Friday, July 20, 2018

Road Trip.

7-20-18 VERMONT: the weather has been beautiful—warm, sunny, dry, cool at night. We had 0.35 inches of rain three days ago, but things are drying out again.

We had a fox visit last evening. It was small and thirsty enough to drink from the pond while it was daylight and the dogs were sleeping on the deck. Our neighbor saw the pix and diagnosed the fox as having mange, a skin infection that will be fatal if untreated. Since we will be away for a few days, she will leave out bait with medication, ivermectin, which the fox, hopefully, will eat. We couldn’t leave it out if the dogs were here, they would steal it.

I have a big Asclepias incarnata, a milkweed variety with white flowers. It’s on the bank of the pond and attracts many pollinators—bees, wasps, small insects and butterflies. Monarch caterpillars feed and morph into butterflies on the plant. I saw three different butterflies on it today.

We are going to NJ for a few days to check on things there.

White Admiral on Asclepias incarnata, a milkweed.

Red fox appears to have mange. Our neighbor will put out bait with ivermectin, mange treatment, while we are away.

The fox has a rash, scruffy, discolored coat and is too thin.

The corn is higher than my eye. Who's scarier, me or crow-face?

Fritillary on the milkweed.

Monarch and friends on the milkweed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


7-17-18 VERMONT: We finally have a rainy day. The trip back from Québec was uneventful. The dogs all survived their vacation at the kennel in Orford. The public works crew has been here clearing the culvert and making a deep ditch on our side of the road. The pasture was mowed. I love how it looks when mowed, but I also, ambivalently, love how it looks with the wild flowers in bloom. Fortunately it all grows back.

The corn is forming tassels and silk. We are picking Sun Sugar Tomatoes, a cherry tomato, the full size tomatoes are just starting to ripen. A few blueberries are blue.

New blooms: first phlox, tiger lily, summer azalea, pickerel-weed, another meadow rue, another asclepias, evening primrose.

Another Hybrid Daylily.

Bushnell Game Cam caught this young buck before the pasture was mowed.

Sitting for a portrait, for a brief moment.

Monarch, female, I think.

Freshly mowed pasture. I love how the pasture looks mowed, but I also miss the wild flowers and the unmowed look, a quandry.

Sulfur Butterfly.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Québec II

7-12-18 QUÉBEC CITY, CANADA: Today we walked west from the Chateau Frontenac up hill on the Grande Allée Est, which became the Grande Allée Ouest as we walked west. The street is home to countless hotels and restaurants and a Festival lasting for several weeks with nightly music shows with major performers.

After the city gate, a remnant from the days when cities had walls and gates, the street is wider and the restaurants sprawl out on the sidewalk. The buildings changed from stone to brick as we continued uphill, and became mixed commercial and residential with occasional government agencies. We detoured into the series of parks and gardens along the cliffs above the St. Lawrence River.

We stopped at the MNBAQ, the Québec National Museum of Art, for a exhibit of oils by Berthe Morisot. There were about fifty paintings, mostly of her daughter Julie and her amies et cousines. On the way back down hill, we stopped for a snack at a sidewalk eatery before our nap.

Dinner was at IX Pour on the other side of the St. Charles River in a modest neighborhood, a short taxi ride away from the hotel. The restaurant is in a small, failed pizzeria with only twenty chairs and only one seating per night. Fabulous food. Another place worthy of a journey for a dinner.

Alaclair Ensemble is a hip-hop collective that we caught by accident yesterday, very energetic performers.
[video on FB]

La Grande Allée Est walking uphill from Chateau Frontenac is lined with restaurants and hotels, all with colorful signs, flags, gardens and hanging planters.

The city wall gate,  remnant from the colonial era along with many sections of the wall.

Top of the National Assembly Building, totally baroque.

Grande Allée Ouest is lined with more restaurants and hotels.

At the National Museum of Art of Québec, we saw the Berthe Morisot Exhibit.

Judy was attracted to this painting for some reason.

Tonight we ate at IX Pour, a taxi ride to the other side of the St. Charles River. They have one seating per night and only 20 chairs. They're in a failed pizzeria and it was extraordinary. The wine list is in chalk all over the walls.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


7-11-18 QUÉBEC CITY, CANADA: We are here on a mini vacation from our summer vacation. Québec is a fav, but we haven’t been here for few years. The old city is a delight, reminiscent of France without the jet lag. There is great stone architecture, tons of clever shopkeepers, many great hotels and restaurants, street art and street performers, daylight from 4 AM to 9 PM, a citadel, city walls, festivals and a chance to practice your French.

We think the food is as good as Paris or NYC. Last night we ate at Restaurant Initiale where it took us three hours to get through the tasting menu with the wine pairings. I could eat there once a week. The restaurant is in the old city, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. On the top of the riverside cliff is the upper city a few hundred feet above the river and where the Chateau Frontenac, our hotel, is sited. We walked down to the restaurant and then back up to burn off a few of the ingested calories.

