Friday, December 29, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Vermont-No Snow

12-24-06 VERMONT: We have been here for almost a week. There was no snow when we arrived, and there is no snow now. In between we have had a few dustings of overnight snow that disappeared almost with the light of day. We just finished about 36 hours of rain, 1.0 inch, with temps in the 40’s. Through it all the pond has been frozen and the dogs have run across, but I have not tried it. Today is colder and windy with occasional sunshine. The puddles in the pasture are starting to re-freeze. The small pond in the pasture has been re-frozen and re-thawed for a few cycles.

Before the rain started, I burnt the big brush pile of lilac and rose prunings, the debris from the shed repair and dead fall. It got going without any accelerant and was gone in two hours. The next day, during a break in the rain, I used the big magnet to pick up all the nails, staples and screws that burnt out of the wood scraps.

It doesn’t feel like Xmas in Vermont.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Xmas in the Park

12-17-06 SHORT HILLS: The weather continues to be warm. The Alps are having the warmest season in over 1000 years, according to today’s NYT.

In NJ the grass is green, and the only flowers are a few confused forsythia and a couple brown hydrangea. In San José it was in the sixtys during the day and the deciduous trees are just now unloading. I noticed some maples in good color. However, the roses are in bloom as are daffodils and countless other flowers. Evergreen trees are covered with shiny colored balls of citrus fruit.

Downtown we all went to “Christmas in the Park” with Santa, rides, carnival food, many decorated trees, all the seasonal symbols, an ice skating rink and fake snow periodically gusting from lamp posts. These mini snow storms were the biggest hit with Joey.

The St. Leo the Great pageant was enormously enhanced by the presence of Eoin the star sheep. He is the first sheep on the left. Some of the other kinders are donkeys or cows. You can tell form the head gear.

evergreen tree with decorative colored balls.

snow lover.

rose paraders.

star sheep commander--first on the left.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

California Trip.

12-12-06 SHORT HILLS: It’s warm again. Yesterday was almost 60°, the same as the average high as San José, CA, where we’re off to today, and obviously above the average for NJ in December.

We have tickets for St. Leo’s Xmas pageant in which Jon’s first born is starring as a sheep. A very hard-to-get ticket. We’re lucky we didn’t have to use a scalper. Sheep picture to follow the opening night performance.

Garrison Keillor was great as usual, and Roger and Leesa loved the show. The next day the Bach was Magnificat.

Note to Laura B.: If you wear off-the-rack, mass-produced dresses in common colors, expect other people to be wearing the same rag at socials. Really. Show some common sense—wear jeans.

St. Frances of Short HIlls

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Freeze Arrives.

12-9-06 SHORT HILLS: It finally got cold. The last few days we have had frozen mud, standing water is ice, when the wind blows, I’m cold even with gloves and a hat. Forsythia have been opening scattered flowers for a few weeks, but not any longer. Sticks and branches continue to rain down on the yard. The leaves are gone, the gutters are clean. The garden season is done for the year.

relaxing after a year of gardening.

We saw a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” by the Packer middle school Thursday night. Are you surprized, dear reader, to be informed that a relation of ours was in the cast. It was pretty good. I put a few video snippets on You Tube—search for Fiddler/Packer under Music.

the dramatic wedding scene.

Tonight we see “A Prairie Home Companion” in one of the NYC appearances, and tomorrow we hear the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir do Bach at NJPAC in Newark.

This blog has passed the 5,000 hit mark a few weeks ago. Thanks, dear readers.

Monday, December 04, 2006

If You Don't Like the Weather, .....

12-4-06 SHORT HILLS: I had mentioned that our first day in Vermont was warm and balmy.

December flower.

On the second day we had heavy rain, almost two inches.

December Green.

On the third day it was clear and sunny, but very windy with westerlies that blew sticks and branches all over the yard and actually blew over a standing dead tree in the pasture. The dogs helped with the clean up. I would throw a stick in the woods. They would bring it back.

On the fourth day it was cold, in the 20’s, and all the standing water from the rain froze as did about half the pond, no wind no rain. When a sudden freeze happens, especially to wet soil, ice flowers form. They appear in bare soil in shady, mossy spots.

December cold.

Ice Flower.

On the fifth day it snowed. We left, having sampled the entire weather palette there was no reason to stay longer, and we were afraid that locusts might be next.

December Snow.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Wither Winter?

12-1-06 VERMONT: We came up yesterday. It was in almost 70°. I started the last of the leaf blowing in the afternoon and got shut down by darkness with just a bit to go. Then the rain started and continues. The storm did take a break today, and I finished the leaves in time to avoid the current deluge. You all realize, of course, that the leaves should be under snow cover or at least frozen solidly to the ground now and the rain should be snow. This picture, if it loads, shows how green, and wet, things are. Yesterday we saw a yellow wildflower in bloom in the pasture, not what December is supposed to be in Vermont.

We went to the Met before Vermont and heard “Idomeneo” with Dorothea Röschmann. She has a beautiful voice. All the singers were right on, hit all the notes and had impressive strength, but she has a very appealing quality to her voice. The set is dominated by a giant head of a vengeful Neptune, who kind of resembled the Neptune in “Pirates of the Caribbean”. This Neptune could make a believer out of Richard Dawkins. The opera was almost four hours long, but the time just flies by when you’re having Mozart.