Monday, July 29, 2013

Liberty Dam Day

Amanda, Ed and I went over to Liberty Reservoir Saturday to take part in the First Annual Liberty Dam Day. It was a beautiful day to wander around the lake and enjoy the view.

They even unlocked the gates to the observation deck for our enjoyment. It was the first time we were able to walk out on it.

The first time we went to the dam we had to walk up the entire 1.8 mile length of the road leading to it, as the road seems to be closed on weekends. The dam was built the same year I was born, so we're both coming up on a big anniversary this year!

We enjoyed the displays and learned a little about water management. We also loved the demonstration of the rescue dog, Liam who went and found someone in the woods and came back and told his owner where that person was! Dogs are so smart! We think Coda would make a brilliant rescue dog!

Friday, July 26, 2013

A New Section of the Fire Road

Ed and I took advantage of beautiful weather today to walk a section of the fire road that we had not previously experienced. It was so beautiful. I am constantly amazed that we can walk 5 miles without running into one person. It is like being out in the wilderness, but really being right in civilization. We parked our car on highway 32 and walked home, just in one direction.

I used an app called Mapmywalk on my cell phone. It's so fun, because it shows you exactly where you've been and how long it took you to walk each mile. It even shows the elevation of each mile. Here's a link to our walk:

We did 5.33 miles in one hour 34 minutes and best of all, we burned 652 calories to boot!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Tyese came over and made wreaths with me this morning. I was lucky to win a craft day from her at a Relief Society Service auction. She brought some beautiful spring flowers and ribbons. We had such a good time, not just expressing our creativity, but also just talking. I learned a lot about Tyese that we never have time to talk about in our brief time together at church. Did you know that her husband is from Liberia and that she has a secret weakness for designer handbags? Ask her about it if you see her!

On the Street Where We Live

My walking partner is at girl's camp this week, so Ed has been going walking with me in the evening after work. The weather has been so beautiful, in the low 80's and the humidity has even gone down. It's been almost spring-like. I never get tired of just walking down our street. It is so beautiful, with all the tall trees. At at the end of it we have reservoir on both sides of the road. Coda, who we adopted three years ago yesterday, loves walking in that obsessive way that only dogs can express. It makes it even more fun!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bloomin' Yard

The back yard has some beautiful flowers right now. The butterfly bush is doing its job attracting butterflies. You can see five in just this section of it. It's so pretty watching them flutter around.

Our trumpet vine has produced it's first two blooms in the two years since we've planted it! They're a beautiful orange color! Hopefully, next year we'll get four blossoms!

And the black-eyed Susans have exploded into a mass of color! It's cooled off a little and we can even go outside and enjoy them a little!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Birthday for Miss Carol

We celebrated Miss Carol's birthday a few days late this year. We tried a new recipe for the occasion--pecan encrusted salmon. I'd give it a thumbs up, but as I was the cook, I'm a little biased. Ed did a great job on the grilled veggies.

Miss Carol was born in 1928, so she's doing great to be independent still. She even had enough energy to blow out the candles on her cupcakes.

Kay dropped by to fill us in on Lenny's condition. He had a little bout with his heart again, but is going to be okay. I love this picture of Miss Carol and Kay going home in the golf cart afterwards. Notice the cane and the birthday flower in the back basket!

House in the Woods

Saturday we went to a house-warming for Ed's friend, Stan. They live outside the town of New Windsor. It was surprising following the instructions and ending up on a remote dirt road, only to find several beautiful houses on large, wooded lots. His house even had a modern in-law suite for his wife's parents, complete with their own kitchen and basement. They need a big house, as they have 5 of their 6 children living at home. (Surprisingly, they are not Mormon!)

Hot Car, Clean Temple

On Friday Ed and I went down to the temple to help with the semi-annual spring cleaning. Ed waxed stair railings, and they should be nice and slippery when the temple opens up this week! I learned how to clean silk plants by just blow drying them. It seems to work fine as long as there is no dust build-up. Several years of neglect (as in the case of my house plants) would make that system not as effective.

We gave Joey, from our ward, a ride down. It was a little squishy for him in the back seat. We took the Mini because the Audi was in the shop. Sadly, the air conditioning in the Mini went out as we left the temple to drive home. It was a HOT car, but with the windows down and the wind in our faces, the ride home was tolerable--just like old times. The Audi is now back home with a new set of tires, and the Mini is now in the shop!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Hundred Years of Shade

It was sad to loose the old silver maple on the corner of our property. But, the good news was, that it was in the county right of way, which saved us about $2000 for the price of taking it down.

It took three days to take it down. The first day was just taking down the wires around the branches.

Today they finished taking the rest of the tree down, and we realized how much we're truly going to miss it. It turned out it was partially hollow inside, which makes it hard to count the rings.

