Hike and a Return Visitor

Everyday Life, Gardening, Memories, Pets, Scenic Photography, Wildlife
Gazebo, Plum Island MA

Today – woke up late changing plans for the day somewhat. Took a drive over to Winslow to drop off some food for the animals, had intention to pick up a “grill box” that a restaurant is doing a few towns over from there. They put it all together and you place and cook it on your own backyard grill. Unfortunately we discovered too late in time to order so it’ll have to wait for another time to try it out. Instead went for a 1.5 mile hike through one of the town’s trails.

Looks like that bunny is coming around again! Carson just watches!

Tonight’s movie watch was Can’t Buy Me Love from 1987 starring Patrick Dempsey. I was saddened to learn that the lead actress in the film had died about 5 years ago from a drug overdose. I really liked her character in the film – I know the role is not the person, but still, it saddened me.

TBT

Everyday Life, Memories, Scenic Photography
Ship Bottom, NJ

Water is the most expressive element in nature. It responds to every mood from tranquility to turbulence.

Spent some time in blow up pool this afternoon – not too bad on a hot day. One thing about the pool yesterday – in order to blow it up I searched Youtube to see how it could be done without a proper air pump. Come to find out, the leaf blower actually does the trick!

Rain on my Parade

Everyday Life, Gardening, Memories, Scenic Photography
Fire lily in the rain. This photo is available for purchase.

“The voice of a single raindrop will always make a splash when it has something to say.”

Today is a day where I spent some time just sitting and looking at the garden and being all zen. I also bought a new hose and some other things, as the previous one starting leaking at the spigot and it got annoying. I went all out with this though – contractor strength connection! No more leaks hopefully forever! I also bought a couple more plants and planted them under the hummingbird feeder as I thought it was a little bare there and these plants’ blooms should also attract them as well.

Not sure what was going on here. Carson was watching this rabbit come on the deck (again!) and the bunny just watched Carson. They had a stare down for a good minute or two. Carson has now made ‘friends’ with this bunny, a finch, and possibly a chipmunk as of this afternoon.

Going to try something different tonight and grill a pizza out on the grill tonight. Check back to see how it came out. Also RIP Angel the cat, it’s been three years since you’ve been gone now – forever in our hearts.

Update: The pizza didn’t turn out so great. Oh well. Back to the drawing board on that one.

Mother Seal

Cape Cod, Memories, Scenic Photography, Wildlife
Mother seal with baby (re-edit).

Went down to Earth-1 today. While I was there there was another downpour, whereby the neighborhood lost power for about an hour and a half, and then the hot water heater pilot went out. But everything’s good now.

I edited my photo of seal mama and baby to give it a different kind of look from the original. Made the greens and blues a little more pronounced.

Be Like Water…

Everyday Life, Memories, Scenic Photography
Choices?

Today ended up being a pretty fun day. Once again got to hang down at the friends beach house and we all went into Buzzards Bay and enjoyed being in the water. I was a little averse at first but LD convinced me and I’m glad she did! We must have been in there for an hour and a half! Plus it was just the three of us – we had the beach to ourselves. That is living! I also had the foresight to bring my binoculars this time and got some birding in as well. I saw an osprey hover and dive a few times into the water hoping to get a fish, but it kept coming up empty mouthed, We never expect to be there more than a couple of hours, but the end of it all it’s been over 6 hours! Really grateful for the invitation to hang out there always.

Coming home, we heard that the basement might be flooded due to torrential rainstorms. Not good, as we were told the street was flooded. Luckily the neighbor helped clear the storm drains which saved us. The basement was dry. Sun room got a little wet though because we had left the windows open, but things could have been a whole lot worse than it was. Lucked out! Saw on the news the hospital flooded!

In other news I get the feeling like I’m at a weird time in my life right now, not sure what’s right, what path should I follow. Afraid of different things and have moments where I lack confidence in myself. It’s hard to have to start over again. Suppose it’s natural to a degree. It’ll all work out in time, least that’s what I tell myself.

The Cabin by the Lake

Gardening, Memories, Scenic Photography
The Red Cabin

I can remember as a kid staying in New Hampshire one week by a lake for a vacation with my family. The memory is blurry and I don’t remember why or how we stayed there, but I do remember walking off a dock and falling into the water and scaring myself half to death over it. Luckily I was able to make it back to shore by myself. I had totally forgotten all about that memory until right now. I wonder if that’s partly why I am somewhat averse to going into the water a lot of times, plus I can’t swim. Never learned, never had the desire to. I must have been around 8 years old? Anyways all I can seem to remember is the lake and the sand and the dock.

