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Category Archives: scenery

Soggy Scattered Saturday

There really isn’t much to this week’s Scattered Saturday, but it is definitely soggy and, as regular readers know, I have to go for the alliteration.  I have been re-living through my Facebook On This Day my experiences of the flood of 2013.  My experiences were not as horrific as some, for which I am grateful.  No, I am not going to do a re-cap.  I’m not even going to link back to my blog posts of the time, because I don’t know that they’re all that great (I don’t know if any of my posts are all that great, but they’ll have to do).

So after a short(ish) run yesterday, I thought to do a long run today, with hills and everything.  Unfortunately, I paused for a cup of coffee and Facebook perusal before I left.  I hadn’t gone very far when it started to sprinkle.  I persevered until I heard thunder.  Even then I was inclined to keep going.  I kept thinking of Grandma in the pool.  You see, my grandmother loved to swim.  She had a four-foot above-ground pool which we went over and swam in all the time.  If there was thunder, Grandma would watch the lightning and count the seconds till the thunder and stay in the pool if it seemed the storm was far enough away.  I have since heard that this is not the right thing to do, because those thunder storms can move awfully fast.  Still, what was good enough for Grandma…  Additionally, once I’d started running, I felt I REALLY wanted to keep going for at least 15 minutes.

So it was a 15-minute run.  It soon stopped raining, but by then I had showered and felt too clean and sweet-smelling to get all sweaty again.  I thought I might run later, since it had stopped raining.  I wondered how many showers I could reasonably take in a day but was willing to at least go as high as three (if my second run got rained out as well).   However, it rained and thundered on and off, and I never got around to it.

And then Utica got flooded (for non-local readers, Utica is a half hour/45-minute drive away) (depending on if you consider the speed limit a mere suggestion).  I found this out because I was having a Putter-and-Post kind of day.  That is a day when I putter around the house, do something useful, then post about it on Facebook. Or post something else on Facebook or just read other people’s posts.  I am nothing if not flexible about these things.  I had not been inclined to go to Utica today, so that worked out for me.  For everybody in Utica, not so much.

I tried to download some pictures from Facebook to share but had no luck (some laptop issue I’ll have to figure out, I suppose).  So I thought I’d use my Tablet and take a couple of pictures of Herkimer (where I live).  When I had looked earlier out the road was not a river, as it had been in 2013, but the gutters were widening and looking brown.  By the time I took the pictures, it had stopped raining and the puddles had receded, but there was debris in the road.

The end of my driveway looks icky.


And this is the view to the right.


I went off the porch and walked a short way down the sidewalk to get this shot.

It seems to have stopped raining, but I hear there is flooding in many streets.  Travel is restricted, and many people are pumping out their basements.  Oh dear.  So far we only have a little water in our basement, so we are fortunate this time.  I can only hope it continues, or I will definitely have a Wrist to Forehead Sunday!  As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.


On the Road to Vermont

I like to write posts about driving somewhere. My only concern is to not tell the same things when I’m writing about the same route I’ve been over before. Then again, it’s been over a year since I’ve been to Vermont. Maybe if I do repeat myself nobody will notice. Here’s hoping

Steven picked me up at my place of employment in Ilion and we left from there, so right away it was a little different. Usually I go home first and shower and make my blog post, so we don’t leave till closer to five. This got us on the road almost an hour and a half sooner. Woohoo! As we drove through Mohawk I further suggested we go down Route 5S to Little Falls rather than our usual State Route 5 through Herkimer. This brought us alongside a canal path we’ve walked and I’ve run along, and by Herkimer County Humane Society, site of at least a couple of good blog posts (or do I flatter myself?). It’s a nice country road, and I admired several houses, although I don’t think I’d like to live right on a highway like that.

Soon we were in Little Falls. After one wrong turn (Little Falls can be a little confusing), we were on our way out of Little Falls and on the familiar road to Vermont. We passed Nellis Tavern, where we attended a rhubarb festival. Yum! Must plant some rhubarb next year. I love looking at the mountains. I don’t mind the twisty roads a bit, even if I am the one driving (I was not in this case; I was free to make observations and silly jokes).

