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Posts Tagged ‘new shoreham’

Bonus Post

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Photo: Malcolm Greenaway

Nancy Greenaway sent me a couple of her lovely poems today, and they put me in the spring spirit. Thought I’d share them with you.

To Arms

After dull, damp, mud months,
tender green blades
duel to freedom
from the weather underground
where the fight for life
somehow survives
gray death’s dominion
over the frozen, surface world.

Just when we’ve thrown
gloved hands skyward
in surrender to whips
of winter wind,
daffodils shoot up blazing
captivating us with promises
of an armistice
called spring.

 

 

April

A great golden wall of forsythia
defines my neighbor’s property lines.

It glows through fog, competes
with daffodils to steal the show.

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Maybe I can hold on to the summertime feeling a bit longer with a few more photos. Not that I don’t love autumn, too, and the sense of getting my ducks in a row as I resume a normal routine, but …

Susan Klas Wright created this beautiful rendering of waves for the Spring Street Gallery’s most recent show. Elinor C. Thompson is the artist behind both lifelike and larger-than-life seashells. And I loved Robin Bell’s haunting double exposures of island scenes.

Next is a shot of New Shoreham’s Fresh Pond seen through the trees. That’s followed by another leafy vista, this one of an old, unused building labeled “Concord Water Works.”  In West Concord, there’s a pretty bridge arching Nashoba Brook behind the bakery where I bought an avocado toast Monday after walking a few miles on the Bruce Freeman Trail.

On my walk, I was startled to see a railroad light in the middle of woods. Was it public art? Something like Narnia’s lamp post?

I loved the profusion of Evening Primrose and the ubiquitous bumblebees, drunk with opportunity.

The final view represents my last Rhode Island sunset for the time being. It will have to hold me.

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In July I took pictures in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York and will be sharing them bit by bit. These are from New Shoreham, Rhode Island.

The first one is a view that caught my eye through a bathroom window. You have to grab these shots when you see them.

Next is the endangered wildflower Blazing Star, which is doing very well in the protected Land Trust area. Then we have an offbeat signpost. People seem to get especially creative in summer. There’s a feeling of “Well, why not?”

In the backyard of the tiny Three Sisters restaurant, you see some of the goodies that go into the delicious sandwiches. In the front yard, Queen Anne’s Lace. By the way, today I helped chef extraordinaire and walking partner Sandra pick Queen Anne’s Lace so she could make a jelly that the late taxi maven Thelma used to make. Here is a recipe we found from the Edible Wild Food site. If you make it, be sure you know what you are picking. As my husband reminds me, there are plants that look like Queen Anne’s Lace that are not safe to eat.

At John E’s tughole, I loved the shadows beneath the still water. And at the beach I saw dragons in the driftwood. (Do you see them? I admit, the photo would benefit from sharper contrast between the sleepy dragons and the background.)

As the tide came in, it drenched my favorite Tom’s shoes, given to me by my daughter-in-law some years ago. I may have to get new beach shoes soon.

No New Shoreham post would be complete without a photo of the Painted Rock. This one features a Ninja Turtle. Read how the rock first came to be painted for a Halloween prank in the 1960s, here. (And for some of the better Painted Rock art, check out Tumblr, here.)

The final picture shows the excellent job the state is doing to plant beach grass and protect the island’s west side from erosion. (Can you see the burlap-like covering holding the plants in place as they establish themselves? It’s a tried and true conservation technique at the shore.)

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Photo: The College Crusade Rhode Island
At Great Salt Pond, young students from Rhode Island cities learn how to make and tow plankton nets and test water quality.

There’s a lovely story at ecoRI News that I wanted to share with you. It makes me both happy and sad — happy that some underserved urban kids are getting an inspiring engagement with nature in the summer but sad that it’s unusual for them. The experiences are those that my own children and grandchildren have had almost every year of their lives, experiences that really should be accessible to all children.

Frank Carni writes, “Most of the teenagers arriving on Block Island this summer, at least those affiliated with The College Crusade of Rhode Island, are coming from communities covered in pavement. Many had never been on a boat before and most had never set foot on New Shoreham.

