Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Fair Time

7-30-06 VERMONT: The end of July, one month of summer to go, its always so fast. Today was beautiful, breezy, clear warm, but dry and tonight its in the 50’s. Friday was camp visiting for Lucy in a downpour and yesterday was the Haverill Fair which we got to between T-storms. Lucy won a small stuffed pig playing darts for about twice what it would have cost at a store. We watched the pig races and ate good fair food. Blooming onion, pulled pork, funnel cake, italian sausage with pepper and onions—all healthy treats and no one heaved. The two rainy days left another 1.1 inches. Judy made a pie with our blueberries and raspberries.

Today I did a bunch of maintenance type chores and attacked the thistle in the pasture getting most of it before it bloomed and seeded. Speaking of the pasture, the oxen have been sold and are gone. About half the apple trees they ate are recovering the rest are dead.

New blooms: more phlox and lilies.

Friday, July 28, 2006


7-27-06 EXETER: We are in Exeter, NH at Phillips Academy awaiting the premiere of the play in which Anna is performing. We just finished dinner with Anna and Lisa Fagin in cutsy downtown Exeter. Yesterday we left Thetford at 9AM and arrived in Gloucester, MA mid-morning for a seafood lunch. Our B&B was adequate, old, cluttered and with almost no water pressure for the shower. There were blueberry muffins for breakfast.

The whole of Cape Ann seems to be a granite pluton. Outcrops are widespread. Gloucester is old, run down, tacky and historic. There are lots of colonial houses, federals and Victorians. Many houses are re-done with vinyl siding and asphalt roofs. The seagulls are everywhere, brazen and noisy. We walked for miles after lunch, saw the working waterfront with lots of fishing and lobster boats, up the hill were all the old places and a nice museum/historic house, Cape Ann Historical Museum, that we visited this morning after the blueberries. Later in the afternoon yesterday we went to the Sleeper-McCann House. It is a century-old 45 room extravaganza put up by a Boston designer, most of the rooms have different decors and dedications, some are copies of European rooms, castles, colonial reproductions, and whatever. Most of the rooms are tiny and claustrophobic, but it is a fascinating place and also has a small and pretty garden. Dinner was at Woodman’s, a famous lobster shack in Essex that does a huge business. Then we watched the boats in Gloucester harbor until dark.

After the blueberries and the museum today, we went to Salem and visited a repro three-master, “Friendship”, the House of Seven Gables and Hawthorne’s birthplace, and the hostoric part of downtown before meeting Anna in Exeter. Salem is an upgrade from Gloucester, but still many historic houses are repaired with the tacky modern materials and/or converted to small apartments. Sorry, dear reader, if that sounds too snobby, but I prefer places like Woodstock, VT where the old houses are all pampered and coddled. Thetford tonight.

Review of the Premiere to follow.

7-28-2006 VERMONT: Anna’s was excellent in her one act play. She was a social worker dealing with an abusive mother who wanted her child back. It is a difficult subject and was well acted by the two principals and got big applause from a mostly student audience.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

You Should Only Smell this Good.

Another Day in Paradise. Right, Judy?

7-21-06 VERMONT: The last two days have been beautiful. The previous two days, the camp visiting days, were stormy and included another 2” of rain for a three month total of almost 23”, over half a years worth. Maggie and Lily were both excellent in the camp production of “Wizard of Oz”. Alison, Dan and Steve have all returned to the Metro area. I spent yesterday climbing around the Dartmouth Skiway with Brian and Kevin Dade as part of the Geology Handbook project and came home in mid-afternoon to do some weeding.

New blooms: echinacea, Joe-Pye weed, catmint, potentilla, phlox and oriental lily.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Worm Assault.

7-21-06 VERMONT: Yesterday was another work day, all routine stuff, final finishing of the pruning of the lilac hedge, weed wacking around the fence roses, some weeding, raked up grass cuttings in the swamp which was mowed for the first time, pulled all the dead Woodward viburnums form the wall at the southern end of the lawn and other stuff I forgot. Those viburnums were eaten by some little wormy bug in late spring, the others survived the assault, and I sprayed the big one by the porch. The loss of these shrubs leaves a hole in the border about twelve feet long that I will fill with burning bush volunteers. Today I’m in the library to recuperate.

New blooms: helenium, monks hood, lingularia, more asian lilies.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Clearing the Air

7-19-06 VERMONT: Last night’s cold front switched us over to clear dry air, blue skies and 82° temps. Life is worth living again. I did get most of the hedge work done yesterday, one last cartload of cuttings wheeled away. After a dry week, the swamp is almost dry enough for regular mowing.

Mr. Steve joins us tomorrow and Alison and Dan arrive Friday for camp visiting this weekend. Next week Judy and I do a side trip to Gloucester and Salem and visit Anna to view her performance in a play at Exeter. Last night Judy and I heard a few of the singers from Opera North in a church in Post Mills and were very impressed. We may go hear the performance of “Il Trovatore” in August.

New blooms: an annual poppy popped up, purple salvia, more fancy daylilies.

Veggie report: the corn is as high as my eye, ears and tassels starting, tomatoes are green marbles and golf balls, no little pumpkins yet and something ate most of the sun flower seedlings. Blue berries being eaten as they blue up.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hazy, Hot and Humid

7-17-06 VERMONT: Happy Birthday, Judy! We had a birthday dinner Friday at Canoe Club in Hanover with Val and Lucy who had just arrived. Lucy started camp this morning. Summer H^3 weather has blanketed the region with smothering, damp thick gray air. The heat melts initiative. Chores are deferred. The flowers and plants love it. So do the bugs.

