Sunday, October 25, 2015

Local Color.

10-25-15 SHORT HILLS: The foliage color here in NJ is the best I ever remember. The days have been warm, the nights cool, and it’s been dry. I don't know if any of those factors make a difference. When we were in VT, we were too early for the best color, which was said to be gorgeous. On my way back from the market this afternoon, I took pix from the car window. There are utility poles and wires, but you can get the flavor.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


10-22-15 SHORT HILLS: It’s been a month since the Autumnal Equinox and the sun is now half way between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn, 23.5° south of the Equator. That’s why the days are so much shorter. In another two months the sun will be over the Tropic of Capricorn and winter will begin.

Here, it’s been warm again. Today was sunny and in the seventies when we did our dog walk. The ash trees are purple and yellow and dumping their leaves. The maples are red, orange and yellow depending on the species.

The Mets are amazingly hot and swept a very strong Cubs team. I hope they don’t cool off waiting for an AL contender for the Series. Their pitching looks so great at the moment, but sore arms and injuries are always just one inning or one pitch away. Fingers need to be crossed.

Happy fan.

Dr. Maizie and the happy fan on the way to a therapy visit.

Dr. Maizie and friends.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Two Days in Philly.

10-17-15 PHILADELPHIA, PA: We drove to Philly for the weekend with Bill and Lynn, actually Bill drove. We got here after 11AM on a cloudy, breezy, cold day, but not so cold that we couldn’t walk around. Independence Hall is only a mile to the east from the Palomar, our hotel. We walked through the downtown shopping area and saw the Hall, but didn’t tour it because of the long lines. We did see the Liberty Bell, that line moved along pretty well.

After a lunch, I had a Philly cheese-steak, we taxied back to the west for a visit to the Barnes Foundation.

The wealthy Albert C. Barnes, 1872-1951, collected a ton of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art after selling his drug company. He also collected lots of metal hardware and decorative iron work and furniture. The pieces are arranged in ensembles of art, metal work accents and furniture. The artists are Renoir, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, Modigliani and many others, including some old Masters. There are an awful lot of fat, pink nudes by Renoir and Cezanne’s apples show up in many ensembles. The Foundation was established in 1922, and the estimated worth of the collection is $25 billion.

After the walk back to the Palomar, we all had a drink and a nap before dinner at the Oyster Bar—excellent. Twelve oysters, a broiled lobster, an IPA, ice cream and coffee made a great dinner for me. In the room we saw the Mets nip the Cubs. One nice day, good friends, good food, good walks, exciting tours.

William Penn checking out his city from the top of City Hall.

Independence Hall.


Liberty Bell needs repairing.

The Barnes Foundation doesn't allow photography inside.

This pic of an ensemble is from a leaflet, note the metalware accents and furniture.

On the walk back to the hotel, we passed this huge fountain with a nude lady strangling a goose that had attacked her from behind.

While the groomsmen and wedding couple had pix taken in front of the fountain, a gaggle of bridesmaids clustered together and shivered in the wind.

10-18-15 PHILADELPHIA: Today, we got a late start. We were joined by our friends Bob and Christine and Stephen for brunch at the Parc on Rittenhouse Square. The breakfast orders ranged from oatmeal to Eggs Benedict.

After the brunch, we walked to the Franklin Institute for a quick tour. The Institute is a science museum mostly for kids to introduce the sciences. The Institute is like the Montshire Museum in Norwich, VT and Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ—just right for us doddering, old kids. Then we collected the car and luggage and beat it over the Ben Franklin Bridge to NJ.

The Franklin Institue.

Cousin Ben and me.

There's a set of trains in the basement.

See, Philadelphians, no one word about W. C. Fields.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mixed Berries.

10-15-15 SHORT HILLS: It’s sunny with seasonal temps. We might get down into the twenties on the weekend nights, which will be the first frost of our fall. Our Vermont neighbor, Donna, sent us pix of the color in our yard there. It looks great—we were too early for the color, being there the first week of October.

Here in NJ the maples are starting to turn and look dramatic. The berries and other fruit are ripening and very photogenic. The birds are busy with the berries and not so active at the feeders. The yard is also littered with walnuts, to the squirrels delight. Most of the leaves on these plants are still green and metabolically active. The plants may need that energy to produce and ripen the fruit.

