Category Archives: spring

Salt Marsh or Rice Paddy??

Last night we anchored alone in a quiet little estuary off the ICW, less than 10 miles south of Georgetown, SC.  We didn’t make it to Georgetown because of waiting for mid-tide in some particularly shallow areas of shoaling.  The shoaling seems worse than it did two years ago, and locals in Georgia have mentioned that there just isn’t money in the budget for keeping the waterway dredged as often as in the past.

Yesterday evening was beautifully quiet.  After a long day of listening to the engine run it was so peaceful to be alone in a pretty spot.  There was no wind, which is rather rare, so when the birds weren’t singing it was utterly quiet.  Here are the marshes in the last of of the light.


I thought it was salt grass on all sides of us, but the guide book says they are rice paddies.  Hmmm…. there were some flood gate type constructions here and there, so maybe they were rice paddies. Notice the egret in the foreground.


The sun set to a chorus of trilling blackbirds, and led to a cold but tranquil night–clear skies with a gibbous moon and lots of stars.


 This morning the wind kicked up and dark clouds moved quickly over us bringing rain.  As we left the anchorage we saw a bald eagle in a lone tree in the rice paddy/marsh.  He took flight as we passed him.


Before the rain found us there were some stunning moments along the canal as we headed for Georgetown.

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 By mid morning we were anchored just off the public docks in pretty Georgetown–although it’s too bad about the noise from the steel plant and the railroad tracks, and the smell from the papermill, all at the head of the harbor!  At the local museum we were told that those are rice paddies where we anchored, and the birds were most likely a type of bobolink that the locals call ‘rice birds.’  Rice birds have been a problem since rice was first grown in these parts.  They can eat an entire crop of rice, and no one has figured out a way to deter them.  So the current rice growing endeavor has failed.  I don’t quite understand this problem since there has always been plenty of Carolina rice as long as I can remember!


A Trip along the Hudson River and Huck Weaving

This week was a beautiful time to be along the Hudson River Valley.  I drove up to participate in the Wednesday Group monthly class.  It was a stunning drive there and back, and it was beyond wonderful to be back in class after being away for several months.

I took my spool tapestry, hoping to finish it or at least draw the finishing line across the top.  After everyone took a look at it, the general consensus was to have a shaped ending.  I really liked that solution, mostly because it meant I only had one more spool to weave!  So….it is done!…well, except for all the finishing work.

2014-06-09 13.45.22 Now I can get back to my medieval spinner and an intriguing idea that has been on my mind for a while.

In the mornings before class, and in the evenings, I was so lucky to stay in place with magnificent views of the Hudson…..and to be in the company of two wonderful friends.  There is a lot of big ship traffic on the river, all day and through the night.  Very impressive!  And now that it is approaching summer there is plenty of pleasure boat traffic as well.

Alta view hudson river

On Friday my friends and I took a trip to the eastern side of the river to visit the OMI Sculpture Park, in Ghent.  First we made a quick stop at Frederick Church’s “Olana.” The Turkish inspired tile work is phenomenal, and I don’t know how all this tile work survives the climate here in upstate New York.

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The views of the river and the Catskills were as compelling as the views of the house and grounds.

2014-06-06 10.31.14And there were gardens, bursting with poppies, peonies, and iris…

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At OMI there was quite a bit of construction going on as they began installation of some new pieces.  The older pieces mostly looked really dated to me.  But in spite of the big equipment digging holes and moving artwork, and the noise, we managed to have a great time.  The weather was perfect June….

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Then, back at home, Bob and I took a walk along our own Connecticut River and enjoyed the beautiful gardens that are full of peonies.

2014-06-08 11.13.31My own deep red “Blaze” peonies have opened, right next to my “Knock Out Julia Child” yellow rose.  It’s a glorious time in the garden these days!

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While I’ve been writing this a sample of my huck lace fabric has been going through my washing machine.  It has fulled nicely in the wet finishing (no dryer).  I blotted it in a towel and have just ironed it. I’m happy to see that the pattern is square!  Three yards to weave to make a lunch bag with matching napkin as a gift, and four napkins for me!

