Walking the Grounds of an Abandoned Mental Asylum on Halloween

Building 4 at abandoned Medfield State Hospital, the Men’s Workshop in 1896

Started out the day going for a drive out in the country to get some scenic snow shots, which we did and I’ll share in a bit. We also hit a place called Choate Pond and got some scenic fall shots there as well. Since we weren’t too far LD decided that we should check out the Medfield State Hospital. Did you know it’s the only abandoned psychiatric hospital where you can still walk the grounds? You can’t enter any of the buildings as they are unsafe from disuse but walking around the property is permitted and the grounds are beautiful. Medfield State Hospital claimed to be the first mental health hospital to be built on the “cottage plan” with individual buildings to allow for better light ventilation, easier classification, and to create a more homelike environment. Really state of the art thinking for the time. I said a prayer while I was there for the folks who spent their lives there.

Early Snow

First snow of the season – ~3.5 inches!

Woke up to the sound of a backloader ripping out the remaining tree stump over at the neighbors next door. Fun. Not. Ended up being quite the snowy day today. Kept it pretty low key today although I did do a Target run around 2 pm (contactless pickup using the app – pretty cool stuff) and shoveled the drive and walkways as the sun was setting, which come out as the snow stopped and bathed the day in beauty.

Tonight’s movie watch was Walking & Talking. Another strange one but actually not too bad.

Beware, It’s Spooky Out There

Another cemetery scene.

We’re getting a sourwood tree from a friend who is going to help us plant it in the back on Election Day. So nice! I wanted to mow up some leaves today but when I woke up it was raining out so I’ll need to delay doing that for a little bit. Going to put some Halloween treat bags together tonight and leave them outside the door on Saturday. Personally I can’t stand Halloween, I think it’s dumb, especially these days. I’m such a curmudgeon when it comes to dishing out candy, I want to eat it for myself.

Feeling a little more motivated today before the frost that’s coming, even though I find the nuisance rain annoying. Here’s my list: Replaced the furnace filter, removed the outside hoses and shut off the outdoor water valves, disconnected the outside electrical dragonfly lights, replaced the storm door screens with glass panes – they are always a pain to get in and I have to strenuously lift them into place (not that they’re heavy, just the way that it’s set up), did some laundry, took down the sun umbrella from the patio, cut and harvested the remaining butternut squash growing outside in one of the raised boxes, measured some of the remaining windows in the house that LD wants to get more Top Down Bottom Up blackout shades for. I still need to hang the new curtain rods in the sitting room. I took out the shovels and driveway markers in case we get any snow tomorrow. I still need to set the ceiling fans to spin clockwise and check on the gutters and storm drain out front for clogs. So far I have 92 active zone minutes as opposed to my goal of 22 a day so I’m being super physical today performing all these tasks.

I’m not one to get political on here but we are all starting to reach our breaking point. I hope next week we have some good news and start getting back to decency and back to what America should be all about, and it is not what has been going on in the last few years, and especially this year in particular. I was better off 4 years ago. I know we won’t survive another 4 years of this, physically, mentally and emotionally. We need change, and fast.

Where’s Beautiful Blossom?

Beautiful Blossom.

We were distressed to learn that Blossom, one of our favorite goat friends from the Sanctuary went missing. They think she was stolen from the place. Who would do such a thing? And why? The owner of the Sanctuary seems to think it was for meat but I hope not. We hope and pray that Blossom will be found safe and sound. The place is so magical, things like this just seem inconceivable to me to happen. We went to the Sanctuary today and a news crew just happened to be there covering the story. We even got interviewed about how we feel about Blossom and the Sanctuary in general but they cut a bunch of stuff out but that doesn’t matter. Whatever helps find Blossom, praying safe and sound. Please watch the news story and if you know anything, please help!


Revere Photoshoot

Revere Beach

Went for a nice walk yesterday afternoon down at Revere Beach. It also ended up with me taking a impromptu photoshoot of one of LD’s friends as the lighting was superb as sunset was approaching (and LD too). I hope she likes them and they came out alright. I think they did. We collected a bunch of seashells. Just some more stuff to go with my beach collection of rocks.

