Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy Newly Weds!

Mark & Val - the couple that got married last weekend, took their honeymoon time to travel around New York and visit with some family and friends. And Ithaca and Mike & I were on their list! It was really nice to spend some quality time with them since they were a little busy during their wedding - go figure. We had a great Thai dinner and then they stayed the night with us. We hope they come back soon - they live in IN now - not so easy to see them :(

Crazy Weather & More Turtle Times!

Last weekend (when we were in Ohio and in the non-stop rain, in our tent), it was also raining in Ithaca and all over the whole Finger Lakes region. As a result, the almost completely dry gorges did a full turn-around and turned into gushing waterfalls! It truly is amazing how quickly the water flow can change. I would notice it a lot over the summer - one little rain could make a waterfall look completely different in the matter of an hour.
Anyway, it's been a refreshing change. The gorges are still beautiful when there is little water, but I do love seeing the levels a little higher.
Also, this past week I began giving tours at Watkins Glen. That was a fun change of pace. Buttermilk is great and it does get a good crowd, but Watkins is like the "Niagara Falls" of the Finger Lakes. People travel all over the country to come see this gorge. And it really is a site to see. I've been having fun, and the groups that I have been getting are great. They really are so excited to be there and are continually blown away with each corner they come around.
On a sadder note, I just learned recently that I'm not going to be able to keep working for the parks over the winter. They just don't have the funding. So in about 3 weeks I will be wrapping up my naturalist position and heading off to the job market once again. I'm not sure what I'm going to end up doing, but hopefully it will be fun. I do have a potential lead for becoming a teacher's aide at a local elementary school. It would be a challenge - working with mentally and physically handicapped children, but I think it could be an interesting change of pace. It would be sort of strange to go back to school :), but it has great hours and benefits! I'll keep ya'll posted!
Now for some pics!
Taughannock Falls before & after rain!
Buttermilk Falls before & after
Watkins Glen - Cavern Cascade

Watkins Glen
Pretty path in Watkins Glen

Beautiful sky on my way to work

I just found out that I have a timer on my phone camera - I know I'm a dork - but here I am at work! This is Buttermilk at its best!

And one last story - and of course it's a turtle one :) On my way back to work from Watkins this week, I was driving through a marshy area and saw something really big and dark on the other side of the road. As I drove by, I realized that it was a big snapping turtle. It didn't look like it was going to cross the road but I decided to turn around and make sure. Once I turned around though, it started making its way out into the road. It was so cute - lifting up his legs one at a time, up high and out to its side - looking so happy - it made me laugh. But there were more important things at hand - getting him out of danger. Luckily there wasn't much traffic, but I knew there was a good chance a car would be coming soon. So I jumped out of the car, grab him by the back of his shell and swooped him across to the other side of the road. This guy's shell was about 18in long - so he was a good size. I was a little worried that he would be too big but he probably weighed about 20 lbs. He really didn't appreciate my help and let me know with a good dig into my finger with his SHARP claw, he also gave a good hiss and once I let him down, he turned around and snapped at me. He was so cute though. If you don't recall from my last turtle story though, there is a downside to helping turtles, at least snappers. THEY STINK!!!!! And once again I was reminded of that as I drove the next 30 mins with his nasty, funky smell all over my hands. Hours later, and after about 10 deep scrubs, it finally dispersed.
And for my educational tip of the day (in case you aren't aware): if you ever see a turtle about to cross a road - you can be a big help!
First - whether or not you actually pick it up or just hold off traffic, make sure you don't change its direction. Turtles are determined animals and they want to go where they want to go. If you put it back to the side it's coming from, it's just going to try and cross the road again. So always put it on the side of the road it is heading.

Second - there is a right and wrong way to pick up turtles. Often you see pictures of people picking up turtles (especially snappers) by the tail. THIS IS WRONG!! You can cause a lot of damage and pain to the turtle by doing this - you wouldn't hold your cat or dog up by the tail for the same reason. So if you are going to pick up a turtle, you want to grab it on the sides of the shell. Use two hands and make sure to keep it level. With snappers, you do need to be careful that you don't get your hands too close to the head - their bite is a powerful one! So grab on the back, each hand between a back leg and the tail.
Third - don't flip turtles upside down, they really don't like it and it could actually mess up their internal organs. IF you need to turn them upside down, rotate just as far as you need to and then back the same way to normal, don't have them do a 360 flip.
BE NICE TO WILD TURTLES - they've been around almost 300 million years!!! They are the oldest reptiles - they even predate dinosaurs! Don't ever take a wild turtle in as a pet. They need to be wild and they know best how to take care of themselves. Despite they're long existence on this planet, they are sensitive creatures and have very specific requirements that have to be met to survive. And it also goes the other way - if you have a pet turtle, don't ever release it into the wild. Once domesticated, these creatures need assistance and help to survive, plus they could release other diseases or germs into the wild. (This is pretty much true for all wild animals). Ok - enough!

Back in Time

I just got these pictures from Teri so I thought that I would share. Over Labor Day weekend, Mike, Teri and I went to Keuka Lake to visit with family, to celebrate Mike and Ryan's birthdays, and to do some relaxing at the Tree House. Teri had never been to Keuka so it was the perfect chance for her to check it out. We all had a really nice time. There was a pretty large crowd - Scott & Roxie, Ryan and some of his friends from high school, their three dogs, Toni & Walt (Mike's Aunt & Uncle), and then the three of us. Only one missing was Sarah :( She had gone home to Atlanta for a week! Although I'm sure she was having fun being back for a visit - she was definitely missed!Here is Teri & I getting back from a kayaking ride. Scott & Roxie just got these kayaks this summer. They are soooo much fun! Mike and I would love to get two for ourselves someday.

The weather was perfect! Here is a pretty view off the porch of the Tree House.
On our way home, we stopped at the Garrett Memorial Chapel on the bluff of Keuka Lake. This is such a beautiful building (we had even considered getting married here at one point.) It was created in 1931 by Paul and Evelyn Garrett so that they could honor their son Charles' dying wish "to go home to Bluff Point." Charles Garrett passed away in 1929 at the age of 26 from tuberculosis.
Here's Teri and I enjoying the view at the chapel.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Happy Birthday Conell!!!

Yesterday was also our nephew Conell's 2nd birthday! We were really sorry to have to miss it but we hope that he understands.
We hope you had a great birthday Conell!!!!

Congratulations Mark & Val!

Yesterday we drove to Ashtabula, OH for our friends Mark & Val's wedding! We hadn't seen them in a couple of years, so it was nice to get a quick visit. Mark and Mike used to work together at Petsmart when we lived in Buffalo. They're such great people and they make such a perfect match for one another. We're really happy for them and wish them a lifetime of love.
It was an outdoor wedding at a park. They were really lucky that it didn't rain because it was in the forecast. As it turned out, Mike and I decided to camp and we were excited because it was looking like the rain would pass us by, but as we left the reception to head back to our campground, it was POURING!! Luckily we had put the tent up before the wedding, but it still was a bit of a bummer. Pouring rain all night and the whole ride back.
This was the best picture I got of them. Our camera is STILL in the shop :( So we're still stuck with the phone cameras.
They had a fall theme - these were the center pieces.
They also made strawberry jam as favors - yum!

Here we are on the road. I was sporting the granny look to try and keep my hair curled with all the humidity. Pretty silly.
This is the papercutting that I did for them. See the two kitties and dog - they love their animals - what good people!
Thanks Mark & Val - we had a great time - Congratulations!!!!