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Here is the mug that inspired the fabric.

Weaving mug exchange

So Much Water over the Bridge!

Weeks have passed since my last post….a combination of rough weather and lots of sailing has prevented me from keeping up here.  I cannot use my computer when I am seasick, and I’ve been seasick a lot!

But that is not to say that I haven’t had some wonderful times during the past couple of weeks.  We have had some great times on shore!

Today we are back in Staniel Cay in order to meet our son Rob and his girlfriend Kandice when they fly here tomorrow afternoon.  The weather is finally settled and promises to be springlike for the next few days! …Although at this very moment the dark skies to the southwest are rapidly approaching, and I think we will get quite a violent squall any minute now! During squalls like these we have sometimes seen water spouts….I hope we won’t experience one!

We have lots of plans for things to do with Rob and Kandice, starting with seeing the pigs on Big Major’s Spot and snorkeling in the local grotto, named after the old James Bond movie “Thunderball” where the filming took place. We have not seen Rob and Kandice since early January, so we are really excited for their arrival!

Yesterday we sailed about 50 miles from Rock Sound, Eleuthera, to Pipe Cay in the Exumas.  (Perhaps I should mention that just a week earlier I also endured a 70 mile ocean run from Thompson Bay, Long Island, to Rock Sound Eleuthera….go me!) While we were getting under way, Bob heard on the Cruiseheimers net (on sideband radio) that someone caught a big tuna, so he could not resist the temptation to try catching something himself.  He put out a line and within an hour or so he had a mahi mahi giving him a good fight.  As he got it closer to the boat we could see it was a whopper!




That fish yielded us over 8 lbs of filets! We had our friends Maureen and Bill (from Kalunamoo) over for dinner last night, and we have at least four more meals waiting in the freezer.  We will definitely have it for dinner one night while Rob and Kandice are here.

And what a wonderful time we had on Eleuthera!  This was our first visit there.  Easter weekend was lovely in Rock Sound.  We decided to visit the Methodist Church for Easter service, while Bill and Maureen went to the Catholic church….there were numerous other choices as well.  As luck would have it, just before the service started Nancy and George from Trumpeter (Nancy taught me to make Bahamian coiled baskets last winter) came and sat next to us.  They have attended this church every Easter for several years.  The service was very festive, with lots of music, a liturgical dancer and plenty of enthusiasm in the congregation.  We estimated that there were over 100 people in the congregation, about 40% white and 60% black.  This Methodist Church is one of the oldest churches on the island, and has already celebrated its bicentennial.  The sanctuary is deceptively modern, with an elaborate sound system and a power point projector.  It was a hoot!


On Easter afternoon we met Bill and Maureen at the local blue hole, right in the center of the town park in Rock Sound, for our Easter dinner picnic.  Maureen had baked some of their own frozen mahi mahi for us, along with freshly baked beer bread!  This blue hole is quite impressive since it is only a few feet shallower than Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island, which is the deepest blue hole in the world.  And Rock Sound’s blue hole sits in the middle of a lovely park where we could have our picnic right at the edge of the water, in the shade of a big tree.  It was a perfect afternoon!


We also rented a car for two days and toured the rest of Eleuthera with Maureen and Bill.  We visited the Glass Window on a mild day and were very impressed with the force of the ocean even in calm conditions. Our photo does not show how much force the calm waters have when they hit the tiny isthmus here.  It was dramatic! I can only imagine what that surging bit of the Atlantic must have looked like the day it moved the bridge about 12 feet.  Yikes!


We drove north to a spot called Preacher’s Cave, a place where some English settlers found refuge after their ship was wrecked on the Devil’s Backbone (back in the late 1600s) at the northeastern side of Eleuthera near what is now Harbour Island.  The cave is impressively big, so it’s easy to understand that it provided a wonderful refuge for those weary and distraught settlers.


