Thursday Travels: A picnic lunch

A picnic table near Point Wolfe. Fundy National Park. New Brunswick, Canada.

When we last left off, our intrepid hikers were at the Point Wolfe Beach in Fundy National Park.  (In case you missed all the excitement — heh — previous posts from my trip to the Canadian Maritimes will be linked to at the bottom of this post.)  Hiking is hungry business so M and I decided to have a picnic lunch before starting our next hike.

Read the rest of this entry »


210: Sun worship

(A robin soaking up the sun.)

I can understand it.  Sun worship, that is.  There has been some form of it throughout various cultures, throughout recorded history.  After a long, cold, mostly cloudy winter, and a spring that has brought snow, rain, and mostly cloudy days, nothing perks things up like a day of sunshine.

Read the rest of this entry »


189: No significant accumulation?

(Spring temporarily gives up.)

I have a small, tattered clipping that I sometimes carry with me and pull out for purposes of private amusement.  It’s a weather forecast from the Western Daily Mail and it says, in toto, ‘Outlook:  Dry and warm, but cooler with some rain.’

~ Bill Bryson, Notes From a Small Island

I have to admire the folks who predict the weather.  It’s not a job I would want, especially in these parts.  Weather is just, well, unpredictable.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to work in an occupation where you are frequently wrong and nobody fires you for it.  I’m joking.  A little.  The fact is, I’ve always been fascinated with weather and once thought being a meteorologist was one of the coolest jobs on the planet because you get to work with weather and weather patterns, and all the cool techie stuff such as radar.

Winter hugs spring

After posting yesterday I turned around, looked outside, and found that what I’d posted was inaccurate.  “No significant accumulation” is, I believe, how I quoted the latest weather report.  Ha!  Outside my window was some quite significant accumulation for nearly the end of March.  Makes me wonder what the weather folks consider significant.  Granted, in January this would not have been a big snow event.  Even at the end of March it isn’t a big snow event.  But it’s still accumulation in my book.  If it sticks, it’s accumulation.

Yesterday, while the snow was still falling and accumulating in an insignificant way

I gotta hand it to Winter, though.  It pulled me right back in.  I immediately bundled up, got out the snow boots, and went outside, camera in hand, and started taking pictures like I hadn’t just spent an entire winter photographing snow.  I can’t help it.  (Does that make me addicted to Winter?)  It’s beautiful, especially the way the wet, heavy snow decided to stick to everything including the branches of the trees.  Winter mesmerized me once again with big, fat, feathery snowflakes dancing and whirling and swirling from the sky.  I never even noticed if it was cold or not, I was so caught up in Winter’s Waltz.

Today’s Outdoor Adventures

I took my walk early today, around 7:30am.  It was foggy, misty, and magical.  The snow laid a hush over the land, but the fog distorted and carried sounds.  It was a lovely combination since about the only sound out there was that of the birds singing and chattering.

The Early Bird (a robin)

I wonder how the birds and the almost-blossoming flowers feel about the snow.  While the flowers weren’t talking (I suspect they decided to go back to sleep for a little while), the birds sure seemed to have a lot to say.

I have to confess:  I took a ton of photos.  None of the photos in this post, by the way, were shot in black and white or converted to black and white in post-processing.  I did not attempt to change the blueish-gray tones of some of the photos since that is the reality of the colors this morning.  I did very little in post-processing.  I did some resizing so I’m not putting giant, economy-size, photos on the blog.  The fog and snow created interesting effects on their own and didn’t need the help of an editing program.

Walking towards the timothy grass meadow

The pond was like glass.  It hasn’t been this still in at least a week or so.  In addition to ushering in the chilly temperatures, the old north wind that had been plaguing us kept the water wavy and ripply.

The stillness was, simply, amazing.  The reflections even more so.  It was easy to get lost in them and imagine myself in a watery, upside down, world.

I did take a few shots with the white balance set to tungsten, just for fun.

The vignetting effect along the edges of the photo are due to lens distortion.  I know that is not always considered a good thing, but I sometimes like it (and can always crop it out if I don’t).

Be still and know

The last photo is my favorite of today’s batch.  Yesterday was about the dance, the whirling, the twirling, the swirling.  This morning was about the calm and stillness of the morning after, when the mind and body relax and meet in the quiet and peacefulness of a foggy, snowy morning in spring.

The quieter you become, the more you can hear.

~ Ram Dass


158: The annual flood

(A crocheted coral reef.)

The photos I’m using in this post were taken at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History when M and I went to Washington, D.C. last December.  The exhibition is called The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef.  This is another of those instances where photographs are not nearly as good as the real deal.  It is pretty amazing what the local crocheters and crochet groups managed to create.  I saved the photos for a watery post.  This seems to be it.

Apropos of nothing in particular:  My mother taught me to crochet.  It has been a long time since I sat down with a crochet hook and some yarn and created something.  Hopefully it’s like riding a bicycle.  All I have to do is pick up a hook and I’ll remember how to do it.

It stormed here in the Bogs last night.  And I mean STORMED.  There were many, many bright flashes of lightning and loud booms of thunder that rattled the house.  The rain POURED.  Torrents of rain.  Early this morning one of the local weather people said we had gotten 3 inches of rain overnight.  The rain, of course, melted the snow.  The result?  Water, water, everywhere.

