Sunday, September 27, 2015

Just doin' ya' a little catch up...

To those of you who might be interested...

I dug out one of our space heaters out of the basement (storage under the floor) a couple of days ago because the night time temperatures have dropped into the 50's and last night in to the 40's. The sunny time temperatures are not like summer anymore.  Today we will be lucky to hit 70.  It was about a week ago that we quit with the air conditioner and switched over to the heat pump all in one day.  It's like somebody threw the switch from summer to autumn. 

The trees have been turning for a week or so now.  Nothing to take photos of yet because they have been in a late summer, now early fall drought up here in this part of the country.  The meteorologists are saying it may not be a good leaf-peeper season this year.

We went to see Kaylee play soccer yesterday.  Even I had on long sleeves and have put my shorts away for long pants as the breeze was out of the north, the air clear and dry, so while the sun was bright, we did not break a sweat. 
Kaylee playing goalie trying to stop an attach.
Kaylee playing defense. She got this right in the face and had to go out.  She's tough and was back in the game a short time later giving them what-for!

Oh, yes, the fall weather reminded us to go get our flu shots.  Us folks over 65 get a double dose of the inoculation which probably explains my aches and lethargy today (over and above my normal, "old folks" aches and pains. 
- - -

Mark Twain said that "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."  I believe that because we meet so many different people from different parts of the world and realize how much we all have in common. We see so many different things.

So let me bore you with this little story:  It is not much of a story, just something I witnessed. 

The campground has a couple of log cabins adjacent to our camp site.  We can see the cabins out the window where my computer station resides.  One morning I looked up from perusing my usual morning internet junk to see a man come out of the cabin, open a plastic storage bin and remove what looked like a half of a large clam shell.  He put something into the shell and proceeded to light it with one of those long bar-be-cue propane lighters.  He blew on it several times until smoke wafted from it.  It may have been some kind of dry moss that was burning.  He took it to a clearing next to the cabin and discerned the points of the compass.  He extended the smoking offering to each point of the compass, to the sun and bending over brought the shell to the ground and made several circular motions.  Once again up right he held the shell in one hand and with the other brought the smoke up to himself as if it were water over his head.


He then handed the still smoking device to another gentleman who was also staying in the cabin, and he repeated the same ritual.  There was also a younger man staying in the cabin who did not participate.

They did this on two days, September 21 and 22, which, by the way was the autumnal equinox. They packed up their things and drove away, so I don 't know if this was a daily ritual or they performed it just for the season.  I did not want to intrude on their privacy, so I did not talk to them.  They did not look like itinerant workmen or contractors which we see often in campgrounds.  They remain to me a mystery.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Home work...
It is the 21st of September.  Autumn came in last night. 50 degrees when the sun finally decided to get up this morning.  I turned on the heat pumps. The high today is expected to be 69.  These are very normal temperatures for north central Massachusetts. The weather had been more like Charlotte, NC until last night.
Many trees have already changed over to their fall colors. The trees around Phaeth have been dropping stuff for a couple of weeks now. Lobo does not like acorns hitting the roof.  He gets very anxious and thinks it is a thunder storm. From a distance I could see tree junk accumulating on the awnings, the slide out toppers and roof so yesterday I drove the 15 miles to Nashua, NH and bought a leaf blower. (You don't pay any sales tax in New Hampshire.  Hurray for New Hampshirites! That's the ticket!)
Today I got out my telescoping ladder and took the leaf blower up on the roof.  What a work out!  Carried the leaf blower up and down the ladder getting the acorns and leaves and pine needles off.  I also made a small modification to the electric bay door so I could store electric dog bones and extension cords.  While I was up on the roof, I also fixed my CB antenna. I lubricated the big awning mechanism and stowed all the awnings except one so that I will not accumulate any more tree debris on them.  The day before we leave here, I will blow off the slide out toppers again.
Sorry, I don't have any pictures of me doing all this but my hands were full and Joanie was busy cleaning out the fridge. You will just have to take my word for it; but if you had seen me, you would have said, "Good going, old man!"

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fruitlands Museum and Harvard Shakers...

There is a great deal of history in Massachusetts.  Most of it we are all aware of and learned about it in grade school.  There is a great deal more that we do not know about and Joanie and I went see some.

Just a few minutes from our campsite is the Fruitlands Museum which was founded in 1914 by Clara Endicott Sears to preserve some of New England's history and culture.  Sears, a wealthy Bostonian, purchased a farm near the town of Harvard which was the site of Bronson Alcott's failed utopian experiment in 1843.  Bronson Alcott was the father of Louisa May Alcott who wrote Little Women.

The museum includes the Alcott farm house, a Shaker Museum, a Native American museum and museum that houses the second largest collection of the Hudson River School of American landscape paintings in the country. Unfortunately, this last museum was installing a new show and was not open to us at the time we visited.

