Catnaps and Sundays

Cat photo contribution!

At some point during our week, we all look to get some time to relax and recover from the busy schedules that keep driving us forward during the workweek.  Usually, it’s not until Sunday that this time arrives, as Saturday has time for errands and other minor tasks around the house.

Unfortunately, there’s still some leftover work to be done before starting Monday’s busy schedule, but with a morning jog and a visit from my daughter it should still be relaxing.

Despie that, there is one denizen of our house that manages just fine….

Noodle’s abode

A shoebox is all that Noodle needed to relax!

The Sound of Silence

Hello, snow my old friend!

It’s Sunday in New England and it’s about to snow again… current forecast is another 12 inches of the pretty white stuff from today into Monday.  All the groceries are bought for the next couple of days, so I’m planning to go for a bit of a trek into the wonderful outdoors and maybe get a couple of photo opportunities in.  Should be fun, as I might even break out my snow shoes and give them a test.

I’m sure I won’t see anything like these, but they did cross my mind this morning…


This image came from a bit of experimentation a couple of years back, as I visualized going  through a field of flowery stars nearing warp speed…  It’s one of those images that is a bit unsettling visually, as my eye never completely comes to rest anywhere specifically in it.  I’m curious what it does to your eyes.

I’ll also try to get some yoga in, depending on availability and, of course, there will be some time for guitar practice.  I just got a book of Simon & Garfunkel songs and am really drawn to Sound of Silence.  Here’s a taste…

Have a wonderful day!

Relaxed Sunday – Vacation and R.E.M.

A nice day coming up!

As we’re still waiting for all the leaves that have dropped in the yard to dry out a bit from the soaking that they received over the past week, I’ll spend a bit of time shopping on this lovely Sunday.  My wife’s birthday is coming up, so I will find something of interest!

Additionally, I’ll spend a bit more time planning our vacation in Italy next year, with a bit of additional research about the lovely Chianti region.  As we’re going in mid-May, there’s plenty of time, particularly since I already have our lodging booked.

This will be our first sizeable vacation trip since our visit to Scotland in 2013; we spent some time in Maine last year that was very enjoyable, but not as long a vacation.  We’ll spend a couple of days in Rome after arriving, before going up the country, where we’ll be staying in Colordesoli for just over a week.

Eilean Donan castle

This image is from our trip to Scotland, where Eilean Donan castle was on our list of locations that we wanted to visit.  Our trip to Italy will require a bit less driving around, as we covered over a thousand miles in Scotland 🙂

Guitar practice

There will be time for guitar practice, which has been focused on a bunch of fundamental skills over the past number of weeks, as I’m trying to create more independence in each of my fingers; it’s amazing how much our fingers are used to working together most of the time!

As I have been working on improving my fingerstyle skills, I’ll be spending some time today re-learning ‘Everybody Hurts‘ by R.E.M., which I have thus far only played using a strumming pattern.

A great song, and thanks to Justin Sandercoe of JustinGuitar, whose lessons are available on YouTube for free (it’s a good thing to support him, though, as I have done, by picking up some of his books and courses), I will have a solid starting point:

Enjoy your day!!

A Walk Through the Woods

Oxbow in Autumn

After a busy week and Saturday, I spent a little time this morning to catch up on some of the images from last weekend’s hike through the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge.  It was my first attempt at doing some further exploration of this lovely wetlands area.  After doing a bit of research, I found that the primary purpose for which the Refuge was created is its “…particular value in carrying out the national migratory bird management program.”

The Refuge’s interspersion of wetland, forested upland and old field habitats is ideally suited for this purpose. The Refuge supports a diverse mix of migratory birds including waterfowl, wading birds, raptors, shorebirds, passerines, as well as resident mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. The extensive and regionally significant wetlands occurring on and adjacent to the Oxbow Refuge, including their associated tributary drainages and headwaters, have been listed as a priority for protection under both the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act of 1986. The portion of the Oxbow NWR south of Route 2 lies within the 12,900-acre Central Nashua River Valley Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) designated by the Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs, and the portions of the Refuge north of Route 2 are included in the Squannassit ACEC due to the unique environmental characteristics and values of these wildlife habitats.
Here are some additional images from last weekend’s trek.

