Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Say Hello to My Little Friends!

Just a short and sweet post to show you some of the little creatures keeping us company at The Homestead...

This is Stewart, one of our two resident bullfrogs:

Here are four baby Eastern Bluebirds in one of the two bird boxes we have on our property:

From a distance, I was able to capture a picture of their momma coming back to check on them:

Here are four baby House Sparrows in the second bird box. They are three or four days younger than the Bluebirds:

That's it! Have a great evening!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My 100th Post: A Tale of Two Rides...and a Celebration!

As of today, May 19, 2013, you've joined me for two years and 100 blog posts worth of fun here at Pineapple Ponderings. So, thanks!!! It's been a lot of fun, and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. We'll talk more about PP's birthday at the end of the post. Let's get to the tale of two rides, shall we?

Yesterday, Chris and I decided to take a motorcycle ride over to Lewisburg to the Lewisburg Freez for some Dole Whip. If you've ever been to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and enjoyed either a Dole Whip soft serve or pineapple float from Aloha Isle in Adventureland, you already know how delicious Dole Whip pineapple sorbet is! And if you haven't - and you're a fan of pineapple - you're missing out! Good news though...if you live in Central PA, you can find it at the Lewisburg Freez on US 15 just north of the intersection with PA 45. 

Lewisburg Freez has an extensive menu of ice cream, sundaes, and milkshakes, but yesterday we were intent on getting Dole Whips as a way of celebrating Pineapple Pondering's 2nd birthday this weekend. We suited up and headed out just after 1:30 PM. As is wont to happen in our agricultural township, we got stuck in a long line of cars behind a very large piece of farm equipment rolling down PA 550. While we were moving so slowly, I managed to snag a picture of Chris and me on the bike, just before we passed the miniature donkey farm at Sawmill Road.

Happy to be geared up and Lewisburg-bound!

61 degrees was a little chilly, especially since it was so cloudy.

One of us looks annoyed, LOL.

Jiggity-jig...it's Dominic the Donkey and his girls.
We headed north on PA 550 to Bellefonte, where we picked up PA 144 south to Centre Hall, where we turned left onto PA 45 to head east to Lewisburg. It spritzed several times while we were on PA 45, so I stashed my camera for most of the ride. I did, however, manage to snag a picture of a barn and a large farm.

This painted barn is on PA 144.

This large farm is on PA 45.
Fortunately, it wasn't raining, drizzling, or spritzing when we arrived at the Lewisburg Freez. The Freez only has outdoor seating and we managed to grab a table after ordering and receiving our Dole Whips. We ordered smalls; once seated, I wished I'd ordered a "kiddie" size. A small seemed huge!

Frozen pineapple deliciousness!
Again on the way home, it drizzled quite a bit so I kept my camera in my pocket. We headed back west on PA 192 to Madisonburg, where we picked up PA 445 north toward Lamar. PA 445 is one of my favorite "local" roads (along with Marengo Road - which shouldn't come as a shock to you regular readers! - and Wykoff Run Road). We came in PA 64 to Hublers Ridge Road to PA 26 through Howard to PA 150. We came home via PA 150 to US 220 to Port Matilda, and headed up over the mountain back to the house. While we were on PA 150, we thought for sure we were stuck behind our friend, Jeff.

Is that...

JEETS?!? (Hi, Jeff! Love ya bunches!!!)
Our ride for Dole Whip wound up being 151.9 miles and we were gone about 3.5 hours. 

This morning, we left the house around 9 AM...this time in my Subaru. We drove down to Alfarata Station near Alexandria and I introduced Chris to the Lower Trail. I rode my bicycle and he walked. Originally, I'd planned to do a 20-mile ride, but as I was closing in on my 8th mile, my rump was NUMB! I stopped at the 8-mile bench I stopped at last time I did a long ride on this trail and the instant I dismounted, I felt better. I decided to walk around a bit before hopping back on the bike and pedaling another two miles. While I was stopped and walking around, I had an encounter of the feathered kind!

Several chickens from a nearby house were wandering around the grassy part of the trail intended for horses. This chicken strutted right on up to me to check me out! After about five minutes off the bike, I was ready to eek out another two miles and take my full stretch and snack break. Except, around 9.70 on the odometer, I hit the paved part of the Lower Trail. I was enjoying it so much, I decided to go 11 miles instead. I passed at great little spot for a break at 10.94 miles, so I rode up to 11.00 miles, turned around and headed back for my break.

My halfway stretch & snack break spot.
A bandana - it's not the best look, but it does the job.

I've become an energy bar person. When did that happen?
(By the way, this one was delicious!)

Relaxing just off the trail.
When I stopped for my break, I tried to call Chris several times to tell him to take his break and to turn around. Either he was in a bad cell spot, or he didn't feel his phone vibrating. While I was enjoying my Lara bar, he called me and I told him I was stopped. I said I'd sit a few more minutes to give him time to take his break, have his Clif Bar, and turn around. Northbound on the Lower Trail is just ever so slightly downhill (we're talking 0.2% grade here, people), so I always wind up going faster on the way back than the way out.  I decided to stop and take a couple of more pictures (and de-numb my rump again) about six miles after my break.

