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Posts Tagged ‘photos’

Once a year, they close off a block on Main Street.

Saturday was quite a joyful day in town. The weather was beautiful (not too humid), the farmers market boasted vegetable car races for kids as well as vegetable stalls for grownups, and the Covid-delayed library book sale made a record haul from book lovers overjoyed to be back.

So today seems like a good day to share pictures from those events and also from late summer in general. The beach plums are in New Shoreham. My neighbor knows the secret places for every kind of berry, and he goes out at dawn to pick them so Sandra can make jams and jellies. This year was a bust for blackberries, but Sandra expects to get several batches out of the beach plums.

Next comes one of the better Painted Rock designs from 2021, followed by a photo of seining for small fish and shrimp in Great Salt Pond.

From those scenes we turn to the lobster pots and breathtaking vistas of Lewis Farm. Then a view of Old Harbor boats and the National Hotel.

The windmills did not get much action this summer, partly because of the cost and partly because of repairs. That’s what I was told, anyway.

The fishing boat is docked in the active port of Galilee, the last stop in Rhode Island today.

Next we return to Massachusetts, where I want to share a bit regarding post-Covid life. First, a delicious Dutch pancake that I learned to make during the pandemic. Then, the story of my hair. My daughter-in-law loved how it grew out during the year and a half I stayed away from scissors, and she made beautiful braids for me. But in the end, I couldn’t manage long hair and resigned myself to easy care.

I was glad to see the Umbrella arts center still has a lot of opportunities to enjoy art outdoors. The Millbrook farm stand offers a different kind of art. Similarly, the colors of autumn sedum and lily-of-the-valley berries make an unstudied picture. The praying mantis is another work of art, busy going after the less welcome bugs in the yard.

Hello and good-bye, Happy Sunflower.

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Photo: Suzanne’s Mom.
At Verrill Farm’s Sunflower Day, lovers of pick-your-own sunflowers benefit both themselves and the pediatrics unit of the local hospital.

It’s only August, so I’ll have more summer photos down the road, but I decided to share what I have today. This collection includes both inspiration from nature and quirky things that just call out for a picture.

When you wait in line at the big grocery store in New Shoreham, RI, if your eyes wander to the ceiling, you will note the shop’s unusual version of a seahorse. More like a mermaid horse than a real seahorse. At the island’s smaller market, I was drawn to an antique cash register.

An artisan at a craft show converted watering cans and lanterns into bird houses — whether for actual birds or just for display, I don’t know.

In the woods near Ben Wohlberg‘s gallery, there was a wooden sculpture like a signpost.

The stove-in double-ender on display at the historical society is in need of some love and attention. This was historically the kind of boat island fishermen used.

Next is one of the many old, unused outhouses on the island, followed by bird nests, also unused. Then a picturesque outdoor fireplace by a stone wall.

Moving on to Massachusetts, Indian Pipes, giant tomatoes at Verrill Farm, and the farm’s version of social-distancing guidelines.

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Monarch caterpillar bulking up on milkweed in order to work a miracle.

Plenty of Monarch butterflies swooping around here lately, and I keep wondering if the hungry caterpillar I captured on video is one of them. I hope so. As much as I love birds, I hope they eat something else. We need our Monarchs.

In the first photo below, we see that something has been doing a good job of pollinating the sunflowers. Maybe Monarchs? Pollinators have also been working on the Black-Eyed Susans scattered through a field along the Greenway.

The Rose o’ Sharon and the Trumpet Vine are flourishing. So much beauty! I had to bring some of it indoors — Russian Sage and Potentilla.

Next are views of a lily pond, Fresh Pond, and a West Side New Shoreham beach, including long shadows from artists of various ages who work with stones. There’s also a shot of the Mohegan Bluffs.

And for good measure, another glamorous nature scene, but one that Caroline H. sent from Utah.

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New Shoreham, Rhode Island

Hello, Everyone. Here are a few summer photos. They mostly speak for themselves. The first eight are all of Rhode Island. As you can see, I’m fascinated by stone walls, lichen, and dirt roads.

Also, I took a shorebird hike with the Nature Conservancy and saw oyster catchers, among other cool birds. Our guide (with the telescope) taught Suzanne and John all about bird banding when they were young.

The Great Blue Heron here, however, is not the one I saw in Rhode Island but one that stood in the flooded path of Great Meadows National Wildlife Sanctuary in Massachusetts. After the heavy rains, I found I couldn’t walk there because I had no wading boots, but it was a treat to see people silently watching this bird, including a troop of little boys with bicycles. When I left, everyone was still waiting for the heron to decide what to do.

