Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Walk in the Woods

We took a walk in the woods with friends to see this heron rookery. 4 nests in the swamp.

This rookery is fairly new. 5 years ago there were no heron nests in this swamp. It's a little surprising because a subdivision was built adjacent to this swamp just before the herons arrived.

We wondered whether that white material in the nest was a heron eggshell? A stick? A piece of birch bark?

An important clue that we didn't know until we returned home is that heron eggs are light blue - so it's probably not an eggshell.

Jim took these photos through a telephoto lens, so we wouldn't disturb the herons. The young spend up to 60 days in the nest between hatching and their first flight.

More information about herons

A turtle sunning on a log.....he might be happier to see the sun than we are!

It's been a rainy and cloudy few months in NH, but we're hoping today's weather means summer is getting in gear!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cogswell's Grant

Saturday, we visited Cogswell's Grant in Essex, MA, USA.

1863: big barn built
1880: 1st story of attachment between large barn and small barn (between cupolas)
1890: second story of barn attachment (windowless section with wavy roof lines)

Originally, 300 acres were granted to the first Cogswell on this property in 1635. By the end of his tenure on the farm, it had decreased in size to 165 acres. This 165 acres is conserved as Cogswell's Grant to this day.

The farmhouse was built in 1728, however there were earlier structures on the property.

The Little family owned the farm from 1937 until the 1990's.

The Littles collected folk art which is on display in the house. I hope to go back to see the folk art collection.

Chimney pots are a way of adding height to a chimney, improving the way the fireplace draws and reducing smoke in the house.

I've never seen a chimney pot like this one. I wonder if it was part of the Little's collection. Several other exterior elements on the property were added by the Littles.

The tour we took looked at the uses of this farmland since it was granted to Cogswell in 1635.

This hay field sits atop an esker, a deposit of glacial sediment. Eskers are common in New England and in other areas of the world where glaciers from the Ice Age melted.

The hay fields on Cogswell's Grant are a mixture of red clover, timothy and orchard grass that are plowed and replanted every few years. They are hayed several times a season.

Essex River at Low Tide

Cogswell's Grant borders the Essex River. Many immigrants to this area came from Essex and Wiltshire in England.

A ferry crossed the river at this point. In 1666, a horsebridge was built at the ferry site. The bridge was later removed when ship building was situated up the river. This log is a remnant of the bridge.

Glacial debris under the salt marsh

This field of salt marsh grasses looked familiar to English settlers. They knew how to harvest it as salt marsh hay to use as winter feed for animals.

Salt marsh hay was easier to produce than field grown hay at that time.
  • The salt marsh didn't have to be cleared of trees or brush or rocks.
  • The hay could be stacked on platforms and left outdoors until it was needed because it was water repellent.
  • The hay's salt content caused cows to drink more water and thus produce more milk.
The hay was collected at the low tide for the month. About 4 days before or after the lowest tide for the month were the best days to harvest the hay. The marsh produced hay once a season, so typically it was harvested in sections.

Channels were made in the marsh so flat bottomed boats could move the hay. Once the marsh froze during winter, a sled could bring hay back to the barn.

View Larger Map

In the 1930s, the WPA used the salt marsh hay channels in an unsuccessful attempt at mosquito control. The channels are still visible in this satellite photo.

Today salt marsh hay is used to mulch freshly planted grass because it doesn't contain seeds that can take root in a lawn.

Plants used to build thatched roofs were also part of the marsh. Although they keep water out, thatched roofs did not work well in the Massachusetts winter so were not typically used.

Duck and ducklings in the river

Heading back to the farm

Historic New England will offer this same tour in September. All summer there will be other tours at many of the Historic New England properties.

I love learning about history on these tours!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sweet Tooth

At Digital Photo School, the assignment for this week is "Sweet Tooth".

Enter Popovers in Market Square, Portsmouth, NH, USA

Jim and I both had business to attend to in Portsmouth, so we met for a quick afternoon snack at Popovers.

The weather was perfect for enjoying their outdoor Bailey is well-trained as a cafe dog. He knows that lying under the table looking cute is his best begging strategy.