Along the way on our 90-mile drive north we also stopped at the Queen’s Baths, another spot where the mighty Atlantic surges against the coast into a cave creating lots of foam and bubbles. Can you see Maureen and me picking our way across the far side of the Queen’s Baths?


Walking along these craggy shores is a lot harder than it looks in this photo.  Here’s a close up to give an idea of how rough going it is!  The rocks are some kind of very sharp limestone….lots of small (and sometimes large!) craters have formed in these rocks so getting a flat purchase for walking is virtually impossible!


The shopping and restaurant options on Eleuthera were quite a bit more civilized than we’ve experienced in the Exumas!  We had a lovely lunch two days in a row.  The first day we visited Rainbow Inn and sat on their upper deck overlooking Exuma Sound, and the second day we stopped at Tippi’s and sat in an open air dining room that overlooked the pink sand beach and the Atlantic.


And here is a shot of the pink sand beach at Tippi’s.


Eleuthera was so much more civilized than the Exumas that they even have a ‘camauflaged” cell tower.  All through the islands we recognize the distinctive red and white towers of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (Batelco) and anchor nearby these towers whenever we can so that we can have cellular internet, such as now!  But Eleuthera has a cell tower camauflaged as palm tree!


So now I am in the final stages of my winter away.  I’m not certain now much more work I’ll get done on my various projects.  Perhaps my tapestry will not be finished when I leave….sigh…  but I do have two pairs of socks finished (one of them being those fun ‘skewed’ socks!), a fair isle sweater knitted up to the armholes waiting for inspiration on how to proceed for the upper body shaping, several small table embroideries from decades back now finished!….and the last project:  Boo Knits “Sweet Dreams” shawl that I just started yesterday.  Shawl knitting is quite addictive… I often find that I knit the whole thing in one go.  I’m into the final lace area already, so I guess I would say this project is hard to put down. I’m using Verdant Gryphon “Mithral” in the colorway “Bathsheba,” which has lovely woodland shades of bronze/evergreen/burgundy that reminds me of fairies!  Queen Mab would love this shawl!

We’ll spend the next 10 days with our kids traveling north through the Exumas.  We hope to take the kids to Compass Cay to swim with the sharks and see the beautiful beach there, then to Warderick Wells for more swimming and snorkeling in the Exuma Land and Sea Park.  Bob has stumbled into a wonderful connection with the manager of Over Yonder Cay, where we may get a private tour ….if it works out I will definitely give details!

By the end of the first weekend in May we must be back in Nassau for the kids and I  to meet our flight back to the US.  I will stop in Baltimore with Rob and Kandice for a visit at their house and some time with my favorite dog, Bosun!  Bob’s crew will arrive the day I fly out with the kids, so he will begin his journey back to the US the slow way.

I am so excited to be headed home for a beautiful spring on the Connecticut River!  I hope some of my bulbs will still be blooming, and I hope I have some Danish flag poppies in bloom from the seeds I planted last fall!  On my first day home (if I can get one of the cars started!) I will be heading out to my local weaving guild meeting!  Lots to look forward to!

I Love a Parade!!

Gosh!  I can hear Ethel Merman singing this song, and it’s not a good thing to have stuck in my head!  Still, who doesn’t love a parade?

Is all of New England like this?  I just can’t believe how many parades there are up in this area and how enthusiastic everyone is about them!  It sure makes me happy.  So, this is how Bob and I spent a perfect Saturday in June.

It started with a ride on the Essex steam train, which took us up to Haddam for the start of the Haddam Bridge Centennial parade!

I’ve never seen a parade come across a bridge!  It was great fun!  I’ve now seen the Moodus Fife and Drum Corps at numerous parades in this area.  They are terrific!…and they have a wide range of ages in the group, from what looks like high school students to retirees! ….men and women!

Next over the bridge was the oldest car in the area.  This looks like a horse drawn carriage that was fitted with some kind of motor and a tiller for steering.  There were about 30 antique cars in this parade, and they were all beautiful!

There was a ceremonial opening of the bridge, and isn’t it pretty with its fresh coat of paint?