Today we walked around the lower city and had dinner after an après-midi nap, at Restaurant Legende, another extraordinary place. We again walked down to the restaurant and back up after the dinner event.

We drove up from VT, a four-hour trip with light traffic, on Tuesday. We had a small T-storm on the way. The dogs are vacationing in Orford, NH. We go back on Friday. More exploring tomorrow and another super meal at Ixpour Bistro.

Le Chateau Frontenac claims it is the most photographed hotel in the world. It is definitely unique.

The Quebec skyline is strewn with domes, cupolas, weathervanes, statues and flags.

Umbrella display only missing five dozen Mary Poppins.

Restaurant Initale is worth a journey, as Michelin says, we have eaten here before and made it our first stop this trip. working our way through the tasting menu with the wine pairings was a three hour event, but we walked down and then back up from the lower city to the upper city on the cliff top.


Champlain statue looks down on street performers.

Restaurant decorated with flower pots. I wonder what else they might sell.

Quebec flag.

Old city church square.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Almost Missed a Whole Week.

7-9-18 VERMONT: We had a big, 0.9 inches, rain when the heat wave broke. It was followed by a windy day with a rain of dead branches. One of those branches damaged our TV antenna out in the woods, which will be repaired today.

Alison and Lily have been here for a few days, and we went to Old City Falls in Strafford yesterday and walked the stream below the falls.

Before that they arrived, I had done a day of pruning and generated two cartloads of branches for the compost pile. I am, I think, almost caught up with pruning.

Today Anna and Gardner were here to meet with the tent man and contractors about siting the tent for the wedding and prepping and leveling that site this fall. It looks like the wedding plans are all set, or mostly set.

New blooms: another milkweed, delphinium, oxeye, daisy, monarda, hydrangea.

A hybrid daylily in vivid red with a yellow throat.

Still water offers reflections.

More reflections.

I did a bunch of pruning, this is one cart load on its way to composting.

Old City Falls has a double waterfall, high on the left and lower on the right.

Asclepias incarnata, butterfly weed, also swamp milkweed, also rose milkweed. The problem with common names is that the same plant has different names in different places and different plants may use the same common name.

Tiger moth hiding in the 'lawn'.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

B & B.

7-3-18 VERMONT: Today is the fourth day of the heat wave, we’ve been hitting 90° every day, fans are going in every room, the dogs are mostly prostrate. The slightest exertion leaves me soaked in perspiration.

I have been watering daily and doing minor chores, trying to stay out of the sun. The lawn and part of the pasture were mowed yesterday. The pasture in front of the barns is pretty flat, but will need some fill and grading for the wedding tent. The corn is mid-thigh in height, and a couple of tomatoes are ripening.

I spotted a catbird nest in a rose bush in the terrace beds with a couple green eggs, probably a second brood. The Indigo Bunting has been a regular at the feeder.

In the pasture the milkweed is in bloom, and I went out there with the camera to look for Monarchs because I saw an orange butterfly in the yard. The orange was from Fritillaries or Crescents, who I did see, as well as a White Admiral, Sulfurs and Cabbage Whites.

New blooms: astilbe, rosebay rhododendron, rose mallow, yarrow, filipendula, Asclepias incarnata, a milkweed, [clover and vetch have been out for weeks, but I forgot to mention them before].

Indigo Bunting again, he remains gorgeous. [First B]

Water lilies are doing very well this year. Some are white, some pink.

Clover has taken over the lawn which is good. Clover is a legume and so takes nitrogen from the air and puts it in the ground, natural fertilizer. All these white dots are clover flowers.

Can you find the bird's nest in the rose bush? [Another B]

Here's a close-up of the nest and eggs.

Ms. Catbird in residence.

The other B. A White Admiral on a milkweed flower.

You must be over 18 years old to view this image, unless accompanied by a parent. Two Fritillaries at it, the female is the larger, darker one. They are on a mint leaf. I think they are Great Spangled Fritillaries. This congress went on for 20 minutes.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Big Rain.

6-29-18 VERMONT: We got a big rain, 1.35 inches, over two days. The ground above the pond is wet and squishy, and everything’s thirst is sated, for the moment. Today is hot and sunny, and it’s getting hotter this weekend. I have continued to prune and weed.

The rain has knocked things over, so I am propping them up with supports. The culvert is filled to the brim with gravel, and the flood cut a shallow trench across the road.

New blooms: red spirea, goats beard, first hostas, campanula, foxglove, feverfew.

I don't have much luck with foxglove, generally, but this one popped up on its own.

Lychnis chalcedonica, Maltese cross has brilliant red flowers for several weeks in June and July.

Campanula can get lost among bigger plants, but these and a few others found spots on the edges of the beds.

Goats beard grows in a very dark spot and has thrived. There is a new volunteer nearby.