2014 Supermoon #1: Boston

12 07 2014

IMG_4856Tonight is the first of three consecutive “supermoons” this summer — when the perigee moon coincides with the full moon.

I got to the traffic island in Charles Circle just in time.  I stood rapt in the warm wind of a beautiful summer night, deaf to the traffic around me, watching the moon float clear of the skyscrapers of Boston.

As the light changed, swarms of people passed me — lovers holding hands, MGH staff going to work the hospital night shift, teenagers texting with the hand not clutching an ice cream cone.  I iterated through all the settings on my new(ish) camera.  Finally, the “manual” setting produced this image.

IMG_4852Not bad for a city street, in the wind, with a Costo Canon, with my tripod 5,000 miles away.

 





June Berries Explode Just in Time for July 4 in Boston

4 07 2014

I love the 4th of July in Boston.  This year I had a very unusual botanical explosion right out back.  After the hard winter we had in the Northeast, the fruiting trees are just exploding with vigor.  Just look at the Amalanchier, or June Berry tree in the back garden.  This tree is also called the Shad Bush because it blooms in the spring when the shad fish are running.

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In all the years I’ve lived with my June Berry tree, I’ve never gotten more than a handful of fruit.  The birds usually get it all.  This year, the branches were loaded with berries, and there was plenty for everybody.

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Native Americans used the fruit in pemmican.  Settlers used the fruit to make pies.  After using the fruit in cooking the first time this year, I understand why.  It is just loaded with pectin, which must have made the dry meat in pemmican much easier to digest and the pies set up nicely.   Puzzles me how the settlers made wine with the June Berry fruit.  I tried crushing it to infuse vodka, and the whole thing gelled.

2014 was a bumper year for urban June Berries in Boston

2014 was a bumper year for urban June Berries in Boston

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Blue Jay Eyes the June Berry Tree

27 06 2014

P1040106Is it my imagination, or does this cloud look like a stork taking flight?

Birds were on my mind today.

It’s that time of year, and the June-berry tree (a/k/a Shadbush) in the back garden is fruiting.  The summer-resident Blue Jay family is on patrol for the early-ripening berries.

Blue Jay in the back garden

Blue Jay in the back garden

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Spring Cleaning

19 05 2014

Racing back from the gym today to meet the window cleaners, I stopped for a moment to admire the Boston Common.

The chestnut and elm trees are blooming.  And what a sky!

Clean windows are one of the things I love about spring.  Some of the glass in this building is the old, wavy kind.  I enjoy looking through it, it makes everything look as though it’s under water.

Chestnut and elm trees bloom in the Boston Public Garden

Chestnut and elm trees bloom in the Boston Public Garden

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Looking at the bricks across the street through the just-cleaned wavy antique glass windows

Looking at the bricks across the street through the just-cleaned wavy antique glass windows

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Wisteria on the roof of the ell is sulking this year after a hard pruning last year

Wisteria on the roof of the ell is sulking this year after a hard pruning last year

Wisteria on the roof of the ell in a better year

Wisteria on the roof of the ell in a better year

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Sunset on Boston’s John Hancock Tower

18 05 2014

My virtual niece Mary sent me a photo the other day, a view of the sun setting from her London roof-top.

Inspired by this, I timed my trip home from the dance retreat to catch the best sunset views.

Thanks for the idea, Mary!

My inspiration for this post: Mary's sunset photo of London

My inspiration for this post: Mary’s sunset photo of London

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John Hancock tower reflects the sky in Boston

John Hancock tower reflects the sky in Boston

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I exited the shopping center just in time to see the setting sun reflected in the John Hancock Tower

I exited the shopping center just in time to see the setting sun reflected in the John Hancock Tower

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Wonderfully abstract sunset silhouette pattern glimpsed from the roadside

Wonderfully abstract sunset silhouette pattern glimpsed from the roadside

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Just a few miles up the road, I saw the last flash of sunset, again reflected in the John Hancock Tower

Just a few miles up the road, I saw the last flash of sunset, again reflected in the John Hancock Tower

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Lilies of the Valley

16 05 2014

P1030668Today was warm, and the May flowers are in full glory.  The wisteria is at its absolute peak today, one day after the Beacon Hill Garden tour.

I enjoyed the warm day working outside at my summer desk, enjoying the fragrance of the wisteria and lilies of the valley.

Lilies of the valley are a favorite flower from childhood.  The plants are slow to establish.  My little patch on the lanai are about 15 years old.  This is the first year they have offered plenty of blooms, enough for a lavish bouquet.

 

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Lilies of the valley like dry shade, and thrive in crowded conditions

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Everybody loves it when the summer desk comes out!

Everybody loves it when the summer desk comes out!

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Lilies of the valley

Lilies of the valley

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Wisteria in full bloom

Wisteria in full bloom

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Three Reasons to Love the Beacon Hill Hidden Garden Tour

15 05 2014

The third Thursday of May, rain or shine, my Boston neighborhood welcomes tens of thousands of visitors.  Mahalo nui to the Beacon Hill Garden Club for hosting the event!

It is a chance for all to share the magic of this very special neighborhood, where the famed midnight ride of Paul Revere commenced.  In my mind, we are the beacon for nature in the city.

On today’s tour, I was loosely coupled with a group from Boston Park Service.   They were making the best use of a precious hour between the end of their work day and the closing of the Beacon Hill Garden tour at 5pm.  Stooping, they examined the condition of each plant; standing and squinting at the surrounding buildings, they determined its share of sunshine vs shade.  Occasionally came a muttered correction of the plant’s proper Latin name carefully labelled by the gardener for vistitors’ benefit.

Hear are my top three reasons for enjoying the Beacon Hill Garden Tour — especially if you’re not a plant expert.  First, nature itself, even in the city.  Second, our beautiful city as a backdrop and structured foil for random acts of natural beauty.  Third, the creative powers of local residents to transform small urban spaces into a wonderland.

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1. Nature lei wraps around the city...here, Japanese maples flash red as they break dormancy

1. Nature: a colorful lei wraps around an urban alley, with Japanese maples flashing red as they break dormancy

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2. Unexpected private spaces...here a sanctuary in the trees

2. The city: Beacon Hill has unexpected private spaces like this sanctuary in the trees

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3. Creativity of Beacon Hill residents...here, with a little help from mom, two little girls created a fairy's garden

3. Creativity of Beacon Hill residents: this fairy’s garden amid the hostas was created by two little girls — with a little help from their mom

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