Seems to me they bloomed late this year but we finally got some blossoms. Didn’t get a single flower last summer. Mrs M says I trimmed back the stalks too far the previous winter. Left it alone this past winter. So she’s probably right. She usually is about gardening matters.
Mannionville Ranch. Seven a.m. Saturday. June 27, 2015.
As I said in yesterday’s post, “It’s On Me”: How a free bag of bagels can expand and enrich the world, I now have a reason to go to Saugerties where I haven’t been except to pass through on my way somewhere else since July 2011. And then I didn’t spend much time in town. Instead I made my way down to where Esopus Creek empties into the Hudson River and went exploring out by the lighthouse there.
This is a view from the lighthouse keeper’s front porch. Well, it would be if there still was a lighthouse keeper. What there is is an innkeeper. It’s a bed and breakfast now.
Well, making notes for blogging under the trees, at any rate. They don’t have WiFi at the picnic tables at Valley Forge. Gives you renewed respect for what Washington and the troops went through, doesn’t it?
Behind the Cabin Gift Shop. Valley Forge National Park. Sunday morning. May 17, 2015.
Started a post this morning with, “The only hope most Americans have these days of climbing back up to solid footing in the middle class, paying off their debts, avoiding taking on more debt, and securing for themselves a halfway comfortable retirement is winning the lottery.”
I stopped there.
I thought, “Well, that’s a cheerful way to begin a Sunday morning.”
And what good would it do? You don’t need to be told that. The people who need to be told it don’t read the blog and wouldn’t care anyway because they’re the ones who’ve arranged the situation for their own advantage. They only want to make it worse for the rest of us. As far as they’re concerned, the problem isn’t that so many Americans are slipping downwards out of the middle class, it’s that not enough of us have slipped out of it yet. What this country needs in their opinion are more poor people desperate to hold onto the little they have. So, I decided, to give it up in favor of something more cheering.
And what, I ask you, is more cheering than a happy dog?
This is my pal Harley, one of my hosts when I stay over in Syracuse.
Now, don’t you feel better?
Photo by Steve Kuusisto who won’t let me take Harley home with me even though he knows Harley wants to come.
Meanwhile, north of Boston, another sign spring is coming. The weather has been warm enough the snow has melted enough that Uncle Merlin has finally been able to make progress clearing his walk and steps. The tenant is saved! He’s a superhero of a landlord.
Lousy weather has caused delays and school closings around here all week. But this morning the sun’s shining and the roads are clear and all is merry and bright. Woke up at six-thirty and after checking the weather report and the Mannion guys’ school websites to see what was up, I immediately texted Uncle Merlin.
“School day! Up and at ‘em!”
He replied: “Ha! Got ya beat! Dog had me up at 5:59!”
So I texted back: “Good for Art. Since he’s so energetic this morning ask him to make the coffee.”
Uncle Merlin relayed the message.
This is the look I got back.
Art the Wonder Dog. Somewhere north of Boston. Six forty-five this morning. Friday. March 6, 2015.
Uncle Merlin’s been on Maui for the past couple of weeks. To apologize, he sent us a CARE package.
He forgot to include some sun, surf, sand, and warm weather. Probably in the next package.
Macadamia nuts. More macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts dipped in chocolate. Various sea salts and spices, flown in fresh from Hawaii, having survived an 80 degree drop in temperature along the way. Kitchen at the Mannion Ranch. Wednesday evening. February 25, 2015.
The truth is Art the Wonder Dog isn’t a fan of snow. In fact, he regards it with suspicion and resentment as if it’s fallen with the sole purpose of playing a trick on him. You can see that in his posture. But it makes for a cheerier picture if you imagine he’s getting ready to go bounding off into the drifts to play, happily burying himself, disappearing in over his head, until all you can see is the tip of his tail and his ears. So there you go.
We’re having a little snow out our way too. How’s by you?
Photo by Uncle Merlin. North of Boston. Around eight this morning. Monday, February 2, 2015.
Ice storm. Hastings woods. Westchester County, New York. Saturday. January 18, 2015. By long time visitor to Mannionville M. George Stevenson who comments on his own photography skills: “Scary what you can do with a phone these days.”
Scenes like this always put me in mind of poems by Robert Frost which is natural since Frost wrote his poems to put readers in mind of scenes like this.
Out walking in the frozen swamp one gray day, I paused and said, 'I will turn back from here. No, I will go on farther—and we shall see.' The hard snow held me, save where now and then One foot went through. The view was all in lines Straight up and down of tall slim trees Too much alike to mark or name a place by So as to say for certain I was here Or somewhere else: I was just far from home. A small bird flew before me. He was careful To put a tree between us when he lighted, And say no word to tell me who he was Who was so foolish as to think what he thought. He thought that I was after him for a feather— The white one in his tail; like one who takes Everything said as personal to himself. One flight out sideways would have undeceived him. And then there was a pile of wood for which I forgot him and let his little fear Carry him off the way I might have gone, Without so much as wishing him good-night. He went behind it to make his last stand. It was a cord of maple, cut and split And piled—and measured, four by four by eight. And not another like it could I see. No runner tracks in this year's snow looped near it. And it was older sure than this year's cutting, Or even last year's or the year's before. The wood was gray and the bark warping off it And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle. What held it though on one side was a tree Still growing, and on one a stake and prop, These latter about to fall. I thought that only Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks Could so forget his handiwork on which He spent himself, the labor of his ax, And leave it there far from a useful fireplace To warm the frozen swamp as best it could With the slow smokeless burning of decay.
Uncle Merlin has many fine and noble qualities but he also has a cruel streak when it comes to food. Way back when, when he was living in Boston working in the restaurant biz and I was way up north at the boondock college I was longing to transfer to Boston from, subsisting on pizza and the little cafeteria food I could choke down, he used to send me menus from the many fine dining establishments in and around the Hub. He told me he did it to encourage me to make the move, but I knew the truth.
People never change. The other day this turned up in my mailbox. My usual dessert these days is a bowl of oatmeal with a drop of maple syrup. He knows that. Probably he’d say he sent this to encourage me to beat the diabetes, but I know the truth.
I don’t know exactly what these are or where they’re from---petit fours? Some place on Newbury Street, I think.---and I don’t want to know. I’m happy with my oatmeal, thank you.
Winter in far Western New York. Somewhere in the vicinity of Buffalo. Taken by our old blogging compadre and Jaquandor of Byzantium’s Shores and author of the young adult sci-fi novel Stardancer. Friday morning. January 9, 2015.