Gems of Many Hues

The game of picking up maple leaves in our

yard during Autumn is an enjoyable activity.

Memories of growing up in Massachusetts. 

Our mother helped us preserve the leaves

by ironing them between sheets of wax paper.

We hung these found gems in our windows and

pretended they were stained glass windows.   

They provided us with hours of entertainment.

As we gazed at our snow-covered yard in

December, we still had the Autumn memories.

Sometimes we brought these artistic

compositions to school for show and tell.

Our gems had wonderful colors:  amber,

burnt sienna, brick red, chestnut, Venetian red,

Vermillion, golden ochre, sepia, and orange

to name a few of Mother Nature’s offerings.

Just like a big box of crayons. Many hues.

Cooler days of Autumn provide the backdrop

for pumpkins, creative Halloween costumes

and house decorations. Enjoy the season!





Posted in Autumn Leaves, crayon colors, Massachusetts, stained glass windows, wax paper | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Autumn Magic

Nature beckons us to stroll by the lake. On one
of the last warm days, we don walking shoes
and wander about in the glorious Autumn foliage.
The lake shimmers as the sun casts its rays.

Dogs at the dog park were playfully running
about and getting their exercise. The picnic
tables scattered near the water’s edge were
occupied with folks enjoying good conversation.

The magnetic pull of the water and sunlight wove
magic. We allowed the calmness to hold sway.
There is a certain comfort in such vistas. Life’s
cares and woes simply flow away. Captivated.

Neighborhoods come alive with pumpkins and
seasonal decorations. Halloween around the
corner. Leaves falling. Heavier jackets and
layers of clothing. Soon snow. Sweet life!

Posted in Autumn, lake, magic, nature, Onondaga Lake, pumpkin, pumpkins | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Job Completed

By popular request, this post shows the
Town installing a new storm drain recently.
A previous post last month outlined the
street markings to indicate where pipes

were to be installed underground to meet
up with the drain between our property and
our neighbor’s. The huge concrete square was
laid into the hole freshly dug. Next came a

plywood frame to pour the concrete. After
a few days of curing, the Town would return.
Although new soil had been installed and
grass seed put down, rains were forecast,

This week after removing the plywood frame around
the concrete square, new soil and grass seed
were put down, smoothed and planted. Time for
more photos. I asked to look inside the drain,

so, the cover was opened. I viewed where an
additional pipe went to the left side to meet up
with our underground pipes. In between rains, the
Town has been by to inspect their work. By

all appearances, the job is completed. We
are now ready for the annual snowplows to
damage the edges of our lawn in their snow
removal efforts. Every spring, new grass seed

is planted to repair the damage from the
snowplows. Such is life in Upstate New York
winters! I would not trade my four seasons
here. Our gardens bring us much joy!

Posted in heavy equipmenbt, road machinery, storm drains, Upstate New York | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

I Do!


Shortly after her engagement to be married, our
daughter visited with her fiancé, Vincent. Traditions.
Ask for permission to marry our daughter, Emily. We
were delighted with her choice. Next, show him

around town and the schools she attended. Our
church’s name happens to be the same name as his
home parish church. What a small world!
The dress was purchased more than one year ago.

The maid of honor and future bridesmaids tried
on their dresses too. More rituals. Several dresses
later, our daughter beamed radiantly with her choice.
Shoes were purchased later with a trip to a favorite

mall in New Jersey. More visits here and on LI
to meet family. Then the pandemic and lock downs.
Send out invitations. Venue for reception with music
and dancing had to be cancelled as well. As per

new rules during the pandemic. Undaunted, more
invitations with a new date for the reception
scheduled for next year. Our guardian angels
worked overtime to let everything fall into place.

Wedding was last Saturday and smaller scale
dinner reception with mainly family and some
friends. It was an exquisite ceremony at the
church followed by photos at the beach.

The weather was picture perfect as well. The
honeymoon trip remained on the East Coast.
The CA redwoods will be another time. Dad
surprised his daughter with a specially recorded

song called “Fathers and Daughters” as a surprise
gift to her. No dry eyes. What a radiant bride walking
up the aisle on her Dad’s arm. Beautiful organ music.
Soloist with Ave Maria. Stunning bridal couple.

The two Moms walking on the sidewalk to the
church and commenting on each other’s dresses.
Such a memorable day! Such a wonderful wedding.
Welcome to our family! And live happily ever after!