When this bridge was built in 1913, it had one of the longest opening spans.  On this June day in 2013, the river was very swollen with spring rains and the current was running hard.  The local ferry at Chester was not running due to the high waters.  The dock was under water, and the river currents were ripping by at more than 5 knots!

There were festivities all through the town of East Haddam, and we spent some time enjoying the views of the river and the Goodspeed Opera House, which is celebrating its 50th year.  This is a postcard New England town, and when it’s decorated for a celebration it is just breathtaking!

We crossed the river and boarded the Becky Thatcher steamboat for the second half of this great trip.

It’s hard to believe that the banks of the Connecticut River are still so rural and undeveloped.  In our area the river passes through hills called the Seven Sisters.  At the summit of the Seventh Sister is Gillette Castle, an eccentric dwelling built in 1853, by the actor William Gillette who played the role of Sherlock Holmes on stage for many years.

On the western shore on top of another hill in Deep River, is the Mount St. John school for boys.

In Deep River we got back on the steam train for our return to Essex.  I loved sitting in the parlour car with comfy swiveling wing chairs!  I didn’t want to leave!

….and this was just the first half of our beautiful Saturday in June.  We then drove across the Haddam Bridge on our own wheels to visit the Salem Herb Farm. 

I met my friend Jody who works at the farm.  She grows a large field of garlic at her own home, and now is the time of year when she cuts the scapes in order for the plants to use their energy toward making bigger garlic bulbs.  The scapes are good used like chives, only with a powerful garlic flavor.  Jody loves using scapes to make pesto, substituting scapes for basil.  I thought that was a wonderful idea at a time of year when scapes are plentiful and basil is not quite yet!  So last night’s dinner was scape pesto on linguine with a salad of local lettuce and hothouse tomatoes….a delicious way to end a beautiful weekend!

In Full Swing

Everything seems in full swing now…. I am making progress on projects I missed all fall and winter, and at last (!!) I’ve connected with the interest groups in my new area: weavers, knitters, dyers, and lace makers!  It’s all very exciting and inspiring to me.

Earlier this week I met my oldest friend at the Lyme Art Association while she was dropping of her sculpture “Daughter” that will be on display as part of the upcoming exhibit by the Hudson Valley Art Association. Right nearby was a bronze bust of Robert Frost done by Jose Bascaglia. Exciting works! My friend also has a piece in the National Sculpture Society’s exhibit that is traveling this summer (Lea Ann’s piece is “Virga,” the first image on the page).

It was a soft green drizzly day , and LeaAnn and I decided to walk through the grounds of the Florence Griswold Museum where the gardens were in soft focus.

On my daily walks I pass a certain fence that is about 100 feet long and bedecked in this lovely candy striped rose.

Later in the summer this same fence will serve as support for about a million sunflowers.  The sunflower seedlings are already up!  And to add to the ambience there is a huge lawn just beyond this fence border that is home to a beautiful yellow barn and two Weimaraners who are often out frolicking on the lawn.  There is always something beautiful to see at this spot along my walk!

And in my own garden this summer I have a passion flower vine growing in a pot.  The first flower opened this morning!

Surrounded by so many flowers, it’s no wonder I’m thinking about them for my next tapestry.  I am halfway through the final pear in my ‘Trail of Pears,’ so I’ve been designing the next tapestry.  I’m intrigued by a still life based on a woodcut of nasturtiums in a bowl.

I am enjoying taking this pot of nasturtiums and putting it into an environment….perhaps with a window behind and some curtains, the edge of a table…. we’ll see.


Is there anything with as much promise as mid-spring?  My gardens, my projects, my whole world is all hope and possibility.

I’ve completed pear #4 in my ‘Trail of Pears.’  Each pear has brought  harder color decisions, and #4 caused me to call on the advice of both my husband and younger son.  I had every shade of gold in my yarn palette out and none of them worked.  Chris helped me let go of my preconceived notion that the pear had to be in the yellow family.  That pear is a tan that I would never have considered if not for Chris. Now it’s finished and soon the background around pear #5 (the final pear) will be finished as well, which will mean making the final pear color choice.  I plan to be at my Wednesday Group class next week so I can get some input from all the weavers there.  Whew!