At one point there were three cars ahead of us and they all turned left.

“Oh, they’re all turning,” Steven remarked.

“They’re probably going to a party we’re not invited to,” I complained. Sure enough, as we drove by we saw a handpainted sign on a tree, “Hunter’s Party.” It was true! Those bastards WERE going to party and I WASN’T invited! “What the hell, Hunter?” I demanded. Of course, I don’t know anyone named Hunter. For all I know it was a hunters’ party and the person who made the sign had put the apostrophe in the wrong place.

Eventually we got to Saratoga, often a tricky place to drive through, due to heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic. I’ve always wanted to spend some time there.

“I love Saratoga,” I said. “It is so cool looking.” Three red lights later I said, “I hate Saratoga! There are too many traffic lights!” Steven laughed.

Outside of town I saw a sign at an intersection advertising a new queen-sized mattress for sale. A few miles later at a stop light we saw a pick up truck with a matress and box spring in the back. I speculated it was the one advertised, but I suppose we will never know.

I enjoyed my drive to Vermont, and I must say, leaving earlier is the Way to Go. I didn’t feel nearly as tired when we arrived and it was still early enough to enjoy a chicken barbecue (which I may blog about tomorrow) as well as time on the deck with my sisters-in-law.

Walk, Don’t Run

The headline is from a sign at work. They’re all about safety there.

I ran three days in a row, that is, three out of my four days off. Then I went back to work for ten hours (sweet overtime). I was tired. Of course, every time I don’t run just because I’m tired, I regret it the next day. It rains, or my back hurts, or something else comes up, and then I’m two days without running. That said, I just could not get myself into sports bras and out the door.

I had coffee instead. Then turned on the computer intending to make my blog post. Then started thinking about my poor dog, who had been so happy to see me come home and who I was ignoring to be on the silly computer. The least I could do was take that pooch for a walk.

It was a lovely afternoon for a walk. Gloomy but not raining. I love gloomy days. I admired the trees’ bare branches against the grey sky. I always think deciduous trees are the real artists of nature. Every season they offer something different to admire.

I let Tabby pull me where she wanted to go. Down German Street towards Main. There are some cool older buildings on Main Street before you get into the downtown area. For example, the former Masonic Temple that now houses a tanning business. And of course, the Historic Four Corners. I noticed a wreath hung over the front door of the 1834 Jail and a Christmas Tree in the window. Very nice. Tabby pulled me through the little park near Basloe Library, and I was reminded about their book sale. Maybe I could check that out for a blog post later in the week.

I realized we were headed home after that. Tabby knows the neighborhood and had definite ideas about how long she wants to walk. My only concern was to keep her from jaywalking as we got closer to our street.

As we walked down our street, I saw a man walk, stop, then walk some more. It was almost dark by now, so it took me a minute to see the small animal frisking behind him. We caught up to them as we got to our house. The small animal was a tiny chihuahua. When she saw Tabby, she stopped and waited curiously. The dogs sniffed each other, but when I went to pet the chihuahua, Tabby barked and the other dog ran away. Her person picked her up and I petted her.

I said how cute she was and asked how old, and if it was a she or a he. The man said he thought she was about two. He had rescued her in California, where apparently she had just been dropped off in traffic.

“Sometimes they breed them and all they want is the puppies,” he said. Isn’t that just awful? She was a very sweet dog and so little. The man told me he had brought her back to New York thinking to give her to his grandkids, but they could not have a dog in their apartment.

“What, this cute little dog couldn’t hurt any apartment! Well, she’s lucky she has you,” I said.

“Oh, I just love her,” he replied.

We wished each other good night, and Tabby and I went inside. I hope we see that cute little dog again. I had missed my run, but the walk was nice.

Walk in the Woods

Sunday was our dog, Tabby’s birthday. I suggested we celebrate with a walk on the Nature Trail at Herkimer County Community College (HCCC).

