Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Zealand

Am wondering about the folk in New Zealand, feeling for the families and friends of the missing or dead, and for those whose dwellings are now unlivable.  If only earthquakes would give us a little advance warning.   Perhaps one day technology will be able to predict at least a few hours ahead.  Surely there is something going on with the tectonic plates a little before they actually shift!  But anyway, in this day and age, we are still taken by surprise - just as the people were by hurricanes 100 years ago.

Here is a first-hand account of the Christchurch earthquake by someone who was in the CBD (Central Business District) when the earthquake struck.

Report on Christchurch earthquake

Sobering, isn't it?

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you there in New Zealand!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vermont countryside (5)

Friday afternoon after skiing and Sabbath morning, we drove around to look at some local Vermontian sights before we had to head on south.  Our friend lives in Waterbury Center, relatively near to Stowe. ("The hills are alive.....")

The modern way to do sugaring.

Sabbath morning it had snowed 2-3 inches more.  This is the view from our friend's house.

This is Zena, his Siberian Husky.  She's a real character.

Zena takes us for a walk.

20' temps and a strong wind make for rosy cheeks

The wind was howling on Sabbath morning.  The "mist" you see here is really blowing snow.

The little sign above the wreath warns horses to slow to a walk before crossing.

The little town of Stowe (I think). We had a warm spell and the rivers started to melt.

Another old, rickety covered bridge.

A popular place for ice-climbing.

Amazing designs as the ice melts.

Some people make ice towers in their yards.

Hurry little elephant - your family has already migrated south!

Yesterday we got a text from our friend - temps on the slopes were -7' at the top and 7' at the bottom.  Whew!  I'm glad we got to ski in 30' - 40' weather!

Thanks CK, we had a wonderful time!

Vermont (4)

Our friend in Vermont has been begging us to visit for years, so what better time than in the winter, and while we're up in the area?

Snow-shoeing in the moonlight.  This pic is of them standing on a frozen pond.
 On Thursday we're ready to hit the slopes.  So on to Sugarbush.  C took snowboard lessons for a half day which helped get her started.  Then CK helped her a LOT that afternoon and next morning.  By Friday afternoon, she didn't want any more instruction!!
Taken from the "quad".  Lovely day to ride/ski, on Thursday.

Taking a higher lift on up to the top.

Up here the snow is still thick on the trees.

The lift doesn't go this high - we had to walk this short last stretch - but it was beautifully groomed and we couldn't resist a picture of the pristine surface.

At the top the view was 360'.

Row upon row of Vermont mountains.

A Sugarbear ready to go!

And we're off!

This is fun!

Just a speck in the distance.

Some of the slopes here at Sugarbush.
We rode the slopes Thursday and Friday, and then it was time to head back home. :-(

Old Sturbridge Village (3)

A trip back to the 1830's America.  We spent a good bit of Wednesday here.  By the end of the day, the dirt paths were about 5 inches deep in MUD, as the temps warmed up.

Isn't this little maiden sweet? (Honey, I don't think you're dressed for the weather....)

A poor young farmer's house.  This fire was nice but it didn't really heat up the whole (tiny) house.

A richer farmer's house.  This is the parlor and the old piano was originally owned by the (Farnsworth?) family.

You can see the road's potential to muddy up, although these puddles are still ice - for the moment.

Looks like a pink elephant all right!

Another farmhouse kitchen.

Getting Lance and Henry yoked up.  Don't worry fellas, no actual plowing today!

Good old-fashioned fun sledding on the nearby slope.

A young lady gets ready for church (or something).

Looks like the picket fence is a bit low for the snow.
Well, after about 1pm, I couldn't take any more photos without deleting some others, so don't have any more (to speak of) of Sturbridge.  (Of course I could have walked to the car to get the second memory card....but as it was, we had to jog through the last part of town to make it to our "pick Daddy up appointment").

Other buildings in the village were the blacksmith's shop, cobbler, pottery shop, general store, meeting house, one room schoolhouse, farm, lawyer's office, tinsmith, mill, various barns, parsonage, printmaker, carpenter, cooper, tavern (restaurant), houses, cheese-maker and prolly a few other stops.

