Mothers’ Day, the morning after

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Yesterday’s emails and brunch were lovely.
After all was said and done, I had a couple of errands to run so off I went.  Yes, I did just happen to have a camera in my car.
Weather wise it was a dank and drismal day, not optimum for photos but I was already out so why not.  (Drismal is my own word, not Webster’s)
Not wanting to venture too far afield I decided on the Ruby and Elizabeth Cohen Woodlands right here in Colchester. 96 McDonald Road to be specific.
This is a designated butterfly way point and there is a Story Trail for the youngsters to read and learn s they walk the trail. A Trail Map is available at the Colchester Parks and Recreation website.
I followed my own advice of “look around, ep” so I’ve written my own occasionally silly titles for the images I’ve included.  And as usual, click on any image to begin your slide show.

Note to self:  if you’re out to take photographs on a dank and drismal day, wear shoes designed for this type of weather.  Cold, wet feet are not necessarily fun!

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Clydesdale Horses at Mystic Seaport

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Saturday was bright and sunny and today is bright and sunny as well. Saturday: cold, very cold, windy, sprinkles of snow, more wind …..you get the picture. A typical early spring day in coastal Connecticut.
We ( I P & I) had talked about going to view the Clydesdale horses but had made no solid plans.
The Cragin Memorial Library here in Colchester has some passes with a variety of discounts available for it’s card carrying members so a quick trip there and I had my card. A fantastic deal if you’re not a member. This card entitled 2 adults and 2 children admission to the Seaport at half price. The Scot in me was doing the “happy dance”.After several emails back and forth we agreed to meet at the Seaport on Sunday morning.  I met Inge and we went into the huge tent where the horses were being fed and the papa Datamation dog and his son were there as well. An adorable puppy!
Chilled to the bone we headed for the Seaport’s bakery and cafe. they have the most delicious, creamy, loaded with clams chowder.
The warmth in our tummies only lasted so long but one does not get to be within a few feet of 8 Clydesdale horses who individually weigh in right around 2,000 pounds. WOW! What truly magnificent animals who have clearly been well taken care of and dare I say loved.
If you look really closely at the images, you will see a man wearing a red jacket and ball cap emblazoned with the Budweiser logo, sneakers and of all things: bright green white and orange shorts! Yes, I said “shorts”. The Clydesdale horses were i Mystic to be part of the Mystic Irish parade and I think he was in charge of the Budweiser part of the event. The temperature was in the low 40’s and the wind chill was in the low to mid thirties.

Enough said. I think the photos speak for themselves.

As always, click on one of the images to start a slide show. ep

PS:  All images ©emphillips, 2018

Road trip!

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Yesterday AM my plan was to work on the drapery fabric that’s been on my table for the past week. This was my plan in spite of the phrase my mother used frequently: “for every stitch you take on Sunday…you will rip out two on Monday!”
That was my plan before my phone rang and my friend Inge called and asked me if I wanted to visit the Logee garden center up in Danielson. That seemed like a good idea until a couple of seconds later when I mentioned Woodland Gardens in Manchester.
I met Inge at the Park & Ride in Norwich and we were on our way to Danielson. My recollection of the Logee Greenhouses dates way back to the day I went with my friend Carol when she was on assignment to do a story on that very place. Maybe late ’70’s or early ’80’s? At that time it’s sole product was begonias. But they were absolutely amazing in color, size and rarity. Now it is a number of linked greenhouses as well a a shop. Thank goodness I had my little camera with me. We were there for quite a while and then decided to head for Manchester. Were we crazy or not.
Inge had thoughtfully brought along some fresh fruit so there we were on the back roads of Connecticut driving from Danielson to Manchester while eating bananas.
Woodland Gardens focus is more toward your outdoor garden plants etc. so we did purchase some little things there for terrariums. Their pansies and tulips were stunning and the green house was full of plants just waiting for the white stuff to stop falling from the skies.
By now we were hungry so we continued on to South Windsor and Evergreen Walk. We had lunch at Ted Turner’s “Montana Grill”…yum…then attempted to walk it off by heading for L L Bean’s store at the other end of the “Walk”. As we walked we suddenly became aware of the number of empty storefronts at Evergreen Walk. Not a good turn of events to be sure. There were at least 10 empty stores.
Heading toward L L Bean we spotted a “Ben & Jerry’s” so making the obvious choice to walk in the sun since our coats were in her car we crossed the street. Would you believe there was a working, gas fueled fire-pit right in front of the ice cream shop. Fire and Ice! who could as for more. We petted a number of very friendly dogs of all shapes and sizes as we headed back to the car.
One more quick stop in South Windsor: “Clothes Mentor” where I’ve been known to score some real bargains. This is a consignment shop that carries quality new and gently but pre-owned clothing. The employees are friendly and the prices? you need to see them to believe them. For me this time it was a pair of spring Capri pants still bearing their Talbot’s original $89.00 price tag that cost me $19.14 (including tax)!
Totally exhausted we headed back to Norwich and ultimately home. I’d left home around 9:30 AM and now it was well after 4:00 PM.
After taking a quick look at the photos I’d taken, I turned on the TV to see if the rest of the world was still in tact and for some strange reason the next thing I knew it was 10:30 PM.
Thus endeth our road trip for Sunday, March 11, 2018.

