Monday, October 30, 2006

More Culture.

10-30-06 SHORT HILLS: Over the weekend we had rain, about two inches, served with high wind. The wind continued for a day after the rain and ending today. The yard was littered with sticks and branches. A lot of them were standing upright in the ground because it was so wet when they fell. Most of the branches were dead wood—natural pruning. I suppose that the decaying branch litter under a tree actually serves to return the minerals and/or nutrients to the soil that the tree pulled out of the earth while growing that branch. Today I broke up the big branches and cut down bamboo stalk that the storm broke.

Yesterday we saw Lily play soccer, another loss for her team. They, her parents, say it only happens when we, the grandparents, visit. The night before we took Anna to “A Chorus Line” for her birthday. The new production is almost identical to the original. I had a couple flashbacks to when we first saw it in the mid-seventies. The new cast looks a lot like the original cast. Recommended. They made mention of Darvon and Valium, popular, even ubiquitious, drugs then that are much less used now.

Friday we went to the Met Museum and saw to excellent exhibits, the Vollard and the Americans in Paris. Tomorrow we go to Brooklyn for Hallwoeen.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sopping up the Culture.

more vermont color.


10/26/06 SHORT HILLS: Another week has slipped by without a post. I hope I don’t get fired for neglecting the blog. My favorite weather almanac site is up and running again: . Vermont had its first frost on October 25, but Short Hills hasn’t been lower than 35°F as yet. Both areas have had over 4.5 inches of rain this month. Here, in New Jersey, the ash trees are bare and some maples are turning, but oaks and beeches are still green. In mid-Vermont all the leaves are down.

We have had a busy week. Monday we heard “Cav and Pag” at the Met. That Maria Guleghina can really carry a tune. And last night we went to the Philharmonic for Beethoven’s Fifth and a lecture by Peter Schickele . Saturday we will take Anna to “A Chorus Line” for her birthday. Tomorrow we may go to the Met Museum and on Halloween to Valerie’s in Brooklyn for the Garden Place extravaganza. I hope we don’t completely use up NYC.

I have surprisingly little interest in the World Series, but it would be nice if the Cardinals lost. Go Tigers--and Dems.

Here are a couple more of fall color.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fun Week

10/19/06 VERMONT: Wow, I missed a whole week. Time flies when you’re having fun. I blew the leaves again, the whole yard, that took two days and was harder after a rain soaked the leaves and grass. We had two rains in the past two weeks of 0.95 and 1.05 inches.

I rebuilt the small side entrance to the little barn. It was designed for geese, small enough to keep the larger animals out. It had fallen apart and since there are no geese, I was going to just clean it up and close the entry, but someone thought it gave the barn character and charm and that person insisted that it stay so it got rebuilt.

I cut down most of the garden perennials that had gone dormant and left those still in bloom or still green for the next trip. I pulled up the weed barriers that had been down on top of the wild mint that is taking over the pasture. The barrier had been down for two years, and if that mint is still alive, look out world, its coming for you.

The cimicfuga that bloomed this year has been pollinated and made seeds for the first time. Usually it doesn’t even get to bloom because it opens so late in the season. It is late October in Vermont, and there has been no hard frost yet this year. Global warming, anyone?

I spent the last three night being a book groupie. I followed Alison around to Author/Book events at the Hopkins Center in Hanover and St. Gaudens in Cornish and a home in Orford. She spoke well, and everybody loved her, especially the older ladies, and she sold a bunch of "Double Eagles." Short Hills tomorrow.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Monarch and Geese

10-12-06 VERMONT: After the last post, I did the leaves with the blower. It took almost two days to do the driveway, around the house and the lawn. For about 12 hours the place looked immaculate, then a breezy day and a rain storm yesterday has it looking like nothing was done. I am, however, of the belief that the full mass of all the leaves on the ground is too big a job and that it is easier to push half of them around twice.

Yesterday Judy arrived for the weekend, and we had dinner in town and saw 'Departed'. It was great, great cast, surprises and some good acting.

