Sunday, September 25, 2011

There's a WHAT By My Driveway???

When I was a teenager, I spent my summers in Stoneboro, PA babysitting my adorable nephew, Christopher (who just celebrated his 4th wedding anniversary this week ... yikes!). Stoneboro was my first experience with small town living. I loved pushing Christopher in his stroller to pick up the mail or get a popsicle at Saffron's. It constantly amazed me that everyone knew who we were. And even now, years later, I remember feeling very impressed by the fact that Stoneboro had only ONE traffic light.

Now I live in an even SMALLER town ... with NO traffic light!

Until ...

Look what showed up on my doorstep last week! I couldn't believe my eyes! I rubbed them a few times to be sure ....

Yep ... we are now the "not-so-proud" owners of the only traffic light on Route 73 from the Northway to Lake Placid! While the DOT repairs the bridge near our house, we get no handsome flagmen. No - we get a cold, impersonal traffic light!

And this is the result ...

Brakes grind. Trucks rattle. There is a moment of silence. And then the snorting and snuffling as the traffic machine starts up again.

I was just about to complain when I had an epiphany! Back up just a few steps and look again ...

That's OUR sign! Sitting right there next to OUR driveway that leads to OUR Bed and Breakfast. And while those poor weary travelers are sitting there in the middle of nowhere ... they have nothing better to do but to LOOK at our sign and our driveway and our Bed and Breakfast!

That traffic light is our newest marketing plan! Of course, that realization led to the next one ... that our sign needed to be cleaned! So Wayne and his handy broom took care of that!

Now every time I hear the slowing of the traffic and see the road lined with cars, I smile! All those people who would ordinarily fly by at 55 mph are a captive audience.

Maybe I'll send the girls down to the road to pass out muffins and business cards ....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Flower Power

About two months ago, I wrote a blog entry about my dream cutting garden. I didn't really think anyone would care about this topic, but I was wrong! I actually received a lot of feedback and encouragment, so I thought all of you flower lovers out there might appreciate an update.

But first a moment of pure, unadulterated wonder ...

This, my friends, is MY very own amazing two-toned hydrangea! I stare at it every day. It is the fruit of three years of wishing and wanting. It is the apple of my eye. It is the wind beneath ... ok ... I'll stop! But I am very proud of it!

Back to the cutting garden ... my garden grew beautifully. Gardens tend to do that when there is sun in the equation. On the other hand, moss grows beautifully at my house ....

And so my dream came true. I was able to cut handfuls of bright, cheerful flowers whenever I wanted!

I enjoyed creating little bouquets to sprinkle in random spots throughout the B&B.

And then came Irene ... dumping an astounding 12 inches of rain into our little valley. Streams and rivers went wild and began to run where they had never run before. One of them chose to run right through the town garden, churning over plants in a 5 feet deep torrent.

The next day, we drove down to the garden to check it out.

Where once beautiful veggies stood ready to harvest, we now found mud, crumpled fences, debris and broken plants.

At first, the gardeners thought they could salvage a lot of the produce and even some of the plants, but then the reality sunk in. This garden had been saturated with filthy flood water. Water carrying potential disease and toxins from flowing through garages, basements, barnyards, etc. It was determined that nothing could be used from the garden.

Nothing that needed to be eaten, that is ...

From the mud and mire, the sunny marigolds, vibrant zinnias and happy snapdragons struggled their way back toward the sun.

My dream was that my flowers would bring joy to all who saw them. And they have! In fact, they even received a mention (anonymously) in the community worship service the following Sunday.

After all, it is the simple things that promise hope in the midst of devastation.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Two Scenes

It's been a week since Irene came to town. So how is Keene Valley doing? I snapped two photos this weekend that speak volumes ...

Yes - I was standing right in the middle of Route 73 ... passing through the heart of Keene Valley ... at rush hour ... on the Friday ... before Labor Day. No - I wasn't the least bit worried about getting run over.

Guess I don't need to say much more about that. Except - pray! There are a lot of businesses for whom the devastation is just beginning.

On a brighter note -

When life gives you mud .....

I smile everytime I drive past this sign. I love the spirit in this town! Despite all that's happened, there is a lot of humor and joy. People love their neighbors more than ever. And for those who don't ... well, there's plenty of mud to wrestle out any differences!