Contactless Lobby Pickup Begins July 20, 2020!
Trish's Morning Blog 5/8/2020
A shout out to all our library patrons and my blog followers, it is with a heavy heart that this will be the final library blog. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the fun, facts, pictures and the travels along the way. Who knows, maybe I’ll take a road trip in real time! No fear though, I’m sure once this pandemic ends, we’ll be back to greet you in person at the Oxford Free Public Library. Remember all hardships have a silver lining, even if it’s hard to see in the moment. I shall sign off with positive thoughts and a forward perspective in life. Don’t lose heart, the tide will turn.
Trish's Morning Blog 5/7/2020
Yesterday, late in the day, I thought I would grab a moment to do some gardening before the rain. It is the Flower Moon after all. As soon as my spade hit the dirt, I was bombarded by mayfly mayhem. Someone please tell what is the purpose of these flies. I know they will be obscure by the end of May and I realize that the related black flies of our northern states are far worse. Even in trying to keep my perspective, I abandoned my gardening and head inside. I think my dog was also happier with my change of plans, leaving behind that swarm of mayflies around his head. So here are some fun facts about the mayfly. After the larvae hatch from the water, the female lives maybe 5 minutes and the male lives for the day. Those precious moments in the mayfly’s life are a busy one. They mate and reproduce with the female laying up to 3000 eggs in the water before her demise. These insects were around in prehistoric times, which tell us that the peskier you are the longer your species survives!
I’ll stop ranting about the mayflies now and I will spare you pictures of them. I hear some applause for that. Instead, while on my morning run by the farm, I finally captured my long awaited magnificent pictures of the bald eagle. I was so excited and had to share these pictures with you today. How’s that for a change of perspective!
Trish's Morning Blog 5/6/2020
Home sweet home and there are actually signs of spring well underway. A few warm sunshiny days and trees are bursting with blooms everywhere you look. Hanging plants and porch pots are beginning to decorate houses. All this blooming activity might have something to do with the full moon. This is the third super moon this year and aptly named the Flower Moon, aka Milk Moon and Planting Moon. They are called super moons when a full moon coincides with its closest point to Earth during its monthly orbit. Take a look in the eastern sky at sunset and you’ll see it rising in all its glory. One last thought, Happy belated Cinco de Mayo. I hope there were a few of you celebrating the Mexican culture yesterday. Cheers!
Trish's Morning Blog 5/5/2020
"Road Trip" - Day 7It’s the last day of our week long road trip and we are going to make it a good one. We’re taking Interstate 70 through the Rocky Mountain National Park. You would picture this highway to be completely different than what it is, which is not a four lane thruway. Talk about traveling through mountains. We are traversing right through the Rocky Mountains with some fairly sharp curves and steep cliffs. Keep your eyes on the road! Let’s take the turn off for Estes Park. Time to stretch those legs and hike to Gem Lake, where there is still ice around the lake’s shore. As we reach the top of the small peak (by Rocky Mountain standards), I am relishing the magnificent view of the mountain range.
There is an ulterior motive behind stopping at this location. If you are an avid Stephen King fan, it’s a must to stop at the Stanley Hotel. The paranormal is alive and well at this famously visited hotel. When Stephen King requested to stay in the most haunted room, Room 217, the inspiration for his book “The Shining” was born. The hotel features historic tours and accommodations with special reservations required for rooms with paranormal activity. I think I’ll pass on staying here, but a beverage on the hotel porch while facing the ever snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains is in the plan!! What a great ending to a fabulous road trip. I hope I’ve inspired those travelling blues in all of you!
Trish's Morning Blog 5/4/2020
"Road Trip" - Day 6
It’s getting a little hot here in the desert. As we drive along preparing for a day of walking and climbing, we are consciously aware of the amount of water we have. This area receives an average of 8-10 inches of rainfall a year. I think we averaged that in our month of April!! The entrance of Arches National Park is ahead. Feeling a bit apprehensive in this unfamiliar landscape we venture forth on an intensely winding road on edges of cliffs. Thankfully there are many turnouts for viewing and plenty of stops for trails into the most awesome of earth’s creations. I image this area must be a geologists dream. Trying to understand the millions of years of salt beds, rock layers and pressure that erupted the earth in domes which erode into arches are beyond my comprehension. I have completely over simplified how these arches came to be. I am awestruck as I walk among, through and over them. This is a great place to spend the day meandering around the 2000 or more arches, ranging from 3 feet to 306 feet. An eerie, hushed beauty exists here amidst the salmon colored sandstone arches. It’s just a feeling that I can’t truly describe, you’ll have to experience it for yourself someday.
