Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Return to Kearsarge.

7-30-14 VERMONT: We had more rain. 2.25 inches worth, before the sun came out yesterday. Judy missed the hike up Kearsarge last week so we did it yesterday. The views were as good as they were, but it was colder on top, so we didn’t linger.

Afterwards I weeded the veggies, and we picked tomatoes and blueberries. There were four quarts of blueberries, sweet and tangy, with as many green ones for the next round of picking in a week or so. The corn has silk showing on most of the stalks.

We are in another cool spell with nighttime temps in the low fifties. It has been a cold and wet summer, at least so far.

New blooms: lobelia, helenium.

A pair of finches, purple and gold.

Nice cloud as the weather cleared.

JWF rock-hopping her way up Kearsarge, safely out of close-up range.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Party Before the Storm.

7-27 14 VERMONT: The potluck party was a big success. Everyone hailed Judy as the neighborhood social catalyst. The evening was perfect, if anything, it was too cool, weather-wise. We had put a table on the terrace with extra seating that nobody used. Everybody was on the deck either at the bar or the food. Thanks to all for bringing food and wine.

This morning there was a short T-storm after we brought everything inside and, again, there was another in the afternoon followed by a rainbow.

Sunset party. [Thanks to Gail for these pix.]

Action on the deck.

Everybody hangs between the food and bar.

Rainbow after tonight's T-storm.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


7-26-14 VERMONT: Wow, I have fallen into a posting deficit. We had 0.8 inches of rain after my last post, which got everything nicely soaked.

The next day Alison, Dan and I did an easy hike up Mt. Kearsarge in southern NH. We did the southern hike, from Rollins State Park on the Rollins Trail. It’s an easy half mile and 300 feet of vertical, just enough for geezer bones. The summit of Kearsarge is bare from a forest fire in 1796. The views are great. They say Boston can be seen on a clear day, but not when we were there, and it was pretty clear. The rock looked like igneous/gneiss at first glance. I’ll do an entry on the geology blog after I’ve researched it.

The next day Judy and Alison helped Lily host a BBQ for her friends who didn’t have visitors for Parents’ Weekend at camp, oops, I mean college. It worked out well, and gave us a practice run for the potluck, neighborhood party we’re hosting tonight.

New blooms: Shasta daisy, goose-neck loosestrife, phlox.

Which one is the sherpa?

Lake Sunapee in the  middle and Mt. Ascutney in the distance.

Looking NE toward the Whites.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Moment in the Hammock.

7-22-14 VERMONT: The humidity is back, and we almost need rain. I’ve watered the new plantings. It’s been more of the usual chores—weeding, pruning, trimming. I did spend five minutes in the hammock between cartloads of prunings getting dumped.

The days are noticeably shorter now that we’re more than a month away from the June solstice. The plants are still racing to get the job done before the season ends. They all still seem to be ahead of schedule.

Alison and Dan are visiting for the week, and they're impressed with new WiFi.

There is a ton of milkweed in the pasture this year, but none of its leaves look chewed up. I haven’t seen any Monarch butterflies or caterpillars. [Milkweed is the Monarch caterpillars’ meal of choice.]

New blooms: Joe Pye weed, ligularia, boltonia.

Daylily reflections.

Mixed palate.

Cabbage White butterfly on hesperis.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Reds and Pinks.

7-18-14 VERMONT: It’s been sunny, cool, dry and breezy. Once again things are drying out. That part of the yard that drains into the pond has been soggy all season and dry enough to get mowed only about twice.

Yesterday the apple trees were pruned by Ben B. He also hauled away all the cuttings. That is now off my to do list.

A few blueberries and a few tomatoes have been ripe enough to eat. The corn is as high as my eye and tassels are starting to show.

New blooms: echinacea, red hybrid daylilies.

Grape juice?


Very red.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fast Times and High Speed.

7-16-14 VERMONT: It’s been a crazy, social whirl for Judy’s birthday. Alan was here, and we went to Canoe Club, his treat, thanks again, Al. The next night, the two of us hit Elixir, and tonight we ate at the Pine Room with Lily. Middlebrook is on the calendar with Ken and Jane in a few days.

There was a bunch of rain, 1.5 inches, yesterday and last night. The new stone work out front worked fine and the rain flowed away from the house toward the road. The basement stayed dry.

ECFiberNet was here yesterday to bring the line from the road to the house, and another tech was here today to bring the fiber optics inside and to the router. We now have high speed Wi-Fi and feel very twenty-first century.

New blooms: pink and maroon hybrid daylilies.

Water Lilys, these are in pink. I think there are three frogs in the picture.


After the rain.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


7-13-14 VERMONT: it’s mid-summer and the pollinators and flowers are hard at work through the long days. Blossoms seem to be ahead of the usual schedule, but that may just be my imagination, or perhaps, the plants know there’s an early winter in the works. We got an afternoon shower today, so far just enough to wet the leaves.

