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Posts Tagged ‘rhode island’

John takes my grandchildren on a paddle-board trip. Guess what happened when the youngest decided she wanted to stand up.

Here we are in September, and already August is seeming like a long time ago. So I want to share summer photos, mostly from my walks.

The first one below, however, shows a lighthouse painting by Ben Cummings. It was sent by his son Earle,after my last photo post, which featured a lighthouse. Everyone loves lighthouses.

Next is a picture of chicory, which people in New Shoreham and other parts of Rhode Island call Ragged Sailor. It has many names, in fact, depending on where you live. The turtle art is also from New Shoreham, one of my favorite Painted Rock images this year, and one that actually lasted more than a few hours. (The rock is a local billboard and really gets a workout in the summer.)

Back in Massachusetts, Kristina shared a photo of a sunflower from Verrill Farm’s pick-your-own-sunflowers day, a benefit for Emerson Hospital. Kristina gave me one of her sunflowers, and I was worried when I left for a few days that it wouldn’t survive. So I put it in the birdbath, and it did just fine.

Woodland scenes and the farm along the Lincoln bike path come next. I continue to be fascinated by fungi and by bits of art in unexpected places. The pig, an Old Spot, is one of the varieties raised at Codman Community Farms.

The frame on a pedestal and the amoeba-shaped sculpture were next to a construction site near a conservation trail. I wasn’t sure what to make of them. Perhaps you have a thought.

Meanwhile in the town, a second-floor shop’s staircase says, “Whatever you do today, do it with the confidence of a four-year-old in a Batman cape.” I thought it was excellent advice.

The last photo speaks for itself.

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Photo: Shadows on the Southeast Lighthouse

Time to share a few more photos from a summer in isolation. Four island photos come first. The dishrack photo is to show how I spend my time there. (LOL. I am the one, alas, who said we should protect the groundwater and not have a dishwasher. Sometimes it’s better to be pragmatic than idealistic.)

Back on the mainland, the photos reflect my appreciation of colorful summer meadows, cows, and outdoor library fun for kids. No pictures of people. I do sometimes meet a friend at a safe distance for a sandwich and a chat, but masks never make for good photos. And in my walks, I generally aim for places where people are scarce, like graveyards.

I really liked the spooky-looking crypt and wish I could be Edgar Allan Poe for a minute and invent a reason that a lock was broken.

The long shadow in the next photo is in front of a local senior-living building.

Next comes a sign at Emerson Field that struck me as funny. No golfing? There was never any golfing there. What’s the story? Someone must have tried to get around the governor’s rules in coronavirus Phase One and gotten in the way of dog walkers. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in our town it’s you don’t want to mess with dog walkers.

I wonder what memories we will take away from this weird time. For me, a sign forbidding golfing where there was never golfing might be one.

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Photo: Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Jars of Teddie Peanut Butter on the shelves in Market Basket, Nashua, New Hampshire. Teddie is increasing production to meet new demand.

But wait! There’s more. More, that is, on civic-minded businesses pivoting to meet the pandemic challenge. Whether it’s companies like Teddie Peanut Butter increasing production to prevent shortages (here), or the companies that are suddenly making something new, it’s all good.

Here’s a nice story by Leanne Italie at the Associated Press that was broadcast on WEARTV about a small sail company.

“On the coast of Maine, Eric Baldwin and his staff of two usually spend their days selling, repairing and washing sails for boats. They transform their surplus sailcloth into tote bags to bring in extra money.

“But when the coronavirus outbreak slowed business, they turned their industrial sewing machines to a new task: making cotton masks for caregivers and others who need protection from the disease.

‘We wanted to do something to give back,’ Baldwin said from his North Sails workshop in the small village of South Freeport, about 20 miles north of Portland. ‘Doing something like this just makes you feel good.’

“The 53-year-old Baldwin, who has operated his shop, known as a loft, for about 25 years, got the idea from employee Karen Haley. They went to work immediately and are now shipping to recipients as far away as Arizona after word spread on social media that masks were available. …

“Haley’s mother is a quilter. She raided her mom’s stash of cotton remnants to turn into double-ply rectangles called for by a mask pattern they found on a hospital website. Baldwin’s former wife got a Jo-Ann fabric store to provide elastic at a discount.