Trish's Morning Blog 5/1/2020
"Road Trip" - Day 5Making a last minute decision, I think we’ll drive to Capital Reef National Park on the way to the Arches. I hear there is a great campground there in the middle of an orchard. We’ll see about that! The ride is scenic, passing through the Dixie National Forest lands which is a mix of evergreen trees and rock formations. On a winding road out in the middle of nowhere we arrive at the Anasazi State Park Museum. The museum was closed but in the parking lot was Magnolia’s Street Food. A big blue bus converted into a take-out restaurant. The best burrito’s ever were made right here. We ordered extra for supper!! This is why you must travel off the beaten track to find the unexpected pleasures.
We arrive at Capital Reef in time for dinner and settle into a great campground among the fruit trees. Even the deer like to camp here as they make themselves at home among the campers. The lands of Capital Reef have always been settled by people, using this pocket of fertile land in the canyon to raise crops. The Fremont River runs through the park’s canyon providing the key to life in this region. The Fremonts (as the native people were called) inhabited this area over 2000 years ago. They left panels of petroglyphs depicting the stories of their people. Fascinating to see! The orchards were established by Mormon settlers in the 1800s. The wide variety of fruits trees are now managed by the National Park Service and fruit sales are a valuable source of income. Imagine in the middle of these canyons filled with rock formations and historical monuments, you can stop and pick your own fruit. What fun!
Trish's Morning Blog 4/30/2020
"Road Trip" - Day 4
Today we find ourselves at Bryce Canyon National Park, the top of the “Grand Staircase”. I bet you didn’t realize that your journey from the Grand Canyon, considered the bottom of the staircase, to Zion, the middle, onto Bryce Canyon was 100 miles of a unique geological feature. It is known as the world’s most complete sequence of sedimentary rocks that have remained uninterrupted by the effects of glaciers and mountains erupting through the earth’s surface. It is a 525 million year geological history lesson that you have travelled. How’s that for a hands on educational opportunity!
If I could pick a favorite so far, I think it would be Bryce. The limestone pillars of rock, called Hoodoos, remind me of the drip castles we make at the beach only much larger! As time marches on the effects of erosion tumble some while others emerge, much like the waves crashing those sandcastles. Hiking through Bryce is as though you are walking through a fairyland in shades of pink and whites. Starting from the top of the formations, the trail winds you down and through the hoodoos. Feeling like a miniature being in this land gives you an incredible perspective of this colorful canyon.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/29/2020
"Road Trip" - Day 3We’ve arrived at Zion National Park. The ride from the Grand Canyon to Zion took us through the Native American lands where roadside stands are set up. It was a unique opportunity to shop for some authentic gifts and learn about their traditional pieces. I love driving through our expansive country. It provides insight to the ways of life in other areas. After a good night sleep, I am ready for more adventure. Zion National Park is so diversified. The canyon is spectacular with the layers of sedimentary rock where the Virgin River runs through the canyon base. Oh let’s take some fascinating day hikes. We can stand under the weeping rock as water spills over the edge or hike further up to the Emerald Pools. The waterfalls feeding the pools are surrounded in a paradise of green. Plants grow off the canyon walls in a vertical garden. Hiking beside the Virgin River is quite calming with the cottonwoods rustling in the breeze. On our way out of the park a special visitor with some very large horns came to wish us safe travel. We certainly won’t see a big horn sheep at home! Every park we visit seems to have its own unique beauty. Hope your enjoying your trip so far!
