walking trail among tall pine trees

Walking in Fall and Finding a Tree Tunnel

When I visited New Hampshire recently, one of the first things I wanted to do was get outside and take a walk.

Fortunately my daughter lives in a rural, wooded location with a walking trail nearby. We could have walked down the road to reach this trail, but we decided to take the (nonexistent) path through the woods instead.

We only got lost once, but at least we were headed in the right direction! The section of the trail we walked is only a small part of the 6.5 mile long path. No motor vehicles are allowed, but walking, biking, cross-country skiing, skating and fishing (it follows a river at places) are allowed.

There wasn’t much foliage to view, but this cool “tree tunnel” was interesting.

walking trail among tall pine trees
Walking Trail

walking path
Tunnel of Trees

Moose have been seen in this area and I would love to see one. On the other hand, I have heard about how they can be aggressive. It could be scary to come face to face with such a huge animal and have nowhere to hide but behind a tree!

covered bridge
Covered Bridge

This is the river that the trail runs parallel to. My daughter’s boyfriend was nice enough to take us out on his boat and we cruised up and down this section of the river. The water was icy cold!

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Black cat on white sheets

The Croton is Flowering, Cats, and Other Happenings This Saturday Morning

flowering croton
Flowers on the Croton

Before I left on my trip north, I checked (and watered) all my plants and discovered that my croton is flowering! Pretty fluffy little off-white flowers are shooting off the tops of the big-leaved stems. Long ago I may have seen croton flowers, but if so, I had forgotten that they have flowers.

It’s Saturday morning already. I lost a few days this week it seems.

All my mornings begin with me making coffee for myself. While the coffee brews I take care of the cats. My two black cats simply want to go outside. I change their water and make sure there is food in the bowl.

Then I deal with Earflap aka Mr. Mites aka Bitey. He is the stray who adopted us months ago. He manages to fill his litter box every night, so I empty that. He gets special canned food, so I serve him breakfast. The porch door stays shut overnight so the raccoons won’t come in and eat his dry food, so I open it and give him his freedom. Usually he goes back to sleep on the chair inside the porch.

stray cat on the patio
Earflap the stray cat

Two days ago I walked into the garage at 8AM and it wasn’t sweltering. I put the door up and a wonderful breeze hit me. As I walked into the driveway I stretched my arms and breathed in the air – something I haven’t done in months. Trying to breathe outside here in summer is like slowly drowning. Okay, I am exaggerating a bit but the humidity here is stifling – 24 hours a day.

With the breeze blowing for the past three days, the heat seems less and it gives me hope that cool nights are in the future. Daytime temperatures seldom stay cool, but overnight it can get nice. I’m thinking about gardening, and considering having a yard sale.

Saturday is not my favorite day of the week, Sunday is. Sundays are quiet – not even the mailman is out. No one will come to the door and I feel secluded from the world. I search for good movies to watch (which Saturday doesn’t offer) and hope to catch a Patriots football game. Down here in Florida the games are rarely aired, unless the Pats play a Florida team.

Every day I work. After I get my coffee and take care of the cats, I go online. Weekends mean that lots of people will probably be online and I promote my products a lot on the weekends. Designing is mostly left for weekdays when there is more time.

Once I check in with work, and do a little sharing of products, I take a break and work out. Get exercise. Move my body. I put on some favorite saved music and walk on the treadmill or dance (it ain’t pretty but it’s effective).  As an older woman, my choice of music may surprise you.  I look for a good beat to keep me going.  Some of my favorite songs are by Shinedown, Foo Fighters,  Seether and Train.

I don’t go crazy, and I’m not trying to look good – I’m trying to stay healthy. Soon, when mornings are cooler, I may be able to ride my beach cruiser around the neighborhood or take a walk outside.

There are things I never do on Saturday.  Never go out on the boat – the ramps are packed.  Never go to the grocery store.  I leave that to people who can only do it on Saturday.  I’m lucky to have a work-from-home job where I can do that type of stuff during the week when the crowds are less.

That is my typical Saturday.  It looks a lot like most of my days.  Hope yours is peaceful, exciting, or whatever you want it to be.

sunny day at castle in the clouds

Had to Travel North to Find Pumpkins and Fall Air

pumpkins for sale at roadside farm
Pumpkins at Tenney Farms, Antrim, New Hampshire

I hadn’t been back to my old home town in New Hampshire in over a year, but recently I took a trip to New England.

I expected to see some nice fall foliage, but it wasn’t anything spectacular. Probably because of the unusual heat and humidity that Hurricane Maria dragged up from the south. At least the air was crisp and clear by the time I arrived and I certainly enjoyed that. Sleeping with the window open at night – ahhhh, heaven.

My daughter and I took a trip to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and visited Castle in the Clouds. The weather was incredibly perfect. It was a Monday, so there were very few visitors, which was also wonderful.

I’ll share a few photos here, and if you are ever in New Hampshire and it’s beautiful weather, I suggest you visit this place.

