Between Happy and Sad

I like many things about fall. Rich color and texture, the smell of wood smoke, falling leaves on morning walks, pumpkins and gourds, the feel of fleece against my skin, morning coffee in front of a fire all make me happy, BUT there are some things that make me sad.
img_2391Early October means putting Pipe Dreams into winter storage and that symbolizes the loss of something I love about being in Maine.
Among my happiest moments are those when we leave Rockport Harbor behind and go exploring. Sadly, this is the last outing and the memory will have to last through the winter.
As we venture out, I see sights that are so familiar yet manage to look different every time. In the distance overlooking Penobscot Bay is Beech Hill, today shrouded by mist.
Heading out to the bay we pass Indian Island with its now inoperable lighthouse. Changing light and shifting tides always make me think I’m seeing it for the first time.
Perry CreekOur plan is to spend the night on the boat so we go to Perry Creek, a favorite spot. It’s a popular boating destination, but tonight the summer crowd is gone and all is quiet except for a soft breeze blowing through the trees and the sound of water gently lapping against the hull.
That makes it very easy to relax while the hubby and I enjoy predinner snacks and a game or two of backgammon. Yes, life is good.
We called it a day beneath a star filled sky, but we woke to a world blanketed in fog and with its own kind of beauty.

Close by a heron lingered patiently as if waiting for it to clear.

After a while a gull left its perch to check things out.

We sat munching a simple breakfast and watching the tranquil morning unfold around us.

Times like this are such special gifts, but nothing lasts forever so when the fog cleared we headed back to Rockport Harbor, and I savored every glimpse of places that I love.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

Porch Love

dinghy/Rockport HarborDuring the summer months we spend lots of time on the porch watching the action on the harbor,

enjoying birds at the feeder

or sharing tini time with family or friends.

Maintaining our special place, however, got to be a real challenge as Maine winters are hard on exterior finishes.  Finally, the porch with its rotten boards and never ending demand for paint got the best of us, and we decided to replace it with a synthetic material made by Azek.  The hard part was the hubby and me agreeing on color and composition!

That done so began a project that proved to be a major undertaking.  Piece by piece the old came out

 under the watchful eye of Willow who accompanied her boss to work every day.  She wasn’t much help when it came to the installation, but she was perfectly behaved.

The crew worked 12 hour days, and the hubby couldn’t resist getting involved.  He proved to be an able assistant.  That definitely gives him some ownership of the project as well as a few aches and pains.

In case you are thinking this was an easy job, think again.  Every piece that went in had to be carefully measured and cut as nothing of the original porch was perfect.  

When all was said and done, however, the porch is perfect and will be much appreciated when next spring no repairs will be required.

Now the birdhouses are back in place,

new plant stands replace a peeling bench and are perfect for a garden vignette.

martiniBest of all, the porch is again ready for tini time!  Cheers!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

Near Home Safari

From time to time, the granddaughters and I have a great adventure, just the three of us.  This time it’s off to San Diego where zoo attractions are the best and, thanks to a good friend, we are lucky to take them all in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASafari Park, developed by the San Diego Zoo, reminds of the African plains and is a whole lot closer!   Animals, mostly from Africa and Asia, appear to roam free and are in habitats as close to native as can be.  If you want to get the feel of being on a safari, there’s even a tent camp where you can spend the night surrounded by animals.

Safari ParkSafari ParkSafari ParkSafari ParkPlayful gorillas entertain visitors with their antics,

Safari Parkand elephants are seemingly indifferent to large numbers of viewers who exclaim with excitement over their every move.

Safari Park

Safari ParkSafari ParkSafari ParkSome animals go about their business oblivious to the crowds peering from afar and trying to get a decent photo which isn’t easy on a moving tram.

Safari ParkShow up with food, however, and you can bet the beasts will come running!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASafari ParkSafari ParkSafari ParkIn addition to the four legged creatures are birds, large and small.  To keep them from flying away, a bone has been removed from the wings, a technique we were told that is much kinder than clipping.

San Diego ZooAs interesting as Safari Park is the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zooknown for its extensive collection of unusual species from all over the world.

San Diego ZooThis one is rare and still unnamed!

San Diego ZooMost of the animals are so used to being stared at they just peer back with total indifference!

San Diego ZooKoalas may be the original tree huggers, and you have to look quick or you’ll miss seeing any movement.

San Diego ZooAs you’ve probably heard, the big attraction at the zoo is the giant panda.

San Diego ZooThe line to view this guy is long,

San Diego Zooand he doesn’t disappoint.  Have you ever seen a cuter face?  This one has sired 6 cubs, the most by a captive panda.  That’s not easy because the female comes into season only once a year and is fertile for about 3 days.

