Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sea Cruise.

1-30-11 NAPLES, FL: Today we had a great cruise north along the coast to San Carlos Island, about a hour away. We had lunch at Parrot Key, a Bahamian style bistro and explored a bit before returning. The tide had fallen by the time we started back and exposed a sand bar which was covered with gulls and pelicans.

On the sail back, I was struck, once again, by how flat Florida is and how close to sea level. The highest points on land are the penthouse condos. Most of the state is essentially a sand bar. We have had a great weekend, back to the snow and ice tomorrow. We hope sea levels don't rise too quickly.

Shrimp boat/store.

Waterside waterhole.

Working class boats.

The whole state is basically a sand bar.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sunshine-Naples, FL.

1-30-11 NAPLES, FL: We arrived two days ago for our annual visit to Ken and Carol at their beautiful home on the Gulf Coast. The locals are complaining that it’s cold—they don’t get it. It’s about 70° in the afternoon and fifties in the evening. The morning we got in the car to catch our flight, on the one day when flights weren’t canceled, it was 20°. I’m in tee shirt, shorts and Crocs—not NJ wear.

Yesterday we went to Sanibel Island to the ‘Ding’ Darling Nature Preserve. It has a four mile drive through salt water marshes and mangroves filled with birds. I posted a few of the dozens of pix I took. We didn’t see gators who are there someplace. After that, a late lunch at the marina.

Today a cruise to Parrot Key is on the agenda.

'Ding' Darling Wildlife Preserve. Pelicans, Egrets et al.

Roseate Spoonbills.

Tricolor Heron.

Great Blue Heron.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More Snow, V et VI.

1-26-11 SHORT HILLS: And the beat goes on. Yesterday we had a couple inches that everyone just ignored [denial?]. Today it started at 7AM and we got a fast three inches followed by a lull and then heavier, wetter snow with up to a foot predicted.

All the local towns are saying their snow budgets are spent. Schools are closed again. More flights have been canceled. One town is using sea water on their streets, it evaporates and leaves a salt layer. Another town mixes beet juice with the salt to make it stickier. Interesting that it took a snowtastrophy for someone to actually find a use for beets.

It has been a little warmer. We’ve moved from the freezer back to the refrigerator.

Yesterday, another dusting, two inches, on the yew trees.

Today and Tonight, another ton of snow.

Monday, January 24, 2011

La Nina-It's her fault.

1-24-11 SHORT HILLS: The only thing colder than the weather this weekend was the Jets. NY, you can keep them, NJ has seen enough.

Saturday in VT was cold, below zero cold, and Saturday night/Sunday morning was colder than it has been in several winters—about twenty below. When it was only a few degrees below on Saturday afternoon, I put on snowshoes and took the dogs for an airing out. The snow was two feet deep in the hollows and crusted on the surface making trail-breaking a struggle, but it does warm you up. I took a few pix just to prove I was out there, but was glad to be back in after 45 minutes.

When the snow stays on the roofs, you know it's cold. Usually the sun warms the metal roofs, and the snow slides off with a loud thump.

There is a strong La Nina at present, and she may be making us colder and wetter than in an average year. [] El Nino does give us in the Northeast warmer and dryer winters, but what she does is not so clear. Wikipedia provides a nice discussion, and the maps below are from one of the articles. NOAA also has discussions and illustrations.


There's a ball out here somewheres.

Friday, January 21, 2011

More Snow IV, Vermont.

1-21-11 VERMONT: It’s one month since the Winter Solstice means the sun has started to climb out of the cellar. One month from now Sol will be halfway back to the Equator and will be noticeably higher in the sky and the days will be noticeably longer.

In the meantime, we left the snow behind in NJ, coming to VT yesterday, but it followed us, and we got 5-6 new inches here on top of the foot or so on the ground. I did some shoveling yesterday and did it over today. Seasonal low temperatures predicted to be below zero for this weekend.

It’s a social whirlwind here, dinner with Anna last night at Murphy’s, dinner tonight with Denny and Laura-Beth at Yama, and dinner tomorrow at Chez Judy with Adina, John and Gretchen. Then back to NJ on Sunday to catch the Jets with Lynn and Bill.

Morning Moon Set.

Those benches provide only cold comfort.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Snow III.

1-19-11 SHORT HILLS: We had another snow storm, only about two inches of snow, and then rain, intermittent for the last two days. The temperature got as high as the forties today. As there wasn’t much snow, I did the shoveling this time. By now, the snow has partly melted because it’s warmer, but the puddles will freeze when it gets cold again. There’s another storm on the horizon.

