Creative juices

The following three pictures represent the work of a person dear to my heart – click to enlarge.  My friend, Dorothy, has these hanging in her house.  Love her work!

Watercolor painting

Oil painting

Chalk drawing

I knew she had tried her hand using chalk and ink, but this is the first piece I had seen. Its an interesting departure from her norm but I like it.

Dorothy’s beautiful backyard

The day before I left Hebron, Dorothy took me over to Shipshewana, Indiana.  Its a Amish community gone commercial.  Lots of little stores full of all kinds of goodies, including antiques.  Fun, fun, fun places to explore.   Tons of buggies, but no I did not get any pictures… was too busy shopping.  We ate lunch at Blue Gate Restaurant – excellent home cooked food!

As we were leaving town, a Lazy Daze went the other way and I asked Dorothy to turn around, so I could go and say hello!  A gal, traveling from California, with her dogs pulling into… I think it was the Shipshewana South RV Park, but not sure.  Caught her as she was jumping out of her rig.  Introduced myself, chatted a bit.  Then we left her to go check in. In trying to get out of the one-ways within the park, we ended up going the wrong way when I saw about 8-10 Lazy Daze’s in another area of the same park.  Amazing find.  It turned out to be the Great Lakes Lazy Daze Caravan group having their May GTG (get-together).  Wow!!!  Jumped out and went and introduced myself to those near the picnic tables. They were getting ready to have a group photo – most were not in sight, but was delighted to meet all that I did.  We were invited to stay for dinner – thank you for the offer – but we had to get back to Hebron to let the dog out.  But what a great day!!!
Dorothy was a gracious hostess, as was Bailey, Emma & Louise at the house and Sam at the stables. Time was too short, but so wonderful to see and enjoy.  Thank you my friend.
My next spot on the road required help from Dorothy and my friend here in Woodstock.  You see, I did not want to go thru Chicago, nor hit any toll roads and not knowing the roads, they were both a huge help.  Between the two of them, I had a wonderful back road drive up to Woodstock. The weather was perfect!  A good 4 hour drive thru towns I would say are literally just a spot along the road, thru farm lands, over rivers,  thru a few suburbs and their traffic lights, even had to wait for a long train…  great day for a little road trek.
I’m now near Woodstock… out in what I would have called a suburb, but they say rural.  Its been 10 years since I have seen S. and I got to meet her hubby A.  Wonderful people.   I’m permitted to park up their driveway at the edge away from the garage. No shade, but hopefully it won’t get hot, but I’m not complaining.  Beautiful landscaping, lots of bunnies, birds, squirrels and 2 female felines for entertainment for the boys. The latter has already introduced themselves to the boys.  Lots of sniffing thru the screen door, but all is peaceful.
On entry off of their patio, where we visited for quite some time, the following picture was hanging over a fireplace.  Its about 5-6 feet tall, about 3 feet wide.  An understated beauty.  I really thought it was an awesome painting. But they said it was not a painting. Is that a photo? I asked. No… its a quilt. A quilt???  No, that can’t be a quilt. Seriously, its a quilt?  Couldn’t believe it… but guess what, it is. A magnificent specimen of a art quilt I have ever seen.   So click on the images… you will see some amazing creative uses of different medias to produce the redwood forest.  Enjoy!!!

The Skinny of it all…

The day before the estate sale, the 3 of us gals headed up to Skaneateles, New York to do some shopping. The way the locals make it sound, it is like “skini aetles” vs “skaneni aetles”.  That’s the skinny of it and I’m sticking to it. Laughing here.  Its a beautiful historic town in upstate New York…
Skaneateles Lake

So a little brief history on Skaneateles and its namesake lake.  It is one of the Finger Lakes in central New York in the USA. The name Skaneateles means long lake in one of the local Iroquoian languages. The lake is sometimes referred to as “The Roof Garden of the Lakes” because its altitude 863.27 ft is higher than the other Finger Lakes.  It is 16 miles long, about 315 ft deep.  Its the cleanest of the Finger Lakes, its water is so pure that the city of Syracuse and other municipalities use it unfiltered.  The shores of Skaneateles Lake are in three counties – Onondaga, Cayuga and Cortland

Crystal clear waters off of pier

This image and the one next is showing how clear the water is, but also old anchors with nickels, dimes, quarters and even a few pennies thrown in for good measures. I’m told the water is too cold to retrieve the coins… its also quite deep here.

