Strawberry season!

A favorite summer ritual.

I love strawberries, and I especially love strawberry season. I have long enjoyed the opportunity to visit pick-your-own strawberry fields, fill many quart boxes, and then return home to eat some now, and freeze most for eating later. Indeed, I’ve just about finished my frozen bags of 2021 berries, so I was eager to get out there today before the season ends (likely next week, if not sooner).

Today I picked eight heaping quarts of the ripest, juiciest berries I’ve seen in a long time, at Edgewater Farms in Plainfield NH. The sun was warm, the breeze pleasant, the berries plentiful, and I could hear the buzz of many happy families nearby in the field. I spent about an hour picking, and (back home) another hour washing, sorting, trimming, cutting, and freezing most of them. You caught me red-handed!

After dinner I enjoyed the ultimate treat… vanilla ice cream with strawberries!

Kiawah

Return of the Osprey!

We spent a long weekend at Kiawah, to join some family celebrations in nearby Charleston. I took the opportunity to do some photography, as I often do here, out on the beach and along the winding roads of the island neighborhoods. Indeed, I just switched to a new camera, the Canon R5 – about which I’ll write later – so this was a great chance to learn how to use it.

The full gallery includes a variety of photos, but the highlight was a visit to an osprey nest (the same one we photographed last June). Mama Osprey and two fledglings peered out from the nest, while Papa Osprey watched closely from a nearby tree.

Mom and two chicks in an Osprey nest, Kiawah.

Summer solstice

Longest day of the year?

PhotoPills screenshot showing time/date for equinoxes and solstices.

Today is the summer solstice (in the northern hemisphere). More precisely, the solstice occurred at 5:15am here in the Eastern timezone. The summer solstice is the moment at which the sun has ‘traveled’ to its northernmost latitude, in its annual cycle of apparent movement to the north in summer and to the south in winter. (It’s a great day for those of us with solar panels, because it means we’re getting hours of sunlight!) Read on.

Continue reading “Summer solstice”

Moosilauke trailwork

A day of clearing blowdowns and water bars.

I had the opportunity to spend this weekend at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, for a celebration of the 100th anniversary of a subset of the Dartmouth Outing Club known as Cabin & Trail. Although the celebratory aspect of the weekend was muted – by virtue of being postponed two years due to the pandemic – the real purpose of the gathering was in full swing. A couple dozen hardy alums gathered on Saturday morning for a day of trailwork, sweeping the trails of Mount Moosilauke to remove the winter’s debris of blown-down trees and sediment-filled waterbars (stones and logs used for diverting water from the trails). Although Friday night’s weather involved heavy rain, Saturday morning woke clear with only light clouds.

Saturday morning view from Moosilauke Ravine Lodge.

My group was assigned to hike up the Ridge Trail to the junction with the Beaver Brook Trail, where an illegal campsite had emerged over recent years – we needed to erase that campsite by filling it with debris that would discourage anyone from camping. Here’s the happy crew, after cluttering the campsite behind us.

The crew who erased a campsite at intersection of Beaver Brook and Ridge Trail: Lelia, Kevin, Jeff, Bernie; photo by David Kotz.

We then returned via the same route, chopping trees that had fallen across the trail, sawing off branches that overhung the trail, and shoveling out sediment-filled waterbars.

Jeff Greilsheimer ’94 chops blowdowns on Ridge Trail – with Mount Blue at rear.

We finished the day, dirty and tired, but satisfied by a good day’s work.

The Ridge trail crew: Bernie, Jeff, Kevin, David, Lelia.

Sunday broke even clearer, and sunnier, but sadly I had to depart. I’ll be back soon!

See the photo gallery – including some photos from one of the weekend’s organizers.

Mount Cube

A beautiful day with grand views – and wildflowers.

After a couple of months with little or no hiking, it was time to get back out on the trails. Traditionally, it is appropriate to stay off the trails after the snow melts, until Memorial Day… when the trails have hopefully dried out and are sufficiently stable to accommodate the foot traffic. This morning broke cool and clear, with nary a cloud in the sky. Although I started up the Rivendell Trail toward Mount Cube more than two hours after sunrise, I was nonetheless the first person up the trail this morning. I was treated to grand views from the outlooks and summits, and to the occasional wildflowers along the trails.

David enjoys the view from summit of North Mount Cube; Moosilauke is at far left.

Check out the gallery for more, notably, the panorama from the North summit.

Hike stats:
Distance 7.2km
Time: 2h31m with stops
Gain 473m

Bear crap

Big and hairy.

As the weather warmed, our local population of black bears started to stir. Since there is little natural food available yet, our birdfeeders and compost bin are an easy target. We try to remember to bring in the bird feeders each night, but sometimes forget… leading to damaged feeders and a hugely diminished supply of birdseed.

This weekend, while out for a stroll across the yard, I found this fresh evidence of our overnight visitor. Click on the photo and zoom in if you dare!

Two days later, after repairing our compost bin, he was back…

Post Mills Balloon Festival

A colorful delight for photographers.

Finally, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Post Mills Balloon Festival has returned. This is one of my favorite events every spring, when hot-air balloon enthusiasts gather at the tiny Post Mills Airport for a weekend of ballooning and fellowship. The term ‘airport’ hardly fits, because it is a simple grassy airstrip nestled between a forested wetland and the town cemetery, but the lure of these graceful, vibrantly colorful balloons on a cool spring morning brings me back every year. Read on, and check out the gallery!

Some of the 21 balloons I saw launching this morning.
Continue reading “Post Mills Balloon Festival”

Rowing season

A joy to be back out on the river!

Finally. May has arrived, the docks are in, and the morning weather is warm enough for me to get out my shell and make a quick sculling trip before work.

Ever since the time I capsized in early April, some years ago – it was my first outing of the year, I was a bit rusty – and I experienced first-hand the danger of spring water sports when one is tossed into near-freezing water that can bring on hypothermia in minutes… I’ve set a personal rule not to row until May. Furthermore, throughout the season, I don’t row if the air temp is below 40º. Call me wimpy, but I skip sculling when it is raining or windy. I’m out there solo, so it’s best to be safe.

Today was a beautiful morning, with air temp (at the riverside) about 41º … and for the first time, just for yucks, I measured the water temp: 53º. Glad to say I stayed above the water today.

Forest spring

Spring arrives in ‘my’ forest.

I often ramble along the forested hillside above our home – and often write about it – and this morning I had an opportunity for a quick walk before heading to work. It was a beautiful sunny morning, with temp in the high 30s, as I strode quickly up the steep slopes toward the ‘summit’ of this little hill. As I approached the top, a deer leaped across the path and down through the trees to my right – exactly the same place I’d seen deer several times before, and shared a video with you. A nice way to start the day.

Near the road, a spot that gets a bit more sunshine due to the gap in trees, I found spring’s first Trillium.

On my way down I passed a vernal pool I know well. It had been rather dull and quiet – but this week seems to have burst forth with new green.

I’ll keep an eye on it, as more vegetation emerges over the next few weeks, as the amphibians emerge, and as local critters visit for a drink or a snack. I made many visits to this pool last spring.