Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday - getting settled

The house wasn't lonely while we were gone.   No one lived inside for a year and a half, but it looks like the outside played host to a few critters.

beautiful mossy Phoebe nest over our front porch door

messy Robin's nest on the back porch

cozy squirrel nest under the engine cover on our old Massey Ferguson tractor

these dirty "hand" prints went all the way up a porch post, hmmm - raccoon maybe?
And....where was he going? did he get his feet so greasy?
Niece Lisa made dinner for us last night.   She moved into a lovely new home while we were gone so it was great getting the tour and spending a few good hours getting caught up with her life.  Chris (her husband) was out of town, so it was just the three of us - and Bentley, of course.

happy happy Bentley

It was a beautiful morning, so we dragged out a few old chairs and had second cup on our back patio.  The bushes have gotten way out of hand, but they're next on the list to take care of.  The dogs really enjoy having the huge yard to romp around in.   Well, Lewis enjoys his freedom, Sasha is still glued to Dave, especially when he has food.                                                                                

We discovered that the kitchen and laundry room faucets leaked when the water was turned back on, so Dave spent most of the day taking the old ones off and replacing them with nice new models.   Then he crawled up on the roof and installed a good old fashioned TV antenna.   We had the cable turned off when we left and have decided not to turn it back on this summer.   We found that we really don't watch that much TV and when we do, its really just the networks and PBS, so why pay for cable.   We'll see how it goes.

While Dave was playing plumber and TV repairman, I was running around to the local garden stores looking for a few plants and flowers to make the house look like a home.  Pretty slim pickings at this time of year but I managed to get some things to fill the window boxes and old crocks that are usually overflowing with color by this time.  

Cocktails on the patio and then hot dogs for dinner (Thanks, Judi).   Tomorrow is our 43rd anniversary, so a nice dinner out is on the docket.

this is what the entire sunset looked like the other night - pretty incredible...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday - first full day home

Beep beep beep beep beep.....we woke to an alarm this morning, first one in a long time and it didn't wake us up for a pleasant, early morning golf game.    Dave made a first thing in the morning appointment to get the jeep's windshield repaired and then a little bit later appointment to get its inspection updated.  We've been driving illegally since we re-entered New York State.  

I  enjoyed my normal, lazy morning and then had a wonderful visit from bestest friend and neighbor, Cindy P.  She brought Dunkin Donuts coffee and a donut for me!   Her visit would have been sweet enough without the goodies, but they sure tasted good!    Lewis was absolutely beside himself when she walked in.  They have a long history together, she's been his friend since we first brought him home at 8 weeks old.  He sprinkled his enthusiasm all over the floor....

Cindy keeps Lewis' attention.
It was so good to see her again.

Sasha greeted her old friend, then hopped up on "her" couch to rest up from the excitement.   She's settled right back into the house and her old routine.

We had a lovely long visit and she caught me up on all her recent goings on.  Nice to be next door again.

Dave's morning wasn't going so pleasantly.  The glass shop ordered the wrong windshield, so he left the jeep there and they brought him home.   He jumped in his jeep (yes, we have two identical jeeps - don't ask...)
and went to the DMV to get it re-registered and then inspected.   No sense in wasting time, right?

Well, things didn't go well for him at the DMV either.   Their computers were down, all over the state, and he waited at least an hour and a half, but no luck.   He put the license plates back on his jeep and drove home.   Now we have two cars we can't drive.     Long story short, Cindy P came back later in the day and drove us back to the glass shop so we could at least get that car home and we have an appointment tomorrow to get it inspected.   Hopefully the State of New York will get its computers back on line tomorrow and we'll have both jeeps legal to drive.

While this was all going on, niece Lisa came to see us.   She brought a gorgeous pot of coleus, and petunias for my front step.   The house looks bare without all the flowers I usually have, and she knew it.  What a sweetie.

Dave was happy to see Lisa

Lewis was happy to see Lisa
I was happy to see her too, but someone had to hold the camera!

Here's Lisa without Lewis or Dave attached.
(Well, Dave is still sort of attached)

Wonderful Fred and dear friend Barb called too, but we didn't make face to face contact with them yet.

We should go away more often, the homecoming reception is really really nice!

Genesee Valley sunset

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday - Home again, Home again, jiggedy jig!

our town

We're home.....but Beluga's excellent adventures didn't end when we pulled into our driveway this afternoon.....

or when we parked Beluga in front of her red barn......

We've got the travel bug, the travel in Beluga bug, and we've got it bad I'm afraid.  We're gypsies at heart so we'll be off again soon.    More Beluga's excellent adventures to come!

Thanks to  Fred's caring attention and capable hands the house was in excellent shape when we got home.  Everything we turned off  when we left, turned on again when we got home, and things we left on turned off when we asked.   No burst pipes, no mice damage, no vandalism, just a few cobwebs and dust to take care sweep away.

   And, thanks to the Cook's, (and Fred also, I suspect) the lawn and landscaping are as they should be.    A great relief to us.