I spent the late afternoon today burning some logs I had lying around so it was good to get rid of those, fallen branches from the trees that I hacked up after they fell out of the trees after a storm and also a big log we had from our friend down it Dartmouth that I had sitting around for a while. They all burned up within a couple of hours. We also put away some of the flowerpots with specimens that had already pretty much gone through their season. A little fall cleaning up since it was kind of warm today. Supposed to be colder tomorrow.

Losing Myself Into the Arms of Autumn

A bench scene in autumn with a fall covered tree canopy above it.
Autumn has come.

“Summer rushes in on the heels of spring, eager to take her turn; and then she dances with wild abandon. But the time soon comes when she gratefully falls, exhausted and sated, into the auburn arms of autumn.”

Cristen Rodgers

The story behind the photo: This was taken in Braintree Ma. at a place called Sunset Lake. I came across this bench and I liked how this big tree just sort of seemed to have its limbs growing out above it. The original I have of this photo is actually much wider and shows more of the tree spreading out but in order to maximize social media viewership I trimmed it down and gave it a portrait orientation, making sure to try to capture the bench and as much of the tree canopy as I could. Maybe I’ll play around with that one a little bit more and see if I can use it somewhere.

Today rather started on a melancholy note. We learned that LD’s previous landlady’s cute and wonderful little dog “Pookie” somehow got run over in their driveway by a current tenant in a big truck and had to be put down. I feared that something like that could happen someday as I myself was afraid of running it over with my SUV when I visited there a month or so back. This particular dog was so hyper and so small it would be easy for it to get crushed by anyone coming up the driveway. He was such a sweet dog, this really is just devastating news and we are both really saddened by it. Here today, gone tomorrow, right? A good reminder to me that tomorrow is not guaranteed. 2020 just keeps on rolling. Can it get any worse? (Don’t answer that.) I do know one thing. Carson is NEVER going outside!

In other news, I tried my first sampling of a dragon fruit yesterday. My thoughts on it – kind of meh. I washed masks and did laundry. I cleaned out the firepit and obtained some more fallen limbs from the yard for future burning. I used the Instant Pot to prepare a spaghetti squash for later consumption. I finished reading the latest book that I had acquired from a little library. At least the sun come out this afternoon and it was nice and warming and I enjoyed sitting out in it for a little while. I cooked up some gouda cheeseburgers and then I sat on a heating pad to try to alleviate the pain in my lower back. Joy of joys.

Sensing the Witchy Vibes

Image of a shack in the woods with a path filled with leaves leading up to it.
Can you feel the spooky vibes?

The story behind the photo: While going for a walk through the Moose Hill Reservation in Sharon on a crisp fall day I came upon this leave strewn path with rock walls on either side of it which led up to some storage shack. I thought it might make a neat picture. I like how the longer I look at this one the spookier it gets, like there’s something lurking just beneath the surface but maybe that’s just me.

Spent the day in the ‘Ville, which has become somewhat of a Tuesday weekly thing for me these days. While there I filled out my voting ballot and voted this morning, dropping it off at the ballot drop box in front of City Hall. Ah, the sweet smell of democracy! Also ran a bunch of needed errands that required my attention and even helped my mom bring her cat to the vet for his much-needed-because-these-beasts-nails-have-painfully-stabbed-me nail clippings.

Witch, Please

Chickens on the Fence

Just some chickens sitting on a fence. No Big deal.
Just some chickens sitting on a fence. No Big deal.

Today would be what I would call a somewhat uneventful day. I did put together a rack of shelving in the basement next to the freezer for supplies and washed the yoga mats. I sat outside and burned some firewood for about an hour in the last afternoon and cooked up some steak for dinner. Searched for some jobs but no luck thus far. That’s about it.

Arlington Reds and a Weird Dream

Arlington in red

The story behind the photo: There’s this cemetery just along the Somerville/Arlington line that has these amazing groves of trees that turn red in the fall and I love to photograph there when that happens and so I did and so here’s the result. Also I posted yesterday’s photo of leaves strewn about the Somerville bike path to the Davis Square group on FB and it’s getting a lot of love over there so that makes me feel pretty good. (available).

Things on the the to-do list today:

Went to Home Depot and got some different knobs for the kitchen cabinets. Got singles of three different kinds just to see how they look. I also picked up some kindling and some firewood for the pit even though we have a bunch, just to have on-hand.

