The long summer days are behind us already, filled with lots of gardening. We saw evidence of lush growth after the ample rains of early summer, lots of flowers, pollinators of all kinds, more weeds than were welcomed, many people enjoying being out when possible, and others grateful for help as other parts of life took precedence. Linda continues to enjoy getting to some gardens on her e-assist cargo bike, but Edwin still finds the truck and trailer too useful for now. Right now we are enjoying the shift to more fall-like weather, with sweaters in the morning, plenty to harvest from the vegetable garden, and dahlias in their glory.
Many of you know that Edwin and our daughter Saskia headed to the Alps for a 2 week trip hiking hut to hut in an area on the Austrian-Italian border, near where the Oetzi mummy was found. Many people have asked about pictures, so here are a selection from their trip. Lots of pictures, few words:
Starting in Vent, with green valleys, farms, stonework, flowers. Then heading up into the mountains.
Overnights were in 'huts' that are part of the local hiking and mountaineering system.
Flowers, cows, horses, water in its many forms along the way:
You go to the mountains for many reasons, but 'views' is a big one. The weather cooperated with many clear mornings and mostly fair weather clouds. Some of the mountain views that were savored over the course of those days:
The trip started with Edwin and Saskia, but they were later joined by our other daughter, Truuske, and her partner Melvin. With the four together, they were able to climb a few higher peaks, and with appropriate gear, traverse some glaciers and head higher up.
Every trip has to come to an end - but luckily this one had a train ride to ease the transition back to lower ground.
The lengthening days and sunshine are so welcome, but we still need our patience as winter cold and snow hold on. Which is why Edwin has taken his annual escape to the Netherlands and I continue to work on my list of winter projects.
In February we took a trip to the Southwest and enjoyed the time and hiking and train ride and scenery and visiting and all that we did while there.
So here are a few pictures to share of what we saw on our travels:
And if anyone is interested in a word description, here is a brief summary:Trip to the SouthWest, 8-24 February 2019
If you ask about our trip, we'll tell you we had a great time – we really did. Pictures can give a sense, and be a reminder, so we took lots of them. But here is a short word summary of our time away from Vermont:
We traveled 4522 miles by train, round trip (Springfield, MA – Albuquerque, NM), 48+ hours each way – plenty of room to sit, sleep, enjoy the country going by, and see an amazing cross-section of people as fellow passengers.
We clocked 1300+ miles in our rental car (a Kia Soul, silver, summer tires – almost made it everywhere we needed to go).
We hiked more than 40 miles of trails in various places – mostly mountains.
We crossed the Continental Divide 4 times.
We spent 6 nights in our tent, with temperatures near or below freezing at night, but much warmer during the day.
We spent one night in a motel, when it was snowing and the temperature was in the 20'sF.
Other nights we were with family or friends, or on the train, of course.
We were at 5 different hot springs venues, and soaked in one hot spring 5 times – conveniently situated near our tent site.
We saw lots of mountains, and lots of cactus, not many green leaves, but some spring wildflowers in the desert.
We visited 2 brothers, one in Tucson, AZ, one near Durango, CO, and a friend from Vermont now in Truth or Consequences, NM. We met countless other interesting folk along the way (in the train, on the trails, at the campsites), and had times where we saw nearly no one.
We visited petroglyphs, cliff dwellings from 700 years ago, Wilderness areas, mountain islands in the desert, high parkland plateaus, a slot canyon, Saguaro forests with blooming wildflowers, the amazing Tree Ring Laboratory in Tucson, and a too snowy for our rental car southwest Colorado. We saw tracks of wildlife (perhaps even a mountain lion), enjoyed a few moments watching a wild mountain stream bird (Dipper), heard stories from fellow travelers, and were impressed by the beautiful and interesting places we found wherever we stopped.
What's not to like about traveling?! Except that being home, in your own bed, has its joys, too. And there is plenty of beauty to find here as well. It's just different!
September started as full summer still, but we have gratefully made the transition to fall here at the end of the month. The weather still isn't settled, but the foggy mornings, shifting colors and sweater producing temperatures are all signs that we are truly past the equinox.