I was introduced to the trail a few years ago by a then student of the college. We would meet once a week and walk. We had meant to branch out and explore the canal trails as well, but we never seemed to get around to that.

Steven worked till two on Sunday, and we both wanted coffee after that, so we headed up the hill to HCCC shortly after three. It was an utterly beautiful day with bright sunlight. The temperature was a little cool, but we had jackets, I wore a hat, and Tabby, of course, sported her all natural fur coat. No worries about Tabby keeping warm anyways. She was so excited she jumped around enough to keep three dogs warm.

We parked near the gymnasium and walked past the tennis courts and ball fields. Tabby must have remembered the trail, because she eagerly pulled me in the right direction. A sign in front of the trail’s entrance told us that dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.

The trail is not very extensive, but it goes into the woods far enough that you can lose your way if you’re not careful. It loops around a few times as well. The wood chip trail was a little obscured by fallen leaves, but we could also see posts to follow.

I soon started in with my usual walking in the woods jokes.

“If you see a wolf,” I warned, “don’t tell him we’re on our way to visit Grandma.” A little later: “If you see a house that’s all gingerbread and candy, don’t eat it.”

“But what if I’m hungry?” Steven asked.

He had a good point. I’m not much on gingerbread, but what if the trimmings were chocolate? “OK, you can eat some, but if an old lady comes out, don’t talk to her.”

I started making these silly jokes some years ago, when I was in the army attempting to learn how to read a map. After the third or fourth fairy tale reference, a fellow soldier complained, “At this rate, I’ll never make any new friends in the woods.”

I know, I should get some new material.

Steven made a Blair Witch Project reference, “Let’s follow the stream!”

I played along. “OK, we’ll go this way.” The opposite direction. Anyone who hasn’t seen the movie or doesn’t remember: They’re lost, they agree to follow the stream, they totally don’t. Steven and I both point out, while a witch could probably easily mess with a compass, it would take a real bad ass witch to change up a whole stream.

Tabby ignored all our jokes and enjoyed her birthday walk very much. Steven and I enjoyed it too, as well as the view of the countryside when we emerged from the woods and headed back to our car.

I’ve blogged (such a silly verb) many times about running up to and around HCCC. Sometimes I forget to mention that it’s good for walking, too. Check it out.

From the Valley to the Mountains

Saturday morning we drove out of the Mohawk Valley and into the Adirondacks.

It really was the Adirondacks, too; I’m not just taking the word of various businesses called Adirondack this or that. I saw a green sign that said, “Now Entering the Adirondack Park.” I later saw a sticker that said, “It’s not a park. It’s our home. It’s where we work.” That, I suspect, was in response to irresponsible tourists treating it more like a parking lot. And really, why would you not respect even a parking lot? Why some people have to be that way. But I digress.

The fall foliage was past peak, but some patches of bright color remained. I don’t even mind seeing the bare trees. You can see how the branches twist and turn.

We were visiting a friend on Cranberry Lake, a gorgeous place to be in any weather. Sunday morning as I walked Tabby, I was happy so many of the trees were bare, because I could see through them to the lake. I also like looking at the various houses. I decide which ones I’d like to buy, if I had a million dollars and if they were for sale.

Cranberry Lake is about a three hour drive from Herkimer. We were kind of in between their tourist seasons. People love to be on the lake in the summer, and they love to snowmobile the Adirondacks in the winter. I’ll be honest: I don’t know much about either. I was in Cranberry Lake to visit a friend, not to be a tourist. If you happen to have a friend in Cranberry Lake, I highly recommend a visit. If you go there as a tourist, let me know what you do. Maybe I’ll feature you in a blog post.

Tripple’s Revisited

Wednesday Steven and I took the scenic route to Tripple’s Produce, 2987 State Route 5, Frankfort, NY. I wanted an excuse to drive down 5S while the fall foliage is at peak. At least, I don’t know how they judge peak or near peak, but the mountains look pretty colorful to me.

