Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve - A Time for Reflection

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May we all reflect as well as these Sanderlings.

This evening we are going out to dinner at a local South Abaco bone fishing club followed by a bonfire on the beach with neighbors.  If we are lucky, we will see the fireworks from Cherokee Sound and from a new resort at Winding Bay, just north of us.

Happy New Year to All.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tables from beach wood - Abacos

Beach Wood Tables 
Made from boards found on the beach.

These tables were made of wood that drifted onto our beach. The top is simply plywood. Because of this, the table legs have great character. The tables were built by Steve Roessler, our neighbor, and Joe, my husband.

The bowl shown on the table is made of Tamarind wood, also found locally. The bowl was carved by another one of our neighbors, W. Stephen Knowles.

One of the special things about being down here in the Abacos is having time to really appreciate what is available, locally.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays

Our Christmas postcard this year was taken on the beach out front of our home at High Banks on Eight Mile Bay, Abacos.  The snowmen are a gift from our son-in-law's parents who live in Boise, Idaho.  That snow globe plays a great version of "Frosty the Showman".  Merry Christmas, everybody.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Night Before the Night Before Christmas

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Today the ocean is so peaceful.  These are late afternoon photos taken of the beach out front. 

Joe and I took a walk today and followed the quiet, shallow waters at low tide.  Baby bonefish were everywhere, as was one lone baby barracuda, sliding through the water like a silver knife, shadow below his belly. 

We were awestruck with the calm.

One of our heighbor's children came out with her father to take care of the dogs while her father fished.  She was having fun running with the dogs, chasing them, picking things up and tagging along with her Dad.  Her playground is huge.  The silence is enormous. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Heavy Traffic on the Beach

Posted by PicasaOne of my favorite birds are the Sanderlings (Calidris alba).  These little ones feed on the sandy beaches.  When the waves hit the shore, the Sanderlings run around them, never getting wet, even though they are so close.  They never seem to move their head or body, just their legs. I would guess that they may take as many as 5 or 6 steps per second so their legs look like little blurs as their bodies float by.  I can walk with them for long periods of time, but if I pick up my camera to take a photo, they fly away.

One of our neighbors here at Bahama Palm Shores, Ann Capling, did a painting of them that we have hung in our hallway.  Part of her painting looks like this.

The Sanderling tracks are everywhere on the beach.

If this were the only beach traffic we got, it would be wonderful.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Jingle Bells" Parrot Style

Their feathers don't match the song.  These parrots are beautiful to look at with their bright green, yellow and orange feathers.  But they sure could use a singing lesson.  I posted their song for you to hear

Friday, December 10, 2010

Birds in our Backyard

We are going to participate in the December 18th 2010
Friends of the Environment
 7TH  Annual South Abaco Christmas Bird Count

I thought it a good idea to start reading up on what we might see and found this great report from the Cornell Lab or Ornithology that talks about all the birds in our area here in the Abacos.
Birding in Bahamas - Spring 2009 Living Bird, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Hanging out the laundry to dry in the backyard is a joy. There are the sounds of parrots squawking and the chatter of little birds of various sizes at times perched on branches just a few feet away from the clothesline.  They are so close that sometimes I duck when they fly by.  If I come out early in the evening, the Night Heron screams at me and rushes her feathers hoping to keep me at bay.  I hear her at night from time to time as she squawks at other intruders, I guess most likely feral cats.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's the same sun, but.... a different temperature.

New York Sunset.

Abaco Sunrise.

Starting tomorrow,  I am  moving to the Abacos for the winter months.  I wonder if there are any bananas on the banana tree?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hastings High School and Hudson River

To all you graduates out there, this is what the school looks like from Hudson Heights.  The  Hudson River dominates the background. We can hear the distant cheers from soccer games, football games and of course, the first day of school when all the seniors show up to scream and shout and bang on drums notifying the school system that they are only here for 8 more months.