Trish's Morning Blog 4/28/2020
"Road Trip" - Day 2
Next stop, The Grand Canyon and it is just that, GRAND. No picture will ever capture what it is like to actually be there. This is my third time here and it never gets old. I’m so glad you could join me! I remain awestruck at the scene before me. The canyon was carved millions of years ago by the Colorado River which weaves through the canyon for 277 miles. You heard correctly, the canyon is 277 miles long by river, 18 miles wide and 1 mile deep. What the first settlers heading west must have thought when they encountered the Grand Canyon. I’m sure they were captivated by the immense beauty, but that must have been one heck of a detour! The South Rim is the hotspot filled with all the tourist accommodations you need, well-marked hikes and fabulous sunset views. Heading out we travel along to the North Rim and the scenery all around continues to be even more impressive. Once in your life, save up and take a trip to the breathtaking views in person, you will not be sorry.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/27/2020
"Road Trip" - Day 1
We’re going on a road trip. Gas is cheap and there’s no one on the road. There‘s never been a better opportunity, so I’m taking you all with me to a few of the National Parks in the southwestern United States – buckle up!! Our first stop is Joshua Tree National Park. I think we’ll camp here for the night. It’s warm enough in southern California, although we all know the desert can get a bit chilly at night. Good thing I brought my warm sleeping bag! The park is located where the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet. The scenery is strikingly different from New England. The Joshua Tree dots the landscape everywhere you look. It is a weirdly twisted spiky tree that is a member of the yucca family. There’s plenty of hiking and if you’re feeling brave you can scale some of the spectacular rock formations. For those who want to relax, find a palm oasis, have a picnic and do some bird watching. So much to do … enjoy your first stop on our week long trip, tomorrow will another adventure!
Trish's Morning Blog 4/24/2020
There is a local area that is great for walking, biking or simply looking at the views along the French River. Changing up my routine a bit, I decided to take my morning run over by Hodges Village Dam. The Army Corps of Engineers built the dam for flood control in 1959. There are 22 miles of trails that weave in and out of the area. You can simply walk across the dam if you prefer to remain on pavement or take any number of dirt roads or trails. The smaller trails meander through the wooded areas often bordering marshes where plenty of wildlife can be observed. It is quite a gem in our area of Oxford, providing many outlets for outdoor recreation. The west side of the French River offers trails for dirt bikes while the trails on the east side are restricted to non-motorized use. There is also disc golf, fishing and a 3 mile canoe trail with a launch at Greenbriar Park. The area is a diverse natural treasure and an utterly peaceful outing each time I visit.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/23/2020
How many of you love scallions, also known as green onions. I love including them in salads, sautéed into all kinds of recipes… pasta, chicken, fish… or snacking on them freshly picked. You name it, scallions give you that fresh onion flavor in a subtle way. Not only do scallions add flavor but they are full of vitamins and fiber. Most of you probably buy scallions by the bunch at your local store. You chop them up and toss out the rooted ends. Well, don’t toss out the ends, they will grow!! I take the ends and stick them right into a pot of soil. Within a few weeks, I have a fresh batch of scallions that I can cut for my cooking pleasure. From the remaining stub in your pot, a new bunch of scallions will grow and on and on it goes. Once the weather warms they’ll be growing like crazy. I’ve recently tried this with leeks as well and they are taking off in the same way. Talk about salvaging the vegie waste, no more compost for these guys. I’m on a roll now!!
Trish's Morning Blog 4/22/2020
I have a friend mildly obsessed with turkeys, not so much for eating but for viewing. Why? My husband once told her that turkeys always walk uphill at night. She found this fascinating. I roared with laughter the day she saw a flock of turkeys walking downhill at night and realized she’d been duped. All in good fun and maybe in a convoluted way, there is some truth to this. Turkeys roost in trees at night to escape predators– so they do go up! They don’t look as frightening roosting in trees as the turkey vultures. Maybe it’s because they’re not eyeing you as their next meal! Turkeys are a common sight in New England and are especially captivating this past month as the males show off their plumage to attract a mate. The hens create nests in hidden ground locations and wait until all their eggs are laid before they begin incubating them. The eggs hatch all at once in about a month’s time. The “poults” (baby turkeys) are born with open eyes, fuzzy feathers and ready to run. Within a day they begin following their mother, learning the art of foraging for seeds and insects. So where are the dads during all this? The tom turkeys spend the rest of the summer in all male flocks and leave it to the women to raise the young. Hmm!?! The flocks reunite in the fall and forage together to fatten up for the winter months or for the Thanksgiving table.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/20/2020
Patriots’ Day is a day to be remembered. It is a day to honor the bravery of those who fought for the belief of liberty and justice for all in the first battle of the American Revolution 245 years ago. The reenactments to commemorate the battles can be seen at the Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord. If you have never walked these grounds and followed the Battle Road Trail or stood where the “shot heard around the world” was fired, it is a short trip that will certainly be memorable.
