The Beauty Around Us

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Play Date

Our granddaughters enjoying playtime at our house

This is an “on this day” memory from 2017.  Bob and I had a three-hour play date with our granddaughters.  The girls helped Grandpa build a log cabin with Lincoln Logs.  Harper filled the interior of the cabin with Red Rose figurines.  Juniper dressed dolly in a new outfit.  Both girls played games on their Kindle Fire tablets and played with the Fisher Price house and Little People Klip Klop castle.   I read a few books to the girls, at their request.  The girls ate lunch here enjoying ham sandwiches, cheese cubes, and clementines.  We had an enjoyable 3-hour play date with the girls.

I am missing our granddaughters,  We last spent time with the girls in November.  It has been about 2 months since we last saw them.  COVID-19 continues to rage in my community in Northwestern Pennsylvania.  I saw a case comparison today.  Between Nov 7 and Dec 7 there were 415 cases.  Between Dec 7 and today’s date there have been 1,779 cases. More than 4 percent of the county’s population in which I live have been infected.  One month ago the Pennsylvania Department of Health listed two deaths for my county.  The number of deaths showing today are 46.

I am not seeing anyone, except Bob, as COVID-19 continues to rage.  This self-imposed isolation is my decision, as I have underlying health issues.  Given my health issues, I don’t feel that I would do well if I contracted COVID.

I do want to see my granddaughters badly.  I miss the girls so much.  I plan to receive the COVID vaccine as soon as it is available to me.  Meanwhile I will keep an eye on COVID case numbers.  Hopefully the numbers will decrease significantly, and I will feel safe again to be with my granddaughters (even before receiving the vaccine).

Year in Review 2020

Bob, Wickett and me at our house on New Years Eve

Amazon Photos made this Year in Review slideshow for me.  Please click on “slideshow” to view the video.  Keep clicking until the slideshow begins.

The slideshow features Bob and me, Stacey and our two granddaughters, my brother and his wife, three great nieces, a few of our local motorcycle riding friends, and some of our friends with whom we were fortunate to spend a week with in the Outer Banks, and lunch with friends in Salisbury MD on our way to Chincoteague VA.

What great memories to remind me that 2020, with all that was bad about it, still had good things!

 

Happy New Year!

I gave Bob a Kalimba 17 key thumb piano for Christmas a couple years ago.  Bob had never played a thumb piano.  In one week’s time Bob taught himself this song.

 

 

Photo obtained here

 

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2021 from Bob and me!

Merry WHITE Christmas

In my last blog post I wrote that I was dreaming of a white Christmas.  It was Wednesday morning, and the sunrise glowed pink.  You know the saying “a pink sky in the morning…”.  Well, a Winter storm was brewing.  A Winter Storm Watch had been issued, that was changed later to a Winter Storm Warning.  It appeared likely that we would have a white Christmas.

On Thursday morning (Christmas Eve day) the snow from a week ago was almost gone.

I took this photograph on the morning of Christmas Eve. It was 46 degrees.

Most of the day on Christmas Eve it rained, until nighttime.  Then it started to snow.

 

We woke up to snow on the ground on Christmas Day.

Yes, we have a white Christmas!

Here’s a video that I took this morning.  Bob recorded himself playing ukulele and added the music to the video.  It is our way of wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 8

Today (November 28th) is day 8 and the final day of our Thanksgiving week vacation.

We awakened at 4:30 am.  We departed Tranquil Shores, our airbnb rental located in Chincoteague VA, shortly before 6:30 am.

At 12:30 pm we stopped at the Historic Round Barn in Biglerville PA and made a few purchases (apples, apple butter, and a long-sleeve “Round Barn” shirt).  The barn was well ventilated, with very few people inside.  It was the end of the season, so the shelves were emptying out too.  I would like to revisit the Historic Round Barn another time, in season.

Vacation is over; Almost home

We returned home between 5:00 and 5:30 pm.  Thus ends one of the most enjoyable and relaxing Thanksgiving holidays ever.  We are glad to be home, though, after being on the road since 6:30 am with stops only born of necessity except for one — our quick stop at the Historic Round Barn. 

Now begins our quarantine, ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf for travelers entering Pennsylvania from locations outside the Commonwealth as well as Pennsylvanians who are returning home from locations outside the Commonwealth.  We were very careful, while on vacation.  We are voluntarily placing ourselves in quarantine on the off chance we came in contact with someone with COVID.  

Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 7

Today (November 27th) is day 7 of our Thanksgiving week vacation.

Sunrise at Tranquil Shores, our airbnb rental

Late this morning we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, VA.  We followed the Beach Access Road to Toms Cove, where we turned around.  

Our first stop, while on the Beach Access Road, was at the Lighthouse Trail.

The Lighthouse Trail takes you through the woods to the historic Assateague Lighthouse.

Assateague Lighthouse

Our second stop was at a marsh area, where we frequently see wild ponies.  We had not seen any ponies here since our arrival on Sunday, November 22.  We saw some wild ponies there today.

The wild ponies finally made an appearance in the marsh seen from the Beach Access Road.

Our third stop was near Toms Cove.

Assateague Lighthouse, as viewed from Toms Cove area

You will recall from yesterday’s blog post that the reason we chose to spend Thanksgiving week in Chincoteague was to participate in the Waterfowl Week Special Drive.  As I wrote in yesterday’s blog post, there is a 7.5 mile service road off the Wildlife Loop that is open to the public only during the Thanksgiving Day weekend.  The service road opens at noon and closes at 4:00 pm.  We drove the service road yesterday and again today.

We were parked alongside Wildlife Loop by 11:40 am, lined up to drive on the Service Road.  

The line waiting for access to the Waterfowl Week Special Drive

The cars began to inch forward at noon.  Yesterday it took us 1 1/2 hours to make the 15-mile round trip.  Today it took about 1 1/4 hours.  Yesterday was overcast; today was sunny.  We saw far less horses and waterfowl today than we did yesterday.  Bob didn’t have a memory card in the GoPro yesterday.  The GoPro was armed today.  This video shows very little wildlife, but it does show the terrain along Special Drive.

 

 

I took a couple photographs of the few wild ponies that we saw during our drive.

Two wild ponies

Three wild ponies

We ate lunch at Tranquil Shores.  We had leftovers–sweet and sour chicken with rice, cottage cheese, potato salad and applesauce.

I wanted to see the lit Christmas tree at the Robert N Reed Waterfront Park in downtown Chincoteague.  We drove there at dusk.

the Christmas Tree and me

Christmas decorations at Robert N Reed Downtown Waterfront Park

Sunset at Robert N Reed Downtown Waterfront Park

Aren’t the Christmas tree and the park, itself, pretty?

By the time we left the park, it was time to eat.  We chose to eat inside the Chincoteague Diner & Restaurant, located on Maddox Boulevard next to the Best Western hotel.   We had a choice to eat outside on their screened porch or inside the restaurant.  It was a bit chilly to eat outside; the restaurant was not full of people; the tables were socially distanced; we smelled Clorox as soon as we opened the door; and the wait staff wore face masks. All of those factors went into our decision to eat inside the restaurant.  This was the only restaurant at which we ate indoors, while on vacation.  Bob ordered a Chef Salad.  I ordered a toasted ham and cheese sandwich with French fries.  The service was good, and our dinners were tasty.  

From the restaurant we drove to Island Creamery, where the best homemade ice cream is served.  We ordered our ice cream inside and carried it out to the car to eat.  Yum!

We returned to Tranquil Shores, after our ice cream stop.  

It is our last night here.  We have had such a relaxing vacation.  I wish we didn’t have to go home, but at the same time I am ready to go home.

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