Also from Massachusetts, are photos of an agricultural lawn ornament, summer lilies and wild flowers, and Concord grapes in a vine honoring the founder of that variety, Ephraim Bull.

The last photo is neither from Rhode Island or Massachusetts but one Suzanne sent from the west coast of Sweden, where her family is renting an apartment on a horse farm near where they’re boating.

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I think I have enough June and early July photos for another round-up. Most of these were taken in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, but I’m including two that Melita sent from Madrid, where (she reports with relief) foreign nationals have finally been able to get Covid vaccinations.

Working backwards from New Shoreham’s July 4th parade, I apologize that the banner is missing an apostrophe. But there was such a sense of relief and gratitude in the air, I think I can let that go. No one knows how long our relief will last — I for one, still put up a mask when I get close to strangers — but it sure felt good for one day.

Another shot from New Shoreham features a blue Lace-Cap Hydrangea. How I love that flower! It says July to me. Next, I have a photo of Great Salt Pond on a cloudy day when the waves on the ocean side of the sandbar were too rough for the grandchildren. Later on, I collaborated with them to identify the Red Admiral butterfly. My husband caught it flying around the house and let it go outdoors.

The gorgeous iris and peony from Madrid are followed by the papery bark of the river birch. Such a beautiful tree! And speaking of trees, please applaud the tree puzzle I finally finished. It took me almost six months. It was the hardest puzzle I ever did. But everyone said to do a puzzle in the pandemic.

The dry cleaner’s sign speaks for itself. It’s followed by the boat house on the Sudbury River, a kind of garter snake, more flowers, and shadows. I can never resist interesting shadows.

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Probably a painted turtle looking for a spot to lay eggs

Time for another hodgepodge collection of things that caught my eye on recent walks. To start, I include a video of what I think is a painted turtle. (Do correct me if I’m wrong.) It’s being nudged along by my sneakers because it will be safer from bikes on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Can you hear the audio? Jeanne and I had been referring to the turtles as “he,” but we had a suspicion they were crossing the blacktop to lay eggs. So, not “he.”

There are also flower photos from my yard and my neighborhood and several from the Buttrick Mansion, now a visitor center for the Minuteman National Park. The Buttrick gardens specialize in peonies and iris. Isn’t that black one amazing? You can see rhododendrons along a staircase going down to the Concord River and a view or the river itself in another shot. A photo of the Daniel Chester French statue of the Minuteman farmer is also included.

Everyone loves flowers. The tiny garden with the two little putti is actually in a large parking lot. Funny how the statues each have a hand to an ear. It makes me think they have cellphone earbuds!

The banner featuring blown milkweed seeds and the words “Love” and “Justice” (the latter planted in Minnesota) was part of an Umbrella Arts outdoor exhibition called “Change is in the Air.

The farm mural in West Concord, an initiative of the Village Art Room, seems to have been a group effort, with contributors assigned small squares to complete.

Moving on to Boston, where I had to go to renew my senior discount for public transit, I made a stop in Dewey Square. I always like checking out the latest Greenway mural. This one is by Daniel Gordon. It’s not as edgy as some I admired in the past.

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What’s weird about WordPress is that it keeps changing how things are done and forgets its own history. So, for example, it recently decided to congratulate people for consecutive days of posting. I guess it started counting when the new editing system went in. But when it throws exclamation points at me for “1,449!” consecutive days, it’s really a bit insulting.

Every day for ten years is 3,650 plus three leap years. So ex-cu-use me!

Well, enough of that. Today I also thought I would post some spring photos, the one above being ten years out of date. Suzanne, of course, looks exactly the same, but I really got old!

First, I want to share three pictures I took of redbud trees, which I always thought were plum trees until the dear sister who died in 2019 showed me an especially beautiful one on Fifth Avenue in New York. I realized from studying these photos that it’s the delicate shape of the branches from a distance that charms me most. And I always think of my sister now when I see redbuds.

Next are apple trees growing wild along the Sudbury River and cherry blossoms coexisting on a branch with moss and lichen.

Also looking pretty: woodland trails, dogwood, barberry flowers, rhododendron open and opening, plus a rare pink Lady Slipper.

And it wouldn’t be a Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog photo round-up without some shadows.

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It’s really spring in Massachusetts. Sometimes 70 F, sometimes 50 F. But we know where we’re headed.

I took advantage of being old to get my Covid-19 vaccinations wrapped up in March and began to visit grandchildren indoors. Below you see that piano recitals are still on Zoom. While I was visiting, I got my hair “painted” rainbow colors by the youngest grandchild. She worked on my hair while her brother read “spooky stories” to me. The stories got exciting, so she went to look at the pictures.

