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April Showers and All That

>> Saturday, April 30, 2011

It was officially the rainiest April ever recorded for the Syracuse area.  Let me tell you, it felt like it.  The whole month was gloomy and dreary and drippy, then we had a couple of whopper thunder storms this past week that caused a lot of damage and brought a whole hell of a lot of rain.

Mind you, I am incredibly grateful Syracuse's damage was just some flooding, hail damage, and power outages, and not the kind of deadly tornado damage some other states saw.  It still did, however, cause things like several feet of rushing water on Route 81, backed up sewers,  and damage to the local parks, among other things.  The hail did a lot of damage too, including to my Dad's car, which he had been contemplating trading in next month.  Spectacular timing.

Check out some of the massive hail stones from his yard.  You can see why they dented the car:

By the way, when I say backed up sewage, I'm not exaggerating.  The County sewers were so overloaded by that one massive storm that sewage erupted out of the toilets at my husband's office with such force that it blew the toilets clean off the seals on the two lower floors of the building.  That should give you some idea how much rain we got in that one storm.  Ew ew ew ew ew.

Anyway, on to pleasanter subjects.  Today dawned bright and clear and deliciously sunny - an incredibly welcome change from the gloom and rain.  Could this signal a brighter May?  Late in the day we stopped at Onondaga Lake Park to see just how flooded it is.  I had heard that the lake was well beyond flood stage, but Onondaga Lake Park tends to develop a lot of mini ponds on the lawns at the northern end in the spring anyway.

I certainly did not expect to see as much water as I did.

Parts of Onondaga Lake Park have basically turned into lake soup.  It's truly impressive.  Actually, for me, it was a little creepy.  I happen to have a nearly pathological fear of things submerged under water, and I often have anxiety dreams about having to walk on docks that are sinking into water.  Let me tell you, there are some things in the Park right now that are the stuff of my nightmares.

One section of trail disappears under a foot or so of water:

There are several docks that are nearly in the water (*shudder*) and which one could only access by wading:

The really sad part is that it's done some real damage to the marina, and undoubtedly some other areas too.  And my word, it has also dumped a whole lot of gross debris along the shoreline.  It's going to be a huge undertaking to clean up.  The poor docks in the marina are new, and I hope the damage isn't too extensive.

Thankfully, the worst of the debris is largely concentrated near the southern end of the Park, and much of the park was still pretty and inviting.  There were certainly folks out enjoying it, because it was hard to resist going for a stroll in all that sunshine, despite the damp.

The sunshine and all the water made for some beautiful photos, even if I couldn't get to all the benches to enjoy the view.

Here's hoping for a brighter, sunnier May to dry us out a bit!


Happy Easter

>> Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter from the Easter Bunny's distant cousin, the Easter Basset! (not to be confused with the Easter basket...)


Cabin Fever

>> Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The winter just won't let go of its death grip on Central New York.  40 mile an hour wind gusts are (again) buffeting the house.  There is a grim warning of snow in tonight's forecast.  If I wake up to a white Village tomorrow morning I shall scream.

Anywho, we've all got cabin fever.  All eight of us.  Yes, that's right, all eight.  That includes the Attic Ghoul, who just this past weekend wandered out of his fiercely guarded attic hideaway of his own volition.  I was making myself a snack around 8:00 Saturday evening, and heard a meow several times before it registered in some dim recess of my brain that the meow didn't seem to belong in the scene.  I looked down, and discovered Rocky sitting on the kitchen floor, looking up at me, meowing curiously.  It was as if he was saying, "Hey Mom.  Is this where you go when you're not petting me in my attic?"

The former recluse hasn't looked back.  He wandered about exploring a little that evening, cool as a cucumber, as if he had been living comfortably with the rest of us forever.  Sunday morning, I awoke to find him sitting draped over my husband's legs, purring comfortably.  Why it took him seven weeks to emerge from his attic, I shall probably never know.  In a couple of days, he's progressed from practical non-existence, to being a persistently purring ankle-bumper, who follows me from room to room and is surely going to cause me to trip down the stairs in the immediate future.

