Too many things to say about my birthday getaway right now. But the highlights were hanging in an Airbnb in Dover NH that had an actual treehouse overlooking the scenic Piscataqua River, watching baby robins being fed by their mother in another tree in the back yard, getting clean in the shower that had two showerheads almost opposite each other which was really cool, grabbing burgers at the BRGR Bar in downtown Portsmouth, getting some shots over at the Nubble, hanging out and swimming at Long Sands beach, eating clams at Bob’s, and getting a gravity chair that I wanted and a book about Rumi that I also wanted to read! It was really hot outside but it is Leo Season as they say! Naturally I must thank LD for making my birthday amazing and every day, as always!
I’ll need to expand upon this at a later date, but all in all, totally amazing!
Went down to the Chatham Fish Pier tonight and was greeted to quite a show as a bunch of seals including a harbor seal swam around on their backs and made us feel lucky to see them. I’ll upload a pic of them in a few days as they were captured on my DSLR and I cannot easily upload them to the site until I get back. Got some dinner in Orleans and caught a sunset at Skaket. Saw some cool whale art installation in Chatham center as well where you could also bid on the artwork. We also got to see a large heron fly over our heads which was really cool.
Just what the title of this post says. I just happened to glance out the window and I see the baby hawk on the fence post out back, wings outstretched and looking rather interested at something. When I went to see what he was tracking a saw a squirrel scrambling up the fence only a foot or two away. I grabbed my camera and went out there and this distracted the bird long enough for the squirrel to hop into a nearby tree. The hawk itself meanwhile seemed to notice me and was wondering if I was a threat to it or not perhaps. As I got closer, he finally decided to fly off to the next street over. The squirrel safe, for now anyway.
The basement is for all intents and purposes, finished! And it looks amazing. Moved things around too so that there’s more room and it flows better. For example, all the games are in their own “room” so to speak, and on the other side is the couch, chair, fireplace etc. providing a comforting space to relax. I had to do a little bit of maintenance on the Ms. Pac but it’s working like a dream. That and the jukebox are probably the best things we ever got off folks, back when we used to do those sorts of things. I then went ahead and cleaned out the firepit since we burned stuff the other day. I was going to mow the lawn but I think I’ll do tomorrow since I need to get some gas for the mower and I just wasn’t feeling it today after doing all that basement moving work. I do water all the plants every night though unless it’s raining. Like to keep them all healthy and lush.
Here’s one of the better photos I feel I took of that Heron yesterday. There’s also some shots of a swan family that I need to process. I do love birdwatching you know, another one of my hobbies that I started getting into a couple of years back. Of course my favorite bird of all time is the Puffin and I’ve had the pleasure of photographing them a few times. In fact, on the subject of puffins, I just learned that a new baby to a couple of them was born just the other day which you can actually catch here on YouTube.
It was kind of too hot outside today to do much of anything so I was pretty much a loaf today, although I did process some billing tasks and grilled a bit as evening rolled around.
As mentioned before, I finally got my hands on a USB stick and used it to get Google OS Flex on that old Windows 8 laptop, essentially turning it into a Chromebook and I have to say I am very impressed. On Windows 8 that old Dell laptop ran like a dog and had awful Windows 8 on it. It screams now and is very lightweight. Since it is a Chromebook it’s very reliant on being connected to the internet to do things, but that’s okay with me. I’d recommend if you have any old laptops around to go ahead and install this – it really does breathe new life into old machines. If you want to learn more on how to do just search on YouTube, there’s tons of people showing how it’s done, it’s actually really easy.
As for the Roe overturn that happened today, it’s definitely a huge step backward. I’m not surprised it happened, we’re living in pretty f**ked up times. Where do things go from here?
For some levity here’s an arcade game that I used to love and pumped many quarters to back in the 80s. Someone went ahead and programmed a version of it for the web. Great job – just as tricky as I remembered. It’s a classic called Zookeeper.
And finally for some more levity, check out the Puffin cams! My favorite bird. Depending on when you’re watching this you might see the parents in their burrow taking care of the baby!
We used the day to get a bunch of work done, while also having a little down time to relax. I awoke this morning and using an awl made another hole in my belt. Am I losing any weight? It doesn’t seem so, yet the belt was getting too loose. Now I’m cinching better. We looked out the window this morning and was able to catch a mama robin feeding her baby. The baby actually didn’t look all that young to me but it was cute how it followed her around hopping. When she would find something they would run towards eachother and she would stick the morsel right down it’s gullet, it squawking at her all the while. Eventually she flew off and left it to squawk by itself for a while. Then I lost sight of them until late afternoon when I saw the baby still scrounging around in the back yard. Actually I saw a lot of different baby bird species in the yard this morning, learning their life routine. Never really ever happened like that before. Strange.
