Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Transition

We aren't ready for the closing credits of summer to roll but we are getting close.  There is a chill to the air here in upstate New York.  The sun is getting weaker, the angle of the sun is changing, and even the local produce is changing.

Changing from this:



to the fall.


Sweet dumpling squash

Butternut squash

Acorn to (bottom left) honeynut squash.  We are so fortunate to have this bounty.

The blueberries are gone but the concord grapes are almost in season.

It might be nearly time for a grape pie or two.  They don't sell them locally, but, oh an hour and a half away from here, that's where you find them.  I never did have one last year.

I mourn for summer, and must be dragged, kicking and screaming, into fall each year because I know what happens next.

And what happened to summer, anyway?

Once again, soon enough, I'll be in a fall mood.  But not yet.

What about you? (assuming you live in a climate where a four seasons fall will be happening, or you are preparing to transition into spring.)

Friday, August 30, 2019

Purple Sunset Majesty #SkywatchFriday

The sun is setting earlier every day, and more and more I find myself in a position to watch the sunset.

I forget the day, but I think this was about a week ago.

Back to trying to dodge the overhead power lines in my neighborhood.

This is more a western shot, and there are those pesky powerlines.

I shouldn't complain, though.
And the grand finale, before I decided to go back in.

As much as I don't like the approach of fall (because it means "winter is coming" I do love those sunsets and sunrises.

Like it seems I do every Friday, I am linking up with the intrepid skywatchers of #SkywatchFriday, hosted by Yogi.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

BelatedRainbow Bridge Remembance Day

I did not know that yesterday, August 28, was Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day.

Quoting from the National Day Calendar:

"Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day on August 28th sets aside a day to remember the pet companions we’ve lost.
The death of a pet, whether furry, feathered, or an uncommon variety, is felt deeply. They become family and a familiar part of our lives. Mourning their death is different for everyone, and the observance provides a way to help heal the ache of loss.
The pain of loss is real. As each person travels through their grief, we remember the companionship and comfort they provided to us. Don’t forget that part of the relationship included care provided by you. The empty space left by the loss of a beloved pet is sometimes a difficult void to overcome."

I found this out a little too late when three blogs I read featured Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day posts yesterday.  

Almost all of us have felt that pain.

So, how about my story?

I want to blog about my first pet.  The name has been changed because..well, because.

"Singer" was a canary.  I lived in a New York City housing project which prohibited dogs or cats.  My Mom had brought home various goldfish, but eventually they all went to the large aquarium in the sky.

Meanwhile, one of my aunts, who lived a couple of miles from me, had three pets:  two cats and a canary.

Yes, a canary living in the same apartment as two cats.

It was a male and it sang so beautifully.  For me,watching it, it was instant love.  I've always been attracted to birds and started begging Mom for a canary of my own.

At some point, when I was about eight, Mom decided I was old enough to care for a pet, so off to the pet shop we went (at that time, the early 60's, canaries were not expensive the way they are now) and Mom and I came home with a yellow canary.

"Singer" became a friend and companion for this only child.  He would sing for me, do little tricks with his seed bell and swing, and entertain me in general with his antics during his weekly bath.  In fact, I was able (with a lot of patience) to train him to sit on my finger, and even to sit on my shoulder.  I have a picture, somewhere of me (in a bathrobe, as I recall), with "Singer" perched on me. 

His songs and company were just what I needed after I broke my leg in three places and had to spend the next two months at home because my elementary school classroom was on the 4th floor and there was no elevator in the school building.

Sadly, he passed away during my recovery.  I can remember the date, too, because it was the day before Kennedy was assassinated.  I was still in my leg cast.

We went to the pet store the day after Kennedy died to buy another canary.  In the pet store cage was a yellow canary with a black spot on top of his head.  My Mom and I agreed the bird had the spot to mourn Kennedy, and that was the bird we took home with us.

I haven't had a pet in several years.  But, as retirement beckons...who knows?  Writing this post brought back so many sweet memories of my first true pet.

What about you?  Do you have a beloved pet you want to remember today?

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Short Journey #WordlessWednesday

I never dreamed, growing up in an apartment in New York City, that one day I would have my own backyard and I would be able to take a small journey of just a few steps in the summertime.




I would have been so happy as a child to know this.
I would tell my younger self that one day, my dream would come true.
Aren't you glad you stopped by?

Join Esha and Natasha each Wednesday for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Porchfest, which started about an hour from me in Ithaca, New York, is now an annual event in over 130 cities and towns in the United States and elsewhere.