Color in the Pines

Even coniferous trees are showing the effect of the changing season, as some of the needles are withering on this pine in anticipation of dropping before Winter arrives.  Of course, we get to enjoy a soft bed under the tree from years of accumulated pine needles.

Leaves Preparing to Fall

As we look up to the sky, there is an interleaving pattern above us, showing the structure of individual leaves as they overlap with one another.The path is inviting, showing us the way betwixt ferns and trees with warm tones telling us of gentle strolls and comfortable temperatures.

Ancient Ferns

The persistent drought has caused these ferns to change from their familiar green to warm, yellowish tones.  Given the age of ferns, one cannot help but imagine what it would be like to be surrounded by a forest of them, listening for the stealthy approach of a flock of velociraptors… (luckily, no humanoids ever had that opportunity, except in Hollywood).

Swamp Construct

Nature has an uncanny way of presenting us with lines and colors that draw our eyes to them.  She never disappoints!

Technical Details

All images were captured with a Fujifilm X-T1

Lazy Sunday Morning

Noodle relaxes well!

Sometimes, it’s nice to just kick back and relax on a Sunday morning, while the weather passes.  There’s one member of our household who’s very good at this…

It’s a tough cat life…

This is Noodle, our useless cat.  She’s not much of a mouser (ignores them), she spends most of her day lying around somewhere, insists in getting all over your keyboard when you’re trying to type, and only speaks up when she wants something from you.  Of course, that could just be the definition of the word ‘cat’.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Sunday Morning – Vincent

Starry, starry night!

It’s a beautiful morning this Sunday, as we’re enjoying a long weekend in the United States with Labor Day giving us Monday off.  This morning is starting with watching the Italian Grand Prix at Monza for breakfast, and then doing a bit of yard work before tomorrow’s expected rainfall; as Hermine makes her way up the Atlantic coast and depsites a bit of leftovers in New England.

After all that, I will focus on spending some quality time on guitar practice and working on a new song to learn.  Today, I have selected Don McLean’s wonderful song, Vincent, which should give me plenty of challenges.

This song should be a lot of fun to learn with the help of Justin Sandercoe, whose Justinguitar videos are a boon to learning guitar.  I will be using his video on learning Vincent for this effort:

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday Morning – Gov’t Mule

The mule kicked!

This Sunday morning, we atually slept in (that’s 7 a.m. before the dogs woke us up 🙂 ), as we came home late from the concert we attended in Boston last night.  The concert was by Government Mule and featured Blackberry Smoke as the opening act.

I had not heard anything by Blackberry Smoke prior to hearing them last night and I was truly impressed with them, as their blend of Southern Rock  was executed with zeal, passion and skill!

Gov’t Mule sounded fantastic, as they put on a 2+ hour show filled with a blend of orginal material and covers that just blow one’s mind.  Warren Haynes played like only he can, effortlessly switching from blues to rock and even some jazz.  His guitar choices, all Gibson on this night, were rather modest with a significant part of the show played on this vintage Gibson Firebird.

2016-08-13 21.38.58 HDR-1
Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes

Toward the end of the show, winds started picking up and blowing through the Blue Hills Pavillion, which is right on Boston Harbor; no matter, Warren and the band were not slowed even though their hair was blowing all over the place.

With Gov’t Mule, one can always expect some amazing covers in a show, and I was not disappointed, when Warren played the opening notes of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’.  Their rendition was truly stunning, putting both Warren’s guitar and vocal skills on display.  Here’s and older video to get a sense of it…

Sunday Morning – Exhibit Prep

Printing, framing and music!

It’s two weeks to go to have everything printed and framed for the small exhibit that I will have hanging for the next couple of months at the great place where I work (Red Hat).  So, I will be spending most of the morning perfecting the last couple of images and printing them and then will frame those that I have printed already.

When I print any image, I put it into the drying book for at least 24 hours to ensure that any moisture from the ink is pulled out of the print and not trapped behind glass and possibly cause warping or other issues longer term.

As most of you are aware, the exhibit will feature the Yoga Tree, in all her beauty and phases across the years.  There is a specially requested image that will go on one of the walls…

Nubble Brooding

This image is from three years ago, and is the first that I captured of Nubble Light on Cape Neddick, Maine.  It’s a light house that has been photographed so much that I have always been hesitant to shoot it, as I wanted to create something unique.  What I noticed in the clouds and seas that day, helped formulate a vision of what I wanted.  The final edit came about six weeks later, as I needed to be in a bit of a darker mood to get the results that we see here.