Tried to get a fish in said picture – it remains elusive

Sunken schooner of old. Now a great home for fish

View looking down street in Skaneateles, click to enlarge to read sign

Lots of neat shops down both sides of the street. Plus great food

The estate sale was a huge success… amazing what sold and what did not.  It was busy all day Friday. They held it again on Saturday and I believe the last day was today. Equally busy.  Haven’t gotten the latest report, but I bet today was just as profitable.  After working the day on Friday, back at Tom & Anita’s home… more tulips had popped open and we were delighted with the birds that showed themselves as well.  Two orioles, several red-wing black birds and yellow finches kept us glued to our deck chairs while enjoying an ice cold tea…

Bleeding hearts near tree, I thought it was rose hips…

This past week, with the field drying out, greening up, fences mended – they let the adult cows out to feed first.  Once they strengthened the fence a bit more, they will let the calves out.

Old tractor, still quite workable I’m told

One of the calves…

Saturday morning as I left town, all the blooming trees were in full bloom, leaves popped out on all the trees – none of which had happened the day before.  It was gorgeous!!!  So it continues to hold true, I arrive in winter and leave in the spring… but then I jumped into summer…. knew it would happened.

My first night – I found a RV park – dumped my black tank and refilled my water and got a good night sleep despite the many parties around me celebrating Mother’s Day a day early.  I got up at 5 am – totally unheard of in the last 3 weeks… lingered while sipping a cup of Market Spice tea, enjoying the cool, cool morning as the park slept. Heavy dew on everything… my kind of morning. Started hearing others stirring, so went to task and left at 7:10 am.  
I did not want to drive thru Cleveland… although I planned – yes, I actually planned to hit this on Mother’s Day – thinking it would be quieter, no rush hour kind of traffic.  Early this morning as I studied my maps one more time, I realized I was basically parked in a spot between I-90 and I-79.  I knew from studying maps that I could catch I-80 on either I-79 or I-90.  I had a choice of doing either as I pulled out of the RV park this morning.  My rig took me the best way…  beautiful early morning Pennsylvania landscapes and farms as I headed south.  After driving for quite a distance, I began to wonder if I had made an error, but stuck with it and sure enough, I got on I-80.  I-80 is a turnpike in Ohio, and apparently in Indiana as well. Totally missed Cleveland. Yea!  Tonight, I’m parked at a truck stop on the turnpike – even have electricity (free) in the RV parking area separate from the trucks. Nice.
Tomorrow, if weather permitting, I will veer off of the turnpike before, in or after Toledo – not sure which at the moment to get to the back roads.  My next destination is to see one of my childhood friends, get my cats vaccinations updated and take a wee bit of down time.  
NOTE: Hello my friend in Kellogg, ID – can you please send me an email once again… Thought I saved our previous correspondence, but can’t put my finger on it now.
And lastly… I have always used a rubber bucket – about a 2 gallon size, to collect shower water, which I then dump into black tank to flush the system.  I had not dumped my black tank in 3 weeks, so had overflowing water in the bucket.. I had dumped my gray tank into a sistern. (not sure how to spell that) When I checked into the RV park and dumped my black tank and went into my rig to use the shower water bucket to rinse.. I found a lake in my shower.  Not only did the bucket empty its contents, it soaked my dirty clothes and dirty clothes basket and that plugged up the drain so it could only seep down the drain…  In all this time, this has never happened… of course, I normally dump the black before hitting the road, but really now… a lake in my shower pan!?!  I am very fortunate it did not spill out onto my floor.   Another lesson learned…

Mackenzie-Childs

MacKenzie-Childs home

Our trip yesterday to return to MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, New York is a stark difference then the first go-a-round.  First time, posted on a previous post – was cold, windy and rainy, but all the colors within made it so worth-while being there. The transformation is exciting, but I will miss the coming out, if you will, of everything being in full bloom.  But isn’t this pretty?  The home above is where the tour took place the last time we were here – crammed full of eye candy… no photos taken on the inside.

Tulips under netting 
Willow trees, a recirculating pond
Bright colored cushions on wicker swing 
Patio furniture with cushions added 
Official greeters
Simon apparently is not here 
Domestic geese, building is one end of Bird House
Sis-in-laws, out buildings, lake in background
Various outbuildings

Bird House…literally

Must comment on this Bird House… birds of all kinds flew in and out of this building, not just the geese meandered in and out.  The whole house is devoted to the birds. On the end, on left above, is a screened in area. You can see perches, bird feeders… but that is about all one can see, as signs posted are “Staff Only”.  This farm also has cattle, sheep – the latter of which I did not see,  Expansive, but lovely farm.

