Wednesday, November 22, 2017

That Time of Year

We are easing into that time of year for the fall and winter holidays. Strenuous for some and a celebration of joy for others. I have little work to do this year other than shop for gifts. Thanksgiving is being done mostly by others.  My expectations are low which is a peaceful place to be.  So, I am going to go to my happy place and enjoy the wonderful fall weather we are having and select a blessing each time I snap the shutter.

I am blessed to have the time to follow the birds and plants and their changes on this land as they head down for a long winter's sleep or at the very least slowing down.

I am blessed that the rain this year has come at all the right times and pretty much in the right amounts.

I am blessed to be where I am and still be able to reach the river down the small hill when I want.  I am blessed to still be able to get in and out of a canoe.

I am blessed to have these giant oak trees as friends that put on such a show throughout the year.

And I am blessed to have to rare hawk stop buy to shop for food.  Have a peaceful and healthy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Just a Tree

When I bought and planted this sugar maple tree, I was told that the climate warming changes to my state meant that the tree would really struggle as the winters became less lengthy...and perhaps less cold.  I was told this was not the place to plant such a northern tree.  I did not care because I just love how this pioneer catches fire each and every fall never failing to warm my soul.

Please note that the colors in these photos are what the camera was able to capture with no color boost!

Monday, October 30, 2017

24 Hours of Heavy Rain

And everything becomes liquid color. (liquid paint filters on these photos with color boost.)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Gathering

I spend cold spring mornings gathering blossoms that seem artificial in shape with their large petals in sunshine colors. Summer has an abundance of blossoms in all shapes and sizes. Fall includes the daisy-shaped blossoms of asters and mums. Then it all changes as I collect the sugar maple leaves that have been scattered across the distant lawn. They soon curl into crinkly pieces of parchment, but the glow does last for days.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Currently, in my Area

I am alone this month.  All alone.  No demands on my time and a schedule of my own making.  I ate leftover pizza for early dinner and then made my way down to the river for a chance at capturing a fall sunset.

The oaks hang on to their leathery leaves until the last.  Tonight will be a big wind that may tear away some of these beauties.   Temperatures will drop a few degrees.

The gulls are taking advantage of the last calm evening for a while.  They cry and laugh and look like white flags swooping over the river from my vantage point at the house.  When I get down to the water's edge a few stay behind out of curiosity, perhaps.

All is unusually quiet.  No workman on the house across the river, no boats creating waves and wakes, no barking dogs.  It is as if "they" are mourning the departure of summer and looking for autumn and getting ready for a change.  It is marvelously peaceful and I sigh.  I am alone and not alone which is the best of pleasures.

I like the way the rough bark on the old cedar captures shadows as the sun heads downward.  It is strong and handsome and protects the smaller oaks from the stronger winds.

The saltbush is now in its white fuzzy glory, throwing fairy wisps across the water when the wind picks up.  While I do not get a beautiful sunset, I enjoy the evening quiet until it is past dusk and I slowly head up the gravel path to the house.  I surprise and am surprised by a yearling deer that is crossing the path.  He stops framed by the trunk of the beech tree, as do I framed by the last of the light from the water, and we assess each other in admiration before we both move on to our different paths.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Slipping Into Shorter Days

The sun continues to move to the left as it sets at the mouth of our small inlet from the larger river. Most days there are no clouds in the pale blue sky to catch the dwindling rays of that orange orb and create a jaw-dropping sunset, but the angle of the sun as it bounces off of the water is, in itself, a lovely event. Let me share. Below the sun reflects off the water to shine upward through the drying dogwood leaves in the early part of the sunset.

Then as the shadows darken, the water still hangs on to the last bit of golden light as if in a departing lover's embrace.

The saltbush has begun to lose its feathery seeds and is the last to kiss the sun goodbye.  While the air is mostly cooler now and I pull my jacket closer, the image is of warmth through my camera lens.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Color Most of the Year

I am one of those gardeners that want to squeeze the life out of the growing season by making sure something is blooming throughout the months until that first freeze. I have found that in late February I get started with the Lenten roses and move through the spring with bulbs that turn bold yellow faces to the winds and showers. My summer beds show lots of traditional flowers as well as traditional bedding annuals. Then comes the fall. In early fall which is our mid to late September, I get the asters. Huge bushes of starry flowers that reach out across my walkway and crowd against the boxwood. They attract the smaller and larger bees but not too many butterflies. They have no fragrance, but their abundance is glorious.

