A note about Spring

I went out in the back yard last night, and yes, the peepers are singing, and I can still hear them, in spite of my hearing going south, or somewhere, but they are perhaps a bit more muted than in the past.  And the daffodils are in bloom, while the crocuses are already past. Leaves appearing on the crabapple near the house, and buds are swollen on many trees. It may reach 80 degrees tomorrow; who can work?

Narcissus, or Daffodil, if you wish, in front of my house. And behind my house is the pheasant that has been around since October when the early heavy wet snow took down the nets at the pheasant farm across the street. This fellow would like a mate; he sits on this downed tree in the late afternoon catching the last of the sun.

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Hanging out in Salisbury

I had to get my car worked on this morning: it was leaking automatic power steering fluid and groaned and moaned at the idea of turning. A new rack(?) was needed, and one that was new to my car was installed. While waiting, I first had a coffee and then walked down to the ski jumps,  the John Satre hill, where in spite of our 70 degree weather there was still snow at the bottom.

I didn’t take that picture (though I took one like it with my almost never used cell phone, and must not have seen the “save”  or something what with the sun on the phone, so no picture.) I was contemplating walking up the stairs along side the large jump; just so my “Fitbit” would count the floors I’d climbed. Luckily I remembered how much I dislike heights and veered over to the steps along side the smaller jump, the one to the left with snow on it in the picture. And even then I didn’t walk all the way up; since jumper’s don’t walk down there is no railing,  I didn’t want to teeter off a step into the ether. It did get counted for a few floors by Fitbit.

The library was now open, so I walked over and skimmed through a book called “My Reach: A Hudson River Memoir” by Susan Fox Rogers. I’ve gotten interested in writing a memoir, and her aligning her life events with time she has spent on the river in her kayak was very effective.  I’ll definitely read it again more carefully. Then back to the garage, and I find I have enough time to have lunch, so I buy a sandwich from the market and sit outside in the warm, welcoming sun. Everyone walked by with a smile on their face, a lilt in their step. The first day of Spring.

I didn’t get out on the trail, but did walk-walk-walk, and my Fitbit recorded it all. It’s an expensive pedometer, but it does more: notes changes in elevation (floors), notes how many miles walked, counts calories burned (sort-of) and will record sleep patterns (I sleep much more soundly then I would have imagined). And it sends all that to your computer wirelessly, when you are within range. I’ve only had it a few days, and today was my first 10,000 step day, but it is a motivator, and will be fun to take on the trail.

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Back to the Trails

I’ve been delighted with the early spring; honestly, unless you plow snow or live to ski, who wouldn’t have liked the winter just past. Technically spring begins in just a few hours, early tomorrow. Since writing those first sentences I have gotten in the car and driven up to Roy Swamp, a few miles away. I needed to determine if I was not hearing any spring peepers here, at the house, because there aren’t any chorusing yet–or if in the past year my hearing has gotten so bad I just can’t hear them. Well, at Roy Swamp, the peepers are singing away. Not as shrill as I have heard in the past, but that must be my lack of hearing the high ranges. Back home–not a sound. Are my local peepers late this year? Or are they just gone? Amphibians are suffering from toxic run-off; I’ll listen for the nest few days/weeks and try to determine if they still are my neighbors or not.

I’ve got a training hike I am now taking again. Up from the parking along the road, through the crevice in the rocks, to a lookout point. Then turn around, back down. Up is easier for my aching joints but harder on the lungs; down makes my hips cry for mercy. I will keep at it, though, because being out on the Appalachian Trail gives me a giddy kind of pleasure, like I could just keep going, forever. white blaze after white blaze, and what a mighty fine trip that would be. I’m going to steer this blog more towards the attempts of an almost 70 year old lady to get into shape, into being fit for hiking. Will she be able to sleep on the ground?  Stay tuned and find out.

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My one man show

I’m hung in the local library but not with a noose,  rather it’s my paintings that are hung up.. Fifty-five of them. for two months. It’s the local library, on the upper green, a venerable stone edifice with it’s stained oak interior intact. a grand staircase, and high ceilings. I did some larger paintings, over the last months, specifically for the space. That was a challenge for me, who thinks anything over a 9″ x 12″ painting is big and out of my comfort zone.  I  made sure I liked the larger ones, as no doubt they will be mine again when the show comes down. Lots of the others have sold, though, and it’s all a grand success as far as I’m concerned. (So long as I don’t have to do it again soon.)

