Blarney Castle

2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland ~ our first glimpse of the famous castle

Waking up Monday morning my cold wasn’t too bad, mainly a sore throat. Katherine had to go to school and her parents had to work so Larisa dropped us off at Blarney Castle. It was another damp and chilly day but we had fun.

2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland ~ detour

The usual path to the castle was blocked off because they are in the middle of some major renovations.

2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland ~ another glimpse ~ we were definitely taking the long way around!
2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland

When we got close to the castle we stopped and had the most delicious and warm bowl of Irish Stew at the Coach House Cafe. It really hit the spot. In spite of my sensitivity to wheat I took a bite of the warm brown bread that came with the stew. Yummy! 🙂 It’s not often one finds something that tastes so good at a cafeteria!

2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland ~ seating for summer tourists and an orb

The cafe was in the old stables and we ate in the main room. As we were leaving we saw that in the summer there was space right in the stalls for overflow dining. My only complaint was (again) no heat in the restrooms! Brrrr….

2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland ~ another building in the stable yard
2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland ~ looking though the book on Irish birds I bought at the wildlife park, I think this bird might be a pied wagtail ~ he was surveying the stable yard
2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland ~ the best shot I could get of the impossibly narrow steps

Because of the castle renovations we could not take the usual stairway up to the Blarney Stone. We never made it to the stone at the top because, well, the alternate steps were very small and continued to narrow the higher we went. We made it about 3/4 of the way up before we called it quits and retreated. We had to return home without our gift of eloquence. Notice in the picture above that the only railing we had was that wobbly rope. I’m only 5 feet tall and I had to duck to go through that doorway. And going down was even harder to pull off for these senior citizens. Phew!

2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland ~ well, at least we made it up to the kitchen
2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland ~ scaffolding for those working on the renovations
2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland ~ snowdrops
2.5.18 ~ Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork, Ireland ~ friendly European robin

On the castle grounds there are several other things to see. For this trip we chose the Rock Close. Pictures of that magical place in my next post…

blossoms and bluebird babies

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ mountain laurel

So… there were other treasures waiting to be discovered while we were on our long hike Saturday. In 1907 the mountain laurel, a lovely native American shrub, was designated as the official state flower of Connecticut. They are just starting to blossom and we saw loads of them.

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ wild geranium, another native wildflower

I was raised by the melody
Of the whispering grove
And learned to love
Among the flowers.
~ Friedrich Hölderlin
(Odes & Elegies)

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ eastern blue-eyed grass, another native wildflower
6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ ferns and saplings filling the edge of a meadow

Now, the staff at the arboretum is keeping a meadow open for habitat for several kinds of animals and birds. They also erected several bluebird houses and we did see a few bluebird parents feeding their young ones. They were moving too fast to catch on film but I did manage to get a few shots of a baby waiting for the next food delivery from its folks.

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ bluebird and orbs

These shots were very hard to get because they were taken from so far away. I didn’t have a tripod to stabilize the camera and the zoom lens. I climbed a bank on the side of the trail, through a thicket of plants and saplings, and then leaned one arm on a tree to steady my grip, trying to avoid the gypsy moth caterpillars. (I wound up bringing at least one tick home – I hope I won’t find any more…) Even though I had to delete most of the shots I took it was a thrill to get home and find that these three came out!

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ bluebird and orbs

Sing strong and clear, O bluebird dear!
While all the land with splendor fills,
While maples gladden in the vales
And plum-trees blossom on the hills:
Float down the wind on shining wings,
And do thy will by grove and stream,
While through my life spring’s freshness runs
Like music through a poet’s dream.
~ Maurice Thompson
(The Bluebird)

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ bluebird and orbs

I love all the orbs I captured, along with that adorable little bluebird head. My guess is that it will fledge soon.

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ mosses and grasses

We were just thinking of turning around and retracing our steps when Beverly was beckoned by yet another tree growing through the rocks. So we left the path and carefully navigated our way through uneven terrain of rocks and bushes. I found a spot to take the picture. More orbs!

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ tree with orbs
6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ looking up the same majestic tree

After finding our way back to the trail I finally put away the camera, took a long drink of water, sprayed on some more bug repellent and enjoyed the long walk back, hands free.

fun with the little one

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Little Katherine and her mom, Larisa, visited us for a few days during a 10 day heat wave in July. It was miserably humid as well. One morning Larisa and I took Katherine to the aquarium where she was delighted to see so many fish and beluga whales and sea lions – all rescues I believe. And she got to touch a sting-ray! It was so much fun watching her discover so many new creatures because she is definitely an animal lover.

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It was so humid outside we didn’t make it over to the penguin exhibit but even so, a penguin is what she picked out for a souvenir of the day. 🙂 She named him PB and even had supper with him. But the best part of the day was yet to come. When Grandpa Tim came home from work we all went down to the beach. Katherine loved chasing the bubbles her grandpa blew for her.

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Not sure why some pictures came out blurry but they still capture some of the fun they were having. 🙂

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Back at home I caught Katherine sitting in my spot, using my laptop. (If only I had thought to remove the bowl from the shot, but that might have disturbed her concentration.)

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The next day Larisa and Katherine flew home. But we will be flying down there to visit them in September, so we still have another visit to look forward to. So many good-bye hugs and kisses. After they finally got home – there was a cancelled flight and other delays to deal with – we got this picture in an email from our sweet little granddaughter.

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Dear Grammy & Grandpa,
Thanks for the lovely visit. PB the Penguin and I had lots of fun. I’m very tired. Airports are only fun for a little while. But Mommy played with me a lot. People were nice to me too.
*kiss*
-Katherine

midsummer magic

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6.25.16 ~ we celebrated the summer solstice on Saturday ~ good friends, good food and good fun…
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6.25.16 ~ bald eagle
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6.25.16 ~ catbird
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6.25.16 ~ woodpecker
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6.25.16 ~ woodpecker taking off
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6.25.16 ~ I’m drawing a blank on identifying flowers…
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6.25.16 ~ a lily?
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6.25.16 ~ ???
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6.25.16 ~ another lily?
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6.25.16 ~ fairy light
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6.25.16 ~ as close as I could get to this doe before she stomped her forefeet at me ~ I backed off so she could graze in peace…
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6.25.16 ~ chipmunk
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6.25.16 ~ so many orbs on a magical night
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6.25.16 ~ after a long day of fun in the sun, a fire to enjoy under a clear sky full of shimmering stars, with fireflies glowing in the surrounding trees, and fairy lights sparkling near the grass…

 

another weed by the wall

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autumn 2015 ~ Center Street, Provincetown, Massachusetts

There is a place where an artist lives in a house surrounded by a garden full of sculptures and a stone wall embedded with crystals and other treasures. In all the years I’ve been going to Provincetown I had never known it was there because I had never been down that particular street. But in 2008 our niece showed it to us.

When I started blogging I remember being especially excited to match a picture I took there with an Emerson quote and posted this: a weed by the wall

Seven years later, on our recent trip to the Cape, I decided to go see the stone wall again. This time there was no weed growing by the first crystal, but there was another weed growing by a different crystal.

shy weeds by a wall
retracing steps with pithy
moments of delight
~ Barbara Rodgers
(By the Sea)