sunflower harvest time

8.1.20 ~ Buttonwood Farm, Griswold, Connecticut

We haven’t really done much to celebrate the First Harvest (Lughnasa, Lammas) in recent years. But I’m finding myself looking forward to the Celtic seasonal festivals again, as a way to acknowledge the passage of time in more even segments during this long-lasting pandemic. So we decided to visit Buttonwood Farm for the sunflower harvest. ‘Twas good to get out of the house and go for a scenic drive.

Due to the high demand earlier in the week and the continued heat and dry field conditions we have an extremely limited amount of sunflowers available to cut. The walking field is still open although the flowers are past their peak.
~ Buttonwood Farm website

July was terribly hot and dry in spite of the oppressive humidity. Not sure how that works. Even the sun loving sunflowers weren’t happy. But I enjoyed capturing them in these less-than-glorious poses. There is beauty to be found everywhere, including in “past their prime.” (I know! I’m a little bit zen, a little bit pagan, a little bit transcendentalist…)

Someone was sitting in front of a sunflower, watching the sunflower, a cup of sun, and so I tried it too. It was wonderful; I felt the whole universe in the sunflower. That was my experience. Sunflower meditation. A wonderful confidence appeared. You can see the whole universe in a flower.
~ Shunryu Suzuki
(Crooked Cucumber: The Life & Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki)

It’s kind of amazing how many different sizes and shapes sunflowers come in. Like people. There were lots of people there, perhaps only half of them wearing masks. A few weren’t repsecting social distancing at all and we found ourselves darting away from a few animated groups of folks who seemed oblivious to our presence. Tim thinks some of them may have been deliberately harassing those of us wearing masks. I hope it isn’t so.

On the other hand, there were some families with well-behaved children wearing masks, doing their best to politely keep apart from others. I found myself wondering how they will make out when they return to school come autumn, if the schools still plan to open by then.

There was a one-way path through the middle of the field but we didn’t dare take it, not knowing how the people ahead of or behind us might behave. We stuck to the perimeter and enjoyed getting lots of close-ups of the flowers.

I never noticed how pretty the back of a sunflower head is before!

We are the Flower — Thou the Sun!
Forgive us, if as days decline —
We nearer steal to Thee!

~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #161)

Tim’s computers weren’t communicating with each other properly so after supper he started working on them while I watched a bittersweet movie I hadn’t seen in years, Dancing at Lughnasa, with Meryl Streep. A perfect way to end the magical day.

We now have 151 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our town. Our county (New London) has 1,402 confirmed cases. Of those 2 are still in the hospital and 103 have lost their lives. Even though the numbers aren’t skyrocketing here they are still going up slowly, so we’re still playing it safe and staying home, except for walks.

I am so relieved to learn that my granddaughter’s school in North Carolina will be in session remotely until January at least. It’s good to know that common sense has prevailed, at least in her district.

a new (to me) bird and my snuggle bug

Carolina wren ~ Image source: AnimalSpot.net

11.30.18 ~ Finn, my snuggle bug, four weeks old, last day of visit ~ photo by Larisa

Home again… After almost two months in North Carolina helping out with the arrival of Finn we are finally back in Connecticut, savoring memories and looking forward to the holidays. I already miss playing with Katherine and snuggling with Finn every day.

One of the many delightful things that happened during my visit was discovering Carolina wrens. I’m pretty sure it was one in particular that kept singing outside my window. And another male answering from a bit farther away. Identifying their territories presumably. Then one day while I was sitting on the couch and cuddling Finn I saw the little bird out on the porch singing the familiar tune. Now I could identify him! I’ve never seen one in Connecticut. The afternoon before leaving I was washing dishes under the open kitchen window when the wren landed on a bush right in front of me and sang once again. A lovely good-bye gift.

Coumeenoole Beach

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

Visiting Coumeenoole Beach Saturday afternoon was amazing! I was already excited to have learned, the night before as I was browsing online, that parts of the movie Ryan’s Daughter had been filmed on this beach. This brought back to me a distant memory; Ryan’s Daughter was the first R-rated film my parents allowed me to see. And I was in awe of the cinematography.

