A Walk in the Big Woods

So I went back to walk in the Big Woods and no cars were in the parking lot, but I still was on the lookout for Mr. Weirdo.  I hate not being able to go into nature and enjoy myself without watching for weirdos.  Okay, that said, I had a great time checking out half of the Big Woods.

A short way in I spied my first old growth tree. I need to bring a dbh tape, this guy is huge, and I have nothing to show you in the way of hugeness, but trust me, it is huge:


And here’s the other side:


Isn’t it gorgeous?  And huge!

Here’s some more cool fungi:


And looking up one of the big trees:

This has a cool root:

Close-up of the root:

I wonder what was under that root at one time to make it grow up and over and down like that.

Cute little orange fungi:

And a beautiful trail:

All of a sudden the trail moved and it made me go “oh” and it scared this guy off the trail, but he stayed to pose for my photos:

The ground jumped this time, and I saw this dark little guy, all of an 1″ long:

Some more cool fungi:

I have tons of photos from my walk in the Big Woods, but these are the highlights. I then walked back on the Field Trail, and saw more of these unknown to me interesting urn shaped flowers:

When I got into my truck, I noticed this little guy on my pants:


I have come a long way baby, because I don’t do worms of any sort, well, except earthworms. So after his photo shoot, he ended up out the door to stay at the preserve.

Erie Canal Museum

Yesterday we went to the Erie Canal Museum located in the Erie Canal Weighlock Building in Syracuse, NY.  This is the only Erie Canal weighlock building left, and it is the only building of its kind in the world.

These next two photos from the collection of the Onondaga Historical Association show the Weighlock Building as it was when the Erie Canal ran through Syracuse (looking southeast).
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The boats would drive into the weighlock to be weighed and to pay their toll. The tolls collected at the weighlocks eventually paid for the Erie Canal.
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This next photo shows the Weighlock Building today, with the Erie Canal Museum built on, and of course, the canal no longer runs through the city.  This is looking west at the Weighlock Building.

This is a model of the weighing device:

This is the view looking west at an example of the next boat that would be entering the weighlock:

And this is the view looking east as if the boat we were on was being weighed:

After we went through the museum, we went outside to the west side to view the gates:

And the view as if we were waiting to the side of boat behind the one being weighed:

This Weighlock Building is a New York Historic Civil Engineering Landmark:

I saw this boy and mule across the street:
“I had a mule and her name was Sal, 15 miles on the Erie Canal. . .”

We shopped in the gift shop and I discovered wonderful smelling soap made by Erie Canal Soap Co. The papers covering each different soap is a different old post card of the Erie Canal.  I bought the cinnamon one, as shown here:
“Canal Boats going over Aqueduct, Rochester, N.Y.” postmarked Sep. 16 1919.

There is so much more to see at this museum, and it’s all very interesting.

Gosnell Big Woods Preserve

A few years ago I had a professor who told me that there was an old growth forest nearby, but he wouldn’t spill the details on how to get there. Well, this summer as I was looking through a newspaper, I found a tour through an old growth forest nearby, so I am assuming this is the one he was talking about. As it turns out, the Gosnell family donated and sold property to create the Gosnell Big Woods Preserve.

On Saturday I visited the preserve’s Big Field and Overlook. I didn’t make it into the heart of the Big Woods yet. There was some weird guy who was running around the field trail and as he came towards me he muttered something and all I could understand was blah blah blah U.S. I don’t know whether he was being nice or not, so this creeped me out too much to enjoy myself. I will go back when Mr. Weirdo isn’t there.

This is the view of Big Field from the parking lot:


A short distance in I saw Butterfly-weed (Asclepias tuberosa). With orange being my favorite color, I was in heaven, except I was nervous with Mr. Weirdo, so when I go back I’ll take better macros:




There was a deer in the clump of trees on the left and I was really close to it when I accidentally spooked it (I didn’t see it until it got spooked).


I don’t know what this is yet, if you do, please let me know!

Same with this one:

Ahhh, this is the entrance into Big Woods. Woods. There’s nothing like them, woods, that is.

I headed towards the Overlook to see what the big deal was.

