Tag Archive: topaz


Picture of the Day – 7/11

The difference Topaz can make in a photo

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Actually, it’s hot and I have some spices growing in the garden.  I wanted to give you all an update on the progress in the garden.  Things are really taking off, and I couldn’t be happier.  The basil and parsley are technically herbs, but that wouldn’t sound as catchy in the title.  Humor me, will ya?

With the extremely hot weather we are having, I am making sure that they are watered well, so they don’t wilt.  If you haven’t read this blog before, you should know that this is the first time I have planted a garden and (knock on wood) it is going much better than I had hoped.

There has been a slight learning curve, but all in all it is going well.  The peppers (red, yellow and cubanelle) are growing taller and I see a few small buds on a couple.  Hopefully, they will turn into delicious peppers in just a few short weeks.

The zucchini plant is getting huge and trying to take over the garden space.  I had no idea how big these things grew.  Next year, I will give it a lot more space.  I am afraid it might overshadow a few of the pepper plants around it and they might not get enough sunlight.  I have about 18 pepper plants, so losing one or two wont be a total disaster.

The tomato plants are really impressing me.  The have started to grow over the tops of the 33 inch cages I have around them.  On top of that, most (if not all) have at least one tiny tomato growing on them.  Some even have 5 or 6 green tomatoes growing.  I have a few different types to choose from when they are ripe.  I planted Big Boy, Early Girl, Jet Star, Roma, Cherry and Grape tomatoes.  If they grow and ripen, we will have more tomatoes than we know what to do with.

I guess I better learn a little about canning…

Yesterday, I had a few of the TCRPMG members join me for a trip to Five Rivers in Delmar, NY.  I have blogged about this place in the past, and each time I go, I find another reason to love it.

This time was no different.  We did our usual walk around the pond and I got some great shots.  As we were getting back to our starting point, one of the members spotted a turkey.  The turkey has 4 or 5 babies with it.  Being a wildlife preserve, the turkey and it’s babies did not seem phased that we were there and even walked within three feet of us while we were shooting them.

I had never seen a baby turkey before.  This was awesome!  I was so happy that we had come to that spot at that particular time.  Here are a few pics I took last night.

When I was younger, I was always told that I couldn’t go in the pool for thirty minutes after eating because I would die.  Actually, it was because you would get cramps and drown, so it’s kind of the same thing.  I always knew it was total BS and never really paid much attention.

As I am sitting here thinking about what to write for this post, this “old wives tale” hit me.  Where do some of these crazy things come from?  Who sat around and decided that if I swim right after eating, I will sink to the bottom of the pool like a rock?  What if it was a shallow pool and I could just stand up?  Growing up, we only had a four foot deep pool.  For a good portion of my life, I was tall enough to stand up and keep my head above the water.

Well, I looked it up on Snopes, and they have dismissed it as crap.  Maybe it was just a cruel punishment from parents, taking their fun away.  Or maybe they just didn’t have Snopes to check out the facts.  Either way, I missed a lot of swimming time as a kid because of it.

What kind of “old wives tales” did you have to endure as a child?  Are there some that you still have to deal with?

Yesterday, I wrote a short blog on a Patriot Guard mission that I was about to participate in.  I kept it short as it was pretty late and I needed to get some sleep for the ride.  I wanted to write more about it and try to convey the emotion and patriotism that happened during this ceremony.

I left home on the bike around 8:30am to meet a friend in Clifton Park, and then head up to meet a few others at another destination.  We got to the other destination and met with about 6 more bikers.  Most of these bikers were Vietnam veterans, and they proudly displayed it on their vests.  We left that spot and headed up the Northway to meet with a larger group of riders just before the exit for the funeral home.

At about 10:45, we all fired up the bikes and headed for the funeral home.  At this point, we had about 25-30 bikes.  We got off the Northway and made our way towards the funeral home.  About a half mile from the funeral home, you could see numerous emergency vehicles parked along the road with their lights going.  On either side of the driveway, there was a huge ladder truck with the ladders fully extended.  Hanging between the two buckets was an enormous American flag.  I got a little choked up at this point.

