Friday, January 28, 2011

Merrimack River Eagle Festival, Feb. 12, 2011 in Newburyport, MA

Each winter, bald eagles congregate in areas of New England where there's reliably open water on rivers.

The Merrimack River in Amesbury and Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA is a great place to watch bald eagles in February.

To make it even simpler, the Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge sponsor a free eagle festival. (If you google, you may find an eagle festival near you as well.)

Last year, we printed their eagle viewing map, and headed down for the day. We saw eagles perched in trees, doing aerial acrobatics together, and successfully fishing then eating the fish on an ice flow.

It's so helpful to have a group of people to help you spot the eagles, even though many eagles can be seen with the naked eye. Plus, you can ask other eagle watchers where they've seen eagles to know which viewing spots are best that day.

Definitely take binoculars and a spotting scope if you have them. Many people stop by without even binoculars, and people let them borrow a pair. Plus, the sponsoring groups usually have a few spotting scopes at each viewing stop.

There's plenty of space for photographers (although with this year's deep snow it might be a little tougher.)

The photos in this post were taken by Jim (Mr. LifeLoomsLarge) in February 2010 at the Merrimack River Eagle Festival.

For more info, visit the Audubon Society's webpage about the event.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cool Upholstery

Perhaps I was a little too interested in the upholstery at Blue Moon Evolution in Exeter, NH when I had lunch there on Monday.

The Blue Moon Cafe has evolved into a restaurant open for lunch and dinner. The market is no more.

You can check it out yourself if you go to the Winter Fuzz Fest in Exeter on Saturday, January 29. (Unfortunately, I can't make it to the Fuzz Fest this time.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Concord, Massachusetts

We visited Concord, MA on a cold but sunny day this week.

Snowbanks and icicles were among the wintry delights of Concord.

The excuse for our visit was the Quilts from the Concord Museum exhibit at the Concord Museum. The exhibit consisted of two rooms with quilts hanging on the walls. The quilts all tied into Concord history in one way or another.

For me, the two most memorable things were:
  • The first crazy quilt I've ever seen that looked beautiful instead of like a mishmash.
  • How modern some of the fabrics looked, even though they were part of quilts that were over 100 years old.
Unfortunately, photos were not permitted inside the museum, so I can't show you any of the quilts, or the fearsome icicles along the courtyard roof.

We had a great lunch afterward at the Colonial Inn.

A gazebo!!!

I definitely want to return to Concord in the summer. There are lots of historic houses, including Louisa May Alcott's, Nathaniel Hawthorne's, Ralph Waldo Emerson' the Minute Man National Historic Park.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Squirrel Appreciation Day

Really? There's a special day for squirrels?

How did you celebrate it?

Bailey appreciates squirrels every day. He loves to chase them or just watch them out the window!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


This month's photo mission: Lights

On Christmas Eve, we photographed Christmas lights. It does take a tripod to make night photos come out unblurry....which is sad because I feel weird out in the dark photographing other people's lights. It would be more fun for me to just point and shoot without a tripod.

The Edgewood Centre, in Portsmouth, had beautiful displays, ample I captured this photograph of a gazebo that's one of my favorites. (I have a long-standing love affair with gazebos...and would love to have one, or even regular access to one. I think they are so cool!)

I'm happy that I walked around some during this photo shoot. When I use a tripod, I often just plunk myself and my camera in one spot and fire away. Since I'm not really good at imagining what the photos will look like, I benefit from moving around and trying different angles. I need to remember that next time I use my tripod!

Masonic Temple, Portsmouth, NH

Jim's photo of the Masonic Temple came out much nicer than mine because he went across the street for this photo. I was too close to the building, so my shot came out weirdly diagonal and obscured by tree branches. Even if I can't see things as well at night, it seems like my camera can.

Monday night was the last clear evening for this week, so we went out for an early evening photo shoot even though it was 12 F (-11.11 C). I had spotted a few interesting lights in Exeter, NH that I wanted to photograph.

These cool stars were in the window of Trends Gift Gallery. I photographed them from across the street, with my tripod stuck in a snowbank. I didn't even notice until I got home that there was writing on the window in front of the stars. Plus I didn't zoom in from enough angles to photograph my favorites....Lessons learned!

Finally I took a few photos of the stained glass window at First Baptist Church of Exeter built in 1876. How did I get the artistic slant of this photo? The front leg of my tripod was stuck in a snowbank.

If it weren't for the monthly photo assignment, I wouldn't have taken any of these light photos. I'm glad I did because it helped me appreciate beautiful things around me more, and I used the gazebo photo for a Christmas e-card. (Plus, for my Christmas greeting on this blog.)

