Friday, January 18, 2019


1-18-19 SHORT HILLS: Nothing is happening in the gardens, obviously, there have no new bird pix, and no interesting weather. The birds have been back at the feeders for a few weeks.

Our family has a bunch of birthdays in Jan. and Feb. We did a Gramercy Tavern event with Val, Steve, Alison and Dan last week, and a DB Moderne dinner with Anna, Gardner and Lily this week.

Last night we went to the Met to hear Carmen. It’s a new production, well reviewed and well enjoyed by us. Carmen, Don José and Michaëla are sung by Clémentine Margaine, Roberto Alanga and Susanna Phillips. Louis Langrée conducted. We had dinner at Café Fiorello beforehand.

The days are slowly and slightly getting longer as we inch our way through January.

Chandeliers  in the lobby of the Met Opera.

The cast soaking up the applause.

Conductor Langrée and the orchestra in  the pit.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

NY Phil.

1-5-19 SHORT HILLS: We were in the city for the NY Phil last night during the heavy rain. The drive in was a snap—light to moderate traffic only. Maybe the rain kept people home.

We had dinner at Bar Boulud with Ina and Marcel. The noise level wasn’t too bad, as three of us wear hearing aids. The food was fine, and we bumped into Elaine and Richard dining with friends after the opera matinee.

We got to Geffen Hall a little early because now everyone has to go through metal detectors to get into the auditorium.

The first half of the program was the Dvořák Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, with cellist Gautier Capuçon, a rising French star. The audience loved it, and we got a brief encore on the cello. Paavo Järvi conducted.

After intermission, Järvi conducted the orchestra in a short Sibelius piece, Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island, Op.22, No.1 and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No.2.

I liked the second half of the program better, while Judy loved the cello concerto. Today we dog walked with Bebe and Ronnie.

Geffen Hall before the concert....

At intermission with the fountain in the plaza...

Applause for the orchestra after the Ravel.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Orange Reservoir in the South Mountain Reservation, Essex County, NJ.

1-4-2019 SHORT HILLS: HNY Dear Readers. Not much is happening in the gardens now. We have had a ton of rain with more on the way tonight. NJ had a very wet year with more than 60 inches of rain, normal 40-45, but actual figures not available because of the government shutdown.

Since we’ve been back from VT, there has been only a little activity at the re-filled bird feeders. It usually takes the birds a day or so to realize that the feeders are full, but the dozen of birds we had had are not back after a week—very unusual.

We are in the forties most days and barely below freezing at night. There is not scrap of snow or ice to be seen. There were only a couple of inches of snow in VT when we left.

Driving through the South Mountain Reservation the other day, I noticed some waterfowl in the Orange Reservoir. Across the road from the reservoir there is a low area that fills with rainwater, creating a shallow pond, really a half-acre puddle. I thought I saw an odd duck there and went back with the camera.

It was a solitary Bufflehead, female or immature male, on the edge of a small flock of Mallards. In the reservoir itself there was a flock of ten or so Mergansers. Usually the reservoir has a lot of Canada geese, but not yesterday.

Bufflehead duck, female or immature male, is alone and hanging out near a bunch of mallards.

This 'pond' forms after every heavy rain, is about a half acre in size.

Two pairs of Mallards sharing the big puddle.

The Mallards are much bigger than the Bufflehead.

In the Orange Reservoir, across the road from the 'pond', there were a flock of Mergansers, about ten.

Male Common Merganser with dark black/greenish head and white body.

Female Common Merganser has a red head with a prominent mullet and a gray body.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Another One In the Books.

12-28-18 VERMONT: After several sunny days, we have new snow, ice and rain, the change over happening as it warmed up a bit. It will get much colder again, but I hope that the trees and shrubs shed the rain and ice before the cool down. We already have a yard littered with broken branches from earlier in the year, and another load of ice will do more damage. It happens every year, but everything somehow survives.

The house is clean, the tree has been cut up and composted. NJ tomorrow.

Sunset a few days ago, the Whites looking pink.

Mt. Lafayette with its own pink cloud.

Today gave us snow, ice and rain.

I hope this ice melts before it breaks off lots more branches.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


12-26-18 VERMONT: The Xmas party last night was a huge success, some family and some neighbors were here. Judy’s table was laden, I almost ran out of wine. We got down to the last glass of red, and all the Prosecco was gone. It was nice to see all the younger gen reconnecting. Leftovers for tonight.

We have had a dusting of new snow that has covered some of the bare spots, and it’s been cold, single digits, at night. The skies have been cloudless blue.

My version of a Rothko.

Bare branches on the horizon and on the frozen pond.

Chickadees might be my favorites.

Party scene, lots of people still hanging out in the kitchen.

Ken and Jane's tree. A white pine from their pasture decorated brillantly with dried hydrangeas.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Winter Solstice.

12-21-18 VERMONT: We’ve been here for a couple days and had sun and blue skies for our first set of errands preparing for the invasion to come. We cut down the tree at Nichols Tree Farm and set it up in the living room.

We had about a foot of snow, a little crusted and compacted. I walked around the pasture in boots without snowshoes. It was in the twenties during the day and about ten at night.

Today it’s warm, foggy and pouring, but we braved the slop and went shopping for food, much food, and wine. Some of the food is in Diana’s freezer across the street. Judy plans to start cooking tomorrow.

When the rain stops tomorrow, hopefully tomorrow, it is predicted to get very cold. All the standing water will become ice—good on the pond, bad in the driveway.

Today is also the Winter Solstice, when the sun reaches it furthest southern excursion and starts its trek back to us in the north. Here, in VT, we get about 8 and a half hours of daylight now, but will have twice that much in June for events to happen then.

Coincidently, we have a full moon tomorrow, although we may not see it if the rain persists. I did see it yesterday, almost full, just as it rose over Mt. Cube in the northeast at about 3:30. The sun at the same time was close to setting in the southwest.

Moonrise Thetford, VT. That's Mt Moosilauke to the left of the pine tree and Mt. Cube under the moon on the right.

Another view, a few minutes earlier. You might notice that the moon is a little higher and a little further south in the first picture.

A better look at the moon. Shortly after this pic, the sky was overcast and it began to rain.

Tis the season...

About the same time as the moon shots, the mid-afternoon sun was close to the southern horizon.

Today heavy rain, 50° and fog. Snow in Norwich and Hanover is largely gone. With a quick freeze the pond might be great for skating.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Xmas at Lincoln School.

12-17-18 SHORT HILLS: Today was the annual Xmas party at Lincoln Elementary School in Newark, NJ for Ms. Catalano’s second grade class. Judy and some other volunteers go there monthly to coach the kids’ reading skills with the therapy dogs. I understand that it’s usually serious work. Today was a party, almost raucous. Judy brings small toys and stuffies donated by folks in the Upper Valley of VT and NH.

The toys were delivered by Subaru as the reindeer were not available. There were cookies and sloppy-joes and cocoa.

We head to VT in a few days.

Stuffies from the Upper Valley of VT and NH have arrived at Lincoln Elementary School in Newark, NJ.

The annual, for about ten years, Xmas party for the second graders at LES. We have seen a whole generation of kids go through the school.

Group pix with three dogs, three pet partners, Ms Catalano, the kids and the stuffies.

Walking lesson for Kaley.