safely gathered in

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“The Harvest” by Frederick Morgan

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of Harvest-home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
~ Henry Alford
(The Poetical Works of Henry Alford)

Happy Thanksgiving!

before the storm

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9.2.16 ~ juvenile laughing gull

Five days ago there were a lot of birds at the beach, perhaps getting ready for Tropical Storm Hermine… I had some fun trying to identify the different stages of life of the laughing gulls…

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9.2.16 ~ non-breeding adult? or first summer? laughing gull
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9.2.16 ~ non-breeding adult? or first summer? laughing gull
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9.2.16 ~ non-breeding adult? or first summer? laughing gull

We had a few gusts of wind which ruffled some feathers…

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9.2.16 ~ laughing gull with feathers puffed up from a gust of wind

I wondered if the cormorants would be staying out on their island during the storm…

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9.2.16 ~ cormorants on their exclusive off shore island

The baby great black-backed gull wondered if we would be handing out a french fry. Tim had unintentionally dropped one recently, renewing hopes for some of the younger birds…

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9.2.16 ~ juvenile great black-backed gull

My friend knows better — he’s content to visit with us. 🙂

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9.2.16 ~ my herring gull friend with the mangled foot

We also saw a great egret — they don’t often come this close, preferring their island in the middle of one of the salt ponds.

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9.2.16 ~ great egret

The swan’s pond has mostly dried up due to the drought…

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9.2.16 ~ swan

Sharing the estuary by the sea wall, we were amazed to see eight snowy egrets feeding with the great egret, the swan and a flock of Canada geese!

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9.2.16 ~ swan and snowy egrets
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9.2.16 ~ great egret, snowy egrets and Canada goose

The calm before the storm… Hermine gave us mostly gale force winds and drizzle. Several branches and many leaves and twigs came off the trees, but no trees were uprooted in our vicinity. That was more than enough excitement for us!

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9.2.16 ~ swan and Canada geese

safe harbor

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9.4.16 ~ USS Truxtun found a safe harbor at Fort Trumbull Pier in New London, Connecticut

Tropical Storm Hermine is supposed to head out to sea south of us, sending us very little rain or wind. (Too bad because we could really use some rain here.) Of more concern is a predicted storm surge of 2-4 feet tomorrow and beach erosion. But Hermine delivered us quite a surprise yesterday, a huge guided-missile destroyer, seeking shelter from the storm.

Today we decided to take a water taxi across the river so I could get a picture of this huge warship. As it happened, three sailors from the ship were on the water taxi, too, and Tim got to talking with them while I was snapping pictures. After the storm passes they will be headed to the Gulf or the Med, which is sailor slang for the Mediterranean Sea. They are hoping for the Med because it is hotter than hell in the Gulf.

When Tim called their ship a boat they corrected him — they refer to it properly as a destroyer. We may think this vessel is huge but they said it is one of the smaller navy ships.

These fellows seemed so young, even younger than our own children. As we go about our busy lives, it’s so easy to forget that our nation is still at war, that so much is being sacrificed. Carry on sailors, and thank you for your service.

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9.4.16 ~ the USS Truxton dwarfs the Cross Sound Ferry and New London Ledge Light

perished in a snow storm

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10.12.15 ~ Island Pond Cemetery, Harwich, Massachusetts

GEORGE WEEKES.
Born in Dorchester Mass.
A.D. 1683.
Came to Harwich, Married
Deborah Wing: Oct. 13, 1714.
Preached to the Indians.
Perished in a snow storm,
when an old man in the
hollow 100 rods south of
this spot. He was grand-
son of George Weekes, a Hu-
guenot, who fled to England
and came to America in
1630.

My 7th great-grandfather, George Weekes, was probably born on 20 March 1689 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, according to town records, although his gravestone says he was born in 1683. He was the son of Ammiel and Abigail (Trescott) Weekes. He married on 13 October 1714, Deborah Wing, who was born 2 May 1687 in Harwich, Massachusetts, daughter of Ananias and Hannah (Freeman) Wing. George and Deborah were the parents of six children: Abigail, Mehitable, Deborah, Ammiel (my 6th-great-grandfather), Hannah and Elisabeth. We visited Island Pond Cemetery when we were on the Cape earlier this month.

