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Friday, April 30, 2021

Zest and Zoo #AtoZChallenge #SkywatchFriday

It's the last day of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge!  I survived once again, but am ending without too much Zest.

I feel tired.  Blogging challenges usually energize me, but not this time. Perhaps its all the up and down weather here in New York State - winter, spring, winter, spring.  After a 81F (27 C) day yesterday, we may get snow tomorrow night.

But the sky is waiting, and so is the letter Z.

Those here for Skywatch Friday, please scroll to the end for some sky shots.

Animal Adventure Park is (their description) "an interactive educational animal park" which went viral several years ago when they set up a webcam to allow fans to monitor the pregnancy of their giraffe, April. 1.2 million people (including me) watched the birth.

Sadly, April passed away earlier this year.   

Because I need a "Z", I am going to describe Animal Adventure as a zoo.  I also realize that many believe that zoos are not healthy places for the animals who live there.  It is true that a giraffe, in nature, would never be able to survive a New York winter, nor would it live in a fenced enclosure.

There are no easy answers here, but one thing I like about Animal Adventure is the commitment the Patch family that owns it has to conservation and publicizing the "silent extinction" of various species, including reticulated girffes.  Additionally, they are attentive  to the needs of visitors to their facility, including children with autism. (The owners have a special needs daughter)

I have visited Animal Adventure twice.  These pictures are from my last visit, in 2020.

Not sure if any of these giraffes were April.  At the time I visited, interactions were limited due to COVID.


Peek-a-boo.
That must feel nice.

Animal Adventure is a lot more than giraffes.  I will finish this short visit off with an animal sculpture.

But besides the letter "Z" we are also here for some sky pictures of New York State. 


Two sunsets - the first, from November 20, 2020 - sunset over the Susquehanna.

December 11, 2020.

And finally, Owego, New York war monument and spring color, earlier this week before spring disappeared.

I'm regaining some of my zest, sharing these pictures of natural beauty with you.

Joining Yogi and the other skywatchers who participate in #SkywatchFriday.

"Z" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme this year was "New York State" and I thank each and every person who visited to check out my posts.  May you all have a wonderful rest of 2021, and I invite those not familiar with the Blogging from A to Z Challenge to visit some of the many bloggers who participated this year. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Yesterdays #AtoZChallenge

History is a part of all of our lives.  Without learning about our Yesterdays, we can not fully understand the forces at work in our todays.

I'd like you to come with me for some peeks into New York State Yesterdays.  I have to warn you in advance, some of these pay tribute to painful parts of our history.  I'll try to keep them towards the end in case you would rather consider the beauty portions of history. 

Let's start with some historic buildings.

It's always nice looking in the interior of historic buildings.  I was given permission, in 2015, to take some pictures of the interior of the old Binghamton City Hall, which, at the time, was converted into a hotel.  It has since closed, and I've lost track of what is happening to the property.  The building was built in 1897.

A detail from the front doors of that building.
The home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, our only four term President, who guided us through World War II.  This is his childhood home, where he also lived part of his adult life with his mother.

Oswego Armory in Oswego, New York, built in 1906.  This is currently occupied by a YMCA.

Oswego Public Library, built circa 1855.

Yesterday, spouse and I visited Owego, New York, a town about 16 miles to the west of Binghamton and decided to take a short walk to admire spring flowers.  On our walk, we ran across this historic sign.

The house it belonged to is on the right, and I felt comfortable taking its picture as it is now a commercial property.

You don't often pass the house of a Presidential candidate on a casual walk, especially a woman who ran for President before women had the right to vote in New York State.

But then, admiring a magnolia in bloom, I saw this historical sign.  The original sign dates from 1932 and commemorates the burning of the original Owego (Owegea) Native American village burned August 19, 1779 by troops commanded by Colonial General James Clinton.  You can read more about that campaign here.

