Saturday, August 30, 2014

Maggie finds Monarchs.

8-30-14 VERMONT: Steve, Val, Maggie and Lucy arrived a couple days ago for a mini va-ca on their way to take Maggie back to college. Yesterday we walked around the pasture while Maggie took pictures of the first Monarch we saw this season. Then we saw another on our hike.

Taking advantage of the beautiful day, we hiked the woods behind our house, exploring the old roads. We found a sunny clearing with lots of blackberries that kept us busy for a while. On the way back we looked in on the old beaver pond, which is totally gone and turned into a meadow. We followed the brook from the non-pond and eventually got home after our neighbors sheep chased us out of their pasture. We dinnered at Elixir in WRJ. Today is probably Gile Mt., an easy hike.

It’s just amazing how bonded Val and Maizie are.

New blooms: turtle head, Ligularia dentata ‘Britt Marie Crawford’. [I mentioned ligularia in bloom a month ago—that was L. stenocephala ‘The Rocket’.]

Turkey chicks from the 7/11/14 post almost grown up.

Blissful photog neck-deep in mint.

She found a Monarch butterfly, the first of the season that we've seen here. Later in the day we saw another a a different spot. photo by Maggie R.

Maizie and Val in a love fest. Val just can't get enough of the dogs.

Hike in the woods, trying to stay on the trail.

Blue Heron decided the pond was too noisy this morning.

Preview of Coming Attractions.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


8-26-14 VERMONT: It’s sunny and in the mid-eighties—summer has arrived in Vermont. And just in time, because lots of trees are beginning to show fall color change. Ash trees are dropping purple leaves. I have remarked that most of the perennials seemed to be early this season, as if they knew there would be an early winter. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a harsh winter, but their predictions are actually no better than chance.

In the pasture the mint is in full flower, and usually in August it is covered with butterflies, but not this year. There are a few butterflies but there are no Monarchs. Also, there is a lot of milkweed in the pasture, the Monarch caterpillar’s favorite snack, but none of it has been eaten.

There was another 1.25 inches of rain in the gauge when we got back from NJ. The summer continues to be wet.

We have a corn poacher. Something has knocked over corn stalks, pulled off the ears, shucked them and eaten the kernels. I assume it is a raccoon, who also picked the last of the blueberries. I harvested all the remaining ears of corn that were ripe and left only immature ears on the stalks. Tomatoes, fortunately, do not seem to be on the raccoon’s meal plan.

New blooms: more phlox, more asters.

Fall flower - some kind of aster.

Grossbeak and song sparrow. The sparrow has been eating red berries from a nearby honeysuckle bush.

Black-eyed Susan.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Soggy Jersey.

8-23-14 SHORT HILLS: I’m back in NJ, and Dan is much improved and about to be discharged from the hospital in Denver. He and Alison will return to NY by Amtrak via Chicago. Arnie also left yesterday.

It’s been a wet summer here, and everything looks well watered and thriving. I picked up a bunch is sizable branches and pumped the water off the pool cover and did a few minor chores. There will be much pruning and weeding here this fall.

In bloom: rose-of-Sharon, roses, hydrangea, caryopsis, butterfly bush, spirea, white star clematis, monarda.

Rose-of-Sharon comes in different flavors. Here are strawberry....

and cherry-vanilla.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Visit to Denver.

8-20-14 DENVER, COLORADO: Our son-in-law, Dan, is here in Denver with a health issue and Alison is here to aid and abet in his recovery. I came out to lend her some support. Dan’s father Arnie is also here. Medically things are going well.

Yesterday Judy and I both drove down to NJ from VT and had dinner with Bill in Chatham.
This afternoon I was in the parking lot of the hospital and saw a big, raptor-like bird perched on a utility pole across the street. It was not a vulture—they probably don’t even know what hospitals are.

There were T-storms scattered all around Denver today. The big sky was interesting all afternoon. I spotted a rainbow before sunset—a good omen.

Raptor outside the hospital, not a vulture.

Mountains and big sky.

Rainbow before sunset.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Southwest from the Water.

8-17-14 VERMONT: We got back yesterday afternoon in time to collect the dogs and bring them home. There was much squirming, jumping and licking. This morning, our anniversary BTW, they are all calmed down. We had 1.3 inches of rain in the gauge here plus a bit more last night. Today is cool and cloudy.

The day before yesterday we spent on the water in Southwest Harbor. In the morning we went out in the Picnic Boat for a tour of the watery side of the neighborhood. After lunch Ken and I were out in the sailboat with his friend John. There wasn’t a lot of wind, but we did find some near Northeast Harbor, and then we fell into a fog bank and needed the radar to creep back to Southwest Harbor. Dinner was at XYZ, Penny and Harry joined Ken, Carol, Judy and me for Mexican.

New blooms: white star clematis, white phlox.

Boat ride.

Fog appears, moves in, moves out, disappears and reappears.

Lighthouse on Sutton Island.

East Bunker Ledge at low tide. That ledge is mostly covered at high tide. The pyramid is the warning marker, and that thing on top is a flag, bent to the right. Next to the flag staff is a bald eagle.

There were many impressive yachts in the harbor. Here are two...

And here's another.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Storm in Southwest Harbor.

8-14-14 SOUTHWEST HARBOR, MAINE: We left Salem yesterday morning in a rush, avoiding the storm that drowned Long Island and was threatening Boston. There was rain and a little gusty wind when we started north on I-95. Within a half hour we were in Maine and had only light rain do deal with for the rest of the trip to visit Ken and Carol in Southwest Harbor.

We arrived in mid-afternoon before the storm, it caught up with us while we were out to dinner and the leaves were blowing around in the rain. Today started out overcast and cold. We went to an antique show in Blue Hill, which is next to Ellsworth. There were interesting pieces, but everything was way over-priced, we thought. There were errands to be run, and we ended back at the house for lobster roll lunches for some of the lucky dinners.

