Look what I just made!!!

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Last week there was an article in our local weekly newspaper about “Pen-turning at Cragin”.
The location is our Cragin Memorial Library here in Colchester. “Central Connecticut Wood turners will be on hand with lathes and materials to help people make their very own wood pen“.
I had been thinking it might be interesting so I arrived at the library around 11:00 AM. There were 4 intimidating looking lathes set up and a number of club members there instructing attendees. I took a seat next to a gentleman who was waiting for his wife to finish her project and he very proudly showed me his pen. It was stunning!
Hmmm, can I possible do anything like that? It’s my turn now and Tom begins to show me what we have to do.
After an introduction to the lathe and the tools we donned our safety glasses and proceeded to remove all of the wood that was not “pen”. We started with 2 identical pieces of wood.

It took less than an hour from start to finish and I’m now the proud owner of a turned walnut wood pen which may be a birthday gift for someone near and dear to me.
This group of very talented individuals will be back in the local area (Lebanon) some time in June and yes! I’ll be there again.
The club members are very friendly, helpful, talented AND patient.  With special thanks to Tom and other people who took a number of photos of yours truly making the wood chips fly.

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The BGB wins again!

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As the Scottish poet Rabbie Burns was prone to say: “the best laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft aglee.
This morning’s plan: #1 leave the house at 6:45 AM to meet friends for breakfast at “the Shack” restaurant in Groton then return home and since it’s almost balmy outside I was “planning” on sweeping the sand and salt off the garage floor and tidy up the collection of stuff that had accumulated over the winter.
Part 1 of # 1 done!  Two blueberry pancakes, coffee and lots of good chatter.  The garage??  well there’s always tomorrow.
The way home from Groton includes a left turn out of the restaurant parking lot and north on Rte 12. The BGB had other ideas. She turned right! Apparently she wanted to check out the fog bound coast of Groton, so who am I to argue with 3,600 pounds of metal. Right turn it is!

First stop: We followed Shennecossett Road south then turned left onto Bayberry Lane and the State of CT DEEP Boat Launch.  NOW I discover that I only have my “in case you get into an accident, you have your little camera with you to take photos” or any newsworthy occurrences. Make it work EP! The raw, damp wind blowing off Long Island Sound didn’t deter me either.

Next, around Shennecossett Road to Eastern Point Beach parking area.  Still raw, damp and breezy but there were some interesting shots available. I also made a few one  minute +/- videos for a friend in Florida.  I passed a woman pushing a stroller who told me there was nothing to look at.  Save your breath EP.  The wind was blowing probably 10-15 mph, the fog horns were blaring and somewhere out in the fog the ferry to Fishers Island was blasting it’s horn as well.  I know this because I saw it coming down the Thames River and then whoops, where did it go.  Fog won again.  The only evidence left was the increased wave action along the shore.

So, in total I took about 50 photos and quite a few of course wound up in the “trash” when I downloaded them and cast a critical eye.  Attached are a few that I kept.

Heading home at last, passing “The Shack” one more time I made my last stop at “Angelo’s Bakery” (this fine shop can be found on Facebook.com) here in Colchester.  So, tomorrow’s breakfast is in the refrigerator: one of their cinnamon and raisin pastries and a small grinder roll–could become a tuna fish grinder tomorrow for lunch unless I change my mind.

PS:  In case you didn’t know “BGB” stands for Big Green Buick”.

Cabin Fever!

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The walls closed in one day last week after a long promised snowstorm that fell short of expectations.  After considering several options I headed for Norwich CT.  I had a few quick errands to do there so it made sense.

Cameras and a warm jacket, cell phone, good shoes and off I went.  There’s a site in Norwich known as “Indian Leap that I’ve visited once before during summer.  The problem I faced this time was the piles of snow pushed up by the plows that left no place for me to park the car!  Not do be outdone by some snow, I drove very slowly scouting possible parking places, not good, turned around and came back ever so slowly toward the location.  Hmm, a 2 or 3 family house with a cleared parking area and only one car parked there.  After much deliberation I pulled in, took my camera and I suppose you could say I tiptoed out of the parking area and crossed the street toward the Yantic River and the falls.