Here are the larger ones in the reading room:


And these are on the staircase:


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Cycles of being and non-being

When we bought our house in the mid 70’s, one of its charms was the old, well built out-house.  The owners had used it to store hand rolled newspaper ‘logs’, which they burned in the little Ben Franklin pot-belly stove in the house. We replaced the stove with a heat producing Rite-way wood stove, which I still use. The out-house maybe was used infrequently, though never by me. Then it became the sturdy end of a glass-working studio by my son.   And this is what has become of it today:


The Ash tree that is taking it out is still alive, but began to lean a few years ago and hasn’t stopped. It’s somewhat held up by neighboring trees and may just reach the steps to the barn loft, but won’t do any damage, (I hope).  More firewood. More summer sunsets.

I’ve been bitten by the genealogy bug. Perhaps I always had it but now it’s flared up.  This early photo I scanned at Ted’s two years ago.   I had decided they looked like farmers dressed up for the photographer. The hand written label said “The Phelp brothers, I think.” Last week I found the Phelp brothers, relatives of my grandmother’s stepmother, and yes, they all were farmers, in Pontiac, Michigan, in the mid-1800’s.




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I am going to try to get some daily discipline in my painting. The easel is right there, set up in the kitchen, in a toasty spot not far from the wood stove. I want to develop that illusiveness in my painting that I can sense but not easily recreate. Practice, practice. I shall also practice photographing; here are some closeups of yesterday’s work on a 5″ x 7″ panel. Trying to use bigger brushes; trying to get the camera to focus.

painting 2/16/2011 #2

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The Snows of Winter

This has been a cold month—but the best winter for snow. I shovel a few times a week, and feed the birds a few times a day.

Love it.

January 2011

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Change of seasons

I really have not done enough to get ready for winter. The Fall equinox was over a month ago, and it’s obvious that colder weather is just around the corner.  I have windows to seal, leaves to rake up, pots to empty or turn over so they won’t crack, a bit of a Siberian Iris to dig and mail off, bulbs to buy and plant, and wood to stack.

Aaron stopped by and was helpful in cleaning my chimney—the cap was completely plugged.  And since the leaves are still falling,

Fall leaves

I’m working on stacking the leftover wood. Three new cords will come in a few weeks, so the old wood needs to be out of the way. Today I got one row on the pallets  filled:

wood pile

And if I am still able tomorrow, and I intend to be, I’ll get the next row done too.

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Back to the easel…

I’ve agreed to hang paintings in the Town Hall in March. It’s a corridor without much viewing distance. My paintings look pretty pathetic up close, but they slip into a more cohesive whole when seen at a distance. Oh well, I still hope to have some new less finicky canvases done, and just let them be whatever they will be.

I closed the frame shop for Jan/Feb so I could catch up and clean up, and  now I’m putting my energy into painting — I never have been too good at planning ahead. It’s going to come down to the last few days and I will be in a state of dump-madness.

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Spring in full force


I am plagued with wildlife here in the country. Some of which I like well enough, the daily birds and butterflies,  the occasional bobcat, the snakes , toads, and frogs. But the deer and woodchucks are too much, and destructive of most gardening efforts. So this year I put in a garden bed meant to keep them out— welded wire stapled together on the ground, stapled to the wire that rises vertically. Raised beds of two layers of concrete blocks. More wire on the sides. It is working!

new garden

It is small and compact; here are the little asian greens just set out. Flowers, herbs, some onions and scallions fill in the holes on the borders:

asian greens

Next photo is the lettuce patch; we’ve been eating from it now for a week or so. I’ve got more little lettuce seedlings to replace them, and figure it won’t be too hard to put a shade cloth up next month. I think this garden is going to be a bit toasty come summer, but the back yard has gotten shaded out by all the trees.


We’ve had a nice long spring–many of the old tulips put on a good showing this year:


The tree peony bloomed with a lovely dinner-plate sized  bloom– and then got trashed by the rain.

tree peony

And the iris my dad hybridized has made a huge comeback out by the mailbox; I once thought I had dug it all out of there—and look what remains!



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