It’s fascinating that George was most noted for preaching to the Indians. And of course, for the tragic way he died. Researching my family’s history I have discovered that many of my ancestors were deeply involved in various kinds of religious fomentation. According to this gravestone George’s grandfather was a Huguenot, a French Protestant inspired by the writings of John Calvin.

As this is a time of year for remembering the dead I decided to post this in memory of ancestors, George & Deborah Weekes.

Whimsical Kingdoms

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Lieutenant River ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

The theme of this year’s Wee Faerie Village at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is Whimsical Kingdoms. Last week Janet, Kathy and I visited and had a lovely morning and afternoon walking through the outdoor exhibit, enjoying the cool, crisp autumn air and fanciful creations.

I love this time of year! We stopped for lunch at the museum’s Café Flo, where the addition of a cup of warm apple cider was a most welcome pleasure.

This year I was particularly drawn to all the earth tones and textures in many of the fairy castles. But we were also lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a colorful fairy! Following are a few of my favorites…

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“Brave” by Kristin & Tom Vernon ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Whimsical Sugar Maple Castle” by Jared Welcome ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

Many years ago a sugar maple seedling twirled to the ground. Inside, a mighty tree hiding a faerie castle, hid inside. For seven and seventy years the tree grew tall, until the winds of Hurricane Sandy took its toll. It was time for the faerie tower to emerge. Coaxed out of hiding by chain saw and sander, this whimsical, yet sturdy castle “welcomes” all faeries fluttering down in search of shelter.
~ Wee Faerie Village: Whimsical Kingdoms

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“Sand Castle Extraordifaerie” by Greg J. Grady ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“The Wizard King” by William Vollers ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Tiger Lily’s Village” by Madeline Kwasniewski & T. Arthur Donnally ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Thumbelina” by Nancy MacBride ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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autumn sky at Florence Griswold Museum ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“The Woodland Faerie Kingdom of A Midsummer’s Night Dream” by Tammi Flynn, Cheryl Poirier & Lisa Reneson ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Jack & The Beanstalk” by Carol Hall-Jordan & Kathryn Stocking-Koza ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Jack & The Beanstalk” by Carol Hall-Jordan & Kathryn Stocking-Koza ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“One Thousand & One Arabian Nights” by Pam Erickson & Sharon Didato ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Tower of Baubles” by Billie Tannen & Robert Nielsen ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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a Valkyrie hanging out in “Valhalla” by Amy Hannum & Laurie McGuinness ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

To view my pictures from past Wee Faerie Villages click on “Florence Griswold” in the categories below.

a sea-blue tale

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“Storm at Belle-Ile” by Claude Monet

There are no footprints on the sea
and no road-signs, not a single
guard-stone or post, and no
bends, only paths of light and dark
from which to choose, the choice is always
a difficult navigation
and the storm’s wingspan immeasurable
as the depths and the horizon, but
the sea holds you in its mighty hand
your life is a sea-blue tale
of love and death.
~ Åse-Marie Nesse
(At Sea)

another stickwork sculpture

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Larisa and Katie ~ 3.21.15 ~ Chapel Hill, North Carolina

For the first weekend of spring we decided to fly down to North Carolina to see Katie and her parents. Old man winter sent us off in the middle of a storm, a wintry mix that required de-icing of the plane. But we made it safe and sound and spent a relaxing Saturday hanging around the house.

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Katie’s favorite toy ~ 3.21.15 ~ Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Katie was happy to see us, and I like to think she remembered us since she had just visited us the previous weekend. Her parents have lots of weddings to go to in Connecticut this year so we will be having Katie staying with us for quite a few weekends!

