Sunday, October 31, 2021

Scary or Nice? You Decided!

Today is Halloween, and I invited my readers to vote on what type of post I would have today.  Scary or nice?

America (well, my regular readers) has voted.

The votes were: one scary, one nice, one "either, but with pictures" and I think the others were OK either way.

So, how about a little of both, but more on the nice side?

Today, I have some leftover scarecrow photos from our area's recent sixth annual Scarecrow contest in our Otsiningo Park, so how about I go with them?

This year's contest attracted 45 participants (a record) and gathered some 4,000 votes for the best scarecrow display.  

 A closeup - "Alice in Otsiningo".  Below, the full display.

Would you believe I've never read "Alice in Wonderland"?

"Johnny Win This Time".

Hurray for our Extension service.

Now (because I couldn't resist), a touch of the scary with a little fall foliage thrown in.

This entry reminds us of real life, unfortunately.

"I Can Be Changed by What Happens to Me" - Lourdes ACE program.  The pumpkin figure, I think, is an angel.  At the time I took this picture I didn't know about the program this is honoring.   ACE stands for "Adverse Childhood Experiences". It's open (and the program is free) to both children and adults who have experienced trauma/abuse/violence. They receive help from counselors and social workers. 

I hope you enjoyed my several scarecrow posts.

Halloween can be spooky, but real life can be downright scary.  In fact, I'm still a little undecided on if I should be giving out candy this Halloween. We didn't last year.  We bought some this year, but I'm undecided for various reasons.

I'm hoping that by next year, it won't be a scary decision.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Scarecrow Contest Winners 2021

Boo!  One more day to Halloween (if this is a holiday you participate in).

I've devoted a couple of posts to our county's sixth annual scarecrow contest, held in a popular county park each October.  Many of the entries come from non profits, and others from individuals.  It's become a fun event.

Several posts from past contests




Yesterday, the winners of the 2021 contest were announced  Some of these were included in the previous posts.  One I had never taken pictures of, for some reason.

Fifth Place: Girl Scout Selling Cookies, by Girl Scout Troop 60281.  I hadn't taken a picture of it until yesterday, so is weatherbeaten.  My apologies.

Fourth Place:  Opt to Adopt by Lindsey.  That one I never took a picture of.


Third Place Akeldama Field of Blood by USS Niagara NCC-75634 (a chapter of STARFLEET, the international Star Trek Fan Association).  Akeldama itself has a fascinating biblical history in the traditions of both Jews and Christians.

Second Place - Spread Kindness Like Confetti by Riverside Art Program and Broome Development. What an important lesson this teaches us.

And the winner - Carrie, Carly, and Patty- “BOO!”.

Congratulations go to all participants.

Tomorrow, we close our doors on October.  Should I come up with a scary post? Or a nice one?

Maybe I'll let my readers decide.

You can vote in the comments:  Scary?  Or nice?

Friday, October 29, 2021

One Day in October #SkywatchFriday

If you read my blog post from yesterday, you'll know that our area of upstate New York, along with so many others, were hit by rain (after a record rainfall year) Tuesday, and the rivers had finally had enough.  Two of the local parks where I walk closed.

Wednesday morning, the sky looked fierce.

But I stood at the entrance of one of the parks later that day, behind the barriers.  I took this picture about 3pm, after the sun finally came out.  It looks so peaceful, but that water was covering most of the park.

As the golden hour approached, you could see the fall foliage change we are finally getting.
After sunset it looks a little spooky.
This has a view (towards bottom of left side) of geese swimming in the park.  This and the previous picture were taken from a flood wall at the entrance of the park.
Yesterday, after heavy fog burned off, we took a fall foliage drive.  I liked the reflection in this farm pond.

By yesterday afternoon the park had reopened as the water had mostly receded.  We took a short walk and I took this reflection photo.  My shadow is on the right side of the photo.

Golden light reflecting on water during the golden hour yesterday.

One final photo.

Joining Skyley and other sky watching bloggers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Flooded Trees #ThursdayTreeLove

Every second and fourth Thursday of the month, Parul at Happiness and Food hosts a meme called "Thursday Tree Love".  A number of her readers live in climes where there is no snow, or, for that matter, trees that turn colors in the fall.  They look to bloggers like me to provide pictures of trees.

However, I have something more to offer my readers today.  Today, Parul is encouraging us to show a slice of our life.

On Tuesday, our area of the United States experienced a heavy rainfall, on top of an already record (I think) year of rain.  Fortunately, because last year was not overly wet, our two area rivers had capacity to absorb the rainfall. That is, up to now.

