Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August Ends.

8-30-11 VERMONT: We did have more of storm after my last post, another 0.9 inches of rain and some gusty winds, the electricity did go out that night and the next morning the phones also cut out. Both were back by mid-day, unlike the eastern parts of the state that were severely hurt by the high water and will have no power or phone for weeks. Many bridges and roads are out. [Check out VT storm videos on YouTube.] We were lucky to only have a wet basement floor and small branches down in the yard. The last couple days have been beautiful, the boys have been back in the pond, and we have been doing clean up and close up. We go back to NJ tomorrow. Rain total for August—11.9 inches by my gauge, I put all the hoses away for the season.

Morning After. Irene fades away.

Tomatoes keep coming.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodnight, Irene.

8-28-11 VERMONT: Irene seems to be disappearing over the northern horizon and not a moment too soon. It started raining late last night with some gusty winds, but it has been a rain event with, at most, minor wind problems. We have not lost phone service at all and the electricity was out for only a moment or two. That has not been our usual experience here.

About four o’clock neighbors from down the hill stopped by to say that the road had washed out. At that time the rain had stopped, and the winds were calm, perhaps we were in the eye. We all put on foul weather gear and went to look. The roadside ditches were roaring and water was pouring down the embankments into the road. Where Lord Brook usually meanders under the road through a culvert, an eight foot in diameter culvert, there was standing water pouring off the down-stream side in a vigorous waterfall and an impressive whirlpool on the up-stream side. The whirlpool was water still going down the culvert at maximum capacity. At 8 ft. in diameter the culvert has an area of 50 sq.ft. The water was traversing the fifty foot length in about a second for a velocity of 50 ft/sec and a flow of 2500 cu ft/sec, [area x velocity] not counting the water flowing over the culvert. That CFS is probably 100 times normal flow.

On the way home, I checked the rain gauge. The top measure is 5 inches and it had about a quarter inch over that. By the time we got inside the rain had started again. At 9:30 PM we still have light rain and more gusty wind even though the radar shows it to be gone.

Storm Trackers.

New Boston Rd. has become New Boston waterfall. You can see the overwhelmed culvert pipe ridges which is usually three feet below the road surface.

This whirlpool is the water that is still going down the culvert.

New Boston pond.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

County Fair.

8-27-11 VERMONT: They’re running us ragged. Friday they spent in the pond, in and out of the rowboat, playing with inflatables and body boards and radio-controlled boats. Our new stove was delivered by Home Depot. The first time they delivered the wrong one and had to come back to exchange it for the proper one and take away the old one which had been disconnected by the propane serviceman who also installed the new one.

Today was the Caledonia County Fair in Lyndonville, VT. We did rides, ate fair food, saw a high wire motorcycle act, an escape artist, trained bears, border collie herding, checked out the draft horses and oxen. After we got home there was more pond time and tomato picking and corn from the garden, mac and cheese, and hot dogs for dinner. A few of us had different courses.

Tomorrow we expect an Irene visit and indoor activities. We had another 0.2 inches of rain to add to the soggy August total.

New blooms: bottle gentian, turtle head, more asters.

Hopefully all the frogs survived their inter-species congress.

A boy, a dog and a boat.

Notice that there are no grandparents in that car.

Gentle grizzly bear.

Hummingbird Moth. This guy looks like a small hummer and flits from flower to flower with high-speed wing action. It also has a 'beak' like a hummer.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jersey Shore.

8-25-11 VERMONT: We’re back here with the boys after a trip up today through the rain and traffic. The dogs and boys were well behaved on the trip.

Yesterday was exciting—a trip to the Jersey shore, specifically, Seaside Heights. Seaside is a fairly typical shore town, a bit more garish than some others, and now famous for the cable TV hit ‘Jersey Shore’. Val, Steve, Maggie, Lucy and Annabelle have been there vacationing, and we met them for the day. We walked the boardwalk, played arcade games, had candy apples, rode, some of us, the roller-coasters and the log flume, then had lunch including pizza, sausage and peppers, fries, fried oreos, fried chicken and other health foods. In the afternoon we hit the beach and the gorgeous white sand. The ocean was pretty warm and the surf a bit on the rough side which made it that much more fun jumping over, diving under and riding the waves. We all learned to deal with the choppy surf.

We assumed the surf was up from the impending visit of that windbag, Irene.