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Katie ~ 3.21.15 ~ Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Saturday evening, a friend of Dima & Larisa introduced us to a cooperative game, Hanabi. It’s a new genre to us. Our family loves playing all kinds of games, but a game without competition is a delightful idea to me.

Cooperative games contain one simple concept… all players work together to attain a mutually desirable goal. Strategies, resources and decisions are shared. The challenge and enjoyment are in the teamwork and the story and setting of the game.
~ Suzanne Lyons
(cooperativegames.com)

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3.22.15 ~ Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Sunday we had a great brunch at Kipos Greek Taverna in Chapel Hill, and then we were off to a game store in Durham, Atomic Empire, to pick up our own set of Hanabi cards. While there we also found a cooperative board game which we are looking forward to trying out at home.

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North Carolina Botanical Garden ~ 3.22.15 ~ Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Later in the afternoon we went to North Carolina Botanical Garden to see Patrick Dougherty‘s stickwork sculpture, “Homegrown.” Some readers may remember that Janet and I visited one of his installations at the Florence Griswold Museum back in October 2011. This one was just as fascinating.

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3.22.15 ~ Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Another pleasant evening was spent playing Hanabi and then Monday morning Dima took us to drop Katie off at daycare and then dropped us off at the airport. It was in the 50s that morning. When we got back to Boston it was 22°F! Brrr… (But I still love you, New England…)

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3.22.15 ~ Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Blizzard Colbie ~ 1.27.15

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1.27.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Come, ye cold winds! at January’s call,
On whistling wings; and with white flakes bestrew
The earth.
~ John Ruskin
(The Poems of John Ruskin, Volume 1)

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1.27.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Blizzard Colbie gave us 22 24 inches of snow. I have been waiting for some decent snow this winter and it finally arrived. Zoë and I had a delightful afternoon watching the birds feeding in the snow on our balcony.

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an odd couple ~ 1.27.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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1.27.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Tim sets up a webcam when it snows up here, so our kids in Georgia and North Carolina can watch the storm as it progresses. Nate, who has loved the color red since he was a baby, pinged me to let me know I had a cardinal out there. I already knew that, but it warmed my heart to know that he is still partial to all things red.

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an angry looking jay, perhaps because I didn’t put out peanuts in the shells for him ~ 1.27.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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this cardinal seemed to be eating snow all afternoon ~ 1.27.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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Tim liked this picture a lot so I included it here ~ 1.27.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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oh how I love my friendly, inquisitive mourning doves ~ 1.27.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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a sweet little junco, he captivated Zoë’s attention for quite a while ~ 1.27.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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1.27.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

They still have not come to plow the parking lot of our complex and I’m wondering what the hold up is. Tim returned from doing some volunteer work at the Red Cross shelter and got stuck in the entrance to the driveway. Fortunately our very kind neighbors dug him out and created a parking space for him, too. All the neighbors’ cars are still buried.

Edit – the morning after – the final snow total for Groton was 24 inches! The town of Thompson got 33.5 inches!

shelter of the dark

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“The Dream” by Odilon Redon

The world rests in the night. Trees, mountains, fields, and faces are released from the prison of shape and the burden of exposure. Each thing creeps back into its own nature within the shelter of the dark. Darkness is the ancient womb. Nighttime is womb-time. Our souls come out to play. The darkness absolves everything; the struggle for identity and impression falls away. We rest in the night.
~ John O’Donohue
(Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

For some reason I’ve been sleeping very well this winter. After the excitement of the holidays drifted away the days now seem very peaceful, the nights long and restful, and my dreams full of sweetness. Perhaps I am creeping back into my own nature. I’ve been “pruning” my family tree by day because it needs a lot of editing every once in a while.

A few Alberta clippers (fast moving snowstorms that seem to originate in Alberta, Canada) have passed through, leaving delightful snow flurries and light coatings of powdery snow. The bitter cold snaps have been more remarkable. The lowest temperature we’ve had here by the shore so far was 2°F (-17°C). Inland has been much colder. Today I will start putting away the solstice decorations. It would be nice to have at least one big snowstorm, a nor’easter, this winter…