The late blooming hydrangeas have been in full glory:
It's also been a stellar year for marigolds:
Even if not overflowing, other plants catch our eye this time of year, too. (A couple of the photos seem to be on their side - I'll post this and see if they straighten online - we can always hope, right?!)
And then a few glimpses of an installation project on Western Avenue that many people seem to have noticed.
And now on to October!
Between the heat and humidity and monsoon rains recently, it is hard to remember how dry it was back in June. As we wake to yet another grey, soggy morning, I wonder if the dampness will take over inside as well as out. The few days of clear air and sunshine stand out as welcome breaks.
Despite our grumbling and wondering about the weather, garden work has continued of course. The weeds are thriving in a tropical jungle kind of way, so maintenance is ongoing. Edwin has also completed some installation projects. He adjusted his tempo and timing a bit because of the heat earlier in July, and more recently was working between (or even through) the downpours.
I tried to take more pictures this past month, and especially enjoyed seeing how many different kinds of insects were active in the flowers - more power to the pollinators! I have a new phone/camera and am finding out what works and doesn't with it for good photos. I'm sharing some of the scenes and close ups that came out well, or well enough. The gardens are always beautiful, but capturing that beauty in a photo is a different art than gardening...
We've made it through last week's beastly weather and have been glad to have long sleeves in the morning again - for now at least. June held a variety of garden work for us, including finally finishing up the first round of maintenance (and immediately going back for a second visit in a few cases!), and moving on to installation projects, large and small. Garden work is full of variety, and we appreciate having different gardens, and different projects, to keep our bodies nimble as we switch activities.
I am including some pictures from June's glories here, mostly from our garden, I realize, so I must not have gotten my camera out enough in other gardens.
It's nice to be reminded of the details we saw, especially as the gardens change and other features now catch our eye.
We have a couple of ideas for a next blog post - one being 'lunch places we get to enjoy at work' or 'views from lunch'. Any other suggestions?!
As expected, the long wait for spring meant that May was full of busy-ness - and lots of blooms, too. We are just now feeling that perhaps our spring 'to do' list can be retired as we turn towards summer and start to tackle the projects on our summer list. As we have a couple of days of welcome moisture to revive us now, I'll share some pictures I took along the way in May. Some already feel as if they were taken ages ago - but each moment has its glories.
What a difference some sun and warmer temperatures can make! Two weeks ago we had to wonder when winter would give up. Now we can see new growth each day - buds, blooms, green grass, and innumerable little maple seedlings appearing, and the last bits of once mountainous snow piles sinking away.
We know it is really spring as we get various water elements bubbling and flowing in their garden spots. Above is at Jeanne and Ray's in Guilford, below is Margaret's fountain in Dummerston:
And being in the gardens is even more fun when we work together:
Thanks for the photo, Lois!
We look forward to more happy encounters as we work our way up and out of the lowlands of Brattleboro into the awakening hills.
Biking in the Netherlands, spring? in Vermont
In March both Edwin and Linda were in the Netherlands for two weeks of biking and visiting family. The weather was on the cold side, but often sunny, and we enjoyed the chance to see the variety of landscapes you can find. Sometimes in March the daffodils and forsythia and other spring bloomers are in full show. Not this year, but the grass was turning green and we found good picnic spots in the sun.
So we returned to Vermont at the end of March, and despite the cold here, most of the snow in Brattleboro was disappearing and we were able to be out in the gardens right away. But winter seems to be having a hard time letting go, and here we are in mid-April and slush sculptures seem to be the order of the day.
We'd be glad to organize a bike tour to the Netherlands now! Any takers?
The waterstone in our pond splashes bravely on.
Summer Photos in September
We have been out in the gardens all summer, enjoying the sights and growth of the season. Now it is high time to share a bit of what we have seen.
In search of a gardener...
We made this video last year, but it still seems applicable whenever Edwin is working in a garden.
A place where we can share some photos of gardens we are in and enjoying as the season progresses.
1029 Upper Dummerston Rd, Brattleboro, VT 05301