Sunday, January 25, 2009

Naples, Florida is for the Birds.

1-25-09 NAPLES, FLORIDA: It’s our second annual visit to the land of winter sun courtesy of Ken and Carol. Naples is a tidy, affluent, very affluent, Gulf shore city host to many golf courses and many boats. We have also found that it’s a bird and birder’s paradise. Saturday we visited the Corkscrew Preserve, an Audubon site, an saw several wading birds. The preserve has a boardwalk, about two miles long through the mostly marshy habitat with several vantage points. We saw an alligator and white ibis, great heron, anhinga, yellow crowned night heron, black crowned night heron, nesting wood storks in the distance, snowy egret, red shouldered hawk, turkey vulture and great blue heron. Back in Naples, we saw lots of pelicans, eagles including two immatures in the neighborhood nest, coromorants and the usual shore birds.

We got a little sun, some great meals and hospitality and an afternoon boat ride.

Corkscrew Preserve has many bald cypress, those things that look like stumps are cypress 'knees'.

Great Egret on the left and White Ibis on the right.

Monday, January 19, 2009

January's Reign

1-19-08 SHORT HILLS: As we shiver our way through January, I have come to the realization that January, the month of my birth, is dismal and dreary. I do not, however, feel personally responsible for January’s bleakness even as one of her sons. It’s probably Valerie’s fault, she is also a Capricorn.

December is darker, but the holidays brighten it up, and February is shorter and its days are longer and offer the prospect of Spring to come. January is the fall guy [NPI] for Winter.

We have had a bit of snow almost every day, one or two inches, and in total not much accumulation, but the driveway plowers keep coming back and must love it. Things do look good.

Snowy Hemlocks.

Yesterday Judy and I went to the Americana auction previews at Sotheby's and Christie's houses in NYC. I think there is a bit less stuff on the block this year. It will be interesting to see how much the lots go for.

An Unusual Weather Vane.

Tomorrow is Inauguration Day. I remember Eisenhower’s first Inauguration and most of those since, but the level of activity, interest and anticipation is so much higher for Obama than for any other I recall.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Crying Snow Wolf.

1-12-09 SHORT HILLS: For several days prior to Saturday, the weather forecasters were predicting several inches of snow for the NY metro area. They frequently reappeared and the forecasts were lengthly with maps and radar. So what did we get? Maybe an inch of snow with a topping of freezing rain. Another case of weather hysteria.

The inauguration of President BHO is a week from tomorrow. I am concerned about the level of high expectation. He is an articulate, intelligent, charismatic politician, but not the messiah. The anticipation is that He will fix all the problems in the first six days after His ascention and rest on the seventh day. We must all realize that the mess with the climate, the economy, the wars, the markets and the energy crisis will actually take a couple of months for Him to resolve.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy New Year.

1-6-09 SHORT HILLS: We came back to NJ on New Years Day. Happy New Year, everyone. We got one day of skiing while in VT, at the Dartmouth Skiway, before everything froze up. The conditions were good, but only the Winslow side of the Skiiway was open. Maggie and Val loved it, Lucy hated it—I think she’s done with skiing. [check out her fourth-grade blog with the link on the left] On New Years Eve day, Maggie shoveled the pond, it had gotten a dusting of snow, in anticipation of a nighttime skating party to celebrate the new year.

We had dinner at the hibachi place in West Leb, which was packed with families, and on the way home, we noticed the temperature, as reported by the car, to be 7° and then 5° a bit later. Because Maggie had shoveled the pond, she and I felt that we had to skate at least a little. We decided to do one lap of the pond for each degree of temperature. By the time we got home, it was 2°. We actually did at least four or five laps before clomping back to the mud room, in our skates, to warm up. Strangely, no one else showed up to skate. We had a fire and watched South Park reruns while waiting for the ball to drop.

Back in NJ we have the remnants of a snow and temps around the freezing point. We may get more snow tonight. We lost a couple branches from the driveway junipers to the snow, or to the snow plowers.