Yes, on my way but let’s be quick about this EP.

There’s a great railroad bridge at the same site and there are 2 images of the bridge in this post as well.  One is pretty straight forward, the other is cropped significantly and rotated.  Who ever said photographers don’t have any fun?  It’s a lot easier than me rotating 90 or 180 degrees.

Back to the business at hand, photography!  Yes I got some photos

There’s quite a story behind the naming of this falls.  If you’re curious here’s a link for you to research.  Norwich played an important part in the Revolutionary War as well.  Indian Leap at Yantic Falls

Headed home, hot soup and a cookie both home-made. Yummy

Remember to start the slide show, just click on any of the images.

 

Olde Mistick Village on a very cold evening

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My friend Shelly and I had decided about a week ago that we would like to see the holiday lights at the Olde Mistick Village on the evening of December 9th. As we prepared to exit I-95N at the Mystic off ramp it suddenly became evident that we were not the only people with the same idea. The beach traffic heading to Misquamicut Beach, RI on a hot summer day was nothing compared to this.
We were fortunate enough to find a parking space relatively close to the Village Shoppes and so off we went. And it was 28°F upon our arrival. However as long time New Englanders we both knew to dress warmly and I really was glad I had on as many clothes as I did because the temperature continued to drop so that when we reached home I think it was about 22°F
The crowds continued to grow exponentially as the evening wore on. Strollers abound, loose toddlers,dogs, parents, grandparents and virtual gridlock on the roads around the Village. Speaking of dogs, we went into Georgetti’s and there was a gentleman with a very large poufy dog with saddlebags strapped around it’s middle. In each of the pockets, there was a little puppy. The owner explained that he was a Belgian Shepherd Dog. I’d neither seen or heard of this breed but this was a delightful dog who loved to be petted and knew that he was the star of the show.
I am not complaining, simply trying to set the scene for you. As we continued to wander, we smelled the overpowering odor of warm chocolate wafting out the doors of “Franklin’s General Store”. Yes, we went in and joined the throng of chocoholics. As cold as it was outside, it must have been close to 80°F inside. Thoughts of “Frosty, the Snowman” melting were running through my mind.
After more than an hour of photography, shopping, window shopping and saying “excuse me” we decided it was time for a cup of coffee so we headed toward the “Bleu Squid”. Big mistake, they were totally overcrowded but Shelly did get a really good look at the display case full of cupcakes! A few more “‘scuse me’s” and we were out in the fresh air again BUT empty handed.
We agreed to brave the traffic and cross over to Starbucks and strange as it seemed, there were seats available and plenty of staff taking orders. I think we had seen our share of OMV so we headed back toward the car. I stayed in the car–warming it up again and Shelly took off for Bleu Squid for cupcakes.
She had succeeded in getting 2 cupcakes, one chocolate with chocolate icing and I’m not sure what kind she had for herself. While waiting for the intrepid cupcake hunter to return I’d mentally decided on our escape route from the village. Other than 1 red traffic light at the Hilton Hotel’s intersection we sailed out and homeward.
As always, click on any photo and your slide show will begin. And take a really good look, see if you spot the “partridge in the pear tree”.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my wordpress friends. ep

ps:  It wasn’t snowing that night, wordpress adds the snow flakes for effect during December.  ep

‘Tis the Season

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Well, Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are our rear view mirrors now.  The overdosing on turkey, stuffing, gravy, green beans of every ilk, cookies, fudge and pumpkin whats?…please say you’re kidding.

This past Sunday I met with my friend Inge at The Shack in Groton for breakfast.  I had no plans for the rest of the day other than to watch the New England Patriots sometime after 4:00 pm. (the couch was calling)  However, when Inge suggested a visit to the Mystic Aquarium followed by a visit to the gift shop at the Mystic Seaport:  off we went!

