Something nice

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I was surprised and flattered when Laurie Eno,  a Massachusetts writer whose blog I’ve been reading for a couple of years, asked if she could write about Digging RI and my dog, Fidget, on her terrific blog “The Daily Corgi.” She used lots of my photos too!

You can find her post here:

http://thedailycorgi.blogspot.com

I have a permanent link to her site on the right. (Put there long before this post)

Thanks Laurie!

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Getting creative with plants

 

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One good thing about my job is that I get to go to some cool places and meet interesting people. This week, I visited a woman in Hopkinton RI who has realized her dream of opening a restaurant. That’s it in the photo. She named it “Back in Thyme.”

She is also a a plantswoman and an accomplished garden designer, so of course, she has applied her good taste to decorating the small building where she opened her cafe.

IMG_3168This is one side of the wraparound porch. When it’s warm, you can hang out here and watch the world go by. In the 1920s, when this building was constructed, people did that. They sat and talked and gazed out at their neighborhoods. Sigh.

Notice the lovely containers, housing plants of various kinds – low-growing mostly.

 

IMG_3171Here’s the other side of that porch. I love the color she chose for the walls.

IMG_3175Inside, there’s a table with, among other things, this moss garden.

IMG_3174Also on the table, bok choy that she cut and plopped in a dish of water where it’s growing quite happily. Whenever she needs some leaves for a soup garnish she just snips them off.

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Looking out through one of the windows, I saw more bok choy growing. In front of the yellow can on the right and barely visible, there’s a beet growing greens the same way. Creative, fun and useful, no? I can’t wait to see what she does next summer.

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Only in Canada, you say?????

IMG_3036My sister in Canada told me about this chocolate cream cheese. I looked for it here in RI, but I can’t find it in any of our stores.

So I had my first taste when I was visiting her a couple of weeks ago. It is really extraordinarily delicious. Not too sweet either. Kind of like chocolate cheesecake without the cake. Really good on salty things.

I bought two, and I am down to the last one. Probably for the best.

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Thankful

Every morning before work, I try to pause for a minute or two, just to listen to the birds and to breathe. It helps clear my head for the chaos to come. I see Thanksgiving that way, only on an larger, annual scale. You pause to contemplate what you are thankful for in your life.

IMG_2934I’m thankful for my fabulous adopted dog, for gentle, fall days like the one in the photo, and for my ability to get out and enjoy them to the fullest. This photo was taken at Narragansett Beach about two weeks ago. I love the way the sun and waves patterned the sand.

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The woods are always there for me, and they never let me down. I’m thankful for their soothing and inspiring presence.

IMG_1043I’m so grateful I have friends to share my outdoor adventures with.

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Canine friends, too.

And I am grateful for my readers, some of whom have been with me since I started this blog back in 2009.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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Tree talk

On my recent visit with my family in Quebec, Canada, I spent quite a bit of time in the woods. You know the saying “can’t see the forest for the trees?” I like to flip that and notice the individual trees that comprise the forest. This forest on Mont. Rigaud in western Quebec is heavily managed, but interesting nevertheless.

A few trees, like this one, are ancient, first growth relics. The entity that manages this trail saw fit to mark it with a sign and an explanation of how dying and decaying trees, known in French as “chicots” provide shelter and food for  animals and birds.

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Here’s the sign.

IMG_3020Here’s another example of how dying trees benefit wildlife. This cedar was riddled with oblong pileated woodpecker holes. Pileateds are the biggest woodpeckers in the area by far, and my sister has them coming to her peanut and sweet feeders where they hammer away at the food.

IMG_2996The beeches are also beautiful. I thought the roots of this specimen were cool –  like elephant skin. This is why mulching tree roots kills so many trees. The roots need to breathe.

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There were many white birches along the trail. It’s too warm in Rhode Island now to grow these trees reliably. People have switched to river birches here.

IMG_3029Some of the maples were also tapped for sap. Tubing is the preferred method when you have a large sugar bush. It’s kind of a pain when the squirrels chew it up though.

IMG_3009I am particularly fond of fall and winter hiking because the visibility is so much better, but it’s always a good day when I’m in the woods.