After that it was time for a quick run to Home Depot. LD wanted to get a few more herbs to put into a herb box, things that give off a scent to naturally repel bugs from the back deck where we like to sit at times. They’ll end up going near our mosquito plants on the deck. Ended up getting two basils, a rosemary, and two squash plants which I transplanted into one of the raised boxes. The herbs I transplanted into a new tiny box with extra potting soil after I had drilled some drainage holes in it’s bottom. We also got some plumber’s tape because I’m trying to address the back hose which seems to be leaking at the spout. I’m planning on watering the garden a little later tonight and adding some Miracle-Gro to the water. We also noticed the dog rose bushes have finally bloomed. We might actually end up getting rid of that, we never planted it there (thanks Ms. Creesy … NOT!) and it’s so large now but dealing with it is tough because it’s very thorny. I also finally got around to patching up the screen door to the front of the house which I had punctured a bit last summer moving some furniture inside the house.
A couple of quick showers by each of us and then it was on to the next task at hand. Cleaning out one of the upstairs closets, which had been on the to-do list for a while. Now everything in there is neat and nicely organized, and we were able to discard or give away a bunch of stuff that had been sitting there for a while doing nothing taking up space.
While I was doing a load of laundry we had left over juicy burgers on pretzel buns that I grilled the other day for lunch, and ate them on the back deck, enjoying the sunshine. Tonight I’m going to make a turkey meatball soup and prepare two ears of corn using the Instant Pot. Both I’ve made before and are very easy to cook up. And also, Go Celtics!
So a pretty full day, and there was some rest areas in between. Finally I’d like to just take a moment to recognize all the brave men and women who gave and continue to give their all so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have and I’ll end with a quote by Lee Greenwood; “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” Thank you Veterans.
Happy Friday Everyone. Today was a pretty good day. After my morning shift, we decided to head into downtown Boston because LD had one final loose end to attend to in town. It was a fairly quick visit. Since we were down there afterwards we decided to have lunch over at Revere Beach. It was actually a little bit chilly there, so much so that I had to borrow one of LD’s sweatshirts to keep me from actually shivering. We both got some roast beef sandwiches from Kelly’s on the beach and ate it in the pavilion across the street, always being watchfully eyes by the various seagulls patrolling the area. After that, it was back to the ranch because I had to get ready for my next shift. Naturally after we left the sun came out and it got warm but that’s the way it goes sometimes. It was still a fun outing.
Today’s main photo is from a robin’s nest that I was privileged to get close enough to watch the birds being born. I hope you enjoy looking at it as much as I do.
I decided to transplant and pot some of the stray spearmint that was poking its head out in the late afternoon. My mother had asked for some, so I’ll give her one of the transplants tomorrow morning. I also attempted to weed whack some of the thick grasses that had sprung along the fence in the ‘prairie area.’ Sounds like a nice idea for the environment, but the problem is that LD believes it attracts bugs, and they prefer to bite her because she is so sweet.
I’m going to grill some turkey cheddar burgers with a zesty homemade horseradish dressing on the side for dinner. I figured I’d best cook it now because tomorrow is supposed to be a no-cook day due to the extreme heat and humidity. Excellent for tomorrow’s 14-mile cycling trip! On another note, they are not all success stories in the kitchen. The other night, I burnt a nonstick cephalon pan. The dinner turned ok, but the Japanese BBQ sauce I used stuck to the pan I got a while ago and I can’t get it off no matter what I try, so I’ll have to go get another one. Total bummer but I suppose that is how one learns the adventures of home cooking.
After travelling down this very narrow private dirt trodden road we had arrived at where we would stay for the weekend at a rather luxurious house on Namequoit Point in South Orleans, Cape Cod. It was all very quiet and rather dark in the cold winter night, although you could see the beauty of the stars above without any light pollution. Once inside I was impressed with the rooms, one with a very large television set, and a cute little day bed to go along with the master.