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

We stopped first at the top of the bluff to take in the breathtaking scenery from above. You’ll have to forgive me for posting so many pictures! I took hundreds and it was impossible to choose just a few.

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

Then Tim and Larisa drove down the steep road (see below) from the bluff to the beach. Dima and Katherine decided to walk down the path and stairs and I followed them with the camera.

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

Oh what a wild and free Atlantic Ocean!

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ the family looks down to the beach below

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ father and daughter share a love of adventure

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ those were some huge waves down there!

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ almost down to the road

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ the road from the steps down

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ look at those tiny people down there!

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ I finally make my way to the sand

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ our little explorer

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ tide is coming in, rather quickly

I learned later that at low tide the beach goes much farther out. The tide continued to come in. I’m not sure how many hours we spent there enjoying all the nooks and crannies in the rocks.

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ I was worried the tide would catch Tim over there

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ late afternoon sun

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ Katherine never tired of exploring ~ she has always loved the great outdoors

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ having people in the pictures helps to get a sense of scale here

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ I’m pretty sure this was Dima and Katherine’s creation

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ I took lots of close-ups of the rocks for my sister, the geologist

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ Larisa and Katherine, still moments by the sea

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ Dima sets off on his own adventure ~ he disappeared around the corner and I have to admit I was a little concerned for his safety

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ my darling little Katherine

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

Even though I loved climbing trees as a child I still cringed when my kids started climbing trees and rocks. I never stopped them but I couldn’t look. After I grew up my mother told me she couldn’t watch my sister and me climb trees either. That feeling rose up again watching some of the rock climbing Larisa and Katherine did. Eventually I turned away… The rocks my kids climbed on at our local beach look pretty tame now after seeing the young ones taking on these rocky cliffs!

2.3.18 ~ Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Kerry, Ireland ~ tide looks like it might be in

So that ended my picture taking. Well, I also used up both camera batteries. 🙂

I watched Ryan’s Daughter again one afternoon this week. (It’s a very long movie with an intermission.) It was fun recognizing Coumeenoole Beach in parts of the film. The storm scene was shot during an actual storm on this beach. The waves were about 20 feet high. Tim guessed the waves were about 8 feet high the day we were there.

What wonderful memories I will cherish of this awesome afternoon by the sea…

chickadee, titmouse, junco

Up and away for life! be fleet!-
The frost-king ties my fumbling feet,
Sings in my ears, my hands are stones,
Curdles the blood to the marble bones,
Tugs at the heart-strings, numbs the sense,
And hems in life with narrowing fence.
Well, in this broad bed lie and sleep,-
The punctual stars will vigil keep,-
Embalmed by purifying cold;
The winds shall sing their dead-march old,
The snow is no ignoble shroud,
The moon thy mourner, and the cloud.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
(The Titmouse)

Province Lands

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Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

This is another of those strangely potent places. Everyone I know who has spent any time on the dune agrees that there’s, well, something there, though outwardly it is neither more nor less than an enormous arc of sand cutting across the sky.
~ Michael Cunningham
(Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown)

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Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

Almost every time we go to Provincetown we go on one of Art’s Dune Tours to see the Province Lands sand dunes of Cape Cod National Seashore. In the past part of the tour took us down on the beach but we couldn’t do that this time due to severe beach erosion caused by storms the past couple of winters. So we had to be satisfied with exploring the dunes themselves. Unfortunately we weren’t able to book a sunset tour – those have been our favorites over the years.

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Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

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Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

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Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

If I die tomorrow, Provincetown is where I’d want my ashes scattered. Who knows why we fall in love, with places or people, with objects or ideas? Thirty centuries of literature haven’t begun to solve the mystery; nor have they in any way slaked our interest in it. Provincetown is a mysterious place, and those of us who love it tend to do so with a peculiar, inscrutable intensity.
~ Michael Cunningham
(Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown)

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Pilgrim Monument, in the distance, is 252 feet high ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

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a little tourist from Switzerland ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

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words left on a shingle in the dune ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

Our guide kept showing us where the sands have been shifting in recent years, impressing on us the endless flow of nature. How strange that while present there, time seems to stand still, if only for a moment.

