Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TownColour—Decorating With Cabbages?

Trending for perhaps ten years now, these ornamental cabbages have become as much a New England fall tradition as "hairdo" mums, pots of tiny peppers, pumpkins and gourds.

"Planted" in hay and straw, these pumpkins and crysanthemums bring some color to a downtown sidewalk.

This variety is much frillier than the others in this post.

This brass bell is more than one hundred years old, and sits in a prominent window of the downtown volunteer fire department.

Looking almost rose-like, this cabbage is sittin' pretty!

A strictly ornamental bicycle outside of a downtown boutique specializing in French imports.

This clump of swamp roots and moss combine to make a perfect little home for the gnomes and fairies of Pink Gardens' yard. This must be the entrance to their fabulous miniature world!

Bonus Photos:
One of my "holiday" cactuses, this bright pure pink variety, is blooming this week. While it's technically a Christmas cactus, this plant bloomed for Thanksgiving. My actual Thanksgiving cactus doesn't have a single bud on it yet, lol. My three other cactuses, which range from salmon to fuschia to red, lack buds, too. I guess there's no rushing Mother Nature!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sticks and Stones (and Leaves and Seaweed)

On my daily walks, I usually pick a "theme" to photograph that day, for example, rocks, trees, leaves, abstracts, houses, cars, wildflowers and the like. It gives me a focus and makes each walk around town just a bit different from the last. Above, a nice windy day created whitecaps as the waves neared the shoreline. The sounds of seagulls and the rushing waves was trance-inducing. These abstractions and closeups look great when enlarged. Just click on 'em.

Seaweed and algae clings to rocks frequently under water. This was shot at low tide, exposing more or the rock than most of the time.

Fall leaves catching the light just so. I know I once learned why some trees turn orange while others change to yellow or red, but I can't remember now... 

Different types of rock melded together. I'm guessing this process took place millions of years ago.

A lone sailboat enjoying a lazy September afternoon off the coast.

Small tidal pools are formed in the depressions in the rocks during low tide.

Fractures and cracks all along these impressively huge boulders and shoreline rocks.

Euonymous turning its eponymous Burning Bush firey magenta.

Slippery when wet!

One can imagine the extreme temperatures and forces that took place millions and millions of years ago to create these shoreline boulders. The glaciers thousands of years ago probably added to these strakes and grooves as they tore across the land.

This huge stone has an area of the Connecticut shoreline's famous pink granite blended right into the more common shoreline gray rock. My great-great-grandfather, John Beattie made his fortune quarrying this granite. His company was called Red Rocks and he supplied much of the stone for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, as well as almost every turn-of-the-century shoreline railroad bridge between New York and Maine. A bit about his 1899 funeral, here. And a few photos of the quarry workers, ca 1880s, here. My other great grandfather was a sculptor at the quarry.

I'm not sure what causes this oxidation on some of the stones. I'm guessing a higher iron content in these areas.

Reaching to the sky...

Erosion and water softens the harder edges on these boulders. How many hurricanes and dangerous galeforce storms have these rocks seen through the eons?

Glaciars left many huge rocks in odd places throughout New England. We had one ten times this size just sitting in the middle of a hill by itself at our family home.

Elephant skin or rocks, lol?

Seabirds frequently use shoreline rocks like these to drop their clam- and oyster-shells onto from the air to get at the gooey goodness inside.

A lone Winterberry tree ready to shed its leaves and show off why its named Winterberry.

Trillion-ton glaciers once inched along the Connecticut shoreline leaving behind these deep scars.

Some rocks show a more melted-looking visage.

A tight little cluster of early-turning autumn leaves. The rest of the tree caught up a few weeks later.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

From My House to Yours

Happy Thanksgiving!

This 18th century secretary has seen more than two-hundred years of Thanksgivings come and go. Many of its contents have seen at least one-hundred turkey days. And some have been around for only those November feasts during my lifetime. No matter how many Thanksgivings you've enjoyed in the past, no matter how many trials and tribulations we've all had this past year—I know we've all had them—I hope today brings a little peace and harmony and delicious food for you and your loved ones. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Photopourri: Town Scenes

The very definition of a "blush of pink." This late September hydrangea showed colors ranging from the most subtle to the most distinctive.

Staring up into the trees... 

... or staring down into the pavement. I find so much beauty everywhere. These shadows remind me of a small boulder in my childhood home's yard which had a fossilized fern in it. Adele's Chasing Pavements here.

A very pretty blue ceramic pot of autumn chrysanthemums on neighbor Rick's steps.

The softly wavy edges of these granite pavers really soften their severely hard-edged layout. A morning rain shower's drenching of these blocks is slowly drying out in this afternoon photo.

My angel-wing begonia is now in the attic, and the wrought iron lawn furniture is stored in the cellar for the duration of the winter. Baby bunny, Zsa Zsa, who first came around to us this summer as we enjoyed afternoon cocktails and appetizers seated here, is still showing up, looking for cracked corn every afternoon at 5 pm!


... or sad—these classic masks of drama kept watch over Madison's elementary school children starting in 1936. This school has been closed for a few years, but is kept in good condition until a new use can be found for it. 

Closing today, I've put together a panoramic view of part of Madison's shoreline. The far right of the crumbling stone breakwater still shows the effects of Tropical Storm Irene from late August. Click on this image to enlarge!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Everyday Patterns, Colors and Textures

Greens, yellows and reds are all highlighted by the blue sky in these autumn trees. These photographs will all look much better when clicked on to enlarge!

A light fall snow on a wooden boardwalk exaggerates late afternoon shadows and footprints.

Seaweed and algae growing on these shoreline tidepools take on an almost primordial appearance. One can almost see original life beginning here.

Cotton-ball skies!

Paving stones, some faded, some holding their shades.

A ground full of autumn leaves of every hue, shape, and size.

A strict grid of granite pavers is really fairly loose in structure when seen up close.

Snow bearing down on an ornamental grass creates swirls and whirls.

Tiny seashells form an entire section of beach. There is sand under there somewhere!

Lambs' ears "weeds" were once used as bandages and antiseptics in colonial times.

Crushed oyster shells are used in many shoreline walkways, patios and even driveways.

Another Connecticut day ends as these puffy clouds roll in. What do you see?