Monday, October 27, 2014

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Saturday we all visited Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts.  Another beautiful autumn day.  We viewed the Limonaia, Orangerie and the Systematic Garden then hiked the nature trails that are scattered with Neo-Romantic and classical period objets d'art.

I found the spiral variegation on these plants too interesting to pass up.

Dorothy reflecting.

The Folly.

Dorothy and I take a break from the trail hike.

You can do a lot of stuff with acorns.
We climbed to the summit of Tower Hill and were rewarded with this view.  It is 631 feet above sea level.  Seemed much higher.
Tower Hill Botanic Garden is open year round and always has seasonal and transitional gardens and events.
We haven't had too much fun yet.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our First Nor'easter

The storm had been predicted for almost a week and the weather folks said we would be wet Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  But Monday evening and Tuesday morning they were getting serious.  By Wednesday the local channels were doing the program interrupts to tell us of the progress of the storm and that Wednesday night would be the worst.  You know, the local TV news reporter braving the hurricane force winds down on Cape Cod telling us of the terrible beach erosion and for everyone to stay inside as he gets knocked around by salt spray and you say to yourself,  "The news media are not too intelligent!"

We are 60 miles from the coast but our camp ground is getting hammered by winds, sidewise rain, lightning and thunder and debris coming down from the trees.  I have not ventured out much except to let the dogs empty their tanks.  Close by a large limb came down and damaged a fifth wheel's pick up truck putting a big dent in its dually flair side. Lots of smaller stuff are scattered all over.  Sirens last evening and last night woke me several times.

Thank God, we have not lost power! I am a little surprised that the hodge-podge electrical system in this park stayed up. We brought in all our awnings early in the day on Wednesday as the wind was already playing tunes with them.  We debated bringing in the slides as the 33,000 lb. coach was rattled and shook from the wind.  We were worried about the slide toppers that constantly flapped and growled.  We hoped that they would not get damaged.  We are far enough away from trees not to worry about them coming down on us.

With the morn we have new confidence that the storm will abate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple Harvest

Saturday we all went apple picking. It is sort of a local fete at a near by farm in Hudson, MA.  Very large selection of apples from cooking apples to just plain sweet eatin' kind. We also enjoyed cups of hot apple cider and apple cider donuts.  Picked up some nice pumpkins, too, while we were there.

One of the rarer species of the fruit was the Sheep's Nose Apple.  It is red like an apple but there is where all the similarities with apples end.  Shaped more like a plum tomato, it tastes amazingly like a potato. 

It was a super day out in the country!
A handy smart phone and Google is valuable to help you select the variety you want.

Sherri, Kaylee, Don, Dorothy and Joanie.

We hiked through rows and rows of all kids of apple trees.

Golden Delicious.  These really lived up to their name.  By the time this variety gets to the grocery store it has lost it's crispness and some of its sweetness.  It is best right off the tree!


How'd they get that house up there?

Last night Joanie was preparing a meal that used a couple of the apples we picked.  Braised pork tenderloin chops with sauted vegetables - sweet potatoes, onions, brussels sprouts and apple slices.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Being a full-timer ...

A wonderful asset to being a full timer is the experience of attending Mass at many different churches.  We have been to services in huge, mega churches where the congregation numbered in the high hundreds and we have participated at Mass where we were part of just a handful. Poor churches and wealthy churches.  Old buildings that were once a different denomination and new, contemporary designed churches “in the round”. 
What remains constant are the souls who come to seek the Peace that passeth understanding. They are old, they are young and they are in need.  They know that they are better off here than any place else.  That’s why they come.  That’s why they spend so much time here.


Today at Mass at The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Marlborough, Massachusetts we were treated to the best choir we've ever heard at Mass.  Another joy!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

More From Stockbridge ...

For many of us older Americans, Stockbridge is famous for being the home of one of the most famous pop artists of the 20th century - Norman Rockwell.  He was a prolific illustrator and documenter of American life from the roaring 20's to the turbulent 60's.  His work was seen and enjoyed by millions because his art was distributed via the popular media of the time - books and magazine covers. 

When I was in art school, Norman Rockwell was the center of a controversy whether his work should be classified as "art". Elitist art historians and art museum curators could not bring his work to the level of other contemporary artists because his illustrations were commissioned and paid for by mass media publishers. But three things concerning the work of Norman Rockwell were beyond controversy - his ability to capture Americana new no equal, the style in which he worked made him the most loved of all illustrators of his time and he was indeed a consummate draftsman.