Binghamton, New York held its fifth Porchfest on Sunday.

I've come into this area each year to enjoy the music - spouse and I exercise walk here so it was a natural thing to do.  It seemed this year, people really wanted to extend a welcome to others.  Not that previous years were unfriendly but there was a different vibe this year.
Hey, it's OK - bring your chairs and sit on our lawn! (I didn't see who lived here, so no story).
Then, there was this sign.

I was there early enough to see this family setting up because we wanted to hear the musicians next door to them.  This is what I saw:

First came several chairs with signs inviting people to sit on them.  Not everyone brings folding chairs - you sometimes have to park some distance away.

Then came a table.  After the table was unfolded came two trays of food:  spicy potato samosas with veggies, a large cooler of cold water, bags of Chip Ahoy cookies for the "kiddos",  and a sign announcing they were "free".

One middle aged woman headed to a chair and sat.  Soon, two little girls from the house approached her with a dandelion, and offered the flower to her.  The woman smiled, took the flower, and talked to the girls for a few minutes.

What a contrast to the hate others have shown in the past months in various communities.  Perhaps this is because our community has experienced its own mass shooting (in 2009). Or one of several floods (such as the one in September of 2011).  Or maybe it's because more of us than we may think are trying to turn away hate.

Porchfest is all about bringing communities together, and thousands of people turned out to enjoy a day of music.

There are other ways to fight hate, like this religious congregation in Virginia has done.

Big or small, each step counts.

Perhaps, that is the true power of being a neighbor.  Offering some hospitality to visitors - your lawn, a drink of water, a place to sit for a few minutes.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Porchfest Playlist #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and it's time for #MusicMovesMe.  

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only on this music train, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly.  Her chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  

John from the Sound of One Hand Typing is our guest conductor for today and he has declared a "free week".

Yesterday was Binghamton, New York's Porchfest, an annual celebration of music where people in a neighborhood on the West Side of Binghamton open their yards and porches to bands.

 It turns into a big neighborhood block party, with some streets closed off and other people selling refreshments, or welcoming people to their yards. (More on that tomorrow and Wednesday).

There is no admission, but fundraisers are held to raise money for the event's costs.

These are some of the songs (not by the bands there, alas) played yesterday.

Joan Jett's cover of the Kink's Celluloid Heroes.  Not sure why, but I prefer a woman singing this. At Porch Fest, I was crying in public listening to this song.

Champagne Supernova by Oasis.

Radiohead's Creep.

Now let's speed things up a bit with Holiday - Green Day

Move Along - All American Rejects. This was a new one for me and I didn't have a chance to listen to the entire video so I hope it's suitable for this group.

One last song, also from Green Day - Basket Case.

Thank you, John, for the great job you did as guest conductor.  We will have a new guest conductor in September - who will it be?

Find out next Monday, same time, same place!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Vestal Rail Trail

I've blogged, from time to time, about the Vestal Rail Trail in Vestal, New York.

In fact, if you look at my blog posts from Friday and Wednesday of last week, these took place on the Vestal Rail Trail. 

Here's a brief history of the trail:

Years ago, when the railroad industry was a main method of transportation in our country there were thousands and thousands of miles of railroad tracks crossing our country.  Now, a lot of those tracks are no longer needed.

Historic marker, near Western end of Vestal Rail Trail
Around 1968, people had an idea:  take up the tracks, build trails on the railroad right of ways, and have these trails available for exercise and other community activities. Several rounds of federal legislation followed. The application for the first rail trail, in Missouri, was filed in 1986.  Almost 20,000. miles of these trails have now been built

Train Crossing Device on Side of Vestal Rail Trail
 The Vestal Rail Trail has been open for some 20 years now, and exists in two sections.  The portion my spouse and I use is flat, straight, and  is a tiny bit over 2 miles long each way.  It is well maintained, and many 5K walking running events are held during the year.  Hopefully, spouse and I will be walking in one in early September.

This is a post about the other section, which we walk on less frequently.

On the west end of the trail sits the historic Rounds Coal House (the first picture on Friday shows it).  Moved several years ago from its original spot, where it was in danger of being torn down, it was renovated.  It now has a refreshment concession with outdoor seating, and hosts many running and walking events along with trivia and other "happenings'.

How wonderful that an unused railroad was given a second life.

Do you have a local rail trail that you utilize for exercise or recreation?

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Amish RV's

Earlier this month, I went to a hot air balloon rally and festival here in Binghamton, New York.  Among the various booths was a company selling travel trailers.