Easter involved an egg hunt, although some kids may be getting too old. Next year, maybe a scavenger hunt or treasure hunt would be a good variation.

Where I live, there’s a guy who rides around on his bicycle playing the guitar. I managed to capture him this week in his headless horseman costume. His day job is baker.

Also in my town, there are people who never forget that April is Natural Poetry Month. One homeowner makes poems available for free.

Most of the other pictures are about Suzanne’s Mom and her friends flipping over spring flowers. Daffodil, Andromeda, Rhododenron. Fig Buttercup, Blue Scilla, Bloodroot, Trout Lily, Magnolia.

The second to last photo was taken in Central Park by Ying-Ying, who was thrilled to get out of Arizona for a New York spring. And the last was taken by Melita in Madrid, where she’s been living during the pandemic.

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I found it harder than usual this year to wait for spring flowers, so I ordered bulbs online. The way the tulips opened was really intriguing. Do all tulips emerge from under a leaf as if from under a wing or from a womb? I had never noticed that before.

Signs of spring appeared outdoors in due time, but first I took plenty of snow, lichen, and shadow photos.

The bird feeder kept me entertained all winter, especially when rare visitors like bluebirds showed up. Another hit in lockdown was Kim’s lecture series about New Shoreham, RI, nature, where I learned that the fuzzy growth on the Massachusetts tree below is Bushy Beard Lichen.

One funny thing: I was excited about seeing pussywillows, but when my Arlington family saw the photo, they thought there must be a hidden image. My granddaughter suggested there was a snake in the foreground, and my grandson saw a turtle. Now I’m inspired to seek photos of snakes and turtles!

I hope you remember my Afghan mentee, Shagufa. She has the world’s best host family, helping her in countless ways. This month they gave her the first birthday party of her life. You never heard anybody so amazed and delighted by a cake with her name and age — and candles!

Meanwhile in Stockholm, the seniors continue outdoor dance exercise no matter how cold it gets. Stuga40, their volunteer leader, says that in addition to the health benefits, the point is to have fun. When a preschool group came walking through the park, the children were invited to join in.

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Photo: Nick Dymond.
Nick Dymond took his bags of old slides to the Shetland Islands recycling center. Paul Moar rescued them for posterity.

This why I have such a hard time throwing anything out. I say to myself that I really need to deal with the clutter here and leave less of a mess for my children. But then I think, what if these old letters, these old photos, etc., turn out to have value for posterity? I have read too many biographies that lament someone’s friend or grandmother burning precious material!

Megan Specia reported recently at the New York Times that a Shetland Islands resident who was cleaning house never considered that anyone would care about his slides of the old days. Fortunately, someone who did care saw them.

“After working for years at a recycling center in the Shetland Islands, at the northernmost reaches of the British Isles, Paul Moar is used to helping the public get rid of unwanted items.

“But when an older man walked into the recycling center in Lerwick, the capital of the archipelago in the North Atlantic, carrying two large bags heaving with old photograph slides, he quickly realized that this intended trash might be worth keeping.

“In the bags, he found a wealth of old pictures of the Shetland Islands taken in the 1960s and ’70s — old farmers shearing sheep by hand, views of dirt roads winding between small stone houses, and fishers rowing small dinghies ashore.

” ‘My jaw hit the ground,’ said Mr. Moar, a local history buff. ‘Some of them were these amazing snapshots into island life, and other ones were just scenic photos,’ he said. ‘But I knew I’d stumbled on a little bit of treasure.’

“In the days since, Mr. Moar has worked on digitizing the 300 images, tracked down the photographer and shared dozens of the pictures online. There, they have proved a sensation for residents of the islands, which have a population of just 22,000 or so, who have helped piece together when they were taken, identified the people in the photographs, and shared their own memories of the islands. …

“Through a neighbor, Mr. Moar reached out to Nick Dymond, the local resident who dropped off the bags and who took the photographs, and with his permission, uploaded a number of the images to a Shetland memories Facebook group

Overnight, dozens of people [on Facebook] were leaving messages and helping to identify the people featured, chiming in with notes on family homes and sharing memories of places they spent time as children. …

“One member of the Facebook group where Mr. Moar first shared the images said it was ‘giving everyone such a boost in these dark times.’

“Mr. Moar said his own passion for the history of the islands — where his family can trace ancestors back to the 1400s — was what had initially drawn him to save the pictures. …

“Mr. Dymond, 77, … is originally from Bedford, England, but in the 1960s, he made his home on the Shetland Islands, … and in the 1970s, he began leading bird and wildlife tours in the summers. He served as a warden for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, a charity, and later wrote a book on birding in the islands

“Mr. Dymond said that viewing the photographs was a journey back into small moments of his life that he had not thought of in some time. … One of his favorites is a photograph of a farmer kneeling to feed a lamb, taken on the tiny island of Fetlar, which had a population of just 100 during the seven years that Mr. Dymond lived there. He recognized the man, Lollie Brown, a neighbor, who died years ago.