Patriots’ Day is also celebrated with the running of the Boston Marathon, the 26.2 mile race from Hopkinton to Boston. Since 1897, runners have trained and gathered in anticipation of the long distance foot race. In 2013, the marathon was tragically disrupted by a terrorist attack near the finish line. A day of despair where heroes were born as brave men and women worked to help those in need.
While the scheduled events have been changed with the unprecedented pandemic, it seems fitting to take a special moment this year to honor Patriots Day. From the battles fought and races won, where triumphs have reigned over tragedy, let us fill our hearts with the same hope and courage of those who first fought for our freedom so long ago.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/17/2020
That’s it, I ‘m heading to the beach. What else is one supposed to do? The weather forecast is predicting snow tonight. There’s that four letter word again. So I’m going, no one is stopping me. I can already smell the salt air, feel the sand between my toes and the warmth of the sun upon my face. The waves are rolling in and pounding on the shore line. On my long walk, I see seagulls and terns, driftwood, seals bobbing in the waves. Let’s not forget seashells by the seashore. Every beach has its specialty – whelks, scallops, quahogs, periwinkles or sometimes it’s just sea glass and rocks. It’s a great escape, if only in my mind. Needless to say, I have a vivid imagination and plenty of pictures from past escapades! So join me and leave that quarantine anxiety behind – it will serve you well!
Trish's Morning Blog 4/16/2020
It’s like watching a pterodactyl flying through the sky, the Great Blue Heron. With its large wingspread, necks tucked in like an S and long extended legs, it’s easily recognizable in flight. We have such opportunity to observe these splendid birds in the many ponds and swamps in our area. They are a thrill to watch as they stand statuesque wading in the water, waiting to strike their prey with a lightening thrust. Breeding herons like to nest in rookeries or heronries and will return to the same nest for years, increasing its size with fresh branches. There is a small rookery of breeding herons on our local Sutton Ave that is easily visible from the roadside. The nests are fewer this year than last year which may be due the standing dead trees falling or no longer stable enough to support a large nest. Herons primarily feast by the water on fish, but certainly alter their appetite to what is readily available including small birds and rodents. A little known fact that is special to the heron is the powder produced from the frayed feathers on their chest. As they groom, they coat their bill with the powder which pulls the oils from the fish slime off their feathers. Well that’s one way to keep clean. Enjoy the short ride down the road and look at the nests, you may see one occupied.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/15/2020
Looking for a scenic place to walk and get some decent steps in? The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester offers some fabulous views as well as strenuous hills and stairs for those of you who are athletically minded. Established as a college in 1843, it is one of the oldest Catholic colleges in the United States. The college was also named an Arboretum in1983, with 6000 trees and shrubs planted, boasting 115 varieties. Holy Cross has created a scenic, nature rich landscape in the midst of the city. As you walk through the campus you will pass many beautiful statues, mosaics and incredible architecture. My favorite is a mosaic titled “Civitas Branching”. It was created as a collaborative project between students and residents of the College Hill neighborhood. It is a mosaic mural of glass and tile, creating a common vision for the area while symbolizing the past, present and future. It’s wonderful to see the beauty created when a community works together. When you have a moment, visit this local landmark – you will relish in its beauty.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/14/2020
Have you ever noticed the wood in inlayed furniture or artisan made wooden bowls and boxes, where the wood grain swirls with unique patterns and color? It’s a special wood called Burl Wood. This magnificent and valuable wood does not come from a special tree but is seen on many different types of trees, you just didn’t know you were looking at it. When a tree becomes stressed from injury, fungus or insect infestations, the injured area of the tree becomes deformed. The area grows in distorted and unusual ways forming a burl. The burl does not harm the tree but grows larger as the tree grows. The unsightly appearance of a burl masks its incredibly beautiful interior. The inside of the burl has interesting woodgrain patterns and color that is enhanced over time. Harvesting burl wood should only be done from dead trees, as removing the burl from a living tree will cause the tree to die. Unfortunately, poaching of burl wood is a very real problem, especially in the Northwest regions of our country. It has led to much devastation of the redwood and sequoia trees. Burls are not something you can grow and acquire on demand, and therefore are a rare find. Artisans are always on the lookout for large pieces of burl wood from which they create amazing pieces. When you see the pictures of a burl on a tree, you will realize you’ve been looking at burls all along. Surprise!
