GREEN GREEN GREEN – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLANGE

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE: LIME OR BRIGHT GREEN

“Green green, it’s green they say, on the far side of the hill …”

This time of year, it’s green on both sides of the hill. The rocks are green with lichen

With a lot of rain coming down, it will be even greener tomorrow. The air is heavy with humidity and though the air conditioning is on, the house feels just a bit too damp for comfort.

The first to show green in the spring, the last to lose its leaves in autumn, our Japanese maple.

The first to show green in the spring, the last to lose its leaves in autumn, our Japanese maple.

The dogs are sacked out on the floor. It’s cooler there. I discourage them from trying to crawl under the sofa. I know they are just seeking the coolest place they can find, but they keep getting stuck.

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THE BIG PICTURE – CEE’S BLACK AND WHITE CHALLENGE

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: LARGE SUBJECTS

This week’s topic is Large Subjects.  Your large subjects can be anything you want to show off as being large.  It could be a matter of perspective.  For example a flower with a small bug, makes the flower look huge.  Or a photo of something far away and something smaller in the foreground can also look huge.

And so … here we go!

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MUSE: FOLLOWING THE RIVER

I fell in love with the Blackstone River when we moved to the valley fifteen years ago. The birds that nest along its length, its canals, tributaries, bridges, ponds. Even the swamps make this one of the most beautiful places in the world. In the autumn, the trees are magnificent.

We have swans and geese, ducks and herons. Turtles, beaver, fishers, and trout — they all live along or in the river. It is a rich and fertile world. Beautiful and ever-changing.

HOW DOTH MY GARDEN GROW – JUNE 2015

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The winter did some serious damage. I didn’t believe anything could kill the spiderwort, but we had almost none this year. We have day lilies, but fewer than half what we had last year … and they are late. The wild strawberries didn’t make it, nor did any of the fancy Chinese lilies return this year. Two rose bushes died.

The remaining three rose bushes are doing well. Two are red, one is pink.

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We have some Columbine. The Goat’s Beard I planted in the woods years ago has finally come into its own, much to my surprise and delight. Hosta are apparently unkillable.

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That any garden remains is nothing short of remarkable. Between the past two bad winters and neglect, I expected worse. Only the holly bush has truly thrived.

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It is huge and will have to be cut back or it will block the entire front path. It has nasty thorns and will grab clothing and flesh if it gets the chance. Still, nice that at least something did well!

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All the pictures were shot with the Pentax Q7 in late afternoon.

PREPARE TO REPEL BRIDGE

SURVIVAL IN A VERY SMALL SAILBOAT

Gwaihir, my 16-foot Soling was a doughty sloop. Built of fiberglass, aluminum and a bit of teak for deck, rails  and hatch, she lived in my basement through the off-season. I lovingly painted her hull and lavished layers of varnish on her bright work.

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I co-owned the little boat with a moody guy who lived on a shallow canal on the south shore. A Soling is easily launched from a trailer, but it was convenient to keep her in the water. If the tide was with us we could sail. Sometimes, even with the centerboard up, with a draft of just 16 inches, there wasn’t enough water at low tide to go anywhere without getting stuck. So we waited for the tide to turn.

My husband had grown up on the water, had his own sailboat from childhood. He was completely unafraid of the ocean. Bad weather, good weather, it didn’t matter. He loved sailing.

A drawbridge spanned Sloop Channel under which you had to sail to get to the Atlantic Ocean. Our little boat was just a bit too tall to go under the bridge if it were closed, but to get the bridge opened, you had to make an appointment and you had better be on time. If you were in a sailboat and hadn’t lowered your mast, you could not sail under the bridge. You had to lower your main sail and use your outboard motor. Our little boat’s mast was just 27 feet, but it was a foot and a half too high.

There are strong tides in Sloop Channel. It can be hard to navigate, especially under sail. Moreover, a 16-foot centerboard sailboat is not ocean-worthy. Maybe if the ocean is flat, it might be “doable,” but it would never be a good idea. Each time my husband insisted we sail out to the ocean, I spent the voyage with my heart pounding hoping we didn’t become a statistic, a cautionary tale of poor judgment on the sea.

Did I mention that my son,  a toddler, was with us? Did that deter my husband, his father? It did not. His father had sailed the family boat through the eye of Hurricane Carol with he and his sister aboard. He was not about to be deterred. By anything.

This day, we planned to drop the main and use the outboard to power us under the drawbridge. We hadn’t made an appointment, so the bridge wasn’t going up. Too bad. That was my favorite moment, when they stopped traffic in two directions so our little sailboat could pass beneath.

This day was beautiful with a brisk following breeze. The tide with us. We skimmed smartly over the water towards the bridge.

“Uh, Jeff? Shouldn’t we drop the main sail? The bridge is coming up awfully fast … really … look … it’s right there.”

By the time the words were out of my mouth, Jeffrey bellowed the immortal words every sailor wants to hear: “PREPARE TO REPEL BRIDGE!”

The bridge was on us. I was at the front fending off the bridge with a fiberglass boat hook, while our captain tried to start the outboard and simultaneously drop the mast before it snapped.

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Fortunately, he dropped the main first and started the engine next. We got a little banged up, hitting the cement pylons as we bounced under the bridge. No problem. We still had a mast.

Eventually, the engine came to life and we had power, sort of.

I had successfully repelled the bridge. On this day, the ocean held no terror. I had fended off a bridge. I had no more adrenaline with which to be afraid. It was just another sunny day on the Atlantic Ocean.