Black Chokecherry, those leaves will be orange in a month, but the berries will be gone.

Tea Viburnum.

Beauty Berry. They look like plastic toys.


Asian Holly.

Burning Bush. Some of the leaves have turned already. The two berries on the upper left haven't opened the outer husk yet and appear darker in color. The other five berries have rolled back that covering.

More Crab Apples.

Winterberry Holly is deciduous.

Southern Magnolia forms large seed pods that open randomly displaying red seeds.

Southern Magnolia. The seeds stick-up out of the pod, but don't fall off.  To the birds, they're saying, "Eat me."

Monday, October 12, 2015

NJ Wildlife.

10-12-15 SHORT HILLS: We’ve been back in NJ for a few days. We had one rainy night that left everything adequately watered. The nights have been cool, but the afternoons are pretty warm. Nice fall color is developing.

Saturday we had dinner with Bruce and Ellen at Laurel & Sage, a new restaurant in Montclair. All four of us were very pleased with the food, but it was noisy when it filled up. Sunday we dog walked with Bebe and Ron in Short Hills. We saw deer and a blue heron. Today Judy and I saw several deer, including one rack of eight or ten points on the morning dog walk. I’m sure there are more deer in Vermont than in NJ, but we see lots more of them in the NJ suburbs.

Deer seem only mild concerned with our pack of four dogs.

Blue heron in NJ. Both pix are Bebe's.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Another Visitor.

10-7-15 VERMONT: My brother Hank was here Monday, Tuesday and left this morning. It was great catching up on lots of things we missed on the occasional phone calls and emails. He helped me get the last of the storm doors up when my back went AWOL. Debbie and John were here for dinner Monday and Hank had dinner with them on Tuesday. We have plans to see Hank and Paula in NJ a few weeks from now.

Today Judy and I drove to Sharon, Pomfret and Woodstock looking for foliage color and found a bit. It’s a pretty drive even without the color with many gorgeous farms. We saw lots of horses, cows, sheep and a couple donkeys with the sheep. The donkeys are the muscle if any bullies happen by. There’s better color in our pasture than most other places at the moment.

New blooms: witch-hazel, cimicfuga.

Billings Farm - always does a great show and has a farming museum worth a trip.

Sheep, plus a couple of grey donkeys. The donkeys defend the sheep against coyotes.

Our pasture with some red...

and yellow and orange.

Apple tree, some of the apples ended up in Judy's pie.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Fall in Vermont.

10-4-15 VERMONT: We arrived here a few days ago. The sun came out as we left Massachusetts behind, and has been out ever since. That night, Lily and Sam came to dinner, Sloppy Joes from the Millburn Deli.

Friends Ina and Marcel came up on Friday. We had dinner with them and with Susan and Mark at Stone Soup, and at Middlebrook the next night. Ina, an ex-Vermonter, took Marcel on her grand tour Saturday. They left this morning after a pancake breakfast with local maple syrup.

Judy and I were disappointed with the fall color here, so we drove north, about 50 miles, to visit the towns of Peacham and Cabot and Joe’s Pond. The color was better further north, but still spotty.

The over-night temps are in the thirties, so we have been having fires in the evening. There has not been a frost as yet. Lots of flowers are still in bloom and tomatoes are still forming. We found some corn on the stalks, but it was quite starchy and over-ripe.

The apple tree next to the north terrace fell against the house and onto the electric wires in the storm the day before we arrived. The power company took it down, and Chippers will come to chip it up. There was no damage to the house. It was a pretty tree, home to a feeder and popular with the birds. The feeder has moved across the terrace, at least for the moment.

My brother Hank arrives for a few days tomorrow.

New blooms: red asters, white asters, purple asters, boltonia, sedum, chrysanthemum, toad lily, bottle gentian.

After the rain.

Dairy farm, Cabot, VT.

Leaf peeper, Thetford.

Color is patchy, but will fill in later, hopefully, before we leave.

Toad lily is a curious little flower reminiscent of an orchid in its complexity.

Maple color.