Nature’s fireworks again (Fire lily surrounded by Hydrangeas)

Guess all that work I’ve been doing to maintain these gardens is paying off – just look at these gorgeous blooms I’ve been waking up to in the morning.

Grace

Everyday Life, Gardening, Memories, Wildlife
Grace, the Goddess of the Garden

Here we have Grace (an eastern cottontail rabbit that’s been hanging around – LD named her, I think it’s a her anyway) getting ready to eat some clover flowers. This particular bunny (a youngster we believe) spends all day in the yard and seems rather friendly and not so scared of people, as long as they don’t get too too close.

I placed the hummingbird feeder back out which had been gathering dust for a year or two now. I also moved it from it’s previous location. It was closer to the patio but I’ve now moved it into the back garden area where it’s more “secluded” and surrounded by natural nectar producing plants. I did this to make them feel safer and should provide me with a better view of actually seeing them. I remember earlier in the year just sitting on the back deck and this thing hovered in front of me with a buzzing sound. It took me a moment to register that it was a hummingbird in front of me! Of course, by the time I realized that, it took off – but it is pretty wild how they fly and hover and move in such varied ways, for a bird. So hopefully, I’ll get to see some more often.

Rando thoughts: Found an old copy of my Watchmen graphic novel from the ’80s. Think I’ll reread that. Setting up a new microwave. Got a simple outdoor inflatable pool yesterday, probably set that up this weekend. Still working on assembling the sideboard – it’s more complicated than I thought, with it’s Ikea-like directions and many parts. Hitting Home Depot to get a new hose and maybe some grilling accouterments, Speaking of grilling, I grilled last night and we ate by the firepit – I’ve become rather adept at it now – I actually prefer the hickory smell rather than the actual fire itself, although there is something meditative about just watching it burn – plus the smoke keeps the bugs away.

I spent the afternoon mowing the lawns, I like to keep it looking pretty, or at least, neat. Went to Volante’s this afternoon and ended up picking up a dwarf rose of sharon and a foxglove, which I planted in the patio area. Then hit another place down the road for a couple of hanging plants also for the patio area. Holy shit, gardening is a lot of work!

Tonight’s movie watch was Crash. Interesting flick – lots of well known actors too.

Early Lily

Everyday Life, Gardening, Memories, Scenic Photography
First Fire Lily of the season.

How pleased was I to see this first fire lily be open! I take another shot once more have opened but this is the first one. You can sort of see the hydrangeas and roses and clematis vine (can you spot it?) that surround it.

We were admiring a neighbor’s garden on our midday walk around the neighborhood, and so we got to talking and he gave us some great pointers about plants and the various critters and a little about himself. One thing about these quarantine days is we’ve really gotten to know the folks who live on the street in a way that we never have before. Very cool.

Container Gardens

Everyday Life, Gardening, Memories
Gardening update

“It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.”

― Robert Louis Stevenson

The petunias are in full bloom, the various species of Dahlia are starting to bud and bloom, tomatoes are starting to form on their vines, zucchini and eggplant are forming and everything else is so far so good. The clematis vine is crawling all over the hydrangeas, which is kinda cool looking and the various pots out front and full of different flowers all in bloom as well. I deadheaded some of the dianthus so that new blooms will form. I also picked up a new Celosia today with yellow, red and purple blooms. Someday I may try my hand at growing wisteria to cover the front fences – I bet that would look pretty cool but for now I want to go out later and get a new Hibiscus to replace the dead one out back. The Rose Campions have really started to spread themselves, one is even in the lawn out back which I left alone to see how it’d fare (it’s in bloom now too). LD doesn’t like them but I think they’re cool and I like how the spread and make more of themselves. They almost look florescent to me with their reds against the light green of their stems. Makes me think to get some more or something similar to take up any bare areas out back and to cut out the weeds from getting some space. I cut back all the spent blooms from the butterfly bush out front – hopefully it’ll have all new blooms in a few. The various lilies are starting to bud – the fire lilies always looks spectacular and I can’t wait for them to open, but the star gazers on the patio and the old regular lilies in the back are also getting ready to pop. The pumpkin and butternut squashes so far are still growing their leaves out. The salvia are keeping the bees busy with pollinating tasks.

A Tired Potato

Everyday Life, Memories, Scenic Photography
Sunrise off the York Cliffs.

Been a little occupied lately. Hanging again with a morning visit at the beach house yesterday – which ended up being most of the day although that wasn’t the plan but time flew and it was so nice and cool by the water. Then last night I pretty much just sat by the firepit, ate dinner, and acted like a tired potato. Today I visited Earth-1 and helped take the cat to the vet and ended up hanging out all afternoon.