M went down to the basement to discover that yes, indeed, the water made its way into the basement.  It’s the annual February flood.  Sometimes it waits until March if the rains start late.  One year we had no flooding at all in the spring, but a hurricane blew through and left behind so much water that the ground was over-saturated and there was no place for the water to go except the basement.

Yesterday, without thinking about the rain and the snow melt, I sorted the laundry and left it in piles on the laundry room floor.  We found it all thoroughly soaked this morning so today has been a laundry intensive day for me.  It all has to be washed and dried before it starts to become moldy and musty.  You’d be surprised how fast mold can form.

I had planned to start my Spring Cleaning Fest in a couple of weeks.  Once again Mother Nature has decided I should start earlier than planned.

M and I had to carry out the throw rugs and area carpets that soften up the basement floor.  It’s still gray and misty outside right now, but the sun is supposed to come out eventually and that should dry out the rugs and carpets.

This morning I was thankful for a lot of things, but two stand out.  The first is the shop vac (or wet/dry vac).  It is so much easier to suck up all that water with a vacuum than with a mop.  There is one little area in the basement bathroom where the water continues to slowly stream in, and I’ve had to keep at that all day, going in every half hour or so to vacuum up the new water.  Once that stops, I’ll do a good mopping with some bleach.

The other thing I was particularly thankful for was the return of my photos on the external hard drive.  It just needed a reboot.  But I like to think that talking nicely to it while turning it on helped.

(Hmph.)

Today’s outdoor adventures

With all the early spring cleaning of the basement upon me, I did not have a lot of time to spend outdoors today.  I went out periodically to hang things on the line, to feed the birds, and to get in my full 30 minute minimum.  There is a great deal of water out there.  And mud.  Lots and lots of mud.

The birds are enjoying all the mud and water, though.  There were hundreds of them covering the front lawn when I went out this afternoon.  There was even a small flock of robins.  I haven’t yet seen the red-winged blackbird, our harbinger of spring.

One nice thing is that walking around the pond is much easier without the snow.  I did not go down into the woods as the creek has taken over and it’s mostly flooded.  See the two crossed trees in the center of the above photo?  The creek bank is usually somewhere behind that.  I’d like to take a ride around and have a look at some of the other creeks around here, but I don’t think I’ll have the time for it.

I did find this lovely surprise:

Crocuses!!  The little squiggly green things from a couple of weeks ago are now flowers and leaves.

The daffodils are pushing their way up out of the ground, too.

(The ice on the pond is thawing.)

Tomorrow morning should be interesting.  It’s going down to 20 degrees tonight.  I expect there will be plenty of ice out there in the morning.


33: Dark day

It’s not really that dark.  I went a little extreme in Photoshop.  But it seems to fit the season, with Halloween coming up soon.

It is, however, gray and gloomy.  I took this view of the pond around noon.  There was not a lot of light to speak of.  It’s quite a contrast to yesterday’s sunshine.

(Crow in the locust tree.)

Today’s outdoor adventure was pretty uneventful.  Or it was eventful in small ways but I can’t think of a thing to write about so I went to Plinky for a prompt.  Today’s prompt is:  Do you celebrate Halloween?  Why or why not?

(Robin in an unidentified tree.)

Well, I don’t, really.  We live out in the country so decorating and having candy handy for the Trick or Treating little folks is a waste.  Nobody comes by because it can be a long walk between houses.  We do have a pumpkin and some mums livening up the deck as a nod to the season, but Mother Nature does such a brilliant job of decorating this time of year that I don’t feel the need to do it myself.

Sometimes I celebrate Halloween as a harvest festival, as another turning in the wheel of the year, and to mark the end of summer.  We usually have our first snowflakes by Halloween, a clear indication that winter is not far off.  Daylight will continue to dwindle until the Winter Solstice and outdoor temperatures will do the same.  Hilgert’s, the local farm where we do our produce shopping when in season, will have an abundance of greens and winter squashes this time of year.  Our diet will change to more soups and stews and heartier dishes than we eat during the summer months.

It will be time to put away the summer clothing and get out the cold weather gear.  Sweaters, sweatshirts, thermal underwear, coats, scarves, gloves, hats, and boots will replace the t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, sandals, bathing suits, and flip-flops.  We usually have the storm windows installed by Halloween, to keep out the winter drafts of cold air.  The swim platform and boats are put away for the season, a chore that we did this past weekend and one that always brings a tinge of melancholy with it.  I don’t get too sad, though.  The trees are still displaying color and once the leaves drop we’ll be able to see and explore what’s behind the tree cover.  I like the winter landscape (just as I like the other seasons).  We’ll have snow to play in.  We can make snowpeople, go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and sled down the sledding hill.  The pond will freeze and there will be ice skating.  There will be warm, crackling fires in the fireplaces.  Hot chocolate to drink.  And lots of cozy evenings cuddled up with a good book or with my wonderful husband.

Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow.

~ Author unknown

(The woods aglow.)

How about you?  Do you celebrate Halloween?  Why or why not?  And if you do, how do you celebrate it?

We’ll be doing the drawing for the Give-Away at 7:30pm (eastern time) tonight.  I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.  See ya then!  🙂