Went to CVS to get my mom a birthday card and some Zyrtec for LD. It took me a while to find it as this particular CVS is in the process of rearranging all the aisles in the store (AGAIN!) and so everything is all in different places.

Set up LD’s printer scanner to finally be able to scan documents and wirelessly transmit the output to a shared Windows drive on the laptop.

Take out the goat yoga mats from Wednesday and clean them up (started the process, need to finish that up tomorrow).

Spent a little time at the sanctuary to see if I could get any foliage shots and see the animals. Didn’t have much goat time but did see a lot of chickens and our friend Devon was there too to chat with. She volunteers there all the time and is pretty knowledgeable about all the animals that live there. For some reason the turkey was pretty feisty today and kept following and squabbling at LD the whole time.

I didn’t have a chance yet to set up the Amazon Echo Dot that LD picked up on Prime Day. It remains to be seen if we end up actually using it or giving it to a relative. Not really into Alexa listening to everything but what can you do? I also still need to hang some new curtain rods that have been laying around for about a week now. Try to get to that tomorrow as well.

I had the weirdest dream last night. I was sitting on a couch with a few other people that I believe were all elementary and high school friends from the neighborhood. Alex and Eddie Van Halen were also on the couch with us and it was like we all grew up with them as they were our school buddies as well. I was on one end of the couch and Eddie was on the other end with two of our friends between us and Alex in the middle. It also seemed like we known them all our lives and that they actually lived with my family in my house as we were growing up. At some point in the dream I was next to Alex and he was telling some story but he was spraying it as he was talking I could feel the droplets fall all over my face and then I was trying to hold my breath and fearing I would get COVID and then I woke up. Told you it was a weird dream.

For dinner I cooked up some Bruschetta Zucchini boats with couscous and Melted Italian Cheeses. You cut the zucs in half and gut the insides so it’s like a boat, roast them, them stuff them with the completed couscous, bruschetta and cheese and then broil it so the cheese melts all over it, Have to say, it was pretty delicious and simple to prepare.

The Case of the Missing Wall of Pumpkins

An image of Fallen yellow leaves of autumn along a path in Somerville, MA.
Fallen leaves of autumn along a path in Somerville, MA. (available to buy)

Went for a drive this afternoon out to Lexington because I wanted to check out the wall of pumpkins at Wilson Farm but when we got there it wasn’t there so that was kind of a bummer. Guess I should have looked it up first online instead of taking the word of something about it I saw on a television show this morning. Wasn’t a total waste though, ended up turning it into a somewhat scenic drive along Route 2A through Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, and Wayland.

Last night’s movie watch was Nocturnal Animals starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. Very dark and disturbing but overall, not a bad movie. Also had the somewhat shocking opening sequence that we ever saw. I’m not going to spoil it for you by saying what it is or what happens so either google it or watch it yourself.

My back’s been bugging me lately, must be that time of year again. Lower back pain = not fun.

Filling Fall with Goat Love

Autumn in New England
Autumn in New England

Come to find out, the tree cutting yesterday might not have been the most exciting thing to happen all day after all. Late afternoon we took a trip down to Mattapoisett for some baby goat yoga. It seemed to be the best weather day of the week to check it out so why not. Go out and get a little break. Now I don’t really do the yoga and the instructor seemed a little on the “whack-a-do” side, but there’s no denying that the baby goats sure are cute! We spent most of the time just playing with them as sunset approached.

An image of the author cuddling a baby goat.
Who doesn’t just love a cute goat snuggle?

LD had to do an Instagram account takeover for the day for her work, so I helped out a little bit with that. I think she did an amazing job but she’s too hard on herself about it if you ask me. I chalk it up to her perfectionism and professionalism! Highlights I think were Carson and rocking out to the Jukebox for the finale. Maybe if you know her she’ll let you know what the account was so you can see them. If not, just take my word for it, it was great!

Waking up to a Tree Removal

We awoke to the sound of what seemed like giant trucks out in front of the house this morning. When I looked out the window I was astonished to see these 4 somewhat giant cranes out front and parking into the next door neighbor’s driveway. It appeared to be from a tree service but I couldn’t imagine what tree was so large as to need these giant cranes and construction vehicles.

