Ash Wednesday Wednesday, Feb 10 2016 

(you’ll have to tolerate the author’s personal interests once in awhile)

How great the span between these two responses…..yet both correct.

Winter Magnolia Tuesday, Feb 9 2016 

We tend to focus on leaves and flowers in order to identify trees; but in fact it is the branch and twig pattern that is really helpful.  It is also the pattern that we see for at least half of the year.  Here is the big Cucumber Magnolia looking just as pretty in the winter as in the summer, with its characteristic open, curving up, smooth twigs:

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Now that is an exhibition Sunday, Feb 7 2016

One would almost be tempted to go, pity it is in Europe and is going to be absolutely jammed.

I wonder what the catalogue is like?

Broken Storm Saturday, Feb 6 2016 

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The fence line is a little distracting.  But I like the mullein, asters, goldenrod, and blueberry bush.  Something to be said for not getting around to cleaning up in the fall!  The plants don’t seem to mind anyway.

And, yes that really was the color of the sky.  Robin’s egg blue. I’ve noticed that late winter/early spring storms often seem to break that way: a very hard trailing edge to the front.  Maybe others do as well, but that seems to be when it is most noticeable.

Snow! Friday, Feb 5 2016 

Very pretty, especially amongst the white birch and hemlocks.  Hemlocks always look so lovely in the snow, something about the contrast of the dark fan of the branch and the white lace snow.  They look like what we imagine snow on evergreens to look like, if that makes sense.

Not a picture of hemlocks, but of roads.

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Cheeep! Wednesday, Feb 3 2016 

I was going to get my new ladder out (a very nice, very light, pointed wood orchard ladder by Baldwin of Maine via OESCO) and start in on my out of control apple trees yesterday after work.  But the flock of umpteen robins invaded at the same time, and they were having at the remaining apples with great gusto.  So they won. I took the trash out instead.  Not sure about the trade there, come to think of it?

Still robins are remarkably pretty, we take them so for granted that we forget sometimes.

Ladders: (lighter and far less expensive than the equivalent 16 ft aluminum)



Home again Monday, Feb 1 2016 

The sun has burned the bars of the clouds and the sky has opened in the west.

These hills, in their humble old age, are down to their last verse. In the next geologic age they will be sand in the water and the wind. When I turned into them, following the water and the sun, and no man’s map today on the back roads, there were no soaring vistas, no great edifices of man, but the oak and rock. No tourist guidebook will ever mark these hills for they are nothing special….nothing but life itself.

And perhaps this house has come to that long last verse: that point when the singer knows one song ends rising higher and the breathless pause before another begins. Perhaps within the times of those living this house will become something else than what it is in this present moment. And the only prayer for the future is that it may be as loved.

But the beauty of the life that is here in this evening will remain in God’s hand if nowhere else, the sparrow’s wings are no less glorious than the eagle’s.


January Sunset Saturday, Jan 30 2016 

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Probably Thursday, Jan 28 2016 

a sign of a blogger who is too busy to blog…. they start writing about music they like.

Anyway, while I’d never share it with them, the Lord knows they wouldn’t appreciate it*: this is for some old-style union** guys I know.  Ralph, Frankie, Jimmie, Gus, and everyone else, may you find some diamonds.***

*both coming from someone in my position and ‘weak and defenseless’ they most assuredly are Not

** old-style union, we aren’t talking government union here; though possibly teamster. Slightly crazy, not going to work if you can’t give them a good reason why.  And the why better both be the actual reason and a suggested ability to, how shall we say, impel the action physically….  Though that being said, the first reason alone will work if your track record is good, the second alone won’t work; they aren’t stupid. They’re probably smarter than the management.


My diamonds today: the ice was a low, continuous snarl against an otherwise silent shore.

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Barn Foundation Wednesday, Jan 27 2016 

Really, honest!

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The giveaway? Corners, some stacked rocks, a center line of rocks (you can see them), overall dimensions (approx 24 x 24) and the flat land. Thank goodness the old farmers weren’t wannabe Frank Gehry’s!

The trees we have found also tend to colonize the outside of the foundation first.  You can see the birch and the maple have done exactly that (growing on the outside) here. Inside this one there is some striped maple, one of the early re-colonizers of the interior along with dogwoods, barberry, rose, ilex, and such. Ash, cherry, and birch are generally the first trees to start up inside the foundation, especially if it is wet, and usually seem to go for the chimney base. Following those, beech, hemlock, and maple will eventually start up in the inside, but are always younger than the ones that have started outside the wall.  Of over one hundred sites, we have found exactly one that was located in a laurel grove, despite the laurel often being nearby.

Pine will colonize on top of the foundation, but generally not in it.  Oak and hickory are always outside the wall and in the surrounding fill.  They are not in or on the foundation.

In general!


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