“Although they still have orders to fill for totes and sails, a portion of each day is dedicated to masks. Baldwin’s other worker, Alan Platner, volunteered to sew masks at home as well. …

” ‘I have every intention of keeping both of these people employed, and we’re not at a point yet where that’s even close to being in jeopardy, but I do think in terms of the tote business. I would be shocked if that picks up. We’re essentially missing the tourist season,’ Baldwin said. …

” ‘The response from the people has been overwhelming,’ Haley said. ‘They’ve been so appreciative of what we’re doing. The recipients include a woman who works for the Department of Homeland Security whose husband is an EMT. Others are nurses and nursing assistants. One is a social worker who makes home visits.’ …

“There’s been a run on elastic so when their stash is gone they might have to quit. He’s scrounging for more.

“Even if he’s no longer able to produce the masks in Maine, the effort is likely to continue elsewhere. Baldwin put out the word to other North Sails lofts around the country, letting them know what he was doing. Four have already offered to begin making masks, including shops in San Diego, Chicago and Annapolis, Maryland.” More.

Meanwhile in Rhode Island, as @angusdav noted on Twitter recently, “Kinder Industries shifted production today from boat canvas to PPE face shields at our industrial park in my hometown Bristol, RI. 3M raw material truckload arrived today; manufacturing begins Monday. 1st 8,000 to R.I. hospitals. Ready to supply others.”

Please give a shout-out to other companies stepping up during the pandemic. We need to remember them down the road.

Photo: AP/Robert F. Bukaty
In this Monday, March 23, 2020, photo, Eric Baldwin examines the stitching on a cotton mask, one of hundreds he and the employees at his sail-maintenance business are making for coronavirus caregivers at North Sails in Freeport, Maine.

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Photo: C.J. Chivers
Andrade’s Catch has been buying clams from a rotating group of fisherman to keep revenue flowing to quahoggers.

My friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin have perhaps not been asking themselves, “How are the quahoggers doing these days?” but on the coast, a few journalists are checking in on the folks who provide our seafood.

C. J. Chivers (a New York Times writer who sells clams but has no connection to the shop in this story) reports about a lifeline for clam diggers.

“Lou Frattarelli eased his flatbed truck into the loading zone at Andrade’s Catch, a small seafood shop in [Bristol] on Narragansett Bay. … He had four sacks of quahogs to sell, raked on the still-running tide from the bottom of the bay.

“Davy Andrade, one of the shop owners, met him at the door. Mr. Andrade was buying, one of the few shellfish dealers in the state still employing clammers and bringing a local seafood staple to residents.

“ ‘What do you want me doing tomorrow?’ Mr. Frattarelli asked, hoping for one more day’s pay.

“ ‘Another 500, if you can,’ Mr. Andrade answered.

“Five hundred littlenecks is far fewer clams than an experienced quahogger can rake in a day from the rich waters around Prudence Island, where Mr. Frattarelli had been working. But in the age of the coronavirus, it amounted to a boon.

“Many fishing ports across the United States, long imperiled and struggling under strict regulations and the declines of valuable fish and shellfish stocks, have fallen even quieter in the pandemic. …

“Until two weeks ago, much of the East Coast’s daily harvest of wild clams was channeled through wholesale buyers to restaurants and raw bars, many of them in New York City. When bars and restaurants were closed, wholesalers stopped buying.

“In Rhode Island, where state regulations forbid quahoggers from selling clams directly to consumers, the result is that the fleet has all but stopped working — even though catches were high and people, wary of going into crowded and picked-over grocery stores, are eager for healthy meals. …

“Andrade’s Catch has managed to support quahog sales, at least at a small scale. While the shop does a robust wholesale business, it also runs a retail shop out front. By shifting operations almost entirely to retail, it has kept a few boats on the water.

“ ‘I’ve got about six guys I am buying from,’ Mr. Andrade said, and he rotates their days. ‘We want to keep the guys going.’ …

“Said David Andrade, Davy’s father and a co-founder of the shop with his wife, ‘I’ve been telling the diggers, take it easy, wait for the restaurants to come back, [but in] all reality, you’ve got to make $200 a day to pay for the boat.’ …

“A town resident donated $600 to provide free clams to Andrade’s Catch customers. The donation became the impetus for a retail special: Anyone spending $24 or more on seafood this week received 24 free clams. …

“Mr. Andrade’s fiancée, Victoria Young, [encourages] shoppers to place orders by phone and to collect purchases curbside — reducing traffic in the store and potential dangers to the customers and staff.

“Between customers, Ms. Young sprays and wipes anything they might touch — the counters, the A.T.M. and the frame, glass and handles of the front door. …

“ ‘We were supposed to get married next week,’ she said, looking at Davy. ‘We’ve postponed it.’ ”

Read what some Rhode Island quahoggers are saying about the future, here.