Posted in "Fathers and Daughters" song, Ave Maria, church in Southampton, wedding, wedding dress, wedding invitations | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments

A Very Heavy Load !


As I opened the door, a mad dash was made from
our yard and across the street. A heavy burden caused
the squirrel to slow down in the middle of the
street to adjust the heavy load, an apple in its mouth!

Amusing to watch, it tried to keep the prized apple
in its mouth! A few additional squirrels frolicked
In the afternoon sunshine as they scoured the
lawn for additional tasty morsels. Just imagine


I had just this week thought our apples must almost
be ripe enough to pick. As I surveyed the trees,
what did I spy but a bushy tailed thief perched high above
enjoying an afternoon snack. How dare they

steal our edibles from the tree! Forsooth!
When startled, they often drop their prize and
simply let the partially eaten apples fall on
the ground. Later in the day when I gaze

at the apples, another friend stops by
for a visit: our resident rabbit. He
attempts to flatten his body and hide
in the grass as he munches on apples.

We have an abundant crop this year so
feeding extra mouths work for us. Now
if they would pick up after themselves so
my husband can mow the lawn.

Wishing them a silent “Guten Appetit,”
I once more close the door and let them
enjoy their meals. For soon, my little
creatures, snow will cover the ground!

Posted in apple trees, chipmunks, Guten Appetit, rabbits, squirrels | Tagged , | 14 Comments

From Start to Finish

Home ownership comes with awesome
responsibilities. Unlike rental properties,
the homeowner must pay for repairs
and upkeep. And there are many surprises
along the way. We live in an area with soft,
clay soil and underground water is

a constant presence. Finally, after several
instances of cleaning up our basement
after water had entered, we bit the bullet and
had a sump pump installed. It seems like it
took forever to schedule installation and
we await part two of the project with our

local town connecting us to the nearby
storm drain. In between the installation
came extensive landscaping and plantings
in the lawn area where mud accumulated
over the winter. Living on a cul de sac is
lovely except for the fact that the road does not

seem to be pitched correctly to channel the water
from the outlets in our yard. After apologizing
and explaining to all our neighbors about
the water standing in the road, we hoped for
an timely solution. This week we have noticed
yellow signs in the lawns and blue markings in the street.

Now that gas lines and water mains have been
marked, we look for town trucks and equipment.
Dare we hope to have installation prior to our first snowstorm?
Maybe. Perhaps. Two years.  Hope springs eternal. Meanwhile,
the silence is deafening now that school is back in session.
Abundant apples and garden vegetables await.


Posted in apple trees, home ownership, sump pump, vegetable garden, water mitigation | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments

What Should I Wear?

As seasons change in our neck of the woods,
proper clothing is essential. I think the Norwegians
have an expression which says there is no such
thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. The telltale
signs of autumn approaching are cooler nights

and days, winds whipping up plus rain and wind
combined to bring down leaves. Inside the house,
the question is how to set the thermostat: heat
or AC? I try to leave AC on and just increase the
temperature for it has been known that we


get one or two hot days in autumn. So as a
mother, I tried to leave hints about the day’s weather
forecast so my two children would decide to wear
a jacket or at least take one along to school. I
began doing this when I was still teaching.

Why? In the dead of winter, I saw high schoolers
getting off the heated bus in shorts and summer
attire! In Germany, the classrooms were a cooler
temperature than I recall in the US. I was quite
comfortable teaching in a wool sweater. As a

retiree, I admit to not viewing or listening to
the daily weather forecast and sometimes, on
a bright sunshine-filled day, a cloud came along
and opened up with rain. It is not my custom
to carry an umbrella. I prefer to have a coat

or jacket with a hood attached so that I am
prepared for all types of weather. As a teacher
and a mother, my mantra was “layer,” just layer your
clothing. Even on a warm day, I will wear a
windbreaker if I walk near the lake where it is cooler.

As we approach a big family event at the end
of the month, I watch and wonder what I should
wear. Inside and out. Near the ocean and closer
inland. Plan ahead with weather forecasts! Now
it is my turn to wonder what I should wear!

Posted in Autumn, Autumn Leaves, Norwegian saying, proper clothing, weather forecast | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

A Most Unusual School Year!