A while later I found out.

It was to remove a tree but not like when we had our branches trimmed to the trees in our backyard. This guy would Spiderman into the tree and chainsaw into the trunk pretty far down, and then the crane would lift him and the giant piece of tree over the roofs of the houses nearby and down into the street where another guy would chainsaw it some more and then stick it into the shredder. I wouldn’t think this one tree would require such a massive operation but I suppose it does make that work go a lot faster. I wonder how one gets the knowledge to learn how to cut these trees like this – seems pretty dangerous at times. You have to know what you are doing for sure. Anyways they had to block the whole street for this operation as the giant limbs were laid down in the center of the road. Like I said, with all the equipment it did go pretty fast. Might be the most exciting thing to happen today. We’ll see…

A Small Moment of Glory

YouTube video of the calendar one of pics is in.

Above is a YouTube video of the calendar one of my pics is in. I didn’t get the cover but I’m thinking I might be December. We’ll see. (I think mine should have been the cover, but I’m biased). Sales of the calendar help out the small business in the Center soo it’s for a good cause. (I’m at the 1:13 mark but the whole thing’s pretty short).

Autumnal Chill in the Air / Real Women Have Curves

Red Colored Leaves and Gourds are signs of Autumn in New England
Red Colored Leaves and Gourds are signs of Autumn in New England

The get together yesterday afternoon was really fun. We even burned some logs that our guest brought over from downed trees in her area and we learned how to burn them successfully. In fact, we think this was the best fire that we ever had. Good lessons to learn moving forward. She also said she’d help us with our gardening and landscaping in the future (hobbies of hers and she’s really good at it). Also love her bohemianism and seemingly free-spiritedness!

This afternoon’s movie watch was Real Women Have Curves. Not a movie I would generally see but I thought it was actually pretty good. While I was sautéing up some tofu for LD (with peppers, onion, zucchini and spinach – trust me, it’s good!) I googled around and learned that in 2019, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” so that’s a big deal.

I noticed today that according to my records, our jukebox is 10 years old today (meaning we bought it and have enjoyed it for 10 years so far. Where did the time go?)

I’m also a little crinkled up today from the way I slept last night. I didn’t want to disturb Carson, the cat, from where is was sleeping toward the bottom of my legs. So for hours it felt like I stayed crumpled up so as not to bother his sleep! #LifeofCatOwners.

A Full Weekend on Tap

Sunset on Harding's Beach in Chatham.
Repost because I like it.

Had a nice socially distanced visit and lunch from our other couple friends. It’s good to get some social time in. We were supposed to play Pictionary and maybe Cards Against Humanity at some point but we all talked so much that there wasn’t time by the end of it all. I’m heartbroken that it sounds like their business venture is going to fail mostly due to Covid shutting things down and nobody wanting to go. Not for anything they’ve done because it’s all by the book, just the environment of what’s going on right now with small businesses. There’s a chance they’ll be able to recoup some of their losses but it’s still a letdown – their timing just wasn’t right. After they left we went to Wegman’s for a curbside pickup of some groceries – it’s way cheaper than delivery. I don’t mind too much going into supermarkets but I try to limit my time in them.

This afternoon we have another visitor coming, a colleague of LDs so that’ll be nice – sit by the firepit and burn some troubles away as today is more seasonal for it. I mowed both front and back lawns to clean up the place a bit and get rid of a lot of the fallen leaves. Needless to say we also cleaned the house inside yesterday as well and it looks really good!

Finding My Way to Finding Myself

Stairway to the waves.

“I hope these simple things are what I forever love about life, for then I will be happy no matter where I find myself.”

When I looked at the weekly local paper to see if they had corrected the error in misattributing my photo to someone else last week there was nothing to be seen. Not even a mention. What a rag! I figured as much actually, with the state of journalism these days and all.

I’ve been in the market for a new cell phone. Originally I was thinking the Galaxy S10 but now I’m thinking that maybe the just released S20 FE 5G might be just right for me in price and specs. Not the top of the line but close enough for my needs. We’ll see. Maybe I can get the LadyDoc to get the same too.