By early afternoon the sky was clear, and we did the hike on the Wonderland Trail, which is part of Acadia National Park. The trail leads through pines and blueberries, with roses and lichen accenting granite outcrops. The ocean views are of nearby ledges with seabirds and waves breaking on pink granite. A few sailboats were out on the water, and they had plenty of wind.

Afterwards Ken gave me a ride in his new, old car, a ’36 Ford Phaeton, four door. It’s beautifully restored.

Clouds before the storm, looking at Western Way.


After the storm, blue sky on Wonderland Trail...

Blue ocean, red granite...

Gulls and Cormorants on Long Ledge.

Ford '36 Pheaton with driver.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bewitched by Salem.

8-12-14 SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS: We came down from VT on our way to Maine to see the J. M. W. Turner exhibit at the Peabody-Essex Museum. They have some of his famous oils here and a lot of small watercolors and drawings. The museum is in the old town, which has the waterfront and old houses and municipal buildings, but is overrun with witch, zombie, occult stuff and even a school for psychics. The whole area is just a tad on the seedy side. We look forward to a seafood dinner and hope to avoid any haunting.

Peabody-Essex Museum.

The J. M. W. Turner exhibit has some of his iconic oils, but doesn't allow photos.

Salem reminders of the maritime history...

Atop the Customs House...

Much of the historic city and waterfront is into witches, zombies and psychics.

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Plants.

8-11-14 VERMONT: Brown’s Nursery is having their summer sale. So I went and stocked on perennials. Since I stopped the mowing along the bank of the pond, the pond has stayed clearer because the weekly load of clippings is now not getting added to and decomposing on the bottom. Lots of native plants have appeared in the unmowed margin, including dandelions, plantain and other nasties. I have been planting desirable flowers, some transplanted from the gardens or pasture and some purchased.

Over the weekend I added three coneflowers near the ones I added last year, two Echinacea purpurea ‘Merlot’ and one ‘Flame Thrower’. In the astilbe corner, I added two Astilbe arendsii ‘Peachblossom’, two ’Flamingo’ and one ‘Cattleya’. I also put two goat’s beard, Aruncus dioicus and one baby’s breath, Gypsophila paniculata ‘My Pink’ in that same area.

I added two thyme to the walkways in front of the new house, Thymus praecox ‘Coccineus’ and Thymus pseudolanuginosus, and two soapwort, Saponaria officinalis to the roadside bed.

We are a few days away from harvesting corn.

Great Spangled Fritillary on Echinacea.

House hiding in the gardens...

Judy's cart and Maizie...

These last three pix are Judy's.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Paddle Day.

8-10-14 VERMONT: We finally got the canoe out of the barn and paddled around the confluence of the Ompompanoosuc River and the Connecticut River. There are mud flats covered with just inches of water with lots of reeds, water lilies, pickerelweed and lots of birds. We saw a Great Blue Heron, juvenile, hunting in the shallows, Mallards, Canada geese and some unID’d raptors.

We met Dave and Gail for dinner that evening at the Tuckerbox in WRJ. That was our second good meal there, and it’s on our list of UV restaurants. We talked about lots of old friends.

New blooms: sedum, first aster, black-eyed susan, goldenrod, Indian pipe, blue lobelia.

Where the Ompompanosic meets the

Lady Mallards.

Great Blue Heron, juvenile.

Takes the plunge.

Flies off....

to another spot.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Fence Mending and Owl's Head.

8-6-14 VERMONT: I missed a post a couple days ago because Facebook wouldn’t take a link from the Google Blogger. I asked Facebook for help, and now it works again, so maybe they did something.

It’s been dry for a week or so, except for brief showers without any accumulation.

I spent two days working on the wire fence that encloses the back of the pasture. I hadn’t checked it in a while [two years?] and there were three trees that had fallen on the fence. I used the chain saw to cut the fence free of the trees and found a number of breaks in the wire. I repaired those and re-applied the tensioners that keep the wires taut. There are five wires, BTW, for most of the fence, but some sections have only two wires, which is enough for horses, but not enough for sheep which we don’t have. I also cut up a downed aspen in the pasture.

Yesterday Judy and I drove to Groton State Park and did the short hike up Owl’s Head. It’s a granitic mountain. The granite is similar to that found in the Barre quarries. There are also nature hikes at the park Nature Center and a beach on Lake Groton. I’ll add something about the geology of Owl’s Head to the Geology Blog after I research it.

I saw an unusual butterfly yesterday and went out in the pasture today with the camera to see if I could find it. I couldn’t, but did catch some birds—Song Sparrows or maybe Savannah Sparrows. Anyone???

New blooms: more phlox.

A non-feeder bird that I think is a Song Sparrow, but could be a Savannah Sparrow. Anyone???

He/She has a worm in its beak for a juvenile...

The juvenile in question.

After about ten pix, the f@#$%*g bird mooned me.

Iconic Vermont summer scene.

The top of Owl's Head looking west. That's Hardwood Mountain and Kettle Pond.

GSP has lots of scenery.

Friday, August 01, 2014


8-1-14 VERMONT: One of the elms I planted a few years ago is now casting a big afternoon shadow over the veggie bed in. Anticipating less and less sun for the veggies in the future, I mowed a bed-sized patch in the middle of the pasture and covered it in black plastic to kill the turf grasses so I can start a new veggie patch next year.

It remains very wet. A walk around the yard to fill the feeders this morning soaked my shoes. We had dense fog at dawn, which has now lifted somewhat, but the predicted sun hasn’t appeared as yet.

New blooms: soapwort.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, female, and Bee Balm.

One wing and feet.

Back and tail and wing blur.

They're very into red.