Trish's Morning Blog 4/13/2020It’s a spring rain today and as New Englanders we love to talk about the weather. Think about it. You’re walking down the street and you greet a passerby with a comment about the weather – another rainy day; heard it’s going to be sunny tomorrow; heck of a storm we had yesterday. It’s ingrained in our very being. When I was visiting San Diego, I made such a comment to a person walking down the street and they looked at me strangely. It happened more than once and I began to wonder if I had something stuck to my face. Truth is, no one talks about the weather in San Diego because it’s always perfectly the same. If it does actually rain people are mystified. Today in New England we’ll be discussing the weather; wind and rain. It’s a warm morning and perfect to get out those puddle boots and immerse yourself in the moment. It won’t last too long, the winds are coming and they’ll be sure to blow you away.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/10/2020
I’m not joking, I saw snow flurries early this morning. It’s spring, does Mother Nature not realize this. I am seeing signs of spring all around, so what I don’t want to see any more of is snow. I see bunnies out chomping grass, they know its spring. There are pansies in gardens, surely a sign of spring. Cherry blossoms and magnolia trees have started to show their beauty. That has to be one of the most welcome signs of the warm days to come. With many of you celebrating Easter this weekend, these spring blooms are especially for you. May you enjoy some family moments in the best way possible. Positive changes are to come, let’s all stay focused. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you “.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/9/2020
The Bald Eagle, once on the endangered list, has now become a fairly common local sight for the keen observer. My first sighting in my neck of the woods was 5 years ago and I was beyond excited. That moment has not left me. The grandeur of our national symbol is just as breathtaking each time I see it. I’ve learned a lot about bald eagles over these past years. The adults have the noticeable white heads and tails. It takes 4-5 years for the juvenile bald eagles to have this showy and highly recognizable display. Until you see them up close soaring over, you have no true concept of how incredibly large their wingspan is. I hear the sound of the wings before I even see the bird.
They are scavengers as well as fierce predators. My first experience watching a scavenging juvenile bald eagle was at the National Seashore. Late in the day, after we had filleted our freshly caught bluefish, we were getting ready to dispose of the carcass. The young eagle swooped down and started feasting on the fish remains only a few feet from us. It was terrifying and amazing, as well as very opportunistic of the eagle.
I see the eagles most days, as I have become familiar with their flight patterns. Always trying to search for their nest, I may have found it. Amongst the pictures following, I have one of what could be their nest high up in a pine tree. I’ll be keeping a watch on that. Leaving you with some pictures I’ve been able to capture, the perfect picture moment still eludes me. Every now and then take a look up in the sky and you may spot one yourself!
Trish's Morning Blog 4/8/2020
From skunk cabbage to the farm and back to woodland plants, I can’t stop. Today it’s about a family of plants called clubmoss. They are not in the moss family at all but are perennial evergreen plants. They have been around since the prehistoric times, although they were a hundred feet tall during those days, not the mere 6 inches they are now. Makes you wonder why was everything so much larger then? The clubmoss was a prominent part of the landscape in the Carboniferous Age (about 400 million years ago). It is said that we are consuming these clubmoss plants from that period in the form of coal today.
One of the commonly known clubmoss is the Princess Pine. Many of you know this plant from its abundant use in evergreen arrangements for many years. We nearly sent this species into oblivion from all the gathering for holiday décor. The plant reproduces by spores – not seeds. The spores are covered in oil and when dried they are quite combustible – probably not a safe idea for indoor arrangements! Clubmoss spores are so volatile they were once used in firework production and flash illumination photography. One last fact I learned years ago, it can take a plant up to 20 years to grow from spore to maturity. That’s a long time. So next time you want to pluck a Princess Pine from its woodland home, think twice and leave it be.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/7/2020It’s a glorious day and what a better way to spend it than visiting a local farm. While all those petting zoos you pay for have temporarily closed, the local farms are still open and free. Travel down the backroads and pull over when you see the cows. As soon as you get out of the car those curious cows will be coming closer. They won’t hurt you, so hold out your palm and relish the sandpaper feel of a cow’s tongue. I know some of you might find this a bit disgusting, but if you’ve ever observed the squeals of delight when a small child experiences this, you’ll understand. Hey, don’t forget about the pigs. Every farm has one they’ve kept for a pet. It’s usually the runt of a litter, bottle fed and emotionally attached. We met our local runt at 9 months old and 400 pounds. She’d love to take a walk with you and attempted that with my Dad, if only I caught that picture! Along with the ducks and chickens your local farm has so much to offer. If you are trying desperately to avoid the supermarkets, many farms sell their beef, milk, eggs and produce. I suggest you head out while the weather is cooperating and enjoy the local entertainment, no screens needed!