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Early winter

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Just back from a few days in my old home, Quebec Canada. My sister and I did a four-hour hike on Mt. Rigaud, west of Montreal. It wasn’t snowy yet but it was “gloves weather.”

IMG_3010We stopped here, on mossy rocks, for a snack. It was a bit of a climb, just enough to get your heart cranking.

IMG_2986 This pond was frozen, but not hard enough to walk on.

IMG_2989We came across this cool boulder, a “glacial erratic” I assume.

IMG_2985The marshes were quiet, except for the ever-present chickadees, which are always welcome.

IMG_3030With the light beginning to fade, we found ourselves on a road with a long nasty climb and cars whizzing past. We ended up calling a taxi to get us back to where we’d parked the car, because we didn’t want to walk the road in the dark. Sometimes, you just gotta cut bait. Still an awesome hike, though.

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Wild waters

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Look at all those warnings. It is NOT a good idea to swim at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham, on Cape Cod, MA. This beautiful, wild place is a stunning barrier beach; constantly shifting and changing, with new sand spits and cuts being formed, then lost, then appearing again.

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It is also home to a sizable gray seal population, and the seals have in turn attracted great white sharks. Between the sharks and the seals and the currents, it is a place to walk and sit. Just don’t go in the water. More warning signs await you as you descend the stairs to the beach. They aren’t taking any chances.

Here is another view of Monomoy Point. I always bring binoculars so I can gaze at the ocean, which, on this day, was a wee bit angry.

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Here’s some trivia: the Pilgrims on the Mayflower first tried to land here in 1620, but the currents were so treacherous they had to give up and head for calmer waters. They ended up in Provincetown. For more on the history of Monomoy Point, click here.

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Green Fall then and now

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We hiked the Green Fall trail today, my favorite. Many of the leaves are down, but the beeches are still clinging to most of theirs and the green is a nice contrast to all that brown.

There have been a few changes since we were here last spring.

IMG_2860A new bridge leads to the big rocks we always have so much fun scrambling up. This time, we scrambled down on our way back, too.

IMG_2872We saw no water flowing through the dam at Green Pond. We had such a dry summer, and the streams are only now beginning to recover.

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The gorge, with its magnificent hemlocks, had a trickle of water running through it. Still peaceful and pretty, though.

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This is the gnarly bridge that used to cross the river. Always fun.

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Today, the logs were gone, replaced by rocks crossing what has become a tiny stream.

IMG_2883Ferns and mosses were still thriving in the clear autumn light.

IMG_2863It was a great day on the trail. But aren’t they all?

 

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Protect yourself

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Hunting season in RI opened in September. The regulations are complex and arcane, but I don’t hunt, so all I have to know is that when I go into the woods, I am obliged by law to wear blaze orange. My dog often accompanies me, so she now wears her own safety vest.

Even thus attired, there are trails we avoid altogether at this time of year. There are so many hunters, it’s just too risky. We often meet people on the trail who don’t know the regulations or simply don’t care. But they’re breaking the law and they could be shot by mistake. It happens.

It seems to me that there’s almost always some season for hunting something. There are a couple of months during the summer when we don’t have to wear blaze, but those aren’t our favorite hiking months, anyway, and we often skip a week because it’s too darned hot and buggy.

It’s the one down side of fall, which is an otherwise perfect hiking season.

 

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Autumn is for rambling

IMG_2680As the bracken dies back, the effect of the brown fronds is lovely, don’t you think? This is the time of year when I spend more time in the woods, and on the road. Fewer bugs and no crowds.

IMG_2674Here’s the funny “smoking frog” rock that we always admire when we’re in Audubon’s Maxwell Mays refuge. The “cigar” is sticking out of the left side of his mouth.

IMG_2687In a swampy section of the refuge, dead trees stand out against an intense autumn blue sky.

IMG_2501We drove up to Maine for a weekend. The asters were amazing.

IMG_2516The weather was perfect, so we stopped at this beach for a while.

IMG_2509Our dog wasted no time in going for a nice, long swim.

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She also enjoyed the rocks at one of our favorite spots: Kettle Cove.

IMG_2540It was a beautiful weekend. Perfect for a little ramble.

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