“ ‘He was just a wonderful man,’ he said. ‘That was a great reminder for me.’ ”

More at the New York Times, here. See the Shetland Museum site, here.

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Pancake for Valentine’s Day.

I had high ambitions for heart-shaped pancakes today, with cranberries dotted around the edge in a tidy pattern. My cooking never comes out quite the way I envision, but with butter and maple syrup, it tasted just fine. Today was also the first time we used my mother-in-law’s dainty tea set, though we’ve had it in a cupboard the last 20 years. My husband was surprised.

In other February news, there’s been snow, snow, and more snow. My grandson built a snowman and took a photo one day. Where he lives, the kids don’t always get snow days because, with schools all set up for online classes, teachers want to keep kids learning.

Is that nose a carrot? A pumpkin stem? Looks good to me. I myself felt moved to get playful in the snow, so I shot the Fisher-Price kid with the wheelbarrow for no other reason.

I hope you can feel the weight of the snow in the next few pictures. This winter has been rough on bushes and trees. Not to mention old guys who have to dig out of the driveway in a hurry if they want to get to their scheduled Covid shot in time. (Whew, we both got Dose 1! Onward and Upward!)

The rhododendron blooming indoors represents one upside of having four wild creatures running ’round and ’round outside the house in January and crashing into bushes. Another upside is having them here, running ’round and ’round outside the house in January and crashing into bushes.

Sandra sent the Happy Valentine’s Day photo from New Shoreham, a place that seldom gets much snow. Pretty careful job, huh? If I’d tried, there would’ve been footprints all over it.

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This year, while choosing ornaments for the tree, I felt particularly drawn to anything that looked like a bird or an angel. All the bird and angel ornaments went up. The small snowy ball also gives me a good feeling. It was from a winter wedding in 2011.

On Sunday’s trip to Rhode Island to deliver the kids’ presents, Suzanne prepped her porch with cozy, festive elements. The candelabra has a bit of a story. When Suzanne and John were still little kids, I bought two of these from a Lillian Vernon sale. When my children grew up and had their own homes, I gave each one their candelabra. They light theirs every year with their own children.

Suzanne and Erik allowed each kid to open two gifts early so Mormor and Morfar could see how they reacted while we were still at their house.

In addition to those Christams-y photos, I want to share a couple pictures from far-flung friends. Earle, in California, makes the magnificent wooden bowls on his lathe and is known to donate a bowl to one of his environmental causes at the holidays to delight the top donor.

Stuga40 is in Stockholm, where there is almost no sun at this time of year. She caught a little today after weeks of overcast skies. I asked her take a picture of a shadow, but she said the sun is so low on the horizon now that she might not be able to. In the end, she was able to get some very, very long shadows! The sun set at lunchtime.

But you can trust those Swedes to light up their nights with outdoor decorations and to make some kind of fun during the day, too. Stuga40, in the light green jacket below, stepped into the instructor’s role for the outdoor exercise class after new Covid restrictions kept the leader from traveling by bus. The woman in red is 91, and rain or snow, they all keep up the outdoor exercising. Stuga40 says she leads the group using Spotify and a speaker from home. One day, some passing teens and a few boys from a school class joined in.

Back in wintry New England, you can see that our big new bird feeder is popular. It arrived the day before we had a snowstorm, and it’s such fun to watch. The gray squirrel tolerates a rabbit but chased away a gang of 11 mourning doves. Also very aggressive are the goldfinches. Does anyone know (Nancy G.? Kim?) if goldfinches are always aggressive? The first day at the feeder we had cardinals, bluejays, a purple finch, a house finch, juncos, and even a red bellied woodpecker. Now it’s mostly goldfinches. I love them, but I do wonder.

There’s also a little red squirrel that makes tunnels under the snow and pops up all over the yard like a gopher.

Happy Holidays to Everyone, wherever you are and whatever your weather!

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Frost

For one of the online English as a Second Language (ESL) classes where I work as a teacher’s aide, I think up writing prompts for students who want to practice their skills. The other day, I thought of “Write about something you like about cold weather” — but I changed my mind. It’s hard even for me to think of something I like about cold weather, and I imagined it would be harder still for the students from tropical countries.

In any weather, however, there are always photo ops to be found, and I must say I loved the frost-etched leaves above. Today I thought I’d share other signs of the changing seasons.

