Furniture Moving

China Cabinet

China Cabinet

We moved a bunch of furniture today. After work, Cathy and I picked up a rental truck and she followed me to her mom’s house. A half dozen guys came and helped load two china cabinets, a dining room table and chairs, various chests and other furniture into the truck. As we were on our way to the house it poured rain but by the time we were loading the truck it was mostly finished, which was good because most of the furniture was wood. Once we had it all loaded we all drove to our house and the same guys helped unload it and get it set up here. We’re replacing our current dining room table and chairs with the one we brought over and we’ve put two china cabinets in our dining room. The one shown here is the larger of the two, a fairly heavy piece that just fit in the height of the room. These two cabinets along with a glass front cabinet that we have been using (the so-called Uncle Ralph cabinet), there’s probably too much furniture in the room now, but we’ll deal with that when we have the time. I was really grateful for the help we received this evening and it was good to see folks, as well.

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Malachite and Azurite

Malachite and Azurite

Malachite and Azurite

I think I mentioned before that my great grandfather was a miner in Nevada in the late 19th century. He mined two forms of copper ore, green malachite and blue azurite, copper carbonates with formulas Cu2CO3(OH)2 and Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2 respectively. For some reason, our family collects rocks. These were gathered on the mountain where my great grandfather lived and where my grandfather and his two siblings were born and raised. We have recently thrown away a lot of rocks that were in my mom’s basement but we kept a few that were particularly nice. Cathy put some in this bowl and they are outside our front door, where the bowl has filled with rain water, which I think makes it especially nice.

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Rocklands Bakery

Rocklands Bakery

Rocklands Bakery

We drove home from Massachusetts today. I don’t like driving through New York City and the traffic westbound towards the George Washington Bridge is generally ridiculous. Going by way of the Merritt Parkway and across the Tappan Zee Bridge is my preference, even if it’s a little longer. At least we’re moving the whole time. This was our first time crossing the new bridge, which has officially been named the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. We’ll see if that sticks. I know what I’ll be calling it. We also stop at Rocklands Bakery in Nanuet and pick up a couple hot out of the oven bagels. There are plenty of other styles of bread from which to choose, of course.

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Dorothy and Abba

Dorothy and Abba

Dorothy and Abba

We drove up to Canterbury Shaker Village today to see Dorothy’s cousin Abba. She has been there all week in their first resident artists program. The program was a success and they plan to repeat it regularly. Abba was chosen as one of only five artists (and one of two painters). We enjoyed seeing her work as well as wandering around the historic, Shaker buildings. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place, only occasionally disrupted by the sounds of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway just over a mile to the east (if you go on a non-race day, you won’t have that issue). We wandered around the gardens and down to the ponds on the eastern part of the property.

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Gloucester Harbor

Gloucester Harbor

Gloucester Harbor

We had a pretty busy day again today. We went out to Eastern Point Lighthouse and walked out onto the jetty to Dog Bar Lighthouse. There were cormorants diving in the water next to the jetty and we enjoyed watching them, as well as gulls and ducks. From there we went to Rockport and when we came upon a parking spot we took it and walked a while. I took pictures of Motif #1 and thought about posting a photo of that but decided to go with this somewhat abstract photo of reflections taken a short walk from our airbnb as the sun was setting.

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Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Dorothy thought she had to work from 4:00 to 9:00 PM today but she got a text just after 11:00 saying she was on from 11:00 to 4:00. Fortunately, we were just driving through campus as she got that, so we were there within minutes. Cathy and I enjoyed a walk around Coy Pond and I took a bunch of pictures, including of water lilies, a great blue heron, and this dragonfly. Later we went to the garden at Long Hall and I took more pictures. That was a nice garden with an interesting collection of trees, shrubs, and perennials. Recommended. We had dinner at La Victoria, a trendy but decent taco place just off of Cabot Street in Beverly.