Here is another historical marker related to that event, erected in 1927. I will note here that there are other historical markers related to that campaign, where other Native American villages were burned.  Another burned village, Chugnut, lay where spouse and I sometimes walk for exercise on an extension of the Vestal Rail Trail. 

History - it can be beautiful, but it also can be painful.  We need to learn from our Yesterdays, though, so we know the mistakes we must avoid - and the successes we need to repeat.

"Y" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  New York State.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Xanthic #AtoZChallenge

It's time for what I think is the hardest day in the A to Z Challenge - "X" day.  But just think - only two more letters to go! 

This year, I'm choosing the word "Xanthic", meaning "having to do with yellow, or colored yellow, especially a flower".

So yellow it is.

This color, in our community, has a tragic story surrounding it.  A 16 old girl, Harper Stantz, and her best friend were walking home from a local park on March 13, 2019 when they were struck by a drugged driver.  The friend survived with serious injuries. Harper did not survive.


Yellow was Harper's favorite color.  There is now a bench at the park in Harper's memory, and yellow is incorporated into events held in her honor. 

Nature is full of yellow, or, should I say, xanthic.


A yellow sunset. 


Yellow trees in fall.

Here's a sign on property owned by Cornell University in Ithaca.  Call the bottom one a sign of the times.


 A warning sign of an invasive water plant called hydrilla.  You can find these in various places along Cayuga Lake.

Because yellow flowers are so common in the spring, here are some blooming at my house right now.

Yellow species tulip.

Yellow fringed tulip.

Yellow daffodils.  So xanthic?

Finally, barrenwort.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for #WordlessWednesday.

"X" day for the Blogging from A to Z challenge.  My theme:  New York State.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Willard (Memorial Chapel) #AtoZChallenge

The Willard Memorial Chapel, located in Auburn, New York (Finger Lakes region), is the only existing building in its original location with an original, unaltered, interior designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany of the  Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company. (The jewelry company with the Tiffany name was founded by his father.)  It was built between 1892 and 1894.

It, and an adjoining building, are the only two buildings left from a theological seminary.

Here is the exterior of the building.  Now, let's go in.

When many of us think of Tiffany, we think of stained glass.  So let's look at some stained glass.

There's stained glass and chandeliers, too.


A better view. 

Another view.

You don't think of floors but this floor was Tiffany designed.

Let's look at the pews.

And some woodwork.

Bonus picture - grave of Louis Comfort Tiffany, buried in Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

Auburn, New York has a number of properties on the historic register, including the Harriet Tubman complex and the William H. Seward House (the man responsible for our purchase of Alaska and Secretary of State under Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.)  The area is well worth your visit.

"W" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme: New York State.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Vittles and Vino #AtoZChallenge

If you are looking for my Music Moves Me post, please click here.  But I hope you'll stay here for some refreshments.  You deserve them!

It's "V" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and we A to Zers are Very tired.  We need refreshments!

No worries.  I am here to provide them.

Since my theme is "New York State" I wanted to start with a regional specialty in Central New York- stretch bread.  This is the Patisserie, in Skaneateles, New York, which (along with a couple of other places) sells stretch bread.  This is similar (but not exact) to Italian bread.

The bread was even the subject of a 2014 lawsuit, settled in 2019.


 Veggies are an important part of a balanced diet.  Let's check out one of New York's many farmers market.  This one is in Victor, New York. 


Time for some fruit.  Not much out there right now, but in Vestal, New York I saw this tree blooming recently.  I think it's an apple tree. 

Now, it's time to put the meal together.

Poughkeepsie, New York, is home to the Culinary Institute of America, where some of the best chefs in the world have been trained.  On a tour, I saw this work of art, called the Gastrotypographicalassemblage.  Here's the story behind it.

Some of the detail.

By now you must be getting hungry for some dessert.  These are for sale to the public when we visited in 2019.  I purchased a couple of cowboy cookies (don't tell my Weight Watchers coach) and boy, were they good.  Here's a recipe from former First Lady Laura Bush.  I have no idea how the CIA makes them.

