Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Hiking in Wawayanda State Park, you cannot miss the massive remains of the iron furnace and the little village the surrounds it. It is a landmark and people often use it when giving directions. Built in 1846, it operated for 10 years and the ore was of such high quality it was used for train wheels. But cheaper Pennsylvania coal drew the smelting business away and now the stone furnace sits in the woods a testiment to history. North Jersey is full of rocks and you can often see the rust stains on them from the iron.
Monday, April 20, 2009
What is the first sign of Spring for you? The first Robins? The faint pink blush on the trees? The thermometer inching past 60? The chorus of Spring Peepers in the wetland? Now that the signs of Spring are all around us, even up here on the mountain; I asked a friend what were his first signs of Spring. He said the golden waves of Forsythia along the highways. Now, I love Forsythia as much as the next girl, and they do bloom early, and I have lots at my house; but they are not native. I guess I was hoping for something wilder.
The first (non-crocus) flower of the Spring for me is the Coltsfoot. It is at the other end of the Aster family since most Asters bloom in fall. It can start blooming as early as February along roadsides and waste places.
Imagine my surprise when I learned that it is not native either. It was introduced from Europe. Bummer. What a bubble burster.
So I am back to the tried and true childhood favorite.
Friday, April 17, 2009
I stood on the front porch talking with a neighbor, when I happened to look up and murmured under my breath, "Red at night, sailors delight". I heard this from my Grandpa. Now every time I see something like this, that little poem rises to mind. And although far from the sea, it really does still hold true.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Easter is my favorite holiday. It is a time of renewal, hope, promise and change. Every year I have people in for an often freezing-dash-around-the-yard egghunt and lunch. I hope your holiday was as terrific as mine.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Every little girl of my generation read and loved Misty of Chincoteague, with its wild horses and pony penning. I doubt little girls read it still, it is an old-fashioned sort of book. Pity. My sister and I even went to Chincoteague for the Pony Swim years ago. What I didn't know until I got to North Carolina, although it is not a secret, was that there were wild horses on the very northern most section of the Outer Banks. There are photos on postcards and prints in shops, even wild horse tours. It was intriguing. Since we had a 4 wheel drive truck, we decided to go see for ourselves.
We drove north of Corolla, past the big fancy ocean-front homes, and out onto the beach and from there 11 miles to Carova. Pulling off the beach through the soft sand we found an isolated community, where wild horses wander down sand-packed roads and nibble the scarce vegetation. But for something so large, they are not easy to see; we had to search for them, hanging out the car windows to follow hoof prints in the sand and eying piles of horse manure trying to determine if they were fresh. But find them we did, tucked amidst the scrubby shrubs and strolling down sandy roads.
They are definitely wild if wild needs uncared for; there are signs that proclaim "No Feeding" and "No Approaching". But they were not particularly upset about cars and they often wandered through yards (such as they were) so they were acclimated to people. All the ones I saw had shaggy coats, were thin-ish, as would be expected, I suppose, and some had scars.
I was expecting more of the pinto pony type like the ones on Assateague but these were all solid colors. There is something resilient and romantic about horses that still roam wild after their ancestors jumped ship 400 years in the past.
To see other parts of the world, check out My World Tuesday.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Portuguese Man-o-War. The very names strikes fear in the hearts of men. The stinging pain of their tentacles is legendary. I have seen the scars on the feet of a friend stung while swimming off the shore of Bermuda. Yet they are beautiful in a diaphanous sort of way. My cousin and I walked along the beach in the brightening day picking up shells and in general marveling at all of the things tossed up by the sea at night. The further out to the point we got, we discovered the beach to be littered with pale blue balloons of various sizes. She whooped with delight proclaiming them to be Portuguese Man-o-War. I had never seen one and was frankly incredulous. But having looked them up them I got home; it is true. I expected them to be larger and less lovely I guess.
Friday, April 3, 2009
I just got back from a few days in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We stayed at the Lighthouse View Motel in Buxton, with, yes, a view of Cape Hatteras lighthouse. The lovely thing is that it is not a standard motel; it has individual houses. We stayed on the bottom floor of one of the round cottages with an ocean view. My cousin and I got up every morning at sunrise and walked out on the beach to see what the shifting tides had thrown up in the night. I walked past this storm twisted fence next to the house everyday. Although the weather was windy and cold, it is always nice to be at the beach, hear the crashing waves and see the seabirds going about their day.