't you see I'm busy!"

That's a cat with a bad attitude!
He's in trouble.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Spring's Contrasts

Sunday, beautiful, warm, sunny spring weather! The lawn is looking greener.

Tuesday, back to winter. Brrr!

Sunday....lovely, bright color!

Tuesday....not so colorful. Poor little crocus flowers!

Sunday....sunny and bright, blue sky, green lawn.

Tuesday, back to drab...gray and white.

Sunday....Bright yellow crocus. What could be prettier?

Tuesday...subdued by snow!

Sunday, the hills are still gray, but the sky is bright blue!

Tuesday....everything is gray and white.
But today on Friday the sun is shining again and the colors are back to being bright and pretty! TGIF!Posted by Picasa