Conowingo Dam with Roy & Deb

July 2

This day was our Mother’s Day & Father’s Day Gift from Roy & Deb.

They know how much I enjoy bird-watching, so they planned a morning of looking for eagles and other wildlife at Conowingo Dam – not far from their house.

They live in Amish Country – about an hour south of us – so we knew we would see some Amish buggies. I took this picture through the front window – from the back seat of their Jeep – the strange, light marking was a necklace hanging on the rearview mirror. 🙂

It looks like little brother gets to sit between his sisters. 🙂

As we arrived at the dam, we knew immediately that we would see black vultures as they were everywhere.

Description from the Internet: The Conowingo Dam is a large hydroelectric dam in the lower Susquehanna River near the town of Conowingo, Maryland. The medium-height, masonry gravity dam is one of the largest non-federal hydroelectric dams in the U.S.

Description also fom the Internet: The dam has 53 flood control gates – starting at the northeastern end of the powerhouse and spanning the majority of the dam. The flood gates are operated by three overhead cranes.

We found a picnic table and adjusted our eyes to the area – scanning the island across the river for bald eagles. Roy and Cerwin had binoculars. Deb and I had 300 power lenses on our camera. I didn’t see any eagles but snapped a picture of these fishermen while the others tried to spot an eagle’s white head. When I cropped this photo I noticed an eagle. 🙂 Look on the upper center.

I did see this one – on the far right – along with a great blue heron on the left and a vulture to the left of the eagle.

These vultures looked kind of pretty in silhouette – as pretty as a vulture can look. 🙂

There were probably three dozen flying, sitting, and hopping around us.

It was a beautiful morning to have breakfast along the river. Deb made bacon and egg sandwiches and fruit salad.

She also brought pastry to go with our coffee.

Cerwin took this picture of me – with his cell phone.

We had many opportunities to take pictures of herons as several flew and fished along our side of the shore.

This vulture was standing in a water puddle along the sidewalk as we walked toward the dam.

It was a good morning for fishing.

This man was pleased with his catch – especially the two catfish. He thought they weighed about 20 pounds each.

Later in the day we heard that someone caught a forty pound catfish further up river.

This fisherman was also pleased with his catch.

I think he said they were striper.

While we were near the dam someone noticed the eagle sitting on this cement piece jutting out from the dam.

We had seen two eagles fly across the river and knew they had to be in the trees above us. Deb found this one. (We didn’t have opportunity to catch a shot of them flying.)

The security guard told us that there are 150 bald eagles in the area – but today didn’t seem like they were going to be active. Roy and Deb had been here on Mother’s Day and said there were so many they lost count. November is also supposed to be a good time for spotting eagles.

While we kept looking for eagles, we took pictures of other bird activity.

Just as I snapped this picture the vulture flew away. A full-grown vulture has a 59″ wing span.

For some reason the vultures began gathering on Roy and Deb’s Jeep. 🙂

Roy walked over to take a picture.

We were surprised that they didn’t fly away as Roy got closer to the Jeep.

He pretended that it was standing on his hand.

We yelled, “Grab it’s leg.” 🙂

The security guard told us – and the other photographers – to wait until 10:00 o’clock when they were supposed to change the water flow through the flood gates. He said that sometimes stirs up the birds.

They did not open the gates on this day, but we did get to photograph and eagle flying over us.

Deb located it in the trees near us.

Then as we prepared to leave, we noticed a vulture eating some of the bread from my sandwich. I had thrown some of it on the rocks near our table.

This one posed nicely on the fence as I walked toward it.

From here we decided to go to a wildlife sanctuary about 13 miles away – according to our cell phones, but when Roy put it in his GPS, it said it was forty miles away. We headed that way, thinking it would adjust, but we seemed to be driving away from where we wanted to go – so changed course and went to the restaurant Roy had previously chosen for lunch. (Pictures about that tomorrow night.)

After lunch Roy touched the exact location on his GPS so it would take us directly to the sanctuary. We soon knew why the GPS wanted to make it a forty-mile trip. We ended up at Aberdeen Proving Ground – a United States Army facility.