I will make sure that there will be time for some music.  I’m working on some technique exercises to strengthen my playing ability and really get the basics under control.  One of the songs that I’m also working on is this tune titled ‘Killing the Blues’, a Rowland Salley composition.  Here’s a version that I found that is quite likable!

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday Morning – Garagedoor

Door number 1?

It’s amusing that the WordPress Discover Challenge focuses on the story behind a door, as that has been my story this weekend 🙂  One of our garage door openers decided to fail on opening with a horrible ratcheting noise that indicates that the trolley is skipping on the screwdrive system.  Looking for a replacement part resulted in finding that it would have to be ordered directly from the manufacturer, so, as my wife parks her car in that bay, I decided to undertake the replace and upgrade strategy.

As this is not something that I do every day, it does take a little more time to disassemble the old garage door opener system and at this point, I’m pretty close to having the new one in place, which is the job for this morning.  It’s a matter of creating the motor attachment to the ceiling and wiring the controls to get it up and running; 2 hours or so.


This brings me back to this door from a year ago on the side of a barn near the Herring Era Museum in Siglufjörður, Iceland.  Behind this door lies a rich history of people working to achieve their dreams in the rough North Atlantic waters.  Hard dangerous work with lots of interesting stories.

Once I am done with the door, I’ll spend a bit of time on the yard and then it’s on to pulling together the list of images for the exhibit that opens on August 1st.  I will share the final decisions with you, as it will have your input as part of it.

Hopefully that will leave some time for music, because there’s a little blues song that I want to do some more work on… Blue Jeans Blues by ZZ Top:

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Sunday Morning – Tradition

Tradition can be good!

After a Grace Potter concert experience on Saturday night that was well-executed, but left us missing some of the older material that we had hoped to hear.  Grace was dynamic, filled with energy and led the audience on a Rock and Roll line up that felt like a space-ship, tent revivial with a twist of voodoo high priestess thrown in, as she kept the audience mesmerized.

A solid show, but without some of the classics, such as Stars, Tiny Light, Apologies, Oasis, Ragged Company, which would have fit in beautifully to break the blistering pace of the show.  This lack of the traditional material from her extensive catalog keeps a number of us wanting an alternative version of the show…  Maybe next time, but I’ll share some tradition with you!

Old Stone Church

Old Stone Church in West Boylston, MA

In the 19th century, the Quinapoxet River joined the Stillwater River to become the southern branch of the Nashua River in the town of West Boylston. Just to the east of the confluence of these rivers was constructed a magnificent stone church.

From 1896 through 1905 West Boylston endured the building of the Wachusett Reservoir and the destruction of its mills and farms. When the Wachusett Reservoir was completed, this impressive Old Stone Church remained standing as the last remnant of the town which was once in the valley, but was now flooded by the new reservoir.

The predecessor of the Old Stone Church was the second house of worship for the Baptist Society in West Boylston, dedicated on December 6, 1832.

The church and its neighboring church, Saint Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church, were destroyed by a fire on May 2, 1890.

The present Old Stone Church was built on the same site and was scheduled for dedication on March 17, 1892, but a fire again badly damaged the interior of the church and the dedication was postponed until May 19, 1892.

In June 1897, the Metropolitan Water Board awarded the Baptist Society $22,500 for the loss of the church for the construction of the reservoir. The last Baptist service was held in April 1902.

On April 13, 1973, the Old Stone Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

On June 27, 1974, the State awarded $87,000 for reinforcing the roof and walls of the church building. The following month, the church roof and three walls collapsed requiring rebuilding which was completed in the Spring of 1977.

On September 25, 1983, on the occasion of the year of the 175th Anniversary of the Incorporation of the Town of West Boylston, the Rededication of the Old Stone Church was held.

As you can imagine, the Old Stone Church is a popular backdrop for wedding and engagement photography and looks magnificent when bracketed by New England’s special offering of magnificent autumnal colors!

Enjoy a little quieter bit of Grace Potter with Things I Never Needed!


Have a wonderful day!

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