Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Cemetery

Appropriate for the day…
This old cemetery is about a mile north of my house. 

As you can see, this is a pretty old cemetery:

Jericho’s famous resident, Snowflake Bentley, is buried here, but I have yet to come across his grave.

I really wonder abut this one:

**My thoughts and prayers are with those so affected by the devastation of Sandy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Autumn Colors

The trees are mostly bare as I write this and we are expecting lots of wind from Frankenstorm Sandy over the next few days so I suspect they will be completely bare by the time I get around to posting this.

however, there are a few individual trees around that are in full regalia.  There were three maple trees next to the Vermont Meat and Seafood Market where I shopped yesterday.  The were all a brilliant orangey red.  When I parked my car outside the store, I noticed that there were two Japanese tourists taking pictures.  She had a fancy (meaning very high-tech looking) camera and he had a movie camera.   She was slowly walking around one of the trees, snapping away all the while.  He as sitting on the ground tossing up handfuls of leaves and filming as the fluttered back down.  They were still there when I came out of the store, still clicking and filming.

Sometimes it is really a good thing to have a reminder.  The awesome beauty is right there next to a store where I shop once a week or so.  Others travel half way round the world just to see it.

I stopped at two different pumpkin patches on the way home, just to breathe in the scents of autumn and appreciate the colors in my world.
Pumpkin PatchSo there is still plenty of autumnal color if you know where to look.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Last Saturday in October, 2012

The Vermont fall color on our road is definitely past peak, but I still like the metallic hues that linger the longest.

DSCN2166 For me, this is about as decorated for fall as a yard ought to be.  My yard is not even this seasonal this year.

Although…I have given a nod to the season inside my house.
DSCN2178DSCN2181 That’s it.  The whole show.

This picture represents only about one fifth of the Halloween d├ęcor in this particular yard.  I don’t know the home owners so I can’s say anything.  However, it was my house, I would be spending time putting siding over the tyvek wrapping instead of putting on all the holiday displays.  (All right, so I did say something.)

I pass this barn often and I always notice the yellow cat painted in the window.  This time I snapped a picture of it.

Later in my walk, three deer went racing across the road about fifty yards in front of me.  So fast!  There was no chance of getting a picture of them, but I realized why it is not so hard to imagine reindeer flying.  They leap and they are airborne for a while.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chillin’ with the Tree Frog


Our last night in Florida, Mike called from the car port, “C’mon out and watch this light show.


It was one of those nights when lightning was flashing every two seconds off in the distance, lighting up the fluffy clouds but far enough away to be as entertaining as a fireworks display.


I went out to find Mike sitting in my usual chair.  What was that about?  He offered to try to encourage his little buddy to vacate the other chair, but I decided I would just go back inside.


DSCN2150     DSCN2151

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

We’re Back in Vermont


Long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks…we must be back in Vermont.  It feels like vacation is over.  Funny how we had things to get done at the Florida house, but it still felt relaxed—like a vacation.  As soon as we got back (about 1:30 p.m. on Monday), we were both, “OMG! So much to do!  How will we ever get it all done?  OMG!  Where to start?  Winter is coming.”  Kind of ridiculous, actually.  Mike went out to mow the lawn while I unpacked.  I went grocery shopping. Two days without the computer on—87 posts to catch up on.  This morning we were out raking and all the while I am itching to get at my sewing machine to finish up a project.




I once went to an educational conference where a doctor from Washington state was presenting a program on what brain research had to tell us about learning and, thereby, teaching.  It was a good workshop, but I particularly remember her saying, “We on the west coast think that everybody in the northeast suffers from Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder.”  I am feeling exactly like a red squirrel on too much Red Bull right now.

This is my face:



Two months and we will head back.  Life is always slower in the sun.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

no title

paint (2)It is time to think about packing up and returning to Vermont.  Wednesday was spent on yard work—weeding where needed,  shaping up some of the bushes, and rearranging some garden borders.  We had a local guy come in to do the spiny plants and we have a neighbor signed up to stop by once a day and pick up any fallen grapefruit.  Thursday will be dust and polish, vacuum and mop—generally tidy up the inside.  Friday we will do laundry, clean out the refrigerator, pack.  Saturday morning we will be good to go after a few closing up details are accomplished.

I will have to catch up the new television season when I am back in Vermont.  I won’t be sitting out in the evenings watching sunsets and stars and moon risings, chatting with the neighbors strolling by. I just read Linda Reeder’s post about her SMART television.  My television in VT is not a smart one, although it sometimes gets the best of me.  I can use the on-demand for shows I miss and I have the ROKU devise hooked up for Netflix or Hulu+.  Actually, I prefer watching on my own schedule.

