Friday, February 28, 2014

And It Stays Cold...

2-28-14 SHORT HILLS: We’ve been back in the deep freeze for several days since the midmonth thaw. We had a dusting of new snow two days ago. Tomorrow, March 1, always seemed to me to signal the end of winter, but, obviously, not this year, in fact or feeling.

At the feeders, we have had lots of grackles, maybe two dozen or so, for several days. There are also several robins in the yard looking perplexed by all the snow.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Warm Weekend.

2-22-14 SHORT HILLS: As the sun gets higher in the sky, it gets warmer, in theory anyway. Today it’s in the low fifties and sunny after a few days of the forties. Yesterday there was a line of rain showers that slid across the whole eastern seaboard. There were T-storms to our south, but we just had a bit of hard rain. The day was otherwise fog and drizzle, but the snow has been melting. The shrubs that were freed from the ice have bounced up. The clouds cleared late in the afternoon to give us a nice sunset.

Next week, more snow and an encore by the polar vortex are predicted.

Nice sunset after the rain.

And a closer look.

Monday, February 17, 2014

"The winter of Our Discontent"--W.S.

2-17-14 SHORT HILLS: Since my last post, we have had more snow, done more shoveling and still flounder around the back yard in knee-deep snow, wishing for snowshoes. [In NJ!] The driveway is narrowed to one twisted, hard to negotiate lane. A lot of the local streets are down to one lane, and that lane is pock marked with potholes. The house is covered with snow and icicles hang from the gutters.

I saw a robin in the driveway yesterday. He flew into a holly tree and juniper bushes. I hope he finds enough berries to eat. Robins never go to the feeders, but everyone else is there all day.

That thing on top of the gutter is the sensor for the sprinkler system.

Have a seat.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

And It Came To Pass.

2-13-14 SHORT HILLS: We got another ton of snow over night. Judy and I shoveled the driveway because there’s no place left for the plowers to push it. Now it’s raining. There’s not much wind, and the temp is in the thirties. We’re supposed to get another three inches tonight and more on Saturday. Personally, I’ve had all the snow I need for this winter.

Notice the shoveled driveway, cleared by Judy and me. There's no place for the plows to put the snow.

Patio table has retained some of the snow. The yardstick is at the 21 inch level.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

More Snow Tonight.

2-12-14 SHORT HILLS: We’re back in winter with our driveway full of icy piles and the yard covered with icy, crusted snow and temps in the twenties. The big news here is more snow from tonight through Friday, ten to twelve inches predicted. I used to scoff at the dire forecasts, but not anymore this year. Mid-February in NJ used to mean that winter was easing up, but not now.

I chopped away some of the driveway snow and moved it with the wheelbarrow yesterday, giving us a little more maneuverability for now. I have no idea where the new snow will get piled.

Here are a few more pix from FL:

Bird of Paradise.

'Nother Gator at Corkscrew.

Anhinga Swimming can be confused with....

Neotropic Cormorant swimming. The beaks are different as is the buoyancy.

Painted Bunting offers a rainbow of color.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Sunny Naples.

2-9-14 NAPLES, FLORIDA: We’re on a short break from the ice and snow, visiting Carol and Ken in warm, Gulf-side Naples. With afternoon temps in the eighties it’s shorts and tees, Crocs and sunscreen weather. Yesterday we started at the farmers’ market, walking their dog Oliver through the maze of other dogs of all sizes and breeds. The market has a nice selection of edibles and crafts.

After leaving Oliver at home, we went to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. We have been there on other visits and are glad to re-visit. The Sanctuary is a large wetland with an old growth bald cypress forest. The trees, being deciduous, are leafless this time of year. They are covered with epiphytes, Spanish moss and strangler figs. The forest floor, mostly standing water, is covered with ferns, palms, water plants, cypress knees and wildflowers, there is no empty space. The boardwalk loop through the swamp is a bit over two miles long and passes through different variations of the ecosystem.

We saw lizards, alligators and lots of birds as well as birdwatchers and photographers with gigantic, long lenses and tripods.

Ubiquitous hibiscus.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Great Egret with green 'lores' above the bill. It's a sexual signal.

Anhinga drying out after a dive.


Little Blue Heron.

Thursday, February 06, 2014


2-6-14 SHORT HILLS: We did indeed get more snow yesterday, several inches, followed by freezing rain and then way-below-freezing temps. This last snow was very wet and heavy and is now covered with a hard, icy crust. The dogs walk, and slide, on top of the crust, but I fall through about every third step, which makes walking difficult.

We were plowed again, but now the driveway is so full of snow that it’s getting hard to maneuver around the piles. There will not be any warm up and melting through the weekend and, and yet more snow is expected on Sunday. I’m getting snow fatigue.

Lilac in ice.

Magnolia in ice.

Frosted apple.

Lacework ice.

Sun, but little melting.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Would You Believe More Snow?

2-4-14 SHORT HILLS: After a warm weekend, we got more snow. This batch fell in somewhat warmer weather and so was heavier and wetter and stickier. It coated and stuck to all the branches, weighing them down, and bending them over, especially the evergreen trees and shrubs. Yesterday, when I was outside, I could hear branches snapping, but now I can’t tell which branches are damaged because they’re all bent over. When it all melts, lots of broken branches will not pop back up like the unbroken ones, making pruning work for the gardeners.

Yesterday, Monday, was a snow day for everybody. It stopped snowing in the late afternoon, and we were plowed out in mid-evening. Today is bright and sunny, but barely back to the freezing mark so there is not much melting and not much snow falling off the trees. I did shake off a few small trees, being careful not to damage them while trying to help.

I think that the best thing to do, most of the time, is to let the trees deal with the problem. Trying to clear the snow with a rake or shovel does more harm than good.

The forecast calls for another storm tonight and a third on the weekend. I’m ready for a few weeks of no precip.

Wrestling in the snow.

Yesterday, eight inches of white out.

Today, sunlight and snow.

Bright and white.

Bamboo taking a nap in the snow.

It's beautiful but will do a lot of damage if the trees don't shed the snow soon.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Super Square.

2-2-14 SHORT HILLS: We saw “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” last night. It’s a great musical farce freely adapted from an old, but still good, Alec Guinness movie, “Kind Hearts and Coronets.” Jefferson Mays and Bryce Pinkham are the male leads and each is wonderful. The Walter Kerr Theatre is another gorgeous, restored old deco playhouse.

The restaurant before the show was a clunker. I told Judy that I wouldn’t go back there for a free meal. After the show, we walked back to the car through Times Square, all tricked out for the Super Bowl and more garish than usual, if that’s possible. The area was teeming with enthusiastic crowds, many wearing team shirts or hats. We thought there was way more Seahawks stuff than Broncos gear. The police presence was at saturation level—cars, trucks, dogs and patrolmen everywhere. The traffic was dense in the area but light elsewhere. There were limos, big limos, huge limos, huge SUV’s clogging the streets that weren’t closed to traffic. We had parked away from the activity and breezed home through the tunnel.

The set for "A Gentleman's Guide..." opens up for a dozen sub-sets, enhanced with videos.

The Walter Kerr Theatre, very Deco.

T-Square, lights, cheerful, buoyant crowds, midst the logos, NFL stuff....

B'way show ads.....

A chance to kick an extra-point....

Of course, there are also many fine restaurants in the area....