“The students are making a good first impression, with their observations, curiosity, and passion for the environment, despite living among more gray and black than green and blue. The island community has embraced the out-of-towners from Providence, Central Falls, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, and Cranston.

“ ‘We throw a lot at them and it’s amazing what they absorb,’ said Valerie Preler, program director for the Block Island Maritime Institute (BIMI).

‘I learn a lot by watching what they see and what they say.’

“For the past 10 years the BIMI’s Dolphin Program has worked with and learned from students from underserved communities from Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York City. Last year BIMI partnered with Providence-based The College Crusade of Rhode Island, as Block Island hosted a group of students from the college-readiness and scholarship program for middle-school and high-school students in low-income urban school districts for a week of learning and fun. …

“The mission of The College Crusade is to increase high-school graduation, college and career readiness, and college completion for youth in Rhode Island’s low-income communities. The organization supports about 4,200 students in middle school, high school, and college annually. Students join the program in grade 6 and continue through the early years of college, if they attend a public college in Rhode Island. …

“They learn to problem solve, study ecology by exploring the Great Salt Pond, and discuss the island’s different levels of biodiversity.

“During their visit to the museum at the Block Island Historical Society the students learn how colonists deforested in the island in the 1660s, how the island’s swordfish population was depleted by overfishing, how the introduction of deer in the 1960s for hunting purposes has led to the island’s current overpopulation problem, and why there is less bird migration to the island — more people and a growing population of feral cats.

“ ‘It’s an eye-opening experience for these kids, and for some it’s life-changing,’ [Lauren Schechtman, director of middle-school operations for The College Crusade] said. ‘Our kids don’t normally have access to these type of educational resources.’

“This Block Island adventure, like The College Crusade program, is free to the students and their families. They stay in a house rented by The College Crusade, enjoy dinners with Block Island families, and some New Shoreham restaurants help feed the island’s young guests for free.

“Besides visiting the island’s Great Salt Pond, the students go bird banding with The Nature Conservancy, learn about the Block Island Wind Farm, take a night-sky walk, tour New Harbor on the island’s west side, and conduct a beach cleanup. They also enjoy kayaking and/or paddle boarding, a beach visit, and fishing by the Coast Guard Station.”

I hope they loved the whole experience. Great Salt Pond is an especially intriguing place, where just this past weekend John, with family and friends, went seining and pulled up some real treasures: three pipe fish, a baby flounder, shrimp, and many minnows. They threw them back for another day.

More at ecoRI News, here. Be sure to check the other photos, including the one of bird banding. Our family has many great memories of bird banding with the woman who would have taught the kids in the story.

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The calendar says we have more days of summer to come, but for school children, it’s over. Also for me.

For a variety of reasons, it wasn’t my happiest summer, but one has to be grateful for the beauties all around. It certainly is my favorite season for taking pictures. In winter, after I’ve shot all the snow-covered fences and bent-over trees, the photographic opportunities are mostly versions of gray. I’m no Sally Mann, in love with black and white, although I want to get better at finding curious shadows in winter.

The photo collection below starts with the working harbor where one boards the boat to New Shoreham and continues into sights that caught my eye in late August: horse chestnuts, Dusty Miller holding down the fragile dunes, a house sign with a sailboat, a gallery sign with a scarecrow, and the famous Painted Rock. I was so happy to see that 2018 at last had a good piece of art on the rock, not to mention that it stayed up a whole day without getting sloppily spray-painted over. The local paper promised to print my picture of the octopus side and seek out the artist.

Finally, I give you a curious sunset rainbow on an oppressively hot and humid evening. The weather had really gotten me down when this rainbow showed up, so beautiful I felt like saying, Sorry, Sorry, because one needs to remind oneself when feeling down that one won’t always feel that way.

This rainbow was amazing in a couple ways. First of all, there wasn’t even any rain: The air was just loaded with moisture. Second, the sunset on the clouds seemed to spread out the rainbow into several times its true size.

