Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Love NY

We had a wonderful visit and so much happened I cannot possibly record it all here. But I will use the pictures to jog my memory and give you a taste. Above is my Dad and the girls on the float in the pond. The green was so intense. Usually by this time of year, things are looking dried out from all the summer heat, but they had so much rain this year everything was so lush. The first few days were cool and we had thunderstorms in the afternoon. It was such a nice change from the desert. Then it got hot and muggy. Oh well.

We saw so much wildlife and nature, the girls were in heaven! E found a feather with polka dots while up at the pond. My dad said it was some kind of woodpecker, but we never looked it up. His internet was not working and I really missed google!
Later the girls found some snails while walking up the road after dinner. We had to take them home and make habitats for them. And then the races began! Wouldn't you know it those snails actually raced neck and neck in straight lines!? It was hilarious. A named hers Dudley and E named hers Gary, of course.

The next day we were once again walking down the road after dinner and E picked up something and said, "Look! I found a rubber lizard". I looked and it was a newt! She was named Nevada, because she was the color of Red Rock, and she, too, got her own habitat. E was quite (too) fond of holding her and "playing" with her. The poor thing was in shock, I'm sure!

While at our friends we found these tiny little frogs hopping all over their field. This one is sitting on A's hand, so you can see how tiny it is. E wanted to take one home, but I said no because we could not release it back to the same place since we were not going back to our friend's house. All the better anyway, since E ended up loving one to death! She felt bad, but wanted another one. Ah. No. Too many small creatures on my conscience that day.

No big story with these next two pictures, I just like them! The girls were helping my dad water the plants on the porch using the rain water collected in an old tin basin. I thought the scene was picture perfect with the plants and E filling her bottle with the big ladle and the architectural details on the house. Don'tcha think?
And while sitting on the porch late in the evening, talking in the candlelight, I played with my camera and got this shot of A gazing at the flame. Not too shabby for no tripod. I need to learn so much more about taking pictures to get the shots I want, but I am having fun playing with it. I love the intensity of A's eyes. That's my A.

The girls were eager to ride our friend's horses, so we visited on Saturday to do that. Last year, they got to ride bareback for a short walk around the barnyard. This year the horse was saddled and C walked them all the way around the house, so it was a much longer ride. Here is A up on Cocoa. She said it was a bumpy ride. E was thrilled to be up on that big horse and asked to go around twice. I think, for A, it is about communing with the horses. E is more into the riding. Daddy even got a ride, although Cocoa was not too much into doing what C wanted him to do. He kept trying to stop and eat some grass!

They had brought along some carrots and peas for the horses, so we went in the barn to feed them all the treats. Here, E is giving Charlie a carrot. He would have eaten the whole bag, if he could have! A was hesitant to hold out her hand to feed the horses, so she put the carrots into the feed buckets. I don't blame her. Those horses have big teeth and mouths!

On Sunday, there was to be a party in the afternoon, with my brother and SIL arriving with the cousins that day as well. We wanted to get out of the way for the last minute prep, so we went to Buttermilk Falls State Park for a hike in the creek. There is a spot with all these awesome waterfalls and interestingly shaped rocks. In this picture, E is standing in a round hole in the shale bed of the stream. There was a bigger one that was perfectly round and big as a hot tub. We saw a water snake, probably a Northern Water Snake, but because we were not sure it was not a cottonmouth, we left him alone. We also found a crawfish's molted shell.

This picture of a waterfall has a hidden surprize. Can you see the waterfall spirit looking out at us? Freaked me out when I was zooming in on the shot to see if I was in focus! Too cool! Click on the picture to get the larger image if you can't find it.

We had a nice hike and then headed back to the house for the party. The girls were very excited to see their cousins! Several of our friends attended the party and it was nice to see everyone. Since my brother had just had a birthday and my other brother's girlfriend's birthday was just that week, there was a scrumptious chocolate cake decorated with these purple flowers. The girls gathered them up and decorated themselves with the flowers! Here is A and her cousin J, looking so tropical. I just love that picture.

On Monday, it was very hot so we tried to cool off with water balloons and the sprinkler. My Dad borrowed a friend's dinghy to take the kids in on the pond. The water was too icky this year to swim in the pond. Too much algae. A said they liked the float better. Too many spider webs in the boat! In the evening, we all went to watch my dad play softball. It was hot and buggy, but his team won, so it was good! Tuesday the plan was to go swimming in the lake in the afternoon when the youngest cousin woke up from his nap, but it was too hot to wait. So we skipped the nap and drove into town to go to a movie before doing the swimming thing. We saw The Any Bully. It was cute and the kids all liked it. My SIL was hoping it would get her son to stop squishing every bug that crossed his path, but to no avail. On the way out of the theater, he tried his best to step on a hopping cricket! I guess he learned that ants are people, too, but not crickets!

The lake was very refreshing and a nice way to wrap up our visit with my family. I was too busy cooling off in the water to take any pictures. After the swimming area closed we went over to the playground nearby and let the kids play on that for a while. The girls liked the spiderweb climbing thing, better than the real ones in the dinghy!
The next day, we packed up our stuff and drove to my girlfriend's house for a few days visit. She has three little boys and they live in a big old farmhouse on a wannabe farm, with chickens and a tractor. They also have a pool just like ours, so that was fun. The picture of A is from the pool at her mothers' house when we went for dinner the last night. My friend and I have known each other since we were seven and her mother was good friends with my mother. It was very nice to catch up on old times, not to mention the swimming and sliding!

Visits like this never last long enough and soon it was time to head home. All we have left are memories and a few pictures, but it will have to do until next time.

1 comment:

Flo said...

There's no place like home, eh? Just wanted to comment on the incredible resemblence J has to her mama. Wow!

Thanks for sharing your stories and pictures, M. Awesome, as always.