We did take a short hike in Lord Brook yesterday. It was cool in the water and very pretty with dozens of little waterfalls. There is moss everywhere from all the rain. We are living in a rain forest, at least for the moment.

Speaking of rain, we had a short downpour Friday night, but by the time I checked the gauge the next day it was dry.

New blooms: yellow day lilies, multicolor day lilies, another asiatic lily, another hollyhock.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ottaquechee River

7-14-06 VERMONT: Happy Birthday, Siobhan. Its summer, triple H and 90’s.

We canoed at North Hartland Lake which is part of the Ottaquechee river. The lake is made by a flood control dam about a mile upstream from the confluence with the Connecticut. Yesterday they had water levels five feet higher than usual from four inches of rain and the bushes around the shore line were muddy to the level of the flood. The water was quite muddy from the deluge. The park service dropped the level after the rain stopped. We paddled a couple miles upstream and saw two muskrats swimming near the shore and on the way back two blue herons. I got some pix of both. Its another canoe spot, nearby, and pretty quiet.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Green Gazpacho

7-13-06 VERMONT: Sunday night we had dinner at the Katz’s with the Kerr’s and Nelson’s. Phyllis made a green gazpacho that was unique. Monday I did more work on the lilac hedge and generated another two cartloads of prunings for the next burn pile. Tuesday we visited Maggie and Lily at Hive bearing pizza, candy and diet sprite. We had another tour of the camp after lunch. Both girls are having a good time. That night it rained 0.15 inches just as I had been thinking of starting to water. Yesterday I decided to use the DR string trimmer on the section of the yard that remained unmowed, the swamp, as it was beginning to dry out. It went fairly well. My feet only got a little wet. The rest of the yard was mowed the same afternoon. It began to rain as the mowing finished and teemed all night. Tragically the new delphiniums were broken by the storm. I salvaged them for the living room. We got 1.9 inches to maintain the 2 inches of rain a week average for the summer so far. Today I tried to recreate Phyllis’ soup with partial success and did more hedge thinning, one more loads worth.

New blooms: asiatic lily, another recumbent sedum in red, another filipencula, wild spirea.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Canoe Report.

7-9-06 VERMONT: Yesterday and today we canoed. Today on Fairlee wtih all the skiers and fisherfolk. The launch site was packed with cars, trucks and trailers. Yesterday we went to Miller Pond on Miller Pond Rd and had the place almost to ourselves. The water is as clear as....hmmm water. Fairlee is pretty clear also. Yesterday we saw a loon near the canoe and watched him make several dives. When I first spotted it out of the corner of my eye, I thought of a seal or otter for a second. Loons are big birds. Got a couple decent pix of red-winged black birds.

Add in a bit more yard work and several gorgeous days.

New blooms: lambs ears, coral bells [I’m a few days late on these two], hollyhocks, and mallow.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Chop, Cut, Saw and Hack

7-5-06 VERMONT: No rain for three days, but things are still soggy. A few more dry days and we’ll be on drought restrictions. On the third I burnt the big brush pile behind the pond. I started at about 10 am and by 11 pm the pile was down to the size of a small fireplace fire. The pile was about five years accumulation of prunings and winter fall including a huge section of the big pine behind the pond. Its trunk was the last to go.

The fourth was the Adler’s party which has become a tradition. I only did a few odds and ends during the day.

Today I did more pruning and weeding primarily in the terrace beds and the honeysuckle, but enough to fill the cart.

New blooms: delphinium, summer azalea, hydrangea, monardna, orange day lily, fox glove, filipendula, rhodo.

7-6-06 VERMONT: Another pretty day, we had both cars serviced, Scott and Cedar have been here for a few days doing deck repair. I started pruning the front screen which was overgrown and filled with weed trees and dead lilacs shoots. I took two cart loads of brush to start a new burn pile on the ashes of the old one. Too tired to make a decent phoenix pun. It will take at least another days work, maybe two to clear it all out.

Feeder Patrons

Welcoming the Horses

Peony Power

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Noah News

7-2-06 VERMONT: We have been here for several days with no posting, I apologize to my reader. The big news is the rain. Every day we get more. The wet parts of the yard are awash. If you step in there, your foot sinks to the ankle and your shoe stays behind when you step out. Slugs are everywhere. The rain gauge numbers: on arrival 4.8”, then 0.85”, another 0.85”, 0.1”, and 0.2” for a total of 6.8” since mid June. Add to that 11.85” from late April to mid June for a total of 18.65” in 10 weeks. This total is almost half the yearly average. Don’t look now, but it is raining again.

Between rain drops, I have been weeding and pruning and swatting flies and mosquitos. Something ate all the sunflower seedlings. I will plant more, they’re cheap. The horses arrive today which event causes canine consternation.

The girls have all started camp, and their moms and dads are gone ending our first wave of summer guests.

New blooms: phlox, daylily, meadow rue, yarrow, baptisia, peony, dianthus, rogersia, recumbent sedum, bluet, campanula, water lily, lamium, hosta, ladys mantle, trascantia, fever few, valerian, money plant, astilbe, daisy, spirea, weglia, stephenandra, summer sweet, roses and diablo.