Monday, October 24, 2016

NYC and Seaside Park.

10-24-16 SHORT HILLS: The summery weather is gone and Fall is back. I took out the screens and put the glass in the outer doors and turned the heat back on. We did have almost an inch and half of rain on Saturday.

We were visiting friends Bob and Christine at their new house in Seaside Park during the rain and wind. The wind was very brisk from the west and was blowing spindrift off the waves and sand off the beach. Some surfcasters and surfers were out there in spite of the weather. Another friend, Jo-Ann, joined us for dinner at Aqua-Blu Restaurant in Toms River.

A few nights before that, we had dinner with Roger and Leeza at Gotham Bar and Grill on E. 12 St. in Manhattan. Always excellent. Everybody has the same take on the election as we do—we’re all with her. That includes Lily, who we met in Harlem and took to the Red Rooster on Malcolm X Blvd.

Downstairs from the main room at the Red Rooster is Ginny’s Supper Club which has a Sunday Brunch featuring comfort food and gospel songs. The food was great, and Vy Higginsen’s Gospel Choir of Harlem was electrifying.

After brunch we went uptown to visit the Morris-Jumel mansion. It is a most imposing, colonial era home that has survived since the 1760’s. The views to the east include the Harlem River, Yankee Stadium and the Bronx. Aaron Burr once lived there. For a while in the Revolutionary War, it was Washington’s HQ.

Great Black-backed Gulls, adults and a couple  immatures.

Great Black-backed Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls and Herring Gulls, all immatures.

The wind and weather didn't seem to be a problem for the surfers, but the fisherman looks cold.

Rosa rugosa with red rose hips just behind the beach.

Gotham Bar and Grill, always excellent.

Harlem's Red Rooster, Ginny's Supper Club is downstairs. Jazz upstairs, gospel down.

One block north on Malcolm X Blvd [Lennox Ave] is Sylvia's, famous for food and sauces.

The Morris-Jumel Mansion at 155th St, Colonial Era grand residence. Once home to Aaron Burr.

One of the elegant rooms in Manhattan's oldest house.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Birds and the Berries.

10-20-16 SHORT HILLS: It has been hot this week. There were record setting temps of 85° and 87° on Tuesday and Wednesday. Today is overcast and feels like rain, and it’s only in the seventies. Rain would be welcome.

The ash trees are almost done and maples are in color, but most trees are just starting. We are also getting color from the berries that are ripening now. The berry color catches our eyes and those of the birds. The birds eat the berries and, later, poop out the seed giving a new shrub or tree a chance to grow. That’s why we have viburnums, hollies, barberries and burning bushes all over the yard.

I did plant tree seedlings, two oaks, a tulip tree and a sycamore in the big hole left by ash tree removal. There is more pruning and trimming awaiting me.

Beauty berry, vividest color.

Ash trees showed color, a few days ago but.... are bare, and the leaves cover the 'Freedom Lawn' where they will remain. The lawn mowers will mow and chop the leaves up to some extent, but the leaves will not be removed and will enrich the organic layer of the soil. Gus blends in well. The sugar maple across the street has nice orange.

Winterberry holly.


English holly.

Asian holly.

Red chokeberry has been nibbled by the birds.

Burning bush. The seed covers are the dark red things above the newly opened berries.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Green in NJ.

10-14-16 SHORT HILLS: Most of the leaves here are still on the trees and still green. The shadows are deeper and longer as the Northern Hemisphere turns away from the sun. Rain here is adequate, and the sprinklers have been off for a few weeks. In Vermont and northern New England things remain very dry.

I have found several seedling trees in the yard, oak, beech, sycamore, which I will transplant to the area where the diseased ash trees came down. It’s not such a big job as the tallest is one foot.

Here are some more VT pix.

Bird ID needed. I'm guessing Northern Parula Warbler, immature or female. Male birds in full, mating regalia are pretty easy to ID, but not in off-season or immature. Anybody??

Another pic of the heron checking out the pond from above, or looking for a tree frog?

More color...

You can see fully developed color, developing color and some trees still green all at the same time.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Fall Color.

10-9-16 VERMONT: We had three cloudless days and are now back to being overcast. There was a bit of rain last night. The morning dew has been so heavy that we need Wellingtons to walk around the pasture without getting soaked. The remnants of Hurricane Matthew would have fixed our drought, it looks like he is headed elsewhere.