There were beech trees. I *love* beech trees, and it was refreshing to see beech trees without the markings from humans on its bark:

This was the overlook. Okay, this is next to Lake Ontario, which means the land here is not deeply hilly like I like, but still, I enjoy this:
Down at the bottom right is a field of ferns I need to check out.

And as to be expected in any woods, especially this summer, there is quite a few fungi in a small area:


I just noticed a slug at the top of this photo!



And the view from Big Woods back into the Big Field.

Hopefully I won’t be creeped out when I go back to visit so I can see the Big Woods.

It’s a Tough Job, But Somebody Has To Do It

Last Thursday for work I had to fill in as the administration person on a field trip to Kershaw Park on Canandaigua Lake. I had the responsibility of watching 46 children and x number of teachers. And carting around my own backpack and the general first aid backpack (each room has their own first aid kit, mine also contains all of the personal information about each child in case of emergency).


Have you ever watched 46 children and x number of teachers all at once, to make sure everything is okay?


It’s not easy. I would have rather have been hiking in the Bristol Hills, down there at the end of the lake. I need to hike those hills again. Those are some intense uphill hikes.


But I really didn’t have time to think about hiking that much, counting and recounting and checking and rechecking children and teachers. And getting no lunch break. And making sure all of their little needs were taken care of.


Still I felt like I was on vacation because I allowed myself to soak in sunshine ALL DAY LONG and IT FELT GOOD because, just because, it did. Even though it was hot. It felt really good.

And then we bought them ice cream at Scoops in Canandaigua, and I’m here to tell you, a small there is huge, as you can see by the cone this boy has!
This is from a previous visit by them and this photo is not taken by me.

And for the most part these children are some of the best behaved children I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch and interact with. Because the teachers train them all of the time. The only people I had to reprimand at all were the camp counselors (young volunteers who don’t always listen when they should). Pretty cool, huh?

Women’s Rights

Last Sunday we went to Seneca Falls, NY with my Aunt and Uncle (they visited again on their way back home). We first stopped at the Wesleyan Chapel Block Complex which is part of the Women’s Rights National Historic Park.



This Wesleyan Chapel hosted the First Women’s Rights Convention at 11 am on July 19, 1848.


It was led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, and conventioneers debated and amended the proposed Declaration of Sentiments.


On July 20, 1848 the revised Declaration of Sentiments, declaring “All men and women are created equal,” was presented and signed by 100 women and men.


In Declaration Park, there is a commemorative water wall inscribed with the Declaration of Sentiments of 1848 and names of 100 women and men who signed it.


We then went inside the Visitor Center, viewed the movie, and quickly toured the museum. We wanted to be outside because it was so nice out. I did capture a photo of this beautiful bonnet:


We walked down to the National Women’s Rights Hall of Fame, where upon entering we noticed that their new home will be the Seneca Knitting Mill as soon as they raise enough money.


The Seneca Knitting Mill looks like this right now:



Back in 1997 my Mom wrote a letter about her mother’s life and her mother was entered in the Women’s Hall of Fame. We went to see the letter again and the plaque. Because their present home is so small, they have to rotate the plaques and my grandmother’s plaque wasn’t on display at this time. When the Women’s Hall of Fame moves, all plaques will be on display.

We then took a walk along the Cayuga/Seneca Canal to view the Frank J. Ludovico Sculpture Trail.


Diana Smith, elected in 2004 as first female Mayor of the Village of Seneca Falls, NY.

Amelia Bloomer

The sculpture trail. My brother and I were way behind my Mom, aunt and uncle.

Mary Baker Eddy, 1821-1910. In Lynn, MA, on the evening of Feb 1, 1866, Mary Baker Eddy fell on the ice and was critically injured. Prayer and faith led to her healing, her writings, and the advent of Christian Science.

I couldn’t get close to the next two because some guy was sitting on the steps, but my guess is these guys represent canal diggers:

I’m not sure if this is the end of the sculptures on this trail, but this is where we turned around, because it was supper time.