I read the long, rust-colored band on this Woolly Bear as predicting a mild winter. It’s harder to read the conflicting signs in the photos that follow. The North Bridge and the boat house at the Old Manse look bleak enough for a tough winter. But on one day, I’m kicking through dry leaves along a sun-strewn trail, and the next trudging through snow.

The snow was actually an October surprise. It melted pretty soon. More typical for the time of year are the three scenes that follow., including the one of boys seizing the day for a bit of fishing in the Sudbury River (posted with a warning about mercury contamination).

I expect that my Money Plant — a goofy gift from the bank, of all things — will keep turning to the light no matter what the weather. I like watching its slow dance. Funny how a pandemic-constricted social being can end up befriending a plant.

The artist in the next photo noticed she could draw pictures with the charcoal from a fire pit. She’s partially covering one family portrait that features white hair made from ashes.

Whatever the season, life goes on in its random way, and my pictures documenting it are eclectic. The next one shows a farmer’s version of a Little Free Library beside the big, open-air barn where I buy produce. That photo is followed by a shot of Sandra’s magnificent baking. Her brother-in-law loves fruitcake at Christmas, and she starts making it in November. Ordinarily, she would give it to Tom at Thanksgiving, but this year, she and Pat are on their own with the turkey. Gatherings are getting too worrisome, and the governor is revving up extra hospital space in the convention center.

The last picture is of one of those charming things that people do just because they feel like it. I loved the surprise of two silver bells hanging near the library. It made me want to do more stealth decorations myself, as I did a few years ago.

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Oops!

Massachusetts got a tree-bending snowfall October 30 while leaves were still attached to everything. I don’t know if we should call it an October surprise or a Halloween surprise, but it’s likely to add to the reasons kids will long remember this year’s mask-required Halloween.

For today’s photo round-up, let’s start with what autumn looked like in these parts before the snow. Amusing, colorful, thought-provoking.

In an annual event on the library lawn, people put up scarecrows to represent their favorite storybook characters. I love the face-shield wielding Wild Thing below kicking a coronavirus soccer ball.

As pumpkins came out in yards, flowers continued to bloom on fences, and sometimes the woods seemed to bloom like flowers.

One day I got it in my head that the white-pine needles on our yew branches looked like wishbones, so I set up a silly shot.

The carved stone marker is located near a retirement home in town. I had never noticed before that it has a word about local celebrity Henry Thoreau.

The mother-baby sculpture is a peaceful one outside a hospital in Boston, where I had to go for an annual checkup. Overall, it wasn’t a peaceful experience because there were so many people. The safety protocols were good, but I am definitely not used to crowds.

OK, the luscious dahlia is not mine. Melita sent it from Madrid, where she reports a State of Emergency has been decreed until May 9!

After the dahlia is my attempt at creating a Maxfield Parrish.

Stay safe, stay warm, but try to get out in the fresh air for a bit every day.

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On this rainy, indoor day, I’m sharing photographs from recent walks. I have been so surprised lately by how much is blooming late in the season. Look at the color of those roses and the vitality of the daisies! I want to get some autumn daisies for my own yard.

As you may have guessed, the flower basket at the street crossing memorializes a death on that spot. The woman who was hit was devoted to nature, so her friends have not been putting anything plastic up. Yesterday I noticed a small pile of smooth stones such as one sees in Japanese gardens.

The next shot, of an old tree stump, was taken on a trail that branches off from our local cemetery. I often walk in the cemetery because it is so beautifully landscaped, but I had never taken this path along the wetlands because it’s usually too swampy. I enjoyed trying to guess where the trail would emerge and I was almost right.

I was also drawn to a tree stump by a stone wall on the Codman House grounds in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Sometimes there is beauty in decay. Some might regard the old formal gardens with the ionic columns as representing a different kind of decay, although I must say, the statue looks pretty alert and energetic to me.

The farmstand and a homeowner’s gourd-and-pumpkin display speak for themselves. They remind me I should add a bag of candy to my delivery order on the off-chance we actually get a trick-or-treater this year. It’s been years. But a toddler just moved in next door, so I have hopes. Maybe his mother would prefer something other than candy though. What do you suggest?

Next I have two of the pieces of art from this year’s Umbrella Art Ramble in the town forest. I liked the hanging rowboats and the fishnet strung between trees. The theme this year was “Water Change: Where Spirit, Nature, and Civilization Meet.” Some works spoke to the different ways we use water. Some spoke to increasing shortages. In our own town, we have been suffering from a drought, so the pieces were especially relevant.

Finally, beautiful clouds. I don’t need to tell anyone here that some of the best art is not of human device.

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