Hank has been visiting us from Kansas and has been photographing the color. The color has been better every day. I’ll show some pix with more to follow. Judy and I head back to NJ tomorrow.

New blooms: late monkshood, cimicfuga.


Cimicfuga sometimes is killed by frost before it blooms, but frost hasn't happened yet this year.

Heron visit to the pond.

Early AM on one of the clear days.

Autumn sampler from our pasture....

And another...

And one more.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Cloudy Skies.

10-4-16 VERMONT: I’ve been here for a couple of days and have yet to see the sun. It has rained a little every day, but the pond is still down five inches. The temps are in the sixties in the afternoon. Foliage color is developing nicely.

I have been working outside. I have pulled most of the flowerbed barriers, done some weed whacking around the roses, shoveled out the culvert. The beds are not ready to clear, most of the perennials are still green. I don’t like to clear the beds until everything is dormant, which will take about another month.

New blooms: boltonia, red aster, witchhazel.

Red aster. This one dries pretty well.

Chrysanthemum. It's hardy for this zone.

Boltonia. Late blooming aster like flower.

Pasture with developing color.

Very red Red Maple.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Musical Afternoon and Evening.

9-28-30 SHORT HILLS: Sunday in SF, we all went to a music event of a type I had never heard of before, ‘SF Music Day Live + Free’. At four performance venues dozens of ensembles played from noon until mid-evening. They each played for about 45 minutes. The audience came and went at will. There were string quartets and jazz ensembles. There was old music and new music, chamber music and creative music and jazz. They covered the gamut from Haydn and Beethoven to Pete Townshend, Michael Jackson and Philip Glass. A great concept.

Among the pieces we heard were string quartets by Quincy Porter from 1935, Dvořák, and Ruth Crawford [Pete Seeger’s mother, BTW]. Who’s heard of American composer Quincy Porter?

Recovered from the red-eye by Tuesday, we went to NYC for the NY Phil at Geffen Hall, née Avery Fisher Hall. We usually allow an extra half hour for traffic on the inbound trip, but since there was none, we were early and so walked over to Central Park by Tavern-on-the-Green. We saw bikers, joggers, strollers, dogs, musicians, horses, diners, sun bathers, police, walkers and a nice Z-shaped fold in an out-crop of Manhattan Schist.

At Café Fiorello we met my Aunt Jean for dinner outside midst the buses and ambulances and commuters. She was on her way to the ballet across the plaza from our event.

This was the fifth consecutive performance of ‘Symphony No. 9, From the New World’ by Dvořák. The reviews have used words like ‘majestic’ in their assessments. I thought ‘majestic’ didn’t say nearly enough. The theme from the Largo is one of my favorite melodies, up there with the ‘Ode to Joy’.

NY Phil ready for the Tuesday night kick-off.

The Green Room at SF War Memorial Veterans Building.

Central Park, west side.

Bridal Path by Tavern on the Green.

Street Jazz in the Park.

Lincoln Center Plaza before the music.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cal Visit.

9-25-16 LOS GATOS: We came out Friday for some Cal sun and to see the Cal fam. The days here really are cookie cutter copies of one another—cloudless, dry, warm in the afternoon, cool at night. Where’s the fog, humidity, rain, ice, sleet and all the other varieties of eastern weather?

Friday night we all went to a local pasta place, Aldo’s, that was fine, before we went to the Hotel Los Gatos to deal with our jet lag. Saturday we brought pastries to the mountain for breakfast. Later we all hiked the Los Gatos Creek trail, which runs through the center of town, and is very popular with dog walkers and hikers of all ages. It ends at a dam that contains the local reservoir, but some of us bailed before the last uphill stretch.

On College Ave. going back to town, we saw a lot of birds including Steller Jays and Acorn Woodpeckers. We had lunch in town, and Judy and I napped until dinner at Dio Deka, a Greek restaurant at our hotel. It was excellent, but a bit pricey.

Today we go to SF for the afternoon, and then it’s the red-eye to EWR.

Stellers Jay showing off the blue.

Los Gatos Creek and trail.

View from the mountain.

Joey and Murphy.

Acorn Woodpeckers, the one in the nest atop the utility pole has an actual acorn in its beak.

Acorn Woodpecker in a better pose.