The 210 acres of the Fruitlands Museum overlooks glacial Lake Nashua valley.  Great views!

Outdoor sculptures are located throughout the grounds.

The Museum gets its name from the Transcendentalist's movement "to live off the fruits of the land", an austere, rural concept carried to an extreme by Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane in 1843 when they moved their families and followers to this part of Massachusetts.
The house was built in 1820 by Samuel Sprague.  Alcott and Lane purchased the farm in June of 1843.

A grape arbor.  A shady cool place.
Alcott's principles got in the way of his common sense.  They were extreme vegans who did not know much about farming.  (One member was expelled for eating a piece of fish). They arrived too late in the season to plant vegetables and grains to live on or to trade.  Because they did not eat fish, dairy, meat, they came close to starving to death.  They only wore linen since they boycotted cotton because of slavery and believed wool was "stealing" from sheep.  So by winter they were about freezing to death. Within 6 months they had to leave as they defaulted on their mortgage.  Louisa May wrote about their sojourn in Transcendental Wild Oats.

In 1920 Sears moved a Shaker Trustee Office building from the Harvard, Massachusetts Shaker community to its current sight for the purpose of preserving some of the Shaker culture that had flourished near by. It was the first museum established for this purpose.  The utilitarian Shaker style is celebrated and highly valued to this day for it's cleanness of form.  
In the mid 19th Century, the religious sect called Shakers were influential in pushing for the abolition of slavery in America.  They formed religious communities similar to the Amish that would be self supporting.  One of those communities was located near the town of Harvard, Massachusetts. Many of their buildings still stand.

 1830 Dwelling House. Of course there are no Shakers living here anymore.  It looks like the building is now apartments.  The integrity of the exterior has been maintained.
Remains of the stone barn built in 1835. Structural problems lead to the buildings collapse.

A llama came out of the ruins to see what I was doing there.

 Chickens ranged about under the trees of a small apple orchard.

The Shaker Cemetery

The New Office.  Built in 1841, the sisters retailed their fine ware and crafts from the first floor of this building which also housed leaders of the community.  

The Meeting House.  This is where they worshiped. Men entered at one side of the building and women entered at the other. All Shakers are celibate and the sexes are kept separate but equal. Unlike the Amish who marry and have children, the Shakers movement was, because of this practice, doomed to die out although they did take in orphan children or already married men and women brought children with them into the community.

The Second House, so named because it was the second to be built in the community in 1795.

The Tailor's Shop. Built around 1800. 
It is sad that all of the buildings in the old community are now private homes. It would be wonderful to see all the community restored to what it was in the early to mid 19th century and see how the Shakers lived.  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Saturday, in the park...
First soccer game of the season for Kaylee. Their first practice was last Thursday but because of rain, they could not practice on the field.  So with no practice they took to the field Saturday and did quite well.  7 and 8 year olds learning as they played.


Kaylee is the smallest on the team but does not let that bother or influence her...

...because she plays with same energy as everyone else.
Shot on goal was intercepted by the goalie...
Oh well...

Dorothy and Don got in some Frisbee.

Dorothy's not a big soccer fan but loved being out on a beautiful Saturday.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Other people's plans...

What a difference a day makes!

It is Tuesday after the Labor Day weekend.  Summer is over, formally.  The kids are back in school today.  Moms & dads are back to work.  The casual sounds of traffic from a day ago are replaced by the higher revs of commuters hurrying to work and the big diesels once again hauling commerce.

Instead of the giggly voices of kids on the nearby playground, we are assaulted by the pool maintenance company pumping out the campground pool, disassembling the hand rails and preparing the cavity for the onslaught of winter.  ON THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR!?

That was the campground's plan, this was the date they booked the pool service company.  "Ya gotta stick with the plan, man!"

Yeah, for those who have to have a plan, I guess so.  We don't.  We are much more flexible.  Maybe we will go see the kids today.  Maybe we will go exploring!

The campground's last hurrah was Labor Day weekend.  Every campsite, every cabin was full.

Smoke from campfires smarted the eyes...

...and the sounds of kids having fun filled the air.  Gay shrieks rose from the pool.
Moms & dads spending time with their kids, lunching out on a picnic table, laughing.
A clown organizes a water balloon toss.

"Don't miss! Don't miss... ohhhhh!" 
But a glance up into the tree canopy...
...hints at a change that is coming, sooner rather than later.
What a difference a day makes.  This is what you will see this morning.  There are still a few of us old full-timers here (We will be here until they kick us out) but now the RV park is more empty than occupied.

Yesterday was the last day to swim.  No more swimming until next year.
Kaylee leads her bus stop group up on the bus.