Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Stone walls, rolling hills, broad fields, and lots of trees are common characteristics I generally think of when visiting western Connecticut.
Only a dusting of snow remains on the shadowed north side of this stone wall - at least for now - more snow is coming soon to boost the total toward the 40 inch annual average.
A cloudy, cold dawn greets the day at this rural farm. Of Connecticut's roughly 3.5 million acres, 400,000 acres are farmed on its 4,900 farms.
The last fall crops of pumpkins and squash have been harvested. The fields lie fallow now, awaiting the return of spring. And speaking of pumpkins, "In colonial New Haven, cut pumpkins were used as guides for haircuts to ensure a round uniform style. Because of this fashion, these New Englanders were nicknamed "pumpkin-heads." (Source: 50 States.com) Who would've thought?
Saturday, December 28, 2013
The Faneuil Hall Marketplace offers a free light show during the holiday season called "Blink." As darkness approaches, folks start to congregate in anticipation.
The old Custom House tower stands 496 feet tall just beyond the marketplace area where the 86 feet tall Norwegian Spruce tree has been placed.
And lots of folks are out and about, young and old, the youngsters enjoying climbing on the snow piles.
The snow piles help give the area that holiday season feeling.
Yes, it was an unseasonably comfortable temperature that day but - short sleeves and no coat like the man at left? I don't think so. I had on flannel lined jeans, turtleneck, sweater, parka, and gloves - yes, I am a cold weather wimp.
Tourists are the same the world over. Stand still and smile. Thirty years from now this will likely be either be a precious memory or lost on the dust heap of time.
Who could ever look at a forest of trees wrapped in tiny lights and not think it beautiful?
Thursday, December 26, 2013
The Faneuil Hall Marketplace offers a light show of holiday lights each evening this time of year starting about sunset and going every half hour into the evening. I arrived a bit early so I wandered around. This sign, the building leaner person, and the general look and feel caught my eye as representative of the moment/location. (Clarity is a retail store).
And later, with the wet pavement reflecting wonderful silver shiny light - if I add in the long shadows of a darkly clad woman, crop out her upper body, accent the darkness with her disembodied hand, frame with a dirty snow pile, and finally remove the color to create a black and white grittiness - then voilà - it sure looks like art to me.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
For hundreds of years, Boston residents have come to the Haymarket Square's open-air market for produce. Open all year on Fridays and Saturdays (except Christmas and New Year's Day), great bargains are always available for the price conscious and fresh conscious shopper.
Like outdoor markets the world over, banter and barter between customers and vendors is as common as it is expected.
Many of the vendors are multi-generation families from nearby neighborhoods and many languages and accents can be heard among the merchants and the customers.
That's an incredibly good price for avocados around here - even if it were summer. It is rare to buy a single one for less than one dollar in a regular indoor supermarket.
And always, everywhere, anytime around Boston, you will see a Boston Red Sox baseball team logo "B" on something. Fans have to eat good food, too - beer and peanuts and hot dogs from the ballpark only goes so far.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
This vaguely reminds me of a television "test pattern" back in the 1950's. I don't think broadcasters use that anymore - instead of a blank screen, now they show infomercials and sell odd items to insomniacs. This image is really the ceiling of the main rotunda of the Quincy Market building decorated for the holiday season.
Street performers near the Quincy Market are extraordinarily talented and must audition for the the prime busker locations. There are very few that make the grade.
On the first day of winter in nearby Christopher Columbus Park, it was unseasonably warm (in the upper 50's F), the snow melting and mushy underfoot.
Regardless the weather, the city is alive with the constant movement of visitors and locals alike - taking great delight in the wonders of Boston. If you like cities, it is a pretty spectacular one in my humble opinion - and I've visited a few cities in my lifetime.
The building above, the Old State House, reputed to be the oldest surviving public building in Boston, was built in 1713 for the government offices of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Today, it is dwarfed by more modern structures.
Official proclamations were read from the balcony. In front of the balcony was the site of the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, when British soldiers fired into a crowd, killing five. On July 18, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was first read in Boston from this balcony. Now, each July 4th you can gather to hear a reenactment reading. The original golden lion and unicorns, symbols of royal authority, were taken down from the roof and burned in a great bonfire that day.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Plymouth reportedly has 365 ponds within its boundaries - one for each day of the year. Many are small like this one near our house. And this is what happens to many/most of them when conditions permit - neighborhood kids nearby turn them into an ice hockey rink/court/field. (There are no kids playing on it because they are all still at school on this day).
Friday, December 20, 2013
On the last day of fall here in New England it is starting to look like winter. During the recent cold snap the 30-acre Bartlett Pond has mostly frozen over. A light snow otherwise covers much of the area.
It is hard to believe that this verdant oasis is the same place - six months ago near the end of spring.
The long shadow of a leaf-less oak makes a good place to hide behind to make this image - except that my elbow shadow is sticking out - I probably didn't need to say that, it could maybe have passed for just another oddly-shaped branch.
Six months ago, same view - we still had a chimney back then.