We were the first guests to arrive at the aquarium.  It was cold and windy but we had parking spots in front of the entrance and warm coats

.  Inge is a member of the Aquarium and I was her (+1).  We saw beluga whales, Stellar sea lions, fur seals (big guys) jelly fish and patted rays in their own  heated area.  I was totally enthralled by the multitude of habitats, colors of so many sea creatures that lost count shortly after arrival along with the delighted faces and voices of the youngsters as they viewed the same scenes.

We capped off our visit to the aquarium by viewing in 4D (3D plus sensory effects) a shortened version of “Polar Express” complete with flying snowflakes, rattling seats as our train headed north and the joy again of the youngsters both in the film and in the audience.

Mystic Seaport’s Gift Shop is a shopper’s delight.  But first we stopped in their café, sampled some super delish fudge then ordered clam chowdah.  Oh my goodness; rich-creamy-piping hot yumminess.  The store wasn’t particularly crowded so we were able to pause frequently to really check out many of the offerings.  As we were leaving, it was a different story with lines in the café and many shoppers arriving.

I love spontaneous adventures like this!  Plans made far in advance often fall victim to other issues resulting in changes and disappointments.

Now, we look forward to the Christmas Season and other holidays and the joy they bring.  Wishing you all the joys and happiness of the season and a sincere wish for a healthy, happy and safe New Year to all friends and followers.

The Viking Longship arrives

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Last Sunday, October 2nd the Viking longship Harald Harfagre DRAKEN sailed up the Mystic River to tie up at the Mystic Seaport for an over winter overhaul.

Fortune dictated that we (Inge & I) miss the actual arrival but some swift walking, backtracking and driving brought us into a position to see this ship that had sailed across the Atlantic and toured several ports before arriving in Mystic.  The press was reporting 8,000 miles under sail. From our vantage point it looked like a mob scene with eager visitors clustered around the gangplanks.

Neither the vista nor the weather were really great so we opted to drive slowly up river to see what else we might find.  First a huge stretch limo carrying 2 gentlemen of a certain age who announced that they had just been married.  We chatted with them, wished them a happy life together and went our separate ways.

Then there were white herons and an airborne great blue heron in the marshy grass along the river but guess who’s camera battery died.  NUTS!  Poor planning ep!

On my way home later that afternoon it occurred to me that the Cragin Library here in Colchester has discount admission cards that can be checked out for 2 days.  When I checked with them on Thursday I learned that the card authorizes half price admission for 2 adults and 3 children.  I asked if any cards were available for Mystic Seaport.  Yes, and it was mine for 2 days.  Return it Saturday or else $10 per day thereafter. (ouch)

And off we went (the Buick & I).  The weather was glorious, light breeze blowing, brilliant fall sunshine and half off my admission. Hooray.  Photos follow.  As always, click on any one and a slide show will open for you.  In addition to the DRAKEN I’ve included some other images taken at the Mystic Seaport last Thursday. The 6 people in the miniature version of the DRAKEN were singing along as an accordion player (in the bow) played appropriate maritime tunes.  The other five were beating out the rhythm on the gunnels of the boat.

Later in the afternoon, while sipping a class of iced tea under that huge oak at “Spouters Tavern” I called Inge who was still at work but who was also very hungry and we had a very nice supper at the Mystic Steak Loft.  Always guaranteed to be a delicious meal.

The modern looking building in this post is the newest addition to the seaport.  It’s the new conference center and also the second entrance for visitors to the Seaport.

 

 

 

Colchester Senior Center Golf Tournament Awards & Banquet

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What a great evening. Close to 100 guests attended a superb buffet at the St. Andrew’s Church Parish Hall here in Colchester.  A number of the attendees walked away as winners of some great tea cup raffle baskets, received awards for a variety of successes on the Chanticlair Golf Course and were absolutely blown away by the results of Luke Hajdasz’s fund raising efforts to benefit the Colchester Senior Center over the past 3 years. The exact dollar amount eludes me but it was announced last night that it exceeded $14,000. This young man, with awesome Hajdasz family’s support came up with this idea, created the game plan, solicited donations, worked diligently with the Senior Center staff and of course the management at Chanticlair. His goal was to reach $10,000. Well done Luke!!  The image with Becky holding her “smart phone” with Luke and Patty Watts (Director of Senior Services) looking on are seeing for the first time the results of his labors.