   Summer promises to be busy for us, so I'm going to keep the blog going as long as I have interesting things to show you.   Probably not every day now, but who knows!   I started this blog only to keep friends and family back home current on our adventures, but it now it goes out to new and old friends all over the country and we are so lucky to have you all.   Thank you for riding along and talking with us and teaching us and helping us and and most of all, thank you for being our friends and staying in touch.

don't leave me!

The dogs are a bit confused.  They have a huge fenced back yard to run and sniff and just be dogs in, but they sit by the fence and implore us to come close.  When we're in the house turning on electricity, water, opening windows, looking for things we forgot, Lewis and Sasha are right on our heels.   They bump into us when we stop, wet noses on the back of our legs!   I guess they're used to living in close quarters with us and are having trouble adjusting to all this space!   We'll all work it out sooner or later.

We're staying in Beluga for a few nights, until the refrigerator gets good and cold and we can figure out how to get the "gunk" out of the washer.   I have mountains of laundry!

Before we ate the left over Bocce's pizza we took a quick ride over to the lake and see if all is well there.

view from the deck

Its amazing how nature takes over when no one is home.  Our property is almost overtaken by wild grapevines, roses and redbud trees, but it won't take long to get it back in hand again.   Like I said, its going to be a busy summer.

When we're tired of working around there are lots of "tourist" things to do, things we never had time for when Dave was working.    And there are lots of friends and family to catch up with.

Stay tuned....

sunset over the Genesee valley

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday - friends and family

Judi came this morning with a small box of one of Buffalo's finest donut shop's was a pretty nice day so we sat outside and had second cup AND a Paula's Donut.    It was so good to see her again,  she and I have been friends since I was 7 years old and lived across the street from each other.  Dave and I were in her wedding, she and her ex were in ours, 43 years ago.  

She also brought two more iconic Buffalo goodies.....Sahlen's hot dogs and Bocce's pizza.   Dogs went into the freezer, pizza into our bellies, Mmmmm.   Thanks for the welcome back visit and for all the good food.

Later in the afternoon Dave and I got all gussied up and went to a family wedding (Dave's nephew's daughter) at the Millenium Hotel.   It was good to see everyone in this branch of the family (except LISA!)
and we talked and ate and enjoyed the wedding party's antics as they were announced at the reception.

I didn't take many pictures, I don't seem to handle the camera well in low light situations, sigh.
I did, however, manage to get a pretty decent shot of the "Bank children", Dave and his brother and sisters all together in one room!                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Dave, Carol, Joan and Mike
(Mike's wife Arline, seated )  

We leave for home in the morning.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday p.m.

We're settled into the last campsite before we reach home.....Darien Lakes State Park.    I won't say more than it is a small State Park on a weekend in summer.  Lewis isn't a happy camper.

Tomorrow one of our oldest friends will come for a visit and  bring our benchmark pizza, Bocce's.    It will be wonderful to see her again, fingers crossed that the rain will hold off long enough for us to sit outside and have second cup with her.     Later in the afternoon we'll settle the dogs and drive into the Buffalo area for a family wedding.

Here are the rest of the Chautauqua Institution pictures.

Thunder Bridge
Kids called the bridge "thunder bridge" because its wooden deck made such a thunderous sound as they road their bikes over it.
The caveat when it was rebuilt - it must make the same sound as the old bridge.
How great is that!

JoAnn's house nestled into its gardens

JoAnn with Wink and Sunny, her Saluki rescues

steam tour boat

 grand old Athenaeum hotel presiding over the waterfront

we were being watched.....

part of a friend's whimsical back garden
made from bridge cables!

close up of an incredible Turtle Rock the owner found and had sent home from China

JoAnn and Dave

an incredibly beautiful outdoor staircase

flowers fron JoAnn's garden will make Beluga beautiful

the open air amphitheater before last night's concert

Thursday - written on Friday!

We had an absolutely lovely day at the Chautauqua Institution yesterday thanks to dear friend, JoAnn.  We met her for lunch, then took a long walk all around the grounds, admiring the fantastic old (and some new) homes, their gracious, welcoming porches, the sparkling lake and the colorful gardens, meant to be seen up close.   There is limited car traffic in the Institute, so everyone either walks or bikes and that really slows the pace of life beautifully.  Kids race in the sun, folks walk by and say hello or simply sit and read.  Boats steam by, or race by or slip by soundlessly, riding the wind.  The sounds of music of all types hangs in the air, sometimes loud, sometimes barely heard depending upon what you are passing by.   Students practice, radios playing quietly on porches, pianos being played somewhere.  Often the music is simply the clicking of game pieces and laughter as families play board games on those iconic, flower filled porches.  Pretty special place.

I don't have much more time left this morning, so I'll just show you a few pictures of yesterday, I'll give you the rest later....

Dave and JoAnn, deep in conversation

waiting patiently

JoAnn's two Salukis, on chipmunk watch

We ended the day with a concert in the Amphitheater.   It was to celebrate the 20th  anniversary of the reconstruction of their massive Massey Memorial Pipe Organ.  Toccata & Fugue in D Minor, Organ Concerto in G Minor and a rousing, goose pimply Symphony #3, Op 78 in C Minor by Camille Saint-Saens.  It brought people to their feet.

Back at Beluga later, the moon was shining on water.  Great end to a great day.   Once again, Thanks JoAnn.