Friday, July 6, 2012

Enjoying PA....

We have been quite busy since we have been back from the 1000 Islands region in NY.  We celebrated Dan's Mom's birthday last week....
Dan, Pauline, Colleen and Tim
We went to dinner at a nice little Italian restaurant.  The food was great and a good time was had by all.  It was nice being here to celebrate with Pauline and the family.

I've been busy in the gardens!  We have been enjoying berries, swiss chard, basil, sage, baby lettuces and cucumbers.  The peppers are almost ready to pick, the tomatos are getting bigger and I'm waiting for the rest of the veggies and blackberries to ripen.
Raspberries!  Sorry Nancy - there won't be any left when we see you!
I've made several batches of pesto from the basil and we have enjoyed having fresh berries with our breakfast.  Tomorrow I am going to make a few batches of refrigerator pickles.  Dan's Mom made a few batches of raspberry preserves and gave us a jar to enjoy.  

We celebrated the 4th early and had a picnic at Ann and Tim's house (Dan's SIL and brother) on July 1st.  I didn't take my camera so no pictures other than the patriotic berries I had made.

Ann had quite a spread and we all enjoyed the afternoon chatting, eating, and having family time.  The night before we had fireworks at their house and then piled into the truck and drove down to the flats (where the corn is growing) to watch the town fireworks.  I believe that we had the best seats in the house!  No crowds, no traffic and lots of space!

For the actual 4th of July, we went to Tioga Downs to watch the horses race.  Afterwards, there was going to be a fireworks show.  Although neither Dan nor I bet, we had fun watching the races.

And they are off...

Such power

They go so fast!
We also enjoyed a fabulous sunset.

After the races, we were treated to a patriotic "dance" by these two horses and riders.
Proud to be an American
It was a great tribute to this fine country of ours that sent shivers up my arms.  The fireworks were very nice and ended with a beautiful finale.  We had a great Independence Day.

We finally got on the Susquehanna River this week.  Dan had been working on another "invention" that would help keep us shaded during our paddles.

It is a Sportbrella that you can use at the beach and has a 50 SPF rating.  With his ingenuity, we can use it on the kayak and also use it when we go to the beach.  And no, we haven't tried it out as a sail yet!  It doesn't block our view and does not hamper our paddling (although I did have to re-adjust slightly!).  Most importantly, we can paddle for hours on a sunny day and not bake.    We got several "thumbs up" from fisherman we saw on the river.

It was a gorgeous day for a paddle.  We put in at a boat launch in Nichols, NY.  We originally thought that the current was such that we could float the majority of the way to the farm.  Once on the river we quickly learned that we would have to paddle quite a bit.  It was going to be a long day...good thing we had our sunshade!    

As we paddled down the river, we both kept commenting about how just last September, this was the same river in which so many people lost their homes or businesses due to the flood.  There was still quite a bit of evidence of that....
Trees were down on the riverbanks
Houses in shambles
Mother Nature had sure shown her fury.  You could see that some people were able to rebuild but we saw plenty of houses that remained vacant.

We continued our paddle down the river.  It was the first time that I had paddled in a river that had a rocky bottom and I loved looking down at the rocks.  Some of them were HUGE.   The water level was down quite a bit and there were "rock islands" in the river.  These were havens for all sorts of birds.  We saw red winged blackbirds, ducks, herons, and quite a few kingfishers.  And then we saw this beauty....

Bald Eagle
The picture is a little fuzzy but I am glad I had the chance to snap it.  I am absolutely in awe when I see a bald eagle.  This was only the 3rd one I had seen...and all three were since we've been on the road.  We watched him soar for a bit and then continued down stream.
Enjoying the river
A little bit later, could it be?  Yes, it was!  We saw another bald eagle.  Surely it could have been the same one but I'm calling it my fourth sighting!  All in all we paddled/floated about nine miles.  It was a great day on the water and can't wait until we can paddle again.

Life is good!


Nancy and Bill said...

Raspberries, Bald Eagles and Sportbrella!!!!

It just doesn't get any better. Oh perhaps it might... maybe you'll have a pelican sightly soon ;o))

Gail Houle said...

Cool, cool, cool! I've already assigned the sport umbrella project to Rick :)
Bring some of that fresh stuff to SC this Fall, OK? :)

Catherine, Jo Beth and Grace said...

Looks like you are having a great time in PA. That sportbrella looks like the ticket.

Karen and Al said...

I am sure interested in how you mounted the sportbrella. We have Sea Eagle Fast tracks. It looks like you have a different model.

Those raspberries look wonderful!!

Sherry said...

Love your 4th of july strawberries. Is that blue icing? All the fruit looks so delicious. It's almost worth putting up with the heat to have so much fresh fruit in the summer. We too want to see how that sportbrella is mounted. Bet you guys were attracting a lot of attention with that. I love it!!

Anonymous said...

LOL! The umbrella cracks us up, but why should we be surprised. The fresh fruits and veggies look great! Homemade salsa would be great this fall......:)

Bruce and Laura

Ceal said...

Well McGuyver has done it againe. What a wonderful invention. He should patent it but I guess the Sportsbrella people wouldn't allow it. I am so jealous seeing the beautiful raspberries & the eagle sightings are something to behold. Tell Pauline I said Happy Belated Birthday.
Love to you & Dan.

Gin and Syl said...

Maybe we will have time to install a sportbrelle on our boat before we get on the river!?! :)). You know pelicans like to be in the shade as much as possible!

Tricia hope you are feeling better!

Dan, what can I say? "you are da man!" ;))

We are on our way!


Barbara said...

Mom stole my McGyver line! Dan's inventions just keep getting better. Cool with the bald eagle sightings. You are living the life. xoxo

Cathy said...

I sure wish I had a Sportbrella when I was kayaking off Sullivan's Island, SC today. Maybe McGuyver can find a way to build one to fit my Ocean Kayak.