The First of July

come sitI can’t believe it is July already!

As you can see, things are really green around these parts.  The rains we had in June (and it is raining off and on today) have helped the deficit we DID have.  After the snow this past winter it seemed we would be abundant but dry months from March through May dropped levels significantly.  But things are lush and green now, for the time being.

Summer is fully upon us, even though the air has been cooler the last few days. junegarden Gardens are flourishing and somehow, even when the skies are dull it is still beautiful out there.  The birds are most likely raising their last broods and soon the outdoor sounds change from new life to quiet fullness.  I’ve been able to get out for photos and opportunities abound.  There are still things indoors that could be done but I think I will put them off a while longer as I soak in this fullness.

How about you?

June…Bustin’ out all over!

rgsm1We bounced back and forth from warm to cool, then sunny to finally much needed rain (although we really didn’t need some of the heavy storms we’ve had)

But in the middle of all of this flux…life was building and growing in gardens – especially the rose garden at Central Park.  I stopped by last night for a few photos and was blown away by how much bloom took place since I last passed by.  The Rose Garden is a crown jewel in Schenectady…it was maintained for years by the City and then the job was taken over by a committee of hard-working citizens when budget constraints rgsm2caused the city to give up the greenhouse and the Rose Garden operation and maintenance.  Since the committee took over, the area has been improved, a central fountain was added, and the “bridge” area has been expanded with a larger waterfall feature added.  It truly is an amazing place and a testament to how hard work and determination can save a landmark.

Of course, the park is beautiful as well…Iroquois Lake, the Duck Pond, picnic areas, tennis and softball courts, Music Haven…just to mention a few.  But my focus today is on the Rose Garden itself, and the beauty that is appreciated by thousands yearly.

rgsm3I will head back over quite a few times before the season is done.  Breathing in the scent of roses…listening to the splash of fountain and waterfall…hearing the birds and watching people come in with their cameras, kids, or just for a stroll.  To read more about the Rose Garden, visit their web page:

Schenectady Rose Garden

Back to real life

8Since my last post, I did get out for a couple of wonderful days at Still Point.

In this photo, I was standing at the door of one of the cabins (not the one I stayed in) and took a picture of the other ones.  It was raining and/or very overcast most of the time which made for a wonderfully restful stay, and some dreamy lighting.  I enjoyed listening to the birds – especially very early morning and at dusk.  In the evening, I could hear a couple of peepers as well.

John Muir wrote “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”  This is where I do both.  The cabins are small, perfect for hermit time.  I listen to my internal clock rather than look at an actual clock and even in that short time, benefit from tapping into the natural cycle of nature.

In a couple of days I hope to update my Still Point page here…with newest photos from this retreat.  Have yourself a day filled with wonder!

 

Life All Around Us

goslingsThis is one great time of year…when the baby birds (of all kinds) are out in the parks, yards and waterways.

These goslings were down at a local park…I haven’t gone up to Saratoga to see the baby duckling that are always at Congress Park but I have plenty of pictures from previous visits.  I think I have more water bird photos than anything else…except maybe flowers and sunsets!

It’s a hot and humid day today, with storms due later and then a return to temperatures that will be 20 degrees cooler than right now.  It seems to be the pattern…hot and humid, then cool and breezy.  Not complaining, we need the rain, just not as much as some poor folks are getting.  After all the snow we had over the winter, it has been dry since the beginning of March.  You just wait for the cycles to stabilize.

Heading off soon on a “hermit retreat” and will have new photos.  Got the gas grill tank refilled so that cooking can continue on the homestead in my absence.  I hear that steaks are usually on the menu…not that I don’t like steak, just that I don’t make it much.  So when I’m away, its feast time on the home front!  Enjoy your weekend!

Memorial Day 2015

vetmenWe are halfway through the Memorial Day weekend…a time set aside to remember those who gave their lives in defense of our freedom.

Originally known as Decoration Day, the first celebration took place in Waterloo on May 5, 1868. The name was changed to Memorial Day in 1967. And our own state of New York was the first to declare it a holiday.

We salute those who have fallen, and keep their loved ones in our prayers and thoughts.  Hopefully some day, we can all live in peace.

We remember.

New life all around

robin nest smWarm days…and new life!  This robin’s nest was actually in a shrub yew, kind of surprising to have it relatively low to the ground.  Mama Bird may have erred in putting the nest where she did, I can only hope the little family can survive predators.

Otherwise, I came back last week from a weekend at the retreat house where I helped out with a couple of things, gave a retreat on Saturday the 9th, and caught up on various tasks once I got back home on Tuesday.  I did get a few photo ops in my free time, and took a couple at a local park on the river as the sun came up.P1160105 A few people were already out at 5:30 AM, jogging, walking their dogs…getting ready for their day.  For me, it was a great opportunity to get some shots before the day got hot, and the mosquitoes come out. I heard that the black flies are out up north, so I think I will stay local for about a month.

Signed up for a hermit retreat for a couple of days in a little while…and I am looking forward to that. Voluntary solitary confinement.  And a very good time to get my thoughts in order – preparing for 2 more retreats in August.  Time just seems to fly and I look forward to seeing old (and new) friends up north at that time.