Fay's Blog 4/7/2020
Connecting with Family…
Like a lot of us, we have family in other parts of the United States or around the World. I have a sister and 2 brothers that moved to Florida after they retired from working, I also have a sister in the state of Ohio. After my sister Pat (lives in Florida) read my garden blog and said she liked it, I asked her to write something up about what she likes about living in Florida. Read below...
Well, my sister Fay who wrote (Fays Garden) tells me I should write a Blog (ha!).
I now live in Florida, a town called Homosassa (a transplant from Massachusetts), it's beautiful if you don't mind the Alligators, Snakes and weeds in your grass that BITES, other than that it's a beautiful place to live.
Every morning I go for a walk with my brother (David), who has also moved here from Massachusetts. When we start our walk its dark, we’re early birds. When it starts to get light, the sunrise is beautiful, the colors are pinks, oranges, and yellows, hard to describe. We also see Sand Cranes, their as tall as me and have red hair (well feathers). One morning we saw babies, so cute.
We also go boating with friends on Homosassa and Crystal River, you will see Alligators, wherever there is water there are Alligators. I have gone swimming in the Homosassa River I do make sure there are other people in the water first, (I’m not crazy!). We also go to Manatee Park, it’s not far from me in Homosassa.
Well maybe I will blog again,
Bye for now….
Trish's Morning Blog 4/6/2020
Aah! Blue skies, a wonderful vision to wake up to. Look at that, the sun is shining and the feel of spring is in the air. Wandering through the swamp areas, I finally see the skunk cabbage leaves emerging from the purple colored blooms I’ve observed in earlier weeks. The pungent scent of a skunk the plant emits makes you wonder why I get excited about it. Skunk cabbage is a unique and special plant. This plant has the ability to heat the ground around it, pushing through frost and snow, allowing it to blossom in the frozen area. A process called thermogenesis, only few plants are capable of. The leaves unfurl later – when blue skies and warmth are in the air. It is one of the great pollinators of the lowlands. By late summer, the leaves have died off and the plant goes dormant. The area is now awash with other beautiful plants, a result of its great pollinating power. Native Americans used the plant for medicinal purposes in treating headaches and respiratory ailments. In the 1800s it was sold as a drug call dracontium. Plenty of special properties to get excited about, don’t you agree? Who knows, its medicinal properties may once again become useful.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/3/2020
We miss you at the library, not only do I, but my plants as well. I wonder, do those great library plants notice the difference. Are there days when they are feeling as isolated as we are? Do plants respond to differences in their environment? It’s something to think about. I’ve visited my plants for watering purposes and a little conversation. Yes this crazy plant lady believes the plants also recognize the changes in the air. So for those of you who admire my plants when you visit the library, I’ve gathered a few photos for you to enjoy. You may notice my large aloe is getting ready to produce its first bloom! Could the plants be teaching us coping skills with their perseverance? Maybe we can all take some inspiration from the plants (and from Fay’s recent garden blog) and sow some seeds – sunflowers would be my choice.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/2/2020
Time to share with you an excursion I made a couple of weeks ago, before things became really crazy. I met my daughter at the Arnold Arboretum. It was a great day to spend outside while getting some much needed fresh air. The Arnold Arboretum was established in 1872 from a trust left by James Arnold. The trust was transferred to Harvard College (University) and then to the City of Boston, with a 1000 year lease to Harvard. It is part of the 7 mile park system in Boston known as the Emerald Necklace. There are 281 acres on which to walk and easily practice social distancing! Even in the early spring, when little is in bloom, this museum of trees is exquisite. It exists for the public to roam for free from dawn until dusk. I highly suggest you take a visit when time permits.
In an odd connection to history, the quarantine of plants coming in from foreign countries was implemented amid the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. Although the Arboretum director was at first frustrated with the quarantine, he later credits the new rules to reducing the impact and spread of plant pests and disease. I feel certain we will all come to appreciate the COVID-19 quarantine in much the same way. The frustration and the madness will soon become a distant memory.