Going to Seneca Falls always makes me realize how far women have come, and yet how far we still have to go. And although I don’t get political on my blog, I thought of this quote by Hillary Clinton while visiting Seneca Falls: “Although we weren’t able to shatter this highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before.” – Hillary Clinton

Letchworth State Park

Last Saturday we went to Letchworth State Park with my Uncle and cousins and other Aunt & Uncle. Since it was lunchtime when we arrived, we stopped at the Wolf Creek area of the park to eat a picnic lunch on a table made of stone, like this one:

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It was a beautiful day, with no rain in this area all afternoon. This was one of the views from our picnic table, and we heard the creek running as we ate:

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Afterwards, we headed down to the south end of the park to view the Portage Bridge from near the top:

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And then we headed down to the parking lot between the upper and middle falls. Here’s the upper falls and the Portage Bridge from below:

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It’s fun to be here when a train goes over the bridge!

We then walked down to see the middle falls, and I spied this interesting bedrock along the way:

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And we saw a rainbow as we got nearer to the middle falls:

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And here’s the middle falls:

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The Joe Pye Weed and Black Eyed Susan, along with other wildflowers, love living with the mist of the waterfalls:

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This is the Glen Iris Inn where my parents used to stay every fall. It made my Mom very sad to be at the park, but she was trying to be good:

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There were huge hydrangea blossoms around the inn:

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And of course, big old trees, like this Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus) which was planted by NYS Governor DeWitt Clinton’s son here:

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I love the Kentucky Coffee Tree’s leaves, which are bipinnately compound. This photo shows only ONE leaf of the tree:


The next photo also shows only ONE leaf:


Of course, we took tons of family photos since we hardly ever get together unless somebody dies. This was a rare occasion, and we all enjoyed it immensely! And from my photos, I created a new blog banner – finally!!


Last week we were doing all kinds of things, including visiting cemeteries and checking tombstones. While walking between one set of tombstones to the next, I came across this fungus:


With all of the rain this year there seems to be quite a lot of interesting fungi around!

I Have A Serious Question

How am I going to know when my mail gets delivered, both at work and at home, when the USPS switches from the Grumman Long Life Vehicles they use now to whatever non-gas vehicle they’re going to use? I mean everyone that I know knows when their US mail has arrived because all US mail trucks have that distinctive throaty noise to them.  You don’t need to look out any window.  You *know* your mail has arrived.


I asked this question to a couple co-workers today and they laughed their butts off. I didn’t know what was so funny. I’m being serious.

The Thing That Gets Me to Really Cleaning House Is. . .

having maintenance men in my home. I *hate* it. Really, I do. It makes me wild. So the furnace man comes to do his yearly maintenance on my furnace yesterday and he asks me if I mind if a trainee comes in with him. I say “of course I don’t mind!” Since I’m all for learning. Learn my difficult furnace, please! Now mind you, I had a furnace man here on January 1, 2008 ringing in the New Year with me (oh joy) and at that time he told me I needed a new furnace. So I was a freakin’ nervous wreck yesterday. Like waiting for a death sentence or something. So I cleaned my kitchen like fiery. For an hour and 45 minutes. I’m thinking “what the eff is taking so long down there? Must be the patient is seriously sick.” I cleaned the front of all of my cabinets, I cleaned anything else with a surface whether it needed it or not. I cleaned the sinks like they’ve never been cleaned before (kidding, I clean them like that all of the time). I took the stove apart and scrubbed everything. I would have pulled the fridge and stove out but that takes more than me to do it. And still they weren’t done. So I started washing my knickknacks and windows. I was waiting until they left to scrub the floor. You get the point.

They finally came up the stairs and I said “well, is it going to make it through another winter?” And they said yes, the only thing we need to complete is the bill. Oh, and I was nervous about that. 1.75 hours times two service guys has to be a ton of money, right? That was the best surprise, it was much less than I expected, and I don’t need to buy a new furnace. Phew. My old faithful, tough to work on, York furnace lives on. Phew. And I have a sparkling clean kitchen now.

And just for making it through my story, here’s a little pile of the sweetest fuzz that makes me just go awwwwwww. . . aren’t they the sweetest little beings?