After showers at the motel, we went out for a Tex-Mex dinner back on the boardwalk and a chance to experience the flashing neon. As the sun set, we left for home after good-byes and thank-yous to Val et al. The one thing Seaside lacks, as far as I can tell, is anything in a pastel shade.

Back in VT, I can report there was 1.75 inches of rain plus a shower while the boys and I were picking corn and tomatoes for dinner.

New blooms: chrysanthemum.

Seeing Seaside Heights Sights.

We racked up high scores and won thousands of points which were redeemed for a few toys.

The rides were a trill and damp.

Some of us worked harder than others.

Nice sand.

Most of the time there were waves.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Return to NJ.

8-22-11 SHORT HILLS: The trip to NJ yesterday was uneventful except for a few rainy spells, one was quite hard and heavy. Our cars spend the summer in VT living with us on a dirt road. Cars don’t get washed because the first time out of the driveway, the car looks just as it did before the washing. Back in NJ we live on pavement, of course, but another trip to VT is always imminent so there’s no point to washing other than a hosing in the driveway. Anyway, that rain storm on the trip left our cars cleaner than any other time this summer.

Here, the yard is soggy in spots, and the sprinkler system is now off for a few weeks. Almost everything in the yard looks good except one of the five new cherry trees. There is a healthy crop of weeds and vines so I won’t be idle.

We came down early because the boys from California are arriving for a long week. We will probably take them back to VT.

In bloom: foxglove, roses, hydrangea, rose-of-sharon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

High Tide on the Red Sea.

8-20-11 VERMONT: Oops, time slips away, sorry, dear reader. Judy and I just celebrated our, gasp, fiftieth anniversary, talk about time slipping away. The days have been pretty, and we had a bit more rain last night. Alison is here to pick up Lily, whose camp counselor session has ended. The four of us had dinner with big sister, Anna, last night. Anna is finishing her summer term and looking forward to a fall internship in NYC.

Tomatoes fill the kitchen, big, little, in-between, red, orange in baskets and bowls. We started harvesting and eating corn. We shuck the corn in the pasture because Brady the horse loves the shuckings.

I got the chain saw back from a servicing yesterday and sliced up an aspen that had fallen into the pasture from the adjacent woods. The newly sharpened saw cut through the tree trunk like a hot knife through butter. Today I did a little more work on the culvert. NJ tomorrow.

New blooms: ligularia dentata.

Lobelia, also comes in red and is called Cardinal Flower for reasons unknown to me. The buds on the stalks open from bottom to top.

This bumblebee is chest deep in the lobelia cup, getting his nectar treat and spreading pollen.

I believe this is a honeybee, a rarity this year, on the clematis.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


8-16-11 VERMONT: Since my last entry, it has done nothing but rain, for almost 48 hours. This storm was the one that dumped up to 10 or 11 inches on the NYC area. We only got 2.65 inches, but that was enough to fill the pond which was down about 2 inches and soak everything. We will be sufficiently soggy for up to two weeks. When the rain stopped this afternoon, it went from cold and dank to sunny, hot and muggy in a twinkling.

The landscapers were here again doing more pasture trimming and inadvertently cut the invisible dog fence wire. It was easy to find and repair, and I found two more broken split rail fence rails to replace. It was good to escape the house after the rain. We had a pretty sky at sunset.

August gardens: black-eyed susan, echinacea, helenium, daisy, yarrow and white star clematis hanging from the deck.

Red cloud.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fence Mending.

8-14-11 VERMONT: Yesterday was another beauty, I finished the re-do of the cutting board that had been in the kitchen for years, but had developed a bad case of mold growing between loosened wood strips. I took it apart, sliced off the edges and bottoms of the strips with the table saw, re-glued it together using a biscuit cutter and clamps to make three pieces and then one piece. Then came a lot of sanding and new bread board ends again using the biscuit cutter and the clamps. Then more sanding and finally oiling.

Friday Lily called from camp. She and her friend Jesse had the evening off from counselor duties so we brought them here for pasta dinner with crepes for dessert. We all had a good time.

Yesterday evening, Judy and I gave a dinner party for Anna and Dylan, Ken and Jane, Steve and Diana, John and Gretchen, and Ann and Roger. We were all outside on the deck before dinner watching the day darken and then had buffet dinner inside.

Today I was back in the pasture and replaced five broken fence rails.

New blooms: globe thistle, late phlox, early aster.

Full Moon rising behind our barn.

Moon and Lake Fairlee.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Happened to the Summer?