When we pulled up to the gate, Roy said, “We are not where we want to be.” The man called in another soldier who listened to Roy’s explanation, and allowed us to turn around. 🙂

Birthday Breakfast with Jared

Saturday Morning, May 21

DSC_2664Jere always takes his children out for breakfast on or near their birthday. When he made plans to take Jared out for his 12th birthday, Jared asked if Grandpa and Grandma could come.

DSC_2666We didn’t think it would suit us because we were going to an 8:00 AM prayer breakfast. When Jere said they were going to be at Lititz Family Cupboard at 7:00 AM, we realized that it fit perfectly in our plans – to at least stop in and have coffee with them.

I love celebrating with our children and grandchildren.

DSC_2671This was the scene next to the restaurant parking lot as we were leaving – and it was raining.

Day 1 in Maine – Christmas

Monday Evening, January 4

DSC_6691After supper at Sea Dog, we went to Hannah and Lydia’s place to exchange a few gifts.

DSC_6693The gifts in the box were for Now-You-Have-It-Now-You-Don’t. I forgot to take pictures of that game.

I think we brought some of these gifts from Pennsylvania – given by Nate, Abby (their Pennsylvania daughter & sister), and Anthony.

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DSC_6702Two chocolate bars for Diane.

Our First Day in Maine

Monday, January 4

1It was a cold day in Maine, so I enjoyed the outside view from inside. This is the view of their deck from their living room.

2They recently bought a house, so it was fun seeing new landscape and enjoying their warm, cozy house.

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4 (1)I love how the sun shines in their windows.

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4 (3)Diane turned 50 on January 1. These flowers were from Mark (her husband).

4 (4)I love their kitchen and the plants on the inside window ledge.

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5By evening they enjoy pretty sunsets from the same window.

6We enjoyed a nice relaxing day while Mark worked (driving a big rig) and Diane spent some time with the elderly woman she cares for a few times a week.

Next time I will tell you where we went for supper.

Cabela’s in Christiana Mall, Newark, Delaware

Thursday, December 31, 2015

This trip was a Christmas gift to us from 2014 – from Roy and Deb.

Their goal was to take us to the Delaware Cabela’s sometime during 2015 – and they did – on the very last day. 🙂

Cabelas (1)While Cerwin and I waited at a red light – on the way to Roy and Deb’s – we enjoyed this beautiful pond.

Cabelas (2)We got to Cabela’s about 12:30 PM, so the first spot we looked for was the Deli-Grill.

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Cabelas (4)Cerwin enjoyed chili con carne and this barbecue sandwich.

Cabelas (5)I ordered a half sandwich – of bison meat. It was delicious.

Cabelas (6)I also got a cup of chicken noodle soup.

Cabelas (7)Enjoying lunch.

Cabelas (8)Deb bought us some delicious fudge for dessert.

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Cabelas (10)Then we went our separate ways to enjoy the unique experience of a Cabela’s store.

Cabelas (11)I explored and photographed their animal display and acquarium.

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Cabelas (32)Deb and Roy with their purchases.

I bought a new Thermos brand travel mug because it was supposed to keep coffee hot for five hours. It was expensive ($30.00) but we had $150 worth of credit at the store (because we use their Visa credit card) so it didn’t cost us anything. 🙂

Cabelas (33)Now I got Deb’s attention.

Cabelas (34)Roy took us over some back roads as we traveled to their house.

I love back roads.

Cabelas (35)The Amish children were going home from school.

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Cabelas (37)I knew the Peach Bottom power plant was near their house, but I had never seen it.

Cabelas (38)An Amish man and his mules.

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Cabelas (40)I asked Roy if I could get out of the car to take pictures of this interesting bridge.

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Cabelas (42)This was discarded next to where I was standing to get the bridge pictures.

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Thanks Roy and Deb, that was a fun day.

Our Family Christmas

Saturday Evening, December 26

0 (1)We do not do a lot of decorating for Christmas, but do try to make the garage area a bit festive.

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1 (1)Jere and Kristen made the ham in their new smoker.

It was delicious.

1 (2)Deb and Chris discussing the table setting.

DSC_6248Our children and grandchildren make it easy for us. They bring all the food and we take care of the place, table settings, coffee, juice, water, and mocha punch.

1 (3)Nathaniel getting mocha punch

1 (4)Our dinner was a bit somber this year since Jere and Kristen’s special needs adopted “son” had just been taken to hospice and was near death – meaning Jere wasn’t there very long and Kristen wasn’t able to come at all.

3-1-1024x591They were glad that they had honored Gregg (in wheelchair) a few weeks earlier by taking him to see the Peanuts Movie – along with many other residents and caregivers.

They adopted him many years ago – so someone could legally care for him after his parents were gone. Though he could rarely put together full sentences, he conveyed to Kristen that he knew she would soon have to call the funeral home – “Not for Mamma or Daddy, but for me.”

He passed away a few days after Christmas.

1 (5)Back to our Christmas meal

1 (6)Nathan getting dessert

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DSC_6249Reading the Christmas story from Luke 2.

DSC_6250I print out Luke 2, separate the verses, then hand them out in random order. Since everyone has heard the story many times, we read the verses in the order they receive them – not in verse order.

DSC_6251Deb reading her verse.

DSC_6253Playing Now-You-Have-It-Now-You Don’t.

DSC_6254Everybody receives three numbers. When their number is called, they choose an item. However, the item must stay in view of the others, because the item can be “stolen” until a person’s third number is called. Only then can the item be hidden behind their chair.

DSC_6255Anthony did not receive a number, but could choose any item he wanted. He thought he wanted these colorful bag clips, but soon decided that they were not a toy, so put them back and chose a bag of pretzels. 🙂

DSC_6256We loved the simplicity of this Christmas.

DSC_6387During the Thanksgiving holiday, when the children and grandchildren usually exchange names, it was decided to do something different this year – with the money they would have used in the gift exchange – and buy groceries for Manheim Food Pantry.

DSC_6389The food pantry appreciated the change in our Christmas exchange…

DSC_6850…and we were honored that our children made this choice.

Since the idea came from Jere and Kristen and their children, we decided that another one of our children will choose what we do next year.

Taking Inge to Visit the Nut Hut (Roy & Deb’s Place)

Saturday, December 12

Annie Oakley (2)When Inge mentioned that she would like to meet the Nut Hut animals, we made it happen for her.

Her first meeting was with Annie Oakley – the prairie dog.

Batman (1)She wanted to meet each one, but Batman was the one she really wanted to meet. I love the look of pleasure in Inge’s eyes.

Batman (3)Inge loves cats and has watched Batman grow up into a beautiful black cat – via pictures only.

He was a mangy, skinny kitten when he arrived at the Nut Hut.

Dale (Downs Squirrel)Dale was pushed out of the nest by his mother because he was born with something similar to Downs Syndrome.

Evan (1)Evan the possum is beautiful – for a possum.

Evan (2)When I asked Deb why she hadn’t released him in the fall, she said because Dale has bonded with Evan like a parent – and due to being special needs, Dale needs a parent.

Harley (4)Harley knew immediately that Inge was a cat-lover and responded to her attention.

Harley (6)Deb said it is unusual for Harley to respond to people the way he did  to Inge.

PresleyPresley is a special needs raccoon – and must stay at the Nut Hut.

Skippi Rae (1)Skippi Rae is one of Deb’s first rescues and oversees the deck where many outside squirrels come to eat.

Skippi Rae (2)One time she “warned” all the inside animals that there was a hawk outside.

Roy, Deb, and DaleRoy and Deb (our youngest daughter) truly care for their rescues and love when they can release them – as they do with most animals – but when the animal cannot go back into the wild, they make sure they have a good life – with them or someone else.

I missed getting a picture of their flying squirrel and hedge hog – and the two skunks are hibernating for the winter.

Since we were there, they got a tiny baby goat. He was one of four, and the mother made sure everyone knew that she was not going to take care of him. I will have some pictures of him in the near future.

DSC_5829They live in an area where there are many Amish, so we usually see signs of them on our way to or from their place.

DSC_5834Holsteins in a field always make me miss my dad – a dairy farmer.

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DSC_5831Thanks, Roy and Deb, for taking time to show Inge your animals.

It was fun for us to see each of them – and meet Dale and Evan for the first time.