If I tried to get my ROKU hooked up to the Florida television, it would ask me why I was trying to attach it to a rock.  It is a vintage RCA from 1990.  1990!  They just don’t make them like that any more.  I mean they really don’t make them like that any more.
DSCN2146  No ethernet port on this baby.

Mike and I together cannot move it even an inch.  It works fine.  Mike did buy himself a new TV last winter because he uses closed captioning and he watches more than I do/different than I do.
DSCN2053Not a giant screen, but fits in a corner of the office room.  Antiques Roadshow is one program we watch together.  And we did watch that crazy fall through the sky last Sunday.

Looks like another beautiful day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


as in cost of living adjustment… not

Those of us who are collecting social security benefits can expect an increase of 1.7% in 2013.  WOOHOO!  We’re in the money!

The cost of living adjustment is in place to insure that the purchasing power of social security benefits are not consumed by inflation.  This is determined on a limited time sample.  Apparently, the cost of living did not rise significantly between 8 a.m. and 1:32 p.m. last Tuesday.

Well it is obvious that the cost of grocery items have not gone up significantly.  (??)  You can still buy a container of ice cream for about five bucks.  Never mind that ice cream used to come in half-gallon containers.  If you can even find a half-gallon container these days, it will cost more than five bucks.  Don’t quote me on the prices of ice cream, but surely you notice that everything comes in old size packages with less product inside.  Ice cream packages look to be the same size in the freezer section until you pull one out and see that is just as long but half as wide.  Cracker and cereal boxes are the same size, but the weight is less—and it is not settling of contents.

Not that it is a bad thing entirely that we, as a nation, should eat less—just that if we pay more, we should eat better.

Oh. well, enough of the ranting and raving.  I am off to re-adjust my budget.  Pretty soon I personally am going to have enough money for two whole gallons of gas each month.  Oh, the places I will go!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mopey Monday

Mike has gone off to the beach this morning.  I will give that a pass for the rest of the week, but he doesn’t seem to be as sensitive to the red tide and smell of dead fish.  My stomach lurches at the thought.

We cleaned shutters and windows this past weekend.  The shutters on the shady side of the house were badly mildewed.  After a few attempts to get it off, we ended up using a product that attached a spray bottle at the end of the hose.  It contained bleach and it worked, but boy, did I suffer all day yesterday.  Renewed commitment to my homemade cleaners and respiratory masks if I ever attempt that again.  And, I am staying away from the red tide.

Last night was one of those toss and turn and fling pillows around the room nights.  I never woke up for long enough to have to get out of bed, but it was NOT a refreshing night’s sleep.  Probably related to chlorine poisoning (over dramatic?).  Earlier this summer I was having nights like that and I read somewhere (most likely not in a scientific journal) that it could be a sign of an overly acidic system.  The remedy—a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water before bed.  I will have to remember that before bed tonight.  Good old baking soda.  If only it would remove mildew on window shutters.

I see that other people have had active, productive weekends.  I need to give myself a shake and go DO something.  Enough whining! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sightseeing on Saturday



Sarasota Bay on a clear, fall day.



White egret



Blue heron.



A modest cottage,



and the next door neighbor.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


We went to the beach on our first day here in Venice, but I have not been back since then. I started coughing right away, as soon as my feet hit the sand, and I knew that red tide was the culprit. I was right. According to the paper, this has been the largest outbreak of red tide since 2007. The bloom is affecting a hundred miles of west Florida coastline and killing thousands of fish. Seven tons of dead fish have been cleared off area beaches in the past two days.   Mike went for a look.   Caspersen Beach is a designated rural beach and they tend to leave it to the forces of nature a bit more than the better known and more ‘civilized’ beaches like Venice Beach and Nokomis Beach. North of us in Sarasota, the beach on Siesta Key, is just out of the range of this red tide bloom. I expect the turkey buzzards will be taking over Caspersen in a few weeks.   From today’s Herald Tribune:
"It is a pretty big red tide bloom. If we look at the linear distance along the coast, we're looking at nearly 100 miles," said Alina Corcoran, a research scientist in charge of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service's harmful algal bloom program. "It doesn't look like it's going away any time soon." Florida red tide blooms are caused by single cell algae called Karenia brevis. The algae occur naturally at very low levels, usually about 30 miles offshore. Often during the fall, ocean currents transport the red tide to the coast and if conditions are right, the cells proliferate into a toxic bloom. Scientists are still unsure about what causes the blooms. Corcoran said they usually originate about 30 to 40 miles offshore and occasionally get drawn toward the coast by ocean and wind currents. Once the algae reach the coastline they will feast on any nutrient source available, such as the nitrogen and phosphorus found in fertilizers.