8-11-11 VERMONT: We had more rain, another 0.8 inches. We’re good for a week or so. Today was beautiful, seventies, breezy, clear skies and low humidity. Our landscapers have been here parts of the last two days working on the pasture which has been invaded by trees, white pine and aspen, various shrubs and weeds—mint, thistle, burdock. They are cutting down all the invasives so the whole thing can be brush-hogged to try and get it back to mostly grass. Brady the horse just eats grass where he finds it, but none of the other stuff. I was inspired by their efforts and the great, cool day to get out the DR Trimmer and go around the barns, garden, roses. I had to repair it twice, a loose screw on the clutch plate and then an oily air filter, caused by the first repair.

On that point, land here wants to be mixed forest of evergreens and deciduous trees. Pastures, gardens and yards, if neglected, gradually turn back into forest.

Usually I mow a few times a summer, but this year has been so busy with other jobs that I haven’t gotten to it. It occurred to me today that I have been doing a bunch of non-recurring projects—pumpkin cart rebuild, benches rebuild, cellar door rebuild, kitchen cabinet rebuild [with the soapstone sink installation], and even splitting the downed maple tree wood. They’re not regular, yearly jobs. Well, there’s always next year. Oh yeah, has anyone noticed how it’s now dark at eight instead of nine. The summer is slipping away.

New blooms: star clematis.

Does that flag look off? You can't tell, but it has 15 stars and 15 stripes. It's the flag that was flying at Ft. McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the 'Star Spangled Banner', and accordingly, is known by that name. Thirteen of the stars and stripes are for the original thirteen colonies, and the other two of each are for Vermont and Kentucky. This is why we fly it at our 1791 farm house. You probably thought we lost the other stars in the stock market. Later, when more states joined up, Congress decided to return to thirteen stripes and add only new stars for new states. Rarely has Congress displayed such good sense since.

Monday, August 08, 2011


8-8-11 VERMONT: We got the rain, 0.35 inches, enough for a few days. Yesterday was dead calm after the rain, but muggy and hot. Today was breezy and not so hot.

I foamed all the gaps in the new cellar door frame today and dug out the culvert again. The road grader was here today and my culvert wall needed a few repairs afterwards.

More tomatoes are ripening everyday, more than we can eat. Blueberries are still here with lots of unripened fruit for the next few weeks. The corn will be ready next week.

New blooms: black-eyed susan.

Now those are flowers.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Back in Thetford.

8-6-11 VERMONT: We’re back. Yesterday’s trip was uneventful, long, with a stop at Bob’s, but uneventful. The dogs were glad to be home from the kennel, as usual. Things here are dry. I watered a few yesterday and filled the feeders. Judy picked tomatoes—the tomato torrent has begun.

The heron, ho hum, was back today. It’s hot, overcast and threatening to rain more than the brief shower we had this afternoon. If we don’t get rain today, I’ll make it rain tomorrow by watering everything.

Lily and three counselor friends are visiting on their day off from Hive. Maggie has returned from Thailand exuberant about the trip.

New blooms: indian pipe, lobelia.

Here's another from MDI.

Stormy sky+ocean+islands+pink granite+spruce+wild rose=Mt. Desert Island coast

"I was here all week, where were you guys?"

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Southwest Harbor and Mount Desert Island.

8-3-11 SOUTHWEST HARBOR, MAINE: We drove down east yesterday, stopping only for a lobster roll and fried clams in Kittery, ME at Bob’s Clam Hut which I consider worth the journey. We arrived at Ken and Carol’s beautiful house here in time for dinner and a refreshing beverage. This morning we hiked with Audrey, Virginia, Caroline and Hazel at a part of Acadia National Park called Ship Harbor. It is a hike through the woods, mostly evergreens covered with mosses with an understory of blueberry and bunchberry and the like, ending at the ocean shore of a red granite pluton dotted with tidal pools. Their two dogs, George and Teddy, were with us also. It’s hard to say whether the beach or the woods is the more beautiful.

After another seafood lunch, we went sailing in light air on Western Way, an arm of the Atlantic between Southwest Harbor and Great Cranberry Island.

The gardens around the house are flourishing, and my only problem was which pix to post. We had a spicy dinner at XYZ, a Mexican restaurant and watering hole in the neighborhood.

Hikers on the beach. Wait a few million years, and this will be soft pink sand.

Gardens, terrace and ocean.

Schooner on Western Way.

Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.