When I’m not weaving the pears I’ve been spinning some silk.  Does anyone remember Carol Weymar who called herself the silk worker. I can’t find her anymore! I used to buy her handpainted silk roving, so I have a little collection of them.  I always wanted a bit more than 2 ounces from her, but she never had more than that of any given painted way.  I took this as a challenge to me to learn to spin finer, hoping to get 1,000 yards out of that 2 oz.  Well, I still can’t do it!

So, to the latest colorway which I will call ‘mid-spring’ (all the colors of a spring garden, except blue) I am adding a strand of luscious 50/50 merino/silk.  The merino is a warm natural color, something I might call ‘almond,’ and the silk is a shimmering white.  Spun together I’m getting a lovely shade of cream and I hope it will be stunning plied with the 100% painted silk from Carol.  I’d like to start plying right now, but I will force myself to let the newly finished merino/silk set overnight.  Boy, I can’t wait for tomorrow!

It’s 90 degrees outside today, one of those abnormally hot spring days we sometimes have.  My basement studio is a cool respite on a day like this, and the view cool and green.

Have I mentioned that I live on the edge of a large nature preserve? May offers up so many beautiful sights there…. lady slippers are in bloom and we found a robin’s egg on the ground! There are dragon flies everywhere, and the hummingbirds arrived.  I’ve seen eagles soaring above our house.

 Yes, it’s all hope and promise around here.


There’s No Place Like Home…

There really isn’t.  And to top it off it’s May in New England.

My sister had offered to meet me at the airport.  It would just be the two of us; we’d have dinner afterward so she could catch me up on her family and her long solo stint of taking care of our aging and difficult mother.

Instead, she and my sons planned a larger family gathering to greet me.  Seven  family members were waiting for me when I arrived, and because my flight was late all the other people waiting for loved ones had gotten in on the act.  So, I arrived to a crowd of clapping bystanders, who were shouting, “Welcome home, Mom!”  I was completely confused, which is a very good thing, because otherwise I would have cried…

Mother’s Day weekend was about as perfect as possible.  The kids and I went to the annual Garden Club sale at the little park in the center of town, and we worked in the garden cleaning up the debris from winter and planting my purchases from the sale.  It was a wonderful homecoming!

Today I plied the brilliant saffron mohair that I spun in the Bahamas.  Here it is with the mohair skeins from Persimmon Tree that I plan to use with it.  I’m envisioning a fall jacket….



Waiting for March

Hasn’t it been a long winter?  In many ways beautiful, and in some ways lllooonnnngggg…  I know I will better appreciate the spring when if comes!

So….no images of snow here!  Just a few things that define my February.

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Threaded and ready to begin a boundweave wall hanging on my wonderful hand-me-down Toika.



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My 2-yr. old camellia blooming for the first time!  A wonderful pink for these grey/white days.  It’s called “Kramer’s Delight” and it is delighting me!




Feb. 2011 piliated woodpecker 037

A frequent visitor to our woods, but my first success at catching him on film! (Actually, my husband’s success, not mine.)




Beading RAW crystals (1)A newly finished bracelet. Two rows of Right angle weave  attached, beginning to end, to form a closed ring, then crystals are added.  You can tell I was thinking of spring when I chose these colors!

>Almost Spring

>Even though I don’t have any crocuses yet, I do have these houseplants that reward me every spring! This is a paphiopedilum, but I cannot read the name of the cross on the label.

And here is the first of about a dozen amaryllis coming into bloom. (I should have straightened up the kitchen table before taking this shot! Oh well….)

Today I will work on my Arwen Cardi and go to my tapestry class at Soyoo’s, so I expect to make some progress on the Hudson River tapestry, and maybe Rob as well!

Just on the heels of finishing the Swallowtail comes the new issue of Knitty! I’ve printed the directions for the Aeolian Shawl. Lovely!