As usual, click on any image to start your “slide shop”.  All images © ep 2018

Spring is coming!

Not Grape or Strawberry but ICE Jams

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The local TV news channels last evening showed quick photos of the ice jams on the Connecticut River as well as the Hoosatonic River. The river ice has been reported to be 6″ to 9″ thick +/- and was jamming up at the “Swing Bridge” in East Haddam after the rain and quick thaw that had followed two weeks of constant sub-freezing temperatures.  I think the jam reaches up to Hartford and beyond.

Sooooo, after a quick lunch I headed first to the Mall to return something I’d purchased a couple of days ago, then a quick visit to the MD (everything’s fine). Yes I had a warm hooded coat on, LL Bean  boots, so I thought I was well protected from the cold. Let’s not forget the heavy jeans, turtleneck and sweater as well. My almost ready for retirement GPS got me to East Haddam. Not surprisingly, I was not the only one foolhardy enough to be there on this 30°F afternoon with a nice strong NW wind blowing.

Sure enough the ice was piled up all over the place. There were traffic jams and horns blaring in the tiny parking lot and to get across a lane of traffic took more patience than a lot of drivers had been blessed with.

The USCoast Guard ice-breakers were nowhere to be seen. Apparently they never left Essex. These had been ordered after the local public officials had declared an “emergency state”. And rumor has it that the Swing Bridge has been damaged by the jam and will be unable to open to allow boat traffic to venture up stream or come down to Long Island Sound.  There has even been talk about dynamiting the Hoosatonic River jams.

All-right, enough! Let’s see the pictures. Please note, the young boy sliding on the ice is wearing shorts. Where was his mother?? The triangular wedge of ice that’s pushing up the dock in front of the Shad Shack is enormous and the rest of the photos are simply surreal.

As always, just click on an image to start your slide show.  CP, this one’s for you!

“If you’re fond of sand dunes……”

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An altogether too short trip to Cape Cod renewed my love for the Cape.. I was attending a CAFCA conference of Community Action Agencies throughout New England at the Sea Crest Hotel on Old Silver Beach in North Falmouth, Massachusetts..
The topics of the session were timely and were tailored to be appropriate to either Board Members (me), Directors and other staff from these agencies.

The hotel was lovely and the staff extremely pleasant and helpful. When I’ve traveled in the past and brought a bathing suit, my room has been miles removed from any swimming pool or beach and I’m not one to waltz through an entire hotel lobby to get to a pool.  Well, we all know who did not bring a suit.

Yes, my room looked out onto a lovely salt water pool accessible through a door conveniently located beside my windows and the beach was maybe 100′ away and readily accessible as well.
I had arrived early on Sunday morning and planned to do some sightseeing since the weather was spectacular.

I drove to Woods Hole specifically to see and photograph the the Nobska Lighthouse. Yes, that’s it totally wrapped in some protective covering as it undergoes major restoration.
I have memories of staying with a girlfriend and her family when I was around 10 years of age at a beautiful home in the area. My parents had come down from the Boston area to visit as well and I still remember walking down the hill from the house with my dad, crossing some railroad tracks that are now a bike trail while singing “Down By the Station….” at the top of our lungs. I found the site once again and as I was driving down the hill, yes you know what I was singing.