Rockwell's workshop was moved to the grounds of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.

The Norman Rockwell Museum.
Grounds of the Norman Rockwell Museum.
This is my "Rockwell inspired" photo I took while at the museum. I did not take any photos of his work or any of the other exhibits as my camera would not do it justice.  You can Google Norman Rockwell and see his work for yourself.
The Town of Stockbridge ...

This is probably the most recognized "general store" of all general stores.  Norman Rockwell painted this retail establishment for a Christmas scene that appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1950's.  The painting has been reproduced prolifically on Christmas cards since.

The "art of" acupuncture and massage.   

Alice's Restaurant. Really.

You can't come to this part of the country without marveling at church spires.

The Stockbridge Railroad Station ...

This is for all of you who are railroad buffs.  I am included.  The station now houses the town's library since the last passenger train left the station many years ago.

Stockbridge, Massachusetts

While camped in secluded Austerlitz, NY we ran across the state line to civilization, namely the small town of Stockbridge, MA.  Among other things, Stockbridge is the location of the National Shrine of Divine Mercy.  The whole purpose of us going to this part of Eastern New York/Western Massachusetts was to visit this shrine.  We felt part of a tradition that goes back thousands of years - the pilgrimage.

The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy is a ministry of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Interior of the church at the Shrine. Services are almost continuous here. Hundreds of people come to the shrine daily from all over the world.  It is not uncommon for a couple of buses to be loading or unloading in front of the Shrine bringing groups from churches.

The grounds at the shrine are marvelous and well kept.

Bell tower on the church at the Shrine.  I think the autumn is a particularly popular time at the Shrine as the country here is ablaze with color, the air is clear and cool.

Joanie at a statue of Divine Mercy on the grounds of the Shrine.

The Stations of the Cross are life size representations at ground level.  They are very moving.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Another Experience ...

I had read and heard other RVer's accounts of encountering the night the way God made it before we all moved to the cities and could not see it anymore.

The night before last the air had cooled off and was dry and moon had not yet risen.  I took the dogs out to empty their tanks one more time before we went to bed. As I always do I looked up but this time I was swept up into the brilliance of the heavens! 

I had to go in and grab my binoculars and was enthralled by the shear density of stars.  This is what you cannot see when you live in or near cities.

We are camped near Nowhere, New York.  There is a spot on the map called Austerlitz, New York near the Massachusetts boarder.  It is not really a town - there are no stores or even a gas station.  It is where two county roads intersect in the Berkshire Mountains.  The closest city is Albany, NY many miles away.  The only reason we know this is because we have satellite TV.  Cell phone service is next to non-existent and there is no cable or over-the-air TV.

Yesterday the camp ground closed for the season - we are the only ones here.  We leave this morning. The campground has turned off all their lights.  Last night the stars were occluded by heavy clouds.  The dark was almost absolute. I have experienced this kind of dark before when developing photos in a dark room and in caverns way beneath the surface of the earth.  I had never experienced it "out in the open".

The sounds of silence is deafening.  The air was totally still.  The crows and birds were silenced by the dark as well.  We are not near any highways so there is no background traffic noise.  You can hear the occasional leaf fall to the ground. 

God is close to you all the time but never so much as when  it is just the two of you.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Had to share this...

Took my camera out for a walk early this morning after taking Lobo and Juniper out for their walks and saw this and had share it with you.

The glory of God's creation! All this because He loves us.

May you be Blessed by God's love today!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Family …

We drove north to the Delaware Water Gap because it was near my sisters.  We have been traveling north while it seems all the other RVs are going south.  But occasionally we get behind an RV that is just as crazy as we are – fearless in the face of winter.
We have been visiting more of my family, visited my mother’s grave in Montclair, and went to Mass at the church we were married in, which is the church where my sister is choir director and sings.

Joanie in the door way of the church in which we were married 44 years ago and our oldest son was Christened

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Montclair, NJ

My sister Betsy, Kaelynn, my nephew Nick (Kaelynn's father), Randi (Nick's wife) Chris, Cynthia and my brother-in-law Mike

Chris, my brother-in-law Mike and his son "Big Nick"

My niece Cynthia Hazel and her significant other Chris

Randi, Kaelynn & my sister Betsy.  Yes, my sister totally spoils her grand daughter, Kaelynn.