It’s been a while, hasn’t it?


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It looks as if I haven’t written anything for my blog since last October!  That old cliche “time flies when you’re having fun” is pretty much appropriate for my lapse. So, it’s March 9th, the sky is s sparkling sapphire blue and not a cloud in the sky above.  Temperature is in the 40’s so I guess we should consider that as “balmy”.

My Saturday started out with a customary breakfast with friends at “The Shack” in Groton CT.  I had a detailed plan for the rest of my day which for some unknown reason disappeared into that clear blue sky.  I stopped at one of the big box stores on my way home intending to purchase one small item.  So much for intentions!  2 (yes I know) plastic bags of items and I was out the door somewhat lighter in the wallet.

Arriving home, my plan was to change my shoes to what our family refers to as “waffle stompers” because of their heavily etched soles and heels.  No problem there.  So, cameras and assorted gadgets in hand, I headed out planning an interim stop at  the “transfer station”.  You may know it as the “dump”.  So, I’m home, it’s 5 hours later and I still haven’t found the dump.  I have 3 pieces of defunct electronics that they will take off my hands.  I’ll try again next week. However, in my search for the dump I found myself in places I had never seen or even knew existed.

One of these was Amston Lake.  What a vista opened up as I was driving by.  So BGB in it’s inimitable way pulled her famed 180° and we came to a stop in a muddy, sloppy little parking area that looked out directly onto the lake.  It’s Happy Dance time.  Leaving there I was hoping I would find my way back to roads I would recognize. I did obviously.  It was still quite early in the morning so I continued through town and headed out to Westchester to the very pretty Westchester Congregational Church that sits on a hill. I hoped that the sun would be cooperating and that the snow would be pristine.  Boy oh boy, my luck is holding.

Dare I push my luck and press on to the Salmon River State Park?  Sure, why not? Hmm, only 2 other cars in the parking lot.  This time I took my beautifully hand carved, custom made, Garee Buttermore walking stick along with my camera.  See??  I’m getting smarter with age.  The river was burbling along as I started up the slightly plowed road being very careful where I put the waffle stompers down.  Alone with nature in a beautiful park on a perfect sunny day…..who could ask for anything more.  Don’t get greedy EP!

Picking my way back down the hill I saw that “one last shot” that I wanted to take but it involved leaving the snow packed and somewhat icy road to venture into other footprints.  “got it!”

On my way home, only 3 more stops!  Gas in BGB’s tank and air in her tires. Last stop: I stopped at the local sandwich shop and purchased a toasted tuna grinder.  yum!

Now that I’ve shared my morning with you, I’ll wrap up by using the phrase that Miss Tolland, our Roslindale High School English teacher used to scorn:  “tired but happy the weary traveler arrived home safely.”

And only 11 days until the first day of Spring!

PS:  If you’re a new follower, BGB is my abbreviation for “big green Buick”!

By clicking on any of the images, you will start a slide show for yourself.  Feel free to share this and any other blogs with friends.  ep


It’s Sunday Morning, October 14, 2018

Forty-four ° F this morning. Quite a change from the eighty-five ° F we had just a few days ago. But I digress……
There I was, dressed in my “Sunday go to meeting” clothes. Black suede dress shoes and all. Leaving the church, my mantra of “look around, Eleanor” was buzzing in my head. So, instead of turning left out of the parking lot, I turned right, then right again and found myself looking at a directional sign for “Day Pond State Park”. The sun is playing tricks but it may be a good time to take some autumn photographs.
I’ve been there before and I think to myself that there may be some opportunities there this morning.
First stop: a fly fisherman casting a line into the pond. I asked him as I always do “would you mind if I include you in a photograph?”. He declined so I thanked him and wished him a good day. This is where the “look around EP” came into play. There were any number of varieties of mushrooms emerging on the broken branches and mosses. Amazing shapes and colors as you will see. I left all where they lay. If I want mushrooms, I’ll get them at the farmers’ market or local grocers.
Next: I can hear falling water and know there’s a spillway across the pond. I parked BGB and proceeded to pick my way through the wet leaves and icky stuff. Walking to what I hoped would be a good location I spotted two ladies at one of the many picnic tables. The table was artfully covered with a pumpkin motif tablecloth and they were working diligently on their self described best jack-o-lanterns in the world. They agreed to a photo which I took and departed but not before wishing them “happy carving”.
As I made my way around the pond and through the park itself I noticed a number of larger trees had splotches of red paint on their trunks. I suspect that they will become the target of the chain saws well into next year. I’d guess that I saw at least 50 trunks so marked. Most of them appeared to be dead or dying and clearly had passed their prime.Heading for the park exit I saw a number of people: families with huge dogs getting ready for a hike, more fishermen, 2 young men with bicycles designed for the rocky roads and rolling hills of Connecticut.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything but I’m still here, I’m fine and looking forward to each new day. As always, simply click on any of the images to start your slide show. ep



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!

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 … 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 will give you all the information.  As always, click on any image to begin your slide show.  ep