After a relaxing evening with some wonderful clam chowder and a cod dinner from a place we like down here called Max’s and a visit to our old standby the Chocolate Sparrow for some hot chocolates I rested up in order to try to get up before sunrise the next day. As the sun was rising, which you could see out the gorgeous picture window opposite the bed, I got to see various birds visit the feeder that was placed just outside. A good selection of black capped chickadees, song sparrows, tufted titmice, mourning doves, and a red squirrel or two, who seemed to have realized that all they could hope for was droppings from the birds above them. Later in the morning we decided to explore down to the Point, past the boathouse with it’s various canoes and kayaks laying outside awaiting the summer days. Although it was a pretty windy day, the sun was shining brightly on the bay and we took a slew of various photos. We walked in the sand all the way out to the tip of the point and have the photos on our phones to prove it. Among the sea gulls and horseshoe crabs that lay on the beach there was a cool looking petrified tree that we photographed ourselves with. I’m kicking myself because while I was packing for trip I had forgot to big my main camera and only remembered it after we were on the road for forty five minutes so I had to make do with my cell, which thankfully does take pretty good pictures and I usually will use just as an adjunct but I’m still angry with myself for forgetting my main equipment.
For breakfast we went to a place we hadn’t been to in a while called Jo Mamas (what a name, right?) that does does a really decent breakfast sandwich. I thoroughly enjoyed mine. After some more bit of relaxing I decided to see if I could get any possible sunset shots from the area whilst LD went off to get a much needed massage. The sky started to look a bit ominous though as perhaps it might rain or even have a possible snow squall. As four in the afternoon came by I looked out the window. It looked like the wind had died down considerably which was blowing quite hard for most of the day, but the clouds in the sky were getting heavier and thicker and more gray with each passing moment. It was beginning to look like there wouldn’t be any really cool pink cotton candy sky colors like there were last night. Instead it would look like various shades of puffy white and gray, which can be interesting in it’s own right. The clock said 4:17 and this time as I looked out the picture window I could see that snow had started falling blowing around in the wind. The flakes looked pretty big as they blew sideways from right to left across my view. Sunset was at 5:18 pm, I had decided that I will wait until five pm and then if it’s rather nasty out that I would give up on this particular quest. There will always be another time, plus I’m just not as young as I used to be so I have to be careful and be smart.
Five o’clock had arrived. it was still lightly snowing out and the sky was gray. I knew I wouldn’t get any colorful sunset shots tonight but I thought it might still be cool to see the Point with the snow falling on the sandy beach so I decided to take a quick trip out the back door and down the hill to the beach. Just as I was putting on my jacket I noticed that somehow a red squirrel had managed to somehow get past the blocker and found himself inside the feeder with the seed. Industrious little fellow! I zipped up my jacket, donned my hat, and headed out the back door. When I approached the feeder the squirrel proactively took off like a rocket even though I had no real intention of shooing him away, I just happened to be passing by. Down the hill back I went, past the boat house and onto the spit of a beach and grabbed a couple of shots real quick and called it a night for my photo adventures for the day. I got back just as the sky was turning dark, although it had looked like it was starting to have a pinkish kind of quality to it but I had already decided to stay put. Also by this time I had noticed that the red squirrel had come back and this time I watched him acrobatically jump from the ground, onto the cone that was supposed to keep them away and from there right into the feeder. To the winner goes the spoils!
For dinner LD was kind enough to pick up some take out on her way back from her massage. I had decided to get a juicy cheeseburger and she got a chicken along with a salad and we shared both!
Then it was just a quiet night of more relaxing and enjoying the moments of each other’s company.
A picture’s worth a thousand words they say, so here are some of the highlights from the past year. 2021 wasn’t totally terrible, and there were some really high points, but 2022 looks to be really special and hopefully will also be better in so many ways. We can hope!
Started off the year with the annual tradition of going to the beach on New Years Day. This was taken in Marshfield.
Same as 1 above.
Took a trip into Boston for something and had some eats from Luke’s Lobsters. On the way I snapped this pic.
“Auggie”, a different looking wild rabbit that appeared only that one time during Inauguration time. Wonder what it’ story was. Didn’t seem like the regular kind of wild rabbits we have here.
A pic along York, Maine
Another pic of the Nubble from a different angle. I liked getting the perspective of the bench in this one, thought it made it stand out a bit differently.
A shot of the Powderhouse in winter
Another edited version of number 6.
A shot of the Powderhouse area rotary and it’s cool sign back in winter.
Nauset Light down at the Cape. This is the first time that I saw that a cottage next door was available for rent which we would later take advantage of, unbeknownst to me at the time.
Another Nauset shot from this time period (possibly March)
Another bunny decided to have it’s children in the pot on the deck, second year in a row – hope we can go for three!
Someone was inspired to paint Nauset based on my photo in number 11. First time that I know of that my art inspired someone else to take it and create something else out of it.
Shiloh the shy bunny. One of the children of Gracie, the bunny depicted in shot 12.
Staying and the Viewpoint Inn in Maine which had these incredible views of the Nubble from it’s back yard area. Want to stay here again.
Me in the car?
Rango, LD’s soul goat, sadly passed away.