But, we are at the time of year now where trees are preparing for their winter hibernation and aren't taking up water the way they do when they are actively growing.

The rivers can't hold the water anymore.  Various areas in our county are starting to flood, just as the trees are finally turning color.

Parts of our area are prone to flooding, historically.  

The two parks we go to for walking are both flooded.  Here's one of them.  The water you see in this first picture is not normal.  The Susquehanna River is out of its banks.  To the left, you see a walking path that ends abruptly.

These two pictures were taken yesterday at one of those parks, showing both flooding and fall foliage. The river is out of its bank a lot more than it seems - here, it is up against a nearby flood wall. (How did we get the pictures?  By standing on the flood wall that borders the park.  Safety first.)

Here's one more picture, taken yesterday at the Vestal Rail Trail, which (mostly) is not prone to flooding. (2011 was an exception).

We had two bad floods, one in 2006 and one in 2011. If you go to my blog posts of September, 2011, you can read about it.  Floods nowadays are a lot worse.  We've been spared (so far).

This time won't be like that for our area, but any more rain, and, as the saying goes, all bets are off. 

Climate change is speaking to us once again.  

Will we listen?

Tomorrow, more flood related pictures as part of Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

A Scary Sight #WordlessWednesday

I was planning another installment of the 2021 Scarecrow Contest our county held earlier this month (now closed), but I'm going to save it for another day because Nature had something even more scary in store.

Flash floods.

As of right now, our neighborhood isn't threatened by the rains we received yesterday.  But, heavy rains always bring me back to two neighborhood floods - one in 2006 and the other in 2011.  I don't know yet what I'm waking up to this morning.  If it isn't us, it's a different neighborhood.

We've had such a wet summer and fall and we've been under several flash flood watches already.  Yesterday, our county was put under a state of emergency.   As of last night, we were under a flash flood warning.

After my workday ended, spouse and I went down to a small park that fronts a creek as it flows into the Susquehanna River.  

You can see the rapidly moving river, all muddy, with debris floating down the river.  What you see as "lines" in the river are trees or pieces of trees.

It's misty which is why you can't see the sky.

Let's leave the park for now, and move on to our local scarecrow contest.  Here are more contestants.  This one is called the Harvest Goddness (that's the spelling on the contest website, anyway).

A happy pumpkin family.

Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

The winner will be announced October 29.


Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

An October Walk and Drive

I was planning to post this on Sunday, but the death of Jay Black of Jay and the Americans prompted a tribute post. So I'm changing this a little and posting today.

Our part of New York State isn't the only area where the foliage show has been below average.  Part of this is because our temperatures, for the most part, have been above average.  In fact, we haven't received our first frost yet.

But climate change definitely has something to do with it. 

At our house, it got out to 70 degrees F (21 C) yesterday but I was working and couldn't enjoy much of it.  Today, we are getting rain and we are under a flash flood watch (yet again).  Meanwhile, the Eastern coast is getting a nor'easter. 

These first few photos were taken Thursday.

On the Rail Trail, trees are finally starting to turn but the color is still muted.  The clouds don't help.

Another view of the trail.

After our walk, we decided to drive on some of the back roads in more wooded areas of our area.

The fall foliage is behind where it normally would be, and the color isn't there the way it should be.

Here and there you see traces of what should be, though the colors are muted.

Ah, a little better. (Please forgive the dirty window - it was too cold to open them).

Still another view near the last view.

Oh, those clouds, with the sun popping in and out.

One more view.

By Sunday, the color was a little better. 

The reddish tree to the left is a dogwood, planted at a memorial to a woman who passed away years ago from breast cancer at the age of 38.  Her memory lives on in a charitable organization.
Virginia creeper.

Hoping the foliage gets better before the leaf peeping season ends or the leaves are blown off by a storm, whichever comes first.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Pumpkin Spice but Not Much Nice #MusicMovesMe

It's time for music!

Who are the Music Moves Me 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-meaning at least one music video, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly.  Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me. 

We'd love more music lovers to join us.  It's easy! All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video (there must be a music video).  And that's it!

Each month we have a guest conductor. Today, for the month of October, we once more welcome John from The Sound of One Hand Typing.  Thank you for choosing our themes this month, John!

John's theme for today is an acrostic - build a playlist of songs - the first letter of each title, in order, should spell out "Pumpkin".  Or, if you want, Pumpkin Spice.

Does this cute Pumpkin Spice Girls entry in our local Scarecrow Contest count?  I know the rules!" It must have music!"

So....I tried making this somewhat late October horror themed. As a result, this is going to be a strange playlist.