As you can see, they have beautiful and delicious desserts.

Plus cakes.

Plus it's a great spot for a cup of coffee or tea, lunch, a snack, a light dinner, or late night munchies after a weekend performance at the Music Hall.

Jim tells me there's even free Wi-Fi, for the blogger on the go!

My pick: fresh fruit tart. Yummy!!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

In the Garden

At the start of spring, I got excited every time anything bloomed.

Now, securely ensconced in the green of summer, I sometimes take the beauty, green and warmth around me for granted.

This post is dedicated to stopping to smell the roses, er, enjoy the poppies!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lunch in Rockport, MA

Yesterday was a gorgeous day - a great break in our otherwise rainy week. Perfect for lunch in Rockport, Massachusetts, USA!

Rockport is famous for its beauty - making it easy on photographers!

View Larger Map

Toward the end of Atlantic Avenue, a local resident showed us a footpath to a granite headland overlooking the harbor. There are 3 granite benches, plus great views and rocks to climb on.

Just look for the footpath sign, and head down the thin paved walkway.

Rockport is dog friendly - with lots of outdoor dining options for humans with dogs. Unfortunately, Bailey couldn't join us yesterday.

In summer, the song sings itself.
~William Carlos Williams

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New to Me

Recently, Leigh gave me this blog award:

The Rules Of This Award:

Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 5 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

5 Acres & A Dream
is Leigh's new blog about her new-to-her home. She's already talking about various fiber-producing animals, so this will be interesting to follow.

Delighted Hands is a blog I just caught wind of recently. She spins, knits, quilts, sews and just purchased her first floor loom at the end of May!

Laura K. Aiken's blog shows her amazing mosaics....The real deal mosaics installed in floors of churches, at corporate offices and such. I love mosaic and it's cool to see some one blog about it! (Plus she's friendly and nice!)

On the local blogging front, I've started following Penny-Wise People and Living the Local Life. I've saved lots of money thanks to the tips on Penny-Wise People, and Living the Local Life keeps me up to date with farmer's market info and recipes.

Thanks for the award Leigh!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weaving Up a Storm

Once I figured out my plan for this warp, weaving it went quickly.

I'm happy to report that I actually can get into a rhythm with a table loom, contrary to my previous attempts!

This warp was left over from a color workshop I took in April with Ruby Leslie.

I did run out of some of the green yarns, but just continued with the reduced palette of greens.

When I ran out of the clay and rust yarn, and had the fuchsia as the only color in the red pile, I substituted rust and tan from my stash. (All that yarn buying at the guild yarn table paid off!) Hopefully it will still look OK, and I won't have problems with different yarns shrinking at different rates. It's all unmercerized cotton from what I can tell.

In the top of this picture, I'm using the original rust, clay and fuchsia. By the bottom, I've transitioned to rust, tan and fuchsia. I don't think the change is too noticeable.

I ended up with about 2 yards of cloth when I cut it off the loom.

Even though this warp goes really well with the colors in my living room, the unmercerized 8/2 cotton doesn't really turn into cloth that works well in my living room. It's a little too casual.

Jim had the idea of making napkins. They're non-traditional napkins because they won't be folded in half while in use. They will be about the size and thickness of the napkins we're using at the kitchen table right now. I already have blue placemats and a blue tablecloth that match this fabric.

The first time I washed this fabric, I hand washed, and pressed it with my iron to dry. Shrink rate: 7.5% in width and 3.6% in length.

Since I want to make it into napkins, which in my house means they must be machine wash and dry, I washed and dried it by machine. It shrank only a little more.

Next up, I need to figure out my hem strategy.

Related Posts:

What to Do with the leftover warp from Ruby Leslie's Color Workshop

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hamming It Up

Bailey's version of our plant photo-shoot:

I'm not really in the mood to have my picture taken.

I will not make eye contact unless you have treats in your hand.

Oh, you don't want my want to photograph that fern?

I am so much cuter than any fern!

I'll just lie here next to you with my head out of the way so you can finish up with that fern! (Sue's knee in blue)

Nothing like some digging to reduce dog stress!

Now, time for some serious sleep on the cool tile!