August Backlog: Summer Road Trip: Memphis Zoo

Luke and I were very excited to finally have our summer vacation. It happened later than we wanted due to scheduling conflicts with Luke’s work, but it was better than not going at all.

We decided on a road trip encompassing 7 states and with two destinations. On August 15th we left very early in the morning for a long day of driving across to Ohio, down through Kentucky and over to Memphis Tennessee to visit my brother and his wife.

The route took us through most of Ohio and some of Kentucky’s largest cities. We were grateful for rest stops to refuel, get coffee, and refill our water bottles. The later in the day it got and the further south we went the hotter and more humid it became.

We arrived at my brother’s apartment outside of Memphis late on Saturday night and enjoyed catching up and talking about our plans for the next few days with them.


We took Sunday morning a little slower then helped them move packed boxes from their current apartment, into their cars, and over to their new apartment right inside the Memphis boarder. We were grateful for the chance to help them move after they drove a long way to help us move into our new home this past fall (for more on this see).


We then had a lunch break, changed our clothes ,and headed to the Memphis Zoo. My Matt and Stina both have membership and after going with them we now know why.


The zoo is well laid out, with unique and intricate habitats and displays. Each part of the zoo was set up to feel as though you were touring a different part of the world in which the animals housed would live.



We enjoyed many elements of this zoo including the many ICEE stands and misters as it was very hot and humid. A few highlights included: The grizzly bear and wolf exhibit with waterfall and lodge replicating the yellowstone lodge and a fountain acting as old faithful geyser;



The panda exhibit which we felt provided better viewing of the pandas then San Diego Zoo, and the white bengal tiger in with the large cat display. The zoo also had a very large petting zoo/farm area with plenty of educational games and hands-on exhibits. In addition the zoo also included a pretty good sea lion and bird show.



After enjoying the zoo we decided to get a local classic for dinner: Gus’s fried chicken. We ordered it “to go” came home and enjoyed an evening in catching up.

Springwater Fiddler’s Fair

Well it’s been busy past month adjusting to a new job, driving to Rochester everyday, and adding a puppy to our lives. We were ready for a weekend outing.


A few weekends ago went to the Springwater 7th annual Fiddler’s Fair. We heard about this fair from two sources: first from the maple farm we toured for maple week this past spring (see maple season) and from the Springwater trails group we hiked with this summer.


The fair takes places at a tree farm on the boarder between Cohocton and Wayland (so not far from our house) and hosts fiddlers from all over upstate New York for one day of performances, workshops, and jam sessions.


We arrived in the mid afternoon and explored the grounds. A barn was set up at the front of the property with crafts artists inside. We payed a five dollar donation and were given wrist bands and brochures before exploring. Around the corner form the barn was the main stage where fiddling performances occurred every half hour from 10-6pm all day.


Deciding to walk around the craft stalls outside, we walked around the found the inner loop trail to explore the jam sessions in the woods. At each location where a jam session could occur along  the festival had set up haybails and a white fiddle sign.



We came late enough in the day that there were not any jam sessions in the forest, but we enjoyed the walk. The spring water hiking club blazes the trails for all of the events on the farm, and for most of the day supported guided hikes along the trails.


We came back to the main field and listened in on a few of the larger workshops and jam tents further out in the field. Some of the workshops included Penny whistle, woodworking, Cajun fiddling, and basic fiddling skills.


We also noticed they had nature crafts for children and a sing along stage where children could dress up, pick up instruments, and dance along to a guitarist singing children’s songs.


After walking around we decided to get dessert first settling on organic custard made locally from duck eggs. I got black raspberry and Luke had the mint chip, it was very good creamy and sweet.


We sat with our frozen treats and listened at the main stage to several performers including a group of children performers from a string school in Buffalo who were very good.


We then decided to get dinner and had many options to choose from everything from taco salad, to BBQ, to hamburgers and hot dogs, to vegetarian stew and lamb burritos. Sadly the lamb burritos were sold out by the time we decided to eat ,so Luke and I shared some BBQ and mac and cheese. All of the food stands were local bakeries, restaurants, and catering companies.