We began our visit with lunch at the horse stables turned restaurant, and what a view the horses used to have!  You can see the old stables and the new seating area at the restaurant in my image below.

horse stable restaurant
Horse Stables Turned into a Restaurant

Inside seating includes tables within the old stalls.

My daughter and I chose to eat outdoors because the weather was so beautiful, and the view was fabulous.
Our sandwiches were yummy and we brought a cooler where we saved the leftovers in the car after eating.  Then we climbed aboard a trolley car for the short ride up to the Castle.

lunch food sandwich
A delicious lunch of sandwiches, chips and onion rings (and a glass of wine) to start our tour.

We took a short trolley ride up to the Castle and then did a self-guided tour through the mansion.

view from the Castle in the Clouds
Road up to the Castle
sunny day at castle in the clouds
The mansion museum front yard

Lo and behold, I found a hydrangea plant on the grounds! I believe it might have been a Limelight hydrangea but I am not absolutely sure. The flowers look elongated and the flowers are creamy white. It was nice to see a flowering hydrangea. I miss the ones I used to grow.

hydrangea shrub with white flowers
Limelight ? Hydrangea

This is only one thing we did while I stayed in the north for a week. We also ate ice cream at a roadside stand (I had raspberry chocolate chip) and we took a walk, and a boat ride on the river. I also got to meet my daughter’s new cat who has unique coloring.  Isn’t she pretty?

cat

The best part of my trip, besides seeing my daughter, was the breathing that wonderful Fall air. It was a relaxing time and was nice to get away.  I dislike flying, but it was worth it to spend time in an area I love.

My short experience with Fall was nice. It will never be true Fall here in Florida. Temps are still in the 90’s and even what they call Fall here is really not.

I will be getting my raised garden bed ready for planting soon, as soon as it cools off.

Read more about Castle in the Clouds at their website.

view of mountains and lake from Castle in the clouds
What a View!
sea plane fall foliage lake

Sea Plane at the Lake, Fall Photography

I took this photo of a little yellow sea plane one day as I walked along the road where I lived. The water was so flat and smooth and the plane was surrounded by color. I couldn’t resist taking this photo many years ago.

The plane was usually docked at a lake house until winter when it was taken someplace else.  The owner would taxi down the short tributary which led to a small lake.   He used the lake to take off and land.  Occasionally the kids and I would be at the beach on the lake when he came in for a landing.

sea plane fall foliage lake
Sea Plane in Autumn

When I began to work at Zazzle, I used this photo to make a postcard to sell.  Recently it sold to someone in France. It always amazes me to know that something I made, or a photo I took, or drawing I did, could be purchased by anyone in the world.

The sale caused me to revisit this item, which I had pretty much forgotten about. Then I had the idea to share it here.

So, I thought, why not share more Autumn photography? Just because I live in boring Florida doesn’t mean I can’t go back to a time when I had these views for a month, or more, every year.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

This big tree stood in front of a house at the entrance to my small neighborhood.  Each day in Fall I’d watch it turn more and more red.  It was stunning.

fall leaves
Red Tree in the Neighborhood

New Hampshire has a lot of pristine lakes. Some are large – Lake Sunapee is a favorite –  and many others are small. Leaf color usually begins alongside water. I was lucky to live just up the road from a small lake and I walked to it on every nice day. Fall at the lake offers wonderful scenes with brightly colored foliage as the main focus.

orange maple leaves at edge of lake
Brightly colored maple tree at the edge of a New Hampshire lake

All seasons offer their own opportunities for photographers in New England. In Spring I photographed the early blooming flowers, like the Lenton Rose.

Summer gave me the opportunity to photograph my vegetable garden and flowers growing everywhere.

red tree in fall
One tree is bright red and the other hasn’t changed color yet

Fall, of course, is a great time to get awesome photos. I didn’t have to travel far to get lots of great shots.  With different types of deciduous trees changing color at varying times,  the leaf color lasts from mid-September thru the middle of October.

Even the hydrangeas turn color in fall.   Look at the stunning array of blues and greens in this once bright blue hydrangea flower, which is drying on the stem.
View more Hydrangeas in Fall.

blue hydrangea flower in fall
Pretty colors of a fall blue hydrangea flower

And there were two big Burning Bush trees in front of the house, which become bright red in late Autumn.

burning bush
Burning Bush in Fall

Winter can also be a wonderful time to take pictures. My favorite times to get out with the camera were right after (and sometimes during) a snowstorm, when the snow was still stuck to the branches of the trees.   It’s a winter wonderland.  Once the sun begins to warm the snow, and the wind picks up, the snow comes off the trees and the opportunity for shots like this are gone.

snow covered trees right after a snowstorm
Snowstorm Loveliness

The northeastern US has been having some unusually hot weather for the end of September, but hopefully the leaves will be turning soon. I am taking a trip up there and really hope to see some nice color.

My daughter likes to go paddle-boarding so it means we will probably visit some nearby lakes.  Hopefully I will get more foliage shots to add to my collection.