You have to be grateful for these things when you see them.

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Summer has its own pace — sometimes slow and sleepy, sometimes fast and exhausting. The grandchildren like to go-go-go. The older folks wouldn’t mind taking a nap every day.

This photo collection starts out with my energetic older grandson, who learned to surf this summer. Suzanne tried it, too, because John bought her a surfing lesson for her birthday. She says her nephew was really a natural.

Today’s pictures are all from Providence and New Shoreham.

Suzanne’s neighbor has the goofy fairy houses, and the elegant used bookstore Paper Nautilus is also near her home.

The Painted Rock is a beloved island feature — too beloved these days. People paint over one another’s messages within hours, and even a decent picture gets no respect. There were few decent pictures this year, mostly spray painted graffiti.

On our morning walk, Sandra and I snuck up on the bird that was visiting the Manissean cemetery, thinking we’d get a great shot of a heron. You have probably already realized it was only a cormorant. But what a cormorant was doing in the cemetery is anybody’s guess.

I wrap up with a pre-dawn view. “The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.” (Wish I’d written that myself.)

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I once read a mystery called Tip on a Dead Crab about a gambler. The title refers to the gambler’s decision to place a bet on a crab race after someone gave him a tip that one of the crabs was dead.

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a crab race, and an annual one has been organized for children in New Shoreham. It is the cutest thing ever.

Here you see people catching the crabs from a dock, a little boy wearing his yellow crab-race hat, crabs marked with different colors (pick your own to cheer, win an ice cream), the wooden. blue race track, and the crabs scattering as fast as they can.

I always wondered whether crabs were somehow supposed to race in a straight line like a horse — crabs being what they are. But no. Here’s how it works. The master of ceremonies dumps a bucket full of crabs on a racing board, and when the starting signal is given, he sweeps the bucket off the crabs, and away they go.

The winning crab in Sunday’s race made a beeline sideways and fell off the edge as everyone urged their own crab to go, go go.

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I know it’s possible to take good pictures on cloudy days, but for me, the play of sunlight and shadow is irresistible. And this time of year, Midsommar in Swedish, has so much sunshine.

Today’s photos feature my usual Massachusetts and Rhode Island haunts. A couple pictures may be slow to load as I am learning to use an iPhone and the size I chose is too big for a blog. I’ll get better at this.

The Mountain Laurel above is from one of my favorite walks — through Sleepy Hollow Cemetery into wooded conservation land. The sunflowers by my fence were a gift from one of the ESL teachers I assist in Providence.

I got a big kick out of the deciduous holly tapping on the window. It was overcome with curiosity about what I was reading so intently at the kitchen table. (Answer: War and Peace.)

The next photo shows a child’s playhouse in Concord. I have never seen any child there and can only imagine how I would have felt to have such a place to play in as a kid. I would have thought I was in heaven.

Next comes an actual home in New Shoreham, one that is not much bigger than the playhouse. Decades before anyone spoke of “tiny houses,” a member of a church I was attending lived in this very small house year-round. It was known as the Doll House, although today the damaged sign says only, “Doll.”

Next to Doll, is a tiny restaurant called the Three Sisters with outdoor seating only and antiques on the fence. (Order sandwich combinations with names like Hippie Sister, Sailor Sister, and Twisted Sister.) There is also a small junk yard (antique yard?) that is fun to investigate while you wait for your food.

In the first sky photo, I was trying to capture the lower clouds, which looked like sheep, but I don’t think they are that noticeable given the whole view.

Finally, a Rhode Island sunset. Ahhhh.

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Today’s photos include two beauties that Sandra M. Kelly took at the Painted Rock in New Shoreham. I think the seal and mermaid are better than any work I saw on the Painted Rock this year, and I wish I could find out who the artist was. (NWG, if you know the painter, please let me know so I can give credit.)

The cow jumping over the Davis Square subway station has something to do with the bucolic history of City of Somerville. The mysterious door to nowhere is near my house, and I never get tired of taking pictures of it.

