People have grown sunflowers in New England for a long time; this year, with the invasion of Ukraine, there are many more – along with Ukrainian flags, paintings of sunflowers on walls, flags with the country’s name and sunflowers. A trip to Connecticut meant that I’ve been in four states in four days; there were sunflowers, and more sunflowers – in cutting gardens, for sale by the side of the road, in yards, along the roadside. These are only the ones that were easy and safe to stop and get photos.

Water Chestnut Pull on the Mattabesset River

Saturday, July 9: Launching on the Coginchaug River in Middletown, Connecticut, we paddled past this interesting root mass on our way out to the Mattabesset River. Our task for the day: see how much invasive water chestnut we could pull in about three hours. It was a beautiful day to be on the water – sunny, with enough wind to keep the bugs and the heat at bay.

This was a portion of the crew. I like that the age range was from about four to well past retirement age; I’m also very glad to see so many young, strong, enthusiastic participants! It bodes well for our waterways. You can see filled sacks on top of the boats.

This is what the beginnings of an infestation look like – the water chestnut grows to completely cover the water surface, out competing native plants, harming aquatic life and making recreation difficult. I filled two burlap sacks; here’s one as I finished for the day. (The other is behind me in the kayak.)

And here is part of the haul – I think they counted 27 sacks, not counting the ones that were collected in a power boat for transport. They get composted, for the most part; apparently some people collect the plant matter to use as mulch. I was told that critters don’t like it! But the idea is to remove it from the waterway, and not let it return.

This is a great natural area; we saw herons, an osprey, lots of turtles, some fish. And we were well exercised, with some brisk paddling, and lots of pulling of plants. Most of us ended up wet and muddy, and well satisfied by our day on the water. If you live near the Connecticut River, and want to come out and play with plants, contact the Connecticut River Conservancy; I have pulled water chestnut in Vermont and Connecticut, and there are pulling parties in Massachusetts, as well!

Bader and Max

Max (and his person) came to visit Bader (and his person) – as did I; another trip to Connecticut. Here they are watching their people wrestling the lawnmower, supervising for all they are worth. Max is the one who’s coloring looks like a pinto pony – and he’s about that size, too! He’s sweet, but he has no idea how heavy he is.

Tomorrow I go pull invasive water chestnut.

Long Weekend in Connecticut

The highlight of the long weekend in Connecticut (south on Thursday night, north on Tuesday evening) was spending an afternoon with my almost seven month old great-grandson! He’s a joy, cheerful, easily entertained, smiling… and likes the slippery texture of tags, which he’s going for here.

I also visited with friends, and went to a memorial service for a nearly 97 year old friend of the family. Our families were close, and I grew up with her children, two of whom were near me in age. It was great to see all of them – two from England – and catch up not only with her biological children, but with the step-children as well, whom I’ve gotten to know over the years. It was great to hear stories – how many continue to host family reunions for a late spouse’s family, even after remarrying? I visited with her, and her second husband, often – they summered in Maine, wintered in Florida, had space to park the camper, found me kayaking venues, and in between seasons stayed at their house in Connecticut. I was able to join them on their canal boat in England – and they paid for the trip!! – when they were looking for younger muscles to work the locks. I miss them both, but have so many good memories.

The weekend ended for me on Tuesday, when I was able to join a few of my knitting buddies for their regular Tuesday gathering; I was much more regular at that before Covid – and before I started kayaking with ORFS!

But I’m glad to be home, where it is several degrees cooler.


Double Take

A quick trip to Connecticut for a kayaking venture (cancelled due to thunderstorm warnings), and last night I had to look twice – a giraffe is not something I expected to see peeking over the fence!

More of Spring

Tuesday, March 22: Today was the day to get the paperwork for Mom’s taxes to the accountant in Connecticut – a quick down and back trip. But I also had to stop at her former facility to pick up the last piece of paper – and spring is much further along 120 miles south! The crocuses and daffodils were very happy, and the maple trees are blushing red.

This south facing hill was planted with lots of daffodil bulbs years ago – but it is no longer weeded, so it’s a little more cluttered than it once was, and the shrubs get in the way of seeing the daffodils clearly. Oh, well – The sky was blue, the sun shining, and it was a glorious day for a drive!

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Winter Edition 2

Sunday, January 30: Having left a day late to let the snow finish doing its thing, I had miles (and miles!) to cover – but that didn’t mean I wanted to get on the interstates and bore myself! It was a stunningly beautiful sunny day, although it never got above freezing, and I kept having to clear the slop off the windshield. I took a new route through western Connecticut, where this graveyard for monitors is, and then into New York State; that’s where I found the single lane road through state forest land.

It was slow and gorgeous and uneventful – until this plow truck came up the opposite way! I was able to back into a nearby driveway, and he went by. And immediately met another vehicle coming down! That was too much for him; he reversed a half mile or so down the road (shown backing here) until he could pull off, and we went past. That takes some skill!

On through New York, and New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, getting to my cousin’s apartment in Baltimore, Maryland for a quick stop. I wanted her to try on the sweater I’m making before finishing the second sleeve; she’s happy with the fit so I’ll hope to finish that before heading north again.

I ended the day in southern Maryland, and tomorrow start helping a friend move to Richmond, Virginia.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Winter Edition

I left Vermont yesterday, January 28. Going to Connecticut and visiting the month old great-grandson was first on the list – and his mother, and aunt (to whom I was delivering mittens knit as a late Christmas gift) and his grandfather. I was good to see, and catch up with, that piece of the family – and have a chance to snuggle the latest addition! Then it was over to visit a friend. It was supposed to be a quick overnight, and leave this morning for Baltimore and southern Maryland – but the weather forecast made that seem very unwise. When the big trucks are asked to be off the highway by 6AM, I figure I should, too! So today was spent knitting, and being leaned on by Bader: 

We did go out to clean off vehicles, and so I could bring in the makings for dessert – and again when the men with the snowblowers showed up to get the vehicles out of their way, so they could clear the driveway. It was still snowing when it got dark.

Seed head on ornamental grasses