Monday, October 31, 2011


Madison's "Sea, Shop and Scare" Annual Contest
My town's annual scarecrow contest has been going strong for a couple of weeks. I photographed these colorful, and creative, creations last week on a beautiful 70° day. The contest is sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce, and is entitled Sea, Shop and Scare. The contest benefits the chamber and our town library. I'm surprised at the expressions that can be created with just a few lines from a magic marker or a few buttons or what-have-you. Some of them really seem to be enjoying themselves.

The details of some of the scarecrows are as well composed as a painting. Here, a French picnic ready to enjoy!

Some private homes got into the spirit as well. At least I hope those huge spiders are decorations!

Enjoying an afternoon swing, this bony resident waves at all that pass.

My Favorite from Last Year
This gorgeous creation, a mix of roses, pearls and ribbons, was not recreated this year. Perhaps the store felt they couldn't top it!

For more photos of this year's scarecrows, follow the jump.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Much Ado About Not Much!

Garden Globe is a bit iced over this morning. Click images to enlarge.

Who knew dahlias could withstand a light snow and two nights of below-freezing temperatures?

A bit of ice still clings to the top of this dahlia bloom.

Take me in! Vintage pink flamingo is unfamiliar with its current milieu.

Nasturtiums also seem immune to the current weather. I transplanted the geraniums from these planters the other day, bringing them in for the winter, hence the snowy bare spot. I've had nasturtium leaves in my salads the past few days—they're slightly peppery tasting, like arugula.

Even my little squash is still green. I'm hoping for another two weeks of "normal" weather, and this squash just might make it to full size.

The hummingbird gate's wooden grain really stands out when it's wet. The zinnias in the background almost look like eyes for the hummer! 

My little-used Infiniti is the recipient of falling leaves and falling snow. That's better than falling trees which dented the roof rail a few years ago on the passenger side, lol.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


First snow of the fall/winter season—October 29th, 2011. Large, almost tortilla-sized snowflakes appear as streaks in this shot of the front yard. Still-green and fairly lush perennials and shrubs contrast with the raw 30° temperatures and slushy precipitation. The actual Nor'easter snowstorm is supposed to hit tonight between 8pm and 4am. Joy of joys!
Update—11:30 pm: Although the lights have flickered a few times, I'm cautiously optimistic the shoreline might have escaped the power outages. The wind hasn't been too bad, either, though there have been gusts up to 56 mph in the Sound right off our coast. There are more than 650,000 customers without power now, but Madison seems OK, (knock on wood again, lol). Pink Gardens has only a couple inches of slush, but there are some towns in the northern part of the state reporting 20 inches!!! Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautifully sunny day with temps in the high 40s. I'll walk around and get some photos. I actually had to find my long pants today, about a month earlier than usual, and they were loose this year! : )

Update 2—8 am, Sunday 30th: I woke up uncharacteristically early, to the sweet sounds of the TV. Yes, we still have power, and the skies are blue. The ground is white, though! I really can't complain, I think we have about 2 inches—the least of any part of the state. Apparently, Long Island Sound is still 61° which is what protected us from too much accumulation. Phew! Towns near the Massachusetts border received two feet. I'll take a walk later on and get some photos, though at 45° today, the snow might not stick around very long.

I've Made Hemmings Motor News Blog

My quick chop of a '68 Cadillac with a fastback roofline has been picked up by Hemmings Motor News Blog this weekend. I've been reading Hemmings, and their collectible car magazines, Special Interest Autos and now Hemmings Classic Cars, since 1973. It's really cool to see a car creation of mine posted there. Thanks to Dan Strohl and Hemmings!
  • More on this chop at my car blog.
  • More about Hemmings history, and titles, here. I still have all of my SIA issues back to '73 and all but about 2-3 issues of HCC since it started publishing in 2004.
  • To read Dan's great essay, Old Oak Trees, click here. I took a break from blogging last February, and ended the first year's blogs with Dan's essay. It really says it all about my love of cars, their place in my life, and the memories they evoke.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Clouds in my Coffee... er, um, Pond.

Fluffy white clouds reflected perfectly in Tuxis Pond in the center of town. Not a ripple, frog or turtle is disrupting the smooth surface allowing the sky to be seen below, as well as above, me. The lack of wind is evident in the unfurled flag's reflection, seen in the lower right.