I wonder what the assignment will be next month!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

DPS:Brand New

This week's theme at Digital Photography School is "Brand New".

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

DPS: Best of 2010

That was so last year!

This week at Digital Photography School, we're challenged to choose our favorite photos of 2010. At first I thought I might have to look through trip photos and other unblogged photos.

But, being efficient (or lazy), I chose photos from my blog entries for 2010. To my surprise, I found some favorites, often chosen from the Colors of the Month posts.

Tree in Winter at Odiorne State Park

Island reflection

I'm surprised this was shot in the winter, although I guess the snow should give me a clue. It would be a better photo if I could have avoided that chain link fence. Or used photoshop to clean it up.


Even though I shot this photo in too much sunlight, it still reminds me of summer. Maybe next year I'll time it better so I have softer light. (I'm still learning to pay attention to light when I take photos. Other photographers are way ahead of me on that!)


Every year, one of my favorite photos is of the hydrangea in our back yard.

Clements Mountain, Glacier National Park, Montana

Clements Mountain is a "horn" formed by 3 or more glaciers eroding different sides of the mountain. The Grand Teton, the Matterhorn and Mt. Blanc are other famous horns.

Milkweed pod

In 2011, I hope to include more favorite photos so that my year end wrap-up gives me even tougher choices!

I'm also mulling over the idea of a Glimpses of the Month feature, similar to the Colors of the Month from last year so that I'll be sure to take and share photos of beautiful or interesting things each month. I've already taken some January shots for it, so it will probably pop up within a week or so.

Snow Note: Yesterday I speculated that we'd get big snow today, and sure enough, we're at 16 inches and counting. Fortunately, yesterday I got to feel the crunch of pine needles and frozen dirt trails under my boots on our daily walk. I may have to wait a few months to feel that again. Meanwhile, it's great snowshoe weather!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Calm Before the Storm

Whenever I see the leaves of our rhododendron curled up tight, I think it must be very cold outside. (I'm not the first person to notice this change!)

Bailey considers my photography session an opportunity to snack (bad news since rhododendrons are poisonous for dogs.)

We're waiting for what might finally be big snow tomorrow. (We still have tons of bare ground and just a light dusting of snow...very unusual for January in these parts.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Almost Like a New Year's Resolution

Am I posting about food again???

Somehow, the spirit of the New Year and the idea of making a fresh start has me committed to improving my bread-baking prowess.

We don't eat tons of bread, but most of what we do eat comes out of our bread machine.

I'm following King Arthur Flour's online Bread Machine Basics & Beyond class to branch out and understand what I'm doing a little better.

That sounds more complicated than it really is, because the class only involves making 3 different breads.

Today was my second time making the Harvest Cracked Wheat Bread. We loved it so much the first time, I had to try it again.

The first time, the loaf was kind of gnarly (which is apparently the word for the weirdness that comes out of your bread machine when you don't add enough water.) The flavor was great, but the shape was very weird and the crust was super crunchy.

This time, I monitored the bread while it was kneading, added 1/4 cup of water a tablespoon-ful at a time, and the bread came out much better. (The first time I made the loaf, the instructions told me to pay attention, but I was doing something else....hopefully weaving-related... and the time to intervene passed me by.)

The recipe is for a smaller size bread machine than mine, so I'm still going to experiment with making the recipe bigger so it can be part of our regular bread rotation.

Jim (AKA Mr. LifeLoomsLarge) likes to use power tools (an electric knife) to slice the bread. We freeze it in two-slice pairs, perfect for sandwiches. I guess we like gadgets whether they're used for weaving or for bread-making!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

DPS: Holiday Food

This week's assignment at Digital Photography School.

Food photography is always a challenge for me!

On a non-photographic, but foodie note:

Today I'm cooking Spicy Beef Roast in my crockpot. (Love the crockpot website for recipes.) The whole house smells like Worcestershire sauce....which makes me crave Chex party mix, a holiday staple when I was growing up!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day in the Life of Looms 2011

Love Meg's tradition of candid loom shots on the first of the year!!

You can join in too if you have a loom.

On the Toika, cut-off grey cottolin warp that will become towels...after I unravel the mystery of the vertical lines that appeared when I wet-finished the sample.

On the baby wolf, a cut off white tencel warp. I'm changing from a summer and winter threading from a Susan Wilson workshop to an overshot threading for the remainder of my samples.

Hopefully "dully-colored cut-off warps" is just a snapshot in time, not a theme for 2011 for me!

Here's to a great year for all of us!