I am going to break the rule with my very first song but the group, after all, has Pumpkins in its title, and the official video (which I am not showing because it is disturbing) has an element of horror in it.

Smashing Pumpkins and the alternative hit from 1995 "Bullet with Butterfly Wings".  This song has the iconic lyric "Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage", and if you go to this video on You Tube, you'll see what else people turn that lyric into.  Some of the results are funny.

Under the Boardwalk - a song of summer, and here we are in the fall.  No matter.  We can enjoy this classic Drifters hit.  Not so fun fact, the morning this song was to be recorded their lead singer was found deceased and..well, you can read what happened next here.

It took a few searches but I found the recording with the censored "we'll be making love" lyric restored.  After all, this isn't 1964.

 For M, I'm returning to the 1990 with the Crash Test Dummies, and "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" from 1993.

Another "P": From 1966, Paperback Writer, a Popular song from the Beatles.

For K I had to fit in a horror type song . Maybe this is a little campy, but it fit the theme.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space Theme, from the 1988 cult classic horror/comedy movie.

I'm on a bit of a roll here so how about another song for the season.  Reincarnated (sort of) Salem witches are slightly better than Killer Klowns from Outer Space, right?

I is for I Put a Spell on You from the 1993 Disney movie Hocus Pocus, performed by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy.

Finally, for N, I'm going to use a song which is a satire on one particular series of horror movies.  And if you run from the room screaming, well, it's almost that time (if you celebrate) and it's in tune with the season, right?

I am going to leave out the lead A and just call this 1988 song Nightmare on My Street - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (a young Will Smith), so I can use it to complete this set.

And that's a pumpkin spice flavored wrap!  

Before I go, I want to thank John for his guest hosting this month.  Next week starts November and a new guest host.

Stay tuned for another episode of Music Moves Me next week, same time, same place.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

RIP Jay Black aka The Voice

(Note, this is not my Music Moves Me post for this week - that will be posting normally early Monday morning Eastern time.)

On October 22, Rock and Roll Heaven received a new inductee, born David Blatt but better known as Jay Black, lead singer for Jay and the Americans.  Jay Black died at the age of 82 from complications of pneumonia.

He became known as "The Voice" and what a voice he had.

Jay and the Americans were one of the 60's groups I loved to listen to, thanks to his singing voice.  Growing up in New York City, I remember the late DJ Dan Ingram playing around with one of his songs, Cara Mia, but it was all in good fun.

So why not start this tribute post with Cara Mia?

Another favorite, "Come A Little Bit Closer", from 1964.

I have to include this live performance of Jay Black singing Cara Mia at age 62. Do you think his voice has stood the test of time?  Standing O!!

Last but not least, Jay Black singing Only in America live in 2009.  I never knew that this song was a cover of a song by The Drifters.

In 2014, Jay announced that he had Alzheimers.  

Now that wonderful voice has been silenced.

May Jay Black forever RIP. 

Want more music?  Join me and other music lovers tomorrow for Music Moves Me.  And, if you have at least one video to share, you are more than welcome to join us! (details in tomorrow's post.)

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Boo for Halloween Continued

Wednesday, I blogged about Broome County, New York's annual fall Scarecrow contest in Binghamton's Otsiningo Park. 

Park goers get to vote for their favorites through tomorrow, October 24.  I took a lot of pictures (not of all the entrants - there are over 40 this year, I believe).  Let's see if we can guess who won.

A lot of the entries are non profits or local organizations.

A recycled can and bottle grasshopper scarecrow - I would say, an imaginative entry.

The Pumpkin Spice girls.  Cute.

I think we can all agree we need to spread more kindness.

What's a spiedie, the T-shirts ask.  Here's the answer.
Last one for today.
My Wednesday post, if you want to see more entries.

More next week.

Is there a similar contest where you live?

Friday, October 22, 2021

October Reflections and Birds #SkywatchFriday

Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary on the border between Dryden and Ithaca, New York has some 220 acres of woods and wetlands which are easy to hike-flat and well kept. Owned by Cornell University, this sanctuary is part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, owned by Cornell University.  This birding hotspot is free to the public and includes a wonderful Visitors Center that just reopened after having been closed since COVID-19 arrived.

Wednesday, spouse and I visited Sapsucker Woods to do some hiking and birding. A vast variety of birds can be seen there, including the once uncommon (to our area) yellow bellied sapsucker. (Thanks to climate change, you can see these at the site, along with several other woodpeckers.) The day started out crisp (and warmer than usual - we are back to our unseasonable warm weather).  The sky was clear blue, although it didn't stay that way for long.