Just a few autumn leaves to give away the season.

The deep blue sky, the deep blue man-made pond.

Clouds of Another Sort
The day before the photos at the top of this post were shot, the clouds along the shore were gray and brooding. Look at the distinctive line of clouds on the horizon, visible through this beach side pergola. Those clouds are hanging right above New York's Long Island.

Here We Go Again!
The weather forecast for this weekend isn't good. We're supposed to have a very, very, rare October snowstorm and nor'easter. Along the shore we're supposed to see 3-6 inches of snow; further inland they're expecting up to 12-15 inches. Winds tomorrow night, (Saturday), are predicted to reach 60 mph and power outages are also being discussed—long term power outages, like we had in Tropical Storm Irene. Because many trees still have their leaves, the weight of the snow will cause many of them to come crashing down, bringing the powerlines with them. The temperatures will be in the 30s this time, however—not looking forward to having no electricity or heat for a few days! If I'm not blogging or answering emails for a while after Saturday night, you'll know why. I hope they're wrong about this one.

I've picked all the remaining dahlias and zinnias and have brought in all of my cactuses, geraniums, spiderplants, and begonias for the winter. It's crowded in here! Most people just buy new geraniums each year, but I like to winter them over. This will be the fourth year for this bunch, and my "annual" begonias are going on their ninth year.
  • Ryan Hanrahan's weather blog, Way Too Much Weather, about this upcoming historic October snowstorm.
  • Ryan's Saturday morning update. I've already ridden my bike to town today and bought my food/drink for the weekend, so now I can just sit tight. I've got a book to work on for my publisher and a lengthy list of car chops if I want to relax. It's raining slightly right now, and is so dark I have the lights on inside. The grocery store was crazy, as usual, on an "event" day!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seen Around Town

A flash of bright orange—there it is again! A late 1960s Porsche has taken up residence in town. I've seen it a few times near the shore, and the other day I was finally able to get a photo of it. Well, half a photo of it as it whooshed past me. I'm not sure if it's a 911 or 912 yet, but  it looks exactly like loyal reader Artichoke Annie's long-lost car, right down to the chrome wheels.

This marble sculpture is in the middle of my town. I think it's an odd choice—the god that fell in love with himself in a reflection in the water. On the other hand, it DOES sum up a lot of the entitled townspeople, lol. Here he's surrounded by autumn Chrysanthemums, though I'm pretty sure in spring the garden is planted with more appropriate Daffodils and Narcissus.

Beachside Ornamentals.
I think this is a particularly well-landscaped seaside home, with ornamental grasses, sedum, evergreens and azaleas.

Luscious lavender!
This is a really beautiful hydrangea bush I pass by on one of my walking routes. It was a lighter purple during the summer, but has turned dark purple with some cranberry accents, this fall.

New England.
A beautifully aging New England barn is a perfect backdrop for the last lavender Cosmos of the season, brightly highlighted by an afternoon sun. A rusted 1930s truck would have really topped off the setting for me.

Creeping Autumn.
Virginia Creeper crawls along this antique picket fence. This perennial turns a bright red in the fall, and is allowed to grow in front of one of the town's historical homes.

Fairy Ring.
I found this VERY interesting formation of mushrooms growing on our very own Pink Gardens' property. It's known as a Fairy, or Elf, Ring or Circle, and is a naturally occurring circle of fungi. Apparently once it's established, it will come back year after year. I've never noticed it before, so I hope it comes back next year. Click here for more information. I darkened the leaves around it a bit to show off the white mushrooms a bit better in this photograph. It's about 15 feet in diameter, and has some empty spots, but is clearly a circle.

Bonus Photo:
I clipped some of my yellow Nasturtiums yesterday. They have a nice vintage look to their blossoms so I placed them on my 18th century secretary, in front of antique books and collectibles.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This Way, Please!

Autumn Sumac Points Towards the Coming Winter Cold
Looking like a spooky feather-covered arm pointing towards the coming frigid winter season, this Sumac tree is changing to almost every color of the autumn palette. Reds, purples, oranges, yellows and a bit of green—all present and accounted for.

