Saturday, August 30, 2014

Maggie finds Monarchs.

8-30-14 VERMONT: Steve, Val, Maggie and Lucy arrived a couple days ago for a mini va-ca on their way to take Maggie back to college. Yesterday we walked around the pasture while Maggie took pictures of the first Monarch we saw this season. Then we saw another on our hike.

Taking advantage of the beautiful day, we hiked the woods behind our house, exploring the old roads. We found a sunny clearing with lots of blackberries that kept us busy for a while. On the way back we looked in on the old beaver pond, which is totally gone and turned into a meadow. We followed the brook from the non-pond and eventually got home after our neighbors sheep chased us out of their pasture. We dinnered at Elixir in WRJ. Today is probably Gile Mt., an easy hike.

It’s just amazing how bonded Val and Maizie are.

New blooms: turtle head, Ligularia dentata ‘Britt Marie Crawford’. [I mentioned ligularia in bloom a month ago—that was L. stenocephala ‘The Rocket’.]

Turkey chicks from the 7/11/14 post almost grown up.

Blissful photog neck-deep in mint.

She found a Monarch butterfly, the first of the season that we've seen here. Later in the day we saw another a a different spot. photo by Maggie R.

Maizie and Val in a love fest. Val just can't get enough of the dogs.

Hike in the woods, trying to stay on the trail.

Blue Heron decided the pond was too noisy this morning.

Preview of Coming Attractions.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


8-26-14 VERMONT: It’s sunny and in the mid-eighties—summer has arrived in Vermont. And just in time, because lots of trees are beginning to show fall color change. Ash trees are dropping purple leaves. I have remarked that most of the perennials seemed to be early this season, as if they knew there would be an early winter. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a harsh winter, but their predictions are actually no better than chance.

In the pasture the mint is in full flower, and usually in August it is covered with butterflies, but not this year. There are a few butterflies but there are no Monarchs. Also, there is a lot of milkweed in the pasture, the Monarch caterpillar’s favorite snack, but none of it has been eaten.

There was another 1.25 inches of rain in the gauge when we got back from NJ. The summer continues to be wet.

We have a corn poacher. Something has knocked over corn stalks, pulled off the ears, shucked them and eaten the kernels. I assume it is a raccoon, who also picked the last of the blueberries. I harvested all the remaining ears of corn that were ripe and left only immature ears on the stalks. Tomatoes, fortunately, do not seem to be on the raccoon’s meal plan.

New blooms: more phlox, more asters.

Fall flower - some kind of aster.

Grossbeak and song sparrow. The sparrow has been eating red berries from a nearby honeysuckle bush.

Black-eyed Susan.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Soggy Jersey.

8-23-14 SHORT HILLS: I’m back in NJ, and Dan is much improved and about to be discharged from the hospital in Denver. He and Alison will return to NY by Amtrak via Chicago. Arnie also left yesterday.

It’s been a wet summer here, and everything looks well watered and thriving. I picked up a bunch is sizable branches and pumped the water off the pool cover and did a few minor chores. There will be much pruning and weeding here this fall.

In bloom: rose-of-Sharon, roses, hydrangea, caryopsis, butterfly bush, spirea, white star clematis, monarda.

Rose-of-Sharon comes in different flavors. Here are strawberry....

and cherry-vanilla.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Visit to Denver.

8-20-14 DENVER, COLORADO: Our son-in-law, Dan, is here in Denver with a health issue and Alison is here to aid and abet in his recovery. I came out to lend her some support. Dan’s father Arnie is also here. Medically things are going well.

Yesterday Judy and I both drove down to NJ from VT and had dinner with Bill in Chatham.
This afternoon I was in the parking lot of the hospital and saw a big, raptor-like bird perched on a utility pole across the street. It was not a vulture—they probably don’t even know what hospitals are.

There were T-storms scattered all around Denver today. The big sky was interesting all afternoon. I spotted a rainbow before sunset—a good omen.

Raptor outside the hospital, not a vulture.

Mountains and big sky.

Rainbow before sunset.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Southwest from the Water.

8-17-14 VERMONT: We got back yesterday afternoon in time to collect the dogs and bring them home. There was much squirming, jumping and licking. This morning, our anniversary BTW, they are all calmed down. We had 1.3 inches of rain in the gauge here plus a bit more last night. Today is cool and cloudy.

The day before yesterday we spent on the water in Southwest Harbor. In the morning we went out in the Picnic Boat for a tour of the watery side of the neighborhood. After lunch Ken and I were out in the sailboat with his friend John. There wasn’t a lot of wind, but we did find some near Northeast Harbor, and then we fell into a fog bank and needed the radar to creep back to Southwest Harbor. Dinner was at XYZ, Penny and Harry joined Ken, Carol, Judy and me for Mexican.

New blooms: white star clematis, white phlox.

Boat ride.

Fog appears, moves in, moves out, disappears and reappears.

Lighthouse on Sutton Island.

East Bunker Ledge at low tide. That ledge is mostly covered at high tide. The pyramid is the warning marker, and that thing on top is a flag, bent to the right. Next to the flag staff is a bald eagle.

There were many impressive yachts in the harbor. Here are two...

And here's another.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Storm in Southwest Harbor.

8-14-14 SOUTHWEST HARBOR, MAINE: We left Salem yesterday morning in a rush, avoiding the storm that drowned Long Island and was threatening Boston. There was rain and a little gusty wind when we started north on I-95. Within a half hour we were in Maine and had only light rain do deal with for the rest of the trip to visit Ken and Carol in Southwest Harbor.

We arrived in mid-afternoon before the storm, it caught up with us while we were out to dinner and the leaves were blowing around in the rain. Today started out overcast and cold. We went to an antique show in Blue Hill, which is next to Ellsworth. There were interesting pieces, but everything was way over-priced, we thought. There were errands to be run, and we ended back at the house for lobster roll lunches for some of the lucky dinners.

By early afternoon the sky was clear, and we did the hike on the Wonderland Trail, which is part of Acadia National Park. The trail leads through pines and blueberries, with roses and lichen accenting granite outcrops. The ocean views are of nearby ledges with seabirds and waves breaking on pink granite. A few sailboats were out on the water, and they had plenty of wind.

Afterwards Ken gave me a ride in his new, old car, a ’36 Ford Phaeton, four door. It’s beautifully restored.

Clouds before the storm, looking at Western Way.


After the storm, blue sky on Wonderland Trail...

Blue ocean, red granite...

Gulls and Cormorants on Long Ledge.

Ford '36 Pheaton with driver.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bewitched by Salem.

8-12-14 SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS: We came down from VT on our way to Maine to see the J. M. W. Turner exhibit at the Peabody-Essex Museum. They have some of his famous oils here and a lot of small watercolors and drawings. The museum is in the old town, which has the waterfront and old houses and municipal buildings, but is overrun with witch, zombie, occult stuff and even a school for psychics. The whole area is just a tad on the seedy side. We look forward to a seafood dinner and hope to avoid any haunting.

Peabody-Essex Museum.

The J. M. W. Turner exhibit has some of his iconic oils, but doesn't allow photos.

Salem reminders of the maritime history...

Atop the Customs House...

Much of the historic city and waterfront is into witches, zombies and psychics.