An evening stroll one night at Jamaica Pond got us this shot.
That’s me up in Salisbury under the docks after getting my second Covid shot. At that time, we thought that might be all there was to it.
Boardwalk walks up on Plum Island.
Another Salisbury Beach scene.
Staying next door to the Nauset Light in a a cottage was quite a thrill and allowed me to get this wonderful photo as the sun started rising.
My love of Pemaquid payed off when the moderator of a lighthouse group made this the cover photo for the month.
Another hike on the Cape allowed us to capture this little walkway over a marsh.
Visiting LD’s old boss and her husband in RI got us this picture shortly after.
See 15 above for the story.
Two juvenile hawks that we born around the house and kept screaming for weeks.
The house next door to Earth-1 being torn down for more condo development, Sad.
Hanging with baby goats and snuggles in RI.
Staying at a farmhouse with an attached Alpaca farm was quite a different treat. I learned a lot about alpaca husbandry on this trip and the place was actually pretty cool.
Looking at various lotus flowers at a place were we obtained special strains of hostas for planting. Looking forward to see how they produce this coming year.
Cape summer trip. What I feel one of my better shots from the summer trip. Gray’s Boardwalk.
Plum Island again
Lots of trips to Marshfield and got many a lobster roll at a place across the street from where this shot was taken.
Lavellete NJ trip. It became my second favorite place in NJ behind Cape May!
Me and my well endowed pencil. No pencil envy here!
Another beach shot.
Duxbury Beach boardwalk, another favorite beach location for walks and hangs this year.
Staying at an Airbnb in Arundel, Maine.
Under the lights at the Boathouse in Kennebunkport, ME.
On a boat in KBP.
Carson and Peng for the holidays.
More in-depth notes on above:
There were so many beach walks and hangs this year I can’t remember them all. Most of them were either to Duxbury or Marshfield, usually on a weekend day. Just to hang and walk mostly. A couple of times we used our chairs to sit out in the summer or even actually went into the water but many of the trips were just to walk.
The main lighthouses that we hug around this year were at Nubble Light in Maine (always a classic – staying right across from it away from the tourists was also a treat) and Nauset Light in Eastham down on the Cape. It was really cool this year to stay in a cottage right next door to the light and the beach was literally across the street. It also helped that it’s on a private dirt road so there weren’t many people around in that particular area. 10-10 would do again. Plus the place was so cute!
Getting our shots was big this year, for me it was a couple of trips up to Amesbury because that’s where I could get an appointment at that time, so we made the best of it by exploring the neighboring sights afterwards like Salisbury Reservation and Plum Island.
It was cool that baby wildlife decided to grace us with their presence, baby bunnies born in a pot for the second year in a row and didn’t mind Carson watching them. I think he was more their protector than an adversary if you can believe that. Baby hawks too, very majestic, but hopefully never found Shiloh and company. Shiloh, the last baby bunny that was scared to leave after all his siblings did. LD was kind enough to put out some water and a lettuce plant for him. The next day, two nibbles off the plant, two little poops, and he was gone to live his adventures. I do admit to having empty nest syndrome every time they leave us.
Staying on an Alpaca farm was pretty cool, in rural Connecticut with family. Learned a lot, also a bit of fly swatting which can be annoying. And got to hang with baby goats which is always a pleasure.
Celebrated my birthday on the Cape. Special times there and stayed in a pretty cool Airbnb called the Osprey Nest because it feels like its up in the trees. Although the place was a little small, it literally had everything you could possibly need. Plus they had this cool booth that I would use in the kitchen area. 10-10 would stay again. I feel I get some of the best pictures I ever take down on the Cape for whatever reason. It’s a beautiful area but there’s something more that I can’t place why.
Our one outing to New Jersey this year was at another BnB (BnB’s were big this year for us – expanding choices) in Lavalette, a cute little beach town. It was a bit downcast and windy while we were there but it was still pretty cool. I enjoyed the area so much that it’s my #2 of my fav places in that state. It just seemed to have it all to me, easy access to whatever you need, a beautiful beach and boardwalk, not really busy at all (and if you want that you could drive to the next down over – Seaside Heights). That particular trip didn’t exactly work out as planned but I enjoyed it.
The last BnB and most recent was in Arundel, Maine. Stayed there because the town of Kennebunkport was doing it’s annual Christmas Prelude. HGTV featured the annual Kennebunkport celebration as the “#2 Christmas Town in America.” Plus we got to meet up with one of LD’s former colleagues and met the dogs Pippa and Boomer, and Boomer left quite an impression! Sailing up and down the Kennebunk River in a lobster boat while sipping coffee brandy on a sunny day was also rather enjoyable.