“Father’s” Day

Memories

Those that know me best, know that I come from a one parent home, but that’s not exactly true. It is true that the man that was my biological father was absent for much of my life, but that’s not to say that I did not have a father growing up. That role would fall to my grandfather (on my mom’s side – sadly I never got to know my grandparents on my father’s side although I’ve heard they were wonderful people). He helped shape me to become the man that I am today.

I remember the little things he’d do for us growing up, food shopping, always getting a little goody or two for me to snack on during the week, he’d always get the no name stuff, working so hard all your life makes you come to respect that money doesn’t come easily. Listening to ’80s Celtics games and baseball on the radio, him explaining to me things I’d ask about or did not understand. When I was little I guess I had a knack of bumping my head on the corners of the kitchen table, which were sharp right angles. He sanded them down to rounded edges so I wouldn’t hurt myself on them anymore. The times weren’t always fun and games though – if I needed discipline , he’d give it as well. There would be Friday nights when he’d take me down to the mall and we’d get a pizza – the old Papa Gino’s that existed in the Assembly Square Mall way back when. That’s what grandpa’s do.

He helped me with financial aid and times when I needed rides. I can still remember the time he tried to beat the E line subway train on Huntington Avenue by Ruggles by gunning his K-Car across the subway tracks and scared me half to death. He had a daredevil way about him. Looking back know I laugh at it. I miss that. In many ways he helped get me going and starting out on my own. He never helped me with any homework (he had to drop out of school by 6th grade to work and help out his family – that’s what you did back then), but he taught me a lot of other things. And although he never openly showed us love, I knew in my heart of hearts that he did.

One of the saddest days of my life is when I saw him die. He had been suffering from congestive heart failure for a few years toward the end. He probably could have prolonged his life further I bet by not being so stubborn and doing what the doctor told him, but that wasn’t his way. I caught him a few times sneaking a cigarette by the side of the house, he had been a smoker since he was a teenager. Of course back then , he told me he took it up because my grandma at the time had considered it “manly”. My, how the times have changed. His face always lit up when I visited him in the hospital when he saw me, even covered up by all those tubes and oxygen masks.

I can remember telling him “Thank You for everything!” as he looked at me with my tears streaming from my eyes, myself being unable or even unwilling to try to stop them. I can remember him looking up to the ceiling after that, all loaded up with morphine to ease his pain, and it looked like he was seeing something, and then he tensed up, and let out a sigh, kind of, and that was it. He was gone. I think he didn’t really want to go, but he held on just long enough to see that we’d be alright and able to fly on our own now.

Even to this day, I can sense him watching over me, especially in the times when I feel I need him there, by my side, in spirit. That’s what grandpa’s do. That’s what father’s do.

So now today I am who I am thanks to his guiding hand. And I like to think he watches on me from above in all that I’ve accomplished and have yet to.

Job well done, “Dad”.

Rivendell

Everyday Life, Memories, Scenic Photography
Historic Grist Mill in Plymouth, MA

The story behind the photo: This was taken a few years ago at the Grist Mill in Plymouth. Just happened to be walking by and I saw this girl there with long blonde hair looking into the water. Kinda made me thing of some damsel or Rapunzel letting down her hair or some such fairy tale setting. So I did a quick snap and there it was. I personally think it’s kind of a cool photo.

Spent yesterday afternoon down at the friends beach house. It was nice and cool down there, whereas everywhere else was super hot. Of course, the sun was still hot though – so I appear to have obtained a farmer’s tan on my arms and legs, but that’s what summer’s all about, right? It was so peaceful there, I started nodding off with the sea breeze blowing about me and after gorging on pizzas for lunch. Plan on going back there Monday morning for some coffee!


Next read is Bread Bags and Bullies: Surviving the ’80s. Something a little light-hearted.

Tonight we’re having some pals over for a socially distant get together out on the patio, enjoying some take out and celebrate a birthday with some games. I’m hooking up some dragonfly lights to go around the outside deck for some night time illumination. I also noticed while watering last night that the hydrangeas are starting to bud and bloom – we mostly have a soft blue and white colored form. Looks the hibiscus we have though is gone so I want to go get another one to replace that.

Rose Campions blooming out front

The get-together was a lot of fun. S’mores over the fire pit, fun games – social interaction is pretty important.

Incoming!

Everyday Life, Memories, Scenic Photography
Incoming!

I spent part of the afternoon watching the feeder. I noticed a male and female set of house finches enjoying lunch (the male a brilliant red, the female a drab gray), along with a titmouse, some sparrows and a male and female cardinal. I watched a couple of Blue Jays go screaming by, and a male grackle feed two big worms into the mouth of an adult female grackle.

Wait Up!