I think I’m going to dig up our Dahlia tubers soon and store them over the winter so that we can replant them again in the spring. I looked it up and the process seems quite easy. I found an article here that describes the process and am putting here so I can remember for myself and others. I’ll need to bring in some pots and stuff to the shed as well and get ready for the fall cleanup, my least favorite task of the year. Also I should probably remove the screens from the doors and place in the glass panes for warmth soon, maybe this weekend.

Watched the VP debate last night. Fun when the fly landed, wasn’t it?

Nobody really cares about all that stuff though, right? How about something with a little more substance? Everything’s not hunky-dory right now. I have my doubts, about the world, about myself, about the people I care about, about our futures collectively and personally. I don’t usually talk about it. I keep it inside. It’s hard for me to talk about things, I’ve always been that way. I have recurring dreams that probably is processing anxiety in some way. Not knowing is a real bitch. I know I have people in my life that I can rely on and am blessed and fortunate in so many ways, and I’m surely not the only one feeling this way but that doesn’t make how I feel any easier.

The story behind the photo: This is a shot from a stay at the Cliff House in Cape Neddick, Maine that we visited a couple of years ago. There’s these stairs that they built a few years ago when they did the place over that clamber down the rock face. Once you’re at the bottom though you’re on your own climbing over the shoreline. Maine is one of my favorite places, I like the rocky shores.

Eustice, My Twin, in Many Ways

Eustis and me.

Eustice is a lovable black and white goat. When he was very young, he loved to jump on things and that included the horse at his former home. He was severely disciplined by his caretaker. Fearful for him, the wife smuggled Eustice out and gave him to the sanctuary. Free from restrictions, Eustice could be found on top of the barn, sheds and anything else he could find. He is a friendly little fellow and greets me most of the time I visit. I also think we look alike, and he’s really pretty chill. I like to think I’m like that too, most of the time. This is one of my favorite pictures of us together. Sometimes we all need a lighthearted moment or two, especially these days.

The most interesting thing to happen today was that I went down to the barbershop this morning, I hadn’t been since April I think. The old “Number 2 all-around” is what I like to get.

Losing the Greatest Guitarist Really Hurts

This one is hard to take, losing a great like Eddie Van Halen. I listened to him all the while while growing up. I can remember the first time I heard Eruption, we were on a school field trip and some kid let me hear it over his headphones. We were all blown away – nobody had ever heard anything like that. “How did he make his guitar sound like that?” we all wondered in amazement.

Of course we all had every album. And then Dave left and Sammy took the mic in 1986 which was the year I graduated high school and Dreams was a big hit. But everything from Jamie’s Cryin’ to Mean Streets to Hot for Teacher to Top of the World and everything in-between, it was all pure magic.

Strangely I had been listening on Youtube to old Van Halen concerts from the late 70s (Pre record deal and 1st tour) over the last couple of weeks not ever thinking this would happen. I actually cried when I heard the news after getting over the disbelief and learning that his current wife, son, and drummer/brother Alex were all by his side today as the end rolled in.

The guy literally changed rock and how people play guitar. Now they all do what he did, but he was the first. They’ll never be another. Rest in Peace Eddie, and thank you for all the good times you have given me while listening to your music.

This year really sucks.

Visiting Zen on Gooseberry Island

Zen on Gooseberry Island

What a long but beautiful day. After spending much of of it at a friend’s house (for some reason whenever we hang we mean it to only be a hour or two but somehow it turned into 5 or 6! – time flies apparently, it’s nice to be able to hang and get some social time) we headed out to a place in Westport called Gooseberry Island. I took of bunch of photos of which the above is one. There were many rocks stacked up on each other which I believe symbolizes some kind of Zen thing. (yes!) I wouldn’t mind spending more time at the place at another time – I found it to be quite scenic. We even saw a couple of young deer on a beach trail there just in front of us watching and frolicking around – maybe I’ll post that picture tomorrow or so.

Currently reading (from a Little Library in the area): American Catch: The Fight for our Local Seafood. Written about 6 years ago, looked interesting so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Tonight I prepared and cooked up some creamy lemon butter chicken with parmesan zucchini rounds and scallion couscous. It’s actually pretty easy dish I find to create.

Heart Shaped Rock is now available if anyone is interested.