All said and done, we learned quite a bit about America in the 1830's!

More of New England (2)

Continuing on with our New England adventures....

School-kids and others having fun on Froggy Pond in Boston Common

The mandatory Copley square mixture of old and new.

One of NEC's "sacred" halls - this was "our" hall - largely the same as it was 20 years ago.

The old Noack - the only one 'free' today (Tuesday). I see this room now stores basses too.

On Tuesday afternoon we took a trip into the NE countryside.  Here they're all ready for the sap to run. (Perhaps a tad bit optimistic, but who am I to say?!)

This is the site of the "shot heard 'round the world" between Concord and Lexington.  The pathways were frozen SOLID ice and not another soul in sight!

That shiny glare is not liquid!  Of course the river here was frozen too.

Legend has it that a young farmer fired the first shot.

This is little girl HEAVEN!  C thought she had entered paradise!  I think our trip could have ended right here.
The next blog will be about our visit to the 1830's - Old Sturbridge Village.

An unexpected field trip (I)

to New England! So far we're having a great time.  On the way here we drove through busy Washington D.C. and then on through bustling New York City and now for the last couple days, returning to old Boston haunts, showing C some of the well-trodden paths.  Sobering to think that when I was a student here, those who are now students were then babes in arms! It truly does not feel like 20 years!  Please, someone tell me the last 20 years did not happen this fast.

Anyhoo, deep, slow breaths, all will be fine!

In D.C. we were lucky to find a parking spot on the mall directly in front of the White House.

Beautiful sunny day - but breezy and FRIGID!
Here's to you, Sasha and Malia!

C HAS grown, hasn't she? Now that she's as tall as the Washington Monument, how will I ever find clothes to fit?!

Breezing past the Capitol building...

  Of course, I think C was only interested in seeing the White House but still, we enjoyed the other monuments too.  Another stroke of luck was being there on the 12th Feb. - the 202nd anniversary of Lincoln's birth.
We just so happened to walk into the Lincoln Mem. about 10 mins before a program started, commemorating his birthday.

There was the presentation of colours, brass music and of course speeches, including one by the current mayor of D.C., Vincent Gray (who railed against the "taxation without representation" in his speech!)
The Honorable Vincent Gray, Mayor of the District of Columbia

Then it was up the coast.  Saw a sign for Fort McHenry so stopped in to see where the Star Spangled Banner was written and why.  Fascinating.  (Though I still think "America the Beautiful" would be a better anthem...I know, I'm very opinionated!)
Some interesting trivia at Fort McHenry

We're trying to....
The next day was on to New York City via a good New Jersey view of the Statue of Liberty (another must see for C).
Excuse me, Lady Liberty, could you turn around for a face shot?
It was a frigid day with a very brisk wind...but we made it.  Drove through the Holland Tunnel into town and did a loop or two through streets, over bridges and down alley canyons.  While in town got a call about another "grand" on the way! Yay.
One of many alley-canyons

Lots of the yellow cars.....

One of the NYC landmarks.

Entered Boston through the new-to-us underground freeways.  Up onto Storrow Drive - wow - totally different.  Glad all the "digging" is over for now, though.  Showed C the couple places we used to live,
On Peterborough Street

And, the Melrose house we "house-sat" for a very sweet old "snowbird" couple,(alas, no longer "whinnying with us".)
and our plot in the Victory Gardens, now covered in about 2 feet of snow and ice! Can't believe all the snow this year - everyone says a record year.

The next two days C and I rode the T and commuter rail into town to explore, and for a few lessons in Revolutionary war history.
Fanueil Hall (Prolly spelled it wrong)

Sitting under the Constitution....

A hero of times past, Paul Revere, with Old North church in the background.
This morning (Feb. 14?) the low was in the single digits, with a strong northwester!  We were glad for the extra woollens we'd brought along.  Still mountains of snow and ice to negotiate.

Look for continued adventures in another blog.