It was a wonderful location to engage in some reflection photography.

There are several ponds on the trails. The trees are only now starting to change color.

Reflection in one of the wetlands.

Some of the many trees felled by beavers; you can see some other tree reflections in the water.

A tree that has almost completely lost its leaves - it might be a maple that caught a disease common this wet year to maples.  Sadly, there was also a lot of evidence of dead ash trees, which are succumbing to a blight.  I was trying to get a picture of a downy woodpecker working this tree but I didn't succeed.

You won't see any bird pictures - we were too busy enjoying the hike.

We saw various birds - Canada geese, black capped chickadees, downy woodpeckers, a woodpecker we think may have been a hairy woodpecker, blue jays, and more, while hiking the trails.  It was such a beautiful day.

Cayuga Lake, on the way home.

Joining up with Yogi and other skywatchers at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Isn't Telephone Nostalgia Wonderful?

Part of the fun of blogging, especially if the blogger is extremely introverted, is the chance to connect with readers and - yes, to learn from them.  Another part of the joy of blogging is the chance to engage in nostalgia.

I learn a lot from my readers, perhaps more than they learn from me.

Tuesday's post was a learning experience.  It was also a surprise  When I was writing it, I said to myself, "No one is going to be interested in this."  Was I ever wrong.

Sometimes, the posts that I don't think will generate much interest are my most successful ones. 

What's a blogging success, after all?  Isn't it about exploring the connections we have with each other?  Sharing common experiences, and ones one generation may have experienced, but not everyone?

Tuesday's post talked about how I had dialed (not that I physically dial anything, anymore) phone numbers in a certain way for my entire life, and how that was about to change.

Turns out many of my readers were already inputting phone numbers the new (to me) way, and had been for years.  Lesson learned!  But not only that: 

One of my readers mentioned ring down phones.  I had never heard of this.  I learned something from that, and now, you can, too (although I'm not 100% sure that this is what my reader meant.).

That same commenter (thank you!) mentioned how we tell Siri now to call someone (if we have an iPhone.)  That reminds me, I can remember my childhood phone number (which started with two letters) so well.  But I sometimes forget my cell phone number.  I still haven't learned my spouse's cell phone number.  I just ask Siri or go to my contact list, after all.  How about you?

One of my readers mentioned telephone party lines.  I don't remember ever having a party line in my childhood Bronx apartment, but they existed. In fact, my original draft post devoted a paragraph to party lines.  I took it out because I didn't think anyone would care.  Wrong! (Hint, it's not how we held parties in the old, prehistoric days).

Writing this post  has generated even more memories.  If you want to dial N for Nostalgia, this article will do it for you. Turns out those old fashioned phones had a number of adventages.

Remember dialing phone numbers with a rotary dial?  It took a bit to learn how to dial, and wrong numbers were a lot more common than they are today.  You can still buy phones with dials, by the way, in case you want to go retro.  But the system that replaced rotary dialing was actually introduced in 1962.  Some automated systems will still ask you "if you have a touch tone phone, press 1 now", although so many young adults use cell phones and have to use a virtual touch tone keyboard.

One of my aunts, who died nearly 20 years ago, had a rotary wall phone in her kitchen until the day she died.  She also declined to use cell phones.  Her sons had bought her one, and, after her death, they found it in the trunk of her car.

Do you remember dial tones? (the tone that told you the line was available to make a call)?  I was amazed to discover that the dial tone was invented in 1908.  Now, there are a couple of generations of people who may have never heard that common sound of my youth and most of my adulthood.

Remember when you practically needed a bank loan to make a long distance phone call? (One of my readers brought that up). 

 Remember person-to-person calling and how you could circumvent the huge long distance charges?   This GEICO ad might remind you.

I could go on.

Isn't nostalgia a wonderful thing?

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Boo for Halloween #WordlessWednesday


Every October, Broome County sponsors a Scarecrow contest in Otsiningo Park.  A lot of the entrants are non profits.

Park goers get to vote for their favorites through October 24.  I took a lot of pictures (not of all the entrants - there are over 40 this year, I believe).  Let's see if we can guess who won.

Come back again Saturday for more contestants.

A spooky picnic? 

One of my favorite candies.

This was one of my favorites.

This one is a bit creepy, just because the favorite giraffe is probably the late (as in "no longer with us") April of Internet fame. Some of you may remember how her giving birth became an Internet sensation of 2017.  She spent her last few years at Animal Adventure, about 20 minutes from Otsiningo Park.  She passed on earlier this year.


Here's where you can vote.


Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for #WordlessWednesday.