Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Autumn Walks

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October has not been kind to New Jersey for the past two years, particularly around Halloween. In 2011 we had Snowtober and last year we had Superstorm Sandy. This year is calm and peaceful with no such storms in sight. It’s probably because we now have a generator wired into the house!

The trees are slightly past their peak and looking rusty-colored with burnt oranges and yellows, but somehow they are prettier now than they were. They daytime temperatures are cool enough for a light jacket. We’ve not had any rain in a long time but should get some toward the end of the week.

I’ve been taking walks around Long Pond Ironworks, checking on the progress of the burning bushes. They are making progress but still not at their peak.

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I usually have the path to myself. Right now it’s covered in leaves which smell so good and earthy when you step on them. They crinkle and crunch as I scuff my way through them.

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It’s an easy walk with things of interest along the way, either in the several bird viewing outlooks or the buildings.

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I love the strong shadows at this time of year.

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It has different things to offer than Skylands does, and it’s much closer—just down the road from our house. It makes the perfect little quick getaway for me (and my camera).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Reflective Thinking

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Autumn Reflections on Monksville Reservoir

Somehow, and we are not quite sure exactly why, the cabin visit this year has changed us. Instead of being glad to be back in our familiar home and surroundings, we instead long to be back at the cabin. This has never happened to me before. I've always been happy to come back to all that New Jersey is. Not this year. It's hard to put into words. The cabin's magic spell spreads like a cloak around us from all the way across the country.

We find ourselves watching a TV program and deciding whether or not it fits into the "cabin grading system." In other words, if we had a limited amount of electricity at the end of the day would we still want to watch it? If the answer is no we delete the Season Pass off the TiVo. I also have no problem switching off the news when they are not saying anything that I want to hear. It's very freeing in a way. I've decided some shows that I used to love to watch have too much yelling and too much conflict for me to continue watching them.

What is it about this remote 70+ acres of land and a battery-powered 1,000 square foot cabin that entices us so? It's not just about the history it has with us. We had history with the Loveland/Ft. Collins area too but neither one of us has any real desire to move back to the front range.

Rick has always seen us living there at some point in time, for some period of time, but I have never had the same vision. But now I do.

Plans of a small mud room addition are being sketched out. I find myself wanting to whip out the measuring tape to see if a beloved piece of furniture will somehow fit into a space in the cabin. I am starting to go through clutter around the house and tossing things in the trash or making piles for Goodwill. It's still several years away but we might as well get started with at least the planning stages. Besides, it's fun to dream and make plans for the future, don't you agree? 

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Swan Lake

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Yesterday was supposed to be rainy but instead it turned into a fairly nice day so I decided to take a walk at Long Pond Ironworks. Like I've said before, the color this year is very blah and not nearly as vibrant as it usually is. I'm not sure what the problem is because this summer was pretty normal with no real rainy or dry spots. I was also interested to see if the burning bushes were turning yet. So were, some weren't. There are so many of them along this trail that it can be quite spectacular. Seventy percent of them were still green. Huh.

I did come across a family of swans. When I first saw them they were on the other side of the lake from me, but eventually glided closer.

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They were not bothered by my crashing around in the brush on shore. I could hear them "talking" to each other in low murmurs. I can't describe the sound they were making, kind of like a refined cluck.

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The youngsters were curious though. At one point I was focusing through rushes, hence the soft effect in this photo.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Morning Thoughts

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Dutchman's Breeches (Skylands)


This morning I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to the glorious song of the wood thrush! In my last post I remarked about how it wouldn't be long now that the trees were fully leafed out, and as it turns out I was correct. There is nothing prettier than the song of a wood thrush. Clear, distinct, and melodious. I drifted back off to sleep listening to it.

Yesterday the tile in the laundry room got grouted and the utility/slop sink was set. It looks so much better than the old one which really had seen better days, say 1988! We've been trying to bring our house up-to-date a little at a time. We still have the carpeting to replace later this year, but that is not going to be fun at all. We have a lot of furniture that needs to be moved completely out in order for that to happen.

I haven't gotten to the wisteria yet. Maybe later today I'll walk down and see if I can get some shots. I did want to note that my lilac bush did bloom this year.

This bush is special because it started out in life as a tiny shoot off my mom's lilac bush in her yard in the Adirondacks. We brought it back and planted it together the first year we lived here. I lost my mom in 2007 and she didn't get to see the little sprig flourish and bloom. It first bloomed in 2011 but we were on vacation in France and by the time we got back it was done, so I really didn't get to see it actually blooming. Last year it didn't bloom at all. So I was very excited to see a few flowers on it this year. It's not full of blooms, but at least it's something!


