Tuesday, June 25, 2019

new to us

We've lived in this area of the state since we were born, specifically in the Finger Lakes area since 1976.   You'd think we'd have seen it all.   Nope.    Evidently working and caring for a family kept us busy. 

Laurel and Eric asked us to join them at the Cornell Ornithology Lab at Cornell University in Ithaca on Sunday.    We jumped at the chance.   They were camped nearby and it was only a 2 hour drive east of here so the opportunity to take a behind the scenes tour was a no brainer.

We've been to Cornell University many times before, but mostly to avail ourselves of the services of their excellent College of Veterinary Science.    We've taken dogs for consultations and surgeries when our local vets were unable to help, horses have gone for emergency surgery and routine tooth care.    We knew that Cornell also had "something" to do with birds, but never put two and two together to figure out that their Ornithology Lab was world renowned.   Never realized that the website we use often,, was a Cornell site.   Never paid attention to the fact that the bird identifier app. on my phone, Merlin Bird ID, was a Cornell project.   Duh.  double duh

The tour began at 11 a.m. and we were in the parking lot at exactly 11.   We would have arrived early, as planned, if we hadn't turned off our route to follow a sign pointing to a covered bridge.

We'd been down that road in the past.  Never saw the sign.   What were we doing then?   I guess we're just more tuned into "seeing" things now.   Then it was getting to where we were headed.   Destination rather than journey I guess.

We were enthralled with the beautiful, sunlit creek flowing beneath the bridge and the silence of its surroundings.   When I looked closer, I saw something that reminded me that we had somewhere else to be..... 

a bird's nest on one of the support beams on the side of the bridge.....

We hit the ground running from the parking lot and I didn't take any photographs of the beautiful building.   I passed by a haunting sculpture of a new extinct passenger pidgeon sitting silently in the garden.     The tour was just beginning and we were able to blend in quietly, phew!

I was able to take a few surreptitious photos as our guide walked and talked.

chairs in the lobby line the huge windows looking out on a beautiful pond.....

Eric, Laurel and Dave try their luck identifying birds by their silhouettes on the wall  

can you find the two Snowy Ptarmigans in this painting?

Yes, they are dead birds in that drawer

"you can't fly without a wishbone"
see his?

wings ready for study

We were starving after the two hour tour so we set off for the Mahogany Grill in downtown Ithaca.   I took no pictures.   It was a lovely, sunny day and we sat outside to enjoy our meal.   Afterward we went our separate ways with promises to meet up again this fall in Florida.   Eric and Laurel were going back to Cornell to hike some of the trails in the nature area surrounding the Lab. and we had to head home.   

On our way through town we saw a waterfall that made us turnaround for a closer look.

It was Ithaca Falls which figured prominently in the industrial landscape of Ithaca in the 1800's.

The park surrounding this 105 foot high falls has been the site of a major lead contamination clean up effort as a result of  over 100 years of shotgun testing by Ithaca Gun Company.    The company, along with several others, were located just south of the falls. 

After exploring the area we continued on our way home.   Another sign, another detour.     Lewis was waiting patiently at home for us, so we kept this stop short.
We couldn't pass up a quick peek at Taughannock Falls, could we?

It was a wonderful Sunday with good friends, good food, and some new experiences in familiar place.

Some of you wondered what Lewis did today to celebrate his 10th birthday.   He asked that I not take a formal picture, he feels they are silly at his age.   So here are a couple candid shots.   He lounged on the dock for second cup and happy hour (he may have had a bit of shrimp there), helped Dave build the bonfire for our 3rd of July celebration, enjoyed some steak mixed into his dinner and then helped Dave catch a fish.   In his world, it was a very good day.



Saturday, June 22, 2019

Friends, part 2

Laurel and Eric pulled out on Sunday morning, continuing their travels.   We were sad to see them go.

Cindy P and Walter arrived a little later on Sunday, we were happy to see them come!   We haven't seen them since last fall when we were in Lexington, KY, their current hometown.   When we were neighbors here, we saw each other all the time.   It's been a hard adjustment for us all so we're always so glad to have time together.

They came to Geneseo to see us, but they also came to see other friends and family they left behind so we spent as much time as we could with one or both of them.    Lewis was also very very happy to see them.   He spent lots of time with Cindy in his early years and has a long memory.     They brought a fun little surprise for him too.

Lewis meets Bex

Well, they didn't exactly bring her for him, but we didn't have the heart to tell him that.    He loved her at first sight.  Bex is Cindy and Walter's new little puppy, a Miniature American Shepherd, about 4 months old.    She was a little shy about interacting with such a big macho guy but her inhibitions soon fell away and they became best friends. 

We shared at least second cup and happy hour each day Cindy and Walter,  went out to dinner two nights in a row, celebrated Dave's birthday and their 22nd anniversary, visited with the fabulous Fred and his sweet wife Jeanie, and enjoyed giving little Bex a whole passle of new experiences.   Swimming in the lake (well, a few strokes at least), blowing bubbles in the water, walking out on the dock, up slippery stairs, carpeted ones, playing with a big dog, learning not to sniff cactus plants, being cared for by strangers, new toys, etc., etc., etc.   All big things for a little girl.

Walter and Cindy at the Red Osier

If you're wondering what the little red dot on Walter's forehead is - not it's not a laser pointer dot, see the photos below.


Walter has officially joined the ranks of true rvr's now that he has made direct contact with Beluga's awning arm.   He was a good sport about it, found a creative way to keep ice on the fresh wound while continuing our happy hour without skipping a beat.

