Sunday, August 12, 2018

08/12/18 Kentuck Knob - Frank Lloyd Wright designed home

On my visit back to the old southwestern Pennsylvania homestead, we visited Kentuck Knob, a beautiful home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1953-1956. The home blends into the natural environment and is a peaceful respite on a hot summer day. It is simple in design and blends into the contours of the land. It is build in a crescent shape with  hexagonal corners and no 90 degree angles,  it has limited space for clutter or storage. It allows one to focus on the woods which now surrounds the home and the property overlooks the Youghiogheny River gorge.

Kentuck Knob is not far from the magnificent Fallingwater, perhaps one of his most famous homes, that yes, includes a waterfall in the design. Fallingwater is maintained by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, an organization that has managed to save many wilderness areas, wildlife and plants in the area. I have been a member of this organization for many, many years.


Back view of the home. The bedrooms face this side and there is a small waterfall and pond on the right under the window of the master bedroom..

The front side of the house.

A welcoming front entrance.

This detailed pattern is carried around the house.  It is open here, screens are in place in the living areas so these "windows" can be open.

This side of the house looks over some gardens and the woods. Look at the skylight design.

There is a Buddha in the living room. No pictures were allowed inside the home, so this is taken from the deck.

There is also a sculpture garden.

Birdhouses at the main visitor center.

This is the Pennsylvania of my youth! Beautiful rolling hills, our Blueridge Mountains, farm lands, and forests comprise most of the scenery of this part of the state. This is the view taken from the path at the back of Kentuck Knob.

The journey took us along back roads where we came upon this old Whig Church, built in 1901 and still in use.

Looks much like it did on 1901.

An old cemetery is behind the church with graves from the early 1800's as well as contemporary times.

Here lies one true Pittsburgh Steeler fan. Yes, football in this part of the country is in our blood, our water and our DNA. Now also on a headstone!

Gone a long time ago, but not forgotten.

This soldier fought in the French and Indian War. Fort Necessity is also just down the road from here. There also is a lot of history in these hills!

This was a nice journey back to my roots in Southwestern Pennsylvania. A lot of natural beauty, history important to the early days of America, many rolling hills and flowing rivers and waterfalls, and excellent utilization of this beauty in the special architecture of some very special homes. It was a lovely return to a very special place.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

08/07/18 Ohiopyle Falls, PA

One of my favorite places ever is Ohiopyle Falls in Pennsylvania. I grew up not too far from this scenic area in the Laurel Highlands and spent many good times hiking along the trails and wading in the river. Even went rafting down the Youghiogheny River a few years back.

It is as beautiful today as it was in my memory.  For the outdoor enthusiasts, there is a very long bike trail along the old railroad tracks. There is swimming in a protected area of the river a bit before the falls, many rafting trips available, and a chance to enjoy some fresh air and hear the water roar as it travels over the falls. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has made great strides in protecting the wilderness and special properties to preserve plants and animals and scenic areas.

In a kayak one can only get so close to the falls due to the force of the water pushing you backwards. He had already flipped over once.

Swimming in the Youghiogheny River. Family oriented. The old railroad tracks over head that is now a bike trail that extends for 71 miles. A good workout for anyone!

Pretty purple cone flowers attract both butterflies and bees.

Butterfly weed with a bee.

Two butterflies hard at work.

A long view of the falls. Can you appreciate the natural beauty of the area? 

A good reason to be careful when river swimming or wading - unpredictable holes in the rocks.

There are caution signs everywhere, with areas posted. Sometimes it is just too tempting to fish from a solitary rock in the middle of the river.

Relaxing in the shade of the trees.

No trip to Ohiopyle would be complete without a trip to the old Falls Market general store. Great ice cream cones!

Watch and listen to the water. 

Hope you enjoyed my travels along  my memory lane. It was a great weekend visiting my Mom. Dinner at the Stone House Restaurant, first opened in 1822, was a special treat. (File photo,  not mine!)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

07/31.18 A taste of summer

Is there anything so sweet and tasty as a freshly picked garden tomato? I think not.

This year I planted one tomato plant along the new fence. It was nestled between two climbing rose bushes. Plenty room for branches and vines.

Every day I watched the tomato plant grow, watered it often during the really hot and dry days and kept the boys from tramping on it. Finally one green tomato appeared. Then a few more. I watched the first one grow carefully, changing in color from green to orange then red. The prefect time to pick it depends on making sure it has achieved maximum on-vine sweetness and before any bugs get to it first. Not an easy balance in this pesticide free garden.

Each day I watched as the color intensified. Then there it was, the perfect day. Warm, sweet, juicy and delicious. The perfect food on a summer day. A perfectly vine ripened tomato. So delicious.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

07/15/18 One design races

Yes, it is not only sailing season here in New England but it is also racing season. This Sunday was the annual one design race for the Stars and Rhodes 19 sailboats. The weather was perfect, a nice breeze and no challenge from the tide. I had a blast with my crew and while we did not win, we gained new sailing skills and confidence in racing. With only two of us, it was not possible to take pictures of the race, especially when one needs to keep her hand on the tiller. But I did snap one picture of Mimi's new mainsail as we left the mooring. Sadly I am not able to make the Wednesday night races since I have to work, but will try to make more weekend races.

Here is a snap of the club burgee (CPYC) , the USA flag and the Stars and Rhodes 19. The race was official - complete with a barbeque at the finish line!

Boston skyline, Logan airport, my girl Mimi to the left of center (the little sailboat) and a family of mallard ducks in the foreground.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

07/04/18 Independence Day!

Many people forget that we Americans were once a colony. Our forefathers declared independence in 1776 and the people living in the Boston area were very instrumental in this movement for freedom. We celebrate this grand event with reflection, baseball, outings with family and friends, cook-outs and my favorite - fireworks.  Often I go into Boston to the esplanade or to the boat club to see the display. This year I stayed closer to home and went to Acton to watch them. While not as extensive as the Boston fireworks, they are still beautiful and exciting. And no challenges with parking!

Here are a few clips and photos of the fireworks - July 4, 2018!



Always a good finale with lots of color, lights and thunder!

Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

07.03.18 Summer gardens

Summer has hit us hard with temperatures in the 90's. But the gardens look beautiful. thanks to a lot of rain last week. Fionnegan, Gunnarr and Shorty are enjoying the new space to run and play and they are getting a lot of exercise - providing I am outside with them. So I do yard work while they chase birds and squirrels and froggies. The gardens are also a nice place to relax after work and try to read a book for a little while.

Here are a few pictures of the flowers in bloom.
A gentle, delicate, pale pink rose. Planted along the fence hoping that it will not only survive but climb along the fence as a backdrop. The buds just started to open. These are the first of what I hope will be many flowers.

Opening this morning.

These flowers transferred themselves from another garden, but are welcome wanderers!

The lilies are starting the summer blooms.

My one vegetable - tomatoes. Soon they will ripen.

The dogs have been relatively good and not trampled the plants. Fionn likes to sit under the lavender while Shorty and Gunnarr sit on the boulder.

A little more color for the gardens.

And my boys outside, enjoying the summer morning.




Dirty paws, dirty noses, must stay outside and dry-off and clean up!