We left Herkimer on 5S West and drove to the Dyke Road exit. What views! The day was a little gloomy, so the colors were not as vivid as they are in bright sunlight, but still well worth the drive. This time of year I really feel I should spend all my time looking around and marveling, because the foliage lasts such a short time. I feel so fortunate to live in an area with seasons. You can drive the exact same road and still enjoy various scenery.

Tripple’s has a huge selection of pumpkins. We walked into the building to check out the produce. Mostly we checked out the Halloween decor. There is a big Frankenstein that dances to “Thriller” and a skeleton that sings “Super Freak.”

We purchased some cheese curds by River Rat Cheese in Alexandria Bay and some garlic and herb spread made by Adirondack Cheese Co. in Barneveld. We ate some of the cheese curds on the way home. We drove home up State Route 5, which is of course the more direct way back to Herkimer. We enjoyed seeing Halloween decorations on a number of houses. I used some of the garlic and herb spread this morning on an egg sandwich (pronounced “sammich”). Very tasty.

We will possibly return to Tripple’s for our Halloween pumpkin, unless we check out a pumpkin farm. I hear Cackleberry Castle is back in business. Goody!

My Saturday Morning Adventure

We began our Saturday in the Mohawk Valley with breakfast at Philly’s, formerly known as Chet’s, on South Caroline Street in Herkimer. I’ve blogged about Philly’s before, but it’s worth another mention. The food is good, and the service is fast. We both had eggs over medium with bacon and sourdough toast.

After breakfast we headed to a garage sale Steven had read about in the paper. It was a multiple household sale, so there was a lot of stuff. They had some old yearbooks, which I find fascinating. I remember looking at my mom and dad’s yearbooks when I was a kid. Different times. I found a compact and an old bowl I liked. They had a bunch of books that were free, so I took a few of those, too.

From the garage sale we drove to Middleville for a rummage sale at the Methodist Church. We had been at a rummage sale there before, so Steven knew right where it was (I had forgotten). Past Lady Carousel Woodworks, the Crystal Chandelier Restaurant, and the Diamond Mines, all potential future blog topics. There is an old graveyard behind the church I’d like to walk through sometime.

At the rummage sale we found a couple of books, a nice tin and a Christmas decoration (can’t have too many of those). They were having a bake sale as well, so we treated ourselves to some frosted sugar cookies. Yum! We peeked in the church itself before we left. It is quite beautiful.

We hit another garage sale, then drove back into town by way of some back country roads we had not been on before. That was an adventure. The roads twisted and turned through the hills, and we saw some lovely views of the countryside. Herkimer County is blessed with many such country roads. We made up our minds to drive through them again when the fall colors are at their peak.

One more garage sale tempted us before we got home. We purchased about four Christmas tins and an old fashioned Santa Claus candle. We returned home with our loot, all of which I have not even mentioned, much to the delight of our loyal dog. It wasn’t even noon. Plenty of time for further Mohawk Valley adventures.

Running Away From Home Again

One more post away from the Mohawk Valley. We were staying with some friends who live in the Alexandria Bay area.

Sunday morning I got up early to run. I’ve run at my friends’ house before. It’s a fun setting. They live on a private road on a lake. It’s not exactly paved. There is a 10 mph speed limit posted, which kind of enforces itself. If you go much faster, you deserve what happens to your car.

It’s not a very long road, and I’ve previously run up and down it. I was pleased to be going for 20 minute runs in those days. These days I’m up to 30, so I got a little more ambitious.

The private road is off a dead end road which is off the highway. I thought I had heard my friend Tracy say that the other end of the private road came out on Simpson Road. I had seen Simpson, a mere stone’s throw down the highway, depending on who’s throwing the stone (not me; I live in a glass house).

I set out in that direction, enjoying the cool temperature. My friends’ house is only the second one in, so I was soon headed down the dead end road. I saw a bunny at the end of a driveway, sitting perfectly still. If there would have been a little more dead grass, he would have blended in better. He hopped away as I approached.