But as much as we enjoyed the few times away (choose to keep it rather low key due to the virus circulating, and were neurotic about being careful) staying at home was just as much so, whether with firepit outing with friends or just ourselves. Carson was also a really big help in that department as our mutual love him and for eachother kept us all sane.
I know I’m probably forgetting a bunch of stuff but these are the moments that I think were some of the high points, at least for me personally. I’d like to give all my love and thanks to LD for making it all happen and making me feel like the luckiest man alive every year.
Each day I am thankful for nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family, dreams that turned into reality and likes that turned into love. I know its going to be hard but may you all have a wonderful time this Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Check out this Green Bean Casserole we made this afternoon to go with:
Yesterday afternoon we headed out for another beach trip since the weather was so nice, especially after 5 consecutive days of no sun and one of the days producing a nor’easter which produced a lot of wind damage around the area. We took a walk along the shore and came into this rocky outcrop where a bunch of birds like to have lunch apparently as I saw many gulls eating clams and crabs and we saw this little birds scurrying about. I originally thought they were piping plovers because they were white and pretty tiny, but after looking them up in my bird book, it appears they were just little sanderlings. Still pretty cute though!
In the early evening we set up shop in front of the house with candles, the candy we had all placed in goodie bags the day before and a skull on the table while we sat in chairs behind. LD dressed up as a witch and me as a, well, I’m not sure what I was but I did have a boa. There were a bunch of kids, the high point being between 5 and 7 pm. At close to 7 it started to rain with a think may have cut things short a little early but I think it was all pretty much over by then anyway, so it worked out pretty well. A kid who got some candy recognized me from my time being out and about in the neighborhood and gave me some props, which was nice.
This morning LD had an appointment at Faulkner so I tagged along for the hour or so. Afterwards we headed to JP and got some breakfast an Ula café. We hadn’t been there in quite a while. Got it to go and had a nice breakfast! In the late afternoon I decided to mow the lawns – not so much to cut the grass because that wasn’t really necessary but more to suck up and mulch a bunch of the fallen leaves. Fall clean up season is starting up. Finally I used up the last of the propane in the gas grill to cook up some steak tips and marinated chicken for dinner. Stuff we had to use up before it goes bad and all.
This hawk just keeps hanging around still. Maybe it still hasn’t totally gotten the message that he needs to be on his own and start feeding himself. Actually according to MassAudubon that’s exactly what it is! He looks pretty healthy to me though, so I don’t think he’s in any distress. Maybe he’s making this area his home base, which is true, might not be good for Shiloh! Better leave little Shiloh alone!
Meanwhile, at Earth-1 the takedown of the house next door is coming along little by little, floor by floor. The roof is long gone and yesterday it appeared that most of the second floor had been removed as well. I should mention the reason for the teardown is to build, you guessed it, another new condo. I took a couple of pics but they don’t really do the magnitude of the work justice in my mind.
I ended up putting up some more shelving in the basement. The idea is to become more organized and not have anything on the floor that wouldn’t need to be. Mostly though, it’s for neatness and organization moving forward. I also inflated all my car tires using the portable. Believe it or not it actually works! Not a bad purchase! You can blow air from it either thru the car lighter plug or via the stored energy after charging the device itself through USB, which is what I’ve been doing. Next thing I want to get for the back is a cargo net, They’re cheap and I think it would help in keeping any groceries or such that I put back there from sliding all around the back when making turns.
Yesterday I got new some new sneakers from the New Balance Outlet in Brighton, after destroying my previous pair working down in the basement. Ended up getting the Fresh Foam 880s in Light Aluminum/Black/Steel. Pretty sharp looking!
Today’s major activities. Yesterday LD saw this juvenile hawk across the street just squawking and moving around the driveways. Today it came back and brought what we think might be his sibling, I think there’s a male and female but who knows. They sure have been squawking a lot. All day actually. Now we definitely know what a hawk’s call is. LD actually took all these shots with my camera and I think she did a great job. We actually have many more photos but I personally think these are some of the best. After that we both, along with a friend of ours, went ahead and ripped out all the carpet and padding from the basement. What a job! We were a great team and we were done in about 2 hours which is really great. The cellar is just about dry now and it’s just a matter of running the fans and humidifiers and various drying tools. That should be done fairly soon, then it’s a matter of going through things, organizing, and getting rid of all the crap that accumulated over the years that are really just taking up space. So all in all, I think we are in really great shape, although every muscle in my body has been getting quite the workout over the last couple of days. Maybe I’m not as out of shape as I thought!