We enjoyed seeing that this fair was put on by volunteers and locals and the cost to get into the festival goes to run the festival next year and to support the community. It was also great to hear a variety of fiddling styles including Americana, Irish, and even Macedonian.


It was the perfect event to welcome the fall season.

August backlog: Summer Project : curb appeal

It’s been a long and at times frustrating task to get the front of the house and porch to have great curb appeal for more on this project see curb appeal.

Reminder of what this all looked like before the project


A few weeks ago Luke finally got the pressure treated planter beams in place and nailed down. Then I was able to transplant. All of the hostas needed to be moved either to a new bed or forward to leave room for other plants.


In between these I also placed the succulents, so that the planters looked planned. This took a good days work but was well worth it.


Next I started to prep the side bed for new plants but soon discovered another path, this time slate, running under the porch, through the flower bed, and out to where we park our cars. Luke got out the sledge hammer and with a little effort we got most of the path dug out.


Once everything was transplanted I was finally able to buy more plants to supplement. I decided on bleeding hearts to round out the corners of the porch and some endless summer hydrangeas to go under the living room window. I also bought a few more hostas to fill in the side of the porch that was unplanted.

New project: With all of this rock and slate we decided to make a rock path with stepping stones out to where we park our cars. So that this next winter we will have a set path to snow blow. This will be a fall project to finish with gravel in between stones and rubber runners.


Still to be finished: I have planted the hydrangeas but still need to transplant a white hydrangea plant we have growing on the hill in our back yard. That hydrangea plant is large enough I will need Luke’s help to transfer. We also have bought some lilies and a rodi’s to fill in along the road near our parking place (which has just been re-graveled) that still need to be planted.

So much progress so far and more to do. We are learning as home owners that when you think you have finished one project three more tend to pop up.

August Backlog: Summer Lovin’ Date Night

To recap you may wonder what fun activities we have done this summer? To be fair a good portion of them have been spent working on our garden and porch area. But I thought I’d review some of our better summer date nights.


  1. The Drive-in. Luke and I went to Vintage drive in Avon to see minions and inside out ( yes kids movies with no kids) . We were glad we got there as early as we did as spots fill in quickly. We were also glad we packed snacks, blankets, pillows, books, and cribbage to play while we waited. It was a beautiful sunset and two good movies.


2. Melting Pot Date Night We do not often go to the Melting Pot usually it has to be a birthday or holiday for us to spend the money on cheese and chocolate. But the Melting Pot in Rochester had a deal for Friday nights you could get their four course dinner and two free Regal movie tickets.  We enjoyed our cheese, steak, and chocolate then went to the mall to see Antman.


3. No not all of our summer dates have included movies. We also went for a second year in a row to the corn hill arts festival. Where like last year we got Bruster’s ice cream to share (and a gyro). We wandered around and enjoyed listening to a up and coming band Wise Water, whose EP we bought. Then picked up a metal sign to include in our living room wall collage.


4. Recently we decided to join a local hiking group who meets every Sunday for an afternoon hike in Naples. It was warm but the shade helped plus we hiked part of the trail in thin water surrounded by waterfalls. We met with the whole group after the hike to share stories and had food to eat. Afterward Luke and I found a local homemade ice cream shop called Lynnie Lous with custard. We shared a large custard with fresh blackberries on it.


5. We found a groupon for a massage place in Pittsford, not the far from Henrietta. They had couples massages for a great rate with hot stones and aromatherapy. We check them out back in May and found it very relaxing. They even taught me a few stretches to do to help my normally very tight neck. So we decided to return, with the same groupon rate, again this month. Afterward we went to a Japanese Ramen place called Furoshiki.

Meet Kira

Meet Kira!