They sawed it off at the base and gave it a little nudge with the front end loader, and that was the end of that! The county even carted off the wood, but left a sizable amount of lawn damage, which they said they're going to fix up for us. I'm cautiously optimistic!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's Not Bath, but It Will Have to Do

We were hoping to meet my brother David and his family in Bath, NC, this weekend. But, Amanda is playing the harp for a wedding and has to stay in Baltimore on Saturday, so we settled for meeting David for lunch at BWI airport. Amanda (seen in the mirror) took our picture because I thought David and I had matching shirts. But, through the miracle of photography, his looks gray in the picture instead of blue like mine. David updated us on some family stories, which I can't write here, as much as I'd like to. Our lives are not as much of an open book as one would like to believe!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Winfield Carnival

Ed grew up in a small town called Winfield, NJ. Coincidentally, there is a town just about the same size in Maryland. We went to their Carnival Friday night to support the volunteer Fire Department. It was like a step back into Ed's childhood.

Amanda went with us for the food, and then she talked us into going into the house of mirrors. We liked the Hobbit mirror best.

She also talked us into a few rides. Ed went on the Scrambler with her, but I thought my stomach was really only good for the Ferris wheel! It was a small enough Ferris wheel that Amanda had to get her own car!

It started to rain just as the band was warming up. It was a terrific classic rock band, but they had some pretty fair-weather fans! They deserted their chairs hoping for better weather, which never materialized.

Ed and I and the Halseys were the only people with the fortitude to stick it out. We lasted till intermission, although the Halseys had to leave when the grandchildren became completely saturated. The band made several comments about their die-hard fans with ponchos. That was us. We asked them at the intermission if they could leave when we left. They said they were in it for the long haul. We left them singing in the rain!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Black and White Dogs

Suzanne is dog sitting this week, her sister's black lab/beagle mix named Bentley. We took all three of them for a walk along the fire road today. Bentley is a year old and hasn't learned to walk on a leash yet, which meant Suzanne's arm was exhausted by the time we finished our 5 mile walk! It also meant that Suzanne was always about 10 steps in front of me. It was like walking with a tow line! I could barely keep up with them! It really helped us keep up the pace!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Something's Rotten in Sykesville

The old maple on the northeast corner of our property fell into Miss Carol's driveway last night.

It really was only one limb of the tree, but what a gigantic limb!

I was so glad I wasn't walking up the driveway when this happened! It wasn't an immediate problem for us, but it made it impossible for Kay to get to work this morning.

I gave Kay a ride in to work and Lenny got out his trusty chainsaw!

By the time I got back Lenny had cleared the driveway. I put a call in to the county this morning to see if it's their tree or ours. It looks like the tree is located in the county road easement, but we won't know till they drop by. We're keeping our fingers crossed!

Amanda's Fourth on the Seventh

Amanda had to work every night last week and missed any chance for a fireworks display. So, we had a little show for her at our house last night.  After it finally stopped raining Amanda and Marsha began working their way through our small arsenal. Amanda loves the Simpson's episode where Apu says, "Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it!" Fortunately, we just blackened the driveway a little!

Ed and I enjoyed the show, but Coda did not. She averted her eyes and refused to look at the shower of sparks. The ones that made noise were even worse. We eventually let her go back in the house to cower in her lair (under the ottoman). Can't wait till next year!

Friday, July 5, 2013

This Great Land

We celebrated the Fourth of July with a ward breakfast at the park. Helen and I played our Ashokan Farewell Medley for background music, just because we had it memorized and thought, we might as well do it one more time! We also played a few patriotic songs as the ward sang along. We finished with a version of This Land is Your Land with a verse for every state through which I-70 travels from Maryland to Utah.

After breakfast Amanda took us for a hike at Morgan Run, a beautiful stream surrounded by trees. We were so happy that Mary and taken Amanda there while we were on Trek. We had never been there before.

Coda took a few swimming lessons while we were there. Although she is perfectly capable of swimming, when the water got too deep she really preferred prancing along the side in the shallow water, or even better--walking on the path alongside the stream! What a pampered puppy!

Symphony of Fireworks

We went to the Baltimore Symphony Fireworks show on Wednesday evening. It rained all day, but quit about 6, and we had perfect weather for an outdoor concert.

We went with the Rigbys, who knew lovely scenic way to get to Cockeysville without even getting on the freeway. The Oregon Ridge Amphitheater was great, with a nice view from anywhere you planted your lawn chair. We enjoyed eating dinner in the grass while we waited for the music to start.

The fireworks started up during the Stars and Stripes forever, and continued after the orchestra departed. It was a relaxing, enjoyable way to celebrate the Fourth of July, especially since it was really the 3rd, and we no longer felt any obligation to go out the next evening!

Found a Turtle

We've found several turtles on our journeys through the woods, but none as big at this one that climbed right up the hill and ended up next to our driveway! Coda was fascinated by it. After letting Coda get her fill of smelling it, we took it down to the copse, so it could wander off without fear of a dog attack!