A brief stop at the trail marker at Mt. Etna Station.

A little Googling revealed that Mr. Lower passed away in 2009 at the age of 91.

The covered bridge at Mt. Etna Station.
I passed Chris on my way back approximately 0.75 miles from the end of the trail. I rolled through the gate a the entrance to the trail with 22.04 miles on my odometer. Knowing that Chris was probably still 10 minutes behind, I decided to tack on another mile by riding 0.50 miles down Main Street and turning around to ride back. By the time I rolled up to my car, I had 23.13 miles in for the day in just under two hours of riding time. And I mean just under two hours of riding time!

Busted through the 20-mile threshold and then some!

Just under two hours of riding time...by NINE SECONDS!
Chris wound up walking eight miles and, with the pedometer app on his iPod, logged nearly 17,800 steps along the way! It was a great way to spend a cool, gray Sunday morning. When we got home, Chris got his bike out of the shed to evaluate what parts he'd need to get it ride-able again. With any luck, Chris' GT will be trail-ready and we can ride the trail together soon!

And now back to Pineapple Ponderings' second birthday...

Happy Birthday, Pineapple Ponderings!!!
To thank you, my readers, for sticking with me for the past two years, I am giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky reader who leaves a comment on this post. I will use a random number generator to select the winner at the end of this week. You have until 5 PM EDT on Friday, May 24th to leave a comment on this post to be entered to win. Winner will be notified by my response to his/her comment. Thanks for reading and commenting. And good luck!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

This past weekend, Chris, Oscar, and I traveled to Baltimore to visit with our families for Mother's Day weekend. Last month, when I was in Baltimore to babysit Mallorie and house-sit for my parents, Bill and I decided that we would celebrate Mother's Day for our mom on Saturday so the entire family would be together. That way, Bill and Casie wouldn't split up to spend time with their respective moms and each mom got time with Mallorie, too. 

Our Friday evening in Baltimore was pretty low-key - dinner and conversation. Saturday morning, we drove down to Richardson's in Chase where we met Bill, Casie, and Mallorie so Mom could pick out flowers for her garden. Bill and I bought her the flowers she picked out and then when we got home, I planted them for her.

When Bill & Casie first arrived, Mallorie was sleeping.

Uncle Chris thought it was funny to return our "cart" to the cart corral.

Check out Little Miss Sunshades!
I planted Coleus, Vincas, and a Knockout rose bush here.

A long shot of the side garden along the house.

A long shot of the garden opposite from the house.

I planted another Knockout rose bush here.

Mom worked on some pots.

I planted these begonias in this pot.

Mom planted this hanging pot.

I planted these Gerbera daisies, leaving room for a third one that Mom bought and planted on Sunday.
After our afternoon of planting, we showered and got ready to head to dinner. Originally, we were going to go to Kahler's, but they could not seat us until 8 PM. We figured that wouldn't factor well into Mallorie's schedule, so we decided to go to Al's Seafood, instead. Mallorie was such a good baby while we were out at dinner - sleeping at first, and then happy and alert. She sat with everyone at some point in the evening and even danced on her daddy's lap at one point.

Just me and my bean! 
Love these two...and the Big Guy in the background!

Mmmm...dolly. Nom-nom-nom!

Dancing with Daddy.

Doing the Hand Jive.

Rockin' out!
Mallorie surprised me with an awesome Mother's Day present (I'm her Godmother). She and her mom and dad got crafty and made me a super-cool flower pot with butterflies made from her footprints.

It says, "Happy Mother's Day, Aunt Beth! Love, Mallorie" and I LOVE IT!
Sunday, after a brief visit at Bill & Casie's, we went over Chris' parents' house to meet them, Chris' brother Steve, and sister Kim & brother-in-law Matt so we could all head out to lunch for Mother's Day for Chris' mom. We had a very nice meal at Jad's. It was great to have Chris' entire family together. I can't remember the last time we were all together like that - it's definitely been a long while.

Chris' family - Kim (sister), Ernie (dad), Shirley (mom), Steve (brother), and Chris.
We left lunch and headed back to my parents' house to pick up Oscar so we could make our way home. We had a fantastic weekend visiting with our families, especially little Mallorie. She is growing like a weed! I'm so happy that we've been able to visit as often as we have (we're averaging about every four weeks), so we're able to see her change during these first few months. We're going to try to keep up that frequency because she's changing and growing so fast; we don't want to miss it!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Party's Over - ST.N Region 6 Spring Meet Day 3

Sunday morning, we woke up at 7 with the plan that we would meet everyone in the parking lot at 8 to head down to the Gateway Restaurant in Riverton. When we retired the night before, we thought our group would include Frank and Beans. But it turns out they crafted a different route home after some discussion. Nevertheless, we still had a nice group to lead to breakfast and beyond: David, Jeff, John, JT, and Lee and Rita. Not long after we were seated, our local riding friends Bill, Jay, and Denny arrived for breakfast. The Gateway does serve a yummy breakfast, and cheap, too! Another trio of riders - all on BMWs, not part of our ST.N group - stopped in for breakfast as well! Several in our group ordered the garbage omelet, which had a little bit of everything in it - cheese, ham, and lots of veggies. I stuck with plain and simple...dry wheat toast with jelly and a hot tea.

