Garden Raid

I was invited – encouraged! – to get zucchini from the garden belonging to friends. It is the best zucchini I’ve met – even the largest have soft edible seeds, and the flavor is great, especially when slightly browned. The flowers are large, at least a spread hand’s breadth; the larger one is 15 – 16 inches long. Yum!

Raccoons (or something) got the corn; I figure this cat is a response. Maybe it will scare the critters away. Maybe not…

Zinnia and Gazania

I spent a fair amount of time at a friends’ house, keeping the cat company, raiding the garden – and admiring their flowers, while they were away. I didn’t compose the photo of Zinnias above as well as I’d like – but the Gazanias below came out well – and if they were perennials I’d covet them. And then not have enough sun for them!

Sunflowers

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.

Cleanup on the Connecticut River

Saturday, August 20: It was a perfect day to be on the water – and to be pulling trash from the Connecticut River. We had three pairs of people in canoes,

plus me in my kayak as an overflow trash container. We went from the Cornish launch just across the Connecticut River from Windsor down to North Star Canoe a few miles south; they are a retired canoe livery company that volunteers their boats every year for our clean up efforts. We filled the bed of a pickup truck with trash – lots of tires and metal, and bags of smaller stuff. Along the way we admired the flora

and fauna:

In addition to the cormorants and mergansers, we saw a couple of different kinds of herons and lots of kingfishers.

With a couple of boats on each side of the river, we continued on; at one point we offloaded some from the most overloaded canoe into my kayak so that there was room again for the second person in the boat!

And then we were back at North Star, unloading and washing out boats, and heading for home – except for the truck, which detoured by the transfer station to unload all the trash!

Kayaking with ORFS on Lake Todd

Tuesday, August 16: Outdoor Recreation for Seniors was at it again, this time on a smallish lake in central New Hampshire. I got a late start; never having been there before, and with confusing directions, I drove on to what turned out to be a beach, and got stuck. With help from a couple of ORFS pushing, and with floor mats under the drive wheels, we did get it out, parked elsewhere, and me out on the water. Sigh.

There were loons, although not close enough to photograph. The weather was great. This lake has several small islands, and is divided by the bridge for the state highway and a separate snow mobile trail.

This southern part of the lake ends at the dam, and what was probably a mill.

At the northern end of the lake, this farm overlooks us:

I don’t believe these signs – New Hampshire doesn’t have sharks in its lakes, or alligators, and the snakes are shy! And of course, if you are going to be able to read these signs, you are already on or in the water.

ORFS Kayaking Goose Pond

Tuesday, July 19: On a beautiful sunny day, Outdoor Recreation for Seniors headed out, most of us first going north to the stream that feeds the three mile long lake. Then out into the main body of the lake, and around an island, through a rock garden, and back to launch. I didn’t do that; I have figured out that it is easier to not have to hassle with parking at the house where we lunch, and I go directly to their small beach. This time I swam and cooled off before heading up the hill to the house with my lunch. One of the highlights of the ORFS calendar for me is that our hosts feed us home made ice cream – half a dozen kinds! I had modest scoops of three of the offerings: Chocolate Butter Crunch (maybe? I don’t remember what candy bar it was based on, but it was really good!), Mint Chocolate Chip (my favorite in general), and Kitchen Sink (vanilla ice cream base packed with lots of yummy chocolate and nut additions). Three modest scoops adds up to a rather immodest serving, and helped provide ballast for the boat on what turned out to be an extremely windy slog back to the launch! Some photos of the day:

A small electric motor on this classic boat

There are as many ways through the rocks as there are paddlers, I think – no one took exactly my route, and nearly all of us kissed a rock or two.

There was at least one loon, which I was never close enough to photograph – except for this one up at the house!

I’m glad I didn’t know that there were snapping turtles this large in the lake, when I was swimming –

And lastly, I might consider this an art shot – had I known I was taking it! I have no idea what it is; I had nothing in the kayak with fibers like that. But it does make a nice mountain!

Water Chestnut Pull on the Connecticut River

Friday, July 15: Four of us went out from Walpole, New Hampshire, and across the Connecticut River to a cove where we’ve been working on eliminating the invasive water chestnut. It was a beautiful day – a few of the things that caught my eye:

This was my haul – It’s interesting that up here, the removal of water chestnut is measured by counting their rosettes; in Connecticut, with much worse infestations, it’s measured by number of sacks! My haul was about 1/4 of what I pulled the week before.

Kayaking with ORFS at Otter Pond

Tuesday, June 28: Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) was out on a small lake, with a brisk wind. It was windy enough that a few of the kayakers opted to walk with the hikers instead. But the conditions were not too bad; one had to work harder to go upwind, but control was easy, and the waves were manageable. It was a beautiful day.

The blueberries are still green, but coming along:

And the Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) was bright along the waters.

The water lilies, both white and yellow, are thick along the shores. There are a lot of insects crawling on all of them.

There were ducks, and a cormorant:

There is one new house – so new it’s not finished yet! And I like the architecture, especially the window echoing the arch. 

Back at our launch point, we ate lunch together, and enjoyed the flowers next to us.

Sewed on Saturday

I had cut out the body of this dress, and it languished by the machine until I HAD to get it done on Saturday – we were to wear bright clothing to honor a friend at the garden party that was her memorial. So Saturday morning I cut out pockets for it, and sewed it up – the hem is long, long, long! This is the same design as the gray-green dress I made in May, the same front and back so that I can just throw it on and go. Pockets for my phone and whatever. Light and summery. I’m actually finding I wear the first dress a couple of times a week; I’ve worn it to things like my uncle’s memorial, and thrown it over my bathing suit as a cover. I’m wearing it now, in fact, sitting getting this blog post out! The flowered one won’t get that much use, as it’s synthetic fabric, but it was perfect for yesterday’s Celebration of Life garden party. So, sew and wear the same day. 

I will honor my friends by posting a photo of the cardinals and nest that are along the entrance to the road up to where the party was held. It’s a great symbol for the love and kindness shared by this couple over 52 or so years of marriage.