 

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I haven’t shared photos for a while. Some of these are from my last sad visit to New York, others are closer to home.

The first one makes me think of how hopeful I was on September 24th, when I arrived in New York and stayed with my sister’s devoted friend. I learned that my sister was doing better than the day before although she was still in the hospital. She was talking again and saying she wanted to carry on with treatment. We allowed ourselves a flutter of hope.

The bed is a Murphy Bed, made famous in old, silent movies, where someone like Charlie Chaplin might accidentally get closed up in it. This one was comfortable and not at all recalcitrant.

My hosts’ balcony had a glorious view. I sat there and had a cup of tea. I also took an early walk around their neighborhood, which features a statue of the Dutch director-general of the colony of New Netherland (now New York), “Peg Leg” Peter Stuyvesant. I couldn’t help wondering what the descendants of the Lenape natives thought of the statue.

Alas, the next day my sister took a dramatic turn for the worse and died the day after that. Miraculously, our brothers arrived in time from Wisconsin and California.

On days that followed, my sister’s husband, her friend, Suzanne, and I wandered around the city trying to enjoy nature and art and focus on good memories.

Then I took a bus back to Rhode Island, where I had left my car in a hurry. The rooster is in Rhode Island.

The concluding set of photos embraces art and nature back home in Massachusetts, where a long-life sympathy plant from my niece and nephew holds pride of place in the living room.

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The angle of light makes September seem close at hand, so it’s time to round up a few more photos from my Rhode Island summer before the hurricanes start.

As they do every year, both families of grandchildren took a turn at a lemonade stand to raise money either for a big item on a wish list — or a visit to the candy store.

Another every-year thing is the opening of my neighbor’s lotus flowers. No matter how many times I’ve seen it, it always feels like an unexpected miracle. I took the photo of a bud, and Sandra M. Kelly captured a full-blown lotus when I was in New York.

Sandra also took the photo of the jellies. She’s a famous jelly maker locally, making blackberry, beach plum, and strawberry-rhubarb jams and jellies, among others. But this was the first year we picked Queen Anne’s Lace so she could attempt the lemony jelly that Thelma, an island character, used to make out of the flowers. It had a lovely flavor.

On a couple of our early walks, I picked an array of wildflowers, carrying them home in my water bottle to make bouquets.

I also took shots of a lacy fire-escape shadow, a Monarch butterfly caterpillar, and a dew-bejeweled spiderweb.

I made a big mistake about the caterpillar, though, disrupting the course of nature by bringing it home on a milkweed stem thinking the kids would see it make its cocoon, emerge, and fly away safely. But the caterpillar absconded while I was out picking more milkweed.

I’m distressed about that because there is no milkweed growing on the property for the run-away to eat, and I’m worried it won’t ever turn into a butterfly. I will never do that again. If I see a cocoon, I might bring that home on a stem for the kids. At least a cocoon won’t abscond. But I’m more wary of disrupting nature now, especially as Monarchs are much less plentiful than they once were.

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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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These photos are mostly mine, taken over the last month in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. But the adorable baby owls were captured by one of my brothers in his Wisconsin backyard. All the bird lovers in my family were envious of his owls.

In Massachusetts, I was especially drawn to flowers against fences, including my own Black-eyed Susans. Success at last! I’ve been trying to grown more native species for some time now.

In Rhode Island, I enjoyed looking at second-hand shops, art galleries, and unexpected decorations like this hydrangea-covered tank.

John got a permit for a fire on the beach so the kids could make s’mores, and Erik broke up logs for it by jumping on them.

The painted rock offered words of wisdom for protecting the environment, including turtles.

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Rhode Island has an outstanding independent, environmental news publication called ecoRI News. Who says local news is dead?

Well, actually, it is very much endangered and requires heroic efforts by those who understand its importance. Reporting at ecoRI News, for example, played a pivotal role in the rejection of an unnecessary new fossil-fuel plant in Burrillville, after a fight that lasted years (producing hostile stickers on utility poles throughout the state). The story may have been partly about quality of life in a small Rhode Island community, but as we now know, every bit of fossil fuel threatens the whole planet.

Local news addresses other issues that have international implications. As Tim Faulkner reported at ecoRI News in April, “Plastic pollution is everywhere, showing up in the air, water, food, and consequently in our bodies.

“To draw attention to this ubiquitous waste problem, plastic-catching traps, called trash skimmers, have been installed around Narragansett Bay to collect plastic debris and other trash in the marine environment.