On our way to breakfast!

David and Lee fuel up their bikes.

Chris, Jeff, JT, and John wait.

A picture of Jeff taking a picture of Seneca Rocks.

Seneca Rocks on a lovely spring morning.

Yokum's and Harper's at Seneca Rocks.

Just us...and...our...shaaaaaaa-dow!

Checking in on the crew behind us.

Breakfast time at The Gateway.

Chris and Jeff cozy up to each other; Rita and Lee are to Jeff's right (well, his left...your right).

John, JT, and David.

Yes, they do...every time!!!
After breakfast, and because Jeff, John, JT, Lee, and Rita had not yet been to up there, we decided to ride up to Spruce Knob - the highest point in West Virginia. It's about 12 miles to the top on a nice road with lots of twists and turns, and even a few hairpins! Of course, as I write that, I realize I didn't actually take any pictures of said road, so you'll have to trust me. Or better yet, go find out for yourself! When we arrived at Spruce Knob, we walked the 900 feet to the observation tower to take in the grand view.

Welcome to Spruce Knob!

Along the path to the observation tower.

Chris, John, JT, and I were a little faster to the observation tower than Jeff, David, Rita, and Lee.

Super David!

Chris and I

Lovers gonna love...

JT and John

My panoramic shot that Chris stitched together for me.

Back at the bikes, we took turns using the knob-top restroom.

While we were waiting, I decided to hammer out a few squats.
(I'm participating in a 30-day squat challenge with HipAHA in Fenwick Is., DE)
From Spruce Knob, we headed south on WV 28 to US 33 at Judy Gap. We took US 33 east to Franklin, where everyone fueled up. From the gas station, we would turn north on US 220, which would put us in a position to run Smoke Hole Road the opposite direction as the day before. Smoke Hole Road twice in one weekend? That's never a bad thing!!! Unfortunately, David's back and neck were really bothering him, so when we turned off onto Smoke Hole Road, he continued north on US 220. Lee and Rita wanted to take WV 55 home, so they followed David. We said our goodbyes to David, Lee, and Rita at the gas station and then beeped, waved, and parted ways with them at the turn for Smoke Hole Road, and then ventured into the canyon for a great run. We even saw an immature eagle flying over the water while we were riding through. I wasn't able to capture a picture of it, though. Bummer.

JT and Chris get petrol.

Chris gets petrol while David plans his route home.

David and Lee discussed their route home.

John and Jeff wait for us.

Heading north on US 220.

There's our large gaggle of motorcycles!

Ahhh...Smoke Hole Road!

It was a lovely morning for a ride alongside the water.

Through this section is where we saw the immature eagle.

Jeff, followed by JT and John.

Lean, Jeff...lean!!!
Once we were done Smoke Hole Road, we continued north on WV 28 to Petersburg, where we picked up WV 42 north to Patterson Creek Road. PCR is a great road with nice scenery and sweepers (long turns). It's also a good way to head north in a timely fashion. 

A Sunday morning barn...

...and another!

At the end of Patterson Creek Road, where it meets US 220 and US 50, is this TINY little fire "hut."
We turned right onto US 220/US 50 and headed into Romney, WV for a washroom and snack break. It was there that we said our goodbyes to Jeff, John, and JT since they would be splitting off from us during this next leg of the trip home. From Romney, we headed east on US 50 to WV 29 to WV 9 to Berkeley Springs, WV. We went north on US 522 out of Berkeley Springs to Hancock, MD, where we picked up a road that would become PA 655 once we crossed back into our great Commonwealth. We continued north on PA 655. We parted ways with Jeff, John, and JT in Hustontown. We stayed on PA 655, and they turned right to pick up the PA Turnpike to head east quickly for a bit.

We picked up PA 829 off of PA 655, which took us to US 22 just south of Huntingdon. We stopped for petrol and a quick stretch break before letting out a collective, "We're coming, Monkey!" (our rally cry to Oscar when we're headed home) and making our way home via US 22, PA 453, PA 45, and Marengo Road.

When we got home, I snapped a pic of the GPS to document the weekend's adventure.

845.5 miles for the weekend...not to shabby for my first ride of the year!
Oscar was very happy to see us when we got home. He didn't even let me get my helmet off before he attacked me with kisses, that he happily doled out onto my nose through my helmet!

We had a great weekend. It was fantastic to see all of our old ST.N friends and make several more! Once again, the Pennsylvania contingent from ST.N was well-represented. Off the top of my head, I can count at least 21 of us! Well done, PA crew...well done!!! 

Special thanks go out to Lisa at Canaan Valley for making setting everything up at the lodge and campground easy. CVR turned out to be a wonderful location for the Spring Meet. If they could just add online reservations, we'd be GOLDEN! I'm already working with her to set something up for next year! Thanks also to David and Jeff for the laughs "inside my helmet" and out all weekend. And, of course, thank you to my handsome hubby for pretty much everything, but especially for keeping us off gravel roads that weekend!