As we came in under the flag, there were already 60-70 bikes in the parking lot.  There were also about 10 local and State Police motorcycles lined up to lead the ride.  About 15 minutes after we got there, we got the call to mount up and everyone got on their bikes.  I was in the back at this point, so I couldn’t see the casket come out to the hearse.  As they brought it out, a bagpiper began to play.  Just as he began to play, it started raining.  It was a little eerie.

The police bikes left, followed by a few fire trucks and then the Patriot Guard riders.  It was raining pretty good at this point, but it didn’t matter.  It also didn’t matter to the hundreds of people lining the side of the road with flags in their hands.  Many of them held their hands over their hearts.  The amount of people standing there in honor of this fallen soldier blew me away.

The ride went through many small towns, and in each town, there were hundreds of people standing alongside the road.  I honestly thought it would be just in town near the funeral home, but it lasted the whole ride.  The ride to the cemetery was about 45 minutes to an hour.

At one point, in the town of Kingsbury, we came to a bend in the road and they had two ladder trucks set up and another huge flag hanging over the road that we all rode under.  It was another point that got me a little choked up.

When we got to the Saratoga National Cemetery, the Patriot Guard quickly dismounted our bikes and took our flags to stand a flag line for the service.  The turnout for this fallen soldier was incredible.  It was nice to see the huge turnout.  I am sure it meant a lot to his family.  Rest in Peace Spc. Osborn.

Here is a little more information about Spc. Osborn from News 10 and the Associated Press;

By NEWS10 Staff, the Associated Press

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. — A local soldier serving in Afghanistan died in combat Wednesday, adding to one of the deadliest months for U.S. forces during the Afghan war.

According to family members, U.S. Army specialist Benjamin Osborn was in the midst of a conflict with the Taliban when he was killed. Osborn, who was 27, had volunteered to be the gunner and was the only one killed in the conflict.

Osborn’s parents were informed of his death Wednesday morning.

Osborn was a 2002 graduate of Lake George High School. Recently, he had been living in Clarksville, Tennessee where he was stationed at Fort Campbell.

He was just deployed to Afghanistan two months ago, in April of this year. He had previously served 15 months in Iraq.

Osborn was also just recently married back in February.

The flag is now at half-staff at Fort William Henry in Lake George.

His family says he died a true hero.

June is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in the nearly 9-year-old Afghan war, as insurgents have stepped up attacks in response to a NATO push into Taliban strongholds in the south.

The deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan was October 2009, when 59 Americans died, including seven soldiers killed in a single clash near Kandahar and seven who died in a helicopter crash in the northwest not caused by hostile fire.

In the east, meanwhile, three Afghans working for a private security company were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Muqar district of Ghazni province, according to the deputy provincial police chief, Nawroz Ali Nawroz.

Nine Pakistani militiamen were apprehended before dawn Wednesday inside Afghan territory in Kunar province, provincial Police Chief Khalilullah Ziaye said.

The Pakistanis said they fled into Afghanistan to escape attacks by the Pakistani Taliban against four of their checkpoints, Ziaye said. The nine remained in custody Wednesday pending an investigation, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Actually, it’s a jet trail, or maybe four. That’s what I saw standing on my back deck watching the sunset.  I got home just in time to see it, and I couldn’t be happier.  When I first walked out there, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  There were some clouds above the tree line, but there were four jet trails in the sky.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it.

I was down at Wolff’s Biergarten for the SMBTV Happy Hour and decided to rush home to try and catch it.  As I was heading out 90 towards the house, the sky was amazing.  I wish I had had the camera and a good place to stop so I could have shot it.  It was amazing.  This is what it looked like when I first got home.  See ya soon!

On Friday morning, we got up bright and early and were on the road by 8:30, headed back up to meet the guys for the ride we didn’t get to do on Thursday.  When we got to the hotel the guys were staying at, one of the guys was missing.  He had gone back down to the expo to exchange the boots he bought the day before.  They were a size too small and hurting his toes.