Neither my spouse nor I ever owned a travel trailer but we are thinking about getting one now that I am approaching retirement (he is already retired).

We looked at various models, but one intrigued me because of what I saw in a corner - dolls representing an Amish couple.  Turns out this trailer was Amish built.

That intrigued me.  It turns out that quite a number of travel trailers (and motor homes are built using Amish labor.

This one sounds so attractive but I'm sure it is way beyond my price range.

But one can dream.

And it intrigues me that those who could never drive or tow one of these can build them.

Are any of my readers RV owners?  I'd love some advice on the best way to learn about them online.

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Rainy Road Taken #SkywatchFriday

Last Friday afternoon, spouse and I started to exercise walk on the Vestal Rail Trail in Vestal, New York.  A few minutes in, it started to rain.

We walked in the rain for a while, but the rain got heavier and we took refuge under a bridge.  I spent the time taking pictures of wildflowers.

When the rain let up, the view looked so...Skywatch like.

There were large puddles everywhere and I started to take pictures of the reflections in some of them
You can still see raindrops falling.

Join with the sky loving crew at #SkywatchFriday each Friday, and see skies from all over the world.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Variegated Mystery #ThursdayTreeLove

A couple of days ago, my spouse had a dream: in September, we would be hit by a cold wave, with temperatures in the mid teens (approximately -9 Celsius) and snow on the ground.

Please, not yet.

Right now, where I live in upstate New York the leaves on many trees are close to turning the dull green that precedes their starting the shut down process that makes them lose leaves and go into winter dormancy.

But not yet.  Earlier in August, this tree at our local botanical gardens shone with green and yellow variegated leaves.

Here is a closeup.

There is no tag on the tree so I have no idea what kind of tree it is.  It isn't common.  If anyone knows, I would love to know.

In the meantime, the tree stands - a mystery to all but, apparently, itself.

Join Parul each second and fourth Thursday for #ThursdayTreeLove, and see what the tree lovers of the world are photographing for your delight.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Under the Bridge Wildflowers - #Wordless Wednesday

Friday, spouse and I started to exercise on the Vestal Rail Trail when it started to rain.

We walked in it for a while, but the rain got heavier and we took refuge under a bridge.  Under and near the bridge various wildflowers were growing.  Out my iPhone went, as we sheltered.

I'll blog more about this walk on Friday but for now, I present these wildflowers to brighten your Wednesday.

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) many times is an indicator that poison ivy is near, and can be used as a treatment for same.

Related, yellow jewelweed (Impatiens pallida)attracts hummingbirds and bumblebees.  I see the two growing close together on various walking trails here in the Southern Tier of New York.
Wild morning glory.  These can be pretty but deadly, choking other plants to death - you don't want the wild kind in your garden.

I believe this is purple loosetrife, an invasive plant.

And finally, goldenrod, the flower that announces "fall is almost here".  There are at least twelve types and I don't know which one this is.

Join Esha and Natasha each Wednesday for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Old Movie Theaters

At the beginning of 2016,  I wrote a post about a contest a small town movie theater owner in Maine, up north near the New Brunswick (Canada) border, was running.  The prize:  his theater, which is on the National Historic Register.

Today, after reading a blog post about a beatiful restored theater,  I wondered: what ever happened with the contest?  I posted one update later in 2016 but haven't checked since.

I am going to rerun the post, and, at the end, post an update.

But first, a cartoon.  Yes, that's what they used to do in the old days, although this cartoon (post Mel Blanc) is from 1991.

And now, our feature blog post.

Did you used to have a favorite movie theater growing up?

I did.  This contest made me think back to my childhood, growing up in the Bronx (a borough of New York City) in the 1950's and 1960's.

Back in the 1950's and 1960's, instead of going to the local shopping mall and going into an cinema with multiple screens, you went to a local movie theater.  There was one screen, and you got two pictures for your admission fee.

My parents were far from wealthy, and we rarely went to a movie.  But when we did, it was a big event.  Several blocks away was a bigger theatre.

But the best one of all was the Loew's Paradise, built in 1929.  I graduated from elementary and junior high school there.

Where I live, near Binghamton, New York, there are no more family theaters.  The remains of some, abandoned for years, exist, slowly crumbling.

So what better thing would there be to do on a cold winter's day in upstate New York than to sit down and write an essay so that I can own my very own movie theater.