I heard some loud motors and wondered if they were boats on the lake or cars on the highway. I thought it was a little early for either, but who am I to judge? I hoped there would not be too much traffic on the highway. I really appreciate the sidewalks in Herkimer. Sometimes they are uneven, but few running surfaces are perfectly smooth, and the cars are nicely separated by a strip of grass.

Luck was with me, and the highway was empty. I should have known a stone’s throw looks a lot shorter from a car than on foot. Still, I thought, I can rock this. I know she said Simpson. I’m sure she said Simpson.

I had thought originally that if I was wrong or if it seemed a longer way than expected, I could always turn around and go back the way I came. No chance of getting lost that way. Problem was, I didn’t want to turn around. For one thing, Simpson was a pretty good road to run on. To my left I saw fog over some fields. At one point I could see the sun poking through the fog and some trees, making beams of light.

It was very scenic, but a big longer than I had expected. She did say Simpson, right? I looked at my watch. I had been running for 20 minutes. If I turned around now, that would be a 40 minute run. I wasn’t up to 40 minutes yet. Who was I kidding? Anyways, I didn’t want an all highway run. I wanted to run along the private dirt road and look at the backs of people’s camps. I decided to give it ten more minutes. I was really running very well; my legs weren’t complaining at all. Still, where was that damn turn? Ah, at last!

Then I saw I had two choices of private dirt roads. I was pretty sure I picked the right one. We had just walked our respective dogs down the road the day before, but we had not gotten all the way to the end. Things looked familiar, as I’d been out this far on previous visits, but previous visits were a while ago. Sometimes a thing looks familiar just because you want it to. At last I saw a fish mailbox I was pretty sure I remembered.

I saw a lady carrying mugs and a thermal carafe out to two men.

“That’s what I need — coffee!” I said.

“Go faster! Dig in!” one of the men said.

“At first I thought Ed was really into his work,” the other said. “No, Ed ain’t moving that fast.”

I could be mistaken about what the second guy said. I did not speed up as advised, but I did keep going.

I was delighted to realize I had broken my 30 minute plateau by running for 33 minutes. That is an increase of 10%, which a guy at the Sneaker Store told me was just about right. I may not be up for the Falling Leaves run, but I had a good run Sunday.

We Drive On

As I ended my last post, Steven and I had reached Remsen on our way to seek adventure outside the Mohawk Valley.

I’m not clear on precisely where the Mohawk Valley ends. I see that many businesses employ “Adirondack” in their name well before we reach the actual Adirondacks (which, incidentally, we did not this journey). I don’t think I saw anybody claiming the Mohawk Valley who did not have a clear right to. What does this tell us? I would not venture to speculate, and I will refrain from going to any “what’s in a name?” philosophy (except for, you know, that one sentence).

While in the Town of Remsen we passed a car whose license plate was dangling and a barn with a completely rusted roof. I saw a sign that said Alder Creek but did not see the creek. We did not take a turn to Old Forge, although I understand Old Forge is worth a visit. Perhaps a future blog post.

Then I saw a sign that said Nirvana Natural Spring Water Next Right. Herkimer tap water is perfectly potable, but I do occasionally purchase bottled water. I had forgotten Nirvana was so local. I may include that on the beverage list at my next party.

I saw CNY Glass and Metal Designs. They weren’t claiming to be anywhere they weren’t. Next thing I knew we were in Boonville. I noticed Mellace’s Produce Market and was surprised. I knew they were in Rome, but I didn’t know they were anywhere else. I went to school with Frank Mellace. He’s a great guy. We also passed Mercer Dairy store but did not stop for ice cream, much to my disappointment.

Soon we passed signs for Lewis County and Town of Leyden. We were pleased about that, because we knew we were approaching the Lock 96 convenience store, just out of Port Leyden. All along this route you can see old locks, dry and no longer in use (well, I guess if they are dry they are obviously no longer in use). The convenience store is located right next to one. You can walk over and check it out, but we did not do that this trip. The convenience store itself is a good one. The bathroom is clean and the coffee is hot, our most pressing concerns. The parking lot is large, for dog walking convenience (at least, that may not be why they made the parking lot big, it’s what we use it for). And they sell local baked goods. I bought some chocolate chip cookies from Jeanne’s Kitchen in Constableville (we went to a car show there!). The sticker said “Made in Lewis County.” They were good cookies.