Peacock cage with brilliant turquoise bird

Large willows, one of many barns/studios for pottery

View thru trees next to pond toward house

Pretty creek thru the tulips

Apparently, they have “Simon” a female goose as the official greeter.  Quite the story about this goose, but we were not so lucky to be greeted this time.  It was a delight to return to this place.

Where’s summer?

Its May, right?  So where is summer?  Oh I have been told this area of upstate New York is easily a month behind this year…  It has been like this all these months as I pushed northward up the east coast – it was still winter on arrival and not quite spring when I leave.  And I wanted to go to Nova Scotia this spring… well, this is not the year for that.  There highs are only in the 30’s. Farmers Almanac has forecasted a colder and wetter for all this region thru July. Yes, its been cold and wet here, but doable. Yesterday, the amazing sun showed itself, but the north wind made the 52ºF feel colder then it was out of the wind.  I will probably miss this delightfully cool weather…one of these days..

Anita and I went for a walk a couple of days ago around the town… took some photos…

Unknown flowering tree

Giant dead tree, perhaps a Cottonwood tree

Big old houses with a carriage house behind

Small waterfall on a creek

Original streets were brick, then covered in asphalt

Jackson was waving at us, so we stopped and had him join us

Waterway thru town

One old brick home

Its in pretty good condition, except one can see some rotting wood at top window in front

United Methodist Church

Someone planted some color to their front lawn

A closer view

Tulip tree

closer view of tulip tree

Today is another day of sunshine, but again a northerly wind is blowing… but today, is laundry, chores, cleaning day… as rest of the week is booked. So need to get it done, instead of writing to my blog.  So back to work…

Ooh what fun!

Time continues to fly by… when you are having fun.

Most of the work prepping the contents of the house is done, what’s left is to price everything for the sale. While they were fine-tuning the displays, I was busy re-organizing some of my spaces and doing Spring cleaning in my own rig.  I have another sister-in-law meeting me near Seattle to travel up to Alaska with me. So I needed to free up a drawer or two.  Still have a little bit more to do, but yesterday we all went to two fabulous places.

The first was the New Hope Mill store.  No photos taken there, too busy checking out the store. The old mill is no longer used to make the flours, etc and I did not actually see it this trip, but the store was wonderfully full of all their flours, pancake mixes, grains, honeys, salad dressings, etc.  For years, we were gifted New Hope pancakes mixes… always a welcomed gift, now to see the variety is pretty amazing.

Then we went to tour the MacKenzie-Childs estates.. Quite frankly, I had no idea what was in store for me there, so went along for the ride.

Entrance

As we walked thru this tunnel above – beautiful, stunning wicker furniture was visible, then into the courtyard… more elaborate wicker details. Distinctive structure, not normally seen in wicker. And I thought – so this is what they are known for.  An understated beauty.

Tulips? We just beginning to bloom here

Table, chairs were all wicker – this in courtyard

Wicker swing

Then they took me into the store… oh my oh my oh my… brilliant colors, fabulous patterns, my eyes had way too much trouble seeing it all.  Kept thinking my Mom would have loved to come into this place.  They have it set up within the different patterns in pottery and wicker – such as the black and white checkered look, to butterflies.  It was seemingly endless of the ways in which the patterns would and could be incorporated into things… but then they combined the patterns into one of a kind, amazing items. Such as a table leg could be turned upside down and then it became a lamp and each unique pattern was a circular strip around the leg/lamp base.

Did I take photos – of the huge barns (working studios), the lands or even the large 3 story home in which we had a walk-thru tour.  I couldn’t help but say WOW at every turn… it was so amazing, simply amazing to see – no, it did not occur to me to take photos… just trying to absorb all the eye candy was overwhelming…  wonderfully overwhelming.  Highly recommend anyone visiting this area, to come see.
When we were done with the tour, it was pouring down rain… so went back to the store to dry out a a bit. A dangerous thing to do….  It was pointed out to me a doll house in a different room from the store.  A doll house?!?….A doll house to die for…  that was easily 6 feet tall…. I have collected miniatures for years, to see this captured my attention like no other.  It was not lit up and I had no idea if it could be lit up, all behind glass too… so the following photos – click to enlarge and enjoy!
To my weaving friends… the rugs, bedspreads, towels, were all handwoven. Most of the furniture is wicker. I was told the entire doll house and each individual piece was hand made to exact scale, based on MacKenzie-Childs style.