Even when it is gray and cold and wintry - a special kind of quiet beauty is still apparent on
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
I looked out the window to see if the snow had begun yet. It had not. Instead, I was treated to a small flock of wild turkeys that often wander through our yard or roost in the trees. I'm glad to see they made it through the Thanksgiving holiday. I'm not sure how old they are but we've been seeing them periodically since last spring. (His odd posture is because he was turned around preening his back feathers).
When the light angle was just right, some feathers glowed an iridescent color of gold.
They are very skittish creatures and don't ever let me get close, much as I would like to. These images were made from inside the house looking out through double-pane glass windows. Surprisingly, for their seeming size, weight, and ungainly appearance, they fly quickly and efficiently nearly straight up into 50-60 foot tall trees when approached.
Seeing them brought back to mind a fantastic television special on our PBS station (Public Broadcasting Service in the United States) a few years ago. Since then, seeing a wild turkey will never be the same for me. You too, if you choose to watch the video at this link.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I was hoping that I would not get to write this blog post, but alas, I was not able to escape the northeast before the cold and ice set in - better luck next year. (It seems appropriate to use the word "alas" in that sentence even though I don't think I've ever spoken the word in conversation - Shakespeare I'm not.)
These first three images are at the edge of Bartlett Pond. The random creativity of the shapes is stunning. Imagine how the ice formed in these odd patterns - at some specific moment, water became ice.
I wonder if there is such a thing as an iceologist who understands why ice forms in these patterns. When I Google it, it takes me to a site that interprets consumer emotion - go figure.
Most of the 30-acre pond is frozen already. I think I'll head back inside and warm up.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Behind Door Number 1: Before dawn at latitude 42 degrees north in Massachusetts, it is cold, dark, and often covered in snow.
Even when the sun is up and the snow is gone, the branches are bare and the wind is cold and strong.
Behind Door Number 2: A thousand miles farther south at latitude 32 north in South Carolina, it looks much differently. Chilly but not really cold, no snow.
Behind Door Number 3: Another thousand miles south at latitude 21 degrees north in Quintana Roo, Mexico, you can be outside at dawn in summer attire.
I pick Door Number 3..................
Saturday, December 14, 2013
The 5th Annual Holiday party of the Plymouth Digital Photographers Club was held recently at Nix's Restaurant on the waterfront in downtown Plymouth. Befitting a gathering of photographers, the "entertainment" was a demonstration of food photography by professional photographer Ed Nute, a local photographer whose studio is also on the Plymouth waterfront. Ed's image of seared scallops can be seen at this link on his blog.
The event was less formal than in recent years and the venue was a great location for food, fun, fotos, and friends. (Wearing my retirement uniform of jeans and sneakers always pleases me). Congratulations to Amy and the club for another year of creativity and camaraderie!
Friday, December 13, 2013
So the scary "snowstorm" all the weather forecasters were talking about turned out to just be a dusting. I guess that's a good thing although I was ready for something bigger. Perhaps the next storm due this weekend........ they're talking about anywhere from 0-12 inches - that's quite a range, hmmmmm, difficult to be wrong on that forecast, maybe they learned their lesson.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Simes House front entrance, decorated for the holidays, serves as a great location for a photo in the late afternoon golden light. These two lifelong friends were happy to oblige.
The exterior restoration of the Simes House, which began in August 2012, is completed and the interior work will begin in 2014. The Simes House was built in about 1863 and was in need of extensive tender loving care and repair and restoration. The Simes House Foundation was created to restore and maintain the Simes House and Manomet Commons as self-sustaining historical landmarks in the Village of Manomet. For the public benefit, the Foundation will enhance cultural focus and identity, provide education and encourage community service.
If you are a Manomet supporter consider this worthy cause - use this link to the The Simes House Foundation if you would like to join and/or donate.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The Mayflower Society House in Plymouth (built in 1794) is perched just above Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II sailing ship at the waterfront. The Society was founded in 1897. Their website says that, "more than one hundred years ago, a group of descendants of the Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620, saw the need for a national society to honor their memory. The intention was to remember these Pilgrims who established Plymouth Colony. Today there are tens-of-millions of individuals descended from these brave souls. It is the goal of The Mayflower Society to join together people who share this heritage and to carry on the memory of our Pilgrim ancestors."
The House is outfitted in period furnishings and for the holiday season, a touch of Christmas decorations added here and there.
This button-up shirt/sweater/jacket was laid out on the bed for its historical owner to dress.
And these hand-sewn shoes from London were sitting on a closet shelf.
In this image, I am standing in front of the tree with a mirror a foot or so behind it. The mirror on the opposing wall is at least 15-20 away yet my hands appear freakishly enlarged in the reflection.
The doll in the cradle is a little bit creepy but I liked the lighting........
...... this is the not-creepy-doll who has a cool headpin, er, hatpin that caught my eye.
Some of the furniture was really small..... no, I mean REALLY small......
......as the tube of lip balm from my pocket as a scale comparison demonstrates. Like I said, REALLY small furniture.
Not sure when this window glass was made but it sure is rather odd. Looks like it was hand blown.
Shamelessly, here is an indirect "selfie." And if you haven't heard, "selfie" is the Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year for 2013. In fact, it's the interplanetary word as the link above explains.