Fay's Garden Blog 4/1/2020
Our Garden -
Growing up our families’ (mine and my husband’s) always had a garden with the usual standard vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, yellow beans (wax beans), summer squash, zucchini, winter squash, rhubarb, and on occasion, some herbs. I didn’t think about the vegetables we ate growing up and how fresh they were, coming from our own backyard. We think differently today as we try very hard to grow our garden as organic as possible.
My husband and I started our first garden with our first house - it was small with a few tomatoes, cucumber, and squash plants. At that point it was obvious we were hooked, each year we waited for spring to come so we could go and buy our plants or seeds to get outside to start our new garden. Now we start our own seedlings in late winter and early spring, some seedlings are hardier than others.
Today at thehouse we are currently in, we have a larger garden that has evolved to “raised beds” with a variety of vegetables and fruit such as cantaloupe, blueberry bushes, raspberry canes, and fall items like pumpkins and gourds. We have a compost bin that helps with the feeding and mulching of the plants -we mulch to help with the weeds and to keep moisture in.
Currently the rhubarb is sprouting and the asparagus is trying to come thru the cold dirt. As soon as the sun warms the dirt, these will sprout to beautiful plants.
I’ve canned butter and sugar pickles with our extra cucumbers, blueberry jam with our blueberries and I freeze them for winter to make muffins and breads. With the tomatoes, I freeze them to use in sauce during the winter.
With all these garden vegetables we obviously have a large bounty and we share with many, a few of you reading this can relate! :)
We have a few garden books that we have used over the years, “Readers Digest: Illustrated Guide to Gardening” (even my mother used this book; shows how old this book is), and “Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew (my husband’s dad enjoyed this one). Also a book by Barbara Kingsolver“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” that we have enjoyed because it gets you back to the roots of having a small garden, not these huge genetically modified farms. Enough said…..
Here are a few pictures of seedlings we started a few weeks back- the larger plants are peppers and the others are lettuce.
Trish's Morning Blog 4/1/2020
Ever feel like you tumbled into a horror movie just by walking out your door. Probably not, but it happened to me. I looked up into the tall grove of pine trees along the roadside and peering down at me were 7 roosting turkey vultures. One can try not to read any superstition into the scene, but honestly, it spooked me out. I attempted to capture the scene with my camera but my barking companion scared them off. What’s good to know is that turkey vultures, while creepy, are harmless. They feed from carcasses in fields and on roadsides. I guess we should be thanking them for the clean up! They are not the most attractive birds up close, but their large wingspan makes them interesting to observe as they soar up high in circles. They rely on their acute sense of smell to find their next meal. Have they always been there watching me on other mornings or was today an unusual event. I’ll be sure to be on the lookout on my next early morning walk down the road. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures of these winged creatures from last year, in my back yard!
Trish's Morning Blog 3/31/2020
Gray days seem endless, especially when spring is trying its hardest to reveal itself in all its blooming splendor. I keep looking for signs and yet my few daffodils and crocus are all I have so far. I have yet to see the skunk cabbage or ferns unfolding, but it’s coming… at least I keep telling myself that. What I have observed is the arrival of many ducks on my little beaver pond – that surely is a sign of spring. Unusual but true, I saw the ducks this morning perched in trees. I never knew much about wood ducks until now. They will perch in trees for sleep and they will nest in hollows of trees on the edge of swamps and beaver ponds. Go figure – how in all this time have I just now become aware of this. I am on a quest to find their nesting site, because I know the ducklings will soon follow. At this point I feel obligated to acknowledge one of my favorite children’s books “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey. I am a Boston girl after all.
Trish's Morning Blog 3/30/2020
Motivation in this current climate can be challenging. You question all you do. Should you hunker down or head out the door. Social distancing is at best awkward. If you must venture to the store, do you say hello to a familiar face or duck behind the cracker display? Will social distancing linger longer than COVID-19?
In answer to this comes the wisdom of age (or senility). I am fortunate to have my 92 year young father living with us. As most of us are anxious for him, I can truly say he is the least concerned. He still heads out and there is little you can do to stop him. Yes he does say hello to those that may cross his path, with a smile that bridges the 6 foot gap.