Two floors

Table on left is wicker

Wicker lounge chair on balcony, looking in

A “sitting or sun” room on top of doll house

Trying to get different views to show things

The “turtles” are soup tureens

Itty-bitty toilet paper roll..

Wicker table, lamp, etc

Clothes line next to “Sun” room

I neglected to mention that each and every piece of pottery is hand made, painted by artisans trained in each pattern, and they each have their own unique style that is incorporated.  When watching how they make their pottery, the whole process from shaping to the final glaze. I realized none of this is ever mass produced, therefore I wanted one item to support my fellow artist.  I bought a tea kettle. Its beautiful.  I bought a size too big for my cooktop, so when I get it exchanged for a smaller 2 quart kettle, I will take a picture to share.

Virginia Beach, pt 1

Spring flowers

Spring flowers made my day on Saturday at my cousins home. Tom cut a bunch of them and placed on the table for Janet when she got home. Sweet gesture and the rest of us got to enjoy as well. The rest of us was Janet’s Dad, Rocko, and I.

Saturday was the best day to spend time with my cousin, Tom, as he was off work. Janet joined us later in the day.  So first he got a mini-tour of my rig… answered all the questions, showed him a bit of my handwoven items as well.  Then off to lunch at a Mexican restaurant that was outstanding. Spent lots of time talking, catching up with news of our mutual cousins, siblings, etc. Then off to pickup up Janet and her Father to go sightseeing. We first went back to First Landing State Park, and this time I actually got to see the beach.  It was such a beautiful day, nice 70ºF weather, folks were out at the beach. One guy in a dry suit, was para-sailing across the bay. Kites flying and I laughed at the people in lawn chairs on the beach wrapped up in blankets. Just the funniest thing to see compared to the rest of the folks out on the beach.

Looking due northwest – Chesapeake Bay

Looking due north toward the Atlantic ocean

Then we left there, and went into the visitor center – a nice descriptive displays of the history of this area of First Landing. Showed a miniature of a native village of that era of early `1600’s. Its so different from what I’m more familiar with up north. Sorry, no pictures were allowed. It was all very interesting. 

Then off to Virginia Beach accesses to the Atlantic ocean. It was much quieter, far fewer people out on the beach then I expected and very little wind too.  Nice, nice day.
Tom & Janet made one mistake for the entire day… they introduced me to Whole Foods grocery store. Did they really think I could just walk in without buying???  It was my first time in a Whole Foods store and I now see why many refer to it fondly as the paycheck store. Expensive!  Its similar to a Trader Joe’s store, but it leans more to the organic side of things than Trader Joe’s. I especially love the fruits and veggie section of the store – highly colorful, fresh and inviting to reach for the product.  And the bins of nuts, grains, pasta, etc. – ah yes, I good place to find what you need.
Janet & Tom
This picture of my cousin is off of the Atlantic ocean, up on a walkway over the dunes. Special folks, even tho I’m a bit partial to that opinion. Laughing here.  We eventually went back to their house, and they fixed an awesome feast of Shrimp Scampi – it was the best I’ve had in eons. Thanks Janet!
They were busy with church activities and off to see Tony Bennett musical on Sunday, so I made myself available to long time family friend, Becky and her husband Steve. First time meeting Steve after all these years… it was awesome to see Becky. We tried to remember when we were last in the same place at the same time. Think it was in the early 80’s, at her parents home. Its her older sisters that I’ve had more interaction with over the years… so it was grand to meet up with Becky.  
Weather turned nasty before they picked me up – so we went out to dinner vs go to their house for the evening. Probably best – so we could visit more.  The place, the Rockefeller’s, is a restaurant on one of many marinas in Virginia Beach. Interesting menu – it had a newspaper-like menu. Great food too. And great view even tho it was quite blustery and pouring down rain.
View outside restaurant

Can you imagine living in one the homes on this marina? The one’s seen here have water on two sides of them. Lucky dogs! Ere… lucky people. It would be fun, but I’d make a mountain my first choice.

Steve and Becky

It was a great, great time with Steve & Becky… loved catching up, hearing about their kids, what they do for a living… even loved the shawl that Becky was wearing – it made her green eyes dance. Just a nice evening. Thanks Steve and Becky for dinner too. Hopefully, I will get another chance to meet up with them before I leave the area.