Once the starry blossoms close their heads I then look forward to my chrysanthemums, which also have no fragrance. I bought four new varieties this year to fill in some bare spaces where other perennials passed on. (I have no idea why my font changed here!)

That last one in the photo above is my favorite with such a rich autumn orange.  I pinch these back in August or whenever they want to bud so that I get a later autumn bloom and bushier plants.  They still have to be staked.  Yes, sometimes the ones you buy from the nursery in fall can be transplanted, but only the sturdy ones make it through my winter, so I get mums in the spring and plant them out at that time.  Then in November, everything except the pyracantha berries and a few trees loses their color and slumber until the next season.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Fall Gets Quiet

The days are undoubtedly shorter as I now get up before the sun and certainly go to bed long after the sun has set.  The leaves crinkle beneath my feet as I head out to the gate to head to the swamp for some duck box maintenance. The day is a perfect autumn blue-sky day.  The turtles in the swamp appreciate the warm afternoon sun after the cooler evenings.  They are slower and lethargic as fall moves on and seem less afraid of me. 

I lean against the bark of the tree and also enjoy the warmth of the sun.  I hear the crickets but they are timid in song. The frogs no longer sing.  As I head down the path that skirts the swamp I hear high crying.  The bald eagles have gathered in a small set of trees and make their twittering call as I invade their space.  Dozens of feathers at my feet mean they have been there grooming for some time.  I count four adults and more than six younger birds as they flee gracefully down the marsh.

The early mornings are sometimes fog filled as the water holds onto the day's heat and the night air kisses the surface of the cooler water and thus we get fog.   One of my favorite plants this time of year is the saltbush which is beginning to form its seed which will soon fly everywhere mimicking the first feathering snowfall.

And some of the best beauty is the velvet fog that makes you move more slowly and with greater peace.  

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Falling in Love With Fall

The leaves on the tulip trees are crispy brown with a hint of yellow. They are falling like parachute jumpers spinning slowly to the ground below. They are not showy, but just the opening act. Cosmos are the second act this time of year. They are silky ballerinas with the last of the nectar before the butterflies drift south and the bees begin their dormancy.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I Do Not Like PIckey Eaters

More on birds on vacation.  These little thieves were in Banff National Park in Canada.

"Hey man, you better get moving.  The wife is already headed for the door!"

"Is that mustard?  Really?  Egad!

"Well, I will just eat around the edges before that waitress returns.  If I can just flip out this lettuce..."

Sunday, September 24, 2017

City Birds

Europe has little that is wild and untrammeled over the centuries of civilization and wars.  They eat EVERYTHING over there, so many animals do not have much of a chance except in remote protected lands. In the city the birds have adapted to humans and no longer seem to fear them, but maybe they just tolerate us. I was able to get some closer photos in the city parks because the wild birds are somewhat "tame" birds and many have learned to beg for food.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Rooms Without Walls in the City

A healthy society needs lots of green space for its people. Green space to rest the eyes, green space to rest the weary body, green space to rest the tired ears, and green to rest the soul. Most cities accept and promote this sanctuary for its citizens. Below are two photo-paintings I created of the area outside the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Nederlands.  Perhaps inspired a bit by the art inside?

After all, if the leaders did not see the importance of letting in the natural world where could people fall in love?

Thursday, August 31, 2017


My life has been a nasty roller coaster this past week. I have been able to keep the worry away until bedtime because I have a beautiful 6-year-old visiting for the week that is a pleasant distraction. The bike ride to and the picnic at a distant state park have given me the respite I badly needed yesterday. Hoping you and yours find ways to ease the week ahead.

The air was cool and so fresh. Almost like an early visit from fall.  The breeze off the ocean kept away any insects but was not so strong that it was annoying for our picnic near the beach.  

The park was almost ours as only one family with children were at the dozens of picnic tables and one other couple our age were exploring the nature center and the historic sites.  Grandson had plenty of room to learn to ride his new bike both on the paved roads and the grassy areas.

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Steady Pace

The air is just a bit flat this week, meaning the moisture is down. The shadows are sharper and the sun is not so hot.  A tidbit of fall?  A sneak peek.  Having the 6-year-old means we can spend more time on his new bike and not sweat so much.  I took a walk around the yard, and these are the harbingers of fall at my feet.

My cosmos are in full and abundant bloom, but the early blossoms now look like this.

I realize that no matter what events happen in my life, the world marches on at its steady pace and does not worry that I have fallen behind.