Today I finished cleaning out the veggie garden, did some pruning and cut up a dead tree that was pinning down the wire fence, and put a new rail in the split-rail fence. I guess it will take another several days to have everything done.

Wildlife: The monarch butterflys were still here as of a few days ago, mostly sucking on the wild asters. I‘ll post a picture of one today on the cimicfuga. The cimicfuga bloomed this year, but usually gets killed by frost before getting this far. It seems to me the monarchs should get going on their migration.

On the way to Gile Mt. the other day, saw a blue heron in a road side stream.

Two days ago I saw a huge vee, actually more of an arc, of geese heading south. The main group must have had 100 to 150 birds. You hear them before seeing them. An advance group of less than a dozen were about five minutes ahead of the rest and were also honking continuously. The honking is probably the two, or more, groups maintaining contact. Is the first group scouting or just separated from the others? They move quickly. They appeared over the north tree line and disappeared to the south in five minutes covering maybe 2-3 miles. That would be 20-30 mph and in 8 hours about 200 miles

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mets, Color, Dogs

Here are Ascutney and Killington on the horizon.

10-8-06 VERMONT: Bye-bye Yanks. Bye-bye Dodgers. See ya next year. The Mets have recovered from their recent doldrums. I guess that good pitching still beats good hitting, but there seems to be no good pitching left. Maybe Barry Zito, we’ll see.

I climbed Gile Mountain, a fifteen minute climb, and had the fire tower to myself for about a half hour on a sunny day. The color was great. On the way down I must have passed a dozen people on the way up. Timing is everything.

Yesterday I started taking the garden down for the winter. I pulled all the border guards, the plant supports, the beetle traps and the electric fence around the veggies and the tomato cages. It took all day. Maybe there are too many beds. More to do today.

Now that all the horses and oxen are out of the pasture the dogs have taken over again. With the full moon, crazy Sam spent hours last night in the pasture barking in her stacatto contralto communicating with other canines in the greater neighborhood. Chloe helped with some of the nocturnal barking job, but most of her energies go into chasing, and barking, she can do both at the same time, at airplane contrails as they pass by far overhead. After breakfast, both of them have been sleeping all morning.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fall Color

10-5-06 VERMONT: I came up yesterday with the air conditioner on and temps in the 70’s. There was 3.5 inches of rain in the gauge, an average month’s worth. Last night we had 0.35 more inches of rain. This morning it was windy, sunny but cool. After ten minutes outside, my hands were cold and my nose was runny. Going to town I had the heater on.

With the sun today, the color is brilliant even though we are past peak here. Peak is a spotty concept in that around the corner the trees are in a different phase and a mile further south trees are still green. Sun exposure, hill tops, valleys all affect the timing of color development.

The veggie garden is littered with a hundred of so rotting tomatoes. I did salvage a couple dozen ripe and green ones. We have half a dozen ripening pumpkins from soccer ball to softball in size.

New blooms: cimicfuga, chrysanthemum, more sedum, asters, witch hazel.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

San José

Blue Heron



10-3-06 SHORT HILLS: We spent the weekend with Jon and Siobhan and Eoin and Joe in San José. We went to the San José Mission and the Santa Clara Mission on Saturday and to Alum Rock Park on Sunday. In the park, a canyon between to mountains in a range to the east of San José, we climbed the South Rim Trail almost to the top and saw deer and feral, perhaps, cattle and some west coast jays. Back at the bottom we saw a Blue Heron working the creek. The boys loved the hike and the wildlige sightings, and so did I. Judy and Siobhan did a lot of “are we there yet” on the climb. The mountains are mostly sandstone with the beds folded E-W. It was a nice visit. The Sunday night red-eye left me exhausted, as usual. Their weather is the same as ours is now.

Today I pruned the bamboo, taking out all the dead, near dead and drooping stalks. It totaled three car loads of cuttings to the dump. Vermont tomorrow.