Jeanie and Fred pretended they didn't notice the unorthodox head gear.   They're so nice.    Fred brought his famous Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp and Scallops for us to have for dinner one night.   I told you he was fabulous!

she wonders about the water below

Lewis watches from inside....he wishes he had thumbs so he could open the door

The weather didn't cooperate for Cindy and Walter's entire visit.  The first few days were nice and summery.   They had a nice view of the lake when they opened their door each of those mornings.   Their little dogs could sit outside in the sun those couple days. all went downhill.

On our way home from our Prime Rib dinner birthday celebration in Stafford, the clouds were gathering and we knew what was in store.   We thought we did.   It rained hard all night with heavy thunder and lightning.

  Lewis hasn't been able to deal with thunder in the last year or so.   He becomes catatonic and, now that we're home, heads for the bathroom to hide.

those dots are dog food, (despite what you may think)....
he won't eat anything when he's scared

After all was said and done we had accumulated more than 4 inches of rain in the two day period.   The lake was very high and filled with debris washed into it from the surrounding small streams and drainages.  Many people's docks were underwater.   Ours was spared but it's deck is directly on the surface of the lake so if a wave comes in it squirts up between the boards in a most alarming way.

The rain finally stopped so we could enjoy the drive to Honeoye Falls and our dinner at the Rabbit Room.    The falls was running full and muddy as we passed.

Friday afternoon Cindy and Walter each had friends and family to visit with and another group dinner had been planned in nearby Linwood so we volunteered to babysit sweet Bex while they were gone.   

she's got an ear

By then she and Lewis were fast friends and there was nothing off limits.  Up and over the couch, up and over us.....tugging on ears, feet, necks, she jumping off the couch onto his back, he playing tag and follow me.   This is a tiny house - we just sat on the couch and pulled our feet up.   As long as no one got hurt, we enjoyed the play.

At dinner time, however, play must stop.   Dogs must be quiet and lie down, no pestering, no barking or begging.   She was a very good girl.

They all left this morning.   That made us sad.   The house was very quiet.   Lewis slept and slept.

He woke up in time to go fishing with Dave after dinner tonight.   Some of you may wonder how he manages to thread himself between and around Dave's legs on the narrow dock without falling in.     Sometimes he doesn't....

good thing he can swim......

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Friends, part 1

Summer at the lake is a time for visiting with friends, old and new.   Summer has begun!

Laurel gives her driver parking instructions

Laurel and Eric arrived last Thursday for a short weekend visit.  Their time with us went by much to quickly.

The weather was less than stellar - rain, rain, rain.   Thursday night we had a good dinner at the Rabbit Room.    We ate and drank and enjoyed the meal and ourselves.   After dinner we went upstairs and looked at a small art exhibit before heading home and calling it a night.

Dave explains the finer points of encaustic painting to Eric

We had made outdoor plans for the next day, Friday, and the weather guessers didn't hold out much hope for a rain free day.    Being basically optimistic folks we all just put our heads down and forged ahead, assuming all would be dry.

While Laurel took care of some phone business in their trailer Dave, Eric and I sat outside and had our second cup together.   It was cloudy but warm enough and we decided that we would ignore the clouds.

Sunny Sucker Hole!

It worked!    A large. blue sucker hole opened above us and our beverages were consumed in beautiful, warm sunshine!

Laurel joined us shortly thereafter and we firmed our plans for the day.   Around 11:30 we piled into the Jeep and headed into a small suburb of Rochester, Pittsford, and lunch on the patio at Olives Restaurant.    No pictures.

After lunch we walked across the street and strolled along the Erie Canal to board a historic packet boat for our Canal tour.    These boats were originally used to carry bulk goods and passengers along the Canal's route.

Dave expertly fends off a Golden Retriever attack

Oh Dave.....Oh Eric

We boarded and claimed the best seats on the boat, but quickly left them to sit up front in the open bow, in the sunshine.  Cool, windy, but sunny!

outside for an up close look at the Lock mechanics

"Low bridge, everybody down, low bridge for we're comin to a town"
You know how that song goes don't you?

We went through one of the two locks located in the Rochester area, lock 32.

entering Lock 32

The Canal's hand dug construction took approximately 8 years to complete and was opened in 1825 to create a navigable route between New York City and the Great Lakes.    It runs over 360 miles from where Buffalo, NY meets Lake Erie to where Albany meets the Hudson River.   There is an elevation difference of about 565 feet across the state, necessitating the building and use of 34 Locks.

A lock is basically a large tank with huge doors on both ends.  A boat enters, the doors on both ends are closed, the water inside is filled or lowered depending on which way a boat needs to travel and then the doors at the proper end are opened and you're on your way.

another boat inside the lock as we enter

the gates close us in

out the other side to continue our cruise

After our Canal boat ride we took the long way home to enjoy the rest of the day lakeside. Once there we made our dinner out of assorted munchies (who's hungry after a big lunch out) and decided to cap the day off with a short boat ride around the lake.  Two boat rides in one day sounds pretty good to me!   The sun was setting and the wind was still howling but we knew it would be our only opportunity since rain was in the forecast for Saturday.   sigh

Despite his best efforts to keep Laurel warm, Lewis suggested we cut the tour short and tie up back at the dock before it got too dark and cold.   I know he was probably just scared to be out on the lake at night, but we humored him and concluded our ride just in time.

Our last day together was, as predicted, rainy and cool.   What to do?   Laundry, watch golf, laugh, eat and drink of course!

Lewis leads the way to the laundryroom

Happy Hour inside with Golfing entertainments

Our guests made the most scrumptious shrimp and grits you've ever eaten!

a few bottles may or may not have disappeared

Oh, and perhaps a little time to help a friend......

Laurel helps Lew retrieve his ball from under the dresser.....she threw it there.
Now, that's a good friend.

Our time absolutely flew by and before we knew it Sunday arrived and it was time for them to continue their travels.     Perhaps we'll run across them again along the east coast this fall???