Here is a larger view of that same scene showing Hastings-on-Hudson and its High School from Hudson Heights. Our children walked to and from school every day with their books on their back, trombones, trumpets, violins in hand.  The trip was straight up and down.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Formal terraces drift into rugged footpaths

We work with this garden so that when people walk into it they sense that they have entered the edges of a wilder area, perhaps a meadow.   The formal terraces near the house drift into softer terraces that become simple footpaths entering into the woods.  The farther terraces are naturalized rather than formal and well-defined.  These  varying locations are gardened differently and provide constantly changing colors and textures with each season.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Floral Arrangements from the Garden

It is hard to believe that there is still this much color in the New York winter yard, but there is.  Here is our Thanksgiving Dinner floral arrangement that we made from our garden plants.  Brightest are the Winterberries and Hydrangeas, and also the varied leaves from a variety of bushes.  Softest color comes from the purple berries of the Beauty Bush.  Free for the taking and free shipping, of course.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Color's Last Blast

A worthy and sustained attempt to be colorful in the late autumn.  No plastic surgery for these fellows.  Just the beauty of the fade.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Secret Garden- A Special Place for Children

In one of his garden projects,  Joe is designing a grassy circle of small trees, surrounded by hydrangea, rhododendron, and native grasses, at the top of the hill as a location especially for children, so they may take "hikes" and sit on blankets in the side yard and look at the big view across the river and through the trees.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tired of weeding? Look up.

The Palisades are a terrific respite from hours of weeding and raking,  my knees stuck in the dirt, arms and legs weary from tugging and pulling on horrible, creepy, invasive vines.  It pays every once in awhile to stop looking down at the weeds and to look up and catch the larger view.   This view reaches past all the noisy leaf blowers, dismisses the roars of lawn mowers and shifts one's thoughts beyond ones aching muscles.  When I stand up from weeding, I see the Palisades of New Jersey across the Hudson River. What a mood they provide each day. Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mint Tea Anyone?

Pinch a couple of mint leaves out in the yard, drop them in steaming water and have a cup of mint tea.  Delicious!  It is late November and they are still fresh and green.

A New Approach to Getting There

Falling, tumbling, rolling down the hill, limping upon our return. We finally gave in and repaired the steps. Now the entire backyard is available to us for planting. We have a completely new medium for our work. Water trickles through the granite rocks leaving small streams to be a constant source of water for certain portions of the yard. Shade mixes with bright sun. It is a bit like going into the Grand Canyon, because the noises of the street and yard disappear as we step lower into the backyard. You can see what our steps used to look like in the 2009 part of this blog.

A woman visited us last year and told us that she lived in our house 35 years ago.  She said her parents built  the original steps so that she could quickly visit her best friend and neighbor who lived in the house below.  Now that the steps are finally repaired, I envision a new group of children using them them for adventures exploring the backyard.  Hopefully this includes our grandchildren.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gardening steep slopes - Not for the faint at heart

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Try mowing this yard!  We are working to naturalize this back yard.  We have removed all the invasive Norway Maples and are now replacing them with native plants.   Step by step, so they say.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Art Mimics Nature

Gabriel's painting of our bird bath out front
  Photo of the front garden taken this morning.

Above is a painting of the front garden that our son Gabriel did when he was in high school and below it is a photo of the same place, today.  This part of the garden is a haven for birds.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A New Little Blossom in the Education Garden

First School Photo

Our eldest grandchild sent us her school photo from kindergarten.  Just like the other garden, things keep rejuvenating.   This time around, we just get to enjoy the photos and leave all the "making of the lunches" to our adult children.   Thank you Lila for the picture.  We are very proud of you.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Autumn reflections

 We are at the height of color.  There is no freeze yet, which explains the bright hues.  This is my favorite place to read.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Winter in Hastings on Hudson

Yes, this is a photo taken this November. We still have very lovely weather. These are the last of the flowers, along with a couple of roses still showing their faces.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

November Colors

Tomatoes from the garden, even at this late date. But we are at the very tail end of the survivors. 

Today, there was evidence of sleet in the rain.  It is cold and damp outside.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Autumn in New York

Posted by Picasa    The colors this year are exceptional.  This is our backyard.