He got back to the hotel and went to put them on, and the strap on the back to pull them on broke.  Crap.  Guess we’re not leaving anytime soon.  We all got geared up and went back down to the vendor where he got the boots.  They exchanged them and this pair did the same thing.  He was offered a refund, but he needed the boots as the heel on the boots he wore to Americade had separated from the boot.  So, he kept them and we got ready to ride.  While we were waiting, we noticed that there were helicopter rides leaving from that area and flying over the Americade festivities.  They were only $60 too, which was pretty cheap.

Rose and I also bumped into someone we know while we were waiting there.  A friend of ours that rides with us every Wednesday night happened to show up and we flagged him down and said hi.  After a little bit of chatting with him and taking pics of the helicopter, the guys were just about ready to leave.  As we walked towards them, Rose pointed out a sports bike with Louis Vuitton material on the windscreen and seat.  Not something you see every day, but definitely interesting.

When we got back on the road, we headed out to Old Forge.  The guys head up there every winter to go snowmobiling, and they really like the area, so we were going to check it out.  It was quite a hike, but we pulled it off.  We ended up riding about 250 miles that day.  It was a long day, but we had a lot  of fun.  Two of us even went ahead of the pack and cut up a really great twisty road.  It made me so happy.

Back at the hotel that night, the guys fired up the grill and cooked hot dogs, burgers, bacon and ham steaks.  They even invited others that were out in the hotel courtyard to come and have some of the food.  They had an extra bed free, so we spent the night so we could hang out later and not have to ride home in the middle of the night.  The next morning, it poured.  We waited for a break in the downpours and headed for home.  We had our rain gear, so we stayed dry, but we passed a lot of bikers that didn’t have rain gear, and boy were they wet!  It pays to be prepared.  See ya soon!

Every year, Rose and I head to Americade in Lake George to see the massive influx of motorcycles.  The bikers come from all over the the US and Canada to participate in this rally.  It is estimated that 50-60,ooo bikes will ride into Lake George for the week of Americade.  I didn’t take the time to count them all, but there were a load of bikes there, despite the gloomy weather we had last week.

On Thursday morning, we put on our rain gear and headed up the Northway knowing we might hit some rain.  It’s annoying, but not a big deal if you are prepared for it.  We have friends that live close to us that head up every year and stay in the same hotel.  So, we went up to meet them for a ride to Old Forge.  There was a threat of a pretty strong thunderstorm, so we decided to stay local and head downtown to the expo and the forum to see what the vendors had to offer.  The picture below is of the parking lot outside the expo.  Despite the threat of rain, the bikers turned out in droves to peruse the forum.

Inside the expo we found hundreds of vendors.  Some of the bigger names were companies like Kuryakyn, Givi, Nolan, Mustang seats and so many more.  If it is motorcycle related and you are looking for it, there’s a good chance you can find it in the expo.  You could get new tires, pinstriping, seats and many more accessories added to your bike while you wait.  It is truly a one-stop shop for bikers. As we walked around, I saw something that made me smile.  Indian motorcycles seems to be back in business.  They have gone out of business and been brought back a few times, and it seems like they’re back again.  Indian motorcycles are the epitome of a classic motorcycle.  Even the new ones look like the classics of the past.  Here’s the truck and some of their motorcycles.

After a few hours in the expo, the sky started to look a little dark.  As we were walking out, we heard thunder off in the distance.  Time to hustle up and get on the bikes.  We got back on the bikes and headed back to the hotel.  On the way, we saw a few bolts of lightning and it rained pretty hard.  Luckily, I hadn’t taken my rain gear off, so I stayed nice and dry on the ride back to the hotel. This is what we saw when we left the expo…

We hung out at the hotel and had some great times with our old neighbors from Delmar.  It’s a really great time, as a lot of the same people come back there every year.  So, it’s like a family reunion each time.  People are incredibly friendly, and more than willing to come hang out, sharing great stories and good company with you.

Around 10pm, Rose and I hopped on the bike and headed back to Albany.  We were tired, but needed to get home to take care of the dog.  Be sure to stop back by tomorrow to hear more about our trip back up on Friday.  See ya soon!

Looks like Indian is back in business.

Yes, that is Louis Vitton fabric on the windshield and seat.