So today, this Saint Patrick’s day. I chose to wear green, not that I expected to see anybody… the cold rains stopped sometime this morning… winds have died down, but an occasional gust will rock the rig and it FINALLY! warmed up to 37ºF.  
So today, as I stayed warm, I decided to write to my blog, study some new links on learning my camera better, text messaged my fellow Lazy Daze friends, Carol & Linda, that are in Florida touring. They were moving north, yet looped around and went south again. And another Lazy Daze friends from the west, are also in Florida as we speak. I wonder if they will ever catch up with me? They both claim to be heading up the east coast…yet they are both still in Florida… it would be fun to run into either one of them and/or it would be a grand party if we all met at the same time. One is sightseeing, the other is a big time birder – so am seeing quite a diverse scenario thru their eyes via their blogs. Tis fun…

First Landing SP

Sunset

Discovered there’s more than one sand dune to reach the water… this picture above is standing on top of the one closest to my RV.  Just barely see the Chesapeake Bay here. This is looking northwest.

Yesterday I got a wonderful surprise from Janet… she is a veteran massage therapist of 18 years and yes…YES! I got one superb massage… oh my was that good….  later in the day, I had dinner with them too. Tom got home early enough to join us.  Just so good to see my cousins. This weekend, we will spend more time together as they are both off on the weekends…

I love it when the weather man is not quite accurate on the forecast.  Yes, its windy, yes its cold today – but no thunderstorms, not much rain and well… its quite decent.  Today, due to the sand dunes, I’m protected from the blast of brisk cold winds out of the northwest.  The temp is hanging at 36º out of the wind, but it feels warmer.  Yeah, I know, its that Alaskan blood kicking in. Laughing here.

So when I got home last night… I saw a truck parked weird a few spaces before mine and commented on the oddity to Tom. When we pulled in behind my rig, I did not see anything amiss, so promptly forgot about the truck. Tom & I were unloading groceries I had bought… And there, out of the darkness, without a sound, were two people – dressed in black from head to toe right at the car, and with a hesitation in their movement they then moved on when they saw me. It was late, about 11pm.  There are no lights in this park at night, what were these people doing?  I remember warning Tom to be careful as he left as you could not see them.  The whole concept spooked the heck out me. Nothing more happened that I could tell. So put away groceries and went to bed.  This morning I called the office and canceled the rest of my stay here, and reported the incident. Afterwards, the Chief Ranger stopped by, got more details from me.. The security for this park, apparently lives somewhere within the park – I had no idea they were even here, never saw any of them. He said I should be safe, but you know what – I might be now as I reported the incident, but where were they before???  Hate to be critical… but folks come roaming in here at all hours of the day and night. Even the Ranger said they have had problems in the past – mostly with infractions of drinking within the park, had recovery of stolen goods, and a few break-in’s, etc. So why don’t they lock down this campground at night?  Maybe its different in the summer, when there are more people around. As the Ranger left, he said to make sure to lock down everything, keep things put away.  Interesting…

So decided to take some pictures today of some views around here before I leave… I can’t drive my rig in this wind, so won’t today, but it should die down by morning… So…

First Landing State Park is at or near where the first Virginia Company had landed at, in 1607, before they went up the James River and founded Jamestown, Virginia.  It is believed that what we see today is the same as they saw it in 1607 or very nearly so.  I knew this park as Sea Shore State Park, but some time over the last 30 years it was renamed to First Landing State Park.  The campground is only one aspect of the haven in the northern area of Virginia Beach.  Beautiful trails can occupy one for hours thru out this park.  Some of the area is swamp too.  Very pretty with all the mangroves, live oaks, etc.  Right now its still in winter mode – no green to be found except on some pines.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge is on horizon

Ship and bridge view

I’m standing on walk way above the dunes

Walk way ends at another dune, still can’t see beach!

The walk way is high above the dunes… the protected sand dunes.  But it ends at another dune and no steps down to the beach. In fact, couldn’t see the beach.

Looking back the way I came, can you see my rig? 

No, you can’t see it. But its right about the highest point of the tree line on the right, not quite to the edge of the picture. Apparently, water has been as high as the campground – as there are alot of oyster shells…

Live oaks

This is looking up at the peak of the sand dune, nearest my rig. Squirrels and birds have been keeping my boys happy here.

Looking down to my rig from the picture above

Smothered bush

I’ve noticed thru alot of the swamps and now this State Park the vines that have taken over and smothered the trees or bushes. It does eventually kill the bush or tree.  In this particular bush is full of birds. They take flight when a car drives by.  The birds are bigger than sparrows, but I don’t know what they are.

Tree smothered by the same vine as the bush.

One of many potholes in this park.