The generously donated tea cup raffle baskets were amazing, lots of golf related items, a football signed by Patriots player J Edelman, sporting event tickets, restaurants, spa treatments and many, many more. I will add that there were several very, very lucky attendees. You know who you are 🙂
The buffet was prepared by Papa Z’s restaurant including salads, crusty bread and butter, pasta creations, (the alfredo chicken was my favorite) and slices of pizza. A number of people went back for seconds. Dessert was a huge cake decorated with a golf theme of course accompanied by a fizzy pink punch.

There were many workers behind the scenes throughout this 2 day event ranging from checking in the golfers as they arrived to setting up and cleaning up at the Parish Hall and a multitude of tasks in between.  Thank you to all of these committed ladies and gentlemen.

And my final reminder:  click on any image to start your slide show.

2016 Colchester Sr Ctr Golf Tournament (Saturday)

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Friday’s kick off time was 9:30 am. We’ve already discussed Friday’s weather conditions.
Today (Saturday) kick off time was 12:30 pm. That factoid should give you a little indication of today’s weather conditions. In my most unmeteorological language, today was at lease ten times hotter and 200% more humid. And I did something I swore I would never do…appeared in public in a tee-shirt and knee length shorts. I’m very glad I’m the one who was taking the photos and not the other way around!

There aren’t nearly as many photos today as there were yesterday and I apologize for that but It was simply too hot and humid to stay out on the course for more than half an hour.  However, I don’t understand why the ducks weren’t taking advantage of the fountain.

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

2016 Colchester Senior Center Golf Tournament (Friday)

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After weeks, no…make that months of planning by the Senior Center Staff. Luke Hajdasz and his family, the days have finally arrived. Last year at this same event, the weather was glorious, reasonable temperatures, cool breezes and low humidity. Today’s tropical temperatures and humidity as well as concerns about T-storms put a small crimp in the festivities. I’m not a golfer and don’t plan on becoming one at this late date but I do know that these players have indomitable spirit and I’ve been told that heat or cold, rain and probably snow does little to stop them from taking one more swing. Thunder and lightning may be a different story.
This is the first of 3 posts for me today. Friday’s 9 hole event, Saturday’s 18 hole event and the celebratory banquet this evening where beautiful gift baskets will be raffled, speeches will be mad trophies will be presented and lots of food will be consumed.
So please enjoy the photos, and remember that by clicking on any one image, you can start a slide show to view larger images.

PS: The blue heron released the frog back into the pond.

Third Wednesday “Cruise Night”

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A friend reminded me earlier this week that on July 20th there would be a “Cruise Night” on the Colchester Green. In years past I’ve noticed this event from afar but since I was out anyway, I decided to stop for an up close and personal look at what I assumed would be a few hot rods, antique cars and custom vehicles. Arriving around 4:30PM I was amazed to see the number of vehicles already on site, hoods up with proud owners seated all around. And they continued to arrive in a steady stream for the next 45+ minutes.
Fortunately I had my camera with me and took a significant number of photographs before my brain went into “Cruise Night” overload! Every color of the rainbow, configuration and customization not to mention sparkling chrome, bodies polished like diamonds in the sunlight and owners who were more than willing to talk about their vehicles.
I will confess to some drag racing of my own “back in the day” ( there was a straight-http://goodtimesmotoringclub.comaway near the Amtrak Station in Westwood, MA).and yes my Big Green Buick (BGB) has a supercharger under the hood that has come in handy on several occasions.
This event is managed and sponsored by the  “Good Times Motoring Club” April through November on the third Wednesday late afternoon on the Colchester Green. Even if you’re not a car buff you should come out once just to see these beautiful vehicles and perhaps take your own trip down memory lane. I certainly did! Complete with 50’s music playing in the background.

Reminder: click on any of the images to start a slide show.  ep