Archive for September, 2012

Summer Adventures

Now that Autumn is here in Vermont, I thought I’d let you know what we were doing all summer when I wasn’t posting to my blog.  Over a year ago, we set out to realize our dream of going to Alaska by booking a small boat cruise – only 60 passengers – through the Inner Passages.  In June we embarked on the two week tour: Juneau to Ketchican the first week and back to Juneau the second week.  They were different itineraries so we got to do and see some different things along the way while spending time in some of the same places.  The best part of this tour was how close we were able to get to the wildlife and the amount of time we were able to enjoy it “up-close-and-personal”.  We carried skiffs with us so they were ready quickly to check out a glacier, or a sea lion haul-out.  The boat had a floating dry dock with kayaks that were available many of the days for quiet exploration of sea life when we anchored in bays or coves.  We followed whales and orcas, sometimes for hours, saw numerous bears on the beaches, had the chance to visit small towns or to hike in the rainforest.  We even got to camp overnight on a beach.  It was magical.  And when we were finished with our time in the inner passage, we took a 4 day trip into the interior to Denali, staying at the end of the 92 mile road into the Denali National Park at the Kantishna Roadhouse.  While the mosquitoes were fierce, we got to see lots of wildlife: bears, moose, sheep, caribou and lots of smaller creatures.  We hiked, panned for gold, and generally enjoyed the majesty of the mountains and grand scenery that is Denali.  What an amazing trip!

I have made 2 photo books in Shutterfly to help preserve the memories we made: one of the myriad of wildflowers we saw and photographed while we were there, and one that draws from our journal and the over 5000 photos we took.  If you are interested, they both can be viewed on line.  The link to the wildflower book is here.  The link to the journal is here.

Wildflowers

There is little so invigorating as a walk on a crisp, autumn day. The bright blue sky and colorful leaves lift my spirits and energize me.

The past several days I’ve been noticing wildflowers. It is true that the wooly-bear caterpillars were out in force, but it was the wildflowers that captured my eye. Whether quickly fading or bright and new, their color brightens my way. Leaves also are beginning to turn as we march boldly into Fall.

Bounty

It has been a hot summer here in Vermont. Often we don’t have enough warm weather to ripen more than a few tomatoes. But this year the garden has been quite productive. So far we have picked many pounds of tomatoes and put up 31 pints. We have enough ripe ones for another double batch (16 pints) and many more on the vines. Looks like we’ll be enjoying our own tomatoes well into the winter.

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Just a few more…

I walk pretty much the same route every day and I’m always surprised by the diversity of creatures I see along the way.  Sometimes I see the same ones, like today’s spotted salamander and red eft.  But then there are those others – new to me and different – always varied and beautiful.  Here are a few more recent samples:

This lovely spotted caterpillar with the spiky tail

This Isabella Tiger Moth larva

This species of sphinx moth larva – I saw two of these.

And this fabulous dragonfly.  It’s beautiful, don’t you think?

More critters (and other stuff) in the road

It seems like the road is alive with caterpillars these days. Today I found four of the brown fuzzy ones and one that was yellow with black and white tufts (I’ve seen these a number of times before). Alas, all my attempts to figure out what they are going to be has been fruitless. The id site I’ve been using comes up empty. Here are a few more of my anonymous friends. If you have any ideas as to what they are, let me know.

These brown ones scurry across the road at break-neck speed. If caterpillars could gallop, these would be doing it.

This one is amazingly elegant with its black and white tufts.

More fall leaves, these being aspens.

And in case you were wondering where the holiday gathering was….

Happy Labor Day!


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