Also, it’s time to go off to the garden center and pick up annuals for the plant pots here at home.  After a long, cold, snowy winter it is wonderful to see color again.  All we need is rain (believe it or not). And a little bit of precipitation is due tonight and tomorrow.

Keep smiling!

Suddenly…Spring!

sunset5-2-15The past couple of days, it seems we finally turned the corner to Spring, or maybe even pre-summer.  The temperatures are going to be in the 70’s, some days ahead almost 80!  My forsythia finally decided it was safe to bloom, I planted some geranium bare roots in pots then had to move them indoors because the squirrels thought it was a grand location to bury God-knows-what.  And nip off the new shoots while they were at it.  The pots are now safely in the sun room while I figure out how to protect the plants once they emerge again. Perhaps I might buy a little screening that I can cut and fit to the pots.

The yard gets cleaned up a little at a time, it’s warm enough to open the windows and let the fresh air in and everywhere you look, folks are outdoors.  We have had some grand sunsets and amid the scent of things blooming, you can smell barbecued delights. The best part is that the bugs are not out in full force…yet.

After a long hard winter it is good to see the kayaks and canoes out on the local lake once again.  The photo with this post was taken down by that lake, and you can see the leaves coming out on the trees.  The geese and ducks are around, and in about 3 weeks we should see the little ones.  Just a delightful time of year, one we dream of during those dark, cold winter months.

Welcome Spring…we have been waiting for you!

 

Aunt Katie’s 20th Birthday Bash

1This post will have a few more photos than usual…because I went to a 20th Birthday Bash for Aunt Katie’s Attic.  You don’t stay in business long these days unless you are exceptional and her vintage shop IS just that.  I’ve known Kate for many years and covered a lot of her functions…her birthday parties, flea markets, Girls Night Out and more.

A lot of the neat things you remember from your childhood can be found at Aunt Katie’s…and every time I go there she has freshened up displays, repainted walls…picked up new treasures.  So for now, I’ll just let you enjoy some of the fun and folks.  By the way, I was there early, and left just as the cars were lining up along Route 5 to get in!

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Kate and her birthday balloons

 

 

 

 

Chair massage was available.  It was awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

Kate and “Mr. Aunt Katie”

 

 

 

 

Some wonderful ladies who recognized me from the web page!

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of real cuties out for some shopping.

 

 

 

 

The movie stars came out also!

 

 

 

 

One of the “rooms”…something for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

Refreshments were also available.

 

 

 

 

Some kitchenware on display.  Some great old stuff here.

 

 

 

 

..right down to little dolls, and so much more.

 

 

 

As you can see, there was a LOT to see and experience.  Happy 20th and many more, Kate!  You’re the best.

Earth Day 2015

Happy Earth Day“Keep close to Nature’s heart … and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” — John Muir

John Muir is only one of the many environmentalist and naturalists that I have loved for a VERY long time.

Although these people wrote many years ago, their messages are timeless…and as we lose more in the way of natural areas they point out how important preserving our planet is.  Patterned for abundant life, Earth is a wonder, a miracle of existence.  Home to an enormous diversity of life forms it should be protected.  We have nothing as a Plan B.

Not wanting to get on a soapbox, nature contains everything we need for life (as long as we stop messing with it).  Air…water…sources of food and herbs for medicines.  Its plant life gives us wonderful natural aromatherapy.  The sound of waves crashing against the shore, a brook babbling or the wind in the trees can be a very relaxing thing.  We do have some wonderful things that technology has given us but so often, the simple things are the best.  And that same simplicity is lost in the cacophony of modern life.

A day dedicated to earth awareness is a great idea.  Started in 1970 (and I have, somewhere, a button for the first Earth Day) it is still celebrated 45 years later.  If just one person hears the message and learns more about this planet, our home, it’s worth it.  It can’t be replaced and hopefully we will listen to the lessons and accept the gifts they offer to help us better our lives and the lives of those to come.

Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  So why not start today?

The change begins with us.

Rite of Spring

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“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”  ~Rabindranath Tagore

Every year in mid-April a friend of mine and I have a custom…a trip to a butterfly conservatory to celebrate my birthday AND spring.  The one we usually go to at that

particular time was closed so we opted for the larger one we usually visit in winter (but didn’t as I was laid up with those pesky injuries.)  To be surrounded by literally a couple of thousand bits of flying beauty is like walking into another world.  And indeed it is. These delicate creatures don’t live very long, some only days and some only weeks but in that time, they live.

11The wonderful thing about these conservatories is that you can see varieties you will never see in your garden (most likely)  We have the (diminishing) Monarchs and Swallowtails, Skippers and such but at Magic Wings you see specimens like this Glass Wing, and many other  colorful beauties.  Fluttering amid the flowers that were in profuse bloom we took picture after picture.  No matter that we have hundreds of photos from past trips, each one is different…perhaps just a bit of a different angle…better light.  Like sunsets and sunrises, photographers can never have too many photos of something beautiful.  Never.

5Also, these little butterflies teach us that life is fleeting.  That we might get a little tattered at times but it’s always worth living.  Focus on the positive…the good…and fly above the  negative energy that threatens to pull you down.

Take some time to pursue a little beauty in YOUR life today.