The next few photos are of the Sudbury and Concord rivers and include two shots of a popular canoe-rental business on the Sudbury. The antique metal pole in Wayland Square, Providence, is another mystery. Is it a lamppost? I’ve never seen it lit.

I felt compelled to post another picture of shadows, my favorite subject, plus food for thought from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The field of pumpkins is at Verrill Farm.

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Aren’t these bouquets splendid? They’re from a stand at the farmers market. In addition to flowers, Amy sells a wide array of produce — one of the few vendors who do, as the farmers at the market have gradually been outnumbered by New Shoreham artisans and bakers.

The porch photo was, I fear, an unsuccessful attempt to capture the full magnificence of two Rose of Sharon bushes in Providence.

The grandchildren don’t put a price on their lemonade. It turns out that when you just ask for donations, you make out like a bandit. More money for toys and for your donation to conservation.

Next are photos of the weed mullein, which looks so pretty when it blooms, and Queen Anne’s Lace growing alongside the corn at the Spring House. The long shots are from the Narrangansett Hotel on New Harbor and the Spring House.

Conserfest (Music on a Mission) was held at the former on August 5, and what a great concert and conservation fest it is! Organized by music lovers and performers who are part of the next generation of conservationists, it encourages you to “Embrace Your Place” wherever you live and take care of the natural envionment. It’s really the young who are going to save the planet, I think. Follow this group on Facebook, here.

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Yes this post’s title is toying with the name of the famous John Singer Sargent painting “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose,” which KerryCan told me she liked.

The roses in New Shoreham are so abundant this year, I couldn’t stop taking pictures. I admire these roses because they do their own thing. They need no attention from humans. If they feel like climbing up a tree or entwining themselves with acres of poison ivy, they will just do it.

I’m also posting a water-lily pond where I saw a rough-hewn guy in a beat-up car place a rescued turtle. Other photos include a typical New Shoreham dirt road, Suzanne’s daughter’s monkey enjoying a rare respite, a deer, and Stuga40’s breakfast idea (flax seeds and pumpkin kernels on cereal).

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After feeling pretty under the weather for a couple days, I rejoiced to be back to normal on Friday, well enough to help out at the ESL class for Haitians in Boston, if not well enough to eat, say, a pizza. I feel the way you are supposed to feel when you stop hitting your head with a hammer. Perhaps you can tell that the two quirkier photos were taken in a happy mood.

Anyway, the collection represents more of my Rhode Island and Massachusetts travels, in sun and shade.

First, New Shoreham, Rhode Island, overcast but lovely.

The Providence photos start with the wild turkey I saw on a morning walk. Erik tells me the turkeys are common. He and the children followed a group of them one day to see if they could find out where they were headed.

Next comes a reproduction of the Hokusai’s “The Great Wave of Kanagawa” on the bleachers of a high school baseball stadium. Then a piece of art welcoming urban farmers to the Fox Point Community Garden. My third Providence photo shows the end of the line for an old train track near a new bikeway. The drawbridge has been frozen in time.

The off-kilter gargoyle is on a building at Downtown Crossing, Boston. Near there I took a picture of the mosaic at St. Anthony’s Shrine, where Lillian and I went to light a candle in amazement and gratitude for an election some years ago. Neither of us is Catholic, but we felt the need of a ceremony.

I had to look up St. Anthony on Wikipedia, which says, “He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 16 January 1946. He is also the patron saint of lost things.”

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This healthy sunflower is at the Old Manse in Concord. The Trustees of Reservations always plant a big garden there, with pumpkins growing between the corn rows.

The lantern-like seed pods in the next photo embellish a tree beside the Providence River. The leaf shadows on brick were spotted not far away, along a grubby Providence sidewalk.

Can you read the plaque on the Providence Journal building? It shows the crazy height that the water reached in the infamous Hurricane of ’38. Golly!

My husband says the barrier at Fox Point will prevent flooding like that from ever happening again. I don’t know. Were the engineers aware of global warming when they started construction in 1960?