The bed under the dining room windows originally had a lot of hostas growing and doing well in a shady spot. After the house was painted twice, and pre-washed twice, the bed is barren. At first I thought it was the foot traffic from the painters, but replacement plants died so I am guessing that there’s lead in the soil from the scrapping and washing of the old paint. Today I dug some of the soil out and replaced it with new topsoil and planted pachysandra cuttings—we’ll see.

New blooms: potentilla, summer azalea.

Hollyhock, dramatic flower repeated for several weeks.

Pickerel weed is an aquatic with tear-drop shaped leaves and blue/purple flowers.

Another hybrid daylily.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Turkey Sighting.

7-11-14 VERMONT: The rain has stopped for the moment, and we’ve had gorgeous days. I have been at the usual chores, generating cart loads of prunings.

We went to an onsite auction in Orford, NH this morning. We saw a couple beautiful farms on the road, but didn’t bid on anything. On the way home we stopped to let two adult turkeys and a bunch of chicks cross the road. I suppose they wanted to get to the other side.

New blooms: pickerel weed, catmint [forgot to mention before], delphinium, perennial foxglove, bee balm, milkweed, Queen Anne's lace.

Hybrid daylily.

Roses are recovering from the severe winter.

Milkweed with pollinators. We have the pink variety also, but no Monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Why did the turkeys cross the road? Note the chicks.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Rainy VT.

7-9-14 VERMONT: We just made it here in time for a delicious dinner at Donna and Bruce’s yesterday, Phyllis and Arnie were there also. We had been in NJ for a week, but collected 2.3 inches of rain here, and then another 0.6 last night and a bunch more this afternoon and evening.

Melissa brought us a couple garden surprises today. First there was a yellow lady’s slipper from her collection. I planted it in a mini-fen of peat moss and lime in a wet spot under the eaves. She also gave us some maiden-hair ferns and a clomp of toad lilies, Tricyrtis. They too went into wet, shady spots.

Otherwise there was weeding and dead-heading of peonies.

New blooms: hosta, native daylily, mallow, hydrangea, filipendula, astilbe, hollyhocks, purple rain salvia, Russian sage, yarrow, campanula.

Daylily in Vermont.

Hollyhocks seem early.

Astilbe. This cherry color is one of many vivid or pastel colors.

Sunday, July 06, 2014


7-6-14 SHORT HILLS: Our birdhouse, put up in May, is occupied by wrens, House Wrens, I believe, anyone? All eight of the available condos have twigs sticking out of the entries. This is something a wren couple do to discourage competition for food—putting ‘occupied’ signs on the unoccupied seats. They’re big insect eaters and the songs are pretty, so they are quite welcome.

We saw the Millburn fireworks on the fifth, postponed from the Fourth because of Arthur’s visit, very nice display.

House Wren.

Wren again.

And again.

Bird Condos, all filled with twigs. Apparently a wren couple will put twigs in all the nearby nest sites after building their nest to discourage competition.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Fire Works Washout?

7-4-14 SHORT HILLS: Where to start?? Well, Eoin and Joe spent a lot of the last weekend in VT with neighborhood friends, Gavin and Caitlin, in the pond. Maizie helped out with the swimming. Even Lucy was in the water.

We came back to NJ Tuesday to open July with haze, heat, humidity and a T-storm. Wednesday the five of us went to see Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre, NYC. I was dreading another kid’s musical, but I have to confess that I loved it. The story is almost the same as the cartoon film of some years ago, but the iconic performance of Robin Williams as the voice of the Genie was eclipsed by the job done by James Monroe Iglehart. Adam Jacobs makes a very charismatic Aladdin. The parrot and the monkey from the film have been replaced by humans. The staging, costumes, music and choreography were great. No one seems to have come down with a sequin overdose as yet.

After the show we went to Val and Steve’s in Brooklyn Heights for a BBQ dinner on the deck, but got driven inside by another T-storm. There was enough rain to cause local flooding. Thanks, Val, for the feed.

After that stormy night, the boys left EWR yesterday morning for SFO before last night’s T-storm. We came home from the airport to catch up on sleep and laundry. Today Hurricane Arthur is off shore. So far we have gusty winds and only light rain. The prognosis for the fire works show is iffy. We go to Lynn and Bill's for dinner tonight.

New blooms: southern magnolia, beauty berry, tutsan, daylily, butterfly bush.

Luna Moth. Hanging on a screen the morning we left VT.

Tutsan, Hypericum androsaemum, is also known as St. Johns wort. It has regrown from the ground after our severe winter.

Day lily, notice the difference between the inner and outer sets of petals.

Southern Magnolia puts out a huge, short-lived flower, a couple at a time for several weeks.

Fully opened Magnolia grandiflora.

Pond dwellers.

Synchronized swimming.

Multiple floaties.