Somehow our giant 2,200 square foot house seems to be shrinking with each pet we add.  It seemed HUGE when we moved in here with just five of us.

What with the miserable weather, we all need something to occupy our attention, so while my husband braved the winds to glue parts of his car back together (curse the road debris from someone's @#%$*^! uncovered load on the highway!), I got the bright idea to construct a cat playhouse.

It took three sizable cardboard boxes, a box cutter and some tape. I had to dump cats out of it several times before I could finish it, which I took to be a good sign.

Ta da!  Hours of feline entertainment.

Here's proof Rocky has emerged.  There he is, on the left, looking burly.  I love how the boxes have sprouted a tail.

Watching for paws to come waving through the hidey holes:

Thus far it's the biggest hit with the young 'uns.  Pippin is only a bit over a year, and Wednesday, though past two, retains an eternally kittenish disposition that I expect she'll retain forever.  The three year olds, Sneakers and Rocky, are more dignified, and though intrigued, will likely only explore it when they think no one else is looking.

And grouchy old Tucker?  He would never stoop so low as to acknowledge the presence of something the "kids" play with!


The Garden is Rising!

It always thrills me when things start to appear in the gardens, even when I know they're there and will arise.  I am completely enamored of the baby bleeding hearts as they first poke through the dirt.  The purple color is amazing.  Don't they look like little sea anemones?

This was taken just last week, and by now they are pretty green curly leafy things - no more purple.  But their emergence is lovely!


Stuff Against a Flaming Sky

>> Monday, April 18, 2011

On one of our evening spring rambles, we happened to be out during the whole of the sunset.  I took a bunch of photos that I like, showing various things against the changing, eventually flaming sky.

When we arrived home, we could see some large column of water off in the distance.  A little investigation let to our discovering that the Village fire department had gotten some new equipment, and was testing it out.  The massive jet of water looked especially impressive against the fiery sky.


A Spring Stroll

>> Saturday, April 16, 2011

It is such an incredible relief to have some warmer weather, finally.  Although, as I say that, it's raining, cold, dreary, drippy, and blowing.  Oh, happy spring.  At least we have been able to take advantage of the longer days and go for some after work strolls along the Erie Canal, even if they've been pretty sunless.

Simon, for one, is pretty much ecstatic about the lack of snow and cold.  He loves spring walks about as much as I do.  This is what tends to happen - Simon stops and whuffles with great intent, and then realizes he's fallen behind one human or the other, and takes off at a joyous sprint to catch up.

That expression is irrisistable, isn't it?  We wind up not keeping a very steady pace, because it seems like a shame to interrupt Simon's delighted ramblings and sprints.

Speaking of Simon running, all the bits of dog that flap when Simon runs are hilarious.  Check out the lips and ears:

I can't wait to take pictures of him running toward me on a sunny day, when I can get photos that aren't quite so grainy.

There's not a whole lot of green out yet.  The skunk cabbages are up, and we spotted a few violets and bloodroot, too.  But along the canal, that's about it.

Even all dressed in brown, the canal path is a lovely walk, though.

We found evidence of an overly ambitious beaver who moved through the area at some point in the past.

And since I love photos that mix industry and nature, I simply cannot resist shooting the old cars that rest along the trail.  At what point does garbage become old enough that it has charm?  Because these cars have crossed that line, at least for me.

About a mile down the canal path from our house, we come upon an opening that leads to an old landfill.  The landfill isn't active anymore, and thankfully doesn't smell bad.  At the top of one of the landfill slopes is a cell tower (at least I assume that's a cell tower).  To our delight, some osprey have nested on top of it this year!

No views of babies yet, but we could get a good look and mom and dad, while they warily eyed us back.

It's so nice to be back outside again, without having to bundle up to my eyeballs, and stuff hand-warmers in my mittens!


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