I always forget about my little purple New York aster, lol. I don't notice it until fall when it blooms, and it's right in the main garden. It never grows beyond this small clump though. At my mother's house years ago, this variety used to grow 4-feet tall with hundreds of flowers every fall.

The purple stems contrast beautifully with the autumn reds and yellows, right?

Late afternoon sun perfectly highlighting my yellow Nasturtiums. I'll be sorry at the first frost when this annual dies. It took a while for it to hit its stride, but it's just gorgeous right now, reaching the ground in this Victorian cast-iron planter.

This view reminds me of a colorful line of clothes drying in the afternoon sun. Or a used car lot from the  sixties with those flapping multi-colored flags! Just as the leaves change color in fall, the stems of this Sumac tree change from a reddish color to bright purple. Talk about artandcolour in nature!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Today's Abstraction

The sky reflected in a shallow pond, burnished autumn leaves dropping and floating and marsh grasses weaving and swirling in the water... all contribute to this abstract scene. Seen from the boardwalk shortcut I take into the middle of town everyday. Box turtles galore live here, and it's a rare day when careless debris and environmental toss-aways aren't littering this bit of beauty. I'm amazed that people can just toss their Starbuck's coffee cups, CVS paper bags, and other stuff into this little world. Last year, there was even a metal shopping cart tossed in here for a few weeks. 

Who'da Thunk It?

Casey/Artandcolour Soars Over 150,000 Page Views

Celebratory balloons all around for my loyal readers! This little ol' blog, which I started about 20 months ago, has hit a milestone in page views I never thought it would—150,000 hits. My second blog, casey/artandcolour_cars, has recorded more than 15,000 hits by itself. I thank everyone from the very bottom of my very humble heart—and a big thanks to PhantomX who found these balloon photos for me for the celebration, lol. Thank you, all!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wear Purple Today! GLAAD Spirit Day

Today is GLAAD's Spirit Day, a day to fight the bullying our LGBT youth face everyday, a day to wear purple and support the idea that words and images matter. As a child, I was bullied at school without mercy, and it wasn't until I reached Vassar that I realized life didn't have to be like that. The damage was done though, and throughout my entire life I've fought the effects of that childhood bullying, or terrorizing as I thought of it as I was going through it, including substance abuse and mental health issues leading to attempts to take my own life. And I had very supportive parents and family when I got home from school. I can't imagine what these children go through when their parents are homophobic and abusive as well. We, as a nation, really need to reach down deep in our hearts and make this a fair and healthy environment for ALL of our young people, but especially those fighting homophobia in their homes, schools, towns/cities and of course, online. We have lost too many promising young people to suicides in recent years because of bullying at the hands of hateful and bigoted homophobes.

It doesn't take a special day for me to wear a purple T-shirt, though. I own two, and wear them a few times each week. They're both from my "Lenny & Joe's" collection, lol. I have at least fifty T-Shirts from this local seafood restaurant, going back to the early 1980s. They come out with new designs in the spring and in the fall. Above, my purple T-shirts posed in front of some of my new pieces of art, as well as my dahlias and zinnias, still flowering profusely in the garden.

Wear something purple today!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friends Along the Way

During my daily walks, I don't just see fellow walkers and runners. I see a lot of other "friends" along the way. This black cat, above, likes to sit on that stone wall in front of his/her mansion. Talk about Halloween decorations! A few of these photos were shot from a distance so please forgive the poor resolution!

We have frequent deer sightings at Pink Gardens. This female white tail is on the little road the house is located on. I'm just starting out on a walk here, heading towards town and the shore.

This cute dog, who I've nicknamed "Buddy," is always lying on the same spot of grass. He gave me a single bark the first time I saw him a couple of months ago, and now just looks up at me and gives me a nod. Some of the dogs along the route are real "yappers" and if it wasn't for the sonic dog "fences" most homes have, I might have a little less hair on my legs, lol. Buddy is a sweetheart, though.

We have two pairs of Mallard ducks this fall living in the little swamps along our tiny road. Last year we had a gay Mallard couple, lol, just two males, but this year they seemed to have found a couple of females to hang with. Above, bright green feathers on their heads signify the males.

A female seagull in quiet repose, silhouetted nicely by a shallow tidal pool.

Another "seagal" checking out the scene at the shore.