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afternoon sun over the dune ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

whaleship sails

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

Southeastern Connecticut is buzzing with excitement about the upcoming 38th voyage of the Charles W. Morgan, of Mystic Seaport, the last wooden whaleship in the world. Her 37th voyage was 93 years ago from September 1920 to May 1921. Mystic Seaport has been diligently working to restore her to her former glory for several years now.

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

Because the Mystic River is shallow, last Saturday tugboats brought the ship to New London, on the deeper Thames River, so they could add ballast and fuss with her sails, making final preparations for her historic voyage. Today we went over to see the Morgan and her crew at work.

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

Sea trials from New London will be June 7-8 and 11-12, and then on June 17, weather permitting, the Morgan will set sail for her first port of call in Newport. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get some pictures of her as she sails past Groton on her way out of the Thames River and into Long Island Sound.

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

The tugs will probably take her down the river so I’m just not sure at what point she will finally be on her own under full sail. I do hope I catch it!!!

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

A moment of mourning came over me when I realized I had picked out a postcard for my father and was startled to remember yet again that he is gone… He would have loved seeing all this!

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

Isn’t it amazing how these sailors can work so high up in the rigging? And imagine them doing it while the ship is rolling with the waves…

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

We watched the PBS documentary, “The Charles W. Morgan” last night and enjoyed learning more about her history. We’re looking forward to following her progress as she embarks on this special 38th voyage!

words everywhere

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new arrivals only allowed in fair weather ~ Book Barn ~ 1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

Recently we spent a couple of hours at one of our favorite places, a used bookstore named the Book Barn, in the coastal village of Niantic, Connecticut. The Book Barn has three locations within a mile of each other, two are “downtown” and at the main site there is a huge barn full of books on three levels, surrounded by smaller structures which are also full of books. The complex houses about half a million books at any given moment.

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Lucky is a tiny black cat who hangs out in the outbuilding called the “Last Page” ~ 1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

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1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

If one wants to sell books to the store she must take a number at “Ellis Island,” the receiving spot for new additions. We love to browse the endless stacks of books, pet the friendly resident cats, and read all the creative signs found in the gardens and on and around the buildings. As one might expect from book lovers, words are found everywhere: reminders, warnings, directions, suggestions, quips and puns.

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sign in the Haunted Book Shop ~ 1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

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1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

I feel the need of reading. It is a loss to a man not to have grown up among books… Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.
~ Abraham Lincoln
(Abraham Lincoln, a Man of Faith & Courage: Stories of Our Most Admired President)

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garden gargoyle perched on top of a large stone ~ 1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

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a thinker sitting at the bottom of the stone ~ 1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

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death due to Kindle ~ 1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

Of course we came home with an armful of interesting books to read! I may love my Kindle but will always have a special place in my heart for paperback and hardcover books!!

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1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

The following video is a bit long, but the beginning of it offers a good idea about the look and feel of the place…

Life of Pi

Starting to catch up with my blogging friends after our Thanksgiving vacation in Virginia. But I must share this – one of the peak moments of the visit this year was getting to see the movie, Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee, with my sister-in-law, Fran.

About a decade ago, I read the book of the same name, by Yann Martel. It was one of the best stories I have ever read and the movie did not disappoint, not for a moment. For those of us who love spiritual journeys, this is an utterly amazing one! I so identify with Pi’s childhood struggle to understand the universe and the great mystery surrounding us all. And to see his 227-day fight to survive, stranded and almost alone after being shipwrecked, portrayed so vividly on the screen, was breathtaking.

Personally, I don’t think it needs to be seen in 3D, but should definitely be seen on the big HD screen. Tim was sick during much of our visit with his family, so now that he’s feeling better I hope to drag him to see it with me soon. Don’t miss this one!