I stopped at one of the many beaches, took my shoes off and rolled up my pants legs. The beachcomber in me wanted to find treasure but I think the just passed storm had washed everything out to sea. nonetheless the water was lovely. Crystal clear and calm.

I’ve included some photographs of the views at Nobska Lighthouse. the Sea Crest and Old Silver Beach.

As always, click on any image to start a slide show.  Enjoy.  ep

 

Walking the Airline Trail

The Airline Trail follows old railroad tracks that once ran through Colchester Connecticut. The tracks have been removed and a dirt road follows the old roadbed. I’ve lived in Colchester for almost 8 years and up until today had not set foot on this trail.
Our Senior Center has a group that walk part of the trail on Wednesday mornings so I thought…what the heck….I’ll just show up and join them.
There were a grand total of 2 cars in the parking lot and one of them was mine. So I set out on the trail to see what I could see.
There is a shop at the Colchester entrance to the trail that rents bicycles for what I assume are reasonable rates but I wasn’t ready to put the chunky chick on a bike. At least not yet!

At the entrance to the trail is a small tile with friendship rocks around it.  Some thoughtless person broke the tile but it appears that a Good Samaritan had placed them where they belong.

I walked 1.25 miles out and back returning to the car just as the heat was rising along with the humidity. Thank you Irma. And yes, I did take some photographs.
I’ll be honest, I was poorly prepared for a late summer walk. I was quite thirsty when I returned to the car and headed for the Senior Center where I know there is a cool, clear water dispenser. There is a porta-john at the entrance to the trail sponsored by Reliable.
Although I was alone, I knew there were other walkers, bikers and I’ve even seen horse vans parked at the Hebron CT junction with the Trail.
There were times when it was totally quiet and others when the raucous birds were making their collective presences known. Numerous scents tickled my nose but I’m not sneezing yet. Ragweed seemed to be the flower of the day but there were numerous samples of Mother Nature’s handiwork to be seen and photographed.
So readers, it has been a few hectic weeks coupled with a slight attack of shingles in my scalp; hence the shaggy dog look. Yes, I had gotten the shot a year or two ago.
My friends in Florida and the Caribbean are safe thank goodness but those who received so much damage to property are in our thoughts.

And as always, click on any image to start a little slide show.  Look for the butterfly!

Buttonwood Farm

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Plans were made, cancelled and remade. Buttonwood Farm was having it’s annual “Sunflowers for Wishes” event all week. If you’re not familiar with this event, it is the farm’s fundraiser for the “Make a Wish Foundation” raising well over $100,000 every summer from the sale of the farm’s sunflower bouquets.
The weather has not been great. (major understatement). But by

Monday the weather gurus were promising a glorious day today (Wednesday) and I took them at their word.
I picked Shel up at 9:15 this cool, sunny, low humidity morning, arriving at Buttonwood’s shortly before 10:00 AM. We were not the first to arrive but as the morning wore on, we were glad we had arrived as early as we did.A new feature had been added since my last visit.  A “cow train” for the youngsters. Each child has his or her own “cow” to sit in.   It was really quite cute and the little kids loved it.
We bought our tickets for the hay wagon ride to see the layout of the farm stopping to feed some beautiful cows with hay that had been conveniently left under our seats and another photo-op in the middle of 450,000 sunflowers. The driver had explained to us that the farm had planted that many seeds at staggered intervals in May to ensure a continuing bloom during this special week.
Well, Shel and I got separated in the field of blooms but we eventually emerged and agreed that it was quite a site to behold.
Did I mention that in addition to the sale of sunflower bouquets that this is a farm known for miles around for it’s ice cream?? Have you ever had ice cream and only ice cream for lunch?? We did! Shel had a scoop of a peanut butter concoction and a scoop of “dark and stormy” I believe. It looked delish! As for me, I passed on my usual chocolate chip types of Ice cream and opted for “tropical”. A scoop of key lime pie ice cream topped with a scoop of coconut ice cream. Sublimely delicious. Yes, a pun intended!
The parking lot by then was filled, infants to grandparents by the score, the road out in front chock-a-block with cars but everyone was smiling and enjoying themselves. The Buick was well behaved as we extricated ourselves from the parking lot and headed back to Colchester.
I’m a volunteer receptionist at the Senior Center on Wednesday afternoons and I had made them aware that I might be a few minutes late. The AM receptionist kindly stayed on until my arrival (only about 5 minutes behind my scheduled start time). it was a quiet and uneventful afternoon following our morning of kids, cows and cones.  If you have “bee” issues, please be aware that they are in the fields with the flowers.