I know you've been waiting for the wine course.  It's time!  This is part of the only wine tasting we went to in 2020, at the Lucas Vineyard on Cayuga Lake.  Due to COVID, it was held a little differently.

Samples in plastic, bottled wine, individual servings of crackers.  (The other item on the left is cheese curds, made, of course, in New York State.

I did promise you a couple of more pictures of the historic Pleasant Valley Wine Company and I'm here to complete that tour.  Ah, if only, we could have sat on that lovely dining room table just past the stairs.

But now, refreshments are over, and it's time to leave.  I hope you enjoyed these Views.

"V" day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  New York State.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

April Music Birthdays #MusicMovesMe

Welcome to Music Moves me, late April Sunday edition.

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 , please!)   First, there is XmasDolly, who hopefully will join us this week.  Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me. Each month we have a guest post and this month we again welcome DrillerAA of Driller's Place.

His theme:  "In honor of our middle granddaughter's 21st birthday (April 16) build a playlist of artists born in April."  Happy to oblige!

Let's start with artist Ace Frehley, the original lead guitarist of the rock band Kiss, born in the Bronx (a borough of New York City, on April 27. 1951.

I'm choosing one of my favorite Kiss songs, Detroit Rock City.


Tom Lehrer, born April 9, 1928 (still going strong, hopefully, at age 93) was famous for his humorous songs - some pretty biting -  from time to time.  (Note, he is also a retired math professor).  This may well be one of his more innocuous songs. My pick for Tom is "New Math".

Luther Vandross, born April 20, 1951 in New York City.  I chose one of his love songs, "Power of Love".

John Oates, half of the duo Hall and Oates, was born on April 7, 1948.  I am choosing a Hall and Oates song called "Sara Smile", which was their first top 10 hit, back in 1975.  Sara and Darryl Hall were together nearly 30 years before they broke up in 2001.

Roy Orbison, born April 23, 1936, was a favorite of mine growing up.  Here is one of my favorites of his, "Oh, Pretty Woman.".


For my last song, I turn to Afrika Bambaataa, born in the Bronx as Lance Taylor on April 17, 1957. This artist was a gang warlord before he turned to DJing and music. Here's Afrika Bambaataa and The Soulsonic Force with "Renegades (of Funk)". Here is more about the man many call "The Godfather of Hip Hop"

And with that, please join me again tomorrow for "V" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

In the meantime, that's a wrap!

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Urbana #AtoZChallenge

People familiar with my theme (New York State) are probably asking, what's an urbana?

True, I could have done Utopian, for the Oneida Utopian Community - but I decided not to.  Or, I could have picked Utica but I've only been there once, and I didn't have my camera (pre cell phone) with me. Or I could have picked New York City and gone "urban".

I got to thinking - I have been blogging about New York State all this month and not once have I discussed any wineries.  That's about to change, with today's topic, Urbana.  

The Town of Urbana is in Steuben County, the same county as Corning (of Corning Glass fame).  In the Town of Urbana you can find the Pleasant Valley Wine Company near the Village of Hammonsport.

Pleasant Valley Wine Company (also known as Great Western) is the oldest "bonded" winery (this has to do with taxes) in the United States.  It dates from 1860 and consists of nine historic buildings, some of which also date from the 1860's. 

I can't remember the date on this building.

This one is dated 1891.

 Prior to COVID, tours of some of the buildings were available.  This wasn't your usual "here are the tanks, here's how we bottle the wine, etc." tour, either.  

Let's take a peek.

Of course, the property must have a grape fence.


Once you are inside, it's a glimpse of days gone by.  Note the end table. Elaborate parties used to be held down here.

Some more of the furniture.

This stained glass window says "Brussels 1897".


But, you ask, what about the wine?

Do you want me to blog about wine later in the week?  Why not?

Thank you for joining me on this quick tour.  Tomorrow, I will be posting my Music Moves Me post, so I can make room for "V" on Monday.

"U" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  New York State.