This is our new little black lab mix named Kira. She is 10 weeks old and full of energy and mischief. We decided Labor Day weekend was finally the time to get another puppy. After everything that happened around Memorial Day and to our little puppy Sienna (for more on this see Goodbye Sienna) we needed the summer to regroup. Fortunately the adoption agency whom we had used for Sienna gave us a standing offer to get another puppy for no additional charge.


After exploring their listing we saw a litter of 10 black lab mixes, called, and drove out to look at them Friday night September 4th. We had the option of 9 out of the 10 puppies. It was a little overwhelming since last time we had our pick out of 3 (other siblings had been taken).


It took us two hours to play with and test out all of the personalities of the puppies before we chose Kira who was named Raider (because the original shelter had thought she was a boy). We picked up a puppy started kit from the adoption group with leash, collar, bowls, food, and toys and headed home.


Our first weekend with her we had her in the crate upstairs with us then moved her crate downstairs by the time the week started. It took awhile to get her into our routine and sleeping schedule but we are getting there. She is mostly black with brown eyes and brindle feet. We named her Kira, which is a Irish/Gaelic name, because it means “one of beautiful dark completion, dark hair, dusky with brown eyes”.


She loves spending time outside rolling around in tall grass, sniffing everything, digging, and running around. Kira’s favorite room is our upstairs office where she can play, nap, and most of all stair out the window while we work on our computers.


She is very smart and a little stubborn, she learned quickly how to climb up and down the stairs, now we have to put up a gate if we want her to stay on one level. Kira also learned how to climb up the baby gate we set up in the downstairs bathroom, to run away from us if she has something in her mouth she should not.


She is learning the command “sit” very well, knows her name (although sometimes she pretends to not hear it), and sometimes play fetch . Kira is still stubborn about commands “no”, “come”,  and “down” when she like to jump on us and is still learning that she cannot bite us when we play with her.


She has learned the broom is not a toy, the dishwasher is not a source of food and neither is the trash. She doesn’t like the rain when it’s cold outside but doesn’t mind a warm bath.


Kira is a lot of work right now and not completely house trained yet, but we are enjoying having her as part of our family.


August Backlog: Summer Projects: the garden

Wow it’s been a months since I last wrote. Sorry for the unplanned summer break. But I am finally ready to share some summer project updates!


One of our largest projects was cleaning a place for a garden at the back end of our property. In order to do this we had to dig out a stallite dish and it’s wire, tear down a either dog or rabbit house, and clean the area from trash.


Next was the longest project: to clear the hill of trees. Luke bought a chain saw and cut his way around the area. Then he had several weekends of controlled burns to burn the weeds in our future garden plot and fallen trees.


Once this was accomplished we thought we were almost done! But we live near a rock quarry and our soil is very rocky. So Luke also got a tiller and tilled the garden plot several times. Then he used a rake to collect rocks to both sides of the garden.


Both of us took many trips collecting rocks and transporting them in a wheelbarrow down to our gravel driveway. Every time Luke tilled the ground a few inches deeper we had to clear even more rocks.


Finally we did our last round of tilling and rock collecting. Luke was able to create 5 rows for our garden and then we planted seeds.


Because we are so late in the summer this will be a fall or second harvest garden. We are hoping to get carrots, broccoli, spinach, garlic, and onion before our first frost date. By next spring we will hopefully be able to expand the garden for more rows for a full first harvest.

Besides this the yard looks much more organized now that you can see the boarder of the property and we do not have trees blocking wires, or a view of the hill from the street.

So far we have had a mild August with rain and weather in the 60’s and 70’s hopefully that will bring a good harvest.

I’m Back

After a long debate I decided to upgrade my blog to premium receiving my own domain and a whole lot more video and photo space.

I know I have a lot to catch up on. The days are getting shorter and colder and leaves are falling but my blog is still stuck in summer. So here’ my plan: I will be posting backlogged blogs throughout the next month all while trying to keep up with what is happening here and now.

Hope you are ready to do a lot of catch up reading and picture looking.

It’s good to be back.