“The latest skimmer was recently unveiled inside the hurricane barrier on the Providence River. It’s heralded as the first trash skimmer to be installed in a state capital.

“Using a pump to draw in debris, the partially submerged plastic box catches surface trash such as floating bottles and tiny debris called microparticles. Each skimmer costs about $12,000.

“Since 2017, three trash skimmers in Newport and one in Portsmouth have collected 27,000 pounds of trash. Cigarette butts, plastic food wrappers, and foam debris are the most common items collected. The skimmers are emptied daily throughout most of the year by interns and student groups. Each contains between 20 and 200 pounds of daily trash. The skimmers have collected unusual items such as floating plastic disks from a wastewater treatment plant in East Providence.

“The project is run by Clean Ocean Access, the Middletown-based pollution advocacy group directed by David McLaughlin.

“ ‘The skimmer is the last line of defense for our oceans, and each installation allows for open, positive, and forward-thinking conversation of how to solve the local and global problem of litter and marine debris,’ McLaughlin said. …

“Plastic bags are one of the top items collected in the trash skimmers. So far, 10 Rhode Island municipalities — Barrington, Bristol, Jamestown, Middletown, New Shoreham, Newport, North Kingstown, Portsmouth, South Kingstown, and Warren — have enacted bans on plastic retail bags. East Providence, Providence, and Westerly are poised to pass bans. …

“The trash skimmer project is funded by 11th Hour Racing, a Newport-based funder of ocean stewardship initiatives. … Two skimmers are operating in Newport Harbor and a third is in the water off Fort Adams. Another is at New England Boat Works in Portsmouth. A trash skimmer is operating in Gloucester, Mass., and a new trash skimmer is scheduled to be unveiled in New Bedford Harbor during the week of Earth Day. Other skimmers are planned for Stamford, Conn., and possibly Fall River, Mass.”

More here.

Photo: Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News
The Providence trash skimmer, which helps to clear plastic waste from Rhode Island waters, is fixed to a floating dock below the riverfront deck at the Hot Club
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The quirky Frog & Toad shop on Hope Street carries a variety of these funny metal creatures. This lobster on ice is an especially good one for New England.

Most weeks when I am in Providence, I volunteer at Dorcas International Tuesday morning and at the Genesis Center Tuesday afternoon. Last week, because Dorcas was doing its standardized testing, I had the morning off and decided to stop in at the Swedish-themed shop called Café Choklad and then at the nearby Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Here are a few photos of that morning and another day of Providence wandering.

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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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Thinking of a line from Edna St. Vincent Millay: “O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!”

We’ve had some beautiful days lately, some wild, stormy ones, and some that were so hot and humid, I just sat around like a bump on a log. In fact, I was so hot I was ready to post one of the March snowstorm photos to cool us all off, but I’d promised Deb to pick a day in August.

I took most of the pictures myself, but I’m going to start off with two that Suzanne took in Bohuslän on Sweden’s west coast. The place looks to me like the skin of the earth, like the hide of an elephant. Note the children climbing in the giant hole left by a rock in the last Ice Age.

The bunny photo was taken in Massachusetts. He’s pretending that he doesn’t see me. Simple Pleasures is a charming little shop in Providence.

Next are three photos from the farmers market. This market has a couple wonderful farmstands and a lot of stands selling crafts or baked goods. The little boy was watching two folk musicians who perform using a washtub. They come every summer and play for tips. The boy looked to me like he wanted to be invited to join in.

The other photos are from morning walks and include lotus buds and wildflowers like Bouncing Bet and Ragged Sailor.

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John took the photo of my eldest grandson and the fish as well as the picture of my eldest granddaughter investigating the seaweed. The large-mouthed bass popped right out on the first cast early one morning, but the lucky fish got thrown back. My husband and I were also lucky, having that family visiting us last week and Suzanne’s family the week before. Suzanne’s children, like their cousins, were absolute fish in the ocean, but are pictured on land, climbing a tree.

The painting on the rock was not created for me, but I had to take a picture anyway.

Now look carefully at the photo of the fence and some weeds. What do you see far away?

The boats are docked in an active Rhode Island fishing port, Point Judith. The nautical weathervane is in Providence, as is the field of sunflowers planted to rehabilitate soil that was ruined when Interstate 195 ran above it. See my post from 2016, here. Where the highway used to be, a research center and a pedestrian bridge to span the river are coming along well and are likely to be finished in 2019.

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