While I sit debating if I really want to go for a run, he is heading out the door on his 1-2 mile walk in lieu of his gym workout. That’s when it hits me – the old “move it or lose it” slogan. Following my living inspiration, I get my butt in gear and head out after him. We walked along a rugged trail with my Dad telling me I was going to do him in, not the Corona virus! By the end, even our walking companion, Koda, was exhausted. Trust me, the next day they’ll both be anxious for another adventure. So let’s all continue to enjoy the outdoors and see the beauty along the way. Most importantly – smile at those you pass, we all need a bright spot in our day.
Trish's Morning Blog 3/27/2020
As I ventured out today, I looked about for inspiration. Where was that red tailed hawk, or the pileated woodpecker, the squirrels chasing each other – were they all sleeping. Then I opened my eyes to what was all around me. I walk along it, climb over and sit down on it … the stone wall. They are an intrinsically beautiful form of art. Everywhere in the countryside they exist. Many have lasted over a hundred years. They change with the weather. Trees topple over and water ravages them and yet they survive. Stone walls are fences, property borders, and shelters for small animals. The secrets and history the old walls hold. We walk past all this beauty and take for granted the hard work that went into life long ago. So today I suggest you get out for a walk or drive along a back road. Take note of the stone walls, you’ll be amazed.
Trish's Morning Blog 3/26/2020
From a young girl, I was always a tree talker, secretly believing that the trees and I communicated in our own language. I’d sing to them, clean off the heavy snow in winter and repair broken limbs. Then I happened upon a fascinating book for those of us who wondered if the trees could talk or if it was all my youthful imagination. The book is titled “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben, along with a children’s version, “Can you Hear the Trees Talking” (quite useful for adults with attention deficit when it comes to reading nonfiction). Reality is that trees do talk …to each other… not to us as I had hoped! They communicate through their limbs, roots and the various fungi in the ground. They help each other during times of drought, infestation and nurture their young saplings. It’s quite amazing and if you are still a nonbeliever, Read The Book. On that note, I leave you with one last memory, an old poem (1914) that became a favorite of mine: Trees by Joyce Kilmer, “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree…”
Trish's Morning Blog 3/25/2020
Has our social distancing caused a of case cabin fever?! One animal that‘s not practicing social distancing is our friend (or foe, depending on where you live) the beaver. It’s spring and in my neck of the woods, the beaver has been very busy. Recently there has been a great deal of activity along the shore of the pond. I’ve observed the destruction of numerous small trees and how each day is a process. The beavers work the base, topple it, strip all the small branches and then take the main part of the tree (often in halves). All these parts end up in the water on their way to their destination. The process takes a few days and has been interesting to observe since my trail was obstructed by the fallen trees and is once again clear for travel. I captured a few shots of the process as well as the established beaver lodge on the other side of the pond. The beaver could be giving us some good advice on decluttering and rebuilding within our homes… a little food for thought!!
Trish's Morning Blog 3/24/2020
So, just when you think spring is here you get……SNOW. That four letter word that invades us when we least expect or want it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a New Englander at heart, but snow belongs somewhere between December and February.
However, quickly changing my attitude, I ventured out to embrace the winter wonderland before it’s gone. The air is fresher and just maybe it will clear up some of these airborne viruses – we can only hope. In my walk I came upon a peculiar tree – it reminded me of a book I read about Native American Trail Marker Trees– recommended to me by a patron and fellow hiker. Before GPS was ever heard of, woods were navigated
using trail markers – unusual natural or manmade markers. Native Americans would bend young trees or cut them in places to mark the trails. The trees would then grow in unusual ways so future travelers could find their way. Very interesting subject I suggest all fellow nature walkers research.
I leave you with images of my trail marker tree, winter wonderland and finally the optimism of SPRING!
Trish's Morning Blog 3/23/2020
Good Morning to all my library visitors; With the temporary closing of libraries throughout the country I thought of various ways we can stay connected. We could send letters via our great US Postal Service – how many of you have actually written a letter recently and/or know how to address an envelope properly!! We can Skype, FaceTime, Instagram …. now I’m showing my age as I am truly old school with a flip phone (yes, they still exist!) During the COVID 19 social distancing times, I can no longer connect with our library patrons at the circulation desk, sharing life stories, wise thoughts, critiques on books and the world. Thinking out of the box, this is my attempt to reach out to the library world in a totally different fashion. I feel fortunate to live in an area which provides ample exposure to the outdoors. Each morning I will be taking a nature walk and will pass on my observations for those of you interested in reconnecting with nature. Stay tuned! Today I leave you with this photo of my walking companion…