Enjoy the images, make a trip out to the farm this week..google will give you all the information.  As always, click on any image to begin your slide show.  ep

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and fireworks??

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An almost perfect end to this July 4th. What’s not to love? All of the main heading of this post of course.
1. Baseball: The Ct Tigers were scheduled to play the Vermont Lake Monsters at 7:05 PM this evening.
2. Hot dogs were a “buck”. That’s what the marketing piece said.
3. Another perk: free apple pies to the first I don’t know how many
4. Fireworks after the game sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union.
To be continued: it’s 11:50 PM and I can’t stop yawning.

AHHH, 8:30 AM,  toast, coffee and yogurt

I arrived at Senator Thomas Dodd Memorial Stadium a bit early, walked into the stadium, stopping  to chat with some young ladies from Navy Federal Credit Union who sponsored the fireworks display.  I had found, on line, a front row seat in Section 7 overlooking the Tigers’ dugout.  the game got underway on time and sadly, the outcome was not what was hoped for by the 6,200 +/- fans.  Vermont Lake Monsters 5, Tigers 4.  After dark, we were treated to a “blizzard” of moths.(no exaggeration)   Apparently they were drawn to the lights!  (yuck)

It was truly a fun, family event with little challenges for a few kids, sincere thanks conveyed by the announcer to the veterans and civil servants, a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem sung as it should be by a lovely young woman.  During the 7th inning stretch after we’dall belted out a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” an older gentleman sang “America the Beautiful”.  Both of these solos were unaccompanied by any musical background and excellent.  The youngster sitting next to me had a ball tossed to him by one of the Tigers in the dugout right in front of us.  He was so thrilled!  The little girl who ran 3 bases was a trooper for sure!

Then: we were instructed by the PA system to count down from 10, the huge lights went down and BANG!  the show had started.

Finally:  the phrase one of my English teachers hated—–“a great time was had by all”.

But lets not talk about the traffic exiting the parking lots!  But Congrats to the Norwich PD for a job well done.

As always, click on any image to start your slide show.  ep

 

 

Lavender Pond Farm visited again

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It’s been almost 2 years since I have visited Lavender Pond Farm in Killingworth, Connecticut. My friend Inge mentioned that she would like to visit this locale so off we went yesterday morning! It’s an absolutely stunning locale with multiple varieties of lavender stretching as far as your eye can see. What is the cost of admission you ask?? Free!
There are plants in full bloom, plants just waiting to burst into bloom, tiny little plants just starting to fill out. But that’s not all, there is a lovely gazebo where you can sit and people watch as many of us are wont to do, another sitting area with some shade and new since my last visit…..a chess board and chess pieces approximately 3’…yes 3 feet tall for your enjoyment and or amusement.
A word of caution, there are bees by the hundred feasting on the pollen of the lavender blossoms.
For you shoppers out there, a charming gift shop awaits you with everything lavender available for purchase including lavender plants and garden ornaments soaps, essential oils, sachets and pillows.
And yes, as you drove up, you may have heard a rooster announcing your arrival. All I can say is feel free to look around, don’t rush, it’s a very tranquil, sweet scented place to visit.  If you walk down the sloping driveway, there’s a beautiful little pond and a stone bridge over a trickling brook.

And by now it was lunch time so thanks to a call phone GPS I think we visited parts of Kansas but ended in Montville in a new Asian restaurant for a very tasty lunch with another pal, Bill.

And as always, click on any image to start your slide show.  Thanks for stopping by.  ep