  Besides the stench of dead fish, the toxins in the air cause breathing problems for people and animals. Those with respiratory problems are warned to stay away from the beaches. You won’t have to tell me twice. I won’t be returning to Vermont with my usual bag of shells, but I have been enjoying our park pool.   WARNING:  The following are not pretty. DSCN2117 Can you imagine walking on this beach?


Can you see the teeth on this moray eel?  These things are in the water.  I have decided I really like the clean, clear water of the pool.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Synonym: a word to use when you can not spell the word you really want.

I find myself doing this more and more lately.  I am losing my ability to spell.  Not that I was ever spelling bee material, but I was pretty good, when writing, at seeing that a word just did not look right.  I was also good at looking up the word if I needed to do so, but usually I could make the correction easily enough.

Then along came spell check and I am losing my ability to spell and to recognize errors.  My spelling brain has gone soft from under use is my guess.  I don’t have to pay that much attention.  If the work is misspelled a red line or a yellow highlight will appear.  One click and I have the options in front of me.  Another click and the offending error is fixed.  Even less thought goes into those words that are habitually misspelled.  They correct themselves automatically, often without my even registering more that a slight blip on the screen.

Now, if I am not working in one of my trusty word processing programs, I find myself more and more at a loss.  I stop and look.  Is that right?  No, I don’t think so, but what could it be?  That doesn’t look right either.  Oh, maybe I’ll just write something else instead. Moment of panic…Is this an early sign of dementia?

The wedding pavilion at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.  (Oh, it is not pavillion?)DSCN2091

Monday, October 8, 2012

More of the Botanical Gardens


I wish  had written down the name of this plant because, of course, I do not remember.


So pretty…

Not all the plants are friendly:DSCN2096
In fact, quite a few of them are down right mean looking.

But these are the kind of plants I can actually grow—the kind that are full sun lovers, drought tolerant, do well in poor soil, and thrive on neglect.

The canopy walk (above) is guarded by this fellow:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

I had planned a trip this time down here to Sarasota and the Marie SeIby Botanical Gardens.   Mike surprised me greatly by suggesting we make the trip together.  I was very happy to have his company for this outing.
We started in the conservatory, a room filled with orchidsDSCN2066

DSCN2068and humidity.

The camera lens was very quickly fogged up, as were my glasses.  Beautiful, nevertheless!

The gardens are relatively small in scope.  They said an average visit took two hours.  This represents a third of the bonsai exhibition.

The fern collection
Epiphyte gardens over our heads
I loved the posts with bits of poetry and watercolor like illustration.

Two hours and Mike was done.  I could have stayed much longer and will visit again sometime.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall Color

It is autumn according to the calendar—even here in sunny/rainy Florida where the humidity reached 100% a couple of days ago and the “feels like” temperature was 100 today, until a cold front moved through and dropped it down to the 70’s.

Now you may think that Florida is tropical, land of always summer.  But let me tell you that there are seasons here.  It is clearly fall and the deciduous trees know it.  It is time for their leaves to lose the green, turn color (weak yellow mottled with brown tho’ it may be) and fall to the ground.  I have proof:

crape myrtle
I have been looking at so many pictures of the fall color in northern states and hearing so many questions about why we would miss the Vermont foliage season that I just had to show that leaves do change here too.  Okay, maybe the look is more diseased than brilliant color, but it is the same concept.  They turn and fall off.
When we come back for our winter stay both of these trees will be bare because it will be winter after all.  So, no, I don’t really miss the changing of the seasons all that much.  I experience just enough of it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dish Washer

Have you ever wondered—for some strange reason—what the under belly of a dishwasher looks like?

Wonder no more:


The new motor arrived very quickly.  It only had to come from Jacksonville, Florida.

The old is on the left, the new on the right.

DSCN2051Really, it is not the most convenient appliance to work on.  Poor Mike, with all his recent aches and pains—but he got it running although it pretty much killed his Saturday morning.

He spent the rest of the day taking the defective motor apart and problem solving exactly what went wrong.  He found the defective part.  Next time it will be “much easier” to fix.  He also did research on the net to confirm his trouble shooting and find some better method of putting the thing into storage mode.

I would be doing all the dishes in the sink OR buying a new dishwasher.  By the way, he did go to an appliance repair place early in the game, but got nothing more than shoulder shrugs.  He snatched the motor away and left when one guy took out the “universal tool in one gadget.”  Mike is a real problem solver.  Nice guy to have around.