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Annisquam Lighthouse

Annisquam Lighthouse

Annisquam Lighthouse

Dorothy came out and we had breakfast together in Gloucester this morning. Then we spent a little time on the waterfront, enjoying the same flowers I mentioned two days ago. After that we drove around Cape Ann, ending up at a little private beach south of Annisquam Lighthouse, pictured here. We got permission to hang out there for a little while and enjoyed the cooler weather after yesterday’s sweltering heat. Cathy and Dorothy went for a swim and I sat in the shade of a few white oak trees.

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Plum Island Salt Marsh

Plum Island Salt Marsh

Plum Island Salt Marsh

When planning our trip to Massachusetts, both Dorothy and I included a visit to Plum Island on our list of things to do. Except for the two ends of this barrier island it comprises the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge with the southern tip of the island being the Sandy Point State Reservation. It’s a beautiful place and even with a few sections closed because of nesting plovers, there’s plenty to see. We enjoyed being outdoors in such a wide open space. We also enjoyed watching storm clouds rolling in. It was quite warm today, well up into the mid-90s and there were a few places where the breeze didn’t reach us as we walked. It was stifling in those spots but then we’d get to where there was a nice breeze coming off the bay. As we were leaving, the rain got to us and it came down quite hard. The temperature dropped to near 70&xb0;F.

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Foggy Harbor

Foggy Harbor, Marblehead, Massachusetts

Foggy Harbor, Marblehead, Massachusetts

We had a busy day today. Dorothy drove out to Gloucester and we went to breakfast together. Dorothy had to work later and Cathy and I enjoyed the waterfront back in Gloucester. They have some really lovely flowers planed on Western Avenue (where the fisherman memorial is). We really enjoyed the colors and the variety. After she got off work, Dorothy, Jonathan, Cathy, and I went for a walk at Strawberry Hill out to Smith Island. Then after dinner we dropped Jonathan off in Beverly and drove down to Fort Sewall in Marblehead. It was quite foggy and this picture was taken there just after 8:00 PM. All in all, a good day.

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Acorns

Acorns

Acorns

As mentioned, we went to a wedding reception yesterday for Dorothy’s friend, Kendra. Dorothy flew down on Friday evening and then today we drove her back up to Massachusetts and will be with her for the week. I say “with her” but we’ll be staying in an airbnb in Gloucester, about 25 minutes from the home she’s living in for the summer. After we arrived and got our things into the cottage, we went to see the garden Dorothy’s been growing this summer. While Cathy and Dorothy watered and did a little weeding, I relaxed in the shade and then took a few pictures. It was a long day (about 10 hours on the road) and I needed a break. The garden is in the yard of the aunt and uncle of one of Dorothy’s friends and there is a box full of acorns in the yard. That’s the subject for today’s picture.

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Kendra

Kendra

Kendra

We went to a wedding reception today. Dorothy described it as a fake wedding for a real marriage. This is the bride, Dorothy’s best friend, Kendra. She got married (eloped, actually) last fall. Today, a friend of the family had a wedding reception for Kendra and Jacob. I have a few pictures of both of them but sadly, a few days before the party he broke his jaw in a rollerblading accident and had his jaw wired shut. That makes him look a little dour and I’m not going to post those pictures. With all the talk about straw bans in various places, I hope there will be an exception for people with their jaws wired shut.

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Bumble Bee on Coneflower

Bumble Bee on Coneflower

Bumble Bee on Coneflower

The coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) in our yard tend to get eaten up by insects of one sort or another. I’m not sure who the culprit actually is, but they eat holes in the ray florets (the petals around the central group of disc florets), making the flowers a bit less attractive for photography. The bees aren’t bothered, of course, and this bumble bee (Bombus impatiens). The generic name Echinacea comes from the Greek word meaning hedgehog or sea-urchin, which references the spiny center of the flower. The name Bombus for bumble bees comes from the Latin (which took it from the Greek) for “booming, buzzing, humming.”

