31 July 2010


this small creature is one of the reasons i let milkweed grow wild here. in a few week's time, this caterpillar will have undergone metamorphosis and emerged into his final stage of life - as a beautiful monarch butterfly.

yesterday he was here all day, but today he is gone, with no sign of a chrysalis anywhere. i guess he's gone someplace else to change.

30 July 2010

here & gone

two years ago, i blogged about this, which means i've been attempting to grow these flowers for four summers now. a friend has amazing success growing beautiful giant pink poppies and she keeps me in a yearly supply of seed, which i (now) faithfully plant according to her directions - always to no avail. but apparently this year, i've had some success as i find these spent pods tucked in the garden behind some taller and fuller perennials. the bad news is this: i totally missed the flowers. even though they must have been awfully tiny and hidden behind other garden greenery, i bet, for a few fleeting days, they were really pretty.

28 July 2010

summer days

What is so rare as a day in june? a day in july! perfect weather today for a long walk, for some work outside at the table, for a snooze under the maples and for a picnic dinner with the little girl, eating watermelon and listening to crickets. summer as it should be!

27 July 2010

end results

when this arbor was built last summer, i agonized over the color choice for the paint. when it was finished, i was a bit disappointed to see how blue it was instead of the tree-trunk grey i had hoped it would be. but now that it's covered with lovely, lush vines, heavy with grapes, i see how silly that was. draped serenely in morning sunlight, it would still be beautiful even if it had been painted orange.

24 July 2010

the pyrex effect

a few weeks ago, in the midst of a cleaning frenzy, i personally hauled to the dump my large assortment of twenty-year old plastic food storage containers and mismatched lids. the ones with the tomato stains and the melted edges and the carousel holder that always fell apart. it was all taking up too much space in a too-small cabinet and repeated attempts to organize it just did not work well. it was an ordeal to quickly find a container when i needed one and that fact was causing undue kitchen stress.

so i replaced the plastic collection with these glass storage bowls, some round, some oblong. they nest and stack pretty well. they clean up nicely and don't melt in the microwave. but mostly they are easy to get to. and they evoke such a sense of calm that comes from kitchen organization, it makes me wonder what would happen if i cleaned out the junk drawer.

23 July 2010

the murder of crows

each morning this week i've tried to snap a photo of the raucous crows that have been waking me too early all summer long. screeching and shrill, they arrive at dawn to perch in trees around the yard. boldly, they swoop in and cover the lawn, squawking as they hi-step through the early morning dew. once this week, i awoke to rapid, rhythmic, incessant croaking. peering sleepily through the window i spied a young crow, jumping up and down in front of the blackberry bushes. with each screech, he hopped up and gobbled down a berry. needless to say, there are precious few left for us this year.

time was when crows were a harbinger of fall. a solemn, mournful sound that signaled the end of a summer. which was fine with me because i'm up early then anyway. but on cool july mornings, i love the indulgence of rolling over and closing my eyes for a few minutes more. not this year.

even though there are not yet any crisp fallen leaves with which to stuff the clothes, i'm thinking about making a scarecrow a little early this year.

20 July 2010

eleventh hour

just as this day is coming to an end, just as i am thinking nothing photo- or blog-worthy happened today, the tiniest toad hops onto the screen right where i am sitting at the window. and so ends the day.

17 July 2010

5:15 am

here is the sight that i opened my eyes to this morning. it's pretty difficult to go back to sleep after witnessing something this amazing.

16 July 2010

through the eyes of a child

the little girl arrived at the beach yesterday and suddenly all that was familiar looks different. as we walk, she's like a hawk, spotting smooth white rocks and worn down pieces of beach glass and swooping down to pocket them. she calls the ocean by name, demanding that it come closer or retreat, and tries to hail gulls with a "hell-o! seagull!" she doesn't mind walking in the rain and thinks the resulting sunset is pink and beautiful. and the kite delights her, even though it doesn't fly very high or stay airborne for too long.