As we approached Lowville, the surroundings grew very agricultural, as did the smell. “Smell that good fresh country air!” I exclaimed, as the odor of cow poop became distinct. That was a favorite line of my friend Mickey West, many years ago when we drove between Rome and Potsdam. I started to say, “At least we know they’re using organic fertilizer,” but I got a little mixed up and said “furniture” instead. We got a pretty good giggle about cow dung furniture.

As we got closer to our destination, my notes grew more sparse. We were anxious to start our next adventure. But thanks for riding along.

The Journey Is the Destination

I enjoyed writing and I believe some people enjoyed reading my posts about road trips. Therefore, when we planned to travel to a friend’s birthday party in the Alex Bay area, I planned to write about the trip. When Steven graciously offered to drive, I opened my notebook so I could take notes. I seem to remember talking about businesses whose names I neglected to note and thought to eliminate the error.

We left Herkimer via Don Reille Boulevard. See, I’ll have real Mohawk Valley color for at least the first part of the post. We passed the Harvest Hills Baptist Church, Heidelberg Bakery (yum!), and Mudville. I’m not clear on what Mudville is, but I believe it has something to do with baseball.

I saw somebody parked in the parking area and a couple of bicycle riders sensibly wearing helmets. I noted Lady Carousel Woodworks and thought that was a business I’d like to check out sometime.

In the Town of Newport, we passed the Crystal Chandelier Restaurant and the Herkimer Diamond Mines. I’ve blogged about the Crystal Chandelier and mean to return one day. There are some cabins across the street from the Diamond Mines I’d like to stay in. I know I live quite nearby, but I think it would be fun to stay in a cabin, fake roughing it for a weekend, and check out the Diamond Mines. Wouldn’t that make a nice post?

In Middleville, I saw a sign for a Snow Bash Sept. 17 and 18. I wondered where they will get the snow for that. I’ll have to watch the papers for more information. We passed the Town of Fairfield Offices, the E.W. Corey Hose Co., and a purple Victorian house. Cool. Then we saw a sign that said Newport 3. Does that mean Newport is in the Town of Fairfield, not the Town of Newport, as one would think? Why should that surprise me? After all, the City of Oneida is in Madison County, not Oneida County.

We saw a sign to watch for Amish buggies but no buggies, a salt box that was so faded it looked like stone from a distance, a W on a rock in front of another house, and West Canada Valley Central School. So that’s where the school is. I know a couple of people who work there.

We went by a river, which we discovered to be West Canada Creek and on into Newport. I saw a Federal style brick building. I don’t know much about architecture, but this trip I noticed the Victorian, the salt box and the Federal, so I felt kind of good about that.

We passed a turn to Norway and drove by the Blue Rose Restaurant. In the Village of Poland I saw a banner for a Fall Festival but did not see a date. Rats! Quite abruptly I noticed we were in Oneida County. We almost missed the turn to stay on Route 28, then we were back in Herkimer County.

I noticed three very realistic looking geese in a front lawn, only their stillness and rakish stance alerting me they weren’t real; at least one “No Asphalt” sign, and two horses that had black and white spots like cows. We saw Cincinnati Creek and drove by Trenton Falls Road. That reminded me to watch for when Trenton Falls is open for a weekend in October. That is definitely worth a blog post.

I think we were in Trenton when we saw a sign for a Barn Fest Sept. 24 and 25. That’s something else to look for more info on. Multiple signs told us about a Chicken BBQ at Remsen Reformed Church Wednesday, Sept. 14. I noticed the Swing Inn Motel, because I liked the name. We passed the New York State Police station and soon were in the Village of Remsen.

Do you suppose I went a little crazy taking notes? I see I am over 600 words and I only got to Remsen. This could be a problem. I don’t like to tax my readers’ patience, so I’ll stop now and pick up here tomorrow.