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We had quite a few lilac bushes that towered over my head when I was a child in Hyde Park, and the scent always takes me back there, just like this particular bush reminds me of my mom. I miss her so much.


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Today I have to do some thinking and planning for our weekend trip to the shore since we leave tomorrow. Since the dogs are going with us (please let them be good!) I have to think of everything I need to take for them as well. It's a bit like parents loading up young children but instead of diapers I pack poop scoop bags. Instead of formula I pack dog kibble, canned food, biscuits, water and food bowls. Alex will take "Pink Bunny" as it's his favorite toy to carry around. Also a few chew bones should be added into the mix. 

We are cooking Saturday night dinner so we also have to prepare our mise-en-place and pack it to go, and I need to bake the Chocolate Raspberry Brownie Torte for dessert.

I might blog from the shore via my iPad, but I don't really know if I will or not. I'm just going to go with the flow of things.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bits of This and That

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I really don't have much for you today, so you're going to get a little of this and a little of that. As you can see by the photo above, my view on the world has turned to green. The trees seemed to burst into full leaf nearly overnight with our rain last week. Sometimes they fill in gradually and it seems to take forever, but this year they seemed to need to make up for their later than usual start. My tomato plants that you can see have not been potted and put outside just yet because our temperatures this week are dipping into the mid 30's and flirting with frost. It's  kind of hard to imagine the pool opening that is scheduled for Monday.

I forgot to mention the hummingbirds. They arrived right on time about two weeks ago and somehow remembered exactly where the feeder was. The rose-breasted grosbeaks made an appearance at the front feeding station yesterday but I have yet to see them on the back yard feeder. They only stay a few days and then they are off to other locales. We had so many little white-throated sparrows a few weeks back singing their sweet little peabody, peabody, peabody song, but they too seem to have been just passing through. The cardinals are singing their heads off and I love having them around. I am still waiting for the wood thrush and now that the trees are fully out I shouldn't have to wait for long.

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white-throated sparrow

The fox has been back. I always know when it's in the front yard because Bella goes nuts. She hates the fox. If this is one of the same foxes that visited  before and distributed mange amongst the dogs, then bark away Bella! If it is the same fox, it looks like it's a lot healthier than before. The only part that still looks bad is its tail.

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Figgy is leafing out and has been living outside now for about a week. We did bring it into the garage last night because of the predicted (but didn't happen) frost. She seems to have survived the winter in the garage just fine. The leaves might not be quite large enough yet to cover Adam's parts but they are looking good.

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RIght now the crabapples are about done and the dogwoods are blooming. Wisteria is also blooming right now and I need to take some photos of it just growing wild, hanging in the trees. I don't have any in my yard but down by Green Turtle I noticed some right by the road the other day. Azaleas are also pretty showy right now.

I mentioned last week that I was knitting on a project. It's a market bag for my sister. I made myself one and loved the pattern and the end result so much that I wanted to knit another one and asked her if she might like one. Here is what mine looks like, and you'll be glad to know I didn't have to take the other one completely out. It's coming along but I haven't worked on it very much in the past few days.

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Now that the roof is finished there is a small project in the laundry room that is being tackled. We needed a new slop sink and faucet and are ripping out the old fake tile wallboard and having actual tile put in behind and around the sink. Then we'll need to paint the whole room, but I' m not so sure when that will get done. You see, our schedule for the next month or so is going to be a bit crazy.

On Friday we are leaving for the shore since we have had an invitation from friends Andy and Linda to visit them at their shore house for the weekend—dogs and all! The last time they invited us was the weekend that Sandy hit so we are hoping for good weather this time. They've only just finished the repairs on the house since the damage that was done by that superstorm and we'll be their first guests. I hope the dogs behave. We're anxious to see how water dog Bella likes the ocean.

Monday is pool opening day and Rick has business and an overnight stay in Philadelphia, returning home on Tuesday. Wednesday we have the pool deck and sides of the house being power washed. Thursday brings Rick's Mom (also named Lynn but without the "e") for her visit of ten days. After Lynn leaves on June 3rd we have a week and a half before we take off to Cartagena. So you can see what I mean! After that things calm down again until September and we can kick back a bit and enjoy the summer in full swing.

How's that for bits of this and that?


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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