No matter with whom you visit Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo, it is a great adventure.  With so much to see and lots of walking required, my advice would be to not do both locations in a single day.  We were pretty whipped after doing each one.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Returning Home

From the time I was 10 until I left for college, Ft. Myers, Florida, was home, and it is still where I say I’m from because I lived there the longest as a child.  It is where I returned to visit parents, a brother and his family and to reconnect with some high school friends.

Downtown Ft. Myers, still much the same

Downtown Ft. Myers, still much the same

When I lived there, Ft. Myers was a sleepy town, but like most places in Florida, it has changed and now has more people, more traffic, more of everything.  Even so, some remembered things are still there, and on this visit I wanted to take them in.

Edison Home

Edison Home

First stop was the Edison Home.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison wintered in Ft. Myers from 1887 until 1931.  His good friend Henry Ford followed him there and purchased property right next door in 1916.  Both homes now belong to the city and are open to the public.

Edison's laboratory

Edison’s laboratory

Edison’s laboratory is a fascinating reminder of his many inventions

Edison's laboratory

Edison’s laboratory

and is the site for much of his research and discovery.  As I walked through the exhibits, I was once again awed by this man’s genius that led to the invention of the light bulb, motion pictures, phonograph and so many other things that to this day impact our lives.

Ft. MyersAfter an early morning stop at the Edison Home, it was on to Sanibel, just off the coast of Ft. Myers.  Without question, it is one of my favorite places and holds so many special memories of ferry rides, Sunday picnics, soft wind whispering through the pines and relentless mosquitos.  Though Sanibel also has experienced considerable development, it still maintains its charm.

Sanibel’s beaches, renowned for shelling, are beautiful, but rather than spend time on them I chose to visit Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge which is habitat for birds, alligators and other critters.

Little Blue Heron

White Ibis

Sandpiper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is a wonderful place for bird watching, and if you are lucky you can sneak right up for a photo.  Can you identify these guys?

Ft. MyersFt. MyersFt. MyersFt. MyersThis great egret put on quite a show as it hunted for an afternoon snack.

Ft. MyersThe refuge is mostly mangrove swamp with a road running through.

Ft. MyersIt not only provides hiding places for the birds but is a popular place to cast a line.  Asked what she was fishing for, the answer: Anything that bites!  If memory serves me correctly, that is likely to be snapper, catfish or sheephead.

Ft. MyersOn the way off the island, I couldn’t resist stopping here where there were definitely birds of a different color!

coconut pieAs much as I enjoyed the Edison Home and Sanibel, they were nothing compared to a piece of good as ever coconut cream pie from Hickory Bar-B-Q.  That’s one thing that hasn’t changed, and I’m not sharing!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Overnight Miracles

Here we are, the end of February, not much to date in the way of winter weather, little sunshine in recent weeks, yet overnight spring has sprung in Houston.

Bare limbed redbuds woke up this morning newly dressed,

azaleas that a few hours ago were tightly budded are popping with blooms,

gardens are alive with color that only God can give,

bird songs fill the air and robins stop for a bite to eat as they travel on to  their final destination.

Now, as much as I like all this new beauty, it is a harbinger of what is right behind.  It won’t be long before cars take on a yellow haze, every outdoor surface will be covered with pollen and most of us will be experiencing headaches and stuffy noses until the air clears.  On top of all this, we may well have a humdinger of a mosquito season due to warm temperatures and much rain recently.  Oh well, that’s Houston, and we take what it offers.

Any signs of spring your way?

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Galapagos Adventure III

Because of the busyness of the holidays, this installment of the Machu Picchu and Galapagos adventure has been delayed, but I don’t want to leave it out.  Some of you birdwatchers out there will find the feathered species inhabiting the islands quite interesting.  Keep in mind that most of these are unique to the Galapagos as they have morphed from their original form.

Good examples of this are the mockingbird

and the dove.  Both are similar to those we see in the States, but not the differences in the beaks and the eyes.

Two beauties are the yellow warbler

and the vermilion flycatcher.  The flycatcher is said to be present only on Rabida and is very hard to spot.  It was also very hard to get it or the warbler photographed as both were constantly in motion.

The brown noddy tern was hard to spot as its colors blended perfectly with the lava stones.  Were it not for its white head it would have been almost impossible to spot.

A favorite was the oystercatcher with its long legs and vivid beak.  The hubby was lucky enough to spot this one shifting on its nest, and he captured not only the bird but the egg.

The best known of the Galapagos birds is the blue footed booby.  Have you ever seen anything with feet that color?  I’m not sure, however, just why it is called a booby.

There are a number of other birds in residence on the islands, and for a person who is really into birds, a journey there would be amazing.  Spotting them can sometimes be as much of a challenge as getting the perfect photo!

There is still a bit more to share about the Galapagos Islands, and I hope you will come back another day to continue the journey.

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