Everyday Life, Memories, Scenic Photography
Circa 2018

Off to the dentist! Wish me luck – I’ll describe it when I get back.

I’m back. No big deal – in case you were wondering what the process was, I went in, they took my temperature, I had to fill in some form on a computer, there’s air filtration devices in every room and of course they wear the required PPE and have sanitizer. Other than that it’s the same as always. Painless.

Home Life

Everyday Life, Gardening, Memories
Home Life.

I signed up a few days ago to attend a Zoom meeting about backyard birds. It was really good actually. I had already known most of the stuff but I did learn a couple of new things. It’s made me want to get back into birding. We’ve intentionally planted things that attract birds, bees, and butterflies but I think I might want to build a nest box for some species that may want to visit. Then spent the night binge watching old episodes (Season 1 and 2) of Grey’s Anatomy – what’s happened to me?

Beach Roses

Everyday Life, Gardening, Memories, Scenic Photography
Beach roses at sunset.

“Wildflowers aren’t meant to be cut & tamed. They’re meant to be loved & admired.”

I read and finished another book yesterday afternoon, My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. Not the kind of read I usually do but this one was pretty good.

More plants and flowers are starting to bloom. I’ve noticed that the dahia tubers we planted weeks ago are now starting to bud (really interested to see what these’ll look like as I think they are specialized species – Black Satin and Diva), and the rose campions out front are also starting to flower now. The salvia and speedwells have also starting showing their wonderful blue and purple colors and are attracting butterflies just like we planned. Even the zucchini and eggplants are staring to fruit! One other thing I’ve been doing is photographing plants that I don’t know on my phone and using Google Lens to identify them – I’ve discovered cats-ear in the lawn (the false dandelion) and some other species to educate myself. Some things that I thought were weeds actually are not and vice versa! (although some of them could be considered like weeds as they grow in lawns, etc). Yesterday we watched 4 bunnies run around and play with each other and later one was taking down clover flowers like no tomorrow. It bit the stems and then it moves into his/her mouth like spaghetti until the last part to be chewed is the flower. Really cute to watch – just as long as it keeps it’s appetite to the lawn is all we ask. Speaking of lawns, was able to get a brand new Toro gas lawn mower that a neighbor wanted to get rid of for a good price – so that worked out swimmingly! I really needed a self-propelled one which this one is so cutting the lawn now should be easier for me.

Been watching current events – Sharing anything in this digital space that isn’t directly related to the changes happening feels inappropriate in some ways.

Discovering Oneself

Everyday Life, Gardening
Some garden flowers in full bloom.

The garden is coming along nicely – gives me something to look at and to do, a sense of accomplishment, although to be honest, the plants do most of the work themselves. It’s a treat for me to see a new bud forming, or a little tomato start to sprout, and the colors, the beautiful colors, brighten up things.

I feel I’m starting to become a little bit lazy. The days seem to pass by rather quickly. I grilled some trout last night on the barbecue. It came out pretty good.

Some of my photos finally got an actual mention on the newscast from the anchor along with showing them and that was exciting to see. It was the Fairhaven sunset and the bunny in the flowers on the deck, which I do have to say, feel are some of my best work. A lot of times I just never know what I might capture. Sometimes I’ll have an idea of what I think I might have in mind, but much of it is spontaneous (like the bunny) that just happened to be there. Like when I went to Fairhaven, I knew I’d like to get some sort of sunset shot (because folks seem to like those the best) but I had no idea of the surroundings or that I’d discover that field of poppies growing in the sand. I had to walk over to that location not even knowing it was there. Lots of times I’ll walk over to a place and there’s nothing great, but every once in a while I hit pay dirt. Part of the appeal for me is the discovery. Having had something of a sheltered childhood, I like to get out and see things now when I can. Somewhere in my head, there’s a curiosity – a need to discover and to learn, to find out more about the things that interest me. I only learned that over the years about myself. I started taking photos to prove to myself that I experienced what I saw and wanted to share it – almost like a validation that it really did happen, and to remember. That’s still true and probably always will be. Back to Fairhaven, I spent quite a while there, waiting for the sun to drop slowly lower and lower from the sky and to line up just how I wanted it to frame. I could see it in my mind how I wanted it to look – sometimes what I come back with isn’t the same as what I had envisioned, either the photo came out better than I had thought, or worse. I couldn’t get quite the angle that I had wanted, but it came out alright.

Making News Again

Memories, Scenic Photography

Thanks NECN for the plug! If you have any comments on this photo, please feel free to share them with me!

Currently Reading: On Lighthouses by Jazmina Barrera. Tonight’s movie watch was Doubt with Meryl Streep. The movie itself was a little strange but has some really good acting. Started off kinda slow but once it got moving I liked it.