Wine Country, FALL 2014

    While we up in New York State, as son Dan continued to recuperate, and whenever our daughter-in-law, Jen, was off work and home with the kids, Peg and I had quality time together and took several drives in the countryside enjoying the  beautiful Autumn weather.
     One weekend, just as the leaves began turning to their Fall colors, we rode down into the Finger Lake Region to spend the day just looking around and sampling the local fare.


 I'd never actually been in upstate New York before when the leaves were in 'full bloom' to see their Fall colors, so it was almost jaw-dropping to see such amazing vistas wherever we looked. It seemed as though almost every tree was trying to outdo the others, almost shouting, "See how gorgeous I am! Tah dah!"
   Initially, Peg kept mentioning a "Fall feeling", almost like what she called, "an electricity in the air"; invigorating, but at first I didn't 'get it'. After a month of seeing the changes in the landscapes and everything, I began to understand what she meant about the harvest season up north. With a chill in the air, people were bustling around outside in their yards, at roadside stands,  fields were being harvested. Pumpkins were everywhere; in the fields, on peoples porches, at festivals, or the afore mentioned roadside stands by the hundreds. 
It seemed everywhere we looked was worthy of a photo or too many to show here.
The farms and fields were all being prepared for winter. 
   We drove down the western side of Seneca Lake almost to the town of Naples to get my 'fix' of Monica's grape pie, to which I've been addicted to, since my first unsuspecting trip to grape/wine country years ago.  It was their Grape Festival weekend, so we had to brave the crowds to get to Monica's pies.  They make such a wonderful Concord grape pie that they've had to expand the business to an outside tent, and still, as you can tell from the traffic jam, it was a nightmare getting into the parking lot and out, as well. And this takes place on a very rural, twisty, turny, hilly, two-lane road.
Since Peggy couldn't have any of the grape delicacy because of her wheat/gluten problem, I didn't want to get a whole pie, so I got a few small grape tarts. As you also see, I didn't even wait till we finally got out of that jammed parking lot before I started in on 'em.
These lil pies are amazing and if you ever find yourself in the area ya gotta try them! If you have a mind to, there are also, on the same road, grape pie stands that are also wonderful. Sadly, we left before I got to try three different types; I guess I left Granny's Grape Pies for next visit. I hope she don't mind.
Seneca Lake was beautiful and made for a wonderful drive.
The leaves were just beginning to take on their Fall color the first drive down early in our stay, but every once in a while you could see some 'early bird' tree that seemed to be shouting,   "Me, Look At Me!!
From Seneca lake we moved over to
Canandaigua Lake a couple of weeks later.  I hafta confess, I loaded the picture first to see how to spell it. It's pronounced, "canon day gwah". 
The drive to the lake was  beautiful and the fields of grapes were every where. 
When we got to the lake we stopped to watch the local tour paddle-wheel boat pass by.
The lake was so beautiful I told Peg I should see if they wanted to hire a Cajun Cappy to drive the thing, but she brought me back to earth reminding me that in a couple short months it would be Winter.
We couldn't come to the Finger Lakes Region with out stopping at one of our favorite local wineries. Actually, it is very refined and upscale, but they also cater to folks with a whimsical sense of humor. Folks like us.
 Maybe a lil too much like us.
We picked up a couple cases of our favorite "Red Neck" wines for ourselves to enjoy and to also give as gifts.
The friendly gals behind the counter were only too happy to let me sample to my heart's content before I selected 3 wines to bring home. We were surprised to learn that two of the three beautiful young ladies were "local" to our 'red' neck of the woods. Chloe, to the left, is from Slidell, Louisiana, and Taylor, on the right, is from Lafayette, Louisiana. The gal in the middle is Gabby, whose family is from Mexico, and always had raw sugar cane as part of their Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays until recently we think. Since we live in a neighborhood that is literally surrounded by sugar cane fields, we said we'd see what we could do to send her a "Cajun sugar cane care package".
   Since, in our part of the world, sugar cane stalks are harvested green, Peg had to explain to me that the corn stalks pictured here are harvested almost dry, to be ground up and stored in barns to feed the farm animals in the winter. I think she called it, silage.
Those drives through rural western New York State were truly breathtaking.
   A lot of times when ya mention ya been to New York, this is not the New York they think about, but it's the one I remember.


Base Camp 2, Dan's House

   Peg and I have always loved the idea of camping in private, overgrown woods and with thickets all around making for a cozy private campground, such as the one we found in Webster, New York, but an extensive stay began to mount up financially, then too, Peggy had been getting up at five thirty in the morning to make a somewhat long drive to help out with family, etc. Although we longed to stay where we were, we knew it was a reasonable idea to park our camper right in Dan's yard, where he invited us to do so in the first place.   He came out to welcome us and to help us park alongside his back patio under some huge, shady ancient trees.
The sling his arm is in was the reason we were up there. He was actually in a good amount of pain, and with the Mom of the family away all day, working to support everybody, he was having a near impossible time of taking care of their four month old infant. Even lifting her was a daunting task, not to even mention diapers.

Bo and Dan got us directed into a good parking space and it didn't take Bo long to find a good spot to observe the kittys from a safe location.

He loves cats. The problem is most cats misinterpret his happy bouncing galloping advances towards them and invariably hiss arch and swat him away on his approach.  He learned early on it was much safer to observe them from the safety of the camper window.

   This is Dan's beautiful wife, Jen. (Peggy typing now) She is a hard worker, and how she manages to juggle a job and kids the way she does is beyond me. I was NEVER as organized or as outgoing as she is. She is amazing.
   Next are grandkids starting with college student, Melinda, (shown here with boyfriend Gabe), and Melinda's baby sister, little Summer Rae.
Next comes Manny, our guitar-picking grandson, who is a junior in high school.  Manny is a very bright young man, even taking some college courses already and great help (Peg says, "huge, tremendous help") with the younger kids when he gets home from school.
Next comes our 7 year old artistically talented, autistic grandson, Chase, shown here in a rare quiet moment. To say this little guy is a handful is a drastic understatement. Peg, being an artist, says Chasie is a gifted artist, and thinks he will have a career as one when he is grown.
  Next is Emillie, four years old,  who was almost impossible to get a picture without her "Beaux Bear", (somehow while we were in Western,NY...having called our veterinarian and groomer for minor information, we learned that his named had gotten changed to the South Louisiana spelling from "Bo" to "Beaux", which sounds the same. So, from henceforth, he is Beaux Bear.) Emillie loves animals, and Beaux Bear loves sweet, cuddly little girls, to which Emillie's cousin, Kaitlyn will attest. (see base camp cookout)
Peggy took the only "dog-less" picture of her as I waited with her for her ride to pre-school.
Last, but far from least, is the baby, Summer Rae. She seemed to have a real crush on her Grandpop or maybe it was the other way around.

Here is Peggy and me with the baby in a restaurant. Summer Rae spent the whole time watching me. She's a sweet, sweet little girl.
While Peggy (loved) worked, cooking and cleaning, changing diapers and feeding the baby, helping getting the kids off to school and fed when they got back home, and supper ready for the family,  I helped as I could and spent time with Dan as I drove him to shoulder therapy and around town for errands.  If you know me however; you know it wasn't all work.  I still found time to fire up our little BBQ pit and have fun visiting.

Dan's backyard is wooded, and the back slopes down to a creek. It is full of maple and walnut trees and all manner of wildlife.  It was a far nicer camping spot than several parks we have stayed in over the years. We decided that even if you are staying in somebody's backyard you can still have a ball camping, cuz we sure did.