To quote from the Temple Theater website:

" The Temple Theater is at the center of Market Square in historic downtown Houlton, Maine. The Temple building is over 6000 sq. ft. on each floor, built to last in 1918 of wood, steel, and brick as a proud architectural addition to Houlton.....

  • The theater and building are in fully operational condition.
  • The theater has run almost continuously since 1918. There is space and approved plans for expansion of theater space.
  • The Temple Theater is the quintessential small town movie theater. There is steady attendance and good community support for the theater."
The new owner would also have won $25,000.

So what ever happened? Not enough people entered.  The money was refunded. But, I read later in 2016 that someone from the town, now living in New Jersey, was moving back, would buy the theater, and planned to live upstairs.

As of today the website (dated 2018) shows the movie theater is still active - the sale did go through.

And now, I found still another theater in Maine for sale, called The Colonial Theater, in Belfast, Maine. 

Do you have a still operating movie theater near you? 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Root Beer #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and it's time for #MusicMovesMe.  

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only on this music train, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly.  Her chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are:   Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  

John from the Sound of One Hand Typing is our guest conductor for today.  His theme needs a little bit of explanation:

Musical Acrostics! In honor of the birthday of Charles E. Hires (1851-1937), the first commercial brewer of root beer, build a playlist in which the first letters of the songs spell out ROOT BEER.

I love root beer!  I was thrilled, too, when I lived in rural Arkansas with my spouse, that we had a couple of sarsaparilla trees.  Their roots smell like root beer.  A root beer float would refresh in the coming heat wave ahead.  But enough of that.

So, anyway,- what I wanted to do is feature more music from the iconic Woodstock concert of August 15-16-17, 1969.  I tried to do a Woodstock playlist as much as I could.  I didn't completely succeed, but perhaps that was part of the fun the fun.

I rarely do playlists, so after spending about 20 minutes trying to add it to my blog,, I gave up.  I used to be able to do this and it seems I can't anymore.  So I tried this other method and "I think" it worked.  For me, anyway.  You'll have to click on the three lines on the right, I suspect.

I worked on part of this playlist with my spouse, so thank you, spouse, for some of your inspiration.

This is the Woodstock or Woodstock related playlist I hope plays for you:

Rock and Soul Music - Country Joe and the Fish
On The Road Again by Canned Heat.
Overture by The Who (not played at Woodstock) 
Tommy, Can You Hear Me (not a Woodstock recording) from The Who, also from the Tommy album.

Born on the Bayou. Creedence Clearwater Revival Eskimo Blue Day - Jefferson Airplane (audio from Woodstock only)
Everything's Gonna Be All Right - Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Rainbows All Over Your Blues - John Sebastian(of the Lovin' Spoonful).

Thank you again, spouse.  Now, after all that, I hope people can access the playlist.  If they can't, I'll have to come back tonight and post the videos separately.

That's a bubbly musical wrap.  See you next week - same time, same blog!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday Smiles - Day Lilies

August 18 and I still have day lilies in bloom.

Some sunny smiles for you today.  These yellow ones are finally petering out but they gave quite a display over the last couple of weeks.
Three in a row.
This double lily has its own beauty.
This frilly beauty has a friend.  There are grasshoppers everywhere, I don't think I have seen so many for years.  It may not bode well for my garden.
Last but not least, this lily has it covered either up or down.

Hope you are having a good weekend. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Colors of an August Market

At a farmers market, everyday veggies and fruits take on new personalities.

How about these eggs? (yes, those are their real colors).

Cucumbers look just a little different.

Honey is in the comb.

Garlic is white, and onions are yellow or red, and all are waiting for a good cook.

Corn awaits the person longing for summer bicolored sweetness.

And blueberries show ripeness with a white powdered like coating.

Our world is full of color, and everyday objects can become special if you look at them in a slightly different way.

And about my blueberries (which I got at a U Pick place) I intend to make a dump cake with them.
The end is near for blueberry season, and we are one day closer to fall.  But for now, the farmers's market still says "summer".

What is your favorite season?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Assorted August Skies #SkywatchFriday

The various moods of an August sky in upstate New York are a fascination.  Until I was introduced to Skywatch Friday, I hadn't watched the sky since I was a little girl.  Now, I watch it all the time to see its moods and variations.

Puffy skies.
Blue and purple skies.
Just past sunset cloudy skies.

And ending with more puffy skies.  We had thunderstorms for much of last night, and we are about ready to enter into a heat wave.

What skies are ahead?

Want to view more skies?

Join the skywatchers at #SkywatchFriday, hosted by Yogi.