The Audubon books I mentioned last time are at Christie’s. Vermont tomorrow.

Here's another vane from the Christie's display. The small picture shows the barn that used to be home for the ram before he retired to the antique business.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Americana Weekend.

1-16-11 SHORT HILLS: It has remained very cold, barely reaching the freezing point, for several days now. Who could ever have expected weather like this in January? We have had snow cover on the ground almost continuously since Xmas—unusual for NJ.

Judy and I went into the city yesterday for the previews of the January Americana auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Most years we spend an afternoon at it. It’s free, it’s warm inside, you can park on the street, the collections have some beautiful pieces, the estimates as to what the articles will bring at auction are often stunning.

Judy fell in love—with a flat top highboy carved from tiger maple at Sotheby’s. Leslie Keno walked us through it, original brasses, highest quality carving, probably from the coast of Maine or New Hampshire, early 18th century.

Christie’s always seems to get a lot of weathervanes to which I am drawn. I don’t even bother looking at the estimates, too over-the-top. After visiting Christie’s, we watched the skaters careening and stumbling around the rink at Rockefeller Center. One more big plus, no traffic in or out of the city.

There were Audubons at both houses, but this pair of leather bound books from the collection of Duke Somebody were the most dramatic. The colors were brilliant, and the pages were 'double elephant quarto' size, more than three feet tall. The estimate was $7-10,000.000.

Grasshopper and Rooster weathervanes.

Highboy at Sotheby's.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Snow II.

1-12-11 SHORT HILLS: And it snowed again. We got about 8-9 inches last night. The snow is once again light, dry and powdery. It was an intense, over-night snow. It has stayed cold, in the twenties, today and gotten fairly windy. The wind is blowing the snow off the trees and shrubs. I trudged around earlier and saw only minor damage to the evergreens. They, the evergreens, are shaking themselves off like wet dogs, with the help of the wind.

Speaking of wet dogs, they were in and out several times during the evening, always coming in with a new white fluff coat for which they got toweled off. They all love the toweling. I think they go out just to come back in for the attention.

Red Twig Dogwood makes a dramatic statement in the snow, during the growing season the branches are greenish brown.

Can you find Chloe the dog? Those snow-burdened bushes are yews. Yew wood used to be used by archers for bows because of the flexibility demonstrated here. Those yews usually stand about 10-15 feet high.

The bamboo shook off most of the snow.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

More Snow.

1-8-11 SHORT HILLS: We had more snow yesterday, really a trifle compared to the big Xmas storm, but potentially more dangerous to the shrubs and trees. The first one was dry snow, with wind that seemed to blow the snow off the trees, and after two plus feet of snow there was little accumulation on the evergreens and little damage done to them.

This last storm, only 3-4 inches, was wet snow and more of it stayed on the tree branches. Today it’s cold, below freezing, and it isn’t melting. We actually did the driveway ourselves, an index of how little snow fell.

Just before dark, the skies cleared in the west and we had a pretty sunset.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Watching Snow Melt.

1-6-11 SHORT HILLS: The hard part of regular blogging is saying something when you have nothing to say. Back here in NJ it has been cold at night and warms during the day to the upper thirties—typical January. Some snow predicted for tomorrow.

The last snow we got, two feet plus, has been reduced to a few inches of crusty stuff with large bare patches and, of course, huge plow piles. There was a big branch broken and hanging from an Asian holly tree that I pruned and took to the dump. Many other shrubs have lower branches still pinned to the ground by frozen snow and more pruning may become necessary, but it was, so far, a remarkably benign snow storm.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Winter Sports II.

1-1-11 VERMONT: There’s not a lot to say, but I can’t let all those ones go by with out a post. I went to the Dartmouth Skiway yesterday, it was warm and sunny, and the snow was groomed, packed powder. Off the groomed trails, the snow was slushy and thin, but still ski-able. I forget how much fun skiing is until the first run each winter. New England skiing is usually done on 15°, windy days under leaden skies, so yesterday’s weather was a treat.

The warm day yesterday and today, it’s 50°, let all the snow and ice on the metal roofs slide off, causing big thumps when it hit the ground or the deck. Every crash sets off a new round of barking. After the roofs were all clear, we shoveled the deck for the second time this week.

A great afternoon at the Skiway, warm, sunny, packed powder.

Sunset on the way home.

Sam at fourteen years old.

Thanks for the nice comments, AngZee.