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Oregano Flowers

Oregano Flowers (Origanum vulgare)

Oregano Flowers (Origanum vulgare)

I have a little plot with a fence around it where I grew a few vegetables when it was first put in. Summers have been quite busy and keeping up with vegetables has been tough. Also, it’s small enough that it really isn’t worth the trouble. So, I’ve planted a few herbs and don’t have to get out there nearly as often. Temperatures down to 0°F this last winter took care of the rosemary but the oregano (Origanum vulgare, a member of the mint family native to Europe through central Asia) is going strong. In fact, it’s practically taken over the entire plot.

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Dusk

Dusk

Dusk

I was really hoping for another good sunset this evening. There were lines of clouds in the west and it had the look of shaping up to be quite nice. By 8:40 or so, however, most of the clouds were gone and there were just a few, low in the sky and mostly behind the trees and houses of our neighborhood. This photo was taken at 8:51 and there is a little color on the clouds but this isn’t the sort of sunset you call your family out to see. I took pictures and got what I could, but it wasn’t what I had hoped for. Maybe next time.

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Fig Leaves

Ficus carica

Ficus carica

I was down at my mom’s after work and looked around for something to photograph. There isn’t really anything in bloom in her yard right now, but the leaves on the fig tree that dad planted caught my eye. The common fig, Ficus carica, is not completely hardy in our area but planted in a protected spot and given some winter protection, it can be successfully grown. My grandparents, in southern North Carolina, got a lot more figs off their much larger tree. This tree never produced enough figs on its own to make any significant quantity of preserves so mom had to supplement it with figs bought at the market.

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Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus

Rose of Sharon Hibiscus syriacus

When Dorothy was born and we gave her the middle name Rose, a friend gave us a small Rose of Sharon plant. We had that in a container until we moved to our current house and then Cathy planted it in the garden along the south end of our back yard. It has flourished and indeed it is something of a constant chore to pull up the seedlings that appear around the yard, but I will confess that I like the flowers on this large shrub or small tree. They appear over a long period, from early summer well into fall. The Latin name for the plant, Hibiscus syriacus, implies that it comes from Syria, but that appears to be false, being a native of eastern Asia instead.

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Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace

My grandmother carried a bouquet of Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota var. carota) at her wedding. For their 50th anniversary party we gathered bucket loads of the stuff from empty fields and had it all round the room. You are probably familiar with the flowers, as it’s a pretty common plant all across the United States and bordering provinces of Canada as well as Europe and Asia. This is the wild carrot from which our cultivated carrot descended. It is reported to have been first developed in Afghanistan. It is a biennial plant, blooming in their second year.

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Iris domestica

Iris domestica

Iris domestica

This is Iris domestica, often called blackberry lily or leopard lily and formerly known as Belamcanda chinensis. It’s a perennial plant that we have in various places in our garden. We gather the seeds most years and spread them in areas we would like it to grow, although I don’t know if we’re doing as well as the birds when it comes to actually spreading it. As you can see, it has vaguely lily-like flowers and they are quite lovely. They each last a day but they are born in clusters, blooming one after the next for quite a while. In case you were wondering, the genus name Iris comes from the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sometimes you can see things lining up to make a nice sunset. Of course, even when things look right, it doesn’t happen, but this evening I could tell it was coming and it came. I took a few pictures of the clouds before there were any colors, just in case, but the colors came. The color extended pretty much over the entire sky from west to east. This photo was taken looking almost straight up with a 10mm lens (which on my APS-C-sensor camera is equivalent to a 16mm lens on a full frame sensor). The top of the tree showing at the top of the photo is behind me.

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Monarda, Asclepias, and a Bombus

Monarda didyma, Asclepias tuberosa, and Bombus impatiens

Monarda didyma, Asclepias tuberosa, and Bombus impatiens

Along our back fence, the garden has really gotten out of control. With the work we’ve been doing on our mom’s houses, we haven’t really had time to give it half the attention it needs and deserves. Consequently, it’s got goldenrod, poke weed, and thistles growing in abundance. Three of our planted perennials are doing quite well, however, including the bee balm (Monarda didyma, also known as Oswego tea or bergamot) and the butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) shown here. The other, not yet in bloom, is obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana). All three are native to the area and extremely tough. The bees love them and I followed this common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) for a while as he moved from flower to flower.

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