New Shoreham (in the next picture) was also battered in the hurricane of ’38. In fact, the storm wiped out the island economy on land and sea. The fishermen and farmers were not insured against such a catastrophe. No wonder people there remember that hurricane!

One thing that is different since 1938, as I learned in a splendid book called A Wind to Shake the World, communities in the path of a hurricane now get plenty of warning. But in 1938, when houses on Long Island, New York, were washing out to sea, no one up north knew it.

A few other shots of New Shoreham: a Wednesday farmers market, the Little Free Library, a view through a stone wall, a rumpled morning sky, and the North Light.

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Every once in a while reporter Ted Nesi adds a tidbit to his valuable “Saturday Morning Post” that doesn’t seem to fit with the news from Rhode Island and yet fits everywhere. This link from the Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), a “national journal of literature and discussion,” is one such example.

Amanda Petrusich writes in part, “Darkness is a complicated thing to quantify, defined as it is by deficiency. … Unihedron’s Sky Quality Meter is the most popular instrument for this kind of measurement, in part because of its portability (about the size of a garage-door opener) and also because it connects to an online global database of user-submitted data.

“According to that database, Cherry Springs State Park — an eighty-two-acre park in a remote swath of rural, north-central Pennsylvania, built by the Civilian Conversation Corps during the Great Depression—presently has the second darkest score listed …

“The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), a nonprofit organization that recognizes, supports, and protects dark-sky preserves around the world, designated it a Gold-tier International Dark Sky Park in 2008, only the second in the United States at the time, following Natural Bridges National Monument in San Juan County, Utah.

“Earlier this year, I drove the six hours to Cherry Springs from New York City to meet Chip Harrison, the park’s manager, his wife, Maxine, and a park volunteer named Pam for a 4:30 p.m. dinner of baked fish. Afterward, Chip had promised, we’d go see stars.  …

“On a clear night, from the proper vantage, watching constellations emerge over Cherry Springs is like watching a freshly exposed photograph sink into a bath of developer, slowly becoming known to the eye: a single crumb of light, then another, until the entire tableau is realized. Pam pointed the telescope toward Jupiter, which had risen over the east end of the field. The four Gallilean moons—Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto—were clearly visible through the lens. …

“When I got back to New York, I visited with Matt Stanley, a beloved colleague at the university where I teach. Stanley … has a particular interest in how science has changed from a theistic practice to a naturalistic one. He leads a seminar called ‘Achilles’ Shield: Mapping the Ancient Cosmos,’ and another called ‘Understanding the Universe.’

“ ‘I’ve found that probably 95 percent of my students come from either an urban or suburban environment, which means they can only see a dozen stars at night, and no planets,’ Stanley said. ‘When you say the Milky Way to them, they imagine a spiral galaxy, which is fine, but that’s not what the Milky Way looks like — it’s a big, whitish smear across the sky. I have to do a lot of work to orient them to what human beings actually saw when they looked at the sky. They don’t know that stars rise and set. Their minds explode.’ ” More here.

In Rhode Island, New Shoreham offers a pretty good look at the night sky. There are shooting stars in August. I feel lucky about that and hope that the five nearby offshore wind turbines don’t change anything.

Photo: Gary Honis

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In order to get down to the beach for a good shot of the structures I’ll call “War of the Worlds,” I had to negotiate a very steep, very slippery path that reminded me of my age at every step.

 

You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head —
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.” …

I thought of The War of the Worlds when I took the photo of this, the first, deep-water windmill in America and its giant parent, which is assembling the next four windmills.

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The beach on the south side of the island is beautiful, and since I don’t often scramble down there, I took photos of the tide pools and one of the many towers people build with smooth beach stones.

Moving right along, there’s a mobile of sea creatures that I made in an art class with my oldest grandchild. He made one, too: a jellyfish, a shark, a whale (he chose to make an orca) and a sea turtle.

I also have shots of a quiet “tug hole” (a peat bog), reflections of houses on the far side of Fresh Pond, a lotus, flowers against a stone wall, a box of pink impatiens by the outdoor shower, a monster crane getting delivered to Paradise, and magnificent city shadows.

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