Everything about this school year
Screams UNUSUAL. Most unusual!
Classes normally commence after Labor Day.
New clothes and school supplies are purchased.
School districts all have different calendars.

Our neighborhood has many teachers who
must juggle when they teach from home versus
when their children take the bus to school. Child
care is challenging when both parents work. A new
German teacher dropped by to pick up some teaching


materials for his budding career. He plans to teach online
from Upstate New York to a school in Virginia.
Searching for posters to give him, I came across a letter
to our daughter from her former teachers in a combined third-
fourth grade class at a private, independent school.

How vastly different those days were as compared
with beginning school this year. The students kept guinea pigs
in their classroom. History projects, singing for birthdays and holidays.
Donning snowshoes for a field trip to Beaver Lake Nature Center
where they did some ice cutting on the lake. The Authors’ Luncheon


was a stellar event with parents as everyone munched through
thirty stories and poetry anthologies. Projects on pyramids,
papyrus, pharaohs, and Nefertiti, and of course, the process
of mummification. A service project with an African school,
closing exercises, goodbyes, hugs, promises to stop by
for a visit. Parents were praised for rearing wonderful

future citizens and wished a beautiful summer. We
encountered similar projects and events in schools
in Germany when I taught there, and our son and daughter
attended German schools and became fluent in German.
We hope that all students will return to school full-time.

They need the social interaction with others in a
nurturing environment. Retired now, I still love to
listen to neighborhood children tell me about
school, sports and trips they took over the summer.
They still leave us art work with chalk on our driveway.

Life is not normal as we once knew it but soon, it
will return. Meanwhile, we do our part to help the
young people stay connected with each other and
the older neighbors. From the dog walkers and
young ones in strollers, we still smile and greet them.


Posted in Beaver Lake Nature Center, German Schools, ice cutting, Labor Day, online teaching, school year, snowshoes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Can You Find Me?

Most of us recall pictures in books where
you were asked to find certain images.
Or comparing two pictures, you were asked
if you could find what was different.

Today’s blog feature four photos our
son sent from his Florida garden. Anolis is
a genus of anoles. These chameleons are in the
family of iguanian lizards. On a walk

last year with our son, I saw several. They
can rapidly change colors too as they do
among the plants in our son’s garden. See
if you can spot one in each photo. I admit

to having used the zoom feature when I
could not find them the first time. In our
Upstate NY garden, we have a beach
plum tree. Unfortunately for us, the birds,

squirrels and other small creatures have
managed to eat all but a few remnants
hanging on small outer branches which
will not support their weight. Enter

humans who can pluck them off
when ripe. My mother-in-law used
to gather them at the beach on Long
Island and make preserves.

See how many of the lizards you can
find and let me know. Except for the
occasional garden snake or frog, I have
not seen lizards nearby. Enjoy finding them!

Credit our son Tom for the four lizard photos. Thank you for the fun!

Posted in anolis, Can You Find Them?, chameleons, Florida garden | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

Our Multi-generational Neighborhood

Inviting, relaxing, and comfortable to the lower back,
we enjoy sitting in rocking chairs inside
and out. We are in the Autumn of our
lives now and want to savor these moments.

From our perch on the front porch, we can
watch the comings and goings of the neighborhood.
Various pieces of equipment to practice pitching,
throwing, hitting are set up quickly. Softball,

lacrosse, field hockey, basketball and more.
The neighborhood girls and I chatted about
languages and learned some German too. A
little Polish, some French and sparse Spanish which

is not one of my languages. Questions directed my
way as to what I taught and which grades. I love
the interaction with young people. We are a nice
mixture of ages too: great grandparents, young


teachers with their offspring not yet two. Just this
week, two relatives of neighbors passed. It is
a fact of life as well. Across the street, we hear
squeals of delight as the young neighbors

navigate the sloped driveway on their scooters.
On especially hot days, the young neighbors don their
swimsuits to swim in a neighbor’s pool. Life cycles fascinate.
We have somehow become the adopted grandparents

as the young girls were driven to a softball game. With
windows rolled down, they all shouted and smiled goodbye
as they waved to us. Life is good, we smile in response.
For brief moments, all cares are tossed aside. Soon a sunset.

Note: Credit must be given to our daughter photographer for the gorgeous sunset photos.

Posted in adopted grandparents, multi-generational neighborhood, rocking chairs, sport equipment, sunset | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments