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Fox Kits

By Old Dog

We discovered this spring that a vixen had made a den in a culvert not far from our house.  Over the course of two weeks we watched 5 little kits as they played and eyed us driving by with great curiosity.

We have not seen them for a week and believe that the vixen moved them as they were getting too curious.  Here are some pictures that I did manage to get.  This is a Flash Player web gallery.

Fox Kits

Thanks for stopping by

Cherry Valley Turnpike

By Old Dog

I recently received a book from my in-laws about the Cherry Valley Turnpike.  In the early days of New York State the highway system consisted mainly of Indian trails.  To promote trans-shipment of goods and open up the western lands, the state authorized private companies to build/improve roads and charge a toll. The state authorized the Great Western Turnpike Company to start building a road to run from Albany westward to Cherry Valley in 1799.  Over the next 12 years the charter was expanded and roads were built/improved all the way from Albany to Manlius (via Cazenovia).  This toll road became known as the Cherry Valley Turnpike and generally parallels US Rt. 20 through what is now know as Central Leatherstocking Country.  A major portion of this area was my responsibility during last years  Census and I got to see a lot of this countryside especially the Rt 20 corridor.

The book was a collaboration between Emily Williams (writer) and Helen Cardamone (photographer); and was published in 1978.  The book consists in history clips and photographs of buildings pertinent to the text.  The images are all in black and white with captions relating information regards the owners and their part of the development of the areas traversed by the Turnpike.

I like to focus (pun intended) my photography efforts on certain subjects, ie:  trains, lighthouses, covered bridges, etc.  So… that said I am going to take the book, retrace the steps of the authors, re-photograph the buildings when possible and bring up to date the current status.  Unlike the original photographers I hope to add some scenery of the area covered as it can be quite impressive, an off course it will be in color.  I also hope to update some of the history as well.

I am also hoping to locate family members of the authors to get their input on my efforts.  The authors also did a couple of other books that I may look into as well.

So with that said I have begun looking for the buildings pictured.  Some were familiar to me (Cazenovia), others I have passed and others I have yet to view.  Yesterday I located all of the buildings in Manlius, however the weather was not cooperative so I didn’t begin the collection.  I also have a question regarding taking pictures of other people’s homes and displaying them.  I understand that if it is for editorial purposes I don’t need permission.

Stay tuned.

Dedication to a Fallen Marine

By Old Dog

In April I wrote of Blaise Oleski and his funeral.  Since that time, community members petitioned the New York State legislature to rename a section of Rte. 365, running through Blaise’s hometown of Holland Patent to be named after him.  The dedication was today, appropriately, on Veteran’s Day.

Members of Oleski’s unit, Lima Co., 3rd Bn, 8th Marine Regiment drove up from North Carolina to be in attendance.  Lt. Joseph Manci, CO of Lima Company was accompanied by 47 enlisted personnel.  They were housed by a Marine Corps League member at the Wyngate Hotel in Rome and on Tuesday night, November 10th, the Marine Corps Birthday a Cake Ceremony was held for them.  The Oleskis were invited.  Mrs. Oleski knew that a “few” of Blaise’s friends were planning on attending.  She was quite shocked when she walked in and found a room full of Marines.  I, of course, was present with my camera and captured the event to share with all. 

  http://hopkinsandallen.com/USMCcake

Today was the dedication ceremony.  Again I captured pictures of the event, over 200 that I have culled down, post processed and uploaded for all to enjoy. 

http://hopkinsandallen.com/OleskiHwy

It was very touching to see the community turnout.  To see how the Oleski family supports each other and reaches out to support others is amazing.  Some would shrink into their own world of pain.  I believe it was Mrs. Oleski that said they deal with their loss by reaching out and helping others.  Blaise’s sense of duty to his fellow man continues.

Thanks for stopping by,

OD

New York City

By Old Dog

Two weeks ago Deb and I went to NYC to see her son, Chris and his girlfriend Jenn.  My Mom had been staying with us all summer and we dropped her at the Albany airport at 8:30 AM and then drove to the Rennselear Train Station to catch the 10:30 train to Penn Station.  Was a beautiful day for a train ride down the Hudson Valley and the best thing was I didn’t have to drive.

We arrived in NYC and went to our favorite hotel, Park 79.  Actually the only one we stay in down there.  It’s inexpensive, clean, comfortable, close to subways and in a good neighborhood.  (Near Columbus on 79th, within sight of the Natural History Museum)  One proviso, the rooms are small, espeically the bathrooms.  This trips room was a little larger than the last trip, but we don’t spend much time there anyways, sleep, shower and out!

Dining experiences were all good, Nocha Mexicana on Amsterdam, around 103rd St.(real inexpensive for good authentic food and great service), McAleers Pub on Amsterdam, near 86th (good Bangers and Mash, no Smithwicks), Virgils BBQ on W 44th, 1/2 block from Times Sq (a must stop for me, better than Dinosaurs) and the find of the trip, Passiticco on 3rd near 31st. (Great food, service, atmosphere for a very reasonable price).

Sightseeing, we walked through the South St. Seaport, and took the ferry to Staten Island and back, all free. 

Lower Manhattan Skyline at dusk

Lower Manhattan Skyline at dusk

A Sunday stroll through Central Park yeilded some interesting photo opportunities. 

Bethesda Terrace

Bethesda Terrace

 The most expensive thing we did was go to the top of the Rock to view the city from above.  That is good for one time, don’t think I’d go back. 

View from the Top of the Rock

View from the Top of the Rock

Anyway, more photos can be viewed, New York City

Thanks for stopping by,

ODNT

Brian and Michelle’s Wedding

By Old Dog

Well it’s over!  And what a good time we had.  My, Brian and his wife Michelle, had their wedding on July 4th.  Bet he doesn’t forget that anniversary.  A good time was had by all, including Grampa, whose duty was to keep Kory’s son Jonathon under control.  That was the easy part, he never made a peep in church, even when both his Dad and Sister were doing readings.  Kory calls him Captain Velcro, because he sticks to you.  Wouldn’t get down and walk on his own.  I have found muscles I thought were gone.

There were no meltdowns, no drunken brawls, reasonably polite cake feeding, good music and lots of fun was had by all.  Wait that does sound a bit boring.  Actually one highlight was when the photographers put down their cameras and did some great swing dancing.  I got shots of them.

I have posted the wedding pictures here

(I just realized that this has been sitting for over a month as a draft… bout time I published it.  Sorry folks)

Thanks for stopping by,

ODNT

After almost a year

By Old Dog

Well I have been cooking at Zabroso for almost a year.  It has been a great experience and I have learned alot.  One thing I learned that cooking and being a Cop are a lot alike.  Uncertainty about how busy you will be.  Some nights its dead, 4 to 6 meals, other nights it gets crazy. We served over 36 people one night.  Another night we had 7 tables and 6 of them ordered paella, the house specialty.  I have worked Christmas Parties, Easter and Mother’s Day buffets, a wedding and several other events.  Created a red sauce for two occasions and worked the carving station. 

On the up side I have learned to cook paella, london broil, squash soup, roast tomatoes before cooking with them and made some good friends.

On the down side I have cut my self, splashed grease from the fryer and burnt my hand and splashed hot chicken stock on my foot and got a burn. (learned not to wear sneakers)

If you haven’t tried dining at Zabroso yet, you are missing out on a great meal.

Thanks for stopping by,

OD

Hancock Shaker Village

By Old Dog

After a great night in the hotel in Lexington, we hit the road headed west. We stopped at the Lee Outlet Mall, had a quick bite and then up US Rt. 20 to Pittsfield. US 20 is a very interesting highway, it runs from Boston to the West Coast, at one point crossing my home county. Someday I would like to go coast to coast taking pictures along the way. For now I will just visit segments of it and collect what I can.

The Shakers are (there is still an active village of four in Maine) an interesting group. There workmanship was fantastic and they were quite innovative as well. The village at Hancock, Ma. is an educational, entertaining experience. I love to see the demonstrators at their trades. In this visit there was the blacksmith and a chair repairman.

Blacksmith at work

Blacksmith at work

My favorite is the blacksmith. Both my grandfather and great grandfather were blacksmiths.

The buildings are unique, especially the round barn. It was designed to make feeding the cattle easier. I recommend it to young and old alike. In the meantime check out the pictures here.

Whale Watch – Gloucester

By Old Dog

Last weekend we took my Mom to Maine to stay with friends.  It was a very nice day on Friday, as we drove across Vermont, New Hampshire and into Maine, the back way.  Saturday morning Deb and I got up and headed south.  I had booked us on an afternoon whale watch out of Gloucester, Ma.  The weather was questionable as it was socked in with fog and mist.  As we approached Massachuesetts I called and was reassured by the staff that the boat would be sailing and that we would see whales. 

Some teaser pictures to get you to the web-site.

After arriving in Gloucester we found our departure point, parked the car and then did a walking tour, which included breakfast at Cameron’s.  This resturant had the feel of being a favorite of the locals as the waitress seemed to know the other customers.  The food was good and the price reasonable for breakfast.  We continued our tour, killing time, waiting for our departure, which was scheduled for 1 PM.  Of course I collected some pictures , which can be seen here. 

The boat was delayed coming in from the morning run and we learned it was because the whales were working off the south end of the Stellwagen Bank, closer to Cape Cod.  We finally got to load up and pulled out closer to 2PM.  There was a narration about the harbor and some of the features/buildings.  Gloucester is the oldest seaport in the US.  Then it was out to the open water.  Once clear of the harbor the Captain, put the “pedal to the metal” and the naturalist notified us that we would be bypassing the northern portion of the bank to head straight to where the whales were in the morning.  The whale watch companies work together and keep each other posted on where the whales are.

After about an hour ride we arrived on station and immediately hooked up with whales.  There were two female/calf pairs that we monitored primarily, Livielier and Anvil put on a nice display, but there were no full body breaches.   We saw mostly lobtailing and one calf did a partial breach to get a better look at the boat.  The Captain did a great job of keeping us on top of the whales.  I was using my 55-200 mm lens, which was mostly set at 55mm as the whales were very close to the boat.  At times you had to look over the rail along the boat to see the whales.  I have included a series of pictures from the trip.

Now for some travel advice.  For a whale watch your best bet is the afternoon trips.  First they will have found the whales in the morning and spend less time searching for them.  Once found the morning trip doesn’t have the latitude to stay longer than scheduled because of the afternoon departure.  The afternoon trip gives you time to get there and more time to stay on the whales once they are found.  The 7 Seas Whale Watch is a great group, very friendly informed crew.  The trip out was a bit windy and crew members offered us coats if we were cold.  Come on, we live in Central NY, a sea breeze on a 76 degree day is not going to make us cold! 

After the boat returned we went to dinner across the street at the Topside Grill.  We had reservations for 5 PM but it was closer to 6:30 PM when we arrived.  We were seated immediately and had a wonderful meal.  I picked the resturant because it had our favorite Merlot on the wine list, Red Rock.  Deb had a strip steak that she said was very good.  Me, Seafood of course.  A lobster pie. 

I booked a hotel in Lexington as at the time of booking our plans were not set on where we would spend Saturday, whale watch or Boston.  It was my first, but will not be my last experience with the aloft hotels.  Very nice, modern, Euro-minimalist, room.  No frills, no side chairs, armoire, light stands, big closet.  A very comfortable bed, nice linen, large flat-screen, a simple desk, free wireless (you don’t get that in big hotels), a large spa style shower, and a modern sink.  And the best part it was cheap for the ratings it was getting.  Most of the hotels I end up in on travel are over appointed for my needs.  All I need is a bed, shower, and TV.  This hotel fit the bill nicely.  I highly recommend the chain to anyone traveling.  There are about 25 now and more to be added over the next couple of years.

I have another entry from the weekend, but will write that later.

Thanks for stopping by

OD

Happy Days!!

By Old Dog

Well the paperwork was signed April 9th and the kids are now ours. On May 17th we had them baptized and had a party afterwards to celebrate the baptism and the adoption.

Little Jonathon was my friend all day. It might be that I was feeding him chocolate cake!! Anyway, he wouldn’t go to his sitter or his mother… we had fun regardless.

And there was Sara and “the Divas”. I can entertain her anytime by saying “Say Cheese”.

Check out the pictures

Thanks for stopping by,

ODNT

Another Marine Lost

By Old Dog

Within days of L/Cpl Geary’s funeral we were told of another area Marine killed in action.  L/Cpl Blaise Oleski was also killed in Afganistan.  He and Geary had been assigned to the same platoon.   I was not available for the arrival, but did attend and photograph the funeral.

http://hopkinsandallen.com/OleskiFuneral/

Today the Marine Corps League held their state staff meeting in Rome and included a ceremony honoring both of the fallen Marines. 

http://hopkinsandallen.com/GearyOleskiCeremony/

Thanks for stopping by

Old Dog