15 July 2010

rocks & shells

i'm not sure why its happened but i'm disappointed with the way some of my photographs have come out this week, especially the close ones. above, the small round beach rock on the right was mesmerizing as it glittered with a sprinkle of tiny copper colored flecks. and below, the opalescence of the small fragment of shell was captivating, the way it undulated and changed colors in the morning sunlight.

but, sadly, you'll just have to take my word for it.

14 July 2010

snail trail

how long must it take for a snail to make progress like this, i wonder as i walk. seeing the snail reminds me that i have a herculean task ahead of me this coming year. i'm thinking i should make this photo into a "slow and steady" type inspirational poster and hang it over my desk! i can learn from this determined snail!

13 July 2010

more shore birds

to me, this trio looks like ducks. they were perched well out in the water, standing on a rock, i think. as i watched and photographed them, the waves grew higher and stronger and their watery roost soon disappeared, forcing them to float out onto the sea.

a fellow beach walker asked me to photograph these for her. she wished to paint them. i do have the photos now but she has yet to contact me. i believe that makes them fair game for the blog.

12 July 2010


spent time on the beach late this afternoon with the telephoto lens, attempting to capture the activity of a flock of swooping terns who kept dive-bombing into the ocean for fish. here's a lucky shot, a tern in midflight, carrying his dinner-to-go in his orange bill.

11 July 2010

walking the beach

lovely low tide walks are one of my favorite things to do here. interesting today to see how much the beach has changed since last summer. pictured here amongst the seaweed is a feat of nature i've not seen in a long time. it's an almost perfectly round sand collar, the egg case of a particular kind of moon snail. i hope this is an indication of what i might find on future walks!

08 July 2010

july morn

here's my neighbor's woodpile, shot out the window on a hot july morning. this is another picture snapped through the window screen between the camera and the subject. i'm fascinated with the effect it has on the sunlight in the captured image. it almost makes it look as hot outside as it really is.

06 July 2010

from a small gardener

fieldstone has been removed from the middle of the perennial garden and the ground is settling in preparation for the installation of red brick pavers in early fall. the little girl thinks this spot is now her giant sandbox and has been observed digging out there with pails, shovels and trucks. and apparently she is planting, too. i laughed out loud this evening to see three solitary but strong scarlet runner bean seedlings, standing erect in the middle of the barren sand.

05 July 2010

my new "boat"

on the right, my old gravy boat from my favorite set of dishes. look closely and you'll see that the "boat" itself is riddled with surface crackling in the glaze and the accompanying plate is poorly held together in several spots with super glue. it's been in that condition for decades. often have i thought to replace it but it's a a bit pricey for the two times a year i serve gravy.

on the left, the identical gravy boat, brand new and purchased for a song at a local antiques shop. now i don't want to wait until thanksgiving to use it. so maybe i'll make strawberry sauce for ice cream!

04 July 2010

independence day

fireworks and parades and hours at the beach are a fine way for some to celebrate the holiday. but what makes me happy is a family cookout with a lovely, leisurely dinner outside at the picnic table! happy fourth!

03 July 2010


this tall plant is not very attractive. it seeds itself prolifically and, in the early summer, comes up everywhere. its leaves and stems are very sticky with milky sap that oozes when a plant part breaks. the spherical heads hardly qualify as flowers. you can see here its three graduated forms - the head with the buds at the top and the fully bloomed flower at the bottom. even the pink of the petals is a little mauve-y and washed out compared to other pinks in the yard.

but i let this plant grow intentionally for its one saving characteristic: the aroma of this plant is heavenly and is one of my favorite summertime smells. i catch whiffs of it in sections of the yard. when i pass fields of it, i stop to breathe it in. of all the summer scents, milkweed is the one i wish i could bottle up to take out and breathe in during the cold and dead of winter.

01 July 2010


it's amazing the things you can find while digging around in your garden. i wonder how old this bottle is. i wonder what swamp root is. i wonder who had to take it. and why. and when. living in this very old house and suddenly finding evidence of its other inhabitants and their lives always leaves me a bit awestruck, wondering for days afterward what life must have been like at this place one hundred, even two hundred years ago.